The Bleeding Edge of VR & Healthcare

Virtual reality can create an environment that is safe, repeatable and place someone in an immersive context that’s designed for a specific treatment. Floreo uses this enabling technology to create a new generation of autism therapy that has the potential to be both effective and engaging, and capable of teaching skills that would be very difficult to teach in a therapeutic setting.

Exciting developments that many with VR tunnel vision can’t see yet.

Virtual Reality Will Never Be a Mainstream Entertainment Platform

The question is: How much does a virtual-reality environment enhance the power of storytelling? I’ve seen dozens of VR experiences over the last few years, and I always come away thinking that I’d have enjoyed it more on a traditional 2D screen.

There’s the rub; the medium requires a form of storytelling that taps into the power of VR. The position the author takes is short sighted though. Media consumption paradigm shifts look alien to those who can’t see beyond the horizon.

Paris in Pink (from the Arc de Triomphe)

While atop the Arc de Triomphe in Paris you get the perfect view of the city. This photo was taken using Kodak Aerochrome Infrared film to bring out different colours and give the moment a unique perspective.

To purchase the signature ‘Paris in Pink’ photography print visit the Wandering Moments Collection.

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Let’s Learn: Premiere Pro (A New Tutorial Series)

Do you have a question about Premiere Pro? Maybe a plugin you’re thinking about trying? Or maybe you just want to know how to go about organizing a project. Whatever it is send your questions to me on Twitter and I’ll make a tutorial for you!

This first one is in response to a questions from McCord Media:

So here it is! Again if you have a question let me know and I’ll make a video for you, just trying to pay it forward!

Fairmont GoPro Video Contest: Kauai Adventure

Last year my wife suggested we enter a video contest that Fairmont Hotels was running for a chance to win a trip to any destination in North America OR (more importantly) their destinations in the Caribbean. We chose Barbados thinking we may not win.

As part of our initial submission we had to create a video that showed a place we had visited and all the “off the beaten path” experiences we had. Having visited Kauai and Hawaii recently we knew it was the perfect subject matter. Here’s our short entry video edited very quickly.

Surprisingly we made it through the first round and we won our trip to Barbados! The kicker was we had to film our experience using the provided GoPro camera. I’ll post the follow-up video shortly.

Results from IR Photography shoot in Paris with Kodak Aerochrome

Well some photos turned out better than others unfortunately. Getting the right focus proved much more difficult in a shoot on the fly scenario. Lighting and blow out also seems to be an issue although the days were mostly overcast. Luckily there were a few gems among the roll.

I would definitely recommend this type of film for anyone wanting a new technical challenge in photography or just to give a familiar setting a new perspective.

To purchase the signature ‘Paris in Pink’ photography print visit the Wandering Moments Collection.

Speed up editing in Premiere Pro CC for Mac

Tired of lag from a complex timeline? I was too so I started experimenting to get the speed up the Mac Pros (Mid 2012 silver towers) where I work. These are tried and true tips that will save you a lot of time when editing:

– get an SSD boot drive, it will cut down on program lag performance
– get a second SSD for your cache drive, all those .pek and preview files writing to a faster drive will cut down on your lag time.
– RAID your footage drives to reduce seek time and help you playback multiple streams of HD
– get a CompressHD to speed up your H.264 exports especially if that’s your dedicated export format
– upgrade to the best GPU you can afford, this really helps with effect playback and rendering to a master format like ProRes 422.

This list seems short but these tips ensure an aging Mac Pro runs smoothly for years regardless of ingest formats.

Infrared Photography with Kodak Aerochrome Film

Six months ago I wondered what else is there to discover in 35mm photography? There’s a lot but one niche did stand out: Color Infrared Film. Richard Mosse used it to give a different perspective on the crisis in the Congo. He even made a book called Infra if you’re a photography nut and want to drop $600. After seeing his photos I needed to know more and soon discovered Kodak Aerochrome, a film used for aerial surveillance during World War II and the interim years for forestry surveys. I wanted to try it but it was discontinued!

Fortunately the good people at Film Photography project managed to acquire the last few batches and made it available for sale! Though it wasn’t cheap to ship it to Canada it was worth it for the chance to try something new. With a trip to Paris planned for April 2015 I though what better test-bed than a city full of green to test it out?

Film Photography Project has some good guidelines on how to shoot with this film. It’s a 400ISO so you really only have 4 stops to play with. After combing the internet I found this particular post by lazybuddha to be the most informative when it comes to shooting colour infrared film (IR). A lot of people offer tips for black and white IR but not color, so this post will save you time. The broad strokes are use a standard Yellow filter and keep your Aperature around F16 to avoid overexposure. I didn’t follow the second rule and a lot of my photos were blown out (but it was also overcast almost every day to complicate things). The other tip to keep in mind is focus; the focal plane for IR is slightly different than a regular photo. Since you can’t see IR you need to follow the guide on your camera to keep a sharp focus. I shot with my trusty Canon AE-1 which has and IR focal point marker on the lens barrel. A tip from this great Canon FD Lens resource noted:

“it is necessary to slightly modify the normal method of focusing the lens. After focusing the same as usual, note the tiny red dot engraved on the lens barrel just to the right of the distance index and turn the focusing ring slightly to align the focused distance with this red dot.”

