Wednesday, 12 December 2012

12/12/12 upgrade to Vegas Pro 12 for $99.95

For those of you who also work on PC's :-) 

Vegas Pro is a very capable editing system, able to handle more formats than any other NLE natively and with GPU accelerated effects. A steal at this price.
Vegas Pro 12 just $99.95!!

Today's date isn't the only 12 that's creating some buzz - Vegas Pro 12 was just named Videomaker Magazine's Best Advanced Editing Software of 2012.

Upgrade to Vegas Pro 12, today only, for just $99.95* Click here

Why upgrade? This new version offers an extensive range of features that further expand the production power of Vegas Pro including:

* Project Interchange: Exchange project data with other popular editing platforms.
* Smart Proxy editing: Automatically and dynamically replace clips on the timeline with high-quality, edit-friendly HD proxies.
* New format support: Edit Panasonic P2 AVC-Intra and DVCPRO clips natively, and master to HDCAM SR at up to 880 Mb/s.
* Comprehensive S-log workflow: Preserve the dynamic range of your S-log footage with an integrated, end-to-end S-log production pipeline.
* Color Match OFX plug-in: Quickly and easily match the color characteristics of different video clips using the ultra-wide L*a*b color space.
* Expanded Edit mode: Fine-tune the timing of your project interactively while the timeline is playing back.
* Project Media Tagging: Fast, effective media searching using Quick Tags and Smart Bins.
* Updated Masking tools: New masking shapes are now available, plus Effects Masking for quickly obscuring a face or logo.
* Stereoscopic Auto-Pairing: Bulk pairing of stereoscopic subclips on the timeline for more efficient 3D editing.

Learn more about these and all the new features of Vegas Pro 12 at:

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Sony partner with Hitfilm to create editing and FX packages

Sony have recently announced two new packages of Vegas editing software with Hitfilm 2 FX software.

Vegas Pro Suite

The Vegas™ Pro 12 Suite is a full-featured production environment for video editing and compositing, multi-track mixing, sound design, visual effects, and disc authoring. Direct project integration between Vegas Pro and HitFilm Ultimate lets you move media between the programs without rendering. Use HitFilm to add a range of dramatic and realistic-looking special effects like smoke, fire, explosions, lightning, and more. Master your audio in Sound Forge Pro, automate your editing workflow with Production Assistant, and add the perfect musical background with100 Sony Sound Series: Production Music soundtracks. These powerful tools, combined with the high-end performance and groundbreaking innovations in Vegas Pro 12, means it's never been easier to bring your creative vision to life.

  • End-to-end professional content creation environment
  • Advanced visual effects creation and compositing with HitFilm 2 Ultimate
  • Intuitive multi-format video editing in Vegas™ Pro 12, with powerful multi-track audio recording and mixing
  • Professional DVD and Blu-ray Disc™ authoring with DVD Architect™ Pro 6
  • Dolby® Digital professional AC-3 encoder included
  • Audio recording, editing, and mastering with Sound Forge™ Pro 10
  • Batch processing and workflow automation provided by Production Assistant 2
  • Bundled with 100 royalty-free Sony Sound Series: Production Music soundtracks
  • Movie Studio Platinum: Visual Effects Suite 2

    Produce movies in nearly any format including AVCHD and stereoscopic 3D. Take advantage of the powerful video compositing features, color correction tools, and 5.1 soundtrack creation options. Add visual intensity to your movies by accessing 
    HitFilm 2 Express from within Movie Studio Platinum 12. HitFilm 2 Express offers advanced 3D compositing, extensive 'film-look' filters, and over 100 visual effects. Apply 3D gunfire to bring your action sequences to life. Add explosions and shockwaves to you movies in seconds. Movie Studio Platinum: Visual Effects Suite 2 is as robust as it is easy to use and brings professional-grade moviemaking right to your fingertips.
    • Combine the editing power of Movie Studio Platinum with the stunning special effects capabilities of HitFilm 2 Express
    • Edit and produce movies with special effects and transitions
    • Create DVDs and Blu-ray Disc™ media with custom menus and graphics
    • Utilize innovative 2D and stereoscopic 3D tools
    • Share movies on Pixelcast™, YouTube™, iPod®, iPhone®, online, and more
    • Follow along with Show Me How tutorials and learn as you go
    • 64-bit support
    • 20 royalty-free Sony Sound Series: Production Music soundtracks
    Vegas Pro 12 with Hitfilm 2 Ultimate is priced at $899.95, Movie Studio Platinum with Hitfilm 2 express is priced at $194.95. Upgrades are available if you already own Vegas Pro 12 or Movie Studio Platinum 12.

    Sony have also made DVD Architect Pro 6 available for free to registered users of DVD Architect Pro 5.

