Oyvind on Facebook

I’m on Facebook (like almost half of the planet it seems). Yes, I was a bit late on this one (although you’ll probably find me on most other services of this kind, just google “oyvind” and the service name). Here’s my badge:

It’s fun and quite addictive. I certainly can understand why the Facebook owners turned down a $750 million offer.

There are a few things that are a bit strange, but I’ll get used to them. Thanks to Fridtjof I now understand the “wall-to-wall” concept. But I still think the networks concept isn’t perfect. Especially if you live somewhere where few companies and schools are registered networks.

And if you think it’s just a fad, check out the Alexa graph showing the development the last year for Facebook.

I would have bought shares…

“Once in every life/There comes a time/We walk out all alone”

A bit personal…

Robert Scoble and Thomas Hawk already has linked to this. But I have to do it too.

Thomas says:

Cyndie is a single mother of five and the photographs tell the story of her loss of her 10 year old son Derek to cancer. It’s a troubling, moving and emotional series of photographs that show in the most poignent way how powerful photography can be.

Robert says:

I dare you to not cry – The Pulitzer Prize for feature photography goes to Renée C. Byer of the Sacramento Bee. I dare you to look at her work and not cry. Start with the first photo and read the text with each photo (easy to miss cause you have to scroll to read it).

Robert, I cried. One of my childrens friends has cancer. Luckily she is on her way to be cured. It’s the happy ending story. Cyndie’s story is the other story, which didn’t have a happy ending. What a brave mother. Thanks for the links.

Final Cut Pro wipes

I have used Final Cut Pro since version 1.0 in 1999. During these 8 years I have used wipes two or three times. Wipes are ugly.

Heh. But today a friend of mine called and asked:

What do I buy if I want the most crazy wipes out there for Final Cut Pro?

Fair enough. He makes a children’s program, so he DOES need them. It’s part of the deal to make wacky transitions every 6 seconds.

So I made a list of some interesting things:

The Final Cut Pro wipes list

GeniusDV has a tutorial called “Utilizing Gradient Wipes in Final Cut Pro”. It shows how to use a matte image as source for crazy wipes in FCP.

CHV Electronics has a collection of plugins for FCP. One of them is called “The AlphaWipe-collection V1.0”. I have never tried it, but it looks like you get a lot for your $.

CGM also has lots of FCP plugins, and many of them have crazy transitions. Have a look at the demo movies (links are on the top of the page).

Mattias in Sweden makes a great bundle of free FCP plugins. You can download them at mattias.nu. They are not wipes, but they are free and should go into any FCP setup. Donate him some Paypal $ if you use them!

Digital Heaven in UK has some great quality FCP plugins. I use the DH_Subtitle – a subtitle plugin myself. And when it comes to transitions they have the nice DH_WhipPan. The plugins are cheap, and they are great quality.

And finally: Toolfarm has a list of FCP plugins that does transitions.

Do you have any suggestions? Things that actually work?

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.

Just when you thought HD was the next big thing, then comes 3D HD

3D HD is THE next big thing. And it comes to sports and music first. NBA (the National Basketball Association in USA), plans to shoot some of their games in 3D HD. In a session called “Winning Ways to Wow the Sports Broadcast Viewer” (must be an advertising guy who cme up with that title…), NBA and Pace will show the All-star game in 3D HD.

Special invited guests saw the NBA All-star game in 3D HD on February 18th, and now attendees to the NAB exhibition in Las Vegas, get to see the game and hear about the advanced technology behind it.

“Thomp”, at NowPublic saw the All-star game. And is convinced this is the new thing:

…made me feel like I paid 6,000 dollars to sit among the stars on the floor of the hardwood court. The up close FUSION 3D HD action made me forget I was miles away in a theater wearing 3D glasses and the sound was to as if I sitting at courtside. I felt I was so close that when Jay-Z bent over to whisper to Beyonce, I wanted to tap his shoulder and say she with me! Action seemed so close that when a loose ball flew in to the crowd, several people in the theatre (including me) put our hands out to catch it!

He also has some thoughts on the future of the system:

In summary I can see this technology being a big hit in the future especially to the common folk like me who can not pay the large sums of money to partake in these events live. PACE should not limit itself to major sports events like the Super Bowl or the NBA. This technology can be used to see high priced concerts or highly publicized Las Vegas shows. This can be another viable revenue stream for artist and promoters. Instead of booking a plane and hotel ticket, you can jump in your car, drive to your local IMAX Theater and save a couple of thousand dollars.

And – saving the planet while having a great time, I might add.

How is it done?

