Production Software That Sizzles At NAB 2009

Smartsound – Final Cut Pro Music Plug-In

Smartsound - Final Cut Pro Music Plug-In

Smartsound - Final Cut Pro Music Plug-In

Tuesday evenings FCPUG Supermeet  was host to the formal announcement of SmartSounds Final Cut Pro Music Plug In. I like SmartSound and use it in just about everything I edit. This software sizzled because I like it and Larry Jordan did the presentation. It fizzled because Larry made a boo-boo during the presentation but in classic LJ style he made it sizzle again by joking his way out of it…

Video of the presentation below….

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Speaking of Larry Jordan, he mentioned the following NAB Products in his latest newsletter.

GeeThree releases software that GREATLY simplifies animating still images.

Data Robotics releases DroboPro – faster expandable RAID storage

CrumplePop releases flock of new Final Cut Pro plug-ins (Video Below)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “CrumblePop For FCP 6“, posted with vodpod

Samson Technologies releases Zoom H4N digital recorder

Digital Juice is Releasing All Sorts of New Stuff

EditShare and Automatic Duck team up to provide media sharing between FCP and Avid systems.

nVeil announces a graphics tool for the artist living within every editor.

MWA Nova’s flashtransfer teams with Front Porch Digital to provide film transfer and archiving solution.

MXF4mac announces support for more MXF video formats.

ADOBE CS4 and Final Cut Pro Integration. Export FCP Projects To Windows.

ADOBE at FCPUG Supermeet

Jason Levine of ADOBE at FCPUG Supermeet

Interoperability is the key element relating to this software. NAB 2009 and the 2009 FCPUG Supermeet provided the forum for me to get a demo of Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 version 4.0.1 software, that has seamless project exchange with Final Cut Pro. CS4 version 4.0.1 enables users to import Final Cut Pro projects via XML interchange, export to Open Media Framework (OMF) format, and import and export projects in Advanced Authoring Format (AAF).

Specifically the new software enhancements allow Final Cut Pro users to be able to transfer projects directly to Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 version 4.0.1 without conversions or re-rendering. The transfer preserves commonly used effects and transitions. Once files are in Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, assets can be moved amongst Adobe After Effects CS4, Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, and Soundbooth CS4. Apparently these files can work with Premiere on Windows. Below is a video on how this import function works.

One neat new feature in Premiere Pro CS4 is called Speech Search. It turns spoken dialog into text-based metadata that makes video searchable. During the Supermeet presentation Jason Levine (who sizzled)demonstrated how the Speech Search works. It actually allows one to select and edit point between text based words, significantly speeding up editing dialogue. A video on this Speech Search Function below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

One other advantage of CS 4 is its workflow to Blu-ray, something that is sadly lacking in Final Cut Studio. Adobe Encore is CS4’s path to Blu-ray.

Automatic Duck – Media Copy 2.0

Media Copy 2.0 is a useful application for copying media from your NLE to another computer that needs to import your AAF, OMF or XML file. Media Copy is a helpful application that reads an Avid AAF or OMF 2.0 file or a Final Cut Pro XML file. It figures out which media files are used by that sequence then copies the media to a location you specify. It’s especially handy when media files are in several locations on your system, or to assist the editor who just doesn’t know which media files are represented in your edited sequence. Below is a video on Automatic Duck from NAB 2009;

Sony Vegas Pro 9 and VASST

SONY Vegas Pro 9

SONY Vegas Pro 9

Sony Creative Software was showing the next generation of Sony Vegas Pro 9. 4K and native RED One support along with better AVCHD and XDCAM support is part of Vegas Pro 09. On the output side Sony Vegas 9 outputs to traditional SD and HD broadcasts, to the Web, DVD and Blu-ray discs, and to portable devices like cell phones, portable media players and the Sony PSP.

SONY was also promoting the Vegas Pro Production Assistant plug-in that was developed in partnership with VASST. Pre-built output presets for broadcast workflows are included to quickly begin finalizing content for television. Additional broadcast features include tools for creating lower thirds, splitting stereo track into two mono tracks, normalizing audio tracks, broadcast color process, audio ducking functions and outputting to multiple formats simultaneously. In addition to a number of secondary tools, the Vegas Pro Production Assistant software plug-in features five primary productivity tools. They are;

  • Montage Tool
  • Motion Tool
  • Lower Thirds Tool
  • Workflow Automation Tools
  • Batch File Processing Tool

mocha for Final Cut

mocha for Final Cut is a stand alone 2D tracking tool designed for the Final Cut. It generates solid 4-point tracks based on Imagineer’s unique Planar Tracking technology. It provides position, scale, rotation, shear and perspective matched tracks and exports the data to Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express as XML files. Final Cut Studio users can then optionally send their mocha tracking data to Apple Motion for advanced compositing functionality. Below is a video on how it works.


