Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Apple says new Mac Pro is on the on the horizon...

And by which they mean, next year at the earliest. Yay.

Phil Schiller - “As part of doing a new Mac Pro — it is, by definition, a modular system — we will be doing a Pro display as well. Now you won’t see any of those products this year; we’re in the process of that. We think it’s really important to create something great for our pro customers who want a Mac Pro modular system, and that’ll take longer than this year to do.”

So apparently it's a ground-up redesign and there will be a new cinema display. My guess would be that they're probably aiming for a display that outclasses the current iMac's 5k display. Apparently it will not be a touch screen display, which is no shocker since Apple thinks the iPad Pro addresses everyone's touch and stylus needs (it does not even come close, but whatever).

Apparently one of the big issues with the current Mac Pro was that it was designed in such a way that it could not cool a single high-end graphics card, which limited upgrade options for new iterations of the Mac Pro. They also admitted that limiting the configurability of the machine pissed off a lot of customers (yours truly included) and limited it's appeal to Apple's pro customers. As they say, admitting you've may a mistake is the first step in fixing it, so I would say this is good news.

“We’re committed to the Mac, we‘ve got great talent on the Mac, both hardware and software, we’ve got great products planned for the future and as far as our horizon line can see, the Mac is a core component of the things Apple delivers, including to our Pro customers."

Of course once you've been burned as badly as we pro film/video people have been by Apple in recent history, you view statements like these with a little cynicism. I'm taking a "wait and see" approach and we'll see what Apple actually delivers next year. On the software side, Apple's "pro" apps have been dumbed down beyond repair, so they would also need a ground-up redesign to be worthwhile to anyone again, with the exception of maybe Logic, which seems to still satisfy a lot of people after they've turned on the advanced mode, or whatever it's called.

In the meantime, Apple is offering new configuration options on the current Mac Pro, none of which seem particularly compelling and if you've waited this long to trade in your cheese grater Mac Pro, you'd might as well wait another year and see what that brings.

More details are available at TechCrunch

Friday, February 24, 2017

Why I'm beginning to hate Apple after being a fanboy for the better part of two decades. WARNING: Lots of cussing inside.

Look at the beautiful piece of craftsmanship there, what a stunner, am I right? Yeah no. I use this kind of stuff professionally and I'm telling you straight off the bat, that POS should not have the "Pro" moniker tacked anywhere on it's overly svelte body.

I know the computer's been out for months now, so I'm a little late to the hatting on Apple game, but I just can't help myself. It's just so fucking stupid. They literally have no new performance or functionality to add to the computer, so instead of putting a true touch screen on the laptop, they put a little OLED bar that becomes contextual buttons. Well that's not terrible I guess, oh wait, it's at the expense of the already compromised dual function FN keys. Fuck you. That's just so annoyingly stupid, I just want to punch whomever came up with that in each of his four eyes.

Alright, alright, it's not the end of the world, calm down... wait, there's no USB3 ports. At all. WTF. It was bad enough that my 2015 Mac Pro only had 2 ports which, let me tell you, is a daily source of irritation for me. Ok, so I'll just use my Thunderbolt 2 dock that I bought to get back all the ports they deleted on the 2015 Mac Pro... wait, there's no Thunderbolt 2 ports!?!? Who the fuck decides to convince/force everyone who uses a Mac to switch to TB drives and then a generation later gets rid of it??!?!? This is worse than the whole display port debacle, but hey, at least they hung on to that for a few generations. Wait, that's gone too?? Motherfucker. Are you serious???

So what DOES it have, other than that stupid gimmick keyboard screen thing? "Oh well sir, could I interest you in a few hybrid USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports?". I honestly can't understand why they would pick two standards that are not actually standards, knowing that everyone who's owned a Mac before is going to have to go out and buy several dongles and adaptors to make all their peripherals work. Actually, never mind, I just answered my own question.

My next computer will be some sort of Surface thing that has advanced features like, you know, a fucking USB port. Or maybe one of those Razer laptops which manage to have USB3, USB-C, Thunderbolt and HDMI all in one package. Amazing.

So to sum things up, Fuck You Apple, you're an asshole.

Media Composer 8.8 musings... A.K.A. "Script Sync: The Return"

Hey, so I actually managed to skip and entire calendar year! 2016 is a blur, I guess I must have been busy. Anywho...

