Category Archives: Broadcast

I Really Like Logic, But …

Response to 9to5 Review of Logic 10.4

First of all, thanks to 9to5 for this in-depth review of Logic, not just 3rd party plug-ins – yes, you’re making me eat my words, and in this case I’m happy to. Second, I really like Logic a lot. Third, [and this is very difficult and troubling for me, because I really like Logic], I used to use Logic as an on-set audio tracker and was beginning to use it as a ProTools Replacement for audio post, BUT: There are a couple of issues that Apple has refused to address, even in this latest release, (I’ve tried many times and currently have 3 open support tickets going back to the summer of 2017), and they are both related to Logic’s ability to manage linear time. Here they are:

1) The out point of a project cannot be stretched, after-the-fact if the incoming audio TC transits 21:00:00;00. So, I open a new project, import tracks with the project conforming to the TC of the income audio – here’s the kicker, if the project goes past 21:00:00;00, the outpoint of the project timeline cannot be stretched to include the audio that transits that bearer – even though you can see the grayed-out audio tracks on the timeline. 2) Locking Logic to incoming TC [which is crucial to audio tracking that is slated for audio post with lock-to-picture] mysteriously stops at about 13:00:00;00. I use a Steinberg Nuendo Syncstation to grab House TC and make it available to my audio NLE via the USB port. With Logic all of the setup is obvious [if you do this for a living] and FAST, and, it just works … right up until, 13:00:00;00. What happens next is, Logic stops the recording and will not Play or Record or Freewheel until I disengage the external TC source, in Logic settings.

Much like FCPX is for professions that want to get a lot of work done faster and more efficiently, so too is Logic to the professional in real-world workflows. ProTools is fine, but Logic kills it, and after decades of using ProTools and Avid workflows in general, I’m beyond tired of Avid’s licensing BS. FCPX and Logic, done. But, Apple has got to fix these core TC issues in Logic, and, Apple has got to make a true, out-of-box round-tripping workflow between FCPX and Logic. I really like Apple’s media production tools and they come so dang close to killing everything else out there. Original 9to5 article.

Apple Matters Audio FCPX Logic X Tech Blog Work

A “Pro” Post to My “Pro” Blog for Professionals

It’s kind of interesting to analyze the effect of the label, “Pro”, when I’m on the consumer side versus the professional side. As a consumer the term, “Pro”, makes me feel a bit more comfortable with how much I’m about to spend, and as a professional user, it makes me raise my eyebrow in unapologetic suspicion. (If it’s really a professional product, aimed at professionals, why does it need to be said with an obviously manipulating title like “Pro”?)

I’m going to try the car analogy, again: In terms of basic performance, I can turn a VW bug into a Porsche 911, (that used to be possible), but if I do that, in the end, I still have a VW Bug, but a lot faster one. And, up to a point, being faster counts, but it’s still a Bug. If I really want the complete, carefully balanced, actual Porsche experience, I must buy a Porsche 911.

And this my friends is yet another attempt to explain my near contempt for the the whole of the iMac product line. Apple takes their iVW, a very cool machine in its own right, puts a screaming fast engine in it, slaps the “Pro” moniker on it and once again evades having to actually make another, real, professional desktop computer. To a consumer the speed of this thing, alone, makes the initial experience surreal – in a good way, to a professional, the speed is thrilling for somewhere between one hour and a week, or so. After that, I start asking real-world questions like: how come I have to tear the screen off of the front in order to do a basic thing like upgrade or change RAM? Or, swap CPUs to upgrade or downgrade the number of cores I’m using? [Yes, I might want to do that because the fewer the cores, the faster each core goes – see?) Or, why can’t I add high-end video cards to the existing system – Oh wait, I can! But, oh wait, I want to add six video cards to my system so that I can scale how my professional software applications use them – like Windows users can – And, yay! Look mom, six video cards, but, what a freaking mess on my physical desktop. Sure wish I could just put those things inside of my computer. And, my OS is still optimized for only one kind of video card language? (I’m speaking here of CL vs. GL.) Yes I can use both, but only one is actually native to the OS. WTF! I really do not want to get stuck with Windows, again, but, I will.