MXF4MAC with its MXF import and MXF export solutions is the first video capturing solution for the Mac that wraps video feeds straight to MXF without creating intermediate files. Of interest to Final Cut Pro editors is P2 Flow. P2 Flow quickly and automatically links MXF video and audio in Final Cut Pro while providing full metadata mapping. This allows editing straightaway without converting or referencing the MXF media to QuickTime MOV.

At the FCPUG Supermeet Jeremy Garchow described the process of using P2 Flow.He described a project where he used media generated from five P2 cameras and six wireless microphones in a freestyle shoot that also had a Sound Devices 788T recording 8 tracks of audio.  Following the shoot he had less than a week from shoot to air, he had over 6 hours of material and had to edit down to 60 seconds.

To speed the editing process up he used P2 Flow to import the P2 into Final Cut Pro. He synced the camera material using free run time code and a clap slate and it was ready to edit in Final Cut Pro through a workflow never seen before. Below is a video of how it is used to quickly import P2 material (no audio) and some links to tutorials on how to use the product.

Boinx TV

BoinxTV was one of the truly cool products I saw at NAB 2009. The software converts your MAC computer into a live production studio. Its features include;

  • Connect up to three cameras (SD or HD).
  • Play back any QuickTime video as a source to roll in live.
  • Switch among up to 4 sources (3 cameras + playback of pre-recorded clips).
  • Animated lower thirds, scrolling credits.
  • RSS ticker with headlines and summaries
  • Sports scores.
  • Pre-defined layers for different production styles, customizable with Apple’s free Quartz Composer software.
  • Real time, on-screen clock.
  • Records to a QuickTime file or outputs live output for live streaming (using optional 3rd-party software) or live SDI output (using optional 3rd-party hardware)
  • Integrates with Twitter
  • Works with any DV25 camera (DV, DVCAM) with IEEE-1394 (FireWire, i.LINK) output.
  • Works with any HDV camcorder as long as it has a true progressive mode.
  • Works with any camera with HDMI output, if you add the Blackmagic Intensity or Intensity Pro to a Mac Pro tower.
  • Has a BoinxTV’s template chooser, you can select one of the default designs, whether for news or sports or whatever…..

The video above outlines what I saw at NAB.

Tiffen Photofx iPhone App

If you’re in a pinch, only have your iPhone and have to do some image editing Tifen might have the App for you! Photo fx is comprised of the following filters:, Black and White, Black Pro-Mist®, Center Spot, Color-Grad® , Color Spot, Day for Night, Enhancer, Fog, Glow, Halo, High Contrast, Infrared, Looks, Night Vision, Old Photo, Polarizer, Pro-Mist®, Reflector, Star, Soft/FX®, Tint, Two Strip, Three Strip, Ultra Contrast and Vignette. Once its fixed e-mail the image from your iPhone or iPod Touch.

audio video design inc – Voice Recognition Teleprompting Software

Voice Recognition Teleprompting Software

Voice Recognition Teleprompting Software

audio video design inc. was showing a teleprompting prototype at NAB that was of interest. The software includes voice recognition software that will automatically adjust to control the speed of the teleprompter scroll. According to the developer who I talked to at the booth, since the teleprompter text is loaded into the computer, the program only tries to recognize words in the text. This makes the voice recognition element much less compute intensive given that the dictionary is pre-defined. Neat product….

Other Products

TOPAZ Adjust

TOPAZ Adjust



CPC Webcast Captioning

CPC Webcast Captioning




Creative Labs Under Massive Blogosphere Attack Over Post To Daniel_K

A couple of updates to yesterdays post.

It appears Creative Labs is under a massive blogosphere attack at this moment.

  • As I write this there are 176 pages of feedback to Phil O’Shaughnessy’s about his post to Daniel_K. Mr. O’Shaughnessy is getting a lesson in Corporate Communications like he’s never had in his life.
  • The forum page where Mr. O’Shaughnessy’s post starts has been hit 230,000 times since his post last Friday.

Some Facual Updates on Creative Labs

  • The owner of Creative Labs is Sim Wong Hoo.
  • Creative Labs is based in Singapore.
  • According to Wikipedia “Sim Wong Hoo with his school friend Ng Kai Wa set up shop in Pearl Centre in Singapore. He got his start running Creative as a computer repair shop. While doing this he developed an add-on memory board for the Apple II computer that they sold as well. Later, Creative started creating customized PCs adapted for the Chinese language which included enhanced audio capabilities so that the device could produce speech and melodies. The success of this audio interface led to the development of a stand-alone sound card named Sound Blaster that Creative marketed. Sound Blaster was very successful and has been used as a standard of comparison for sound cards.

