Is Facebook finally collapsing under its own weight? It it time to say goodbye?
Lately, I've been feeling it's time. I'm done. Maybe I am getting bored with it - I'm not too sure.
Then there was this announcement: Facebook is now charging big dollars if you want your posts to actually reach your 'friends.'
I tolerated the Farmville onslaughts, survived the 2012 (and 2008) elections, and the friend requests from people from my distant past, who let's just say, are in the distant past for a reason (no offense to nobody!).
But this seems to have done it for me. I thought about it, wrestled with it for a long time - 'it's the biggest social media movement ever! I have to be a part of it! What about all those connections, interactions? Can I just walk away?'
The more I thought about it, how I actually use Facebook - and more importantly - how my 'friends' were using it, the decision become easier. For me, social media is about connecting and engaging with people - mostly people in the industry. I want to share with them what's going on with me, my clients and general happenings in the industry. While I enjoy the sneak peaks into peoples' daily lives, it is really just that - sneak peaks and passing glances. There is no interaction, no dialogue. There was plenty of dialogue about Mitt Romney, Barack Obama - with colorful details and insights into peoples' political expertise and their solutions for what's ailing this country. Sorry. Ain't interested. In fact, I found it disturbing. I had to look away.
And I've been doing that a lot more lately. Looking away.
But what about interacting and sharing useful, interesting information in social media circles?
In a word - Twitter.
I joined Twitter when it launched, not sure what to make of it. In fact, I thought it was kind of goofy. But I gave it a try. I waded into the waters. Not too committal, just....observing, listening and watching.
And over time, I observed something really interesting. I watched as the post production/production industry embraced it. They were talking to eachother! Actual dialogues between people who shared the same passions and visions, and who were willing to help solve problems. Hashtag groups started to emerge. And not just the #OMGicantbelieveiatethewholepizza kind of hashtags. Meaningful, useful ones. Groups that started 'meeting' once a week to talk about any given topic, or to host a special guest. It was great! It IS great! And it continues to get better.
To date, Twitter isn't packaged, marketed and overly contrived - at least not in these circles of filmmakers, cinematographers, editors and VFX artists.
Hanging out with Stu Maschwitz a few weeks ago, he described Twitter as like going to a cocktail party, filled with interesting groups of people talking about interesting things. "I can wander from group to group, topic to topic, and just pop in to a conversation for a bit to see what's going on. I love that about Twitter!"
That conversation really got me thinking.
I'm spending a lot more time on Twitter these days, and less on Facebook. In fact, I've even been experimenting with Google+ as a possible replacement to Facebook - but that's another conversation.
But what do you think? As filmmakers/editors/VFX artists/cinematographers - are you feeling the same way?
Tell me what you think...
If you had any question about the power of Denoiser II:
As promised, Red Giant announced yesterday it has released Denoiser II - a new rebuild of the popular noise reduction tool, part of the Magic Bullet Suite. This release is for After Effects only, but new revs that will support more host apps are in development already. And no worries, the Company's Red Pledge guarantees that if you buy it today, when the new versions come out with expanded host support, you'll get the update - free! No hassles.
Here are the details from the press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Red Giant Releases Magic Bullet Denoiser II
Denoiser II Cleans Up “Noisy” Footage; Free Upgrade for Magic Bullet Suite Customers Delivers Reliable Performance, Sharp Results for After Effects Users
Portland, OR (February 28, 2012) – Red Giant today released Magic Bullet Denoiser II, a completely re-built version of its popular Denoiser 1.0 tool for removing unwanted noise and artifacts from video footage. Available as a free update for Denoiser 1.0 and Magic Bullet Suite customers, Denoiser II features intelligent default settings that provide immediate clean-up results when first applied to footage. Unlike other denoising tools and methods that can blur fine detail, Denoiser II’s smart default settings, along with advanced noise reducing tools, deliver sharp, clean and professional video results out of the gate.
Throughout the development process for Denoiser II, Red Giant worked closely with industry professionals to ensure its defaults deliver the perfect balance between noise reduction and sharpness. Denoiser II’s powerful cleanup features work right away, but for difficult noise situations, users can easily fine tune their footage with advanced controls.
Denoiser II: Powerful Features for Professional Results
Denoiser II combines data over several frames to separate the noise from the image, giving users a professionally smoothed result that preserves fine details. Options like Frame Sample, Motion Estimation, Noise Hint and Shadow Offset create new sample frames, preserve fast-moving action, reduce chroma blotches, or clean up shadow areas, and are ideal for a number of workflow issues, such as:
Motion estimation for high and low motion: High-speed camera movements are different than slow pans, but Denoiser II can preserve detail even in fast-moving action sequences. Its Motion Estimation technology/feature compares successive frames to learn what is natural motion vs noise in the scene.
