FCP Capture from Canon HV10

When attempting to capture footing into FCP from the Canon HV10 camcorder, I got the following message:

Unable to Initialize Capture Device Device is not connected or the capture preset is not setup correctly. You may still log offline clips. This might also happen if you play DV footage in an HDV device.

It turns out that something in either FCP or the HV10 is very finicky about the camcorder’s power source. Here are a few solutions:

  1. Close the Log & Capture window, plug the camcorder into wall power, re-open Log & Capture.
  2. Open iMovieHD. Just opening iMovieHD seems to be enough to kickstart the FireWire connection. iMovieHD was able to read and capture from the camcorder even when FCP couldn’t.

I haven’t had the issue pop up at all when running on wall power. It may be related to a low charge camcorder battery.

Occasionally, when correcting the state of the camcorder, FCP’s Log & Capture window gets stuck and won’t close. I haven’t found any way to close it other than restarting FCP.

NAB 2006 Wrapup

I did my annual whirlwind trip to Las Vegas for 40 hours of NAB.

Great to see everyone and meet some new faces. This year though it seemed I missed more people than I saw. However I did get to spend some good time talking with Christoph Vonrhein of CHV. Christoph is scary smart and pushing FXScript way beyond what has been done before.


Not much to get really excited about this year. The whole show seemed to lack a certain energy it’s had in the past. If anything it seems like HD is fully here and now people are figuring out how to work with it.

Lots of people around the show seemed to be complaining about various aspects of Panasonic’s P2 cards. Everyone loves how the video looks, but was down on the workflow. Complaints I overheard included the constant swapping of cards, their still astronomical cost, the lack of third-party cards, 8gb maximum available size, the lack of workable hacks (FireStore excepted) contributed to a general malaise about the format.

Far more hostile were the descriptions of working with HDV. It’s great that the format has a relatively low buy-in cost, but people were spitting blood about working with the files. HDV users seemed angry, frustrated and annoyed. And a lot of them are jealous of the Panasonic image quality, HDV looks mushy by comparison. I heard several people who are using HDV cameras steering others away from HDV cameras.

What that basically tells me is that the prosumer HD space is still very much up for grabs. Maybe that’s why the only perceptable buzz at the show was from RED Digital Cinema.

Except for RED

A lot of people seem to think RED is a joke. I’d be feeling the same way except that I know two people working at the company, Ted Schilowitz and Graeme Nattress. They’re both brilliant and dead serious about this camera. I have total confidence in them, this camera is no joke. Despite the fact that it looks more like a weapon from Unreal Tournament than a camera, and with a $17,500 price tag, the RED camera will completely transform the digital filmmaking marketplace.

In the near-term, HDV may yet become the interim standard. It’s just so much cheaper than anything else. Dealing with HDV files is really a software problem, so maybe Apple will shake a better workflow out of Quicktime and FCP making HDV more fun to use.

Overall it was a great trip. Sometimes, working alone in my little dark office, I forget there are people using the stuff I make. I know how absurd that sounds, but it’s real. Meeting so many Joe’s Filters users and hearing stories about how my filters helped people was revitalizing. Thanks to everyone, there’s more stuff coming soon.

Joe’s Filters Documentation

I’ve finally posted the revised Joe’s Filters Documentation. Much of the content is the same, but the backend system has been completely reconstructed. It’s now running on WordPress, includes feedback, RSS and will soon offer a printed version as well (via a print stylesheet). This is finally the write-once publish everywhere solution I’ve been thinking about since I first posted the docs in 2003.

There are a few things left to do, mostly just integrating the news RSS feed with this site and moving the feeds to Feedburner. Now I can get back to the filters and document them as I work. (And start benchmarking in FCP 5.1 on my MBP, more on that later.)

Take a look and let me know what you think, here or there.

Final Cut Pro is Universal

So Final Cut Studio is now available as a Universal Application, with less than 48 hours left in March. I have zero credibility talking about software release dates, so I’ll stop there.

Apple’s crossgrade tracking page doesn’t show mine as shipped yet.* Looking forward to being able to move Joe’s Filters development over to my new MacBook.

* It shipped a few hours after posting this, now I’ve really got to get this documentation online so I can use it… (I’m not transferring everything to the MacBook until the new docs for Joe’s Filters are online)

FCP Universal Application Upgrade

Apple is offering a $49 Pro Applications Universal Crossgrade, which is a remarkable deal, especially compared to Adobe’s “you will wait and pay for CS3” approach. Of course Apple does have an obligation to make everything work with Intel, but they could very easily have rolled this into the FCP 6 announcement at NAB (assumed, I have no prior knowledge, am not beta testing anything and don’t have a current NDA).

What Apple neglected to mention on that page is the archaic process users must go through to get that upgrade. This is the order form PDF, here are the actual steps:

  1. Try to remember how to write by hand, fill out a paper form, with pen.
  2. Calculate our own sales tax, (it really says “Please consult your local chamber of commerce for your applicable sales tax.”) Hope that’s correct.
  3. Photocopy the four key original disks and order form (The DVDs should be backed up. They’re dual-layer DVDs, making duplication a bit more trouble.) The DVDs will be replaced, these four are gone forever.
  4. Take the whole thing to UPS/Fedex (or schedule a pickup)

I don’t remember the last time a software upgrade was that much work.

The customer service people at Apple Software Exchange said the disks could be sent via UPS or Fedex to the following address:

5681 W. Cleveland Road
Back of Building 2
South Bend, IN 46628

Considering the value of these disks is $1,299 new, it would be somewhat silly to just drop them in a mailbox without any means of tracking.

Hopefully I filled out the form correctly. Despite the “back of building 2” address, talking with Apple’s software exhange office made me feel a lot more comfortable about sending in my disks. The only bad news was the ship date for the universal pro apps is still listed as “end of March.”

Final Cut Pro on MacBook Pro…Pro

On my previous MacBook Pro post, Ted asked, “Will the new intel Apple computers allow us to load our current version of Final Cut Pro 5?”

Probably not, but I ordered one anyway.

Jobs said in the keynote that all Apple’s pro apps would be universal binaries in March. Also on Apple’s MacBook Pro Core Duo page they list an FCP benchmark with an footnote indicating they tested with beta apps.

Apple will be offering a $49 crossgrade for pro apps.

Universal applications are designed to run flawlessly on both Intel- and PowerPC-based Mac computers. Universal versions of Final Cut Studio, Logic Pro, Logic Express, and Aperture will be available by March 31, 2006.

If you own a current PowerPC version of one of these products, you’re eligible for a low-cost “crossgrade” to the Universal version when it becomes available.

“Not supported” doesn’t mean “doesn’t work”, but for $49 (yes, another $49) the apps should be good to go. Based on past history, whatever new thing is announced at NAB will be another paid upgrade (there are already FCP6 rumors). So if you’re not going to be immediately updating your hardware to Intel, it would probably be wise to wait until April to see what’s next for FCP. That $49 could be put towards the next upgrade.

I’m guessing March is when we’ll see the pro towers refreshed. I’m also expecting to see new 17 and 12 inch MacBooks sometime in February, maybe just after the MacBook Pros start shipping, much like the iPod Video was announced on October 12th, only 5 weeks after releasing the iPod Nano on September 7th. My longshot prediction has the end of the iBook brand as well, with iBooks becoming sans-pro MacBooks based on single-core Intel chips. Too bad, I liked the name iBook much more than MacBook.