Below is an interview with Sim Wong Hoo

As I outlined in yesterdays post, this company built their business on technology that fit into slots in computers and they should know what Daniel_K is all about. As I posted yesterday there is no reason for Daniel_K to be treated the way he has. As such I have added my name to an online petition on “Creative Labs Driver Quality”. That petition can be found at

After watching the video with Sim Wong Hoo it’s sad to see that Creative Labs is going through this.


Creative Lab Inc.’s Corporate Actions And The Reptilian Brain…..

This post is about a corporate culture problem that surfaces regularly and I just don’t understand why it continues. Last week I wrote a post on silo’d corporate culture and how in SONY’s case they had to back down on a $50 charge to remove bloatware from their VAIO laptops. Obviously following SONY’s BMG CD copy prevention scandal in 2005 the corporation had a disaster plan for this space and they literally took action to correct the situation before it reached the mainstream press en mass. When “narrow” corporate thinking gets exposed to the light of day in the “blogosphere” the actions make no sense to anyone and as the Cluetrain Manefesto points out, large corporations thinking (and acting) with a reptilian (like) brain are simply not sustainable in this environment. Yet here is another case and it’s not pretty.

I just finished reading, reviewing and “Twittering” my usual news sources and to my dismay I came across a posting that fell into the same camp….. The post was on the Soundblaster Forum and it was written by Phil O’Shaughnessy, VP Corporate Communications, Creative Labs Inc. The post is directed towards an individual identified as Daniel_K. From what I can gather this individual had –in the past– improved Soundblasters drivers so they would run better on existing operating systems. He had also provided drivers that would allow their Soundblaster cards to run on computers or OS’s of which Creative Labs Inc. did not provide drivers. I gather that in the past his driver patches were distributed for free and his site would solicit donations from the people who made use of them. This is in keeping with a number of sites on the internet.

tomasz.sienicki at gmail.comIn O’Shaughnessy’s post he basically tells Daniel_K to cease and desist from creating and distributing any further driver improvements. He states; “The difference in this case is that we own the rights to the materials that you are distributing. By enabling our technology and IP to run on sound cards for which it was not originally offered or intended, you are in effect, stealing our goods. When you solicit donations for providing packages like this, you are profiting from something that you do not own. If we choose to develop and provide host-based processing features with certain sound cards and not others, that is a business decision that only we have the right to make.” In reading the responses in the forum it appears that at the root of the problem is the fact that Creative Labs Inc. does not fully license all of the IP in their cards.

As a person who has purchased large quantities of Creative Products for a public University, as well as a number of their products on a personal level, I have to question Creative Labs Inc.’s actions and thinking in this case. From my point of view they have really opened up the proverbial “can of worms” with this post.

The idea of putting slots in a computer traces its roots to the ENIAC computer in the 1940’s. Their purpose was to expand the capability of a computer through a standard interface. They reappeared in personal computers and gainded great popularity in the APPLE II in the late 1970’s and the IBM PC in the 1980’s. They were put into PC’s so purchasers could expand capability and migrate hardware between generations of hardware and software. In fact Creative Labs got their start creating soundcards for the slots in the original generations of IBM PC’s. So if they’ve licensed software that been placed on their cards that’s not migratable and not fully open then they’ve created the problem. It’s hard for me to buy into any of the arguments Creative Labs is putting forward in this matter. I also don’t know that they’ve made their customers fully aware of these kind of limitations at the time of the products purchase. Coming from the “broadcast technology” side of the business, the manufacturers who place similar restrictions on technology usually do so by encasing it in its own “black box” that often includes its own OS. They don’t market them as “mass” consumer items in commodity hardware and then years later try to shut down software advancement.

Hence if Daniel_K’s efforts to improve the value of Soundblasters products is seen as a benefit to any of Creative Labs customers then problem is not Daniel_K’s, it is really Creative Labs own fault. First for not licensing the embedded IP appropriately and secondly in forgetting the history of computer hardware and the expectations of those who purchase it. Judging by the response to post on the forum, I’m not the only person to question Creative Labs Inc.’s actions in this case. It’s especially questionable when Mr. O’Shaughnessy’s post contrasts the fact that the companies own drivers and service doesn’t match the solutions that Daniel_K’s drivers do.