The technology behind this is exciting. James Cameron is shooting both his forthcoming movies with the same 3D cameras. The $200 million “Avatar” (2008) and the movie adaption of the manga series “Battle Angel Alita”, called “Battle Angel” (2009), are both shot in 3D HD. Cameron and Vince Pace are the founders of Pace 3D technologies that makes the special versions of the camera. Vince Pace is also director of photography, second unit on both movies.

The cameras are customized versions of the US$115,000 Sony HDC-950, in a specially designed rig. The camera sensors are placed 70mm apart to capture left-eye and right-eye imagery seperately. Pace is also developing the camera system to include the newer Sony HDC-1500 HD cameras.

NBA used six Sony cameras to capture the All-star game:

These camera feeds were distributed via fiber to a portable HD fly-pack system (provided by Bexel) in the arena that included a Sony MVS 8000A switcher and an EVS XT[2] server.

The Sony switcher includes a feature that allowed the director to aggregate multiple camera feeds and lock them together. The director then switched the multicamera production as he would a typical game broadcast; but, to get the full 3-D effect, he often held on shots longer than usual. Instant replays and graphics were also presented in 3-D, using the EVS server.

The output of the switcher (two uncompressed HD signals at about 3Gb/s) was sent to the Mandalay Bay ballrooms via fiber cabling. The larger ballroom was set up in a stadium-seating configuration, on risers to give the full effect. The smaller space was standing room only. Images were displayed with two stacked Sony SXRD 4K projectors in each room on 47ft and 30ft screens. The projectors were fitted with a special polarizing filter supplied by 3-D specialists Real D. Audience members wore special polarizing glasses to get the full 3-D effect.

Sports and concerts

Both Marilyn Manson and Gwen Stefani has used this new technology for music videos, and Universal Music Group’s Interscope Record has signed a deal with Pace to use the technology for concerts. Expect to see Dr. Dre, Eminem, U2, Gwen Stefani, 50 Cent, Sheryl Crow and Pussycat Dolls doing their things in 3D at your local cinema soon.

That is, if your local movie theatre can show 3D. Only 700 of 37 000 US movie theatres have 3D projection screens (I have not been able to numbers for the rest of the world). But Sony do of course want to change that:

“We are ready to roll into any theater with the two-projector system.”

…said John Kaloukian, director of Sony Electronics’ professional display group to Reuters (note: Some Reuters articles only stay up for three weeks so this link may go dead after some time).

Most of 700 movie screens with 3D projection, are delivered by Real D, which even has a blog with interesting articles like this one about “Composing for Stereo: The Filmmaker’s Point of View”:

The other concern I call the strength of the stereoscopic image. That is determined by two interrelated factors. One of them is completely new to the stereoscopic cinema, and has no direct counterpart in the planar cinema – and that is the distance between the spacing of the cameras or the camera lenses. Whether we’re shooting live action, or we’re in a CGI virtual space, the distance between the camera’s lenses is a critical factor. We’re going to call whatever we’re shooting with a stereo camera. A stereo camera, unlike a conventional camera, captures two perspective viewpoints. So we’re not going to refer to stereoscopic cameras. We’re going to call it a stereoscopic camera, and we’re going to say it has two lenses – a left lens and a right lens.

The distance or the spacing between the two lenses is called the interaxial spacing – that is, the distance between the lens axes. If you think about it, if the lenses are superimposed – in other words, if the axes had zero spacing – you’re shooting a planar movie. The farther apart the lenses go, the deeper the image looks. The use of this control is closely related to the focal length you use. Wide angle lenses tend to stress perspective, because objects that are closer to the lens appear to be proportionately larger, and the background appears to be smaller. The stereoscopic depth sense, which is technically known as stereopsis, is weighted or scaled by extra-stereoscopic cues – that is, by non-stereoscopic or monocular cues. One of the strongest of these is perspective – and perspective is often determined by the choice of focal length. So it turns out that with wide angle lenses you can use a reduced interaxial, and for telephoto lenses you can use a larger interaxial.

New tools = New ways of thinking! This also may be technology that take people back to the cinemas. If you have a 50″ plasma/LCD screen at home, a blu-ray or HD-DVD player, a great chair and your kitchen nearby – why go to a movie theatre? With 3D HD you have a new reason, as I don’t think there will be a home version of Sony SXRD 4K projectors anytime soon. Not to mention the players delivering the actual movies.

Editing?

I’m curious, how do you edit this? HD with two seperate cameras, one for each eye? What are your options for post processing? Do you need special software or do you edit in “normal” tools like FCP or Avid systems? Feel free to comment below if you know!

