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Upgrading to 24 frames per second

So, last week was quite thrilling for me. Remember how I said I would upgrade to the Nikon Pro line this year? Well, I did! The D4 ended up being a bit out of my price range, but I got offered a practically new (under one year old) Nikon D3S for a very fair price. I decided to go for it and boy, am I glad I did. The Nikon D3S is probably the best allround camera for someone who does mostly press related photography like me. Even though it’s “only” a 12 MP sensor like my D300 had, ISO sensitivity differs leaps and bounds and the ability to shoot 11 still frames per seconds opens up some great multimedia capabilities (see more below). There’s a lot to say about the device and I need a little more time to get the complete hang of it in order to give you guys my full review.

One of the main reasons I wanted to upgrade is video. I specialized in video during the last year of my journalism studies, and even shot my dissertation on a DSLR.  I was looking for a way to continue that work and as I need a good stills camera to do my photography work, the video capability on the D3S  is a great plus for me. I’ve decided to do some very small multimedia projects to get back into the flow of things and would like to share my first result with you guys. This past weekend, about 50 Congolese people protested in the main streets of Mechelen against Kabila’s reelection. I ended up with a 40 second clip mixing stills and video with their chanting in the background to give people a taste of the atmosphere. Any comments are, as always, very welcome. This video also got published over @ gva.be

Final Cut Pro X: closing the gap

Final Cut has always been a professional application, but it looks like the latest version of Apple’s video editing software is opening up it’s features and tools to a much broader audience.

The new version is called Final Cut X (as in ten) and was first announced and demoed last month  during a big meetup by the Final Cut User Group in Las Vegas. It has been rebuilt from the ground up to support 64bit and, at first glance, looks like a grown-up version of the latest iMovie. It will be shipping in june and pricing is set at $299 (problably €299 for us Europeans).

When it comes to “look and feel” the gap between iMovie and
Final Cut has become really narrow.

Losing the pro look, making the pro feel more accessible

So, is Apple trying to make professional video editing more accessible or is the new layout just a more efficient workspace? I think a lot of pro users will miss the classic, grey, pro look at first. Personally, I don’t give a damn how the software looks, as long as it lets me do my editing in an efficient and intuitive way. Final Cut Pro X comes with a bunch of new features: things like a magnetic time line, compounding sequences to declutter your time line, auditioning multiple sequence options inside your timeline, background rendering and some great new tagging options will, I think, give editors a more efficient workflow and cut down on editing time. On the other hand, non-pro users will get the hang of the software way more easily and, combined with the fair price, have a larger set of tools at their disposal.

What about the studio?

It isn’t quite clear yet whether Apple revamped the entire Studio suite. I’m pretty sure DVD Studio Pro isn’t going to make it to this new version (just like iDVD didn’t in the iLife suite). But what about Motion and Soundtrack Pro? Will all programs be sold separately via the Mac App Store? Will there still be a physical box in stores? All of these questions will probably be answered when Final Cut Pro X launches. One thing’s for sure: the new “easier” look and feel and increase in features have made Final Cut Express completely redundant. Another app bites the dust.

Check back in about a month for my first impressions.


Abandoned Six Flags

I feel like it’s been ages since I blogged here. The short version: I’m in my last year of journalism studies and decided to go for a “TV” major. I feel like moving images are the next logical step for me, even though photography will always be a big part of my life. So for now this blog will partly be dedicated to my own video creations, inspirational stuff I find through Facebook or in my feeds, etc.

In “Abandoned Six Flags Tour” Teddy Smith portrays the Six Flags amusement park in New Orleans that was closed down in preparation for hurricane Katrina back in 2005. The park has never reopened since and is due for demolition coming january. I’m pretty sure the footage was taken with a DSLR camera which gives an amazing depth of field to the slightly moving shots of no man’s land. The soundtrack is very appropriate and adds extra suspense. Even though there isn’t any real movement or action in the shots, I was paying full attention for the entire length of the video.