Adobe updates Premiere Pro CS4 to 4.1

If you’re into video editing you should check out the latest enhancements in Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 4.1. One of the main things that I love about Premiere Pro CS4 (PR) is that it can edit the AVCHD footage from my Canon VIXIA HF10 camcorder natively! That’s right! No transcoding (converting to another format first). As far as I can tell, Premiere Pro CS4 is the only native AVCHD editor on the Mac and one of only a couple on Windows. The whole advantage of going tapeless with your camera is so that you can have immediate access to the footage. Well if you have to convert the footage first (sometimes taking longer than real-time) then you’ve lost the advantage of the tapeless workflow. Now not only can you edit all the most popular video formats out there, you can even edit footage right off a video DVD with the new .VOB file support! If you’re a Final Cut Pro or AVID user, no worries. You can bring your projects right into Premiere Pro CS4.

A good thing just got better

Adobe just released updates to Premiere Pro CS4 4.1 (Mac | Win), After Effects CS4 9.0.2 (Mac | Win)and the Adobe Media Encoder CS4 4.1 (the direct update link wasn’t available yet, but this update should install via your Adobe Updater app):

  • Additional support for REDCODE (please visit RED support for additional details).
  • Performance improvements to project load time.
  • Improvements to AVCHD support.
  • Performance enhancements for DV/HDV playback.
  • Support for Avid captured DV or IMX footage. (Please see www.adobe.com/go/kb409079 for additional information).
  • Export media to a still format now bypasses the AME render queue.
  • Enabled .VOB extension support. (yes this means editing the footage right off a Video DVD!)
  • Third-party support

The New Adobe Media Encoder CS4 4.1 – once you’re done editing your master piece, you’ll be happy to know that the update to the Adobe Media Encoder renders out your final video about twice as fast (in my testing) than the 4.0.2 version did. Also there are new presets for YouTube HD Widescreen for sharing your video on social networking sites.

See it Live! If you’re in Michigan, see me demo the new enhancements to the Adobe Production Premium CS4 suite at the next MIVA meeting on June 3rd.

Can’t make it to my demo? If you’re not going to be in the Michigan area on June 3rd, my buddy Dave Helmly recorded an extensive video showing the new features off. You can view it here now or you can grab it from my Adobe Creative Suite Video Podcast to view it later:
[flv:http://media.libsyn.com/media/cspodcast/podcast-PR-Premiere4.1.mp4 625 353]

Buy or Upgrade to Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 Today!

Premiere Pro CS4 for Mac | Premiere Pro CS4 for Windows

Premiere Pro CS4 Upgrade for Mac | Premiere Pro CS4 Upgrade for Windows

Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium for Mac | Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium for Windows

Adobe CS4 Production Premium for Mac Upgrade | Adobe CS4 Production Premium for Windows Upgrade

iPhone App of the Week – Midway

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Last week I put out a request for an app that I thought would be great to have. My idea was to have an app called “Meet me halfway”. The app would figure out where you are and then let you choose a contact from your list and figure out the midpoint between you both and propose a restaurant, bar, park, etc. to meet at. Just as suspected, one reader of this blog came through again! Blog reader “Brian” pointed me towards “Midway.”

Just what I was looking for

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Midway does just what I was looking for and even takes it up a notch. You can either turn on the Location Services feature to figure out where you are or simply use the Contacts in your list. Once you choose two Contacts or your location and a Contact, you then choose what type of place you want to meet at. Your choices are Restaurant, Bar, Hotel, or Cinema. There is an Add.. feature that lets you key in your own category.

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Since the feature uses the built-in Google Maps app for the results, chances are you can have a broad list of categories. I added “Park” and it worked fine.

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Midway takes it up a notch by doing one thing that I hadn’t even considered. It lets you choose multiple contacts. This way if you and a few of your friends were meeting up, you can pick a place that’s in the middle of all of you. This way you can all travel as equal of a distance as possible to make it fair. Once you pick a spot you can get directions to that spot for yourself and you can share that location with everyone else via email. Perfect!

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The Bottom Line

This is a great app! If you need to pick meeting locations for friend get togethers or eBay/Craig’s List transaction completions, this is your app. Speaking of eBay/Craig’s List. My only feature request (which I’ve already contacted the developer about) would be to have a feature that lets you also key in an address manually. I love being able to use the addresses in my Contacts, but I would also like to key in an address for the person that I’m only going to meet that one time or if I’m meeting a friend/relative and they aren’t coming from home/work. Otherwise, this app rocks! Midway is $1.99 and you can download it here from the App Store. Thanks Brian for the great find!

