Final Cut Studio 2

In October 2006 I wrote:

I think the new version of Motion will be Motion on steroids. Apple will put lots of the stuff Shake can do inside Motion, and now also include the great color tools from Final Touch. I’m not even sure they will continue FinalTouch as separate product. It depends whether they manage to get a work flow for colorists inside Motion.

Yesterday Apple showed their biggest upgrade of Final Cut Pro ever; the Final Cut Studio 2. With new versions of abot everything (except Livetype).

Let me start off with the single most important thing to me as a video editor: Open Format Timeline. With this new feature in FCP, I can drop all my most used video formats in the same timeline… (drum roll) with no rendering!. I’m going to save hours and hours just with this feature. All these formats are supported by this feature:

Open Format Timeline - formats supported

FinalTouch = Color

Apple bought FinalTouch last autumn, and now they are throwing it into Final Cut Studio 2 – for free! Yes, it’s part of the package. Either you pay $1299 for the a new package, or $499 to upgrade from Final Cut Studio, or $699 from any previous version of FCP – including version 1 from 1999. That’s a very good deal. Applause for Apple, who have sold more then 800,000 copies of Final Cut Pro so far, and will sell tons more with this upgrade.

Have a look at the new features of FinalTouch, now called Color.

I’ll have a full rundown of all important new features of the new Final Cut Studio 2 package soon.

1 000 Amazing Circles (actually 9 743)

In November 2005 I promised not to mention Amazing Circles on my site until member number 1 000…. I broke my promise. Twice. I admit.

Amazing circles 1000

Screenshot: The latest creations in the Flickr Amazing Circles group

But now there are 1 002 members in the Amazing Circles Flickr group, and member number 1 000 is JJjunki from Tsukuba, Japan. Welcome! Here’s a circle JJjunki made.

The group now approcahes 10 000 Amazing Circles, with the most active members close to 200 circles each.

Also, a big applause for Nadano Kamome, who started this with the picture “How to edit Reversing world” in October 2005. I almost met Kamome in April 2006, when I visited Japan with my family. Almost, because we couldn’t find a spot and time where we both could be at the same time. I think we even passed each other on different trains between Kyoto and Kobe at some point! Next time, Kamome, I promise! I’m definitely going back to Japan, which was just brilliant. Remind me finishing my Japan series that I started ( – tag “Japan”), but never finished.

If you do a Google search for “Amazing Circles”, you’ll get over 37 000 hits. That’s a quite a bit for a name I “invented” only 15 months ago. According to Trendmapper (Amazing Circles chart), it has been as high as about 95 000 hits back in May 2006. And when Digg caused a stampede in February 2006, the site went down. Heh.

Some people have gone bananas with pictures of themselves. So if you want to make some really scary new year’s cards…

Podcast icon

Remember when RSS got a new icon some time ago? Within weeks and months, everybody agreed to use the new icons from Feed Icons.

I don’t know if this is old news, if anyone has suggested something like this before blah blah blah. But this is a very nice icon representing a podcast:

Podcast icon

I think it’s brilliant. I found it at the Dumb Little Man blog, that showed up on a search I did on today. It’s made by Spoiltchild, but I couldn’t find any mention of it on their site.

Redesigned – again

I got tired of the old look, and installed the Fauna WordPress theme. I also have created a logo, and a new header.

Brilliantdays Logo

The logo is supposed to combine two things:

A stylized sun – something you need on a brilliant day (and here’s why the site is called, and a stylized Ø – the first letter in my name. It’s a special character only used in Norway and Denmark. So I ususally just write my name with an O instead: Oyvind.

Why a green sun? I just like the colors.

What do you think?

I have lots of tweaking and messing about with PHP, CSS and HTML before I’m happy. But I think it’s a good start. It felt good to get rid of the heavy green line at the top. I may reintroduce some more color up there, but for now I’ll stay with lots of white. It’s summer!

Buy a bigger display

Eric Mack wants a bigger display for mindmapping. I have some thoughts on this: I have been using displays of all sizes from 14″ to 30″ the last year. And there is one single rule that works: The bigger the better.

I’m sure people will switch to much bigger displays in the years to come. A 17″ display is just way too small to work effeciently on. Of course, it depends, if you just are going to write and do nothing with the text but write from a to z, 17″ is ok. But as soon as you need to start editing and making structural changes, you need a bigger display.

When editing in Final Cut Pro, I use both a 17″ Powerbook, and G5s with 22″ and “23” displays. The 17″ Powerbook is much better than the 15″, but if you are working a lot with keyframing of effects and motions, it’s way too small. The 22″ is wide enough, but not tall enough. 23″ is better, but after working on a 30″ at a demo… (I want!)

Bigger = faster

With a bigger display you look at your work more the way you look at your desk. It took me some time to get used to it, but then something happens. You start you use tools faster and better, you can put things you need to have around open next to what you’re doing. You don’t have to scroll as much, and can use your eyes and your amazing brain to find information fast by scanning over text and visual information.

