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Making Music 2.6

Making Music is a great learning or teaching aid, as long as you have an Internet connection. It’s a very straightforward tool: select an instrument, see a picture, read a description and (optionally) hear what it sounds like.

The instrument list is updated automatically as more instruments are added to the database. Instruments can be sorted by region (where in the world they’re used), class or period of development.

A simple application but a fun one if you want to know more about music instruments.

Pro Apps Hub 4.1 Released

On December 29, Version 4.1 of the Pro Apps Hub software was made available for immediate download and is strongly recommended for all users. This version update includes new modules and components and requires a new download. Even more than ever the Pro Apps Hub is the most convenient place to find the best of what’s free and everything else you need to be creative and productive with Apple’s professional video and audio applications.

This version:

  • Improves stability, particularly on dual processor Macintoshes. All issues reported have proven to be corrected;
  • Speeds loading of web pages;
  • Adds a new feature to reload web pages into the default browser; and
  • Eliminates Error messages and Unexpected Quit messages on quit.

Since the initial upgrade of the Intelligent Assistant software to the Pro Apps Hub version in September:

  • Daily news has been added – news that is to the point, relevant and written with clear understanding of the implications;
  • Daily productivity tips have been added;
  • Improved navigation with new home pages for each application;
  • Browse Articles, Tutorials, Resources and Forums by Category and Topic;
  • Help resources built-in; and
  • Numerous other improvements.

The Pro Apps Hub 4.1 can be downloaded and installed over the existing installation. All downloaded and installed content will be retained after the update.

Sony Digital Pictures to show Spider-man 2 on debut of 4KRD Digital Projection System

Sony Digital Pictures, a unit of Sony Pictures Entertainment, will use the January 13th screening to debut the new 4096 x 2160 pixel resolution digital projection system. The 4KRD Projection System uses a Silicon X-tal Reflective Display (Sony names this SXRD) for nearly four times the pixel count of current HD projectors. The projects come in two models: the 10,000 ANSI lumen SRX-R110 and the 5000 ANSI lumen SRX-R105. Its not known which model will be used at the debut, but as a showcase, it’ll probably be the 10,000 lumen model.

The projection system uses the SGI Inifite Storage RM660 to feed uncompressed digital cinema content to thenew projector. The system will be put through its paces at a screening following a panel discussion of the sound and visual effects that went into the making of Spider-man 2. The panel will feature the film’s editor Bob Murawski, sound designer and sound effects editor Paul Ottosson, supervising sound mixers Greg Russell and Kevin O’Connell and visual effects supervisors John Dykstra and Scott Stokdyk.

The Entertainment Technology Center’s Digital Cinema Lab is at the Hollywood Pacific Theatre (6433 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, California, 90028). Screenings are usually free but bookings need to be made in advance.

Automatic Duck updates Pro Import Combustion 3 and new tutorials

Pro Import C3 is a free upgrade for all Pro Import C3 owners and adds direct support for Final Cut Pro XML with no need to export OMF from Final Cut Pro. This release also supports Avid DV50 media to Combustion. If you’re using Final Cut Pro 3 with Combustion do not upgrade, otherwise, get the upgrade now.

Automatic Duck have also added some new tutorials to their web site.

The first tutorial covers how to use Adobe After Effects to conform Final Cut Pro or Avid edits from low-resolution proxies to high-resolution files.

The second tutorial explores the "magic of relink" to get around the need to redigitize when using Final Cut Pro media in Avid. Wes takes you through the process step-by-step.

Flair for After Effects 1.1

From another of the smaller plug-in developers, Flair a set of eight plug-ins, is a mixture of great and "why?" plug-ins.

A "why?" plug-in is one that has a very specific use and appears to be in the set because a developer could, rather than because of demand from the user community or widespread applicability. In this set there are three that fit this category:

  • Amiga Rules – a reproduction of a retro demonstration piece – might be useful as a background generator;
  • Glass Sphere – create shiny glass spheres (perhaps more useful in Photoshop than for motion graphics); and
  • Mosaic Plane – a mosaic effect that uses a virtual plane that can be rotated or positioned.