As an institutional buyer for a public University this post places all of our future purchases of Creative Labs products in jeopardy. Why? Because a University undertakes research. And some of that research might involve customizing computer components for use as technology that it was not originally intended for. And in some cases it’s often older technology that is employed in the initial experimental stages.

If I read Mr. O’Shaughnessy post correctly, Creative Labs Inc. views that kind of action as “stealing our goods”. If that is indeed the case then I’m now placed in a position where I have review any purchase requests that come across my desk that want to employ technology from Creative Labs. As a University Director who is responsible for equipment purchases, I will be forced to ask the staff requesting the technology to look for alternative soundcard technologies that are open by both design and nature.

Mr. O’Shaughnessy post clearly asks Daniel_K to respect Creative Labs rights as “owners”. One has to view this post in the context of all of Creative Labs current and future customers. In effect Creative Labs has extended its “ownership” rights to individuals who purchase their products and its clear that those rights involve granting no right to further develop or extend the capabilities of Soundblaster products. By practice (and I’m reflecting on comments on Soundblasters own forum) this appears to mean even if features don’t work when purchased and especially if they were embedded in the products firmware but not enabled at the time of purchase.

My comment is that this notion won’t fly within the University culture that I work in and I honestly don’t know of any similar University or research environment where it would. I also don’t think it will fly with a number of Creative Labs higher end customers who see their purchase of Creative Labs product as an investment. Some of Creative Labs advanced cards are costly and they are employed in a number of advanced audio production situations. In the end if Creative Labs has asked its customers to respect its corporate rights as “owners” then Creative Labs will also have to respect their customers rights as “consumers”… And as Creative Labs may find out consumers vote with their wallet.

What’s really bizarre in this case is that Creative Labs was built on placing their hardware in the open slots of an IBM PC. Within that open environment they were encouraged by an open culture and market to improve their products. It’ s somewhat similar to what Daniel_K is doing today and Creative Labs –of all companies– should understand what an open environment is all about. That includes what Daniel_K is about and what the expectations are of consumers, be they corporate, institutional or personal, when they purchase product that fits into standardized PC slots.

I hope Creative Labs Inc. re-thinks their policy and starts securing full rights for the technology that it places in their cards. Since their argument is they don’t and I’m a public servant, I’m now forced from this day forward to seek open soundcard solutions. If you feel strong about this GIZMODO provides Phil O’Shaughnessy’s e-mail address in their post; Creative Presents Cease-and-Desist Note to Developer Hero…..


Digital Filmmakers Are On “Cusp of a Whole New Industry”, Printer Ink Profits, 3D Printing, Blu-ray, MIX08, Windows On ASUS Eee, and Dell in Tough(book)

Intel Believes Digital Filmmakers Are On “Cusp of a Whole New Industry” – Don MacDonald speaking on a panel at the Cinequest Film Festival indicated that he believes digital filmmakers are on “Cusp of a Whole New Industry”. In the video available at, MacDonald outlines historical data relating to the birth of the Radio and Television mediums, the penetration rate of the technology and how the Inernet may have reached the point where Digital Filmmakers have a distribution medium that Intel beleives will be a whole new industry.

Making 3D Printing Mainstream

Here is a strange one. In hopes of jump-starting the 3-D printing revolution, OpenMoko, a maker of open source mobile devices, is offering its phone case CAD files to anyone who wants them. The CAD files have been made available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license. The hope is that by making use of those files, individuals having access to 3D printers will be able to create their own flesh for their phones.

Dell Introduces Competition For Panasonic Toughbook

It was great to learn that Dell has introduced a Latitude XFR D630 laptop. We’ve used the Panasonic Tougbooks in our Virtual Audio Lab at Ryerson and purchased the Toughbooks because we actually hand out the laptops for field recording purposes and we’ve found them to be excellent. Event though the Toughbook versions we purchased are considered semi-rugged, after two years of operation we’ve yet to have one go in for service despite constant use by student.

Like the Toughbook, Dell’s has a 1394 connector which makes it ideal for streming video from the field. The D630 laptop is designed for reliable performance and it meets the strict military standard, MIL-STD 810F, for extreme temperatures, shock/drop, moisture, altitude and more. In looking up the information for this blog I came across It has a number of other rugged components including printers and PDA”s.

ASUS Officially Launches Eee PC with Microsoft Windows Operating System

The ASUS Eee PC has made quite an impression since it was launched a few months ago. Originally launched with Linux Asus has announced it now works with the Windows Operating system. In addition ASUS is building upon the product with its ASUS’ 9-inch Eee PC ( and that was announced at Cebit 2008 a couple of days ago. These new technologies will bring about a brand new concept for Internet access with 1G of memory, larger storage of up to 12GB.

