Apple has been under fire from professional-level users for some time. It’s been four years since the Cupertino-based tech giant refreshed its Mac Pro line, which may as well be a century in terms of modern computing. Many users have been wondering if Apple is abandoning the pro community for the more lucrative consumer smartphone/tablet market.
At last week’s Worldwide Developer Conference, most of Apple’s big announcements revolved around operating systems and other software updates. But there were a few hardware-related announcements, most notably, the upcoming iMac Pro. In some ways, the iMac Pro feels like a consolation prize for pro users. It’s overall a more up-to-date piece of hardware than the current Mac Pro tower. But it’s not the updated standalone upgradable CPU offering that most pro users are longing for.
Regardless of Apple’s intent in releasing a true pro-level iMac, the machine does have some decent specs at the base level. With a price tag of $4999, the iMac Pro is definitely not being aimed at typical college students or casual web surfers. And while that starting price tag might be worth it to some users, that is still the base model price. Which means it’s very likely it’ll be possible to spend much more on an iMac Pro.
Apple hasn’t released a price-based configurator yet for the iMac Pro. But one ZDNet writer decided to try and figure out just what a true tricked-out iMac Pro might cost. His conclusion: $17,324. That’s a pretty hefty price tag for a single computer. But it’d be an iMac Pro with all top-of-the line specs, which could be appealing to power users who need to do a lot of number crunching.
If you’d like to find out more about this theoretical maxed-out iMac, click the link in the paragraph above.
It’s not always possible to gather all of the footage yourself for a video project. Or, maybe you just need a cool bit of video to spruce up that latest video package. Having access to stock footage in these cases can be a real lifesaver for busy video producers. But it can be a challenge to find good stock footage, and when you do find it, you may have to clear multiple levels of licensing, which can be a real hassle.
Adobe recently partnered with stock video company Pond5 to make it easier for Adobe Creative Cloud users to get access to Pond5 content:
…we are excited to announce our partnership with Pond5 to further expand our video offering. Pond5 offers a diverse library of videos, motion-graphics and more, sourced from an international community of artists. The collection spans across a mix of modern, highly sought after content themes such as lifestyle, recreation, sports, cinematic, and aerial footage.
Our partnership will bring a large and growing segment of high-quality footage clips from Pond5’s collection. Our customers will have access to this wide range of video and motion graphics content at their fingertips, thanks to Adobe Stock’s native integrations into Creative Cloud applications.
Adobe goes on to note that this partnership will also be beneficial to Pond5 contributors, as their creations will now be easier to access for Creative Cloud users.
When you think cutting-edge video, Facebook isn’t usually the first name that comes to mind. But the ever-growing, ever-present social-media behemoth is trying its hardest to push into new territories when it comes to video. Facebook has gotten a lot of attention recently (for better or for worse) over its live-streaming video service. And the company isn’t stopping there.
At last month’s F8 developer conference, Facebook showed off its new Surround 360-degree camera, and announced that the software developer kit for the camera would be open source. Facebook is obviously hoping that the open-source approach will lead to quick adoption of the camera’s features, allowing Facebook app developers to implement the camera in intriguing ways.
The camera itself is round and is equipped with 24 individual cameras that cover the Surround 360-degree spectrum. The camera’s circular design will allow it to be mounted on a pole or stand that’ll keep it from taking video of itself (none of the cameras will be able to “see” each other), creating a pure 360-degree video experience. Presumably, Facebook apps will allow users to turn, pan, and tilt 360-degree videos, similar to how Facebook’s current panoramic photo feature works.
No word yet on when the Surround 360 camera will be available for purchase, or how much it’ll cost. But if the camera hits the market with a hefty price tag (which seems pretty likely), it’s doubtful 360-degree video will take off as fast as Facebook would like.
Modern computer displays are amazing things. In most cases, they’re thin, light, and relatively portable right out of the box. That makes it easy to install them in all kinds of different locations. But most monitors only come with simple desk-based stands in the box. Thanks to the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) standards for monitors and TVs, it’s easier than ever to use most digital displays (and even Apple iMac computers) with all kinds of mounts and stands that make it possible to use those displays almost anywhere.
Tether Tools, a leading manufacturer of many popular adaptive stands for tablets, phones, and displays, recently announced a collection of new products to help creators use their monitors in new ways. Here’s a rundown of these new items from Tether Tools:
- Rock Solid VESA Monitor Mounts: From Tether Tools: “These three VESA Monitor Mounts are an integral part of mounting a monitor to a stand or tripod. All three require a monitor that is VESA compliant with a 75×75 or 100x100mm configuration or a monitor that is outfitted with a VESA adapter.”
- Rock Solid iMac Adapters: From Tether Tools: “The VESA iMac Stand Adapter employs a unique adapter ring system, and a heavy-duty steel construction will keep your iMac safe and secure. The brushed aluminum finish matches the look of an iMac, giving you a setup that is both attractive and functional. Pair a Rock Solid VESA Monitor Mount (sold separately) with a Rock Solid VESA iMac/Cinema Display Direct Adapter to mount your iMac to a stand or tripod.”
