Friday, July 22, 2005

Data sheets for the A450 audio switch and the Crystal Vision Demon pinouts - I use these all the time and never have the details to hand when I need them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Pimp My Ride is hilarious - it's MTV's "make-over" show. They take your tatty old car and make it look like a drug-dealer's vehicle. Unfortunately you're little Fiat Panda's 750cc engine now has to drag around another 100kg of body-kit and amplifiers for the outrageous sound system. Tim Westwood is the clown prince of UK hip-hop and the presenter.

I wondered about how we sometimes upgrade old edit suites and if Mr Westwood might have a take on that? (bold is for hip-hop emphasis);

Westwood: Yes, yes - my man is getting no respect with his old-skool version seven ABVB machine. Back in the day his AVR2 laybacks looked good but now no comissioning editor would be blessed by his offlines.

cut to fast montage of Root6 engineers pulling out the 9600 Mac and installing a new Adrenaline

Westwood: Holler! With this DNX-L board he'll be enjoying maximum resolution. Eight channel audio ensures massive sonic response!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Decklink video cards and the online community they run at Creative Cow. I have been caught out several times by their so called "Pro" products - see a previous post here. Anyhow, I posted the following;

Does anyone have any advice on phasing the active picture to sync timing on the output of a Pro card under V4.7 of the driver on a G5?
I've recently put in a couple of suites running FCP 4.5 and the output of both cards shows a consistent error in their picture sync timing. It's so bad that some outboard devices (typ. those that don't have a separate genlock - a legaliser in this case) aren't happy with the SDi out.

Internal bars on a DVW A500P and the o/p of the Decklink Pro card
click the image for full size screen-grab from a WVR610.

You'll see the difference between the output of a DigiBeta (I'm assuming that is correct!) and the Decklink. What the Tek610 waveform monitor is showing is the difference between start of the data interval in the back porch and the start of active video. Although this isn't well specified in REC601 it is related to the 10.4uS interval that engineers measure to get the start of active picture placed correctly (dropping edge of sync to start of active line). In each of these screen-shots the Tek is free-running (so as to remove the effect of a card whose output isn't genlocked to station black). To make it a fair comparison I also pulled the reference from the VTR's input. There is about a micro-second of discrepancy.
It's wrong - measurably so - and is problematic if you want to integrate your FCP into a broadcast setup.

Now the moderator didn't put the post up but I was tickled by the following thread:

Subject: 4:3 to 16:9 (Letterboxing) Without Image Degradation

This may not be the right forum for this question, but thought I'd pose the question just the same: Does anyone out there know of an app that transforms non-anamorphic DV material shot at 4:3 to 16:9 WITHOUT just cutting off the top and bottom of the frame and losing all those valuable, indispensable little pixels in the process? Since I believe the Pana DVX100a does this digitally, perhaps there's some software that does it after the fact.


What you describe is impossible. To get from 4:3 to 16:9 you must lose part of the picture. The Panasonic camera just crops the picture, unlike other anamorphic systems.

In any event After Effects will do a better job than FCP, picture-quality-wise

I was afraid it was, but thought I'd ask anyway, since what might be impossible today, might not tomorrow. Thanks for the response.

Not a matter of possible/impossible, just a matter of simple geometry. Think about it: How can you change the aspect ratio to a wider ratio without cropping or stretching the picture?

Maybe they're not ready for measurements that mention microseconds!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

New version of fccHandler's compile of VirtualDub - is always an event for me! VirtualDub by Avery Lee is the best swiss-army knife video utility I have and being open source gets re-built by others. This version supports MPEG2 files and is just the thing for taking the high-bitrate output of my capture cards (4Meg long-GOP) and transcoding it into DivX whilst fixing some VHS artefacts on the way (including droping the audio into CoolEdit to fix the hiss). Also see flaXen's VHS filter as this is excellent.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Extensions to Skype - I am a big fan of Skype and I've found a couple of cute extensions;

  • Skype for Outlook toolbar - this provides integration with Outlook and works really well.
  • Jyve webtools allows you to have a clickable link so folks can Skype you directly - see my right hand links

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bomb attacks in London - things are a bit crazy here in London at the moment - there have been multiple bombs across tube trains and buses and nothing is moving. The cell 'phone networks are also down due to the load.
I had to cycle from MTV in Camden to our office in Soho and for the fifteen minutes I was in the saddle I didn't move out of earshot of sirens - there are buses parked by the side of the road with their "out of service" signs up and as I swung by University College Hospital's new A&E department I noticed several armed policemen on guard. There are more helicopters in the sky than I've ever seen.

BBC News have the details

Everyone in the office stopped to watch the reports.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Tektronics WVR7100 & 6100 remote cables - we put in a load of these waveform monitors and I'm a big fan - you fundamentally can't get a more accurate video signal analyser. Anyhow - they come with dire warnings about how you can extend the optional control panel - essentially the manual suggests you should ONLY use the provided 8m cable - kinda daft when most edit suites are more than 30m away from the machine room!
So, here is the pinout for doing it over cat5 - pin 9 is the ground and pins 2 & 8 are +Vcc

9 - brown
8 & 2 - brown/white
1 - orange
3 - orange/white
4 - blue
5 - blue / white
6 - green
7 - green / white

I've tested it to 50m and it seems fine. In my case it is going via a patch in the machine room, a wallbox and a patch in the suite.
Hip Hop acts named after technology - for the most part I find hip-hop lyrics to be almost childish in their boombastic'ness (is that a real word?!) - anyhow, in the same way that most of them are materialistic/misogynistic idiots I've spotted a tendency to name themselves after IT and A/V things;

  • NAS - Network Attached Storage,
  • DMX - the audio compression system,
  • Cisco - (or however he spells it!)
  • Run DMC - look on the keyboard of any Sony edit controller
More as I think of them.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Art of Demotivation - Rupert pointed me at this truly hilarious site that lampoons modern management and consultancy styles. A job I was on recently has a total bully as an MD and yet he surrounds his staff with the kind of crapola that reads A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step on a poster of the Grand Canyon.
Anyhow - here is best quote from this site:

True wisdom for our age!

Monday, July 04, 2005

My friend Kevin Cade has entered the world of PodCasting - I'm looking forward to listening to his first two shows - see the link in the right hand bar. As an aside you can see some pics of Kevin & Lucy's tribe when we all went to the London Eye - Kevin, I and my boy Joe were all taking pics so there are a fews to look at - still, between us we have six very handsome boys! See 'em here.