June 2008 Archives
June 30, 2008
For the record (and a day late):
Nope, didn’t see that coming. The ending, that is — Davros had been telegraphed months ago. Not entirely sure I’m happy, since Tennant pretty much rocks, but there we go. I guess we’ll see what happens next week.
Also: damn, but this series needs a better script editor. My hunch is that Davies is a great producer, but I’m sorry, the show falls into the Battlestar Galactica trap of having lousily-uneven pacing and over-ambitious storylines. As a result, huge swathes of material have to be cut, and with all that goes any semblance of character continuity. The first half of this episode was insane. ‘Breakneck’ I can cope with, but this was plain broken. Yet amongst all the ‘Wait, she said what? Why?!’ moments, there was still time for not one but three ‘We know who you are’ reprise gags? Oh, come on.
I guess the hope is that the production machinery is sufficiently well-oiled that the series can more-or-less run itself (which in practice means that the production manager needs to be hard as nails). In that situation, the job Moffat is inheriting isn’t to mould and shape a franchise: all that heavy lifting has been done for him. It’s to shape a series.
The concern, then, is that Moffat has written some outstanding scripts… but how will he cope with a larger project? Jekyll was a good sign, but still, it’s a big step.
Fingers crossed. I never like the end of Who series, as the big cliffhanger/world-in-peril stuff doesn’t really fit the character or show in my book. So I guess I’ll grit my teeth through whatever happens next week, then… roll on 2010. Or something.
- Glasgow-Flossie’s current abode: 408 miles, as the Google bird flies (ie. via motorways).
- Glasgow-Flossie’s next place of work: 150 miles, similarly.
This is still long-distance.
Yes, it’ll be nice. Yes, it’s a distance one can complete, one-directionally, in an evening. Rather than in a day.
But it’s still long-distance.
June 28, 2008
There’s mounting evidence that Flossie and I are — whisper it — a geek couple. The latest data point: neither of us pointed the other to this xkcd strip, we assumed the other had seen it, and were both slightly spooked that … er … most of those panels we can claim as accurate. Not sure about the skateboard at the end — does the jet-powered mountain board I commissioned a few years back count?
Hmm. The BIG Event isn’t that far off…
June 15, 2008
Canon EF 50mm ƒ/1.4 USM: RRP £310.
Canon EF 50mm ƒ/1.8 II: RRP £90.
Nikon AF 50mm ƒ/1.4D: RRP £250.
Nikon AF 50mm ƒ/1.8: RRP £90.
Sigma 50mm ƒ/1.4 EX DG HSM: RRP £380.
This had better be a little stonker of a lens.
Oh, I’m thoroughly fed up with explaining music licensing to people. Even when they think they ‘get it,’ they still go around describing things as ‘copyright free’. Umm… no. As a rule of thumb, any time you see the phrase ‘copyright free’ you should run a mile, because whatever you’re reading has been written by someone who doesn’t understand.
OK, so currently, you pay twice for commercial music: first, you pay a royalty to copy it into your project (‘mechanical copying’). Second, you pay when your work is published or performed. Broadcast, web publication, public performance, whatever — you inform the Performers’ Rights Society (via ‘music returns’), and they collect performance fees from you.
In the old media model, the producer pays the first set of fees (or, more likely, uses production music that’s on a blanket deal — hence ‘royalty free’ from their point of view), then the broadcaster/publisher/venue pays the second set of fees.
With web publication you still have to cover both sets of fees, one way or another. Even if you’re using Garageband, say, you’ve already bought bundled production music (included with the software), then at point of publication you’re not a PRS member, so there are no fees to collect and hence no music return is required. But the principle still holds.
The music industry has dumped huge resources into, amongst other things, legal fees and lobbying for DRM to sustain this model.
Here’s another way things could be:
Suppose we standardised the metadata fields available in media files to include a music track URL. Now, the PRS (and other national equivalents) holds a huge database of tracks — how hard would it be to expose that via standardised URLs? http://www.mcps-prs-alliance.co.uk/publisher/artist/trackID, say?
That URL could happily redirect to the accessor’s national equivalent, but the key concept is this: the page returned by that URL holds copyright data on the track, including links to places you can buy it. Amazon, iTunes, whatever Microsoft are doing this month, and so on. PRS takes an affiliate cut from referring visitors to those sites.