And, where is Linux in all of this marketing obfuscation [BS]? Linux foundations have the potential to build highly customized machines on a wonderful plethora of UIs on very powerful hardware architectures … Why is it that all I can hear from the Linux side is crickets chirping? (There actually are a few open source products, but a very few, and to-date, nothing that can well replace software products from Avid, Apple and Adobe, maybe with the exception of Black Magic and their Linux-ready Fusion product.) Please get on the ball and save those of us who: 1) Actually do care about what we use, but; 2) Are beyond weary of having to argue for anything and everything that isn’t 1000% Microsoft; 3) Are sick and tired of having to slog through the cesspool of hardware and software that recklessly slaps the, “Pro” label on everything – to the point that even consumers, by now, are completely desensitized to it. If any serious Linux developers want to take a serious stab at creating a truly professional environment for high-end media production workflows, please feel free to give me a call, because I guarantee you, there is a huge market place of deluded, tired and disenfranchised media producers who, still have a passion for the work, want to know and trust that the hardware and software they’re using IS professional, and, who are beyond weary of the two-choice reality they [we, I] work in. I’m serious.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready to install new Windows machines for our Adobe Premiere”Pro”/After Effects post production peeps [formally Mac-based], and iMac”Pro”s for our Final Cut “Pro” X/Motion users. And the jury is still out for our “Pro” Tools and Logic “Pro” X camps. They’re all unified in not wanting to go back to Windows, but they’re not convinced they want to get stuck with the iVW either, because, by now, they’re all fully aware of the BS factor in the “Pro” moniker and how difficult it’s getting to escape from it. I’ll let you know how it goes. (Call me, really.)

How Good Is This Machine, Really?

I’m a fanboy, but I’m also pretty hard on Apple Inc when it comes to their “Pro” products, and up to now I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the direction they’ve gone. I still maintane that, if Apple is serious about supporting professional media production, they would get back to delivering more traditionally open hardware platforms and forget about looking cool.

They really should deliver iMac Pro in a multi-slotted box with the most up-to-date busses and the ability to natively handle both GL and CL graphics languages. Saying all of that, I still cling to Randi Altman’s review of the newly released machine, and as always, I want to believe.

For our workflows that 10GBe port along with the USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports are what we’ll be paying for if it’s decided to continue to go with the Mac platform. For us it will come down to being willing to pay $$$$ for those updated and built-in items, and get a free iMac with them. Thanks very much for the perspective. There have been rumors that rendering h.264 files is significantly faster than previous iMac or MacPro hardware versions, but so far, I’m not able to find any reliable numbers.

Here’s a link to Randi’s initial thoughts on the new iMacPro: Altman’s iMacPro review

FCPX Logic X Mac Posted Tech Blog

Has Apple Lost Its Design Mojo – or – Where’s The Real MacPro?

I really do not believe or see that Apple has lost its design mojo for the consumer marketplace, but, the high-end, pro media space keeps getting worse rather than better. (Yes, I know all about the new iMac.) By industry standards the new iMac, while an amazing machine in its own right, still falls short of being a true, top-of-the-line workstation, and that’s before we even get into the ever-frustrating closed hardware that we’re all stuck with now. (And yes again, I’m keenly aware of some vague apologies by top Apple dogs regarding lack of MacPro hardware updates, followed by even more vague promises of some mystery machine that’s supposed to be oderable in 2018 – for delivery in 2019.)

