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Apple OS X Mountain Lion - How might this enhance our creative workflows?

Apple has recently announced that a new OS is already on the horizon for the Mac, OS X Mountain Lion. If you watch the overview video on the website, it does a nice job of presenting the basic features of the OS and how it draws a lot of features from the iOS devices. I’ve seen a couple of early articles that make a big deal out of the fact that that new name is just OS X, not Mac OS X. I honestly don’t care about the name, I think this is more about Apple recognizing that OS X Lion was not quite ready for prime time and instead of updating it, they’re replacing it with a new OS.

But after watching the video overview, I am very intrigued by how easily it shares information with the iOS devices.

Right now it is pretty easy to share information from your iPad / iPhone apps in the form of emails and PDFs for the most part. As in, you create a document or a drawing or information on your iDevice and then send it to someone on a Mac as a PDF, JPEG or email to share. But for many iOS apps, you can’t share the original document to be edited with the same or similar app on the Mac laptop / desktop. There’s usually a workaround that you “bring the file into this other app on your computer, make the changes, then you can send it back to the iPad where our app will read it.”

But if Mountain Lion is going to be bringing iOS elements to the desktop / laptop realm, this can open up exciting possibilities for the creative professional. Will it soon be possible for…

A) Much tighter integration between iOS Apps and Mac Desktop / Laptop apps?

B) iOS Apps to be able to run on a Mac Desktop or Laptop?

Let’s start with A)

If you watch the video on Apple’s site, the answer to the first question is a resounding “Yes.” Sure these are some simple tasks and everything shown revolves around Apple apps or games. But it does make me wonder about professional apps.

We know that Adobe and Avid already have iOS apps. And there are some professional apps on the desktop / laptop that allow you to control them via an iDevice. But what if you could interact with another creative artist from anywhere via your iOS device or vice versa?

I’m working with an After Effects artist and I need to see their comp to work out a timing issue, I pull up the Adobe Interface app on my iPad, log in to their computer and their comp opens up. I simply click on an area of the interface and that goes full screen on my iPad so I can inspect and work with that area. The changes are happening in realtime on the artist’s computer.

I meet my client for lunch to review a project and I leave my Avid timeline up on my primary computer back at my office. At the restaurant I pull up the Avid timeline on my iPad and we have a full project review while eating, even creating a new timeline and revisions before dessert. When I get back to the shop, all of my changes are there waiting for me. Reversely as I’m on the way to meet the client I realize I forgot to change out the credit roll, I call the shop and ask one of my editors to make the change for me. As our lunch starts, the project I open on my iPad has been revised with the new credit roll.

How about an application that makes proxy files in the field of your entire shoot allowing you to do a complete rough cut on your iDevice which then opens up in the application of your choice back at the shop. Sure the iPad or iPhone might be a little small to work with, but add the Airplay option and you can work on a larger screen.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Give the pro developers enough time and we could eventually move towards seamless integration between the “computers” and “iDevices” allowing near realtime collaboration for artists no matter what software / task they are trying to accomplish.

Now to B)

Thanks to the incredible Prolost Blog, I found the great storyboarding app for the iPad, Penultimate. And while you’re there reading that article, be sure to check out the rest of his blog for lots of incredible tips, I’m very jealous and will have to start writing more, but I digress…

This is an awesome storyboard app that really plays to the strength of what the iPad is all about. Instead of sketching on paper or having to use a full blown graphics app like Photoshop, I can very easily and quickly do thumbnail sketches of what we’re going to shoot. We can erase and make changes on the fly right there on set.

Now I can share those sketches via PDF files to anyone, but it would be so awesome if Penultimate was also available on my Mac. I’m the field with my crew and there’s a question on the upcoming shot. The DP doesn’t remember the scene being described that way, he thought the camera was going to move completely differently with a wider angle. So I send the storyboard sketches to the Executive Producer who opens them up on their laptop, changes the sketches and then pushes them back up via iCloud. This takes a matter of minutes and we’re done because we’re using the original files and not PDF shares that we have to talk about, I make the changes on my end, send the changes for review, etc….. If we can both use the exact same app, things just move faster.