Update

Camcorderinfo.com made a video from the Sony/NBA event at NAB, as seen below (you may have to click through to brilliantdays.com/3d-hd too see the video if you read this in a newsreader).

Joost

The latest beta of Joost is out, version 0.9.

Joost 1

Screenshot: Joost video – Ministry of Sound music videos

The Joost FAQ says…

TV, the way you like it…

…Hundreds of shows from your favourite channels
…Full-screen, high-quality pictures and sound
…No fixed schedules – watch what you like, when you like, as often as you want

Well. Not yet, at least. I don’t think the quality is good enough yet, and the content are much like the channels you put at 30-99 on your TV remote. In other words: Not your favourites. Yet.

MTV is in with some content, so is some European broadcasters like DR (Danish Television). Ministry of Sound is a new channel this time, with the right content for young males (Let me guess: Football and girls will rate high on the Joost popular lists the next weeks…)

Joost 2

Screenshot: Joost video – Italy vs. Norway

I guess the big content producers are waiting too se how this goes. But even if I think there’s lots of room for improvement, Joost is going to be huge. When enough people join, the big names will too. The quality will go up, both for content and technical quality. Broadcasters and content makers should pay attention now, get their feet wet and try this out from the start.

Joost™

If you want an invite, check out my little competition. Have fun, and see you on Joost.

Volunteer to get killed – get paid

Norwegian crime author Jørgen Jæger wants to kill you in his next book. But only if you want to. And you’re getting paid. Here’s what he says on krimjager.com (in Norwegian):

Kjære krimvenn!
Jeg sitter i disse dager fordypet i skrivingen av neste års kriminalroman om lensmann Ole Vik. Handlingen tar til på Korsneset syd for Bergen, men vil forflytte seg til andre deler av Norge etter hvert som krimdramaet skrider frem, og selvfølgelig til mitt fiktive paradis, Fjellberghavn. En del av handlingen vil også finne sted i utlandet. Boken vil omhandle mennesker med ulik sosial bakgrunn, alder og yrke, noe som gir meg en herlig frihet i valg av skjebner. Dermed åpner det seg en unik mulighet for deg som leser: Kunne du tenke deg å bli drept i denne boken?

Med en snedig begrunnelse, en spennende historie eller en artig fortelling om deg selv, kan du bli skrevet inn i evigheten, bli berømt og få en flott nekrolog lenge før du selv dør. Det er ikke mange forunt!

De fleste boklesere ønsker å lese om spennende mennesker og deres skjebner. Din skjebne i boken er å bli drept. Kanskje skjer dette nettopp på grunn av en av dine helt spesielle sider? Skisser gjerne hva som er spesielt ved deg i svarskjemaet nedenfor.

My English translation (and do feel free to correct me, and make a better translation!)

Dear friend and crime lover!
These days I’m writing next year’s crime novel about police officer Ole Vik. The novel takes place at Korsneset south of Bergen [Norway’s second biggest city], but I want to move parts of the plot to other parts of Norway as the drama thickens, and of course to my fictitious paradise, Fjellberghavn. Parts of the book will also take part abroad. The book will have people with different social backgrounds, ages and professions, something that give a wonderful freedom when picking destinies. Which opens an unique opportunity for you as a reader: Would you like to get killed in this book?

With a good reason, an exiting or fun story about yourself, you can be written into history, get famous and get a great necrology a long time before you die. Not something that happens to lots of people!

Most readers wish to read about exiting people and their faith. Your destiny in the book is to get killed. Maybe you’re killed because of one of your special behaviours? Tell me what’s special about yourself in the form below.

How about that? The winner will be killed in the book, and some runnerups will get book prices. He as already gotten over 200 entries, so be sure to enter before 1. May.

I’m not sure if you have to be Norwegian? I would guess so, even though the rules doesn’t say anything about it.

I just thought this was a wonderful way to get interesting content for a book. And what a great way to market your future book. Brilliant.

Nike + iPod mac app

Graham is thinking about making a Nike + iPod application for OS X. Here are some of my initial thoughts:

  • Graphs that show your progress over time, either with the same route, or how far you manage to run in (example) 60 minutes.
  • Map integration. Let me put my runs on a map like on Nike+
  • Route playlist planning. Don’t know if that would be useful, but I thought it would be cool if I could put up a map for my run, grab data from previous runs of the same route, mark different sections of the run with a marker (like part 1, part 2 etc), and then drag in songs from iTunes to fit the different parts. Like power songs in the hills, slower stuff when it’s flat etc.
  • Some way to integrate the running with iCal. Bitch me if I’m lazy!