    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Hyperdeck shuttle updated with ProRes 422 and CC support

    The Hyperdeck Shuttle - now with ProRes

    Blackmagic Design today announced the immediate availability of HyperDeck software update 3.6, a new update to its revolutionary solid state disk (SSD) recorder which adds support for Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) into HyperDeck Shuttle 2, plus new closed caption support for all HyperDeck models. At only US$345, the HyperDeck Shuttle 2 with the new ProRes compression feature significantly reduces the size of uncompressed HD video files while preserving full frame 10-bit 4:2:2 quality, allowing customers to record up to six times longer.
    HyperDeck Shuttle 2 can be seen at the Blackmagic Design InterBEE 2012 booth, Hall 7 Booth 7206.
    “Adding ProRes 422 (HQ) recording and playback to HyperDeck Shuttle 2 shows our continuing commitment to open systems and gives users the freedom to work in either compressed or uncompressed formats,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Recording ProRes 422 (HQ) straight to disk now costs less per minute than recording to professional tape, plus it’s the most efficient workflow possible. A 64GB SSD is less than $70 and will record 50 minutes of the highest quality ProRes video. That’s broadcast quality recording for less than $2 a minute.”
    ProRes 422 (HQ) offers the highest quality for 4:2:2 with minimal generation loss as well as fast export and is one of the most popular video formats for high end post production and broadcast. HyperDeck Shuttle turns low cost cameras into high end broadcast cameras because it allows video file recording to bypass the camera’s compression by recording from SDI and HDMI directly to either 10-bit uncompressed QuickTime, Avid DNxHD MXF and now Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) formats. SSDs are cheap and fast, and can be plugged into an eSATA dock for instant access to the media files, so are the most flexible recording medium available.
    This new update also includes full closed caption support for all HyperDeck models. Closed caption support works in 1080HD video formats and allows closed caption data to be read from the SDI input when recording and saved into .mcc type files, which are compatible with popular closed caption authoring software such as Maccaption. Then when playing back from HyperDeck, this .mcc file is read and closed caption data is embedded into the SDI output. This means customers can simply record and playback with full closed caption as well as using closed caption authoring software to generate the .mcc files for creating closed captioning for programs. With full closed caption support, HyperDeck Shuttle and HyperDeck Studio are the ideal solution for authoring closed captioning, as well as ensuring all closed caption is recorded and played back.

    As one door closes, another door opens...

    Well it's been an interesting week, I've just been laid off from my job and will be leaving at the end of the month. The problem is my knowledge and experience means I'm over qualified for a lot of the jobs I might go for, or I'm seen as too expensive.

    So, I've decided to go it alone. I will be freelancing as a consultant and demonstrator but I am also going to try to turn what I do as a hobby into an income (however small) :-)

    For years I have been accumulating knowledge about computers, cameras, software, workflows and anything to do with digital media and have then shared that knowledge with others, at exhibitions, seminars and even on this blog.

    I have been told many times how good I am at explaining complex technical issues in a way that people understand. I have also learned where to find things at the best prices on the internet.

    So now I am going to put those together and offer my services as a Tech Guru.
    If you would like some advice on which gadget you should buy and the best place to buy it, ask me.

    If you are happy with my advice and the money I save you, make a donation. You can choose how much.

    As an example of what I can do, last year a friend of mine was looking for a Pioneer VJ system, the SVM 1000. These sell for around 5000 pounds. I found one for him for under 3000, brand new, boxed with full warranty. OK, that is an extreme example, but it's easy to save 20-30% on most things if you know where to look.

    Send me a mail: The Tech Guru

    Friday, 26 October 2012

    UPDATED Blackmagic have released DaVinci Resolve 9.04

    Update 29th November Blackmagic have released DaVinci Resolve 9.04, with "general perfomrmance and stability improvements" The download links are the same.

    Blackmagic have been busy. Version 9.03 of DaVinci Resolve for the Mac is available for download here

    Windows version is here

    (these links are for the full version, lite version is also available)

