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Old September 25th, 2009, 02:06 PM   #61
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To be clear, my post-house client that shared the inside information didn't select Avid because of anything to do with Blu-Ray. They needed to take their media-management and other internal workflows to the next level to keep pace with the greater workloads they're seeing. The built-in media management tool in FCP is very weak, lacking the configurability and built-in cataloging required by large post facilities with multiple projects running concurrently. FCP and FC Server simply cannot handle that type of environment which forces a great deal of man-hours in manually managing the media properly which cuts productivity and costs more money in hours spent managing rather than editing. That was just one of many features lacking in FCS even in it's current iteration.

The simple and sad fact is that when you combine what competitors have accomplished on both the PC and Mac side of NLE development, Apple is now squarely 3-years behind with it's offerings - and Blu-Ray is just the tip of the iceberg.

In the past 3 years all other major NLE developers - Adobe (Premiere Pro), Grass Valley (Edius), Sony (Vegas) and of course Avid have all:

- Increased their feature set substantially
- Increased their *native* drag-and-drop camera codec handling (not requiring transcoding)
- All offer direct BR authoring and playback (PC only)
- All offer open architecture scaling (PC side only)

What has Apple accomplished that's significant in the past 3 years? ProRes. No ramping up of media management, no added *native* codec handling (XDCAM, P2, AVCHD, AVC-Intra and RED all require transcoding but are not drag-and-drop), and although you can burn a BR disc you still can't WATCH it on the machine that created it! That's idiocy at it's most profound.

The time for debate and conjecture about what Apple is or isn't doing is long, long over. Apple has now quite distinctly proven to it's user-base - both professional and general consumer - what it's doing, and proven it 4 times over:

1. A year ago they released the new-spec 1066Mhz bus and CPU's which finally caught up to PC's after 2 years. No Blu-Ray.
2. Steve Jobs announced BR as a "bag of hurt" and spoke of "no support...near future".
3. FCS "3" is released; very limited BR "burn" but still no possibility of viewing it.
4. Snow Leopard is released. No BR.

To say that "in our world we don't use Blu-Ray" is near-sighted at best. The world market - made up of the general consumer - has obviously proven the viability and demand for the format.

Like Shaun, I too have scrapped plans to make any further investment in Apple-branded pro products. I have too many clients that need consultation for their Mac needs so I'll never abandon it, but for our own productions slated for 2010 it's highly likely a hybrid Avid-Premeire Pro workflow is in our future, not FCS.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 03:40 PM   #62
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Regardless of Apple's reluctance to license Blu-Ray, what is technically preventing anyone from writing a program to play Blu-Ray disks on a Mac? Is it the HDCP signal? Not one to endorse this but aren't there enough hackers out there who would jump at a chance to write around HDCP?
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Old September 25th, 2009, 06:44 PM   #63
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I have a wedding I'm shooting and due later this year and the client wants a BR version. What are my options to get a BR version on to BR disc for my client with a basic menu?

The footage will be shot in 1920 X 1080i XDCAM.
I edit on a MBP 17 and have FCS and Toast.
The client wants a SD DVD and a BR version.
The SD DVD I will do with DVD Studio Pro.
I need to buy an external BR burner any suggestions for this?

Thanks
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Old September 25th, 2009, 08:01 PM   #64
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Simon,

You didn't mention which version of FCS you have; if it's the latest version you can get a simple-menu BR burned discs directly from Compressor.

Toast 9 with the BR plug-in or Toast 10 can do nearly the same thing.

However the if you want the best possible quality and more options for menu structure I'd highly suggest picking up a copy of Premiere Pro CS4 which has Encore bundled. Once your clients see you have real BR output options the software will pay for itself with your next wedding booking - assuming you're pricing yourself appropriately.

You'll also be pleasantly surprised how much easier PP handles XDCAM footage - even the high-bitrate 422 version - than FCP has ever done.

With respect to BR burners I'd strongly suggest looking at the offerings from OWC (macsales.com). All the models they sell have been pre-tested with all versions of Apple hardware so you know you're getting something that works properly.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 11:47 PM   #65
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If OWC ships to Australia at a reasonable price, I concur with the advice to check them out. My BR burner is from them and it works great.

Two bits of advice:

1) Check with your client about their BR player - Not all models play BR-Recordable disks! I found this out the hard way with a friend whom I was advising. He bought a decent LG player but his HD vacation footage burned with Toast wouldn't play at all. The store finally admitted that this model didn't recognize BR-R disks so they took the player back and sold him a slightly more expensive model which works flawlessly. Clients who have problems with admitting that their equipment might be the problem can get very difficult over family footage. I always have a cheap DVD player that works great with DVD-Rs on hand to sell to a client at cost ($20 to $30) when they start to have a fit.

