Monthly Archives: April 2008

Missed NAB? Look no further than AdobeTV!

Hello, my friends! Well, to say that I’ve been ‘recovering’ from NAB wouldn’t really be accurate. In truth, things have gotten so busy with SO MANY other things (can’t really discuss…he he he…secrecy) that I’ve barely had a moment to breathe…or blog. ;( So, in an effort to make up for lost time, I’m posting LOTS of great vids here…and a little late-night pic as well.
Red Shirt, Big Red Adobe DVD Case (I think I’ve had it since 2003!)
Yes, we’ve now posted a whole series of videos from different presentations conducted at NAB. The best way to check them out is to simply go to the Adobe TV Site (or, access AdobeTV through the Adobe Media Player). Either way, you’ll see a whole bunch of videos from myself, Greg Rewis, Karl Miller and more.
So, here are a few ‘selections’ from the show…
Production Premium for After Effects Users (stay tuned to the end…and for those who were asking about “that Puppet Tool” video…check it HERE!!

Flash for Production Premium Users with Mr. Rewis

Here’s an overview of Audition 3’s new features (sadly, they didn’t record the restoration demonstrations that I did on days 3 & 4

And there you have it. There’s lots more to see from NAB, so be sure to check out the Adobe Presentations @ NAB on AdobeTV…NOW!
And before I end this blog post, I just wanted to let you know that Greg, Rufus & I are getting back on the road shortly, reprising our CS3 Master Collection tour. We’ll be starting in Zurich (around the 29th, May), then onto Stuttgart, Berlin and ending in Graz, Austria (home of several of my dear friends, and the birthplace of Video2Brain)
We’ve also got a series of events in the Netherlands *prior* to hitting the road for the Master Collection Tour; and then…
…a month in Asia!! We’ll be showcasing Master Collection Workflow in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and India (just to name a few!). Details will soon follow (along with dates and reg info) so stay tuned!!
So, until next time…
Blog on.

NAB comes to a Close, but mouths remain Open

Hello, my friends! You know, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to come up with a new, catchy ‘Title’ for these blog posts…but I think this one really paints an accurate picture! LOL
In short, our four days at NAB proved nothing short of spectacular. Interest in CS3 continued to fill the seats in our theatre presentations, and with new products like Adobe Media Player and AdobeTV being centre stage (not to mention, the ‘couch’ experience), attendees were genuinely blown away (re: gaping mouths, in awe) by the technology, the workflow, and the overall story of the Adobe Message…Powering the Future of Entertainment.
Another ‘mouth open’ moment was the preview of the Reel by Paul & Christina Graff and Robert Stromberg. As mentioned earlier, these three produced a demo (compiled from footage of some of their recent triumphs, including HBO’s John Adams) and literally left people in complete disbelief…for when you see that nearly EVERY SHOT in the aforementioned and subsequent films was in fact ‘composited together’ in After Effects CS3, well, it’s just a sight to behold. Unfortunately, I’m not able to post a clip (or I would)…so all I can say is…see it for yourself. If you can check out John Adams, the Golden Compass, 3:10 to Yuma (or just IMDB search their names for more) you’ll see what I mean. But seriously…John Adams? It’s fricken incredible. I’ve now seen the reel (and the show) multiple times..and the fact remains, as John Lennon once said, “Nothing is real.” The Power of Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended and After Effects CS3.
So, a real short update, but just wanted to end on a positive note. Thanks to all of our customers and freelancers for presenting on stage (alongside me, Greg Rewis, Kevin Towes, Karl Miller, Bob Donlon and others) and we look forward to seeing you again, sometime, somewhere, on the road.
Until next time…
Blog on.
PS – Many people were asking when I’d be doing an Audition 3 training series. For the moment, there’s nothing scheduled…but if you want to learn about workflow (and see some really cool techniques for producing, mastering, and finishing audio) check out my Adobe TV series starring yours truly, Johnny Encore & Karl Soule entitled “Short & Suite”. And if that’s not enough, you can still purchase my Audition 2.0 training video from Total Training.