There are a lot of very useful apps on the iDevices that would be even more useful with allowing instant collaboration between them and “computers.” Yes there are many apps that can interchange with computer based software, but wouldn’t it just be easier if you can just work in that exact same app across the board? Scripting, logging, TimeCode readers, etc…. Movie*Slate comes to mind. It does make very nice PDF and HTML files to share across multiple users, but if I could open that same app on a computer, I could go back in and very easily enhance the quick logs on another computer and output them once instead of bringing the logs into Pages, reformatting them and then typing.

So while others might be concerned, for whatever reason, that “Mac” was dropped from the OS X name, I’m very intrigued to see how this new merging of the portable and desktop based OS will make our future workflows more efficient and even more portable than they are today.

Of course there’s always the flip side where one has to wonder how the merging of iOS and OS X will affect the professional applications we all know and love today…..

Posted by: walter biscardi on Feb 20, 2012 at 5:53:52 am Post Production, OS

Thank You Dan Desmet

I remember the very first time I spoke with Dan Desmet. I’d never met him, but the voice was so familiar and I just couldn’t place it. And then I remembered, the scientist from “Lilo and Stitch.” Dan could have easily been the voice actor for that role. Especially since he was talking a lot of technical data on the phone, he could have been describing the new version of Experiment 626. I knew I liked him right away.

Dan Desmet shows off the FSI 9″ monitor at the Biscardi Creative Media Open House in March 2011.

Many of you know Dan and his son, Bram, as two of the four founding partners of the company Flanders Scientific which has made many of our professional lives much better with their array of incredible monitors. The company was started with a very simple idea, make a better product, make it affordable and then listen to the customer for new improvement. This simple idea has led to one of the most successful companies I’ve ever been associated with.

But here’s what I know about Dan. His incredible warmth. The man loved to laugh and his laughter would fill a room. A visit with Dan was never about business. Oh sure we’d chat about the latest thing they had going on, what features would we like in their products and whatnot. But more-so, we just talked, usually over a simple meal at a local Italian restaurant. Stories of growing up in his native Belgium. His surprise when a certain Simpsons character started showing up in his email box after they named the company. I learned more about Dan and his family than pretty much anyone outside my own family. More than anything else, we laughed. He really enjoyed life and it was pleasure to share a meal with him. And of course we talked a lot about family.

The real story of Flanders Scientific is not about technology at all, it’s about family. A small family company built on hard work and dedication to a passion. It’s about doing the right thing, doing it the right way and treating those around you with dignity and respect. Doing it the right way applied even to the business structure. While Dan was certainly the face of the company when it started, from day one it was never designed to be run solely by one person. It is a true collaboration with all members involved in the design, creation and support of the product line. Anyone who has spent time with Bram, Johan or Yoke know just how incredibly smart these folks are and what good hands the company is in. They have some incredible products coming down the pipeline to carry on Dan’s legacy. This is why all my monitors come from FSI and will continue to do so.

In many ways, the story of FSI is a continuation of the immigrant story begun by my own grandfather in the 1930′s. A simple tailor from southern Italy, went through Ellis Island and settled in Poughkeepsie, New York where he married my absolutely incredible grandmother. He started a tailor shop, personally built his own home and then added a much larger home to the front when his son married my mom. I was incredibly fortunate to grow up with my grandparents as a part of my life. They taught me that my word and my name were the only two things I had that were worth anything. If you break your word, your name isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. I’ve always strived to live up to my grandparent’s very simple, yet very important lessons.