    What's new in DaVinci Resolve 9.0.3
    • Option to update clip timecode using LTC embedded in the audio tracks
    • Support for Final Cut Pro X v10.0.6
    • Support to playback and grade grayscale DPX files
    • Support to playback and grade Phantom Cine grayscale images
    • CinemaDNG palette displays correct color temperature and tint
    • Ability to specify multiple folders when importing AAF/XML
    • Improved ARRI RAW debayer
    • Improved Canon C500 RAW support
    • Ability to use the left/right eye for both eyes in a 3D project
    • Burn-ins are now also available on the SDI output
    • Improved audio waveform GUI update speed
    • Updated JL Cooper panel connection for OS X 10.8.2
    • Improvements in audio export to Deck in Insert mode
    • Single frame sequences without numbers in the frame name now supported
    • Output sizing is now linked to the track mode
    • Additional keyboard shortcuts implemented
    • Color timeline System Info tab shows # of ## clips when filtered
    • Support for Adobe CS6 Premiere Pro XML speed changes
    • Clearing clip markers from color page context menu now clears all markers
    • Improvements and additional fields for ALE export
    • General performance and stability improvements
    Minimum system requirements
    • Mac OS X 10.7.5 Lion or Mac OS X 10.8.2 Mountain Lion
    • 12 GB of system memory is recommended and 8 GB is the minimum supported
    • Blackmagic Design Desktop Video version 9.5 or later
    • CUDA Driver version 5.0.36
    • NVIDIA Driver version – As specified by your GPU card installer
    • RED ROCKET Driver version 1.4.27
    • RED ROCKET Firmware version

    Adds support for FCPX 10.0.6 which was just released by Apple.

    I wish other companies were as quick to update their software :-)

    Wednesday, 24 October 2012

    New iMacs are using Nvidia Kepler graphics

    The new iMac, notice the Blackmagic Cinema Camera :-)
    Apple announced a new range of products yesterday, including the new iPad mini and updated iPad, but the thing that interested me most was the news that the new iMac range is going to be using Nvidia graphics cards.

    The new cards are based on Nvidias mobile GPU chips, the same ones that are used in laptops, the 21" iMac can be configured with the GT640M or GT650M (as found in the retina display MacBook). The 27" iMac can be configured with the GTX 660M, the GTX 675MX or the GTX 680MX.

    The GTX 680MX has 2GB of RAM and 1536 CUDA cores, making it an excellent choice for CUDA accelerated software such as Adobe Premiere and After Effects.

    DaVinci Resolve should run well on these new iMacs, although with some of the same restrictions as the Retina display MacBook. There doesn't seem to be any way to use the Intel graphics in the processor for the UI whilst using the Nvidia GPU for processing.

    One thing to take note of is that Apple are now using Nvidia chips in all their latest systems, moving away from AMD, so those of us who are running PC versions of Nvidia cards in our Mac Pros needn't worry about support being removed from OSX :-)

    What do you think? Let me know in the comments.


    Thursday, 18 October 2012

    Blackmagic have released DaVinci Resolve 9.02

    Hello All,

    Blackmagic have today released DaVinci Resolve version 9.02.

    What's new in DaVinci Resolve 9.0.2
    • Option to update clip timecode using LTC embedded in the audio tracks
    • CinemaDNG palette displays correct color temperature and tint
    • Ability to specify multiple folders when importing AAF/XML
    • Improved ARRI RAW debayer
    • Improved Canon C500 RAW support
    • Burn-ins are now also available on the SDI output
    • Improved audio waveform GUI update speed
    • Updated JL Cooper panel connection for OS X 10.8.2
    • Improvements in audio export to Deck in Insert mode
    • Single frame sequences without numbers in the frame name now supported
    • Output sizing is now linked to the track mode
    • Additional keyboard shortcuts implemented
    • Color timeline System Info tab shows # of ## clips when filtered
    • Support for Adobe CS6 Premiere Pro XML speed changes
    • Clearing clip markers from color page context menu now clears all markers
    • Improvements and additional fields for ALE export
    • General performance and stability improvements

    I have installed it on my Macs and it seems to be running well.

    You can download the free version for mac from here

    The PC version is here

    Great job from the guys at Blackmagic.

    Tuesday, 2 October 2012

    New Nvidia driver for OSX 10.8.2

    Nvidia have released a new driver for Mountain Lion 10.8.2 but the release notes still talk about 10.8.1 :-)

    You can download it here

    New in Release 304.00.05f02:
    • Contains performance improvements and bug fixes for a wide range of applications.
    MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS for Driver Release 304.00.05f02
    • Model identifier should be MacPro3,1 (2008), MacPro4,1 (2009), MacPro5,1 (2010) or later
    • Mac OS X vv10.8.1
    To download and install the drivers, follow the steps below:
    STEP 1: Make sure your Mac OS X software version is v10.8.1. It is important that you check this first before you install the 304.00.05f02 Driver. Click on the Apple icon (upper left corner of the screen) and select About This Mac.
    STEP 2: In the About This Mac window, click on the Software Update button
    STEP 3: Continue to install software updates until your system OS is reported to be v10.8.1
    STEP 4: Review the NVIDIA Software License. Check terms and conditions checkbox to allow driver download.

    You will need to accept this license prior to downloading any files.

