Monday, 26 September, 2011

Avid and FCP for just over a lakh Rupees

Apple is still selling Final Cut Studio 3 which contains Final Cut Pro 7, Motion, Compressor, Soundtrack Pro, Color.DVD Studio Pro. For the price of about Rs 60,000 or maybe lower, this is still a good bargain. 
The price of Avid Media Composer, (software only) on the other hand, is Rs 1.4 lakhs.

But, for a very short while, you can get both for substantially less. 

Avid has a special offer for Avid Media Composer in exchange for your FCP number, for less than Rs 60,000. So, if you buy FCP 7 now, give Avid just the number of your FCP, you can have an Avid and a FCP for a little over Rs 1,10,000.

Avid's offer ends Sept 30, 2011. You need to give them a valid FCP license number. Not the software, just the serial number.

More details here

Or, just get in touch with Real Image or any other Avid resellers in your area.
And by the way, it is possible to run Avid and FCP on the same system. 

If your requirement is to be able to capture from tape and play out to a VTR or monitor, you need hardware. The Mojo SDI will work in Avid but not FCP. And Mojo does not support HD. Blackmagic cards support HD and work in FCP, but not in Avid. So also Aja cards.


Get in touch with me and I can suggest how best to configure a system for FCP and Avid.

Friday, 23 September, 2011

Final Cut Pro X update 10.0.1

Some days ago Apple released an update for Final Cut Pro X. 10.0.1. This remedies some of the features missing in Final Cut Pro X (FCPX). Mainly, XSan compatibility, XML import-export, and other features.

There's a detailed discussion on this along with statements from Richard Townhill from Apple at, the full article here.  

There's also a link to Apple's whitepaper on FCP X for FCP 7 editors.
This is also an interesting read.

But one of the significant takeaways from these two is that you still cannot and probably will not be able to open FCP 7 projects in FCP X. Not even via XML like we used to be able to open FCP 7 projects in FCP 6 via XML. That isn't supported.

The 24@25 PAL film workflow is still not supported, so if editing feature films in India is what you do for a living you can continue with FCP 6 or FCP 7. Or, if you happen to have an FCP 6 or 7 licence, you can buy an Avid Media Composer 5.5 for under Rs 60,000.

Premiere Pro too doesn't support the PAL 24@25 workflow that we in India use for editing feature films shot on 24fps and edited via a telecine to video.

If anyone is absolutely interested in editing feature films shot on film in FCP X, there are workarounds by doing telecine to HD files. This is especially good for low budget films shot on 16mm film. It is possible to edit and finish all picture post within FCP X.

But FCP X is not the same as FCP 7 or anything else. Its a whole new way of approaching the job of editing. Many lament its radical departure from FCP 7 and earlier versions. But I feet FCP X is not as different from other editing systems, as manual film editing on Steenbeeck and such systems was from non-linear editing. 

And if we made that transition two decades ago, we can make this one now. I'm trying. And I urge anyone who's keen to do so too. FCP X is available as a free 30 day trial now. So what's the harm?

Thursday, 8 September, 2011

IBC 2011

The International Broadcasters Conference (IBC) begins in Amsterdam today. Part of this is a large - about 5 times as large as NSE Goregaon in Mumbai - exhibition that opens tomorrow and runs till the 13th Sept at the RAI complex in Amsterdam. This exhibition shows the latest in TV, video, film, broadcasting, webcasting and other allied fields.

As in previous years, I'll be there. But this time I won't be representing any post house, or manufacturer. Just myself. Roving around finding out the latest, and sniffing out trends that will affect the way we make movies, show them, and how audiences will 'consume' the stuff we create.

In the lead up to the expo, I've been in chatting with people in media out here in India. And overall many say they are gearing up for changes. Quite far reaching changes in the way things move in this field. And some are still living in denial and believe there's still business in post as it stands today.

Post, or post-production, which used to be done out of large facilities like Pixion, Prime Focus, Reliance. These, and others are closely observing the evolution in movie-making. Large, well appointed multi million dollar central machine rooms, proprietary systems - hardware and software - and other such expensive installations are being upstaged by small economical desktop systems that people own and use to create entertainment. The Rs 1 million ($ 20,000+) VTR being replaced by the memory card reader that costs under Rs 500 (US$ 10) even in Bandra. 

The revolution that happened in IT some decades ago when large mainframes were upstaged by desktop PCs. Huge tape storages were replaced by floppies at first, and hard disks later. This seems to be the trend that's nearly happening in post production - of films, TV shows, and commercials.

Broadcast - where one central entity sends entertainment out on cable or satellite... to homes which wait for it to arrive. Is gradually being nudged by webcast - where entertainment is always available for anyone to watch anywhere, any time. 

This is still in its infancy in India because of our slow Internet connections and not so widespread use of broadband. But this new method of 'broadcast' is poised to forever change the way the public receives programs - movies, songs, TV shows, shorts, etc. 

I've seen cabbies, and elevator operators ('liftmen') watch movies or parts of movies, or just songs, on their mobile phones. In their free time. Maybe these are downloaded at the present time, but they'll soon be streamed when bandwidth scales. 

People acquire and share movies via software like WhatsApp and see them or show them around to an audience that is increasingly getting used to watching entertainment whenever they have the time, rather than waiting for it to show up on their TV sets.

Digital is making rapid progress in quality while getting more and more economical to use. This has given birth to movies which get made at a very low cost. Where otherwise the cost and complexity of using film made it near impossible to make a movie that one had thought out in one's head. 'Stanley ka Dabba' has been a trend setter in this space and many more movies will follow suit in the coming years.

Film projector based theatres are giving way to digital projectors playing entire movies at high (2k, soon to be 4k) resolution with digital surround sound. And being digital, the movie looks as good three weeks later as it did on the first day.

So watch this space for the next week as I report on the latest, the greatest, the fastest, smallest and cheapest - tools for storytellers as Avid likes to call it. Tools which help us draw people into a darkened room, take money from them, and make them laugh, cry, and forget their daily lives. Within the end of the decade we will be doing it differently, far far differently than our forefathers did for almost a century.

Count on it.