Shooting tethered to an HDTV

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As many of you know, when I’m in the studio I’m almost always shooting tethered to my laptop right into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Although I’ve got it down to a science, there is still a lag of a few seconds (doesn’t sound like a long time I know, but wait until you’re the one waiting) from the time I press the shutter until the RAW file is transferred via USB 2 to a folder (via Nikon’s Camera Control Pro 2) and then imported into Lightroom and rendered on screen at nice large size. It’s actually pretty amazing that all that happens in just a few seconds.

See my laptop set up here.

However, nothing is faster than plugging your camera up to a TV monitor and shooting. You see the shots instantly! You see them nice and big because chances are the TV screen is going to be much larger than your laptop screen (unless you’re using a desktop computer and larger display).

I’ve always wanted to start using an HDTV instead, especially since both my Nikon D300 and Nikon D700 DSLR cameras have HDMI outputs built right in. However, the question has always been “WHICH HDTV DO I BUY?” I’ve experimented with some smaller models and the problem has always been, what I see on the HDTV doesn’t match closely enough to the actual image. In some cases the color can be way off. In other cases the image on screen is much crisper than the actual photo. All of this can lure you into a false sense of security that your final image will look like this, good or bad. That’s why shooting into Lightroom has always been where I’ve been most comfortable because I know what I see in Lightroom is what I actually shot. After all, it’s in the computer and being shown on the display that I’ll be using from that point on to review, adjust and retouch the photos.

JVC introduces a New HDTV targeted specifically at photographers

The New 42″ XIVIEW LCD TV is a 1080p set that has one thing that most HDTV’s don’t have and that is the Adobe RGB color gamut. It also has 52 manual picture quality adjustments, which means that you stand a much better chance at getting an image on screen that looks like the image that will ultimately wind up on your computer display. Here’s what JVC has to say about it:

But here’s what truly distinguishes the LT-42WX70: Its color gamut is capable of encompassing 100% of the sRGB color space and offers a coverage rate of 96% for Adobe RGB, making it possible to faithfully reproduce, as an industry first, the striking colors, subtle nuances and unique ambience of D-SLR photographs on a 42″ Class screen. The monitor also offers a selection from one of the six preset modes that are most suitable for the source such as Photo PRO and Theater.

OK, now what?

Sounds great! However, here are a couple of things that keep from running out and getting one today. First of all the list price on this baby is $2,399.95. That’s a sizable investment for a guy who only does this as a hobby. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a gearhead and I have no problem spending on the gear that will make a difference, but ouch, that’s a lot of coin to shave “seconds” off my workflow. Yeah, I know that the seconds add up, but again this is a hobby. The second thing is that I would want the option of rotating this display in either a portrait or landscape orientation. That means that I either need to find a special mount or build it myself. Ideally I’d want this on a table or cart that can be wheeled around. I could wall mount it, but that would be just too limiting. So I would need to find or make the right setup for it first.

The Bottom Line: This is a huge step in the right direction! I’d like to see some smaller options too. I actually don’t need a 42″ display. Ideally a 32″ or even a 22″ would be fine. Will this display be near the top of my wishlist? Absolutely! Now that JVC has created the HDTV photographers want, will someone step up and finish it by creating the stands, tables, wallmounts, etc. that rotate and have cable management. While we’re at it and while I’m assigning a list of things to do (manufacturer/invent), how about some wireless tethered shooting methods that are fast enough to handle RAW files and are built-in or easily added to DSLRs? I can only dream…

My favorite USB Flash Drive is back and better!

usbcard

Just about everyone in the computer field carries around some sort of USB thumb drive. They’re great for transferring files back and forth and sometimes more convenient or faster than setting up a network share or emailing attachments. Before getting my USBCard a few years back, I used to always run into a situation where I needed a USB thumb drive, but wouldn’t have one handy. It would be on my key chain and my keys wouldn’t be nearby. I’d have one in my computer bag, which would just so happen to be back in my hotel room. The one thing I almost always have with me is my wallet! So when I ran across the USBCard by Freecom.com. I knew that this was the one for me. I’ve had it in my wallet ever since.