Under this model, the resources PRS puts into lobbying and pushing DRM and policing usage, they now put into lobbying people writing media tools (Microsoft, Apple, Avid, Ulead, Sony, and so on) to (a.) read and write the audio URL metadata fields, and (b.) allow easy access to those links from their media player software.
Example: you’re watching a YouTube video on your iPhone, think ‘this music is cool,’ click the music button YouTube have added to their player, and a couple of links later you’ve bought the album and it’s downloading to your iTunes library. I’d do that. Wouldn’t you?
Crucially, the music industry declare that this is how you’re going to do music clearance for online media. They’re not going to do returns (huge overhead, surely doesn’t scale to millions of websites even from the collecting agencies’ end?), they’re not going to do DRM. They’re just going to make it trivially easy for people to say ‘I like this track’, find out what it is, and buy it.
In some alternative universe this is what they’ve been doing from the start. Right now, I’m scratching my head trying to work out what would be so hard about making it happen. And I’d love somebody in the industry to do the sums to work out how much it might cost, net, compared to maintaining and defending the current disaster.
Kevin Marks has a terrific post that starts from ‘If you behave like a disease, people will develop an immune system,’ and follows on through a series of biological growth metaphors to explore social application strategies. Reads much less like twaddle jargon than this paragraph does.
Well worth a read; useful stuff to fire back with next time someone starts banging on about ‘being viral.’
A slightly more considered opinion on the Busbi Video Plus vs. Flip Ultra cameras, based on still-cursory but mildly more in-depth testing
June 14, 2008
Video camera comparison test: Busbi Video Plus vs. Flip Ultra first impressions based on cursory inspection and minimal testing
A few weeks ago I shot and edited a couple of short films for the Scottish Ensemble, to give a glimpse behind the scenes and to introduce their 2008-9 programme. It was a lovely job to do from my perspective: a Radio 3 producer produced, so for once I stood entirely on the other side of the great production divide, and simply put pictures together.
The finished films have finally gone up: not embedded, curiously, but there are links to iTunes and direct podcast feeds on this page. Note that the ‘high quality’ version plays just fine on my iPod touch, and should look similarly lovely on a current nano or full-size iPod; the ‘iPod quality’ version is only necessary if you have the first model of iPod video.
Interesting experiment, anyway. We’ll see what the take-up is like. There’s lots of interest in this sort of thing around the arts community, it seems, but perhaps not much clarity on what it’s all for.
June 13, 2008
An iPhone/iPod touch application I’d really like to have:
Large time display, filling the screen in landscape format, showing time of day in the following format:
Where ‘frames’ counts 25th or 24th of a second (or 29.97th or 30th, for those in weird non-PAL countries. Doubtless Kevin will roll his eyes and explain why it’s really not that simple, etc.
With this, you velcro your iPod to a clapperboard, and you have an el-cheapo timecode slate. Lovely. Should be trivial, right?
“The BBC now frequently commissions project to run online elements ahead of the broadcast date”, according to the Guardian. Hmm. I’d suspect something was amiss, only it’s quite possible that the BBC have only recently realised that this is the case. They’ve been doing it for years, of course, apparently by accident rather than intention. Which explains a lot.
Science Shack was an Adam Hart-Davis vehicle for BBC2, filmed very close to transmission in autumn 2001. Close enough, in fact, that I had a heated telephone discussion with the BBC’s tech review department following their receipt of the first programme: “You can’t send us something this close to transmission! It’s a breach of your contract!” / “It’s a requirement imposed on us by the controller of BBC2. You can tech the tape, or explain to him why there’s a 30-minute hole in tomorrow night’s schedule. Your call.” (I paraphrase. I almost certainly wasn’t that heroic at the time).
The reason for the tight turnaround was that we were intended to be incorporating feedback from the series’ website into the programmes themselves. That is: the site was to go live a few weeks before filming/transmission, and be trailed on BBC2. We’d develop ideas and solicit help from the audience, and even drag some of them along to the filming. Thus, we’d foster a community of people discussing science topics, including academics from the Open University, who’d help answer all the questions that didn’t make the cut for the TV show.
Well, that was the plan.
In the event, the website did go live before the TV show. A year before. Thanks to an almighty scheduling cock-up, it had been running for a year, been a bit of a giggle, had built a decent-size community, and shut down before production on the TV series even started. BBC Online, doubtless slightly narked that they’d done their bit and where-had-the-broadcast-muppets-been? declined to extend the site. So we were left with trying to make a TV format that contractually and practically required an integral website, but whose website was being actively torn down.
