Monthly Archives: February 2012

‘Ask A DV Pro’ Seminar Series – 4K RED Workflow in Premiere Pro CS5.5

Hey all,

If you’ve ever watched any of my Premiere Pro CS5.5 workflow videos, chances are you’ve heard me mention RED, R3D and working with 4K media. This week, my colleague Wes Howell, along with Ted ‘RED Ted’ Schilowitz will be conducting an online seminar featuring tips & tricks and Q&A on this very subject. If you work with RED media, if you’re thinking about getting into 2K and beyond, and if you’ve ever wondered what a truly native, file-based workflow is like (in Premiere Pro and After Effects) you won’t want to miss this. Additionally, they’ll cover the benefits of going ‘straight from the camera to the timeline’, covering the RED RAW source panel in Premiere Pro (along with working alongside RED CINE-X), RMD files, fractional playback resolutions (for real-time playback on virtually *any* system, even a laptop) and much more…

The event is being held this Thursday, February 23rd between 10-11am PST. You can REGISTER HERE.

Blog on.

Just Play Music™ – An Educational Music Show, My Mantra.

I’ve been fairly quiet on the blog front as of late, so I’m very excited to tell you about first set of releases from my upcoming children’s music show, Just Play Music…

Put simply, this show is about playing music; showcasing the magic and incredible feelings derived from playing music spontaneously, while learning about basic fundamentals along the way. Kids can tap along, sing along, even play along…but what you are seeing is what you’re hearing: mistakes, good notes, bum notes, false starts and all.

Ultimately, the goal here is to showcase to kids (4-14) that playing music (and understanding a little bit about techniques & fundamentals) simply makes you better: it makes you feel better, live better, perform better in school, smile more…and it’s just fun to play too.

The Cover of the first EP

The official release of the show itself won’t be for some time, but several pieces of the puzzle came together earlier than expected, so it’s a real pleasure to be able to share them with you here. I managed to sneak out a Christmas single too (this past December)…a cover of one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs from Dr. Seuss…

Back when I was a songwriter (in my early Nashville days, mid-90s) I was often told that my songs (and in turn, a good portion of my musical songwriting style) were geared towards kids; bouncy, uplifting, melodic, and in the words of one publisher, “…a little too positive.” Yeah. Someone actually told me that.

In any case, though I shunned it at the time (in my early 20s) I started the process of investigating just what was out there in the genre of music/music TV programming for kids and tweens. I have extremely vivid and fond memories of Sesame Street, the Electric Company, Schoolhouse Rock, and another unnamed show (simply because, I can’t remember the name) that aired wickedly-early on Saturday mornings (probably on PBS): it featured all kinds of cool, live jazz, rock and fusion performances, taught me about modes (Dorian, Aeolian, Mixolydian, etc) scales (jazz harmonic minor among others) and the sheer cool of analog synthesis, all of which I’ve retained with RainMain like clarity, to this day…and I wasn’t even 8 years old.

So cut to 2012, some 30 years later, and I’m just at the beginning of realising this vision I had over fifteen years ago. In fact, the coming together of the final idea came about during my sabbatical last year (see my posts on ‘Post-Sabbatical, Prime Lenses’). The name, the ‘theme’, the mission, the mantra…all came to me, literally in a dream…including the words to the Theme song…(which you can find on iTunes and Amazon). Funny how that happens…but that’s the thing about music; it doesn’t play by any conventional rules, and inspiration can occur anytime, anywhere.

Here’s a snippet from an episode featuring classic blues picker, Fuzzy Island playing an old standard from Henry Clay Work, circa 1876.

As mentioned, everything that you see and hear in the show is performed live…and that of course means that not all the notes are perfect…but that’s the idea. Making music isn’t about perfection (ahem, autotune, cough)…it’s about the groove; it’s about the feelings you create when you’re ‘locked in time’; the feelings you have when a melody overwhelms you; the feeling that makes you want to dance, or laugh, or cry; the ability to create happiness and sadness with a single change in harmony…it’s magical, and educational. Parents can watch it, kids can watch it. And while there are the occasional ‘fast cut’ here and there, you won’t find any unnecessary visual filler: simple sets (sometimes, impromptu setups), white backdrops, and microphones dangling in the distance. The visuals are kept simple, as the music speaks for itself…and I believe it does. I hope you do too.

Just Play Music™

Blog on.