Me with the gang at the Biscardi Creative Media Open House March 2011

Dan was cut from the same cloth as my grandparents. In fact the entire Desmet family is what I call “old school” and it’s why I respect them so much. They are the perfect example of all that is missing in today’s business world, particularly the American business world. They’re smart, they’re passionate about what they, they work hard, and their word is their word. They have pride in their work because built this business up on their own, as a family. And they’ve done it with a lot of laughter. Laughter and love. You can’t help but smile and laugh when you’re around this family because they simply enjoy life. Dan not only built a great company to carry on his legacy, he left us a wonderful family to share in his love.

And if I may, from a business side, Dan and the entire FSI family has always been there to lend a hand or help out in any way. When we first met, I was working out of my house, yet Dan and Bram treated our facility with the respect that a top shelf broadcast shop would usually garner. We had the first of our many Italian lunches and the first stories of growing up in Belgium and of course a lot of laughter. When we decided to open the new shop, Dan was the first to sign on and be a presenter in our vendor showcase. Heck Bram helped install the overhang outside the building for the open house.

Bram trying to put up the overhang during a rain storm at our Open House, March 2011

When the Atlanta Cutters was an idea, Dan said, “What do you need from us?” and FSI became one of our first sponsors. Whatever ideas we have going on, Dan and Bram are always the first to say, “we’re there, just tell us when to show up.” They’re good people and you just don’t find that many people, let alone companies, that do the right thing anymore. I even tried to convince Dan to move the company even closer to our new shop so we could head out to lunch more often, I guess I’ll have to work on Bram now.

We only get one chance at this thing we call life. Life is too short for needless drama. Enjoy it, surround yourself with people you truly like, and try to leave this world a little better for those who follow. My life is certainly better for having the chance to know Dan Desmet and to learn from him. Thank you Dan for allowing me to be a part of the Desmet family, it’s a true honor. I miss you buddy.

I share the Desmet family suggestion to remember Dan with a small donation to the Be The Match Foundation, part of the National Marrow Donor Program that helps patients receive life-saving transplants:

R.John, Dan, Walter, Yoke, Bram and Johan in Las Vegas, April 2011 enjoying a wonderful dessert of espresso and gelato at the Venetian hotel.

The official notice from Flanders Scientific is linked here.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Dec 18, 2011 at 8:50:08 am

For now, editing is a commodity and less a craft

As has been reported recently, CNN laid off 50 staffers, primarily videographers and editors. Why? Essentially after a three year internal review, CNN has determined that professional editors are not necessary to craft news stories any longer. Instead they are expanding their iReport section allowing for more user generated content to be provided to the network, at absolutely zero cost to the network. Yep, zero cost to the network since these folks won’t be paid. I could go on about that part of the story, but Stephen Colbert explains it so well in this clip from “This Colbert R...

So we’re at the point in the evolution of Editing (and videography for that matter) from craft to commodity. As CNN says in their release, high quality video cameras and editing software are available to the masses, so they don’t need the professionals any longer. In the corporate production world, this move from professional to consumer / family friends has been happening for quite some time. “My son / cousin / nephew / daughter / friend has a video camera / computer and he/she can do the work for us now. Sorry, but smaller budgets you know.”

Now we’ve seen the same thing happening in broadcast and higher end production as the editing tools became cheaper over the past 10 years. Only for a while there it was actual professionals who left their corporate / broadcast jobs to take advantage of the lower cost tools to strike out on their own. So top notch editors were able to deliver high quality, broadcast and film projects right out of their own homes using desktop tools. I’m proof positive of that starting out in a spare bedroom and then expanding my house where we ran my company for 7 years with three HD edit suites.

I have to have to say, this is the first time I’ve seen a broadcaster literally coming out and saying we’re going to replace professionals with consumers and hobbyists. They save the salaries of 50 professionals and get all sorts of free content, no matter how it’s shot or edited with no regard for sound or video quality. Kind of ironic to see this push to the lowest common denominator at the same time that so many editors are discovering the joys of high end color correction tools. But I digress.

Basically editing is just a commodity right now in the minds of many. The craft is associated with cheap tools rather than the artist using the tool. There are millions upon millions of folks who use word processing software but that doesn’t make all of those millions writers. Writing is a craft that some folks can do and others….. well they can write letters, recipes, but you wouldn’t ask them to write your next script or promo.