    STEP 5: Download the Driver File

    Download - Retail_304.00.05f02.dmg

    STEP 6: Install After downloading the disk image, it should automatically mount and launch the installer. If it does not, double-click on the disk image and again on the driver package within. It will guide you through the installation process. Click Continue after you read the License Agreement and then click Agree
    STEP 7: Click Install on the Standard Installer screen. You will be required to enter an Administrator password to continue
    STEP 8: Click Continue Installation on the Warning screen:The Warning screen lets you know that you will need to restart your system once the installation process is complete.
    STEP 9: Click Restart on the Installation Completed Successfully screen.

    I have installed this and the new CUDA driver on my Mac Pro running an EVGA GTX 660ti and it has fixed a problem with CUDA acceleration in Adobe Premiere Pro 6.02.

    Everything is working fine again :-)

    Monday, 1 October 2012

    New CUDA driver from Nvidia 5.0.36

    Just a quick post,

    Nvidia have posted a new version of CUDA drivers for the Mac here

    The version number is 5.0.36

    New in Release 5.0.36
    • Adds support for GeForce GT 650M.
    • Support for MacOS 10.8 Mountain Lion
    Known Issues
    • There is a known issue in this release where forcing or allowing the system to go to sleep while running CUDA applications on 2012 MacBook Pro models with automatic graphics switching will cause a system crash (kernel panic). You can prevent the computer from automatically going to sleep by setting the Computer Sleep option slider to Never in the Energy Saver pane of the System Preferences.
    • There is a known issue in this release where CUDA applications will not automatically engage the discrete GPU on 2012 MacBook Pro models with automatic graphics switching. To run CUDA applications, it is necessary to uncheck the Automatic Graphics Switching checkbox in the Energy Saver pane of the System Preferences.
      1. Double -click on CUDADriver-5.0.36-macos.dmg
      2. Click Continue on the CUDA 5.0 Installer Welcome screen
      3. Click Continue after you read the License Agreement and then click Agree
      4. Click Install on the Standard Install Screen. You will be required to enter an Administrator password
      5. Once you see the Successful Installation screen, your install is complete. No restart is required
    I have not had a chance to install them yet. Let me know if you do.



    Monday, 24 September 2012

    GTX 660ti in a Mac Pro and DaVinci Resolve 9

    If you have been reading some of my other posts you will know that I have been experimenting with PC versions of Nvidia graphics cards in my Mac Pro.

    I first tried the GTX 550ti but had some issues with the Mac coming out of sleep (this issue may have been fixed in the latest drivers)

    I have now installed an EVGA GTX 660ti. My Mac Pro is running Mountain Lion 10.8.2, the latest Nvidia driver from here and CUDA version 5.0.36 here.

    The Mac does not show a startup screen when booting into OSX but as soon as it gets to the login screen the display appears. The machine is stable under OSX and Windows 7.

    The speed of the graphics card is excellent and running synthetic benchmarks I get very good results, however, one of the main reasons for installing this card was to get better performance in DaVinci Resolve 9, colour grading software from BlackMagic.

    I recently came across this thread on the creative cow forums, about the "Standard candle" test for systems running Resolve 9.

    Here you can download a test Resolve project and compare performance on your machine.

    The link in that thread has expired, many thanks to Fernando for hosting the files here

    Now some of the systems listed here are very powerful, with multiple GPUs but the standard system, based on a Quadro 4000 card, gives the following results:

    V00 02 blur nodes 24 fps
    V01 04 blur nodes 16 fps
    V02 08 blur nodes 09 fps
    V03 16 blur nodes 05 fps
    V04 32 blur nodes 02 fps
    V05 64 blur nodes 01 fps
    V06 01 NR 2 nodes 4.5 fps
    V07 03 NR 2 nodes 1.5 fps
    V08 06 NR 2 nodes 0.5 fps

    My system with the GTX 660ti gives these results:

    V00 02 blur nodes 24 fps
    V01 04 blur nodes 24 fps
    V02 08 blur nodes 19 fps
    V03 16 blur nodes 11 fps
    V04 32 blur nodes 06 fps
    V05 64 blur nodes 03 fps

    I am only running the lite version of Resolve so I cannot test the Noise Reduction.

    I am very impressed with the performance in Resolve and also in Adobe CS6

    If any of you are thinking of running Resolve on a Mac Pro I would recommend the GTX 660ti as a budget card with excellent performance.

    Just for clarity, my Mac Pro is the early 2008 3.1 model, with 14GB of 667Mhz RAM and is running just the 660ti as the GUI and GPU card. If I can pick up a GT120 cheap I may add that as the GUI card and would then expect faster performance in Resolve.

    IOS6 Maps affect Tripadvisor searches?

    Way off my usual topics (more on the GTX 660ti soon)

    I was in Notting Hill the other day, looking for somewhere to have lunch, so I fired up Tripadvisor to look for local restaurants. One of the suggestions was the restaurant "Bahnhof Nord" which sounded good.