Compromises were reached and, somehow, a modicum of funding was found. Then the real bombshell — marshaling viewers’ comments and responses from the OU academics and TV production team was clearly a workflow/content management problem, and the Online team got back to us with their ideas. Implementation cost: twice our total budget. Schedule: test deployment February 2002.
This was in early September 2001, with broadcast scheduled from mid-October. Spot the snag.
In the end, the public BBC website was entirely static (!), and I lashed together an admin back-end in the then-new Geeklog, which received questions and comments and allowed a researcher we took on to work out what to do with them. The OU panel had access to parts of that, and used it to answer queries (so they could see what each other had written). When they were happy, the researcher wrote up their replies into something resembling English, and published them on the public site.
Online were aghast: this was not a robust, scalable, secure system. On the other hand, I countered, it had the benefit of extraordinary flexibility: if we wanted sweeping changes we could simply ask Jess, the researcher, to do things differently. Much of her job was crappy copy-and-paste between disconnected systems, but for the sake of a ten-week project that was an acceptable limitation.
We had another staffer on the web team, Toby: he and Jess shot photos and bits of video, and updated the site from location while we were shooting. Today, we’d say they were live-blogging the recording… but hey, this was late 2001. Movable Type wasn’t even out yet. Besides, thanks to the baroque BBC Online approvals system, the web team’s updates often took days to actually go live to the world — I think in one case the BBC2 broadcast beat them, not that this was their fault.
If this all sounds like a total farce… well, that would be about right. But from the audience perspective it wasn’t too bad, and it amused me at the time that a series based around gaffer-tape-and-string experiments should have a website built in the same sort of way. I still think the decision to replace code with a real person was crucial, and some of that sort of approach continues to inform my thinking about web systems. Too much flexibility and you can’t get anything done; too little and you can’t move if you get one tiny thing wrong in the design; in some circumstances, people are both cheaper and faster than code.
And yes, it was experiences like this that led, ultimately, to things like the ‘360 commissioning’ mantra, and the television world getting better at integrating online and broadcast production. However, I’m still not convinced the BBC is genuinely good at this beyond their work on a handful of key properties — like Doctor Who. Also, I can’t see that much has really improved from the perspective of indy producers, in that the BBC’s web platform is still rather closed. While they do have valid concerns about long-term stability, it seems there’s little scope for doing things quickly.
Right now, I’m much preferring the fleet-of-foot feel one gets from working online to the turning-a-supertanker feel of broadcast. Perhaps this is why I rail against hideous monolithic content management systems that get in the way rather than smooth the workflow? They’re too reminiscent of the broadcast world I’m trying to leave behind.
But anyway, the real joke about Science Shack was why the first series was in 2001, but the second didn’t happen until 2003. In autumn 2002 I was at a conference of science TV producers, and Science Shack’s original commissioner, by then in another rôle at the BBC, was surprised to see me there. “I’d have thought you’d be at the frantic stage right about now, if you’re going to make transmission.” I was confused, and the chap went on to explain that he’d been pleased to see Science Shack 2 appear in the advance broadcast schedules.
This was news to me. Only the previous week I’d spoken to the owner of the production company, and things were looking pretty thin for them. So former-commissioner-chap and I toddled over to current-commissioner-chap, who was also at the conference. We put the conundrum to him: could he explain the discrepancy?
“Oh shit!”, he exclaimed, “I commissioned the second series, but forgot to tell the production company!”
June 6, 2008
…please put a pair of these things in a Mac Pro before I next get deluged with a month’s-worth of video compression jobs. December would be good.
k thx bye.
CBBC are making not one but two science series at the moment. There’s a second series of engineering show Whizz Whizz Bang Bang underway in Glasgow (about which I know nothing, other than that they’ve ditched the best thing about the first series, which was the presenter). And now they’ve announced a second show, “Richard Hammond’s Lab Rats.”
Interesting, and a somewhat major shift for CBBC’s commissioner Anne Gilchrist. Also a bit of a git for my SciCast sales pitch, frankly, but I’ll see what the results are like before getting too despondent. Besides, I’m a little nervous about the format, from what little one can glean from September Films’ website.
It’s a competition show — two teams of kids ‘performing scientific experiments using … household objects … able to repeat at home.’ The problem with such formats is that they’re not at all like normal kids’ game shows. You’re not testing physical skill (Jungle Run, Fun House), nor observation (Screen Test… not sure that’s been done since), nor, oddly, problem-solving ability (Raven). You’re testing practical knowledge.