Adobe ROCKS NAB 2008 – Day One

I think the title really says it all. Hello, my dear friends. Today marked day one at the show, and it was packed city! Even my 9am presentation on Production Premium (note: the doors only open at 9am!) was full by 9:15am. Preso after preso, crowds were wowed by CS3, both showcased by evangelists and customers. I must also say that we have some of the greatest customer presos (and footage being shown) at the booth this year, EVER…much of it showcased in glorious, full-on HD 1080.
What was also extremely cool about today was that I was able to connect with some of the ‘readers’ of my blog from all parts of the world, and share some additional stories, shoot the breeze, and get to meet some of the ‘faces behind the comments’. Thanks to all of you for coming up and introducing yourselves.
Post show, clad in Adobe-gear, and spreading the message…
Adobe CS3 NAB 2008 Jason
And that brings me to the button that you see above. This year, we’ve got this new tag-line for NAB…Adobe’s Got My Back. We’ve got four days to spread these buttons like wildfire! So if you don’t have one, come up to the booth and get some! We’ll have ’em on hand (cause after all, we’ve got your back!)
I should also point out that i had a lot of questions (and really great comments) related to my new show on Adobe TV with my colleague Karl Soule, featuring Johnny Encore & the Acrobats. Many have stated that they’ve been waiting for me to do another training series on Audition (3). Well, timing is definitely an issue…but in the interim, check out our show Short & Suite. There are some great tips on mixing, mastering and noise reduction in these first two episodes (not to mention, all of the incredible techniques Karl used for assembling the video, literally shot in one short session) and, well, the music (and the stories around it) are just hilarious. It’s all about Johnny Encore…and he’ll rock your world. 😉 (oh…and you can scrub through the content; so even if you don’t watch the whole show in one sitting, you can always scrub back to the point where you left off.
And on that note, I’m off to prep some materials for my class @ the Post Production Conference tomorrow (run by FMC). It’s a class on getting Great Results with Soundbooth CS3, and will feature some workflows between Premiere Pro & Soundbooth. All of the FMC sessions are in the NORTH HALL (complete opposite end of where our booth is) and these are register-only (ie, not free)…but, there may still be open spots and I look forward to chatting up Soundbooth and talking about restoration, effects, and music creation with Soundbooth Scores.
So, until next time…
Blog on.

NAB, Post-Plane Nausea, and My 1-Year Blogiversary

Hello my friends! Well, today marks a special day for a number of reasons. As stated above, NAB has officially begun, with the conference-proper commencing on Monday, 14 April. If you’re around, we’d love to see you! So be sure to check out the Adobe Booth located in the South Hall, SL3220.
On the main stage, you’ll get a chance to see yours truly, along with many of my fellow Adobe colleagues. We’ll also be featuring some Adobe Trade Show regulars like Jacob Rosenberg (Filmmaker, Premiere Pro Master), Steve Holmes (After Effects wizard), Rich Harrington (Photoshop & Video Guru) and more. Also, we’ll have some really cool customer presentations, showcasing real-world workflows of Adobe products, in every facet of the industry (from commercials, to film, to broadcast TV). Check it out!!

Continue reading NAB, Post-Plane Nausea, and My 1-Year Blogiversary

MP3 & AAC: What you’re *not* hearing

Hello my friends. Having recently completed a series of college broadcast seminars (and, with NAB underway in a matter of days) the question of ‘audio compression’ ALWAYS comes up. People always ask, “Is MP3 *really* that bad?” or “Isn’t iTunes’ original AAC better than standard MP3″ and so on and so forth. Then of course, there are many who also contend that MP3, AAC(+) and the like are simply good enough because ‘you’re not losing that much anyway’… Uh huh. Yeah, I don’t think so. 😉
So, in an effort to ‘visually’ demonstrate what you’re NOT hearing when you compress (using a variety of popular formats), I decided to pick a few cuts from one of my more recent FAME outings in Amsterdam…

The subject in question…Coltrane, with Elvin Jones/Jimmy Cobb on drums, 1959/1960