It’s the same with video editing. Millions upon millions of people now have access to really good video editing tools, but that doesn’t make them an editor. Earning a paycheck doesn’t make you an editor either. I’ve met “professionals” who have full time jobs that can’t cut their way out of a paper bag. And then I meet kids in school or college that just blow me away with their sense of timing.

True editors are storytellers. Doesn’t matter if you’re cutting a commercial, a training video, a movie or an episodic television series, you’re telling a story. Really good editors seem to be natural storytellers with an incredible sense of timing. When I start a project, I can usually “see” the edit from start to finish within a matter of hours. It’s just second nature for me and it’s something I have a hard time explaining to other people when folks ask me for tips and how I go about editing. A buddy of mine described it that “the editing part is secondary for Walter, he just knows where the story is, but it’s everything else around editing like the technology that has always drawn him in.”

The technology, and the proper way to use today’s technology, seems to be the biggest differentiation between what we’ll call a hobbyist / prosumer vs. a professional editor. Even on national broadcasts I’m stunned at how many interlacing issues I see that aren’t rocket science to do correctly. In the case of our shop, there is not a format we have not had to work with so we’re getting pretty good at solving any problems that can arise from the mixing and matching of the various formats.

So in this short term environment where video editing is equated with the cheaper tool than the artist and anyone can edit at home for super cheap, why in the world would we open a huge new facility? Simple. We’re storytellers and I surround myself with other good storytellers. We are transitioning ourselves from just being a service provider to other clients, to creating our own original content. As we develop these into fully funded projects, we’re going to need room for more storytellers. And as some storytellers strike out on their own, they might need a place to call home for a while. So we want to provide that creative space for other artists because as cool as it is to work at home, I can attest that it’s more fun and creative to be around like minded folks than all alone in your home office.

Long term, the craft of editing is probably stronger than ever. Now that the tools are in the hands of the many, we’ll discover some new folks who just blow us away with their storytelling skills. But short term, many long time professionals could get hurt when editing decisions are based on price alone and not the skill of the artist. Like anything else, with storytelling you generally get what you pay for.

In time, folks will realize that again.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Dec 1, 2011 at 5:40:13 amComments (16) Editing, Videography

Goodbye to the man who Thought Different

I decided to wait a few days before putting my thoughts down about the passing of Steve Jobs. So much has been written about this man by writers who are much more eloquent than I'll ever be. But here goes.....

Steve is one someone that future generations will never know like we did but will benefit greatly from what he began. He's one of those extremely rare human beings that not only shaped world communications and consumer electronics, but he lived in my lifetime. Steve Jobs is not someone I need to read about in a textbook or a biography. Along with those of you of a certain age, I lived through the entire evolution of Steve and Woz in the garage to 1984 to NeXT to Pixar to iMac and all the way through the iPad.

Two guys working in a garage come up with a computer to sit on a desktop, they got it. One man who sees an HP prototype of this thing called a mouse with a GUI interface and gets it. A stubborn man who is forced out of the company he created but then finds Pixar and gets it. The stubborn man who comes back to the company he created an immediately slims down the product to concentrate on making the absolute best personal electronics the world has seen. He totally got it like no one else of our generation.

For the man who revolutionized the home computer, Steve proved he was simply the master at creating some of the most simple and technologically advanced consumer electronics. He brought simplicity and style to what was once the realm of bulky, boxy products from the "major electronics" manufacturers.

Not only design, but connectivity. The products are beautiful, but Steve made sure they could all talk to each other and work together, as seamlessly as possible. We all know that Steve implored the world to "Think Different" but he also introduced us to "It Just Works." As in, we have done all the hard work in the background so all you have to do is touch the screen.

It's because of Apple that many many of us in the Film and Video production industry, especially the Post Production, have had the opportunity to have successful careers. The influence of the company drove down the introductory costs for people like me to start our own companies and "level the playing field." For that many of us will be forever grateful.

