New edit suite in Manchester

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Unfortunately we have had to shut our suite in Liverpool as the building we were in has now gone up for sale.

But we are putting in another in Manchester, initially it will be another HD/2k suite but in the next phase we think it will be 2.5k/4k capable.

Still unsure as to the MacPro or PC route, the new MacPro didn’t blow away all concerns… Really we are waiting to see what reasonable grading monitors are coming through in the near future too. The additional suite will facilitate more space for clients to view material and free up the others for existing commitments.

Sublime having two suites for SD/HD Edit 4 and 3. Two suites (1 and 2) for HD/2.5K editing.

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Brian Barnes at desk
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new suite at Sublime Pictures

 

Tea Time In Haworth – Hebden Bridge Cinema – Digital Cinema Package

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DCP on memory stick attempt 1!

Tea Time In Haworth had the honour of being shown before the Steve Coogan/Judy Dench film Philomena in Hebden Bridge Picture House over about a week , a lovely old cinema. About 1500 people saw the film over a week. Initially we had provided a Blu-ray with an HD copy for the showing and although it looked great on screen we wanted to provide a Digital Cinema Package.

To do this is quite involved but essentially you have to get all your frames individually as JPEG2000 in XYZ colour space and then wrap them as MXF files both audio and video, then you combine them with metadata into a package that a digital cinema server will recognise. These may be a Dolby or Doremi server. Generally they prefer a linux format hard drive in a special caddy that can slide straight in but there is a USB socket on the front.

All the staff and the two projectionists were very welcoming and helpful at the cinema. Initially I took the DCP on a memory stick that was Mac formatted and this didn’t seem to work however that may be because the stick didn’t seem to fit properly so that isn’t a definitive statement. I also tried to format it as eXfat but that didn’t seem to work.

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Doremi server and projector (pic  © Chris Smith)

Eventually I formatted a portable hard drive as NTFS and put two versions of the film on the drive. I had read that some projectors don’t like anything except 24 frames per second material. So I made a 24fps version by using the same number of frames but tagging them as 24fps and slowing the audio down by 4% to match.

I posted the drive and crossed my fingers. The projectionist told me that both copies had ingested and invited us over to view the result at the final matinee performance. After a battering drive over the tops through a storm my assistant Olivia and I arrived in Yorkshire!

The 25 fps was used as the server played back both and of course it was the original speed. The audience was very receptive to the film as virtually all those present seemed to be senior citizens. Lots of laughs and the DCP on screen was fantastic.

 

Wimbledon 2012 sees File-based 3D Operation for First Time

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This is a guest blog from 3D Broadcast Sales.

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Sony_3D_Wimbledon_2012_Cameras

As a well-established business we at  3D Broadcast Sales have over 35 years worth of experience in selling 3D broadcast tools to the broadcast and corporate market place. Now more than ever, broadcasters are moving away from tape and are instead adopting the transition to file-based workflow systems.

Every single year when the time of Wimbledon arrives the world’s attention falls on the UK, lapping up some amazing tennis from all of the world’s very best tennis players. Now every single year of being televised Wimbledon has been great however in 2011 we saw the tournament get 3D broadcasting for the very first time from the BBC, of which won numerous industry awards. In total, around 18,000 UK viewers watched Wimbledon in 3D in 2011, with the 2012 numbers expected to exceed this.

This 2012 then there has to be something equally as impressive within the broadcast industry in order to make this years’ tournament as impressive as ever, and we recently got wind of something that has happened.

All of this comes from CAN in partnership with Sony, who have seen fit to adopt some of the very latest innovations in the broadcast production industry. Of course, we are talking about ditching the tape here in favour of a more advanced file-based system, and as such Wimbledon 2012 is the first ever tournament to see this advancement.

Sony has ditched the tape for a fully working system it has developed called HDCAM SR Master Technology which allows for all data to be recorded and saved to the highest quality as physically possible.

On this latest advancement in 3D broadcast production, CAN’s Duncan Humphreys said: “Last year’s 3D production ran incredibly smoothly which allowed us to concentrate on the production values of the coverage and on the creative aspects of telling the story of the 2011 Championships. This year we will again be looking to heighten the viewer’s experience of the event and give them a true on court perspective of the tournament.”

So far numerous television networks around the world have announced their intentions to broadcast this live 3D feed to people around the world.

