(For those new to the column, Forward Migration is our term for companies moving from Wintel machines to Macs — or at least adding or increasing the number of Macs they use. A Forward Migration Kit is an overview of Mac OS products for a particular occupation, such as photography, optometry, etc.)
This week at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) trade show in Las Vegas, the cameras providers at Thomson Multimedia revealed some details of their presence at the Cannes Film Festival, which takes place May 15-26. Dave Bancroft, the company’s senior technology manager, said, “The worlds of technology and film are converging.” And in the case of Thomson Multimedia, that convergence means the use of some Apple technologies.
Apple’s Final Cut Pro was used to facilitate some work for Cinecitta, the Rome-based film company associated with film director, Frederico Fellini, and film-music composer Enio Moricone. Cinecitta called on Thomson Multimedia when it decided to orient itself toward electronic film making at the end of 2000.
To launch the new digital era at Cinecitta, the company held a competition to find the most promising up-and-coming young filmmakers, eventually choosing six candidate groups who were keen to make a short film. Thomson Multimedia was approached to sponsor the groups with their light but high-definition camera, the LDK 7000, though it was a prototype still under development at the time.
During 2001, the six filmmakers shot their films using both the Thomson LDK 7000 high-definition camera systems and the VooDoo high-definition tape recorder. In October 2001, the filming was completed and electronic post-production began. This time Cinecitta sought the services of Apple, who offered Final Cut Pro for editing the Thomson VooDoo images. Kodak also assisted by transferring all six short stories to on 35mm celluloid film. Some of the results were shown at NAB this week.
And in other video related news, an
Apple Hot News story reports that one high-definition television network, HDNet, broadcasts 16 hours of HDTV sports, news and documentaries every day, seven days a week — thanks, in part, to — you guessed it — Final Cut Pro and the Mac. HDNet broadcasts many sports programs live but uses Final Cut Pro, Power Mac, and the Pinnacle CineWave HD I/O board to get taped programs ready for air, Phil Garvin, HDNet’s general manager, told Apple.
“We looked at a number of the high-def, nonlinear editing systems,” he said. “Some are really good at compositing, but not as good at editing. Final Cut Pro has been outstanding and even something of a surprise. High def is pretty high end — you’re inclined to be prepared to spend a lot of money to get what you need. And along comes Final Cut Pro with Pinnacle cineWave — it’s just amazing. We turn international news pieces around in 24 to 48 hours. At the Olympics, we were shooting all around, then created little packages we’re replaying in the coming months.”
He explained that the challenge of high def is the bandwidth; there’s so much information in a high-def signal that you get 10 times the resolution of regular definition TV. However, the combination of Final Cut Pro on CineWave can handle the heavy processing, Garvin said.
“We shoot events with traditional high-def cameras and use a high-def camcorder for the sidebars — the intros and outros and the little things,” he added. “We bring content into the Mac from the CineWave via HDSDI. Once the material is edited, it comes back out to tape from the CineWave. And the whole system, fully put together, costs one third of a comparable system. HD is eventually going to be everywhere. We may be adding additional HD channels, and we’ll buy a few more Final Cut Pro systems.”
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Requests for help
Now it’s time for our weekly requests for help from folks who need your advice and/or assistance in forward migrating — or at least being able to keep the Mac platform alive and thriving in their businesses. Contact the requesters directly at their e-mail addresses.
Bob Boysen: “Since I’m just one voice in the wilderness, I haven’t had much luck convincing Stamps.Com to realize a Mac version of their software which I reluctantly use on a back-up PC. I’d rather do it on my new iMac. Any word or any ideas on a way to push the developers into hurrying up their process of making this software available for the Mac?”
Ryan Bushman: “We are looking for a way to use Macs at the Motion Picture/Television department at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona for a specific purpose: to keep inventory of all our video and film equipment, student accounts, equipment booking system, and checkout forms all together. Normal rental programs (of which I can’t find any) wouldn’t work because they don’t seem to have very clear reservation components allowing us to reserve equipment months in advance — and also the students only make a $50 deposit for the year, and pay nothing for each item as part of their classes. Any ideas that anyone could point our way would be awesome.”
Tim McBrayer: “I have something called the Card Scan business card reader. It is currently a PC only device and works off a USB connection. It’s been out for years. And it is a great time saver. You get someone’s business card, slide it through the card reader and then import it directly into several popular PC programs like Act!, Outlook, Goldmine, etc. Why can’t Apple get this company, which is called Corex, to come out with Mac drivers and the proper import/export capabilities like they have for PC users? I contacted the company about this and all they would do is tell me that they would pass on my suggestion to the proper people, whoever they are.
“It seems to me that at a time when Apple is taking its OS X business uses road show around the U.S. They could be spending a little time and money to get a useful tool for sales people in particular and all business people in general into the hands of Mac users. With accounting software and contact management software continuing to come out for the Mac, especially for OS X, one of the still missing pieces is a way to quickly and properly handle business cards/contacts. Suggestions?”