The Subject of Today's Lesson
Now, many may ask why I chose this particular record. Well, the benefits of well-recorded (and for that matter, remastered) Jazz albums is that you tend to have a lot of stuff going on in the ‘high end’…and in this case, you’ve got some nice, present hi-hats and sizzle cymbals. Sizzle Cymbals are the ones that have the little rivets drilled into them. Used like a ride, they literally ‘sizzle’ as you strike them. This provides a really ‘atmospheric’ kind of sound, but also one that tends to resonate for a long, long time (and has a really nice decay). As such, it also occupies a lot of that high-frequency space.
So, let’s take a look at what the upper register (approx 16k-22k) of this recording looks like UNCOMPRESSED. Sorry that these darned images are so small (limitations of my blog…anyone offering to help me ‘pimp’ my blog’s CSS?? Greg is probably furious with me right now! lol) but if I get requests, I’ll post larger frame size versions directly on my Photobucket page. Just comment me and let me know. This CD was ripped directly into Audition 3. We’re looking at the Spectral Frequency Display in the Edit View, with 16k-22k zoomed in.
Coltrane Uncompressed, 16-bit Stereo, 44.1kHz
Uncompressed Coltrane, 16k-22k
As you can see, there is a good deal info above 16,000Hz. And, more importantly, you can truly SEE how strong (and present) that foot-closed hi-hat is (on the right channel, ie, the bottom of the image; top of the image represents left channel). There’s plenty of that sizzle-y ‘atmosphere’ as well, as represented by the reddish-purple color. It’s not high-amplitude…but it’s THERE…and it’s that very presence that gives the recording it’s ambience (an essential factor for good jazz recordings from this era).
So, now that you know what you’ll get from CD, let’s now take a look at the NEW 256Kbps AAC that you can get from iTunes (these are the newer iTunes Plus files– you can also rip directly into this format via iTunes).
AAC 256kbps, iTunes Plus
256K AAC , 16k-22k
Now, this is pretty difficult to see in these images, but what you’ve got is audio information that actually extends *nearly* to 19k on the average (best viewed on the left channel) with transient material (the initial attacks of the hi-hat) extended to approximately 20k (on the right channel). This, I must say, is pretty darn good, and for most ears you probably won’t be missing much. Granted, this is *not* lossless…and speaking as a mastering engineer, I can tell you that in certain passages, you do get some weird artifacting and aliasing (largely because of those difficult sizzle cymbals; you are, after all, sacrificing sizzle and ambience for smaller file sizes)…but on the whole, it’s a pretty sweet type of compression. As mentioned, I *only* started buying iTunes albums when iTunes Plus became available (and you’ll see why in just a moment). Still, it’s NOT replacing CDs for me
So, I’ll give AAC 256 a B+/A- grade. Let’s see the popular MP3 format…
MP3 @ 192Kbps (slightly higher than most internet audio encodes)
192k MP3, 16k-22k
Now, here’s the deal with everything above 128Kbps in MP3. You basically get a flat-top, razor-edge at 16k…*but*, above 128 you *do* get transient materials that extend nearly up to 20.5KHz. So what does that mean? Well, it means that your ears hear the initial ‘attack’ of the hi-hat (in it’s hi-end glory) but any decay of said instrument is truncated, and all the high ambience is compressed away. What you will also notice (if you listen carefully, with phones, assuming no hearing loss or damage) is that you *will* begin to hear some swishy, phasey-type sounds in the high register, again, all because of the compression. I used to use 192 for reference files (back when broadband was still a luxury)…but now, I *never* use anything less than 224, and generally I’ll do 256Kbps if I’m sending someone an MP3.
But…the *best* (not) is yet to come. Again, I know so many people who’ve ripped and done away with their CD collections…and they ripped everything into the the native AAC format in iTunes. Well, check it out…
Old-school..AAC 128 (standard iTunes downloads)
128k AAC, 16k-22k
Sad, sad times, eh? What do you get? Well, for one thing, you’ll notice (aside from the channels inadvertently being swapped when I ripped this! Bizarre) that now you have your ‘ambience’ resonating no higher than approximately 17k, with your transient attacks only extending to around 18.1k. Period. Nothing above that. WHA?? I mean, come on people!! You will also hear (very clearly) lots of swishy/swirleys in the upper register…but that’s only half of the devastation of 128 AAC. ;( In short, if you’ve ripped your library in this format, you’ve thrown away more than just the sizzley-hissy high end. You’ve also lost a great deal of the ‘meat’ in the middle (the mid frequencies, where the primary fundamentals of everything live)… I’m crying tears right now!

Continue reading MP3 & AAC: What you’re *not* hearing

Johnny Encore and the birth of AdobeTV!

Hello my friends! Well, the big secret has now been revealed…Adobe TV is LIVE!!
And what exactly is AdobeTV, well, you can check it out for yourselves here, but in a nutshell, you’ll be able to ‘tune in’ to a variety of shows, all hosted by Adobe Experts and associates alike (including, of course, *all* of the evangelists!) and learn about cool new ways to use Adobe products.
For my series entitled Short & Suite (co-shared with fellow evangelist and compadre Karl Soule) we’ll step you through an entire workflow of creating the 30-second masterworks of recording artist and industry icon, Johnny Encore. The first song we recorded for the series was his latest hit entitled, “I Used Photoshop Today”.
You can watch Episode One right here, beginning with Karl:

And here’s Episode Two, where I start :

Now, I should also mention…though a lot of what I’m talking about deals with Stereo Processing, unfortunately (as you may see, appearing briefly when I begin) these episodes are being broadcast in MONO. ;( This was not a limitation on our broadcast end, and future episodes will definitely be broadcast in true stereo. But hey…that doesn’t really matter, as you can still learn about the methods and techniques that I used, and really begin to understand the beauty of working in Audition 3.
So there you have it…Johnny Encore & the Acrobats, in the flesh (so to speak). The coolest thing about all this? We’ll be posting new episodes every month with new videos, new songs, and new techniques, all using CS3, Audition 3 and more!
You can also check out videos by my fellow colleagues Greg Rewis, Rufus Deuchler & Tim Cole, Julieanne Kost, Russel Brown and more!
I’ve got some AdobeTV watching to do (after all, I *do* need to see how I looked on camera!) so until next time…
Blog on.