Ditching the tape and opting for a more advanced file-based system is nothing new. Currently, hundreds of production companies across the UK have adopted a file-based system replacing tape, and to simplify this to the average consumer image this; when was the last time you saw anybody use a traditional film camera over a digital one? It is that advancement that is not only happening on a consumer level but is also making its way down the professional broadcast level also.
At 3D Broadcast Sales we stock a solid range of high quality 3D Broadcast tools to suit any production need. In terms of ditching the tape, check out our AJA Ki Pro Rack which features 10-bit full raster recording, RS-422 control, an easy to use control system and dual media drives with built-in FireWire 800 connection.

To find out more about how 3D Broadcast Sales can help your production needs, simply contact us.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud

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Adobe CS6 continues skyward

Adobe have redefined post production over the last few years, they have slowly crept up on Apple and taken over the space where Final Cut Pro was dominating. How Apple let that dominance slip is beyond me. I know they took their eye off the pro market to concentrate on the domestic arena but didn’t need to. They are extremely rich and I am sure that Pro market sales of software and hardware would have justified itself, there is now a Facebook page for users crying out for a new Mac Pro and it has 16000 likes already. I really want a new high end Mac Pro becasue at the end of the day I like using them and it is great to be able to use Apple software tools and Avid and Adobe on the same workstation.

I don’t want to go back to the Dark Side but the HP 820 or even a HP Z1 as an alternative to an iMac is looking pretty sweet at the moment…

Especially for corporates and owner operators or even agencies bringing post in house a Studio product with the ability to deliver all areas of post at an attractive price is too desirable to resist. The people and talent to operate it is another subject!

Now Adobe are offering a monthly fee to use the whole suite of products and as an existing user you may qualify for the low rate of £27 per month!

You have to sign up for a year but if you don’t like it you have a 30 day money back guarantee.

To get all the Adobe suite of products including the new speed grade (previously Iridas) including new updates as you go is amazing. with the right workstation you can be ingesting, encoding, mastering 4k/5K material, producing special effects, dubbing and authoring discs all for Yorkshireman price! 🙂

I signed up straight away, use photoshop once with the new content aware tools and you can justify the expense in time saving alone but with all the creative options here it is a no brainer. It seems Adobe’s strategy is hook customers in for the long haul, a good strategy that Apple started and perfected then ditched!

I have not had time to absorb all the benefits of creative cloud but I’ll report as I do.

Excitin init?

Liverpool edit suites update

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liverpool edit 1

The edit suites in Liverpool took a step nearer completion as the worktops went onto the desk chassis. Also we were measuring cable runs to fit the cables from the central apparatus room to the suites. Slow but sure progress, the plan is for edit one to be PC based and 4k/2k/HD capable for finishing on Premiere Pro, Avid Symphony and Da Vinci Resolve. Edit 2 will be a PC that can finish 2k/HD using Premiere Pro and Avid or work on editorial, edit 3 editorial on Avid.

We will keep you updated and also let you know when the launch party is.

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liverpool edit 2

Black Magic Cinema Camera

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Hot off the heels of the exciting news about the digital Bolex and then Sony releasing about 3 new cameras in a week, namely the NEX-FS700, PMW-100 and HXR-NX30E (which has a built in projector!) I will be having a quick roundup of some new Sony technology in the next barnesytv blog post.

All this exciting news has been over shadowed by the announcement of the Black Magic Cinema Camera.

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Black Magic Cinema Camera

It is a game changing camera at a crazy low price. In fact they have actually lowered the price since I ordered it from £1925 to £1811.76 those very nice creative video people!

As with the digital bolex the camera shoots 13 stops of latitude and the option of DNXHD ProRes or raw, something that we have all wanted but only been available on RED, ARRI and other top level expensive cameras. It has been enjoyed by still photographers and timelapse junkies for ages, they are spoilt as they can virtually shoot any resolution they want in RAW and with HDR to get amazingly stunning cinematography. Us mortals that require to shoot 24 to 30 HD frames a second all day are generally denied the luxury of RAW.Not now, enter the …. I am sorry I can’t keep calling it the Black Magic Cinema Camera, maybe Barnesycam as referred to in my other blog, here I’ll use BMCC.

With the arrival of the BMCC many of camera enthusiasts wishes have been delivered, I can’t wait to get shots from this into the edit suites and see the sublime pictures.

Great narrative workflow

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There are many ways to cut a story. Editors like to throw pictures around and production types often like to use words in a word processor to tell a story, oh and those other creatives, what are they called, oh yeah writers… An established way to work like this is to is to transcribe the interviews and any speech then edit in a word processor and then work out timecodes to tell the editor what to cut. This is very good from an editorial point of view but slow in process. Check out this article from Larry Jordan about PR edit, it is a cool bridging piece of software that enables Premiere and Final Cut to work together to auto transcribe, edit as text but carry metadata to get a cut list automatically after the words have been cut in  a WP!