    I was curious about the #10 of 28 restaurants in Bottrop so I clicked on the entry to check the address...

    Hmmm... don't remember that being in Notting Hill...

    Apparently it is though. :-)

    I have to assume this is a problem with the new maps in IOS6 affecting the search in Tripadvisor.

    Although curiously it does show the bing logo and copyright Microsoft and Nokia at the bottom of the map...

    Just for fun I checked the directions which showed it was a seven hour drive away :-)

    Thursday, 13 September 2012

    Nvidia to release Kepler based Quadro for Mac

    Nvidia's Quadro K5000
    Nvidia have announced the launch of a new Quadro card for the Mac, the K5000. Based on the Kepler chipset, this will be the most powerful graphics card that has ever been available for the Mac Pro.

    The previous Mac compatible card was the Quadro 4000, which had 2GB of RAM, 256 CUDA cores and a memory bandwidth of 90GB/s

    By comparison, the new Kepler based K5000 has 4GB of RAM, 1536 CUDA cores (!) and a memory bandwidth of 173 GB/s.

    Now obviously this kind of performance doesn't come cheap and the K5000 has a list price of $2,250 dollars.

    When you consider the price of a fully specced Mac Pro for editing or 3D that's not too bad (of course cheapskates like me can continue to use cards aimed at gamers :-)

    The K5000 can also be paired with a Tesla card to create a real GPU computing powerhouse called "Maximus" :-)

    Click here for more info on the K5000 from Nvidia.

    Or here if you want to know how to get better performance on the cheap.

    Monday, 10 September 2012

    New Nvidia drivers for Mountain Lion

    Hi all,

    Just a quick post, I'm still away.

    Nvidia have released new drivers for Mountain Lion, Version 304.

    You can download them here and new CUDA drivers here

    I have not had a chance to test them myself so I accept no responsibility for problems. :-)

    When I get back I will load them on my system and let you know the results.

    Keep watching!


    Thursday, 30 August 2012

    Nvidia release new CUDA drivers for Mac

    Nvidia have released a new version of their CUDA drivers for the Mac, Version 5.0.24
    For some reason they are not seen by the CUDA update tool in system preferences.
    You can download them manually from here.

    On my Mac Pro with a GTX550ti I saw performance improvements in xbench, Quartz graphics went up from 288 to 335 and OpenGL rose from 114 to 119.

    I'm expecting my GTX660ti to arrive today so will update these figures with the results from that.

    If you are interested in running a PC graphics card in your Mac Pro, please read my other post here

    Tuesday, 28 August 2012

    Blackmagic Cinema Camera starting to ship!

    The Blackmagic Cinema Camera
    The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is finally starting to ship, although it seems to only be only to bloggers at first
    (not me unfortunately) :-)

    Dan Kanes has put up an unboxing video on his blog here

    Hopefully they will be shipping to lesser mortals soon, I'll let you know when we have any in stock at CVP where you can order one at 8% off list price. Click here

    UPDATE: Blackmagic have posted the user manual and first version of drivers for the camera here

    Wednesday, 1 August 2012

    Blackmagic release DaVinci Resolve 9.0

    DaVinci Resolve 9.0
    UPDATE 26th September Resolve 9.01 has been released

    UPDATE 9th September. Resolve 9.0 has been released

    UPDATE 16th August Blackmagic have released Beta 3 of Resolve 9

    UPDATE 8th August: Blackmagic have just released Beta 2 of Resolve 9

    From the press release:

    Blackmagic Design today announced the release of DaVinci Resolve 9 public beta, a major new update to the world’s most advanced color correction tool featuring a completely redesigned user interface to optimize workflow speed. DaVinci Resolve 9 public beta is now available for free download to existing full featured DaVinci Resolve customers, as well as the free DaVinci Resolve Lite!
    This significant user interface overhaul has been created to harness the power of multiple new technologies added to DaVinci Resolve in the last few years, including automatic 3D eye matching, multi layering timelines, XML support plus more camera and file type support. The new user interface is extremely fast to use and eliminates unnecessary clicks and settings to get working fast. A job can be up and running in three clicks: one to log in, one to drop media into the project and the next to grade.
    New user interface improvements include a new streamlined project import, export and selection workflow, scrubbable media thumbnails to speed up shot selection, production metadata fields for entering on set shot notes and larger color control palettes to give faster access to grading tools. There are new clear graphical palettes for control of power windows, keys, sizing, tracking and stabilization, camera raw and data burn ins. The Gallery now includes resizable stills displayed in user named albums and 44 “prebuilt looks” for fast grade selection. DaVinci Resolve 9 now ensures that the product remains a true, modern, multi platform tool, while retaining all the powerful features as the previous version.
    Other new features in DaVinci Resolve 9 include ‘Log grading’ in every corrector node, audio playback support up to 16 channels per source clip and audio renders in both Quicktime and MXF, automatic ‘Audio Sync’, clip data burn ins and batch rendering for dailies, additional and faster automatic stereo 3D image alignment tool, plus new stereoscopic 3D floating windows and new 3D monitoring options.
    I've had a quick look through the installation guide and I noticed a couple of interesting things:
    Resolve can now support a single graphics card for UI and processing, this was always a problem on some systems because of the restrictions on adding second GPU's.
    Resolve 9.0 is designed for Mountain Lion and CUDA 5, you can use the Nvidia GTX 470 or GTX 570 in a Mac Pro running Lion and you can use the GTX 680 under Mountain Lion but only using an external expansion chassis, I presume because of the power requirements of the GTX 680. Similarly the GTX 480 and GTX 580 can only be used in an expansion chassis.
    The UI will now run at 1680 x 1050 on a laptop, but is designed to run at 2560 x 1440 so ideally you would have a 27" monitor at that resolution. Resolve will run on the new Retina display MacBook Pro, but only at 1920 x 1200
    On both the Mac Pro and Macbooks 16GB of RAM is recommended although it will run with 8GB.
    I'm going to install it and have a play. I will update this post if I find anything else of interest. :-)

