Creative Communications

23 July, 2009

Configuring a Shuttle for FCP Part 2.5 & FCP 7 Overview

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sean Canton @ 9:03 am

I’ve been a bad blogger. It’s not just laziness,  something stops me from serving my little community to the utmost. Cynicism and malaise, I think, not directed at you, my wonderful readers, more of at life in general. Let’s break that habit, at least for today.

I present an early version of what I was mentioning months ago.


Now, this is for FCP6 and Contour Shuttle software.

Oddly enough, today I found that Apple announced Final Cut Studio 7.

Some exciting stuff here, colored tabs and markers, easier clip speed control, background rendering, multitouch and lots of workflow improvements. I don’t know if it all justifies a version change, but lets see what else got added to the bundle.

I think the thing that stands out for me the most is the across the board improvements to hardware support and workflow. Apple has really gone out of the way to make sure a variety of control surfaces are supported for Motion, Color and Soundtrack Pro. As you know, I use a Shuttle, and I find the little bugger indispensable compared to working with a mouse and keyboard. Dedicated hardware offers you the flexibility to set up your work space in a way that works best for you. This is essential to develop ‘muscle memory’ with your software.

Workflow too, the shuffling of files from folder to application to export to archive. More codecs, XML interchange and export options means you’ll have less hassling with files & renders. Color now integrates tightly with FCP. Pretty neat stuff.

Motion got quite a bit of love, making it even more of a viable contender with After Effects. Text generation, shadows and depth of field are the highlights here.

Soundtrack, I think, got the weakest attention in this update, but that’s ok if it means Logic 9 will rock my socks off.

Of course, for some, the best new feature is Blu-ray support!

While there’s a couple of shiny things to draw your attention to this update, I think that the most exciting improvements are a few versions away. Much as Snow Leopard focuses on improving foundations, this release, with increased hardware and workflow support, lays the groundwork for future greatness. Especially considering the work that’s gone into Final Cut Server, I believe they will have a world class media management tool / interface in the next release.

15 June, 2009

Apple’s One to One Program Attacks Core Customer Base!

Filed under: Creation,Insights — Tags: , , — Sean Canton @ 2:59 pm

I’ve watched Apple rise and fall several times over the past 15+ years of using their computers. Interesting times were happening when Mac’s were almost going the way of IBM, and clones were taking up a significant market share, back in the late 1990′s. The clone licensing was revoked because one of the core values of Apple Computers has always been an emphasis on the quality of the user experience, and this quality was reinforced by the closed box unity of hardware and software. With the return of Steve Jobs, Apple rebranded itself with the “Think Different” campaign, equating their machines with the same creative genius as Picasso and Einstein, firmly taking the reigns of creativity as a customer-enabling selling point and running with it.

14 April, 2009

Record albums will still be made after perishing as a commodity

Filed under: Citizen Powered Media,Conversation,Future?,music — Tags: , — Sean Canton @ 1:18 pm
A 12" record, a 7″ record, and a CD-ROM.
Image via Wikipedia

Various pundits have been predicting the ‘death of the album’ for a long time now. The popular rationale, advanced ever since Napster, is that since we are consuming music in 3-5 minute song chunks, there are far fewer reasons to purchase and experience an album in one shot. Before the MP3, there is no random access seeks in vinyl recordings, short of knocking the arm across the disc, hence the emergence of the linear album as the dominant presentation by which music may be purchased and experienced.

Digital music has changed the format of this presentation from a single, long form experience to bite-sized, easily digestible snippets of songs. Several songs strung together can tell a story with much more nuance and depth then can a single. Of course, the artist, producer and engineers determine whether or not this story is presented as a seamless entity in it’s entirety. Since the recording industry as a whole has focused on radio-friendly singles, not generally whole albums, it’s easy to extrapolate from history and come to the conclusion of how singles will be the future of music.

However, there are many releases which exist as a whole entity, made up of discrete parts, concept albums for example. You cannot say that because the recording industry will perish that the album as a presentation will not persist. Even in a scenario put forth by Gerd Leonhard, “Music Like Water“, where music is basically a media utility you buy into with a subscription fee, compilations in the form of albums will be much more rare. Collections of songs, however, (mixtapes being the lowest barrier to contribute here) form a gestalt entity, where the whole is greater then the sum of it’s parts, and will never be obsolete.

Looking at some of my favorite albums (forgive my conventional taste in greatness), The Downward Spiral, Dark Side of the Moon and Hell Awaits all have a few things in common. The central themes rotate through various lenses of interpretation, both sonically and lyrically. Albums allow for all the story-telling tricks we praise in the film world, foreshadowing, character development, climax, resolution, peripatia and anagnorisis. The production quality is quite high on all these releases which allows for persistent auditory themes throughout the album. This is the most important part, in my opinion, because it serves as a link between one song and each other in the collection. Yet, there is enough distinction that each song does not sound the same as the others, a sin committed by virtually every pop record produced in 2000.

That’s what it boils down to, ultimately, is focused effort on the part of the artists and producers. If you’re looking at something as a business equation, you want maximum results for minimum inputs. It just hasn’t been worth the effort to make entire albums stand out. Perhaps then album will perish because nobody wants to put the effort into making something which will be appreciated by so few. Since when did the lack of an audience stop an artist?

Albums will continue to be created because there are still musicians on the planet.

Now, the ‘death of the rock star‘ is something I believe will happen, with all certainty. That’s another thought for another time. Until then, thanks for reading, and I welcome your comments below.

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