Chromakeying and other fine tuning: Denosier II offers a number of fine tuning features that allow users to minimize over-smoothing, correct green chroma tinge, focus on shadows or de-emphasize highlights, all without losing image detail.
Footage shot in low light: Denoiser II helps with low light conditions, making video clean and smooth. Noise Reduction and Noise Hint controls set how much noise you do (or don't!) want to see.
Separate Video and Film modes: Two modes let users characterize the noise so Denoiser II can achieve the most accurate results. Video mode adjusts the Luma and Chroma channels for better smoothing in black-and-white or full color. Film mode has adjustments for Red, Green and Blue channels that are ideal for material shot on film.
Joey Morelli is the founder of DigiDojo, a small post production and visual effects shop that handles just about every aspect of post for his clients, from motion graphics design and compositing, to 3D design, animation, color grading and editing. Joey, a long-time Red Giant customer, has been beta testing Denoiser II and had this to say:
“As a ‘multi-tool artist,’ I need access to the best applications available - but they have to be affordable. With DSLR shoots dominating our market, noise is commonly introduced into otherwise gorgeous footage, and there just isn't an efficient, artful, affordable tool to turn to. Denoiser 1.0 worked, but it was finicky and unstable. So while working on the Denoiser II BETA, I picked one of the noisiest clips I could find, dropped Denoiser II on it, and within a few parameter tweaks, my jaw was on the floor! So then I set out to break it. I stacked a bunch of plug-ins like Magic Bullet Looks on it, adjusted the parameters for hours, and it remained rock solid and stable. No crashing! If I could sum up my experience with this tool: QUALITY + STABILITY = Denoiser II. That makes it worth every penny and it’s now my go-to noise reduction tool.”
Pricing and Availability
Magic Bullet Denoiser II for After Effects is available immediately and is priced at $99.00 USD for new customers, and is available as a free update for existing customers. Magic Bullet Suite 11.3 including Denoiser II is also available immediately and is priced at $799.00 USD for new customers.
For more information or to purchase Magic Bullet Denoiser II, please visit https://www.redgiantsoftware.com/products/all/denoiser-II/. For more information or to purchase the Magic Bullet Suite, please visit http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/products/all/magic-bullet-suite/.
The Red Pledge
At Red Giant, we love working with artists, and we love giving you the tools and resources to help you do great work. We're inspired by, and share in, your passion because Red Giant is made up of filmmakers, animators and designers just like you. It's that level of passion which flows through everything we do as a company, and ensures that everything about our relationship with you just works. And that's Red Pledge - our full-on commitment to your complete happiness. The Red Pledge is our guarantee that we will always be reasonable and fair. We believe in no hassles. Just happiness.
About Red Giant
Founded in 2002, Red Giant (www.redgiant.com) creates an ever-expanding universe of effects tools ranging from plug-in suites, applications and mobile apps to Guru Presets, free products and sharing communities. We provide software for motion design, photography and color correction that is used for everything from major motion pictures to worldwide television programming to web production. Red Giant offers the industry-leading Trapcode tools for broadcast design; Magic Bullet Suite for color correction; and over 60 products that run in After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, Avid, Vegas, Nuke, and Avid Studio. Our effects have enhanced dozens of feature films such as Angels & Demons and The Social Network, and added sparkle to networks like NBC Universal, ESPN, Disney, CNN, Comedy Central, MTV, and TNT. Join us on Facebook (RedGiantSoftware), follow us on Twitter (@RedGiantNews) and get free content at Redgiantpeople.com.
Today's announcement from GoPro is a significant one for a few reasons; one, it's a signal of incredible collaboration and innovative vision from the development team at the company. It's also a welcome announcement to a broad swath of the marketplace. We've seen how users ranging from consumers, motocross, skydivers, surfers to general enthusiasts have pushed GoPro cameras to the limit - but now we're starting to see how professional production crews are integrating GoPro cameras into some pretty sophisticated production pipelines.
The GoPro HERO2 introduced a breadth of features the professional crowd cheered about. Now with the availability of GoPro CineForm Studio, GoPro CineForm Studio Professional, and GoPro CineForm Studio Premium, the company is introducing some very sophisticated post production technology that's intuitive enough for the consumer crowd, and highly valuable to the professional filmmaker cutting HD documentaries, or sophisticated 3D stereoscopic productions.