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People are always amazed when I pull it out of my wallet

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Whenever I go to use my USBCard people are always amazed by the size of it. I end up doing a 2 minute demo/show and tell every time. Of course being a gadget guy I’d want to recommend this solution to everyone that was interested. However, the problem was that they were out of stock for months. Well the good news is that not only are they back in stock, they also come in larger capacities. I have the 2GB model. Now they come in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB models. They also now come in both Black and White. As you might have guessed, I’ve already ordered the 8GB model to replace my 2GB model (you can never have too much space). There is no telling how long these will be in stock this time around. So if you’re interested, I’d suggest ordering one today.

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The USBCard starts at $16.90 for the 1GB card. The 2GB card is $22.50, the 4GB card is $29.00 and the 8GB card is $45.00.

Order them here.

WD My Passport Studio Portable Hard Drive Review

Here’s another video review. This time I take a look at portable external hard drives. In particular I look at the NEW Western Digital My Passport Studio 500GB Portable Hard Drive and how much of an improvement it is over my older Passport Studio drive.

The WD My Passport Studio drives come preformatted for Mac but will work on Windows PCs too. You can use it as a bootable drive for either Power PC or Intel based Macs. It can also be used with Apple’s Time Machine for backups. This drive is bus powered over Firewire or USB 2 connections.

In this video I mentioned the Synchrotech Firewire 400 to 800 adapter.

The 500GB 5,400 RPM WD My Passport Studio Drive goes for $169.99 at B&H Photo and Video.

I’m starting to see more and more Western Digital drives around my office. So far no failures to date!

CORRECTION: In the video I stated that the OWC On-The-Go drives were not bus powered over USB. I was wrong (working off an old experience). They are!

CORRECTION/UPDATE #2: Blog reader Gary reminded me that this drive is not bootable over Firewire.My primary use for this drive is data transfer and storage, so while I could use it to boot over USB in a pinch, this would not be my drive of choice if I needed to boot over Firewire or needed to use it as a primary drive.

Memorial Day – A Time for Thanks and Remembrance

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the men and women that currently serve or have served in our US Military Service! Your continued sacrifices to protect our freedoms are greatly appreciated. We are able to spend this day with our friends and families because of what you do!

As we observe this solemn day, we must remember all the brave men and women in uniform who gave their lives in the service of our great country.

Again, Thank You!

Terry White

iPhone App of the Week – Mactracker

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This one is definitely going to have more appeal to the Mac users out there than the Windows PC users. However, Windows users stay tuned, I’ve got a reason why you might want this too.

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Mactracker has been a long standing indispensable reference tool on the Mac to look up the specs for all the various Mac hardware that Apple has released over the years. It’s a great tool especially when you’re in the market for a used Mac or selling your Mac and you or your customer wants the specs. Well now that tool comes to your iPhone or iPod touch. Just like the desktop version, Mactracker for the iPhone is organized by category and then by Mac type.

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So lets say you wanted to know the specs on the 20″ iMac G5 with iSight camera. You would first scroll up to Desktops (assuming you had scrolled down to see what was there) and then you’d tap on iMac. There you see every iMac model since the first Bondi Blue introduced back in 1998.

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Once you scrolled down to iMac G5 (20-Inch iSight) and tapped on it, you would then see all the important information. Things like when it was introduced and when it was discontinued. Processor speed, latest Mac OS that it could run, maximum amount of RAM that you could put in it and all the info about Expansion, Ports, Graphics, and even the famous audible “Startup Chime” feature.

Mactracker, it’s not just about Macs

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Let’s say you are a Windows user, but you have an iPhone, iPod, AirPort Base Station, Apple Display, or Apple TV. You guessed it! That stuff is in there too. So if you were selling or buying any other Apple gear, this would be a useful tool to have.

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The Bottom Line

Having Mactracker on my iPhone is GREAT! I love the instant access to the specs about machines that I’ll never remember or care to remember. Although the App works as advertised and best of all it’s FREE, like most things there is some room for improvement. I was actually quite surprised that there was no option to email the specs page of a specific machine. Don’t get me wrong, I know that the desktop app doesn’t have this either, but it seems like such a natural for the iPhone version. I’d also like to see an “I have that” section. This way I could go through the database finding all my gear and mark it as a Favorite or “I have that” and then whenever, I wanted/needed to know the specs of a Mac or piece of Apple gear that I owned I could just go right to that section. Otherwise this app is great! I highly recommend it!

