Apple Debuts 360 Video and HDR Upgrades to FCPX & Safari

By Al Caudullo

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In Final Cut Pro X 10.4, you can import and edit monoscopic or stereoscopic 360° video in a wide range of formats and frame sizes. While editing, you can output 360° video to a connected VR headset, and simultaneously monitor the equirectangular video and the 360° video in the Final Cut Pro 360° viewer. When you’re finished editing, you can easily export your 360° project and share them to a variety of video-sharing and social media websites, including the YouTube VR channel, Facebook 360, and Vimeo 360.
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Apple today revealed upgrades for FCPX and Safari that enable you to work with and view 360 videos. This long-awaited good news for 360 editors who love their Mac. But we have already had reports from GoPro Fusion 360 users who have not been able to import 5.2K 360 videos. This is troubling since Apple states that the new upgrades will allow 360 video editing up to 8K. We will stay on top of this developement and report back any more news about this glitch.

In addition, there are other improvements including FCPX now allows editing two key HDR formats, Rec. 2020 HDR10 and Rec. 2020 Hybrid Log Gamma, and gives you both HDR-compatible scopes (to identify how bright your video will get) and HDR monitoring on external displays through an I/O device. And there are now advanced pro color grading tools built right into the app. With these, you will be able to fine tune fine-tune brightness, hue, luminance, saturation and white balance through an inspector.

Below is the full release from Apple.

Edit 360° video in Final Cut Pro X 10.4

Import 360° media into Final Cut Pro, edit your 360°project, then share your 360° video in monoscopic or stereoscopic format. While editing, monitor your 360° project on-screen, or with a VR headset.

In Final Cut Pro X 10.4, you can import and edit monoscopic or stereoscopic 360° video in a wide range of formats and frame sizes. While editing, you can output 360° video to a connected VR headset, and simultaneously monitor the equirectangular video and the 360° video in the Final Cut Pro 360° viewer. When you’re finished editing, you can easily export your 360° project and share them to a variety of video-sharing and social media websites, including the YouTube VR channel, Facebook 360, and Vimeo 360.
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From:: Student Filmmakers

iMac Pro Starts Shipping – a Beast for the Pros (from $4999 up to $13,199)

By Yossy Mendelovich

It’s out today! Apple has been teasing us about its first dedicated pro machine since the Mac Pro was introduced in 2010. A solid 7+ years. Let’s see what the iMac Pro holds for us pro filmmakers.

The iMac Pro grants editors to edit 8K RED video, H.264 4K drone footage, 6K 3D VR content or 50 Megapixel RAW stills, with a 200-300% increase in performance in almost every professional application.

It really seems like after all the criticism from the professional editing community saying that Apple stopped innovating for them while only focusing on the iPhone, Apple has been listening to create this killer machine.

However, first it must be noted that that this machine is not upgradable. You can’t upgrade the hardware at all since it’s all sealed. You can’t access the motherboard or any components, which is unusual for a computer dedicated for the professional community out there. On the standard iMac it was still possible to upgrade the RAM, but not anymore – so you have to chose wisely when you order this machine.

The performance

The iMac Pro was made for heavy duty and demanding tasks like rendering and editing high-resolution footage. Backed with 128 GM of RAM (!) sounds a bit crazy, but applications like FCPX will eat it up and use all of it without a problem, allowing editors to playback 8K raw from a RED camera and of course deliver their results much faster.

As stated by Apple: “With Xeon processors up to 18 cores, up to 22 Teraflops of graphics performance, and a brilliant 27-inch Retina 5K display, iMac Pro is the fastest, most powerful Mac ever made. iMac Pro delivers incredible compute power for real-time 3D rendering, immersive VR, intensive developer → continue…

From:: Cinema 5d

Final Cut Pro X 10.4 adds HDR support, VR video editing, and (finally!) curves

Apple has released a Final Cut Pro X update that adds a slew of new features and expanded support to its video-editing software, most notable among those features being support for 360-degree and VR video. This is a major update for the software, which has been optimized to fully leverage the greater processing power of the new iMac Pro desktop systems.

In version 10.4, Final Cut Pro supports editing 360-degree videos and viewing them in real time using an HTC Vive VR headset. According to Apple, the software supports importing, editing, and delivering these VR videos, with available edits including “immersive effects,” removing camera rigs, straightening the horizon, and adding standard videos/images to VR projects.

In addition to its new 360/VR capabilities, Final Cut Pro 10.4 adds support for high dynamic range (HDR) videos in Rec. 2020 HDR10 and Rec. 2020 Hybrid Log Gamma formats, as well as new advanced color grading tools, including color wheels with controls for adjusting brightness, saturation, and hue.

The latest version of Final Cut Pro also offers color curves with multiple control points, enabling users to make “ultra-fine color adjustments,” according to Apple. Or, as our Senior Reviewer Richard Butler put it: “Curves! Curves! At long bloody last, Curves!”

Users have both manual white balance and eye dropper color sampling options, as well as the ability to apply custom lookup tables (LUTs) from Color Grading Central, PremiumBeat, and select other color grading apps. The latest version of Final Cut Pro combined with the new iMac Pro desktops also marks the first time a Mac can be used to edit full 8K-resolution videos.