- Rock Solid iMac Direct Adapter: For use with iMacs that have a VESA adapter already connected.
- Rock Solid VESA Adapter Plates and Extensions: From Tether Tools: “Certain monitors have a VESA configuration larger than 100x100mm, that’s where our three adapter plates come in. These plates convert 200×200, 400x200mm, and larger VESA configurations to the standard VESA pattern of 100x100mm to make your monitor compatible with mounts such as the Rock Solid VESA Monitor Mounts (mentioned earlier).”
- Rock Solid VESA Monitor Quick Release System: This system makes it easy to install or remove a display onto a stand or mount. Ideal for situations where you need to move a display between locations.
- Rock Solid Non-VESA Monitor Mount Adapter Arms: From Tether Tools: “The Rock Solid Non-VESA Monitor Mount Adapter Arms will fit most LCD or LED monitors with a bezel height from 10.5″ to 16.25″ and overall thickness from 1″ to 2.75″, or generally, most widescreen monitors from 17″ to 27″ (fits square 13″ screens). The adapter is designed to fit any VESA monitor mount with 75x75mm or 100x100mm mounting holes, and includes all required screws and other hardware for assembly.”
All products above range in price and can be purchased thru the Tether Tools store.
Most video producers are still trying to figure out how to get over the 4K hump. But video technology waits for no one, and the true cutting edge these days may not be in just adding more pixels to a high-definition image, but instead, taking viewers to potentially new realities and dimensions. That’s exactly what the new SID camera is looking to achieve:
At last, shake-free 3D content creation that’s easy and affordable for EVERYONE! Weeview’s SID offers the BEST immersive and stereoscopic viewing experience. Don’t just record the special memories, start re-living the experience in unbelievable life-like 3D format.
Here are some key features of the SID video camera:
- Immersive 3-D camera with stereoscopic imaging effect
- Adjustable parallax setting allows users to get different stereoscopic effects
- 3-D video can be used for virtual reality presentations
- 3-D video live streaming capability via connection to smartphone
- Smart highlight feature provides close ups on certain parts of the video, allowing you to focus on areas that you are interested in without losing the complete shot
- Auto-follow technology keeps video centered on the main subject of the shot
- Create shake-free 3-D video with the SID camera kit, also makes it easier to connect the camera to a smartphone for video streaming
- Create, share, and edit SID videos using the Weeview app for Android and iOS
The SID camera is being launched thru Kickstarter (see the link at the top of this article). The campaign has already reached its funding goal. SID camera packages can be had for a $179 contribution, with upgraded packages available for larger contributions.
Media-streaming platform Livestream was pretty busy during 2016. And it looks like the service isn’t letting up during 2017. Livestream recently posted a roundup of all of the things it’s released so far this year. This includes new software and hardware products, as well as updates to some of Livestream’s existing products. Here are some highlights from Livestream’s roundup:
Livestream Simulcasting: Described by Livestream as, “one dashboard to rule them all,” the simulcasting service allows users to stream to multiple platforms from their Livestream accounts. That includes Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope, Twitch, and more. Livestream’s Simulcast service also provides in-depth analytics so users can see which platforms are the most popular with viewers.
HTML5 Player: We wrote earlier this year about Livestream’s new HTML5 player and it looks like the company has delivered on the promised player. The player is a much-needed upgrade from Livestream’s previous Flash player. Livestream is still working on getting the HTML5 player on all possible platforms. The new player is currently available only on the Chrome web browser.
Studio 4.2: We also covered the launch of Livestream’s latest “studio in a box” product, Studio 4.2. Since the release of Studio 4.2, Livestream has added new features to the device, including Dropbox integration, making it easier to bring remotely-stored media into the device.
Dontions for Livestream Subscribers: Livestream broadcasters can now accept donations from viewers during live presentations. This service has been implemented by a wide variety of organizations, including houses of worship and nonprofits to independent artists and creators.
For more information on all of Livestream’s achievements so far this year, check out this Livestream blog post.
Digital camera technology has made some real strides in recent years. It used to be that, if you wanted a good photography camera, you’d buy a high-end DSLR. If you wanted a good video camera, you’d buy a high-end dedicated video camera. But a great convergence has been happening between photo and video-capture, with many modern DSLR cams gaining the ability to take high-definition video, as well as high-resolution images.