    Download the beta for PC here

    Download the beta for Mac here

    Sunday, 29 July 2012

    Enabling the Mercury Playback Engine for Premiere Pro CS6 in Mountain Lion

    Premiere Pro CS6
    Adobe recently released Creative Suite CS6 with new versions of all their creative software including their video editing application, Premiere.
    I have tried Premiere on a number of occasions before and never really liked it, but starting with version 5 it has been improving steadily.
    One of the key new features is the "Mercury Playback Engine" which leverages the power of your graphics card to give you smoother playback and more real time effects without rendering.
    Premiere CS6 takes this to an even higher level with improvements to the Mercury playback engine that provide a really slick and responsive interface.

    In order to take advantage of the Mercury Playback Engine you need a computer with supported Graphics hardware. Adobe publish a list here.

    If you look at this list you will see there are plenty of cards for the PC, but only three for the Mac Pro, and they're all a bit old. Following on from my post about running PC Graphics cards in a Mac Pro, I thought I would pass on my experience with getting Premiere CS6 to run with the Mercury Playback Engine enabled on a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mountain Lion (OSX 10.8)

    My Mac Pro had been running Lion happily with a PC version of the GTX550ti graphics card, I recently updated the OS to Mountain Lion with no problems (well, I did see some issues with resuming from sleep mode but I just switched that off) However, the GTX550ti is not on Adobe's list of supported graphics cards.

    There is an excellent guide to enabling support for the Mercury Playback Engine on PC's here, but I found the Mac instructions to be confusing, plus I know most people are not comfortable with messing around with the command line.

    So here is my non-command line guide to enabling support for your graphics card in Mountain Lion.

    First: Install Premiere CS6, you can download the trial version of Creative Suite 6 here.

    Second: If you create a new project in Premiere and then check: Project > Project settings > General under the "Video rendering and Playback" tab you should only have the option "Mercury Playback Engine software only" If you see GPU acceleration as an option your card is already supported.

    Third: Shut down Premiere, in finder go to the folder where Premiere is installed, by default it should be: Applications - Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. Command click on the Adobe Premiere Pro and choose "Show package contents", then choose contents.

    Fourth: In the contents folder you will see a file called "" again command click the file and choose "Show package contents", then choose contents, then MacOS.

    Fifth: Command click the file "GPUsniffer" and choose "open with> A terminal window will open with information like this: (this is from my computer)

    Vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
    Renderer: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti OpenGL Engine
    OpenGL Version: 2.1 NVIDIA-8.0.51
    GLSL Version: 1.20
    Monitors: 1
    Monitor 0 properties -
       Size: (0, 0, 1920, 1200)
       Max texture size: 16384
       Supports non-power of two: 1
       Shaders 444: 1
       Shaders 422: 1
       Shaders 420: 1

    --- GPU Computation Info ---
    Found 2 devices supporting GPU computation.
    CUDA Device 0 - 
       Name: GeForce GTX 550 Ti
       Capability: 2.1
       Driver: 5
       Total Video Memory: 2047MB
    OpenCL Device 1 - 
       Name: GeForce GTX 550 Ti
       Capability: 1.2
       Driver: 1.1
       Total Video Memory: 2048MB

    Copy the Name of the Graphics card, so here it is GeForce GTX 550 Ti (spaces and capitalisation are important)

    Sixth: In finder, navigate back to the Premiere CS6 app contents, there you should see a file called "cuda_supported_cards.txt" double click the file to open it in the text editor. You will see a list of supported graphics cards, paste the name of your graphics card under the other cards listed. If Mountain Lion says that the file is protected and asks if you want to edit a copy, say yes. Then save the copy with the same name, overwriting the original. (at this point text edit on my computer hung, but the file was saved, so just force quit text edit)

    Optionally, do the same with the file "OpenCL_supported_cards.txt" you may need to do this for AMD graphics cards that do not support CUDA

    Seven: Launch Premiere Pro CS6 and check Project > Project settings > General, under the "Video rendering and Playback" tab you should now have the option "Mercury Playback Engine GPU acceleration"

    Congratulations!! You have successfully enabled Mercury Playback Acceleration.

