Monday, June 28, 2010

July 2010 meeting of the wefcpug

Match, what match?   Time to put away the Vuvuzelas (see previous!) and your Argentinian / Brazilian flags (you were supporting them all along, right?) and 'get' ready for another season finale wefcpug meeting.

‘get’ is a tool that searches video by the spoken word, phonetically and can then export any chosen results into FCP. It is extremely accurate and after being announced at NAB 2010 won a DV Black Diamond award for Best of Show.   And - guess what - Adam Knight from AV3 software, developers of 'get' will be giving an exclusive demo of the product, currently emerging from beta. 

Plus news and views from a world outside football.

Next week - Monday July 5th - BBC Bristol, 7pm.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Great minds think...differently

(You may want to argue about the great minds too).

Following our learned discourse on Monday night, on the desirability or otherwise of Vuvuzuelas, Nick reports a hot link to work done in the Centre for Digital Music, at QMC London - they helpfully include an audio plug in (not sure if it's AU or VST) to filter out the massed Vuvus.

By a strange coincidence, I've just spent/wasted half an hour generating the sound of massed Vuvus in Garageband, with the ultimate aim of hearing what the National Anthem would sound like.   (If you could play more than the off-tuned Bb which QMC confirm is the note).  

Annoyingly, no-one has yet produced a SoundFont of the Vuvuzela (I wait to be corrected), and it is unbelievably complicated (I remind myself) but possible to add extra synths and vocoders to Garageband.   I am rapidly climbing the learning curve on .sf2 files, aka Soundfonts, plug-ins and components.   I've even managed to find a way to output Midi....But, as Sherlock Holmes put it, the world is not ready for the end results, I fear.  Think Kazoos.

(The original aim was to produce an electronic version of an un-tempered keyboard, but I got sidetracked from this grander project).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are you a true geek - try this test?

For about a year, one of the links on the right (an unsponsored one - there just because it's the right thing to do) is for the 'Joy of Tech' daily(ish) comic strip.   They're funny, a bit too accurate sometimes, and often beautiful works of illustrative art.

And sometimes, as in today's brilliant example (permalink here) they involve a couple of minutes explanation for passing civilians/spouses to understand the joke.  

The June meeting

A surprisingly full and varied agenda last night, ranging from a preview of Avid's Media Composter, sorry Composer, 5, to Richard's demo of Vuvuzela* removal at a stroke (almost), taking in the Circle of Fifths on the way.

If you missed any of that - well it's gone, sorry.   Sometimes the Web just can't replace being there on the night.

Our (FCP shortcut) letters of the month were B G and T - careful Richard, you're going to use them all up soon.

Coming next month:   the Council of Elders have met and decreed a Variation to the Wefcpug rules, and the next meeting will be the First Monday of July - July 5th.   Think of it as Independence Day + 1.

We'll be setting up the design for this year's most-desired accessory (after the Vuvuzela), which will be the official wefcpug membership card.   Details to come.

In the meantime - welcome to the 100+ extra readers steered to this blog yesterday by the BBC's Internet Blog.  In your honour I've repainted the walls.   Further redesign will follow.

And do take a look at the newly fashioned wefcpug website - - and especially at the right hand column, where Richard is lovingly embedding links to YOUR WORK.   If he knows where to find it.

Which reminds me - I may have been dreaming, but I swear the majority of those present last night agreed that we should have an online film (filmette) tournament - go on, let's do it.


*I checked on Wikipedia, so it must be true, the note of the much loved Vuvuzela is Bb - which, give or take an octave or so, is the C of the Tenor (and Soprano) saxophone.   I'm still weighing the significance of this little known fact.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

BBC HD picture quality - now it gets personal

There's been considerable, and at times heated, discussion about the technical quality of the BBC HD channel, primarily related to changes in the Freesat feed (lower bitrate, change of encoder) - the general tenor of the discussion being that these have been downward steps in quality.

A group of the leading contributors (to the BBC's HD - since relocated to Internet - Blog) were invited to meet the BBC group they've been arguing with, and participate in technical tests.  You can read a first report of their meeting at

It's worth noting the several references to tightening up on production companies to meet the specs (ie in camera / coding choices).   We'll see how this develops.

What they don't talk about is the choice of transmission standard for satellite feeds of HD - in the UK we use a standard known as DVB-S which is an MPEG2 transport stream.   Elsewhere, in Germany for example, DVB-S2 is the standard.   As you'd expect from the numbering, it's a later (and improved) development, and can include MPEG4 (aka AVCHD) streams.   It would appear that Sky and Freesat are moving towards DVB-S2 - and I'd assume that any receivers marketed as 'Freesat' will be dual capable.   If you want to see the results, the two German HD channels (Das Erste HD and ZDF HD) are currently transmitting in the clear on the Astra satellite system (19.2 E).

What happened in May (Tech Droolfest)

For the record, electronic thanks to Devin Workman who dropped in to the May wefcpug to give a quick description and part demo of the newly announced Euphonix range of FCP-friendly control surfaces.

links to their own pages.   We've been promised more, more, in a meeting later this year - we just had time to drool over the programmable/touch-screen keys on the MC Control panel.   What caught my eye was the use of their own (EuCon) control protocol over ethernet - promising tighter, more responsive controls.  This is a very welcome improvement to FCP's (and more importantly Soundtrack Pro's) use of motorised faders, with (we were promised) huge improvement in latency over Midi connections.

Nick brought in the pre-production Canon XF305 which he has been testing, and which prompted further drools from all.   More, much more on this too in future communications.

Our next is to be on Monday 14th June:  the usual last-minute emails and posting here will be sent...