You’re also based around challenges, and I could argue that with science it’s not the problem that’s interesting anyway, it’s the solution — with How2 the question is strangely irrelevant, you start with the answer and work backwards. But that’s another argument for another day: start thinking of suitable challenges.
I reckon they fall into two categories:
- Problems a reasonable proportion of children have the scientific knowledge to solve. That is — things that have been covered in school.
- Problems not covered in school, which children therefore mostly don’t know about.
The difficulty, of course, is that it’s challenges in the second category that have the more exciting solutions. Worse: challenges in the first category smack of ‘school,’ which is a shortcut to ‘not being remotely cool or fun,’ when you’re making after-school factual entertainment TV.
So you have a few possible routes you can go. You can stick with stuff the contestants are likely to know, and risk the audience shouting ‘boring!’ or, more likely, switching over to Nickelodeon.
Or you can brief the contestants off-camera, so they exhibit the desired behaviour. This is absolutely normal with engineering challenge formats (coughScrapheapcough), but it has to be done extremely carefully on a children’s show. With Scrapheap we’re willing to accept that the teams plain know more than we, the audience, do. As adults we’re used to that, but anyway we have Robert Llewellyn to ask the dumb questions on our behalf — he’s the audience’s proxy in Scrapheap.
With Lab Rats they’re going to have to be oh-so-careful, because it’s hard to see the audience proxy as being anything other than the contestants. Hammond is a terrific presenter and, as far as I can gather, a genuinely decent chap. I’m willing to believe that he has a good rapport with children. But he’s still the presenter, and the contestants are the people on-screen that the audience are supposed to identify with.
Which brings us back to the wheels coming off if the contestants know something the audience doesn’t think they should. It’s alienating, because you no longer feel you could be the one in the show.
(For completeness, the third option is to use part of the show to cover essential theory. But the best way of explaining the theory is to do the demo which is the subject of the competition challenge, so… you end up doing everything twice, and/or it takes forever, and/or it turns into a lesson. Ugh.)
You’ll notice that I seem to have thought this through rather a lot. Well, yes. See, there was a previous attempt to do a science/engineering challenge show with teams of kids doing experiments, interrupted by giant stunts. It was even planned as a thirty-minute show, before the early cuts were so turgid it was dropped down to twenty minutes.
It was called XperiMENTAL, it was on CBBC, and it was ruddy awful. The show’s own executive producer described it to me as ‘dreadfully rubbish,’ and we proceeded to pick apart its first two series. Informally, I was likely to produce the third, but it didn’t last that long.
The description of Lab Rats would work equally well as a description of the first series of XperiMENTAL. Yiiiiiikes?
Don’t get me wrong — I’m delighted that CBBC is at least trying to do its duty of bringing inspiring factual shows to a new generation of children. They’re the only people who can, at least via broadcast. But as ever with TV I worry that lessons from the past are not heeded, that the thinking isn’t as sophisticated as it might be, and that the resulting shows may fail.
So my real concerm is that if neither Whizz Whizz Bang Bang nor Lab Rats succeed, the BBC will again conclude that ‘kids don’t like science’ and give up for another five years.
With a bit of luck I’ll turn out to be completely wrong, and Richard Hammond will be rightly hailed as the ‘new Johnny Ball.’ If I’m right… well, at least this time we have a back-up plan.
Lab Rats is due for transmission in January.
(There’s a hair more information about it in Media Guardian. Interestingly, they don’t name a series producer. If they’re due for January they must have someone on board, surely?)
[thanks to Declan for the original BBC link.]
June 5, 2008
Terrific interview with Harry White of Techniquest, about science centres and informal engagement in general. Harry’s one of the old-hand caring professionals, and it shows in his fulsome replies. There are interesting parallels between his approach to hands-on exhibits, and mine to video.
I also have a little to add about Laithwaite’s levitation demo, mentioned towards the end of the article and pictured left. The late Bill Coates, in the lower right corner of the picture, told me the story that they had, in fact, turned the thing on in rehearsals (which would have been earlier in the day, or possibly the day before recording). It worked superbly, the ball thrumming up to clear the induction coil by a good few inches, and starting to rotate gently as the eddy currents did their thing.
Witnesses were called, and a growing crowd added to the general excitement. After a period of congratulation and elation, thoughts turned to bringing the ball safely down again. This was a problem, since thoughts had not turned in this direction previously. The ball was light, but might conceivably have damaged either itself or the induction coil had the coil simply been turned off.