The saddest part of Steve's passing is that the world was denied another 20 years or more of what might have been. I wondered last night as we were driving to dinner what would have been Steve's influence as the world moves to electric and alternative fuel cars? Would he have had an impact on the design of an electric car, possibly with Apple as an electronic partner? It would have been fun to see another 20 years or so of "what's next" from someone who quite simply saw the world completely differently from the rest of us.

56 is simply too young, not only for Steve, but for all who are taken from us too young from cancer. There's no more I can say than Thank You.

Visit the American Cancer Society website to learn more about what you can do to help move research forward.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Oct 8, 2011 at 4:36:35 amComments (4)

Wes Plate joining Adobe a very big move.

By now you’ve heard that Wes Plate has joined the Adobe Product Marketing Team. For those who might not know exactly who this guy is, he’s been “the guy” in the industry for years who has made various production tools talk to each other. And not just a simple, “move parts of my projects into something else,” but help the apps talk to each other in a way that brought about very meaningful creative collaborations between artists no matter how what they used.

For instance, when I doing all the HD Post for the Food Network’s “Good Eats,” the shows were first cut in Alton Brown’s facility on his Avid system and then we used the Automatic Duck converter to bring the edits into my Final Cut Pro system. This was an almost seamless transfer between the two competing NLEs that allowed Alton’s editor to continue using her NLE of choice and for me to use my NLE of choice, but to work together. The only things I really had to re-create were the graphics and the transitions and of course I re-did the entire color grading for HD.

So now Adobe snags Wes to join their team right after they snagged IRIDAS and their SpeedGrade color grading tool. I personally thing grabbing Wes is an even bigger grab for the company.

If you have used the Adobe CS 5 suite (or 5.5) you know how incredible the dynamic link option is between Premiere Pro and After Effects. Someone like Wes can bring dynamic link to a whole new level. Imagine that dynamic link type of performance between all of the apps essentially make Premiere Pro the render engine for the entire suite. So you would create your base edit in Premiere Pro and then dynamic link your material out to all the other elements of the suite but do your final renders back in Premiere Pro.

In particular, I’m hoping Wes joining the team could mean that we’ll see a dynamic link workflow for SpeedGrade. The Send To feature in Final Cut Pro was sweet for color grading, but to keep going back and forth without committing to a final render until everything is approved could be very sweet.

Also, I would expect very nice tight integration with external apps like ProTools. And as Adobe has already done on their own with the FCP XML reader, Wes will most likely create easier paths for external apps to work with Adobe’s suite.

In other words, you see Adobe not only purchasing incredible apps to make their incredible Creative Suite even better, the addition of Wes Plate also signals the company’s willingness to create bridges around their suite rather than walls. Just another of the great moves Adobe has been making these past few months.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Sep 27, 2011 at 7:33:20 pmComments (2) Adobe Premiere Pro, video editing

Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere Pro "Gotchas" 1

At the urging of a friend, I got back to work on these Transitioning videos as he is now jumping into the Adobe Premiere Pro application.

As I’ve noted in my blogs, for the Final Cut Pro editor migrating over to Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5, the transition really could not be much easier. I often refer to PPro as “Final Cut Pro 8″ because it feels like the natural progression from FCP 7.

But there are a few quirks within the application that will drive you absolutely bonkers. So before you pull your hair out and start swearing up a blue streak, here’s a few of the “gotchas” that got me and how to avoid them.

One great thing about Adobe is that they ARE listening to feedback. So if you would like to offer input as Adobe prepares CS6, be sure to go to the website listed at the end of the video.

And if you really want to learn about Adobe Premiere Pro, be sure to pick up the book, "An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro" by my buddies Richard, Robbie and Jeff!

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Posted by: walter biscardi on Sep 11, 2011 at 1:13:59 pmComments (6) Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro

Introducing Tangent Design's Element Control Surface


UPDATE 2 - New Photo from Tangent Design showing the relative size.

