Jobs Takes Medical Leave from Apple

My Twitter feed was ablaze starting about an hour ago with variations of the above headline. Many news agencies are also reporting the same. The report is that he’ll be gone through June. But I’m not sure. I agree with Ryan Block:

Jobs finally stepping down (even if only for a few months), huh? I dunno, something in my gut tells me he might not be back.

We’ll see what happens over the coming months. Bot one thing can be certain: nearly every day most, if not all, of the tech blogs will be speculating and looking for information from their “sources” about Jobs’ health.
I just hope the man can get some peace.

JVC’s Newest Camera with Quicktime Support

Just a quick note. JVC apparently announced the GY-HM100 at the FCPUG Supermeet at Macworld last night. The camera looks to record XDCAM-EX inside Quicktime to SD cards. This would mean going directly from camera to post with no transcoding/re-wrapping.

Scott Simmons has some details from JVC’s Japanese site. We should be hearing more today.

Update (8:56am CST): The link is up on JVC’s English site. [via editblog]

Apple Leaving Macworld after 2009

Apple has announced 2009 will be its last year at Macworld. I’m surprised, yet not at the same time.

Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers.

This follows the trend Apple started (I believe) when they pulled out of NAB 2007. I will be interested to see what Macworld will become without a Stevenote ((This we’ll actually see this year as Phil Schiller wil be delivering the keynote.)) or Apple booth.

[via Ryan Block]

Adobe is not abandoning the Mac

Yesterday, reports surfaced that Adobe is removing their booth from Macworld 2009 next January. In a statement to Macworld, an Adobe spokesman said “Adobe has decided to shift its focus at the Macworld trade show this year. Macworld is a valuable industry show and we will still be an active part of it with members of our product team involved in Macworld tracks, including a full day of CS4 demo sessions with Adobe evangelists on Wednesday, January 7.”

Now, for some reason, many people seemed to miss this statement and the knee-jerk reaction was that a.) Adobe is slowly abandoning the Mac platform ((If you want to look for evidence that Adobe takes the Mac platform for granted, look at Flash performance or render times in After Effects.)), b.) they did not want a public face at the event for fear of complaints over CS4 (?), or c.) both.

First of all, Adobe is simply removing their booth, not their presence. As stated, they are still hosting demo sessions and involved in several seminars. Secondly, this mirrors what Apple themselves are doing with regard to trade shows.

In February, Apple announced it would no longer be participating at NAB. Unsurprisingly, several took this as a sign that Apple was abandoning the pro-video market. Afterall, Final Cut Server, their collaborative workflow manager and asset management solution which was announced at NAB 2007, had yet to be released, QuickTime updates were plaguing stability of their video apps, and updates seemed to be few and far between. (Two months later, Final Cut Server was released and recent updates to their pro video apps have been mostly trouble free.)

In reality, Apple was simply shifting focus (sound familiar?). They later stated that they were participating in fewer trade shows and instead using different outlets, such as their website, brick & mortar stores, and smaller self-hosted events to reach the public.

Back to Adobe. Is it really any surprise that Adobe would be doing something similar? In light of the recent economic climate, it makes sense to scale back. This was later evidenced in a press release covering their Q4 performance:

The Company cited weaker-than-expected demand for its new Creative Suite 4 family of products that began shipping in Q4 in North America and Europe as the main cause for the shortfall in fourth quarter revenue.

Adobe also announced the implementation of a restructuring program, and has taken steps to reduce its headcount by approximately 600 full-time positions globally.

Again, this makes sense. Marketing is one of the first areas to be hit by slow economic times; companies often cut their advertising budget first. This directly affects agencies and creative houses who use, you guessed it, Adobe software. Jobs are often cut and the endless search for ways to reduce spending begins. Upgrading to CS4 was most likely deemed unnecessary for many creative departments.

So, Adobe is cutting spending (and jobs), not support for the Mac platform.

Native R3D Support in Final Cut Studio

According to ProVideo Coalition, a recent update to Final Cut Studio now supports R3D files. At least, the same way it handles P2: re-wrapped as QT files.

We could always transcode to ProRes or work with proxies, but this now gives us the ability to work with the full 12-bit RGB data. This will be especially usefull in Color ((While I’m still relatively new to color grading and Red in particular, apparently DPX didn’t even support this. Which means we can really pull more highlight data.)).

There are a few caviats, such as being Intel-only, still no ability to work with full 4k (just the 2k data), and no Raw or Redcode timeline, since these are still read-only. Still, I’m very, very happy to gain the ability to work with the raw data instead of transcoded ProRes files or the proxies.

[Thanks John.]

Scarlet & Epic are (Almost) Here

red-scarlet

If ever there was pro-gadget porn, this is it.

Basic info for the Scarlet and Epic:

Scarlet
2/3″, S35, or FF35 sensor
3k-6k resolutions
$2,500-$12,000 (body only)

Epic
S35, FF35, or 645(!) sensor
5k-9k resolutions
$28,000-$45,000 (body only)

Or you can get 28k for $55,000. What?