Also, by this time, the ball was both spinning at a considerable rate and also heating up to dangerous temperatures. It was, after all, the secondary in an air-core transformer.
The eventual solution involved nothing more advanced than a bunch of BBC stagehands wearing gloves, but I still love the image of delighted physicists lurching from ‘It works!’ to ‘Oh bother!’
The ball hung for years from the rafters of the Royal Institution’s Prep Lab. I never saw the induction coil, but the ball did find other uses. Most recently, to my knowledge, I used it to cast modrock hemispheres for models of the gas giant planets and the sun for Malcolm Longair’s 1990 Christmas Lectures. At one point the ball fell off its little stand, putting a palm-sized dent in the otherwise-perfect shell. I’ve never forgiven myself.
I don’t know where the ball is now. I hope it hasn’t shared the fate of many other vintage props, of being chucked during renovation work.
(Via Paul and Flossie)
June 4, 2008
June 3, 2008
There’s a rumour going around that next week’s 3G iPhone will feature video recording. Is it too much to hope for iMovie Mobile with direct upload to YouTube, do you think?
Damn, that could be nice.
June 2, 2008
Like everything else MySociety does, this rocks: crowdsourced timestamping to align captures of BBC Parliament video with the Hansard record already archived and searchable at TheyWorkForYou.com.
I’ve matched 5 clips which at time of writing makes me the 25th most-prolific stamper today. WooT!
[thanks to Jo for the link]
[update: thanks to Ben Courtney for the link correction. Idiot operator error, apologies)
June 1, 2008
The Holy Crap! pepper (plug-in) for web stats package Mint. Emails you if it sees an inbound link from Slashdot, Digg, etc.
I can’t believe I wrote an 850-word post on Blake’s 7.
I’m currently hopping back-and-forth between DVDs of the original Blake’s 7 and [coughmumblecough] of the Battlestar Galactica ‘reimagining.’ It’s instructive, because in an odd way they’re rather similar shows.
OK, so Galactica’s sets wobble a whole lot less, and since most of the action is ship-bound one doesn’t notice that every inhabitable planet in the known galaxy looks uncannily like a gravel pit. Apparently. Plus there’s the whole ‘studio lighting and tube cameras ghosting like crazy’ style vs. ‘gritty hand-held high-def in extensive 360° sets’ contrast. $$$.
But both series are bleak and surprising, in contrast with the usual SF tropes of ‘idyllic futureworld’ (Star Trek) or ‘overcoming the monster’ (Star Wars). Crucially, both feature central characters whose moral alignment is both malleable, and obscured to the audience. No easy viewer proxies here: both series blur the lines between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ guys to the extent that it’s no longer clear which is which, nor even if such simplistic concepts apply.
Blake’s 7, for all its campy space-opera façade, has always had the elements of thoroughly sophisticated drama. Paul Darrow’s Avon, in particular, may be a dreadfully vain ham but is strangely riveting nonetheless. He’s a profoundly unsympathetic character, and yet we consciously will him to make the right decisions. He makes us care about the monster, even when on the verge of doing something monstrous. Which is, of course, the central trick of Galactica: the bad-guy robots are more caring, more sympathetic, simpler characters than the good-guy humans. They’re easier to like, which only makes them creepier.
More parallels: both series suffer from cripplingly bad pacing and bizarrely uneven and clumsy script editing. Blake’s 7, in its third series (the first one without the titular character) is a wayward mess, too obviously joining the crew in being leaderless, flailing around in search of a purpose. Some good stories are severely hampered by unmotivated or inexplicable character actions, sweeping continuity leaps, and baffling aimlessness.
Similarly, I’m sorry, but some of Battlestar Galactica is plain rubbish. They consistently over-run, it seems, with the result that minutes of carefully-crafted storytelling have to hit the cutting-room floor in order to squeeze in the episode’s obligatory cliffhanger. It’s replaced with crammed exposition dubbed onto a reverse shot, or wild narrative leaps, or… unmotivated or inexplicable character actions. At times it’s so bad, it can be hard to make sense of what’s going on, or why.
The closest similarity between the shows, however, is that both series are more relevant now than they were in the late 70s. By abstracting discussions from the present-day context, both allow examination of critical ideas.