Thanks to Tangent Designs for letting me introduce this to you guys. I saw the prototype at NAB this past April as of today, Tangent introduces the new Element Control Surface. As you can see, it’s a very sweet modular design that feels like finely honed steel or aluminum. Very beautiful design. These are the final 3D renderings just prior to production.

As you can see, very beautiful and modular in design and according to Tangent, you can outfit this unit any way you please. As long as the software host supports it, you'll be able to add extra panels of knobs, buttons and trackballs.

I'll write a full review once I receive a production model for testing. Coupled with today's announcement from Adobe about purchasing IRIDAS, these are exciting times!

UPDATE: Big thanks to Andy and Chris at Tangent Design for sharing some actual photos of the production unit with me. Enjoy!

UPDATE 2: The marketing photos make this thing look much larger than it really is. Chris and Andy just sent me a snapshot of the unit on the IBC Show Floor that really gives you a perspective on the relative size. Note the Apple Mini Keyboard and iMac in the photo. Remember, when they showed me the prototype in April, it all fit in a backpack. So it's a really nice small, modular footprint.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Sep 8, 2011 at 6:54:45 amComments (20) Color Grade, Davinci Resolve

Tangent Introducing the Element Control Surface.

This past April while at NAB I got an interesting phone call from Chris Rose of Tangent Devices. “Where are you?” “I’m in the South Hall why?” “Come meet us outside, we want to show you something.” And just like that, I’m walking out the door to find them.

I found Chris along with Andy Knox and Andy proceeds to pull out the prototype of a brand new control surface. It’s obvious they have listened to all of the feedback from folks on what we wanted in a new control surface for color enhancement.

Personally I’ve said all along a combination of the Tangent Wave and the MC Color would make a great, reasonably priced control surface. By that I meant the extra controls of the Wave (knobs and buttons) with the smooth trackball / rings of the MC Color. Tangent has delivered and much much more.

You don’t like the plastic of the Wave? It’s gone, replaced with a very nice metal finish.

You like the feel and touch of the MC Color rings and trackball? It’s there.

You want gobs of knobs and buttons. The Element is modular, so you can literally design a control surface that is completely customized to your workflow, your desk, your applications.

You want a lightweight control surface that can travel with you to various jobs? Did I mention Andy had the prototype in a backpack?

Most of all, we want a solid, very professionally built control surface that responds well to the touch. Tangent has designed this entire new surface from the ground up. This is not simply the Wave knobs and buttons just ported over to the Element. Tangent went to colorists and editors who do a lot of color correction and asked, “What do you think?”

I loved the trackball / ring configuration but most of all, I liked that everything felt solid, not plastic. The surface feels good and quiet, not quite as loud as the Wave when you push the buttons and knobs. There will be OLED displays across the top, though the prototype I saw was not powered.

Tangent tells me the the pricing is not firmly set, but they are looking in the $3,000 – $3,500 range for a base four panel set that will get you a good solid control surface including:

One bank of 12 knobs

One bank of 12 buttons

One set of three trackballs, with ring contrast controls

One combination panel with a fourth trackball, transport controls, and another bank of 12 buttons

Now I have not had a chance to play with the final production model but Tangent has sent me images of the final product and I’m ready to play with it further once it’s shipping. The Element will be revealed at the IBC in Amsterdam. You will find them at stand 7.B16

If you’re headed to the show, be sure to stop by and check out the new surface. I’ll post a full review once I get a chance to play with the production model.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 23, 2011 at 7:23:55 pm Apple Color, Color Grade

Why you do not want to miss the August Atlanta Cutters Meeting.

Ok, so Digital Asset Management is the topic. Some of you might be thinking “well that’s not nearly as sexy as having the ‘four A’s’ on stage at the same time like you did last month.” No, quite honestly it’s not but if anything, this month is even MORE important to the stability and longevity of your work. Whether you shoot / edit tape or digital cards, we are in a digital world and how you protect those digital assets for the long haul will literally make or break you.

