The most important exhibit
at MacWorld this year were the attendees, and a newfound enthusiasm
for their favorite tool. I am not talking about the iPod, which
now needs its own show. I speak of Intel logos dancing through
their heads, shiny new products, perky software updates. I saw
a happy and attentive crowd, of which I was surely a biased member.
As last year, the Expo occupied one hall
of Moscone Center, but a glance at the floor map told you it
was more packed, and I would not be surprised to see it spill
back into the North Hall next year, especially now that MacWorld
Boston is sadly gone.
FCP editors who attended the annual Expo
might also have been there for a sold-out Final Cut Pro User
Group Network SuperMeet a few blocks away, featuring editor/sound
designer Walter Murch (COLD MOUNTAIN, JARHEAD were both
cut on Final Cut Pro.)
Video blogging pioneer Steve Garfield of BOSFCPUG early
in line for the Keynote.
Steve Job's keynote was satisfying, disclosing the new
iLife 6 'iApps" suite.
sports podcasting, and features a volume lowering feature which
was named "automatic duck" -- digital editors who use
both Avid, FCP and After Effects workflows found that amusing.
The feature lets your voiceover automatically ride over background
music. Steve demo'd it live, and it was very Apple-cool, based
Speaking of the "iApps", there's
a new one: iWeb,
which allows you to rapidly create web pages, blogs, podcasts
and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. That got a nice response
at the keynote.
Dot-Mac online disk storage/sharing service recently increased
storage to 1GB, now with hooks into iWeb for all kinds of digital
publishing. At $99.00/year, it's getting to be a more useful
Intel CEO Paul Otellini suddenly appeared from hissing
white smoke in a clean room bunny suit, clutching the chip biscuit
for the newest engine, to pledge allegiance to Our Side. Steve
then revealed the first
Intel iMac, which had been smoothly running the stage
demos all along.
Steve described how the new machines
will run both Intel and older PowerPC software in "Rosetta" emulation.
All new software releases will be "universal binaries"
or optimized for the Intel engine.
And then, one more thing...
A slim new 15.4" Macintosh Intel
laptop called the er.. MacBook
Pro, targeted to prosumers. This model will be offered
at 1.67 GHz or 1.83 GHz speeds, contains a 4X SuperDrive (faster
wouldn't fit the thinner design), 512 (up to 2GB) RAM, SATA drive,
one FireWire 400 port, along with USB 2.0, Bluetooth, Ethernet,
and built-in iSight- a first! The offering (and the Intel iMac
also available for hands-on) seems to have forgotten about the
more reliable FireWire 800, but the crowd went fairly wild. The
patented "Mag-Safe" AC plug is very useful-- if you
trip on the cord the laptop stays where it is.
Steve didn't mention it, but Classic
mode is dead on Intel machines. It's also an open question as
to whether or not you'll be able to install the upcoming Windows
OS to create a dual-boot machine (you know, for the games).
The Show Floor
Fresh from the Keynote, the one and only
Herbie Hancock, with Deborah Shadowitz, LA-based
"MacGathering" coordinator, author, and all round evangelist.
You could not get near the new Apple
machines for the first two days, the lines were 4-5 deep. But
there was plenty else to take up your time.
The first thing I checked to make certain
I was at MacWorld Expo- yep, there's the Nada Chair.
They've been at every MacWorld Expo I can remember.
Adobe has returned to the show floor, joining Microsoft,
Quark, and other usual suspects. Adobe's newest digital asset
competes with Apple's new Aperture
product. Mac users now have choices in how they wish to manage,
sort, tweak, compare, rotate hundreds of thousands of photos.
But even Apple's own iPhoto
from its iLife package now handles 250,000 photos!
Effects 7 was released after the show closed. For those
of us in motion media design, it's major. A sharply redesigned
interface, friendly new timeline Graph Editor, the new app's
Pro Bundle now supports, HDV import, and 32-bit HDR (High Dynamic
Range) imaging, without a plug-in-- its capabilities are amazing.
Canon and Nikon were well placed on the
floor. Canon has introduced its first HDV camera, the
XL H1, here proudly held by BOSFCPUG chair Dan Berube
and his twin brother Don-both are Canon reps. The new
camera records 60i, 30F and 24F, supporting HDSDI output, with
a bevy of pro features.
Mini-training sessions were a feature
of Peachpit, Adobe, FileMaker and Microsoft and other pavilions.
Here, Peachpit author Kevin "Telly" Monahan (who
founded SF Cutters, the first FCP user group) gave some great
tutorials on using the built-in FCP effects tools.