16GB RAM Upgrade for the MacBookPro…Editing Bliss

If all hardware installs were this effortless…

You know, having built more PC machines than I care to remember, I think my ‘fear’ in doing RAM upgrades stems from those fateful salad days, when a RAM upgrade meant a number of things:

1) Is this really the proper RAM for this particular (OEM,custom) motherboard;
2) Will I have to go into the BIOS and make changes?
3) Will the machine recognize this memory at all;
4) Will I have perpetual BSOD and wind up re-installing the old RAM again?

I’m sure many of you have been there, and despite the fact that we’re now in 2012, I still get those same vibes every time I prepare for the inevitable ‘upgrade’.

16.0GB (8GBx2) PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz SO-DIMM 204 Pin CL9 SO-DIM

Well, I’m happy to say that the current offering from OWC gives your 2011 series MacBookPro an unbelievable boost in speed and power, one that you’re likely to notice almost instantly…especially if you’ve got an internal SSD drive and, even moreso, if you work across multiple 64-bit Creative Suite applications (like Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects and Adobe Media Encoder).

Sealed for Freshness

Two 8GB sticks arrived at my door in small, simple packaging in less than 24 hours. I placed the order around 4pm Central Time on Thursday, and literally had it in my hand before 1pm on Friday. Gotta love that. Crack open the seal, and there, atop some pink foam, were the keys to my new editing bliss…
Clean, simple packaging. I love that.

Curiously, or perhaps not-so-curiously absent were any kind of installation instructions. Again, I’ve done this for every MBP I’ve ever purchased, so I wasn’t too concerned. A simple Google search yielded exactly what I needed, and just as I remembered: 9 simple screws (for my Early 2011 17″ MBP) was all it took to reveal the RAM slots; pop ’em out, pop ’em in and you’re done. Even as I began to remove the back cover, I thought to myself, “Do I have to ease it out? Any special tricks?” But again, it literally pops off, easily, and you just apply a little pressure (so that the edges are flush) when you’re replacing the screws.
Swapped out old RAM with OWC RAM. Easy.

The key to doing this quickly is lining up those screws! I always place them, visually on the table, in their exact layout. Apple uses different size screws, so it’s key that you return them where they belong. Not doing this, however, will lead to enormous frustration. I don’t even want to go there!

Within seconds of closing the back cover, I powered on the machine and literally, in about 5.5 seconds, I was greeted with the LogIn screen; a happy place to be! I logged in, quickly went to “About This Mac” and lo and behold, there it was…

16GB Success! The Happiest Screen Ever.

I ran the machine for about 9 hours following the install, and everything seemed great. Fast, responsive, and ultimately, stable. Today I’ll be diving into some deep editing/rendering, so that’ll be the more definitive comparison test (having spent the better part of the year working with 8GB).

Now, I wanted to share this little tidbit. I had ordered this RAM when it was first made available (or rather, ‘announced’) sometime last March. In fact, it was my dear friend and fellow road-warrior Terry White that sent me the OWC link in the first place. At the time, the 16GB RAM upgrade was selling for $1600 . Steep indeed…but for mobile video editing, it would be a game-changer and a no-brainer on my part. I quickly made my purchase and awaited the goods.

Well, tragedy struck Japan, and the industry was immediately impacted by this unprecedented natural disaster. As such, I was immediately made aware by OWC that the part was ‘on backorder’ and would be shipping in approximately ‘6 days’. A second email, about two weeks later indicated “20 days”; I received two more emails and one final communication at the end of April indicating, “Backordered Indefinitely”. Understandable, clearly…and I just assumed it wasn’t meant to be.

Now, my only complaint in this whole process was that OWC never contacted me again to let me know it was back in stock! And moreover, it was nearly 1/6 the cost! (with shipping, the total was approximately $266 USD). I found out, via several Twitter friends (specifically, my fellow tech masters Gert Kracht (@iGert) and Tommi Luhtanen (@tbeast) that they were already using the 16GB upgrade and I had no idea it was even readily available. Since it was OWC who ultimately cancelled my order, I would have thought they would have contacted me to let me know it was once again available. They didn’t. So really, this is just a little ‘wrist slap’ to say, “Hey…I wanted to give you my money…and you could have had it sooner!”

All in all, this was the best (and most smile-inducing) RAM upgrade I’ve ever done (this being my sixth or seventh MBP). Time will indeed tell, but from where I’m sitting, it’s all looking up…and with 16GB of fast RAM…in my laptop.