As many of you know, I’ve been a forum host on the communities since 2001. If I had to pick ONE topic that comes up more than any other, year in, year out, it’s storage. In fact I believe I’ve tested and reviewed more storage products than anything else in the 10 years I’ve been writing for the Cow.

Post always starts off with, “I’m about to start a new project / build a new system / open a new facility and I’m just not sure what storage to buy.” There are literally hundreds of storage combinations out there these days, it’s a veritable alphabet soup of FW, eSATA, USB, SAS, iSCSI, FibreChannel, Ethernet, Thunderbolt and so on. 1TB, 2TB, 3TB spinning platter drives plus Solid State Drives with no moving parts. RAIDS that go from 2TB to 100TB and more. RAID 0, 1, 3, 5, 6, 10 hut one, hut two, hike! It always amazes me just how many people really don’t understand what any of this means, but they just go along with what someone else tells them is the best option.

You are going to have a very rare opportunity to meet the guy who in my opinion is simply the most knowledgeable person in the industry who not only understands the inner workings of that entire alphabet soup above, but also understands how to explain it to all of us. Steve Modica from Small Tree Communications is one of those guys who is a rarity in that he understands the inner workings of many of the computer models we all use and how best to pair up the right storage solution to give that particular system / facility the best performance. He just gets it and I’m so thrilled he’s going to be there.

He’s going to give a presentation that should help all of you better understand all of the various elements of the alphabet soup. From there you should be able to make very informed decisions moving forward as to what will be your best option for storage for your systems, from video editing to sound design to graphics and animation. This is not a sales pitch for Small Tree, this is going to be your opportunity to get that basic knowledge that you never get from a sales rep or an online forum or that latest email blast. In the long run, having the right knowledge before you purchase any storage system will end up giving you the best bang for your buck.

Now if you’ve been in the industry for even a little while, you’ve heard the name Quantum. They’ve been doing long term archiving since before it was cool. Everyone I’ve ever asked about fail safe, long term storage always points to Quantum and LTO. Now I know LTO is a tape based archive format, but that’s about the extent of my personal knowledge and quite honestly I really don’t know of any other options. Once again, this is going to be a GREAT opportunity to learn about long term archiving and what options are out there these days. Where is the archive industry headed moving forward?

Do you shoot with digital media these days? Are you absolutely, 100% certain that you will able to access your material 2, 5, 10, 20 years from now if you needed a shot for a project or needed to bring an entire project back? Remember, if you’re archiving camera originals, that’s it. Your shots are entrusted to the digital ether, either you protect correctly or it’s gone.

How many of you have have had a hard drive fail? Raise your hands, I’ve got mine up. It’s a fact of life, hard drive DIE. Often without warning and ALWAYS at the wrong time. This 2nd meeting will go a long ways towards giving you some great strategies and options to not only give you peace of mind for your main working environment, but also for the long term health of all those digital assets you’ve accumulated and will continue to accumulate moving forward. I’m actually really excited to have Quantum presenting because I really need to get up to speed on what the latest options are for archiving.

Beyond all of this we have two great presentations from Founding Members of the Atlanta Cutters.

Kris Merkel will do a DSLR Best Practices Workflow. Who doesn’t like playing around with the DSLR cameras these days, but how you handle the data can be the difference between losing information and safely protecting it for future use. This demo cuts across all NLE workflows.

Clay Asbury will kick off the 2nd half of the meeting with some Adobe Tips and Tricks from the Production Premium suite. He’s a certified Adobe Trainer and this will be the first in our series of quick tips and tricks for each meeting.

So sign up today as this is one of those rare opportunities to gain a wealth of knowledge in one of the most important aspects of all of our businesses. Protect yours and your client’s assets, you keep happy clients and grow your business. Oh and don’t forget, we have awesome food from Endive Catering so if nothing else, you’re gonna have a great dinner!

See you next week!