Galactica’s portrayal of the ‘good guys’ as harried, victimised, and proud-but-on-the-back-foot warriors was perfectly timed for the sheen coming off Desert Storm. The humans’ descent, via hostile occupation, into the depths of desperation and suicide bombing was breathtaking. While ‘the separation between the executive and military’ thread has never quite held together, we’ll forgive them everything for portraying the ‘bad guys’ as principled religious ascetics, and a sophisticated overall approach to the rôle of individual faith.
A reimagined Blake’s 7, if done right, would have to explore concepts of individuality, the limits of personal expression, and the boundaries within which the state must work to protect its populace. In the original series ‘The Federation’ is one-dimensionally totalitarian, drugging its subjects to maintain order and relying on ubiquitous surveillance and profiling to identify transgressors.
Our ‘heroes’ — convicted criminals, the lot of them — oscillate between self-serving pettiness, freedom fighting, and idealistic political agitation, and in the original they’re fighting an outrageously campy pantomime villain, in Servalan. This is perhaps the greatest difficulty to overcome in a reimagining, but the rewards are considerable.
Britain is presently caught between two great powers, either or both of which may be rendered irrelevant by sweeping changes further afield. Multiple generations have grown up with no concept of previous national ‘glories,’ yet the institutions and edifices of Empire still drive the country. We’re thoroughly screwed up about immigration, yet see no conflict when curry is the nation’s favourite meal. And our leaders appear fixated on blanketing cameras around the country and giving the population ID cards so they can tell everyone who they are.
Meanwhile, we have only a few standard forms of national mythology. Doctor Who has always been the Merlin of Arthurian legend, and James Bond is, pretty much, a thug given just enough room by his controllers to be useful. Which leaves Robin Hood. ‘Band of outlaw freedom fighters disrupt corrupt regime, giving hope to the common man’? Sounds familiar.
Of course, Robin Hood’s Merrie Men are hopelessly outnumbered, and their chances of anything like a stable victory are, basically, nil. Yet we celebrate them for being underdogs, for their ‘pluck’ — which is how we liked to think of ourselves in the war. Tenacity, backed up by idiosyncratic boffins. Where has all that gone?
Reimagining Blake’s 7: it’s about time we had proper discussions about the role of technology in society, the limits of personal freedom and state oversight, and the potential for wider influence by minority powers.
They’d better not screw it up.
I recently started cutting a project in Final Cut Express, on the grounds that the folks I was working with had just bought it for their 24” iMac and they wanted to watch what I did. Fair enough.
It’s a terrific package, with basically all the timeline joy of Final Cut Pro, and you can’t argue with the price. A few things niggled, however, which I enumerate here, for reference:
The two-way colour corrector. Now that the Studio package includes Color, is there really any need to deny Express users the three-way tools?
Not having Soundtrack Pro is more of a bind than I expected, given that we wanted to EQ the voice track. Final Cut’s EQ tools are rubbish; Soundtrack has been a crashy mess most of the times I’ve tried to use it, but when it works it’s terrific. I’m not sure what Express users are supposed to do here — GarageBand? Struggle with per-clip multiband EQ filters? Not care?
No Compressor? Really? Umm… so outputting timelines for the web is done entirely through the Quicktime dialog, or iMovie (best way to get to YouTube)? That’s… well, OK, Express is cheap, but sheesh…
I wasn’t really expecting EDL import, but it’s worth noting that it’s not there. You can open Express projects directly in Pro, but I’m not sure how you go the other way. I didn’t try.
Titling. Mind you, this is a common flaw with Final Cut: Boris is clunky, but the built-in tools won’t even let you choose which weight you want from an OpenType font. Typography in Final Cut is plain poor, and Express is no exception. In most cases, comp the text in Photoshop and drop the .psd on the timeline. Bleurgh.
I don’t often miss multicamera support, and I certainly don’t expect it at this price. Working with DV it’s straightforward to stack the video clips in the timeline, and punch through with the razor blade to make (adjustable) cuts. In a strange way I almost prefer working like this — it makes slipping shots to cover audio edits a matter of selecting and option-arrowing, which is neat.
Final Cut Express is a thoroughly sound package. Terrific for the price, and I actually prefer the log and capture window in Express (it’s quite similar to the Log & Transfer window in Pro). However, I look forward to:
- Soundtrack and Logic merging in the Studio packages so Soundtrack can migrate to Express, or Garageband finding some FCE integration so it can be used for final mixing.
- Better colour controls, once Color is properly integrated with Studio.
- Compressor. It’s slow and I’ve never seen the network rendering actually work, but why leave it out?