If you have any ideas, put them here or in the thread at Flickr. Ditto if you have any good suggestion for other Mac software that uses the data the Nike + iPod collects.

GTD mac app: iGTD

Bartek Bargiel is another one in the race for the best Mac GTD application. In good Apple style it’s called iGTD and has some very nice features (and some annoying shortcomings as well).

iGTD screenshot

The two things I like the most: Syncing and Quicksilver integration. Syncing worked flawless on my Mac. I had a few tasks in iCal already, synced from another GTD app; Actiontastic, which went open source some days ago. When I synced iGTD, it got these tasks from iCal with no problem.

And this is a good lesson if you are developing a Mac GTD application: Syncing with iCal. One GTD application that doesn’t have this is Midnight Beep Inbox. So there’s no way to get my tasks over to another app. Bah.

I also like that I can use Quicksilver to enter tasks into iGTD. And a nice menubar item with direct access to the app.

The date entry (for entering due dates) is very old fashioned. There’s no pop-up calender to click dates, and you can’t type “today” or “next monday” as some of the other apps can. It doesn’t even recognize 20.3.2007 as 20 March 2007, but as 20 March 2020. Weird.

So the race for the best Mac GTD app is still on. In my heat of possible winners are now five:

Actiontastic
iGTD
OmniFocus (not out yet)
Ghost Action
Midnight Beep Inbox

Which one do you like the best so far? I have big hopes for OmniFocus, based on the quality of the other apps Omni make. Of the other four, I think Inbox looks beautiful, but it’s soooo slow. The other three are great apps, and all have syncing that works. It’s too early to pick a winner for me.

How I keep in touch with (some of) my friends?

Brilliant table by Geir Arne. How would your chart look? Put up 10 of your friends, and check them off for e-mail, phone, sms etc.

Sean Tierney: Use your desktop as a matrix for urgency/importance

Urgency vs. Importance and the 5th system for scattered todos:

Mentally superimpose the above graph on your desktop (or if you really want, draw it as your background).

Drag the resources (URL locations, documents, graphics, audio files, forms, whatever you’re working with) to the appropriate quadrants on your desktop. URLs are the exact pages on a site with which you need to do whatever task it is. You can chunk a bunch of related items for a discreet task in a folder.

Now rename the filenames to “verb-noun” (ie. “handle tax returns” URL item links to the online filing page on the IRS.gov site)

I find Sean’s tip on using the desktop quite interesting. I drag stuff to the desktop all the time. I will try to organize them according to his tip for some time, and see if that make sense for me. And I think he is spot on when he says that…

Anytime you find yourself uncomfortable contorting your processes to match the latest and greatest productivity religion, I think that’s bad. Ultimately you should learn the fundamentals of various different productivity religions and pick and choose the elements that work for you and make your own.

But – and this is an important but – sometimes it’s better to just use a system someone has spend quite some time thinking about. And not start spending days and hours and months trying to tweak it into your the “perfect-productivity-system-for-you”.

Use Exposé

If you decide to use Sean’s tip, here’s a productivity tip to the productivity tip: Set up Exposé with the upper right corner of your screen to be “Desktop”. When surfing, just grab the link from the browser, move your cursor up in the upper right corner, and wham – all open apps and windows disappear. And you can put the url exactly where you want it on the desktop, on your new urgency/importance grid.

Program your own GTD app

Now you can, as Jon Crosby has decided to make Actiontastic free and open source:

The free (as in “free beer”) part starts tonight. The code (as in “freely available source code”) will follow when the overhead of a new team won’t crush the project under its own weight. Those with experience getting to 1.0 will understand what I mean.

Opening up this project for community participation is the best possible thing that I can think of doing for its future. Great things are on the horizon for that sweet intersection of the web and the desktop. I would rather discuss them openly and collaborate with other like-minded people than hide any of the details just to make another $29 shareware sale. I am not opposed to the idea of shareware in general and have purchased quite a bit of it myself over the past year. It’s just that shareware isn’t the right path for Actiontastic.

It will be very interesting to see what this leads to. I like Actiontastic. It’s fast, clean and solid. Download the latest non-expiring version here.

Leave your Mac alone while it’s installing software

Very good advice from Rosyna Keller at Unsanity:

When “Optimize System Performance” appears during the update process do not touch your computer and definitely do not launch any applications. Just back away from your computer box as if it were a swarm of bees.

I always do this, and if you’re setting up a new Mac, and instaling lots of apps: One at a time. And reboot between every install. Saves you lots of troubles up the road.