It comes with its own batteries to drive 48V phantom powered microphones, has two Neutrik XLR/TRS audio jacks for mics and instruments, two MIDI ports, two speaker output ports and a headphone interface. The iRig Pro Duo is a cross-platform portable recording unit and I was curious to hear how well it sounds.
In the 4K video age, memory cards should be blazingly fast but even more so: dependable. Memory cards that break after five hours of use are a frustration at best and a catastrophe in many cases. The Lexar Professional microSDHC UHS-II 1000x and 1800x are both extremely fast and they won’t break that quickly.
Shooting in ProRes or DNxHD has several benefits if you’re working with Final Cut Pro X or Avid Media Composer. Of course you can always encode or transcode from a different codec to either of these in post-production, but that costs time — which may be valuable. There may be other reasons why you don’t want to wait until post, as I found out. I spent three days experimenting with a GoPro HERO4, four encoding apps for the Mac, the Final Cut Pro X timeline and an Atomos Ninja Assassin. Thanks to the newest version of Telestream’s Switch QC app, I came across some strange results that I didn’t know about before, and which changed my views on post-production video encoding versus shooting straight to ProRes with a Ninja monitor/recorder.
It turns out the latest version of Dutch developed Hedge for Mac is the fastest video offload application on the market. The company ran some benchmarks and found their new Premium engine — which is not in the free version of the app — is as fast or almost as fast as the Finder. “We ran these benchmarks for our own internal use. We ran them as objective and unbiased as we possibly could,” said Paul Matthijs Lombert, CEO at The Sync Factory, the company behind Hedge for Mac. “We certainly added nothing to our tests that would put Hedge for Mac in any sort of a favourable position — far from it,” he added.
Telestream has just upgraded Switch, their QC and quick-export app for videos up to 4K. New features in the Pro version that I have been reviewing include a comparison capability that lets you open additional files to compare with your primary media file, an external preview to Blackmagic Design devices, more publishing options, more containers and improved playback.
There are quite some LUT utilities for Final Cut Pro X, but Roger Bolton from Coremelt succeeded in developing a plug-in that gives you more than just a LUT loading mechanism. LUTx delivers a LUT browser, various fine-tuning features, masking capabilities and, for the Look LUT effect, the unique ability to apply your LUT to a specific luma range. The LUTx plug-in has four effects in all.
No matter how good an audio sample may sound, there are always notes that sound synthetic and with instruments like a grand piano subtleties and musicality are inevitably lost. It’s a problem that can be solved by not sampling an instrument but using true physical modelling. That’s what Pianoteq from French company Modartt seeks out to do — and from what I’ve experienced: with success.
Transitions are boring unless you spice them up with special effects. The trouble with special effects, however, is that they usually make you nauseous or are cheesy at best. Few movies made by professionals therefore use more than the two least spectacular transitions: the cut — the abrupt scene change — and the dissolve. Hawaiki has come up with a way to make dissolves — by far the most commonly used transition of them all — more interesting, sexy even. They’ve turned that into a Final Cut Pro X plugin: Super Dissolve.
The new version of Sorenson Media’s Squeeze has new features and improved codecs. It also allows you to output footage at higher frame rates than the source clips you’re importing. However, and just like any other transcoding app currently available, there’s no support for creating footage from DNG files such as the ones your Blackmagic Design camera will output. The best news of the day is that Squeeze Desktop 11 does create movies from still images and is again a bit faster than its predecessor.
I reviewed Rampant Design’s stuff a couple of years ago, when 4K was still a dream. Today, Rampant Design has a huge collection of 2K, 4K and 5K clips that can be used as effects. I tried a large random selection, including the muzzle flashes and smoke. If you’re still working with HD, the Rampant Design’s effect clips are even more effective as they are fully scalable and can be transformed and moved around at will.