Register here today! Seating is limited.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 16, 2011 at 6:43:04 pmComments (3) User Group, Post Production

FSI launching new affordable 21" and 23" HD Broadcast Monitors

EXCLUSIVE! (always wanted to say that!)

When I get an email from Dan Desmet at Flanders Scientific asking “do you have any time available? I’d like to show you something” I always MAKE the time. One of the awesome benefits of being literally 15 minutes away from FSI is we get to see a lot from these guys. It’s also a great chance to get together for lunch, or dinner in this case.

Well, what he had to show were three truly incredible monitors, one of which you already know about,the LM0950W (WOW!) and the other two they are letting me spill the beans a day early. FSI is releasing two new monitors at a more affordable price range for everyone. These are 1080 Native monitors with the following standard connections: 3G/HD/SD-SDI/Component/Composite/DVI-I. Yes, you read correctly, 3G is standard on these new monitors and these are 1080 native display monitors and they accept 4:4:4 and 2K sources.

Let me first say, my photos don’t do the monitors justice quite honestly but I was a bit rushed and took what I could. But here’s what the 3 larger monitors look like sitting in my suite, you can ignore the old 0750W there at the bottom.

The LM-2140W and the LM-2340W are priced $2,495 and $2,995 respectively. That’s the 2340W on the left and the 2140W on the right with the original LM-2461W in the back. The 2461W is what I use every day in my Edit 1 suite at Biscardi Creative Media.

First off, I have to say wow, on the connectivity at this price point. Very sweet. Second, wow on the image. Is it identical to the $4995 priced LM-2461W? Well, no, but then they’re not designed to be. These are designed to very high quality, very cost effective monitors for those who either don’t need the absolute best color critical picture of the 2461W or who simply can’t afford to drop $5,000 on a monitor right now.

When you take $2000 off the price of the top of the line 24″ model, something has to give. In this case, the Color Fidelity Engine that powers the absolute “correctness” of the 2461W is absent in the new models. So you will notice that the 21 and 2340W’s are slightly warmer than the 2461W. The image displays a little more red overall and a touch of purple in the blacks.

Now comparing the 1760W to the 2140W, what you’re gaining is an extra 4″ of real estate. Doesn’t sound like a whole lot but there’s a definite difference in terms of the viewing experience plus remember, it’s now a 1080 native display vs. the 720p native of the 1760W. And of course FSI has gone ahead and made the 3G option (about $1,500 on the 1760W) standard on the 2130W.

Both monitors come with LED backlighting which means there is no warmup period so the colors are accurate from the time you turn them on. This also decreases the weight dramatically as well, just 9 pounds for the 2130W, 10 for the 2140W.

Could you actually do a color grade on these monitors and submit it to a broadcaster without fear of rejection? Well if you know what you’re doing in the color grade process, sure. I sat there with these monitors in my suite up against the LM-2461W and it was clear that the 21 / 2340W’s were warmer as I said originally. But, if I didn’t have the money for the 2461W or the need for absolutely color critical judgement, yeah, it would be no problem to do a nice color grade with it. Would a broadcaster reject your work solely because you did a color grade on this monitor? I would highly doubt it. If they do, it would be because of the operator who did the color grade……

LM-2340W foreground, LM-2461W background

These monitors will definitely fill a great need, particularly with the economy the way it is around the world, for those of you who need a really really good monitor, but maybe not the “best” monitor.

FSI re-defined the standard of the “best” monitor out there by giving us a super high quality, color critical monitor for just $4995. Now they’ve done the same by bringing us two incredibly good options at a much more affordable level for everyone. Something that is “good enough” to meet your needs yet much better than other monitors at the same or even higher price point.

Keep an eye on the Flanders Scientific page tomorrow morning because not only will they announce the new 2140W and 2340W, Dan hinted you’ll find special introductory pricing too.

UPDATE 8/4/2011

Official Press Release came out today with the introductory pricing information.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 3, 2011 at 7:17:33 pm Editing, Monitors

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Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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