This is big news!
Here's the press release that hit this morning:
GoPro® Strengthens Entire GoPro CineForm® Studio Product Line for 2D and 3D
Post Production Workflows
HALF MOON BAY, CA (January 18, 2012) – GoPro, the world’s leading activity image capture company, today announced the release of a new version of its professional family of 2D and 3D production software - GoPro CineForm Studio Premium and GoPro CineForm Studio Professional. The company recently released a new version of its free software, GoPro CineForm Studio, which adds powerful new features appealing to consumers and professionals alike.
“This announcement represents a significant milestone in GoPro’s efforts to provide a complete camera-to-software solution for 2D and 3D productions for its entire customer base,” said David Newman, GoPro’s Senior Director of Software Engineering. “The updated GoPro CineForm Studio software line has huge implications, not only for consumers and enthusiasts, but for professional cinematographers and filmmakers who are increasingly embracing new camera technologies to help them tell their stories in ever more exciting and unique ways. The new software maintains an intuitive user interface for basic tasks but also provides sophisticated Active Metadata-driven capabilities that slipstream into the most advanced production pipelines in the industry.”
What’s New in the GoPro CineForm Studio Product Line
GoPro CineForm Studio
Available for both Mac and Windows platforms, GoPro CineForm Studio enables users of every skill level to adjust aspect ratios and instantly correct distortions or ‘image stretching’ that typically occurs when resizing images. And for high impact, dramatic time lapse sequences, GoPro CineForm Studio now enables users to add keyframes anywhere in the video, and add effects such as pan and zoom to introduce movement and drama to time lapse sequences.
Other new features include:
GoPro CineForm Premium and GoPro CineForm Professional
For professional cinematographers, filmmakers and videographers, GoPro has also strengthened its family of professional applications; GoPro CineForm Premium and GoPro CineForm Professional. GoPro CineForm Studio Premium captures the most popular features of both CineForm’s Neo HD and Neo 3D into a singular, new solution ideal for 2D and 3D broadcast and feature film production. GoPro CineForm Studio Professional extends even more powerful stereo 3D post-production capabilities to 3D broadcasters and 3D feature filmmakers, and is optimized for multi-camera stereo rigs, such as SI, PHANTOM, RED, and ARRI ALEXA. Additional features at-a-glance include:
GoPro CineForm Studio Premium:
GoPro CineForm Studio Professional:
Pricing and Availability
GoPro CineForm Studio is available immediately as a free download here.
GoPro CineForm Studio Premium is priced at $299, and GoPro CineForm Studio Professional is priced at $999 and are available for download here: http://www.cineform.com.
Based in Half Moon Bay, California, GoPro makes the world’s most versatile cameras, enabling people to capture and share their lives’ most exciting moments in professional quality HD video and photos. GoPro’s HD HERO line of wearable and gear mountable cameras are used collectively by more consumers, professional athletes, and video production professionals than any other camera in the world. GoPro’s products are sold in over 60 countries via specialty sports retailers, Sport Chalet, Best Buy and at GoPro.com.
GoPro Media Contact:
Rick Loughery, GoPro Kevin Bourke, BourkePR
(415) 738-2480 x722 or pr(at)gopro(dot)com (508) 259-6018 or email@example.com
GOPRO®, HERO®, and CineForm® are trademarks or registered trademarks of Woodman Labs, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other company, product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their rightful owners.
In this episode of Red Giant TV, Seth Worley (of Plot Device fame) walks you through the process of creating a Comic Book using After Effects and a number of Red Giant's color and color design applications, including Magic Bullet Looks and Trapcode Particular.
Take a look!
And to see the entire library of tutorials, QuickTips and useful content on color tools and techniques, check out http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/videos/
I've been watching the viewer numbers steadily rise for "Plot Device," the brilliant short from the creative minds of Seth Worley (who directed and co-wrote the film) and Red Giant's own Aharon Rabinowitz (who also co-wrote the film and executive produced it).
I think what's so fun about this whole thing is; they never really set out to create some Internet sensation. They really wanted to do something a little different...and fun...to promote a visual effects suite (Magic Bullet Suite 11) in a way that wouldn't make their fellow filmmakers gag. The result - over 600,000 views on Vimeo, and over 60,000 views on YouTube!
If you haven't seen it, check it out here. It's very well done.....and a lot of fun. I kind of want one!