Apple Pro Apps training guru Diana
Weynand (right, with business partner Shirley Craig) delivered
tours of Final Cut Pro 5. Josh
Mellicker offered some Pro-Apps show-me work, as did
Martin conducted Final Cut
Pro Power Tools sessions, which as always were held in quiet
AJA chose MacWorld Expo to introduce the Kona
3 HD PCI-Express card (US $2999.00) and optional K3 breakout
box ($299.00). The Kona 3 is the first in the line with a live
hardware keyer, supports 12-bit and 10-bit HD and SD, 8-channel
24-but AES and SDI embedded audio, RS422 machine control. It
supports 4:4:4: colorspace; it captures, plays back, up-and-down-converts
all HD and SD flavorsjust everything you'll need for the rest
of the decade.
The revolutionary 3D drawing application
SketchUp had a
solid presence. It's now used in film production for 3D scene
setup previz and walkthroughs, and at version 5, it sports a
huge library of real-world film and video equipment components
which are easily placed and manipulated. This is an extremely
Apple-cool product utilizing a patented easy-drawing 3D system
and it is maturing nicely.
The show floor contained a larger Special
Interest forest of kiosks, with new players such as Miraizon
LLC's Cinematize, which allows outrageously easy DVD
segment ripping, and the return of older players with new acts--
famous for its DeBabelizer document and image conversion software,
now at version 6 and also available as part of Equilibrium's
new patented high-end image server/batch processing solution,
which looked comprehensive and fearsome in capability for publishing
A personal favorite, the veteran auto-expansion
by Riccardo Ettore, was showing the newest OSX version,
and a new exhibitor, Memory
Miner, a family-history media scrapbooking and connections
utility, stole the show prize for originality.
Another legendary favorite, QuicKeys,
showed the newest version of its full-featured macro-making utility
which saves tons of typing and repetitive tasks, and Trans Lucy,
a utility which allows you to watch a DVD through a transparent
window, even over another application like Word.
Digital asset management and remote web
review are features offered by SeeFile,
a startup which already has fans.
HD networking over 10GB copper Ethernet
PCI-X cards comes from Small Tree Communications. Small Tree became known for its Xserve work
at the University of Virginia G4 Supercluster.
had a great forest of solutions kiosks, including the up and
coming Beezwax with
its new "Inspector" utility-- which removes drudgery
of debugging FileMaker field formulas and scripts.
FileMaker itself has a filmmaking context. Editor Walter
Murch showed up at their pavilion with his associate Sean
Cullen to reveal how they build the entire production master
log codebook in the app, with relational lookups and a very heavy
list of custom scripts to derive reports on everything from total
running time (using a formula Walter worked out as the cut proceeds)
to total footage shot. Walter has been a Mac user since 1986
and a FileMaker user since the beginning. Hopefully they'll polish
it and offer it as a product.
Walter is also a beekeeper. I had a nice
conversation with him at the booth about his discovery that bees
can't find their hive if it's moved only two yards -- we agreed
audiences can be like that when watching a movie.
You might not expect original equipment
hardware vendors like Oxford
Semiconductor to appear on the show floor, so naturally,
there they were, as they were last year, proud to show the many
FireWire devices using their bridge chipsets. They also sported
a new 5.1 surround card solution from ordinary stereo feed which
sounded very cool.
Drive manufacturers such as Huge,
G-Tech, LaCie and WeibeTech
were also on the floor, showing SATA storage, with many RAID
Gefen was on hand with every possible display connector
and adapter you could possibly need, such as from VGA-to-ADC
and probably DVI to tree bark to tap maple syrup-you name it,
they have it, including home theater connection products.
This was also an auto show. Several cars
were tricked out with a variety of iPod playback solutions. And
dominating one corner of the hall was the John
Lennon Tour Bus, a vision of musician Brian Rothschild,
supported by Yoko Ono, Apple, and other vendors, which promotes
music production skills and competitions for inner city kids.
The bus is amazing, it has a ProTools
station, a Final Cut Pro station, viewing area, etc. Your music
video magic bus. They hosted a very nice after-show gathering
which included Herbie Hancock and Al Jarreau among
Music was a major player this year. Berklee College of Music
out of Boston had a floor booth, a Dream Studio pavilion exhibiting
state of the art music hardware and software systems and real
pro's demonstrating on stage; and David Mash, Berklee's "Vice
President for Change" conducting Power Tools sessions in
Lighting giant Lowel
showed its very portable and ingenious Ego softlighting sytem
for tabletop photography.
From the sublime to the goofy-remember,
"iPod" spelled backwards is "Dopi"--
the show floor had it all.
LAFCPUG/BOSFCPUG member Loren S. Miller
is an award winning editor, filmmaker, digital media writer,
developer. Reach him anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
and buy his KeyGuides at www.neotrondesign.com.