The other plug-ins in the set produce very great looking results as seen in their gallery page or the product detail page, but none are particularly unique:

  • Box Blur – a sub-pixel accurate Box Blur for nicer blurs than gaussian. This plug-in includes a abberative chroma mode that splits color into rainbows and supports a mask.
  • Glow – a very nice looking glow with a full set of adjustable parameters and blend modes.
  • Highlight – generate ‘star filter’ and sparkling light streaks off highlights in existing footage with control over which highlights flare off and the type and length of flare.

  • Radial Blur – a fast, high quality radial blur, also supports the abberative chroma mode to simulate special lenses or bad camera work.
  • Volumetrics – A ray tracing volumetric light effect tool that supports alpha channel source with control over color, length and blend modes (think Trapcode Shine or Boris Lens Flare).

These are nice filters but if you already have a full filter box, you’ll probably find nothing new. At US$179 for eight filters, they’re on the high end of "per filter" sets but low for individual filter purchases. Since they’re not available for individual purchase – and there’s an argument that they might do better if they were – then you would probably be better off buying only individual filters where available, or buying a more complete set that has a much lower per filter cost.

If you only have 8 bit versions of Box Blur, Glow Highlight or Volumetric filters, or no multi-processor support, then Flair would add value to your filter toolkit. At the time of purchase you choose either Photoshop or After Effects compatible versions. Site licenses are also available. Each purchase includes both OS X and Windows versions – a bonus if you’re working in a mixed platform environment.

Industry Perspectives: Finding the Bitrate Sweet Spot

Chapter: Distribution

Topic: Encoding for Web or ROM

When using MPEG formats in business communications, the biggest challenge can be arriving at the best compromise between compression and quality.


Kaguru Solutions release USB Mini Drive

Perfect for carrying user settings (Final Cut Pro Keyboard, Button and Window layouts, for example), for rapidly transferring settings across non-networked machines or for keeping commonly used files handy in a small form factor: less than three inches long the Mini USB drive will easily fit pockets or purses.

The Flash-RAM based Mini Drive will be available in sizes from 128 MB (US$29.95) to a maximum of 1 GB (US$119.95) and the product page should be up soon.

Kaguru have a range of mini and micro drives, with Flash-RAM up to 1 GB and the mini hard drive Zipper HD with capacities up to 5 GB. Some models have security encryption or RAM card readers.

Apple Final Cut Pro: Render Management Part 2

Chapter: Editing

Topic: Clip and Media Management

Now that you know where your Render Files live on your hard drive let’s have a look at managing them through Final Cut Pro.


Apple Motion: Media Swapping

Chapter: Motion Graphic Design

Topic: Basic Motion Graphic Techniques

Let’s imagine that you built a great Particle Effect for your client’s Autumn TV Series ‘ red falling leaves, yes’ Now it’s winter and those leaves need to become snow flakes? Simple! In Motion, all you need to do is replace the object and all it’s attached effects, filters behaviors will instantly apply to that replaced Media.


FireWire Depot Introduces the uRAID

FireWire Depot added to their broad range of FireWire-based drives and RAID systems with the rack-mount uRAID 1U 1394b (FireWire 800) RAID 0 system with the Oxford 922 chipset.

Each drive chassis has two RAID 0 bridgeboards for maximum throughput but will require two distinct FireWire 800 channels on the host computer. In most computers this will require a FireWire 800 PCI card in addition to any native FireWire 800 port or a dual channel FireWire 800 card. Dual Channel mode gives sustained rates claimed to be over 110 MB/sec – about as good as can be expected with FireWire 800 and fast enough for multi-stream uncompressed standard definition, compressed HD (DVCPRO 100, HDCAM etc.). uRAID supports host-based software striping as either RAID 0 (speed) or RAID 1 (security).

Each channel in the RAID box has 32 MB of RAM buffer leading FireWire Depot to claim individual drive throughput of over 70 MB/sec. This is the best speed reported on a single FireWire 800 drive and may not be achievable with every host using only built-in FireWire 800 ports.

FireWire Depot use a patent pending technology called Direct Air to ensure hard drive temperatures only raise 8 degrees over ambient so the drives can be safely run continuously without thermal overload.

uRAID pricing ranges from US $655 for the enclosure alone (no drives) through to $1489 with two 500 GB drives for a 1 TB of RAID storage.