At home, Apple’s a beautiful thing, at work, a lot less so. One thing Apple has always fallen on its face with is, if we love to use Macs at home, we’re going to want to use them at work and not just for photoshoping, but high-end video, film and delivery systems too. I sure wish they’d wake up to this need. Lot’s of us requiring the fastest, most open and workflow-oriented tech would probably pay almost anything to make it happen on a Mac – Still, all I hear from Apple’s back yard is crickets chirping … nada. Oh and, let’s not forget that, Apple makes one of the finest editing suites available to the human race to-date – I speak of course of, Final Cut Pro X, Compressor and Motion. Motion is a potential After Effects killer, but few in industrial-strength workflows will utilize it because the hardware workflows are not there to support it above and beyond what a home power-user would require. Frustrating in the extreme. As a final word for perspective’s sake, this is not about Tim Cook, Apple’s lack of commitment to enterprise customers has always been an issue for those of us that want and need to be able to have consistent UIs across working and personal computing environments.

Logic X and macOS 10.13 – A Winning Weekend of Production

Logic X/APFS/macOS High Sierra

It was a winning weekend of tracking audio for approximately fifteen hours of live television broadcasting and internet streaming. A few of the programs were only half a dozen tracks, but most of the programs were talking-head panels or full blown music programs requiring 15-20 audio tracks. Beginning this week all of the audio, including dialogue, will be sweetened, fixed and where necessary, re-recorded, with the final output laid back to fully post-produced video. I have done this sort of thing for years, but what made it a bit of a nail-biter this year was that I decided to upgrade to macOS 10.13, alias, High Sierra. Hopefully it does not need to be said, but in case it does – yes – I was runnning a fully redundant tracking system on a completely different workstation. In the end, Logic X and High Sierra came through with flying colors.

I have always preferred to use Apple’s Logic X for this sort of thing, in fact, for audio tracking and post production, Logic X has pretty much negated the need for ProTools. Make no mistake, ProTools is a fine product and unarguably an industry standard, but it turns out that Logic X does just about everything ProTools can do and does it less expensively and is much more elegant to maintain and keep upgraded. All of the plug-ins I need are available in both ProTools and Logic X and in environments where audio and video are going to remain locked from recording through post, Logic really is a much more elegant tool. It’s a bit odd how Apple has clearly marketed their professional audio product to home musicians and electronic music composers, but the truth is, it makes the cost and, honestly, hassle of installing and maintaining ProTools pretty much unecessary.

As for the the OS update: Personally I look more for what’s going on under the hood of Apple’s upgrades and updates, for both hardware and software, and this year Apple’s new file system, APFS, represents what I think is going to be one of the most important core upgrades in quite some time. (And in case this needs to be said, I would not leap to upgade workstation to OS 10.13 in mission-critical scenarios. Give it time and for sure, wait until the ProApps system libraries are updated, which some think will be sooner than later.)

As for Logic X, I do continue to have some oddities with getting logic to function properly with incoming timecode from an external source, or the timecode stamps on incoming Video with audio. What’s weird is that these issues seem to be related to the relative time of day, so Logic will lock to TC just fine up to a certain time of day and after that I have problems getting it to lock properly, and these issues are 100% repeatable. I’ve already done some tech calls to Apple and they are assuring me that they can get the issue resolved – let’s see what happens. I’m thinking one reason issues like this slip through the cracks is that there’s not enough industrial/pro use going on at the level ProTools has, so little but important things get by.

That’s all for now, just wanted to give a report on taking the plunge in a critical production scenario with macOS 10.13 and Logic X. Please leave comments in any form – praise, reprisals, objections, rebuttal and funny faces – below.

In-App NLE Notes

 

I think it’s a no-brainer. Being that FCPX happens to be my weapon of choice (the others are good too, and yes, even better at some things), I will speak to that. It’s so nakedly metadata oriented that having a full-fledged note pad built into it was something that I literally went looking for after the first couple of releases – I just thought, “… it’s gotta be in there somewhere …”. Well, it turns out there is a note field of sorts available, and after doing some research sometime ago, I think it has a fairly large character capacity. Of course, what you’re wanting is something that is more tightly integrated with the other relevant metadata of Libraries and Projects, and even the clips themselves. Add a simple but highly functional UI and we’re onto something. One of several features I’d like to see implemented in this scenario is, when the play head reaches a point or range of time where a note has been added, I’d want the ability to toggle on/off on-screen display of those notes. FCP7 kind of did this, showing on-screen (on the Canvas) whatever text had been added to a marker. Seems the infrastructure is there in FCPX, it just needs to be developed. It’s a good idea, and I might argue, an important one.