If you want some more background and research, first head over to the display pages at, and mouse over the the 20″, 23″ and 30″ displays (the numbers) at the page. You get a very clear visual on how much bigger the 30″ is. What I especially liked was that it’s so much higher. The 23″ is wide enough for most things, but not tall enough. When I edit in Final Cut Pro, I need a tall monitor, because I need to see as many tracks as possible. This would be the same all software working with tracks and timelines: Flash, After Effects, DVD Studio Pro, Logic, ProTools etc.

How much bigger is a big display?

At the same page, Apple has put up a pdf report on how much more productive you become with a 30″ display. They want to sell bigger displays, but I totally agree with the results.

Significantly improve productivity

37signals had an interesting article about bigger screens in October 2005.

One veteran researcher claimed he has “never seen a single tweak to a computer system so significantly improve a user’s productivity.” On the bigger screen, people completed the tasks at least 10 percent more quickly – and some as much as 44 percent more quickly.

Microsoft has an article on the same subject, also talking about how much better it is to have two displays instead of one:

Give someone a second monitor, let them use it for while, and then try to take it away. It just isn’t going to happen. They’ll never go back to a mono display. Researchers in the Visualization and Interaction for Business and Entertainment group (VIBE), found that increasing a computer user’s display space made it easier for them to complete their tasks.

Women think wider

The Microsoft article also says that woman need bigger displays to be able to work better, because of the way their brains work differently than men:

So we need to support females with big displays, with wider fields of views when they’re doing intense navigation tasks. They’ve been at a disadvantage in any 3D system, but just give them a wider field of vision and smooth graphics, and they’re good to go.”

Bigger TVs -> bigger computer displays

People now are buying 42″ and 52″ LCD and plasma TVs for their living room. And most of these TVs can be used with your computer too. So what does happen when you go back to the 17″ in the office after using your Media Center with a 42″ all weekend? You feel like someone put on blinds. Not a good feeling.

If I were to buy a new display for my computer, I would buy nothing less than 23″. And not a portable with less than 17″ (unless you need to hide it away in a tiny bag, or just need it to dump your pictures when traveling).

Update 1: Eric Mack

Eric Mack points back to this post. Thanks, Eric!

Update 2: Robert Scoble

Robert Scoble has a long post about how to improve Microsoft. One of his points is to buy every employee of Microsoft a new fast computer and dual monitors:

I’ve seen the productivity benefits that dual monitors can bring. Every employee who has them says having two monitors is transformational. Especially coders who can have one screen for typing code and another for designing UIs. Or, even if they are just an algorithm kind of person, the second one keeps their email showing so they don’t need to switch over when a new email shows up.

Heck, I’d go further. If we want to reach the Second Life generation we need three screens. One to run Second Life (and other kinds of social apps), one to run Visual Studio, and one to run Outlook. Or something like this. Go and watch the researchers at Microsoft Research who are working on multiple screen interfaces. They told me that industry researchers are seeing somewhere between a five to 15% productivity gain when someone goes from one monitor to two.

This make sense to me. Even if I totally understand Merlin Mann in his articles about attention, mindfullnes and always on, I often need to pay attention to several things at once. And having a third display just for IM and social apps is a good idea!

Promax BDA newsletter

Promax is a worldwide organization for people doing promotion and marketing in electronic and broadcast media. BDA is an association of broadcast and multimedia designers. Together, Promax BDA has over 4000 individuals or organizations as members. So I take it as a big honor that the latest newsletter use on of my so-called amazing circles to illustrate an article.


In the newsletter Pamela Robinson continues her series on successful interviewing, and also answers questions from readers of the newsletters. Like this answers from a woman thinking about how having a baby could influence her career.

If you are in the creative arena, there is more of a tolerance and acceptance of kids… in fact many of the creative execs, writers, & directors bring their children to work at times, and have the flexibility to take time off when needed – for a doctor’s appointment or a soccer game. However, the more corporate positions (on the business side) tend to be less tolerant of catering to the children’s needs, and of course this varies from company to company.

I think she is right. In the creative arena, where I work, there IS a bigger tolerance of kids. And their parents! And exactly that is why many of us are so creative. Yes. It’s as simple as this: People who spend a significant amount of time with kids get a new way to look at things. And also learn that there is no need to take themselves so seriously all the time. Not to mention perspective: After washing poo or nursing a fever sick child, you do think differently the next time you sit down with your Wacom tablet. Taking your small kids to work also helps you see things that you didn’t think about at all before: Why did you put that thing over there? Why do you have to do it like that?

I even let the kids make promos with me. They loved it, the result was excellent, and my boss was happy. And the show got lots of viewers.

How to make amazing circles

You make your own amazing circles, the full instructions are here. And do post them on the Amazing circles group at Flickr.

Promax members – upload your pictures!

Promax BDA has conferences all over the world, in cities like Vienna, Dubai, Jakarta, Mumbai and New York this year. If you’re attending on of these conferences, take pictures and upload them to the Promax group at Flickr. So far there are only pictures from Promax Athens 2005, so find those pictures and upload them! See my post about sharing your Promax BDA pictures.

Brand therapy 3

The picture is from a presentation by Carlos Ferreyros, Creative Director of ca square, USA. The slide reads “Vision without action is daydreaming. Action without vision is a nightmare.” I think it is a Japanese proverb. Do you know?

Update: The picture used in the article is also at Flickr, here.