So to be honest I haven't actually used MC 8.whatever that much since it's release. I have used it a couple of times for small shorts that I've edited for friends but I haven't used it in a real production environment much. Most post facilities are still renting out MC 7.4 systems on "Cheese Grater" Mac Pro machines, as they're fairly unbuggy (yep, just made that word up) and still support Phrase Find and Script Sync.

Now the very latest, greatest version 8.8 supports Phrase Find and Script Sync (It was as if millions of Assistant Editors suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced...) so I'm sure we'll finally start to see a slow adoption of MC 8 in post houses. Most facilities are reluctant to shell out for the premium priced but under specced and non-upgradable "Trash Can" Mac Pros though, so I'm not sure what's going to happen there. It's likely that we'll soon all be forced to work on HP Winblows machines soon, much to every creative person's chagrin.

Ah the steady technological march forward, well unless you're Apple, then it's the steady crippling of your own products and adding the "Pro" moniker to decidedly consumer oriented products, but I digress...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Media Composer 8.3 and the 4k timeline...

I'm about to cut a short for a friend which was shot on the Sony F55 in 4k, so this will be the perfect opportunity to test out Avid's new 4k timeline with proxy display and everything. I'm looking forward to not having to spend hours and hours of time transcoding, as with this small projects I don't have to they luxury of an assistant editor.

I'll post some initial impressions once I have some rushes in my machine.

UPDATE: It went fine, 4k though they mixed 4k and 1080p for some reason. MC 8 is such a huge step forward from MC 7. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Interesting Article on the Rise of the GPU on Redshark News

RedShark News posted an interesting article a couple of weeks ago about the rise of the GPU. It's an interesting (if basic) overview of how GPUs have become more important over the years.

It's a fairly glossed over history of events, but as we all now know, having a high-power GPU is becoming more and more necessary in the Post Production world. For instance, I recently upgraded my GPU to an AMD 7970 3GB card in my aging 2008 3Ghz 8-core Mac Pro in order to speed up real-time performance in applications like Resolve and Smoke, which is has, hugely, when compared to my old Nvidia GTX 285. As an added bonus, when using Adobe Media Encoder to render an h.264 version of the feature film I'm currently editing, my render time has gone from about realtime (1hr 45min) to about 1hr 15min. That's a half hour savings, just from changing my GPU… now imagine if I had a newer Mac Pro! It's because of this kind of compute power that Apple decided to go with dual AMD GPUs in their new Mac Pro trashcans. They're now using OpenCL to accelerate their Pro Apps and with software like the Creative Cloud suite, Scratch, Smoke and REDcine-X all moving to give stronger support of OpenCL, it makes a lot of sense for creative types such as ourselves, to get a graphics card with a lot of OpenCL muscle.

For those interested, I picked up my AMD HD7970 used on Amazon for about $130. That's a whole lot of processing muscle for not a lot of money. It's a fairly easy card to get a deal on, since it's been replaced by the Radeon R9 280x (which is essentially the same card) and since it's a popular card with bit miners, there's lots on the used market. By the way, the AMD D700 cards in the new Mac Pro are also essentially 6GB versions of the 7970 on a custom board...

Anyways, I digress… read the RedShark article here: http://www.redsharknews.com/technology/item/1965-the-incredible-rise-of-the-gpu

Friday, September 12, 2014

GPUs, CUDA, OpenCL and how to leverage them for Post

So, there's a lot of confusion, misinformation and half-information on the internets about GPU acceleration in your favorite NLE, coloring or conforming app and unfortunately the companies that make the software we all know and love are not particularly helpful on explaining what makes for a good graphics card for their systems, so I decided to break down what I know on the subject.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Editing via the lowest bidder… really.

This site has me a little concerned. www.videopixie.com
They've basically made it so that you submit the project you want edited and desperate editors bid on it, then you go with "best" (read: lowest) bid. But wait there's more! If you're not happy with the edit, you don't have to pay! So some jackass, who managed to bid lower than the other jackasses on the site, doesn't even get paid because you're not happy with the edit, which is maybe because you paid for the lowest bidder, or maybe because what you shot is shit. This just sounds like a fucking nightmare. But hey, thanks for demeaning and lowering the value of the work of creative artists even more. Awesome.