2) If you don't have FCS 3, Toast does an excellent job rendering HD footage to BR. Just be prepared to give the computer a bit of time to render. Even though it'll take a lot of drive room, I recommend making a self-contained QuickTime movie if you use Toast. I don't have much experience editing XDCAM but my experience with AVCHD is that with certain codecs reference movies get messed up unless the footage is transcoded to ProRes at the start. Unfortunately (but perhaps fortunately given the state of BR players) you'll have to buy a BR player of your own to check the finished disk as this discussion thread has made very clear.

PS: Encore is a very good program if you decide to get into BR in a bigger way.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 02:03 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
Like Shaun, I too have scrapped plans to make any further investment in Apple-branded pro products. I have too many clients that need consultation for their Mac needs so I'll never abandon it, but for our own productions slated for 2010 it's highly likely a hybrid Avid-Premeire Pro workflow is in our future, not FCS.
I have a hybrid Apple - Adobe workflow which works perfectly. I can see why big post production houses stay with Avid but for everything smaller, Final Cut is a better choice and more popular. Avid has been terribly show the last years to support new video formats and codecs. Only recently, when they scrapped Express Pro and lowered the price of Media Composer, things got more interesting from a pricing perspective. I still believe that you get far more bang for the buck with Final Cut Studio and Adobe CS4 (both combined have the same price as Avid) and you get more and better programs imo.

I do think that BluRay support will come in the near future.For now, with Encore CS4 you can create very nice BluRay discs. Just buy a PlayStation 3 for $299 and you got yourself a player. I see your point but I do think you are exaggerating. With Avid and Adobe on a mac you still don't get BluRay playback, and I still believe that the advantages of working on a Mac are far greater than switching to a PC for BluRay playback.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 11:26 AM   #67
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... I see your point but I do think you are exaggerating. With Avid and Adobe on a mac you still don't get BluRay playback, and I still believe that the advantages of working on a Mac are far greater than switching to a PC for BluRay playback.
Just to be clear, I never said anything about switching to a PC environment. Obviously both Avid and PP have Mac versions and for the most part I agree that leaving Mac OS would not be completely beneficial.

At some point Job's will have to concede to BR's viability and jump on-board, but until then the only "bag of hurt" that exists for Mac users is his refusal to adopt it.

Mac: "Hi, I'm a Mac..."
PC: "...and I'm a PC."
Customer: "Hi, I'm a *Meagan*, and I want a computer that plays Blu-Ray so I can show-off my wedding to my girlfriends in high-def."
PC: "Gotcha covered, pick your flavor. What do you have, Mac?"
Mac: "Umm..."
Customer: "How about that really pretty one with the big 17" inch glossy screen?"
Mac: "Well..."
PC: "Aww, c'mon Mac, you're always bashing me with how much better you are than I, so how about it?"
Mac: "Can you get back to me in say...another 12 months or so? I'd really appreciate it."
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Old September 26th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #68
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Just to be clear, I never said anything about switching to a PC environment. Obviously both Avid and PP have Mac versions and for the most part I agree that leaving Mac OS would not be completely beneficial.

At some point Job's will have to concede to BR's viability and jump on-board, but until then the only "bag of hurt" that exists for Mac users is his refusal to adopt it.

Mac: "Hi, I'm a Mac..."
PC: "...and I'm a PC."
Customer: "Hi, I'm a *Meagan*, and I want a computer that plays Blu-Ray so I can show-off my wedding to my girlfriends in high-def."
PC: "Gotcha covered, pick your flavor. What do you have, Mac?"
Mac: "Umm..."
Customer: "How about that really pretty one with the big 17" inch glossy screen?"
Mac: "Well..."
PC: "Aww, c'mon Mac, you're always bashing me with how much better you are than I, so how about it?"
Mac: "Can you get back to me in say...another 12 months or so? I'd really appreciate it."
Well to be perfectly fair, you CAN start a Mac up in Boot Camp and it IS a PC. That is
the main reason I sprung for a Mac Pro instead of buying a (cheaper) PC. Because
I am familiar with FCP, and can keep using it.....but at the same time, can learn some
of the PC only programs just in case......
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Old September 26th, 2009, 12:44 PM   #69
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Well to be perfectly fair, you CAN start a Mac up in Boot Camp and it IS a PC. That is
the main reason I sprung for a Mac Pro instead of buying a (cheaper) PC. Because
I am familiar with FCP, and can keep using it.....but at the same time, can learn some
of the PC only programs just in case......
True enough for us pro users, but general public doesn't want have to pay for (2) operating systems when they purchase a new computer, nor does the average computer user have the tech-savvy knowledge to really understand BootCamp.