Between the ASUS Eee PC’s and the One Laptop Per Child computer, there currently is a revolution in smaller lighter computers and I’m not referring to Apple’s MacBook Air. HP might be moving into the arena with an HP Compaq 2133 UMPC Laptop that Gizmotto describes as “a laptop looks like the Asus Eee PC’s cooler cousin.” ( The GeCube Genie small form-factor low-cost system has 10.2” screen ( Elonex is launching a £99 student laptop in the UK, while the MSI Wind, a subnotebook very much in the style of the Eee.

Steve Ballmer and Guy Kawasaki Keynote at MIX08

After mentioning in my last blogpost that I don’t get how Steve Balmer of Microsoft always seems to be the last person to come to the party, I watched his keynote address at MIX08. It’s not really a keynote per-say it’s more like an interview and in watching it I thought his sense of humour was great. In my opinion he didn’t address the Vista rollout even all that well adn wouldn’t talk about the Seattle Supersonics but he did mention “Monkey Boy”. ( And for those who don’t think that a conference can’t survive by putting its content on-line for free, think again. Balmer mentions how conferences have changed during his keynote and you;ll find all MIX08 sessions –actually 07 and 06 as well– online at

While on the subject of Microsoft this article tilted “Your Windows XP computer is more safe if you don’t set any password at all.” provides some food for thought. . Rumours spread this weekend that Google and Microsoft are bidding for

Blu-ray/Optical Media Watch

Well since I started a rant on Blue-ray a few posts ago it appears Cinram is eying growth in the Blu-ray market after the demise of the HD DVD format. This announcement almost coincided with another couple of announcement including Canada’s Future Shop offering and HD DVD deal where they will give current HD-DVD owners a chance to trade in their unit for an upgrade to a dual HD DVD / Blu-ray player (, while Amazon cuts the price of Blu-ray titles to $14.95 (

TB Optical Disk Recording

In other optical media items I came across TeraDisk. It’s a one TB optical disk that employs 200 layer recording to achieve the density.

Printer Ink Profits

When I was a kid growing up in downtown Toronto in the mid-1960’s a company called Duncan marketed Yo-Yo’s and Spin Tops to children. These toys were marketed primarily by other kids (14ish) who would show up after school and run competitions using the toys in front of the stores that sold the toys as the kids walked home from school. These were the days long before video games and even television had caused the cocooning effect that we see today. It was also still an era where most schoolchildren walked to and from school instead of being driven which seems to be the norm today. Often these tournements would result in an occasional spin top or Yo-Yo given away, usually to children who did not own one of the toys.

It was in those early days that I learned one of the tricks of marketing and it remains to this day. Those old spin-tops required strings and tips that would quickly wear out and even with a free toy one would quickly become a consumer of Duncan’s products. While HP is not the only company who engages in this market philosophy it’s almost bizzare to realize that HP derived 42 percent of its $2.63 billion total operating profit in the latest quarter from printer ink. It did this despite commanding approx. 20 percent of the worldwide PC market –Dell has 15 percent–.

While there are some great reports on the Internet about the cost of HP ink, (HP Ink Costs More Than Human Blood, Booze – ), (HP finds formula to turn ink to gold – , (Ever Wonder Why Ink Costs So Much? what I cant figure out is why I can’t seem to make my HP printer drivers remain set in “draft print” 0r mono mode. Up until a few years ago I was able to set any HP printers I owned to draft b&w mode at the printer driver level. That way anyone who printed a document from anywhere on the network the default printer setting would be set to black ink only and in “draft” mode that would save on ink. Today, all printers come with colour and black ink cartidges and I have yet to figure out how to set the printer setting permanently to black only so the printer won’t come back with an errror message that it’s out of colour ink. I have an HP 920c printer and if anyone knows the secret to the printers setting(s) please leave me a comment. I’d sure appreciate it.

Random Thoughts

TV Sets In Third Graders Bedrooms One study of third graders put the number of TV sets in their bedroom at 70 percent.

Help In Finding Meteorites

University of Western Ontario Astronomers are asking Parry Sound residents to help find meteorites.


LucidTouch overcomes ‘fat fingers on the touch screen’ problem.

Orchestrating More Online Profits

A panel of experts at the Canadian Music Week (most American from what I could tell by the article) concluded that file-sharers should get ready to payfor online music, television and movies. I ask with tariff’s on Optical Media in Canada, that’s supposed to artists, money collected by BDU’s to support Canadian media production, and the fact that I have to pay for a basic cable service that covers channels I don’t want and can get for free, how many more way’s are we going to be expected to pay for media in Canada? The silence from the “experts” is deafening.