Zambezia 3D: A Look at a Finely Honed 3D Production Pipeline
As the trend in Hollywood toward increasingly sophisticated, visually immersive stereo 3D production continues, another trend is gaining ground as well; studios partnering with smaller, specialized stereo 3D production artists around the world who have invested in the tools and techniques to create custom stereo production pipelines built on the industry’s most leading edge technologies. IRIDAS customer, Triggerfish Animation Studios, has been building a reputation as one of those experts, with an innovative stereo pipeline built on SpeedGrade NX.
Triggerfish Animation Studios is a Cape Town based studio of professional artists who specialize in bringing fresh, inventive and efficient techniques into long format animation. It took its first plunge in 1996 as a high-end stop-frame studio producing animation for Takalani Sesame Street as well as creating some of South Africa's most memorable commercials.
Recently, the team at Triggerfish partnered with San Francisco-based Wonderful Works on the production of the newest, soon to be released animated 3D film, Zambezia 3D. We recently sat down with the team to talk about Zambezia and the stereo 3D pipeline they developed to create this stunning, 3D animated feature film.
The fact that Triggerfish is the only studio in South Africa that focuses exclusively on feature-length animated films means that we're one of the few studios on the continent that have the energy and capacity to pull off a big production like Zambezia. The central theme of the story was penned by South African writers, so it made sense for the film to be produced by a studio who has always been passionate about telling African, yet universally appealing stories.
Our co-producers in the U.S., Wonderful Works, saw the potential of an independent studio presenting original stories from South Africa alongside big Hollywood studios which meant that we had to make sure that the movie's local flavor and humor would also appeal to American audiences. One of the challenging requirements has been to keep an open mind in the creative transatlantic exchange between America and South Africa.
We always knew and had planned our online edit to be handled off premises at our partner company the HD Hub. Once Zambezia received the green light to become a fully stereoscopic film, we immediately began to R&D pipelines that would allow us all the control the 2D Edit and what we now call the 3D Edit. Early on in production we attempted to incorporate all the stereoscopic effects such as depth blending and floating windows into the Final Cut Edit. The 2D edit would effectively remain untouched other than implementing stereoscopic monitoring and effects. Things became a little more complicated when we discussed these stereoscopic effects with the HD Hub and how we would transfer all this information across to them. We could brute force it and manually recreate all the effects during the online, but that did not last long. XML files could transfer all the information needed, but getting time to test on the Baselight system was impossible. Ultimately we needed an all-in-one Online DI solution that allowed our stereo department to apply all the stereoscopic effects too.
The animation workflow is very much shot oriented - right down to the folder structure on the server. Each shot exists as an entirely separate entity from any other shot. Animators produced captures of their work during production that then was pulled into the edit each day. These files were stored with the animation files and originally the final rendered passes and fully composited shot would also live within their own folders.
The workflow developed organically to the system we have now where animation captures are converted to Prores/DNxHD and stored independently of the working animation files on a system dedicated to the edit suites. Final rendered DPX files became the next challenge, the director wanted to see them in the edit as soon as possible, so a few simple tools were scripted for DPX to Prores/DNxHD conversions.
With the addition of the IRIDAS SpeedGrade system for handling the online DI and 3D edit, we simply made a few minor changes to allow for SpeedGrade to access the stereo DPX files quickly and easily after receiving an EDL from the edit.
IRIDAS has become a key component of our edit and finishing solution. Once the 2D edit has been locked on each reel of the film, the editor exports an EDL for SpeedGrade, which then directly accesses the final rendered frames of the film.
Once conformed within SpeedGrade, the stereography department steps in. Their roll includes confirming that all final frames are 100% accurate between eyes as any slight disparities can cause visual artifacts and discomfort when viewing 3D films. They then apply any Depth Blending effects required and the application of floating windows is the final pass. SpeedGrade NX is the last step before going to DCI conversion either for cinema tests or final exports of the film. Effectively SpeedGrade was the solution to all our stereoscopic editing and DI needs. It has also given us the potential to do some primary grade work on the film before sending it out for the final grade.
SpeedGrade certainly filled all our current pipeline requirements with regards to a stereoscopic DI solution. Its near-perfect importing of EDLs which then link directly to the DPX sequences has made it so simple going from the offline edit to SpeedGrade. The flexibility and openness of SpeedGrade’s storage format (XML) has allowed us to write add on tools for some smaller in house requirements. The customization via the .fcps files has also made SpeedGrade fit perfectly into our pipeline.
Once we got our heads around the methodologies and innovations of IRIDAS and SpeedGrade, it became an indispensable tool in our arsenal and an extremely powerful stereoscopic workflow enhancement that has become second nature to our team.