But I'm with you; the Mac-hardware is *the* way to go for 99.99% of us pro-video users since we get the best of both worlds.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 12:53 PM   #70
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To say that "in our world we don't use Blu-Ray" is near-sighted at best. The world market - made up of the general consumer - has obviously proven the viability and demand for the format.
Now I agree with most of what you say. But to say that 'the world market has proven the
viability and demand for the format' is VERY market dependent. I would not
try to advise someone in LA or NY what they should or shouldn't do with their business.
Similarly, just because Blu Ray has taken off in larger markets does NOT make it
a good investment for me, or others in the smaller markets. You need to know your
market and your customers. Just as it does not make sense for a big post house to
loose 120 thousand because they can't do Blu Ray discs. it does not make sense for
someone in a market like mine to spend several thousand dollars to be able to offer
Blu Ray discs if no one wants them!! Believe me, I REALLY REALLY REALLY WANT
people here to adopt Blu Ray, cause then I can justify spending money on a nice
new EX-3 and other assorted toys I really WANT but do not NEED!
And to say that the 'general consumer demand' shows that people will eventually
adopt it here too because it has a 'proven demand'......well, that may be
true, but I pretty much suck at predicting the future, so I wait until that actually
HAPPENS before I make sizable business investments. Cause after all, I am running
a business, not doing this so that I can buy the latest 'toys.' I heard a quote once,
something about 'All the food in the ground, which will be ready to feed the
hungry in two years, does little good for those starving right now...'
One thing I have learned being in business for the past 8 years....is know your market
and run your business accordingly,.....DON'T be sucked into the tech trap of
having to have the latest and greatest if you can't make money with them.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 03:06 PM   #71
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There's one other piece of the puzzle that's missing as well.....a Blu-Ray recorder that can record an analog signal (HD-SDI or something). Here's why...

To make a normal Blu-Ray disc, you have to:

1) Import the HD footage into your editing system (relatively quick and easy)
2) Edit the HD footage, add text, graphics, maybe green screen shots, etc...
3) Render the HD project (this can take quite a long time depending on length of the project)
At this point, it will play seamlessly and with the appropriate equipment (AJA Io HD) you can display a HD-SDI signal on a monitor that is of VERY high quality. But to go to Blu-Ray you still have an additional step.
4) Compress project to Blu-Ray format (this can also take a LONG time depending on the length of the project)

For example, on Thursday I finished editing a 13 minute green-screen project in FCP. When started rendering, the progress bar said it would take 6 hours to render, so I let it render all night. When I came back in the morning it still hadn't finished. It ended up taking 14 hours to render. The client needed to take delivery of the project that day, so I quickly started compressing the project to Blu-Ray (using Compressor), but the progress bar said it would take 13 hours to transcode! We didn't have that kind of time. It was very frustrating to try and explain to the client that even though the project was finished he couldn't take it with him on blu-ray without waiting until the next day. He couldn't understand why he could watch it in full HD resolution on our HD-SDI monitor, but we had no quick way to deliver it to him.

Believe it or not, the "solution" was to use SnapzPro and do a screen capture from the FCP pro Canvas...and even that took 2 hours to transcode after capture. But at least I was able to deliver something to him the same day.

The point is, working with HD (compressing files, moving files around, etc...) is still pushing the limit of our equipment. Exporting to Blu-Ray can take a considerable amount of time. Hopefully Apple, Avid or Adobe will work to a faster solution to take an HD project to Blu-Ray.

(sorry for venting....but I had a bad week)

I edit on a MacPro Quad 4 x 3.0Ghz Intel Xeon processors (the previous generation of the current top of the line MacPro), FCS 2 (FCP 6), AJA Io HD, JVC HD-SDI Monitor.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 04:13 PM   #72
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I wonder, Mitchell, if it would have been worth it to upgrade to fcp7, given your requirements, and tried the new Share/burn to blu-ray function. It's still compressing, but I think it would be faster than Compressor (just using my sd dvd output times for comparison--9 minute disk=30 mins. for an xdcam sequence). Granted, you can't fiddle with settings, but the point was to get a disk into the client's hands. I haven't used the blu-ray Share function, though, so others who have might chime in here.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 04:51 PM   #73
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Great point Mike. I really need to upgrade. I've been having some other issues with bad hard drives used in the archive process. I've only just solved that issue a few days ago, so I'm a little hesitant to take on any new computer related issues until things slow down for me a bit. ;)
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Old September 26th, 2009, 06:48 PM   #74
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a Blu-Ray recorder that can record an analog signal (HD-SDI or something).
Slightly off topic but to ensure thread accuracy: SDI (and HD-SDI) are digital signals, often embedding audio with the video into a multiplexed stream. SDI stands for Serial Digital Interface.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 07:42 PM   #75
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There's one other piece of the puzzle that's missing as well.....a Blu-Ray recorder that can record an analog signal (HD-SDI or something).
Supposedly JVC is coming out with something this year directed at video professionals who need to make quick Blu-Ray recordings of their own footage. No broadcast or cable TV recording allowed due to copy protection. Unfortunately the cheap recorder is $2000 and the better one is $2550! The SR-HD1250 records AVCHD, HDV or DV and the SR-HD1500 additionally accepts SDHC cards from JVC HD cameras with a file data limit of 25Mbps on the cards (no HD-SDI or component on either model). I guess it's workable but you won't see me purchasing these anytime soon.

Blu-ray recorders are available in Japan and other countries but the copy protection issues raised by the entertainment industry here have stymied the release of any of these models in the US. However these recorders are all in the thousand dollar and above price range.
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