Thursday, October 25, 2012

How Apple's new computers impact filmmaking

The new Macbook Pro and iMac announced by Apple on October 24 heralds a major shift in the way PCs will be designed and have a cumulative impact on digital filmmaking.

Below are some of the major upgrades that affect the digital filmmaking process:

1.    No Optical Drive: Both the new Macbook Pro with retina display and the new iMac have done away with the DVD drive, with Apple calling it  obsolete in the age of blazing broadband speeds when movies and television can be easily streamed online or downloaded. The new iMac does have 2 Thunderbolt ports and 4 USB 3.0 ports to allow connection of external hard drives and other devices. Seeing that Apple is usually the trendsetter in computer design, we can expect competitors like HP and Dell to follow suit. This could spell the death knell for the DVD industry, and moviemakers will now be looking to go completely digital. Of course, home theatre systems and bluray players will ensure that the home video market doesn’t completely evaporate in the near future, but the transition to a more 'online' movie watching experience is surely on its way.  

2.    Much better screen resolutions: The new iMac has a full HD display (1,920 × 1,080 pixels) for the 21.5” version and 2,560 × 1,440 pixel for the 27” version. It certainly translates into a better film/video watching experience and the computer being used for watching movies and gaming more than ever. The Macbook Pro with Retina display boats of a tantalizing 2,560 x 1,600 at 227 pixels per inch. This one has four times the screen resolution of the previous 13-inch version of the MacBook Pro.

3.    Super powerful processors: The new 21.5” iMac starts with a config of Intel Core i5 Quad Core 2.7 Ghz Processor with 8GB RAM , 1GB dedicated NVIDIA graphics and 1TB hard disk. Even the Macbook Pro with Retina display is all about performance, speed and graphics. It boasts of an Intel dual-core i5 Ivy Bridge processor clock at 2.5 Ghz (minimum) For graphics it has the Intel HD 4,000 graphics support. The RAM is 8 GB and its all-flash storage has three configurations available: 256 GB, 512 GB, or 768 GB. Such top-end configurations in the base models bode well for popular film editing applications like Final Cut Pro.  Apple will be looking to release an even more powerful version of its flagship video editing app to utilize the full potential of its new line of computer devices.

The rise of smartphones and tablets coupled with faster broadband speeds have already given a fillip to the various kinds of digital filmmaking, both in terms of production and post production.  Apple’s new line of smart computers will be prove to be another turning point, particularly because the optical drive has been dropped across its iMac and Macbook Pro ranges.

What do you think of Apple’s new devices, and their potential impact on filmmaking?

Monday, October 01, 2012

6 Frequently Used Transitions Between Shots

Film editing is all about making (mostly smooth) transitions from one shot to another. Here we briefly discuss the 6 frequently used transitions between shots:

1. CUT: The end of the first shot is attached to the beginning of the second shot. The most often used of all transitions, it creates an instantaneous change in one or more of the following: angle, distance, subject etc. In narrative films, normally only cuts are used within a scene.

2. MATCH CUT: A match cut (sometimes called a form cut) maintains continuity between two shots by matching objects with similar shapes or movements or both similar shapes and similar movements. One of the best known examples of a match cut is from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), in which a bone slowly tumbling end over end in the air is replaced by an orbiting spacecraft with a similar shape. Watch video below for reference:

3. JUMP CUT: A jump cut is a discontinuous transition between shots. For example, one shot shows a woman running on a beach towards the water, and the next shot shows her running away from the water. A jump cut is sometimes used to surprise or disorient viewers. It may also occur if the film print or video has missing footage. Many filmmakers and film schools associate a jump cut with bad editing.

4. FADE OUT, FADE IN: The first shot fades to darkness, (normally black); then the second shot fades in(by degree goes from darkness to illuminated image). The fade out, fade in can provide a short but meaningful pause between scenes and sequences. If this editing transition is doe slowly, it can serve as a leisurely transition.; if done rapidly, it is less noticeable or not noticeable at all. Perhaps because of the current popularity of fast pacing in films, this transition is used far less often than it used to be,

5. LAP DISSOLVE: The first shot fades out as the second shot fades in, overlaps the first, then replaces it entirely. Lap dissolves may be rapid and nearly imperceptible or slow and quite noticeable, creating a momentary superimposition of two images, sometimes suggesting similarities or even meaning.

lap dissolve

6. WIPE: A wipe seems to push one shot off the screen as it replaces it with the next shot. The wipe, which comes with many variations, has been popular in science fiction, serials and action movies. but it has also been used in such diverse films as It Happened on Night, (1934), The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Seven Samurai (1954), Ed Wood (1994) and Battlefield Earth (2000).

Many other transitions are used but much less often than these six mentioned above. We will post more on video editing techniques on the Digital Filmmaking Blog in the coming days,