To jump right to the jucy bits, take a look at the full brochure. I can’t wait to get my hands on that footage. 28k? I want it.

[via pro•active•ly]

DSLR “Cinematizing” Kit

A company called Redrock Micro is introducing a DSLR kit to allow for rail mounted lenses and follow focus knobs. At first glance, it looks like a typical rail system, until you notice a 5D Mark II attached. I have to admit, despite my initial skepticism, I’m getting a little more excited to see what people do with a kit like this.

Granted, there are already options on the table to attach 35mm lenses to traditional video cameras, but using a DSLR will make this much more portable (and prevent loss of light through ground glass). I do have to wonder, though. If you’re already going through the trouble of using a system like this, why aren’t you using a camera that offers more control over and less compression of the image?

[via Gizmodo, thanks Ryan]

// Update: This comment on Gizmodo I think further proves my point that this above the head of average consumers:

How are you supposed to hold the thing other than the handle on top?? The back is just four rods sticking out.

Tripod, dolly, shoulder mount, steadycam, etc. A kit like this isn’t meant to be a camcorder.

Film is not Moving Photography

Wired has a piece up about the new breed of DSLRs with the ability to shoot HD video. Now, the main objective of the piece is to point out that new chip designs have lead to this ability, but I take issue with comments like this:

“The single biggest difference between still photography and a movie, aside from motion, is lens choice and depth of field,” says Vincent Laforet, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who is part of a Canon marketing program, “Explorers of Light.”

Okay, first of all, I’m not sure that Laforet is aware that professional film cameras, including digital cameras like the Red One, do have the ability to changes lenses and offer a shallow depth of field as well. Later:

Laforet predicts that this low-light sensitivity will lead moviemakers to dispense with expensive, bulky, and obtrusive lighting equipment, shooting their movies entirely with available light.

Documentary, maybe. But as a professional photographer, I would think Laforet would know that light use is not simply utilitarian, only to expose the shot. Light can and should be an artistic choice. This alone means the “expensive, bulky, and obtrusive lighting equipment” isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Laforet is correctin one area: these cameras will be a great asset to news photographers who can now get snippets of video.

Now, call me elitist ((Listen, I recognize that the democratization of technology is generally A Good Thing™, but it also leads to an ever decreasing signal-to-noise ratio.)), but while I am excited to see the potential of these new DSLRs unlocked by the tallented people who use them, these cameras will not turn photographers into cinematographers or filmmakers. Just as having Photoshop does not turn one into a designer. They need to realize film (both documentary and narrative) is not simply moving photography. There’s story. There’s sound ((Please, use a good microphone! I’m glad to see the Canon 5D Mark II add an external mix jack, the lack of one on the Nikon D90 is sad.)). There’s pacing.

My predictions: at first, we will see a lot of beautiful moving photography. Then, once people get over that, we will begin to see the true potential of these cameras. But just remember: if the content isn’t there, it doesn’t matter how pretty the image is, it will still be boring ((I do sound like an elitist, don’t I?)).

iPhone NDA Dead (Mostly), Rejections still confusing

As has been reported all over today, the iPhone NDA has been dropped for released software and features. However, I’m pretty sure it will still cover rejected apps (specifically, rejection letters). Even so, it is great that developers now have the opportunity to share their code and techniques with one another.

Now, not to rain on the parade here, but now can they fix the issue with app rejections? IBM’s Lotus Notes has been approved for sale in the App Store, despite apple rejecting a third party G-Mail app earlier for “duplicating funcionality and potential user confusion.” Granted, Lotus Notes is a bit more complex than MailWrangler, but they both seem to provide “sufficient differentiation” than the built in Mail app.

Still, the NDA shows progress in the right direction.

Flash on the iPhone? (again)

Flash Magazine is reporting that Adobe is indeed developing Flash Player for the iPhone. It appears they have a team working on development, if the report is to be believed. I would note, however, the language used here: Flash Player, not Flash Plugin.

The Flash many have come to know and love (or hate) is embedded in websites and loaded with a browser plugin. As far as I know, Safari on the iPhone has no plugin architecture. I see three outcomes here:

First, Adobe is developing Flash Player as a separate browser, possibly based on Webkit. If you know you are going to a site that uses Flash, you launch the Adobe built browser. Obviously, this isn’t the ideal situation as users would now have two different browsers to use depending on the site technologies.

Another option is to have Flash behave similar to QuickTime on the iPhone. When a user browses to a site with Flash, an icon is displayed which the user can click to launch the content in the Flash player. This might work, but there are two caveats: Only for sites built entirely in Flash or that use Flash for content purposes (think video and games) would benefit. Sites that just incorporate Flash into certain portions, like navigation or animated elements would either break or lose their intended design. Second, Adobe would have to be working closely with Apple for this implementation, which clearly isn’t happening. If they were partnering with Apple in this way, they would be either definitive in ther colaboration, or completely tight-lipped. Not these in-between quotes which continually pop up.

The last outcome, and perhaps most probable: this just won’t happen. I think Flash on the iPhone is the new Duke Nukem Forever.

[via lifehacker]