    DISCLAIMER: I cannot guarantee this will work with your card but it should be fine with any Nvidia GTX 500 or 600 series card. I accept no responsibility for damage to your machine or lost data.

    I have been playing with Premiere CS6 since enabling the Mercury Playback engine and have created a timeline with 8 layers of Chroma key at HD resolution that plays back in real time!!! Here is a screenshot of the project :-)

    Eight layers of Chroma Key in real time!!!
    Use the comments to let me know if you succeed, or to ask questions. Thanks and good luck!!

    Wednesday, 13 June 2012

    Macbook Pro retina display - perfect portable production?

    Apples new Macbook Pro with retina display

    On Monday in San Francisco Apple revealed their latest flagship laptop, the Macbook Pro with retina display. It's a beautiful, slim and powerful machine, with an Intel i7 processor and SSD drive, but of course the most striking thing about it is the screen. 2880 x 1800 pixels of retina display goodness.

    Although it's a laptop, it's fast enough and powerful enough to be a serious portable production machine. It features two Thunderbolt ports allowing connection to external storage like the Promise Pegasus RAID arrays or Lacie's Little big disk or video i/o devices like the forthcoming Blackmagic Design Ultrastudio express or the AJA iO XT

    Even the USB ports are USB3 so you can also use USB3 based storage which is easier to find than Thunderbolt storage and would also be compatible with PC based systems.

    The thing I would really like to see paired with the Macbook though is this, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

    Blackmagic Cinema Camera
    When Blackmagic announced this at NAB they surprised everybody. A compact large format digital camera that produces 12bit RAW images at 2432 x 1366 pixels.

    It records on to SSD disks which are mounted in the camera and it connects via Thunderbolt for media download. Pair this with the retina display Macbook and you've got a portable shooting, grading and editing system, as it comes complete with a copy of DaVinci Resolve software.

    The Macbook has integrated graphics courtesy of the i7 processor but also comes with the Nvidia 650M discrete graphics chip which has 384 CUDA cores. That means it should be able to run Resolve at a very respectable speed, and should be equally at home with Avid Media Composer 6, Adobe CS6 or even Autodesk smoke.

    Get back from location and plug it into a bigger screen, mouse and keyboard and you've got a full blown edit suite with reasonable performance.

    I've got one on order so as soon as I get a chance I'll post some thoughts on the performance.

    Friday, 11 May 2012

    PC Nvidia Graphics cards in a Mac Pro UPDATED

    One of my computers is a Mac Pro, which I've been very happy with, except for the restriction of using "Mac" versions of Pci-e Graphics cards, which are typically more expensive than their PC counterparts.

    I had been running the machine with an Nvidia GT8800, which was a fairly powerful card, but was dismayed to see all the new cards coming out for the PC which were faster and cheaper.

    There are ways to "hack" OSX to get it to accept a non-Mac graphics card but I was loathe to mess around with a working machine.

    So I was very curious to read that in Mac OSX Lion (from 10.7.2 I believe), you can install a standard PC graphics card and a driver from Nvidia, and it just works :-)

    I thought I would give it a try. I first installed the Nvidia driver for OSX 10.7.3 from here. I then installed an Nvidia GTX550ti graphics card. I chose the GTX550ti as it has a lower power requirement than some of the faster cards and I didn't want to overstress the power supply in my Mac Pro.

    I crossed my fingers and powered up...

    There were a few moments of doubt as there is no boot screen or spinning icon as the machine starts, but then the desktop appeared and everything was working!!

    I also run Windows via boot camp and rebooting into windows I got the "found new hardware" message and the drivers for the graphics card were updated.

    I haven't had a chance to run any serious benchmarks yet but I'll have a play with the system this weekend and see how it's running. First impressions are very good, the system seems happy and the graphics performance is definitely better. The GTX550ti only cost me €150 :-)

    NB: Apple updated Lion to OSX 10.7.4 which broke the Nvidia driver, but Nvidia released a new driver here which apparently works. I haven't tested it personally. I'll wait until any other issues with 10.7.4 have been identified.