  • Create text transcripts automatically in Premiere.
  • Export the transcripts as an XML file
  • Review and edit the transcripts in prEdit as text files
  • Select the clips you want to build into a sequence
  • Export the selected clips as an XML file
  • Open that XML file in Final Cut Pro, or Premiere, as an edited sequence.

This is great for reducing the amount of time in suites (as a post company why am I letting you in on it!) as you can get the producers, directors, assistant producers to cut a narrative structure before it even sees a suite.

The reason I am letting you in on it? we hate going round in circles in suites or having to charge you more than we need to get an incisive, entertaining or informative programme to hit the airwaves/webwaves.

So check out Larry’s article and save time, money and make better content.

 

What do you do with an old G5?

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I know it is a little too soon for a spring clean but I am working on organising our kit and post setup into a more efficient operation. I am leaning towards keeping the Manchester operation Mac based and the Liverpool operation PC based with software along the Avid/premiere/resolve route.

I have had my quad core G5 now for many years and it is getting a little bit long in the tooth. We still use it for final cut editing but only with version 6 and we have an Avid Xpress Pro on it too. It has been a good workhorse but the limitations are now that we cannot use any Intel based software and once we have upgraded a project to Final Cut 7 in Edit 1 we can’t open it in Edit 2. So what could we use it for?

I have decided that as I am too tight to throw it away and hate waste so it still needs to earn it’s keep! We have been using a simple setup where the 8 core Mac pro has a SCSI RAID attached and we connect the G5 and laptops etc to the Mac pro via a Small tree 4 port gigabit card. It isn’t a full blown SAN but it does work, we have had 3 or 4 suites all capturing/ingesting at the same time and the SCSI RAID can keep up. We rarely access the same material from different stations.

My new plan is to use the G5 just for ingest, backup and to act as a server. We have loads of hard drives coming through the system with e-sata but we have no way of using the drives in that mode so to increase speed we need e-sata on the Macs. This way you can also keep smaller jobs on drives that you can edit on and pass from one part of the process to another. For example we did some work on a pilot show for Lime Pictures where we transcoded and organised the material in the Avid and then sent the drives to London for the edit. Using the e-sata drives meant that the DNxHD 185X material was able to be edited from the e-sata direct and also passed on for grading. An efficient workflow if backups are done en route!

Once we have e-Sata connections we could use a Sonnet Qio which means that we would have fast ingest of all the main cards, P2, SxS, SD, CF. This can also be used on location in conjunction with e-sata drives for fast data wrangling.

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Sonnet Qio card reader

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another benefit of using the e-sata is that you can use external RAID boxes to increase storage. If you have not been using RAID setups then you have missed a great way to safeguard your assets, speed up your editing and give good upgrade functionality. Once you have your enclosure you can usually upgrade the discs for bigger capacities as the disks get larger and cheaper. We started with 6 x 500 gig drives and now have 6 x 1 TB drives but could go for 2TB or 3TB next if required.

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sonnet storage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is an excellent site called Mac upgrade that organises the site by machine and it tells you all the upgrades you can do to your machine.

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G5 pci slots, SCSI, e-sata, Small Tree Ethernet, Graphics

ACTION:

1. Take the small tree card from edit 1 and put it in the G5

2. Fit the Mac pro with cabled rear port for e-sata as it has two connections on the mother board (from Sonnet)

3. Strip the G5 of the extra firewire 400 ports to make room (firewire 400 is so last decade)

4. Fit the G5 with a 4 port e-sata from Sonnet and Small Tree Ethernet.

Check it all works with an option if I feel it needs it to use MetaLan server and client from Tiger Technology.

Effectively metaLAN Server is ideally suited for environments looking at leveraging low cost Gigabit Ethernet, but requiring advanced connectivity features.

I think that going forward there will be more 2.5 inch SSD and hard drives coming in with rushes so a cheap e-sata JBOD encloser would be a great rushes docking station whether the rushes are to be copied or edited straight from the source!

I also need to decide on the new machine for Edit 2, maybe an iMac or a second hand Intel MacPro with a Quadro 4000 card to accelerate Adobe Production Premium. Will they ever bring out a MacPro with Thunderbolt?

 

Avid release Avid Studio on iPad!

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Well not content with Apple getting all that business from the consumers they have released Avid on the iPad. I have not tried it yet but it is a sign of the times and there is more information to be found here.

It doesn’t indicate that you can migrate up the project created to Media Composer but it does say there will be Avid studio on a PC, more to follow.