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DJI: Out To Conquer the World (Part 1)

Stop and take a moment to take it all in. We are at the forefront of what will probably be considered one of the most important periods in visual media history. I know that's a big statement to throw out there, but here is my evidence:

Amateur and student film makers (along with mom and dad), are able to create very nice looking, 4K videos from their iPhones/android devices like the Galaxy S6, allowing anyone to have access to pro-looking imagery. Before you haul me off to the guillotine, I of course understand not everyone knows lighting, framing, story telling, there's audio to consider, acting, etc., however, the imaging capabilities of smart-devices certainly can't be viewed as anything less than a benefit. As would be expected, many companies are creating added devices such as lens mounts, steady rigs, etc. to add to the arsenal of these aspiring amateurs to continue the education and practice of film making. All great things.

DJI has a similar modus operandi, giving amateur and professional film makers and videographers access to tools that enable shots that even five years ago, wouldn't be possible outside a Hollywood budget. DJI's line of drones and steady rigs are an "off-Broadway" dream, if I may. No longer do you need a huge, bulky steady cam and seasoned operator that you simply can't afford. No longer do you need a helicopter for aerials. Obviously, DJI is not the only drone companies out there, but that's who we went with, so that's who I'll reference. As previously mentioned, the X5 camera that goes with the Inspire now shoots 4K, and DJI recently released a new, hand held device that works with the X5 and acts as a steady cam. Enter the Osmo...

To be continued.

Final Cut Pro X

A Renaissance For Final Cut Pro X?

Apple released the latest update to Final Cut Pro X on September 4th- and only time will tell how it will be received. When Apple released the original Final Cut Pro X, moving on from the wildly popular and successful Final Cut Pro, back at NAB in 2011, the initial and long-standing reaction was primarily negative. As Apple and it's world was blazing closer and closer to becoming their own universe, they saw fit to utilize their "all in one" formula for video editing; professionally, this resulted in backlash and jumping-of-ship. Jan Ozer (it wasn't Richard Townhill, Senior Director of Applications Marketing at Apple, our bad) was quoted saying: (source)

Of course, I understand how iTunes is ideal for inexperienced users, and that’s precisely the point. With iTunes and iPhoto, and the iPad and iPhone, Apple wasn’t selling to experienced users. It was opening new markets. In contrast, with Final Cut Pro X, Apple was trying to change the workflows of professionals who knew more about video production than any of the engineers who created the product.

You can only impose structure when a market is new or when the benefits of that structure are incremental. And the more structure you build into a product, the less it’s likely to appeal to experienced users of the product it replaces. That’s why most professional video producers jumped ship when FCPX was launched and why most won’t use it.

What can be surmised is that Apple was catering to the user friendly, even soccer mom and hockey dad can use it, as had and is true with their formula since day one. While the backlash from professionals, and semi-professional film makers is understood to a degree, perhaps you can't solely rely on Apple products for everything in your life.

Enter the latest version of FCPX, 10.2.2. Many of the frustrations from the early versions have since been addressed and changed to appease the professional user. The ability to create 3D titles within Motion 5 and work seamlessly with Pro X has been added, as well as improved motion graphics within. Color grading is also internal, as one can work with four scopes simultaneously during color correction. Expanded acceptance of multiple video formats from Sony and Panasonic is new; as well as advancements with RED. RED RAW footage, even up to 4K can now be done in application due to accelerated GPU support, so playback, rendering, and trans-coding are not so arduous (especially with a more powerful MacPro). RED RAW anamorphic formats are also displayed in their correct aspect ratios, so your widescreens stay nice and wide.

Some other new or improved features of Final Cut Pro X 10.2.2 include custom effect presets, library smart collections, single import window, and audition that allows you to choose multiple shots/clips, and audition them on the timeline all at once. Compressor 4, there are built in presets that allow you to optimize your compression specifically for iTunes, where you may load your trailer, film, closed captions, and more, then begin selling on iTunes immediately.

So, as previously stated, time will tell if FCPX ever finds it's way fully into the Hollywood landscape; but, with films like Will Smith's "Focus" being edited solely on FCPX, there's signs of life. I myself am a Premiere fan, but it's interesting to watch.