    UPDATE: Last night I took the plunge and updated my Mac Pro to Mountain Lion 10.8
    The GTX550ti is supported as standard, without installing any drivers from Nvidia, in fact the drivers installed by OSX show as driver version 295 which is newer than the 270 drivers for Lion.

    Apparently Mountain Lion will support GTX 500 and 600 series cards natively but watch out for power consumption issues with the higher spec cards.

    UPDATE 2nd August. I have had some instances of graphics corruption in Mountain Lion which I didn't have in Lion. I will keep an eye on the Nvidia site to see if they release updated drivers for Mountain Lion. The built in driver has a release number of 295 so it is behind the 300 series drivers that are current for other platforms.

    UPDATE: It seems the GTX550ti has problems in Mountain Lion relating to sleep and recovery. For the moment I recommend you do NOT use the GTX550ti in Mountain Lion.

    UPDATE 29th August. I have ordered a GTX660ti and will put up a new post with my experiences with that.
    I have also found a cheap source of Mac Pro GPU power cables, you can order them from ebay here. I ordered two and they arrived the next day!

    This post is getting quite old now, please see my other posts for more recent information.

    Friday, 24 February 2012

    Avid for $4.99?

    Avid have released a version of Avid Studio for the iPad
    It looks like a useful addition to iMovie but I doubt it will be very useful to the professional editor.
    You can download it from the app store for $4.99 here

    More information from Avid here

    Saturday, 14 January 2012

    UPDATED! T-Mobile Netherlands are a bunch of Crooks part 2

    My last post was getting a bit long so I have decided to continue the story in a new post.
    I received the letter from T-Mobile which:
    1/ Did not address the issue of the ridiculous WiFi charges
    2/ Did not address the issue of the times that I was supposed to be connected
    3/ Offered to let me pay by installments!!!
    I have replied as follows:

    Dear name removed,

    Thank you for your letter of 10th January.

    Unfortunately you have not addressed the following points:

    1. I did not knowingly agree to pay 25 cents per minute for a Wi-Fi connection during my stay in Germany between 25th October and 7th November. I therefore dispute these charges.

    2. Aside from whether the above charges are justifiable on your part or agreed to on my part, they are factually incorrect and physically impossible. The Wi-Fi connection was offered at the Sheraton Four Points hotel. I was working at a venue more than 5 kms away. A Wi-Fi connection does not work over that distance. Yet the charges detail periods of 20 hours. I can prove with witnesses that I was not at the hotel at the stated times and neither was my phone.

    3. I did buy two travel and surf packages at 15 euros for unlimited data access to cover the stated period. I am happy to pay for those charges and for my usual package.

    If you send me a credit note for the Wi-Fi charges I will pay what is due.

    I hope that we can settle this amicably otherwise I intend taking my case to the Geschillencommissie and if necessary to the European Commission.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Neil Roberts

    I cannot believe that they can treat customers like this.
    Don't use T-mobile!!!

    I welcome any comments, advice or support.


    This afternoon I was called by a name removed from T-mobile customer service.
    He was very polite and explained that T-mobiles policy was that they did not feel the need to notify customers of the "outrageous" charges they levied for use of a Hotspot abroad.

    He agreed that my situation was "ridiculous" and that the bill was "enormous"

    He offered to only charge me for only one hour of Hotspot access per day, so reducing the bill from 2526.50 to 180 euros!! That's quite a reduction and I'm sure they thought I would take it gladly but this has now become a point of principle and I will not pay one cent for the Hotspot access. I would rather see them in court and see what a judge has to say about their sharp practices.

    He accepted my opinion and has agreed to call me tomorrow morning before 12:00

    I look forward to what he has to say and will keep you updated as to the outcome.

    I almost hope they refuse as I really want to see this in court.

    As always comments are welcome, even if you think I'm mad not to accept the offer. :-)

    UPDATE 2 This morning I was called again by T-mobile.

    They have agreed:
    To cancel all charges for the Hotspot connection
    To apologise for the time taken to resolve the matter and for the way I have been dealt with.
    To reset my contract dates so I can update my phone
    To send my wife a bunch of flowers as an apology for the stress and anxiety we have suffered.

    They have asked that I remove the names of their employees from this blog which I am happy to do.

    So, on the one hand I feel vindicated in my decision to complain about the charges and the way it was dealt with. On the other hand I was quite looking forward to getting this to court and seeing what a judge would say about their business practices. I am sure I cannot be the only person that this has happened to.

    I goes to show, if you complain loudly enough, eventually someone will listen.
    I'm sure the attention this blog and twitter have generated helped.

    One final thought, if you have a contract with T-mobile, be VERY careful about connecting to Hotspots abroad.

    Thanks for reading and for your messages of support. I will update this if there are further developments.

    Neil Roberts 19th Jan 2012