Sony is pushing that convergence to the next level with its upcoming a9 camera:
This mechanism-free camera can deliver a-class-above performance conventional mechanical SLRs have only sought. For example, this system realizes a totally blackout-free viewfinder while conventional systems can only try to reduce blackout time. A high-speed, vibration-free, silent Anti-Distortion shutter vastly extends the range of shooting situations while a mechanical system can only aim for lower vibration and quieter shutter release sound. α9 provides continuous tracking of moving subjects for foolproof AF/AE… α9 allows its viewfinder to show not only images of the subject… but also the final image of a shot. Now, thanks to a new image sensor that superbly manages all these roles…
A few highlights of the Sony a9:
- Full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with integral memory
- 24.2-megapixel full-frame image sensor
- Enhanced BIONZ X image-processing engine
- High-speed continuous shooting at up to 20fps
- Non-mechanical electronic shutter eliminates blackout with typical SLR mirror action
- Light directly reaches the image sensor without mechanical interruption
- Electronic shutter speeds up to 1/32000 sec
- Anti-distortion electronic shutter allows silent shooting
- Vibration-free electronic shutter that can keep the camera stable, for razor-sharp images
The Sony a9 DSLR camera body is available now for pre-order with a retail price of $4498.00.
4K video streaming is definitely here to stay. In fact, 4K streaming is becoming so commonplace, it’s even possible to now stream live 4K video from space. That’s exactly what NASA is going to do during the 2017 NAB show, happening later this month in Las Vegas. NAB recently announced via mass e-mail that the space-vid stream will occur during a panel called Reaching for the Stars: Connecting to the Future with NASA and Hollywood:
The panel is co-produced by NAB Show, NASA, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), and will explore how advanced imaging and cloud technologies are taking scientific research and filmmaking to the next level. The live feed from 250 miles above Earth will be encoded AWS Elemental encoding software on board the International Space Station (ISS) and on the ground at Johnson Space Center.
During the NAB Show Super Session, a live 4K stream will enable NASA astronaut Dr. Peggy Whitson on the ISS to converse with AWS Elemental CEO and Co-founder Sam Blackman, who will be at the LVCC. In conjunction with the live 4K streaming event, NASA astronaut Dr. Tracy Caldwell Dyson and NASA Imagery Experts Program Manager Rodney Grubbs will take part in an LVCC-based panel discussion featuring Hollywood and technology leaders…
This presentation should appeal to video-production professionals and space/science buffs alike. The presentation will take place on Wednesday, April 26th from 10:30AM-11:30AM at spaces N249-251 during the NAB Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The presentation will also be live-streamed in 4K (with downscaled versions available for non-4K devices) and made available on-demand after the presentation is over.
Wider adoption of the HTML5 standard for media players is a good thing, if for no other reason than, it means Flash will be killed off faster. That’s why it’s good news when larger, established platforms begin to adopt HTML5. That’s what happened when Livestream recently announced the rollout of its new HTML5 player:
Livestream’s HTML5 player is now available to Chrome users on Livestream.com as well as in the live player embed and video-on-demand.
HTML5 has become the industry standard in video viewing. More web browsers are eliminating the need for plugins and add-ons as HTML5 players have greater flexibility than their Flash counterparts.
Now Livestream producers and viewers alike will enjoy more resilient playback on Livestream.com and Livestream’s player embeds as well. This new player is nimble and responsive, equipped for quicker load times and less processing power from your computer so it won’t slow you down.
Livestream hasn’t completely given up on Flash yet. The new HTML5 player is only available to Google Chrome users who are viewing video streams on the Livestream website or embedded Livestream media players. But, the company is planning to implement HTML5 on other browsers and platforms:
We’re eager to implement the HTML5 player across all browsers, including support for Safari, Firefox, and others. These changes are automatic, so users will not need to adjust their account settings, nor will they incur any additional cost.
This is great news for video producers and consumers. Hopefully, more platforms will follow Livestream’s lead and begin implementing HTML5 media players.
Livestream Studio, the software heart of Livestream’s computer-based live media production system was recently upgraded to version 4.2. The latest version of Livestream Studio is designed to increase CPU performance, as well as provide simulcast support, and more.
Here are some of Livestream Studio 4.2’s key features:
Multi-Destination Streaming: Stream simultaneously to multiple livestreaming platforms from Studio. This requires more bandwidth from the network you’re using to stream, but will not use more CPU. For a more optimized setup, you can also leverage the new simulcasting feature of the Livestream Cloud Platform (Premium and Enterprise plan), which sends a single stream to multiple platforms without clogging your venue internet connection.
Hardware Acceleration: Lower your CPU when streaming with PCs running on NVENC-enabled NVIDIA GPU or Intel CPU with QuickSync support. This includes custom Studio configurations, the Livestream Studio HD550 4K Edition, and Studio HD31. Streaming at 4K and 1080p60 is also available on these hardware platforms with our new hardware acceleration support.
Graphics Support in Web Control: Web Control gives producers remote control of your Livestream Studio software using a WebRTC compatible browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox). Web Control now gives you the ability to fully control your Graphics module, including adding and editing data. Delegate graphics tasks to other team members while you focus on cutting the show on the main Studio interface.
Livestream Studio 4.2 is available as a free upgrade to existing Livestream Studio customers.