So with that in mind almost nothing was out of focus when shooting with a shallow depth of field. With the F16 rule this is less of an issue. With all that research I felt confident to shoot and hopefully capture something decent.

Unfortunately after processing through The Darkroom (recommended by Film Photography Project since they know how to process E-6 infrared properly), a lot of the photos were blown out. I held out hope since the proofs I got were a one light scan. After I received the slides in the mail I knew at least some could be salvaged. I’ll post the results shortly, fingers crossed.

To purchase the signature ‘Paris in Pink’ photography print visit the Wandering Moments Collection.

The new Mac Pro is the workstation you’ve been looking for

New-Mac-Pro.-2013-kewcreativeThere is a sea of people endlessly nitpicking the recently unveiled Mac Pro overhaul but far fewer praising it beyond it’s aesthetics. Deep down it is the Mac Pro video professionals want you just have to change the concept of a pro machine. I’m speaking solely from a video editing professional perspective so you can probably rip my argument apart should you be a 3D artist (you’re on Linux or Windows anyway) or something more conventional like an Autodesk product user.

It sheds PCIe slots and that’s a good thing, especially for field production where you need to be mobile. A DIT using one of these could tear through footage dumps and grading like phyllo pastry. “Only AMD GPUs? No nVidia? What about upgrades? CUDA?” Just let it go, Premiere Pro CC will support OpenCL, Media Composer needs to get on it to take back market share and Final Cut X is obviously the poster child of OpenCL. Even Resolve is raving about it’s test results. Yes most of us use CUDA now because it works but when the software evolves we’ll forget we ever held CUDA so tightly. As for other PCIe expansion, what you need a RedRocket? Thunderbolt 2 will give you the bandwidth… Oh right you need to dump RED/ALEXA/Blackmagic footage? Get a dock with FW800, or get an adapter and wait for a thunderbolt update (or plug it right in if it’s Blackmagic). Most of the high end and prosumer cameras have a solution already. Broadcast monitoring? Last time I checked a Kona or Blackmagic card are well within the thunderbolt bandwidth limits. Yes the external enclosures are expensive but it’s still early. If you adapt now you’re crazy, wait a year for the peripherals and software to catch up. “I’ll have a rats nest of cables!” I’m sorry but show me an editors desk that’s pristine 24/7. You’ve always got client drives stacked on your desk, card readers, scripts and Red Bull, so stop whining. If you hate it that much then go to Ikea.

“No dual processors? No deal,” that’s BS. Video editing apps take advantage many cores and what they’re offering will be more than enough to run AE and PP at the same time. I have a Sandybridge hexa-core that outperforms dual Xeon’s and yes they have the same specs outside of processor and OS. You aren’t going to miss the extra CPU because GPUs and RED Rockets do a lot of the heavy lifting anyway.

Yes it doesn’t have a lot but if you edit professionally then you have a scratch raid, storage and a backup solution. PCIe flash storage is ridiculously fast and nobody will miss bouncing app icons and spinning beach balls. storage has been heading in this direction for a while.

It has 4 slots which is enough to get your ram up to 32GB+. If you aren’t using at leasts 32GB you might as well stick to editing your =3 style response videos.

Yes it only has Gigabit Ethernet but that more than enough to shuttle files to a server. You can always throw a fibre channel card in an enclosure and keep your blazing fast network alive. Outside of that it’s nice to have Bluetooth standard and USB 3 ports are way overdue. “It doesn’t have enough USB3 ports,” I’m sorry but do you really use 4 devices connections simultaneously? I do… Rarely. If that’s the case buy a hub.

“It’s all about 4K”
Yes Phil Schiller touted the 4K display capabilities and here’s a place I’ll actually argue against and tell you to calm down. 4K is awesome but unless you’re buying an ungodly expensive monitor (maybe a new Cinema Display?) you’re not going to take advantage of it. You are going to use that GPU performance for rendering and that Thunderbolt 2 bandwidth for peripherals. For monitoring you will end up sending a signal out of a 3rd party card. Call me closed minded but the 4K hype is a little overrated. We already edit in 4K and outside of a theatre the argument against displays that great in your home is pretty sound.

“It will overheat under heavy load,” wait for v2.

If it’s expensive that’s obviously a contentious point for a lot of people but you’re writing it off over at least 3 years in a small shop. Yes for the freelancers it’s could be a bit of a squeeze but it comes with that unrivalled customer support should it have problems.

Excellent and coming full circle to the way graphics machines were designed before. Silicone Graphics machines were powerhouses in eye catching housings.

The best thing about this computer especially for people that pay their own hydro bill is power consumption. I can bet that Apple redesigned the entire PSU to complement the power conscious Ivy Bridge/Haswell chip. Even at 700W estimates that’s better than 950-1000W.

I’m only looking at this from a video editors perspective and I’ve already made the switch to a PC after waiting far too long for an update. When the software catches up this will definitely be my next machine.