Get Mactracker today from the App Store as a Free download.

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P.S. If you’ve ever wondered about some of the apps Apple features in their iPhone TV ads, they’ve put theme all in one spot for you. Check them out here.

Apple ProCare: Let me get this straight?

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I use my Macs for work. So if I have a problem, I need that problem fixed pretty quickly (read immediately). My local Apple Store is great. I know most of the reps on a first name basis. They treat me wonderfully!! Although I could probably walk in and get special treatment, I try NOT to abuse their kindness. I don’t walk in expecting special treatment. Therefore, I pay for Apple ProCare, which gives me (or you) Priority Support. You get to make advance reservations for a Genius Bar appointment. You get rapid repairs and moved to the front of the queue. This is the kind of stuff/treatment that I’m more than willing to pay for as I hate waiting in lines!

What I don’t get is why does Apple treats this program so oddly?

With Apple you can do almost anything online including ordering thousands of dollars worth of equipment that will be delivered to your door. I have called support on occassion (prior to the Apple Retail stores)  and when the problem couldn’t be resolved over the phone, Apple has shipped me a box to ship my computer back to them in and turned it around relatively quickly. Once they even sent a rep to my home to swap out a logic board.

You can buy MobileMe online and you can even buy AppleCare support online. Out of everything that Apple allows you do do online, the one thing that don’t allow you to do online is buy ProCare ??? You have to go into the store and signup/pay for it in person! OK, fine! Whatever, I’ve done that. That’s not the odd part. The odd part is that you get a ProCare card with no printed experation date. Sure you can keep track of it from the invoice and I do. However, once it expires, Apple sends you no notification whatsoever. No emails, no phone calls, no SMS messages, no nothing! I would think that they would want another $99 for the next year, but it seems like they don’t care. Still this is not the odd part. OK, here it comes: Let’s say that I keep track of my own expiration date. It’s not to hard, simply put it on your iCal or other calendar. My card recently expired on 5/2/09. Again no notification, I only know this date because I’m manually keeping track of it. I want to renew it. However, the only way to renew it is to make another trip to the Apple Store and wait in line to do so. So I have to go to the store, possibly wait in line to renew the thing that I pay for not to have to wait in line. Apple! Dude! What’s up with that? Why are you making it so hard for me to give you money?

I have an idea for an iPhone app

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OK, you guys are always so good at recommending really cool things back to me. Well here’s your chance. I’m not sure if it exists, but if it does you guys will probably find it and if not, then I want someone to write it!

The “Meet Me Halfway” iPhone app

There are times when you’re meeting someone to complete an eBay/online transaction, or you’re meeting a friend or a colleague and you simply want to pick a place that is half way between your location and theirs. So it would really be cool if there was an iPhone app that would allow you to use your current location and an address that you enter (or one picked from your Contacts) and then show you the halfway point on the map. Once it found the halfway point, it could then tell you the public places in that area (restaurants, coffee shops, gas station, mall, bars, parks, etc.) – like the AroundMe and iWant apps do. You would then pick a place and email or SMS that location to the other person so they would have the directions on how to get there from their location. Of course the place you picked should also be routable for you via the Maps app as well.

It doesn’t sound like it should be all that hard to have an app that does this, yet I’ve only been able to find one app so far called “InBetween” and I just don’t like the way it works. First off it requires that both parties have an iPhone and the InBetween app and an account on their website. Need I go further? It’s just way too much to go through for this relatively simple task.

As a matter of fact, here’s a cool website that finds the midpoint between two places today. So give me this with things in the area of the midpoint as an iPhone app and we’re there!

So that’s what I want! If it exists, let us know in the comments below. If there are any iPhone app developers out there reading this, how about it? This would be an App that I’d pay for.

Enjoy my iPhone Book on your iPhone

A few weeks back I reviewed the Kindle App for iPhone. One of the books that seemed like a natural in this format was my iPhone Book second edition. Well now you can actually buy the Kindle version of the iPhone Book and enjoy it right on your iPhone or Kindle device. If you need to look up how to do something on your iPhone, you’ll now have “the book” right on your iPhone.

The Kindle version is $9.99. The Kindle App for iPhone is a Free Download from the App Store.

The hard copy version is $13.59.

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