Apple lists the following additional features as arriving in Final Cut Pro 10.4:

Sundance Announces 2018 Tech and VR-Focused New Frontier Section

By Scott Macaulay

Sundance’s technology-focused New Frontier section spreads out to three venues this year as its lineup incorporates film, live performance, VR and mixed reality, and even AI. Of the latter, in Frankenstein AI: A Monster Made by Many, audiences “interact with” artificial intelligence to create a shared narrative, and in TendAR AI mixes with biometrics and facial recognition to humorously ponder the social issues surrounding this new tech. Regarding the venues and the program, from the press release: The New Frontier Exhibition at Kimball Art Center will host immersive dance and cutting edge VR & MR works as well as works […] → continue…

From:: Filmmaker Magazine

“Speaking to a New World”: Addison O’Dea on the Virtual Reality Series Discovery TRVLR

By Randy Astle

Last month Discovery Communications and Google released one of the most ambitious virtual reality documentary series yet produced, Discovery TRVLR. Director Addison O’Dea and his team created 38 episodes on all seven continents, going to as remote locations as possible and focusing on the universality of the people who live there. Available on DiscoveryVR.com, the Discovery VR app, and YouTube, the series marks the next step, after works like Felix & Paul Studios’ Nomads series, to push VR into the field of ethnographic nonfiction. But as O’Dea emphasizes in our conversation below, TRVLR is first and foremost a travel show, not an anthropological document, and his […] → continue…

From:: Filmmaker Magazine

Gear of the Year 2017 – Dale’s choice: Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art

Sigma’s 14mm F1.8 Art lens makes it easier to get shots like this.
ISO 5000 | 2 seconds | F1.8 | 14mm

Over the past couple years I’ve developed a strong interest in wide-field astrophotography. Specifically, I’ve become passionate about photographing the aurora borealis, commonly known as the northern lights.

The aurora is Mother Nature’s own special effects show, and it’s one of those things that makes you stop to just appreciate the magic of the universe. No photo, IMAX screen, or VR headset will ever replicate the experience of standing under the sky when she flips on the light switch, but maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to aurora photography in the first place: it requires me to go to where I can experience the magic in person.

There are a lot of good lenses out there for this purpose, and I’ve used quite a few of them including the legendary Nikon 14-24mm F2.8, the Rokinon 14mm F2.8, the Venus Optics Laowa 15mm F2, various 16-35mm F2.8 variants, and even Sigma’s own 20mm F1.4 Art, but once I tried the Sigma 14mm F1.8 it was game over. I knew I had found the one.

ISO 1600 | 3.2 seconds | F1.8 | 14mm

One thing you learn quickly when shooting aurora is that you need fast, wide lenses. Fast because you’re shooting at night (duh). Wide because the aurora typically covers a large portion of the sky. It also makes it easier to include some landscape to provide a sense of place. This is where the Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art lens comes in.

What makes this lens so special is the fast F1.8 aperture. That’s 1.3 EV → continue…

From:: DPreview

Lytro Immerge 2.0 is a HUGE light-field camera rig for high-end VR production

Lytro has unveiled the Immerge 2.0, a massive light-field camera rig that looks improves upon the similarly-massive Immerge camera Lytro first introduced in November of 2015.

As with the original Immerge, Lytro’s new Immerge 2.0 is designed for high-end VR production, but it utilizes “a few smart tweaks” to boost quality and increase production efficiency. But lets you think “a few small tweaks” is nothing major, Lytro is describing the Immerge 2.0 as “a major update” to the original… so there’s that.

Unlike with the original Immerge camera, Immerge 2.0 is designed with alternating rows of cameras that are pointed in the opposite directions (yes, those are all cameras, not lights). The design enables Immerge 2.0 to capture 120-degrees of content rather than the previous 90-degrees, reducing the number of camera rotations from five to three when capturing 360-degree content. And operators of the original Immerge will be thrilled to know that the calibration process is now automated.

In addition to its hardware update, Lytro has also been working on improving its software, enabling it to extract higher quality images from the light-field content.

According to Road to VR, which was given an exclusive look at the Immerge 2.0, Lytro has remastered its previously released video Hallelujah with a higher resolution of 5K per eye (when viewed with a VR headset)—a significant increase over the previous 3.5K. But they didn’t stop there…

In fact, with this new hardware and software update, Lytro is ready to offer a 10K-per-eye resolution once VR headsets that can handle that kind of resolution are developed.

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From:: DPreview

Making VR that Matters: Johns Hopkins’ New Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technologies Program

By Randy Astle

In last summer’s print issue of Filmmaker I wrote about the ways that university film and computer science departments are adapting to teach virtual and augmented reality in their classrooms. In schools all over the world, students are finding ways to use VR and AR to create narrative films, documentaries, animation and games as aids in therapy, medicine, architecture and innumerable other fields. Now the newest school to launch a program is Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where a graduate level Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technologies Program is beginning in January. Headed by filmmaker Gabo Arora under the direction of Roberto Busó-García, the Director […] → continue…

From:: Filmmaker Magazine