THX! @Alex4D – FCPX TC Overlays

 

Thanks @Alex4D! This is very cool and badly needed in our FCPX workflow where I work. For now I’ll be the only one using it to be sure it doesn’t break anything that might be vital, but I look forward to implementing this for all seven edit bays once the dust settles with all the new Apple stuff coming out this Fall.

For whatever it’s worth: I tried this in El Capitan on my home computer, (after making, renaming and relocating a copy of the FCPX app.). Works like a charm. I stacked up to 10 video clips and the Overlay showed up for each one, including a few audio-only clips. I was curioius to see how it would handle a Multicam Clip, so I experimented with that a little too.

Once you put the Multicam Clip on the timeline the TC Overlay only indicates where the playhead is on the timeline. I haven’t decided how important it might be to see the TC of the embedded clips in the Overlay, but I can immediately say that it would be nice. If you double-click on the Multicam clip and expaned it on the timeline you will then be able to see the TC of each clip in the Overlay, which, is great in those instances where one or more of the clips is just a bit off. It can also be useful on those rare occasions when you want to manually add more clips to an existing Multicam Clip and not all of the camera TC matches for the same Scene and Take.

Roles Trump Tracks – Mostly

Anyone Who Prefers Tracks Over Roles is Delusional. http://t.co/oewCXfWqSy via @fcpxpert1

I’m beginning to need more advanced output options when finishing work in FCPX and I can already see some of the potential power with this metadata-centric tool. However, I know I’m already missing one thing, and probably just the one, so far [four years in FCPX]: Bussing. You could kind of do this in FCP7 by dropping audio and video filters on clips while they were still in the browser, (many complained that there was no effects buss for the master audio buss in FCP7), but of course, PP does this best. I really loved the fact that I could create a realtime mixer from audio tracks that were setup on the timeline, even without clips! So I could have a dialog track with preset EQ and processing and every clip I dropped onto that track took on those charactersitics. At times that is/was a big plus for me, but, still not worth giving up FCPX.

Laboratory Malware/Attacks/Viruses

I really have to wonder about the behind-the-scenes politics of people and organizations that create previously non-existent malware. On the surface I get it, but it seems dubious that a person or group that creates mechanisms that break the average desktop or handheld computer have only altruistic motivations. Here’s just a concern or three that I have:

  1. What happens when this person’s or group’s admiration for the computing system they portend to love wanes?
  2. How long does it take for that love to wane in light of the admitted lack of appreciation that comes from the manufacturer/developer.
  3. Whether or not there is/was any real admiration by the malware creator, what would it take to buy that particular creator’s particular creation?
  4. I see no regulation or oversight of any kind for this practice.

Certainly germ warfare development [bio-germs] takes place, but it is somewhat regulated by the realization of the people doing the hands-on development, of just how really dangerous what they’re working with is. I would also argue that, whatever of this kind of thing goes on in the USA is watched very closely, even if it is not strictly regulated, (and I’m not saying it’s not – I don’t know if it is or not). Why would it be closely watched? For two reasons: To keep it secret and because it’s just dangerous to all concerned, and no risks can afford to be taken.

Now back to the malware lab where it seems to me that this kind of thing is carried out with no oversight of any kind, and if this thing shows up in the wild 12-24 months from now this person will have no culpability except, “I told you so”.

Sorry, but I don’t believe this practice should be geek fodder, because there is a lot at stake – potentially, even human life – since computers are so indelible to our existence now. The more this is contemplated the more I think this practice needs to be reigned in – there needs to be official oversight. It’s really too bad that giant companies like Microsoft and Apple, and Google, and all the rest, don’t do this all in-house – with government oversight. Software development has too long enjoyed the luxury of getting us to completely depend on products that take absolutely no responsibility for outcomes or losses due to the product’s shortcomings.