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CinePlay 1.5 for iOS released - metadata and Kollaborate approval

Earlier this week we released CinePlay 1.5 for iOS, a major update to our professional mobile video player.

Metadata

You can now view various metadata fields within the app including frame rate, duration, resolution and track configuration. Kollaborate cloud videos will also show any tags that a user has assigned to the file.

Note that we moved the Settings button to make room for the new Metadata button. Settings can now be accessed from the Actions button in the top right of the player - you do not need to go back to the main menu to adjust settings.

Kollaborate approval

Kollaborate videos can now be approved or rejected directly within the player. To do this, set the file's status to Needs Approval within the Kollaborate web UI and then view it in CinePlay. A bar will appear at the top of the screen that allows you to type a comment and approve or reject the file.

The file view shows a file's approval status to make it easy to see which files need approval from you.

CinePlay for iOS is an essential addition to any video professional's toolkit. We also have a free cloud-only version you can give to clients to use with Kollaborate. To find out more, view the feature list, watch the overview video or visit our page on the App Store.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Thursday January 29 2015 12:38 PM to DR News, Front Page News, Utilities
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Kollaborate Server 1.3 - admin area overhaul, comment and task improvements

Kollaborate Server 1.3 is a major update to our workflow platform for video professionals. This is a local in-house version of the update that already made its way to the cloud.

Admin Area improvements

We've made lots of changes to the Admin Area. As well as many improvements to the UI, we've also added the ability for superadmins to promote or demote users to site admin status. (Site admins can view every project on the server and automatically have admin access to them.)

It is now no longer possible to delete user accounts. The reason for this is that some users did not realize it was not possible to delete a user and have everything they created (projects, comments, uploads, etc) remain on the site. To make this clearer, users can now be deactivated instead. This changes their name to "Deactivated User" and frees up their email address to be re-registered if necessary, while keeping their old account around so that their projects, comments and uploads will still be available.

Kollaborate Server 1.3 also has the main features of the cloud update including:

Comment overhaul

We've completely overhauled the comment system to improve performance and provide timeline markers below the video (you can switch this off in the new Playback Settings dialog accessible from the Actions menu). You can click on a marker to highlight it in the Comments pane.

Comments are now sortable by timecode or date (making it easy to see what's new) and can be filtered by color, author, type or matching text. The export dialog also lets you filter by author and you can even restrict exported notes to Favorites only, thus making it easy to build up a select list of comments to send to someone.

Task overhaul

We've also overhauled the Tasks section with a much simpler UI. We now show all tasks in the same list and you can sort and filter them to find the information you need. Tasks are now color-coded, with overdue tasks appearing red, tasks due in the next week appearing orange and high priority tasks appearing blue.

It's now much easier to manage tasks and task status and priority can be batch modified directly from the Tasks page.

Nudging

The Viewers section below the player shows lists of which users have and haven't viewed the file. Any users that haven't viewed it can be nudged, which sends them an email alert reminding them to view it. You can also click the bell icon to be alerted when they view it for the first time (this is a redesign of the old Receipts feature).

Kollaborate is a cloud workflow platform designed to help you work better with colleagues and clients. Upload files to the cloud, have them reviewed by others and then export their notes back to your editing application. Kollaborate Server gives you all of those features in-house on your own servers and storage. To find out more, view the feature list or sign up for the free no-obligation 15-day cloud trial (no credit card needed).

Posted by Jon Chappell on Wednesday January 28 2015 10:16 AM to DR News, Front Page News, Kollaborate
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Pro Media Tools 1.3.5 released - Render Watcher UI improvements, various bug fixes

We've just released Pro Media Tools 1.3.5, a minor update to our suite of media management tools for video professionals.

In this version we've overhauled Render Watcher's email notifications and particularly the interface for setting them up. The UI is now simpler and some confusing terminology has been changed to be clearer.

We've also fixed some bugs with QT Edit's conform function and Video Check's matte detection facility.

Pro Media Tools is an essential toolkit for media professionals. To find out more view the feature list, read the user manual, watch the overview video or download the free 15-day trial.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Thursday January 22 2015 11:59 AM to DR News, Front Page News, Utilities
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Kollaborate Transfer 1.2.1 released with Kollaborate Plugin Pack 1.0.1

Today we're releasing two updates for our Kollaborate helper apps.

Kollaborate Plugin Pack 1.0.1 is a group of plugins for Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro for Mac to allow uploading to Kollaborate directly from your timeline.

This version has a lot more control when creating shared links for users outside your project and adds options previously only available when creating links directly on the site, including custom passwords, the ability to hide the download button, setting an expiration date for the link and granting access to all current and future revisions of the file.

We've also made a lot of minor UI tweaks including an estimate for how long the upload will take.

Kollaborate Transfer is our free tool for batch encoding and uploading files to the cloud.

This version contains the same changes to link functionality as Kollaborate Plugin Pack, in addition to a very useful new option. If you encode the file for the web, you can tick Upload Original File and Kollaborate Transfer will upload the unconverted original alongside it, linking the two together so that the playable copy will play in the user's browser and the high-res copy will download when they click the Download button.

We've also made many other changes and tweaks including improved playback performance in Safari.

These changes are in addition to the great new features recently added in Kollaborate 1.3.

Kollaborate is a cloud workflow platform for video professionals offering file sharing, remote collaboration and team management, all centered around the Digital Rebellion app ecosystem. To find out more, sign up for the free no-obligation trial.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Monday January 19 2015 11:59 AM to DR News, Front Page News, Kollaborate
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Understanding render options in Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro's export dialog features several rendering options that are not widely understood. All of them are switched off by default because they either degrade quality or increase rendering times, however they can all be useful in particular situations.

Render at Maximum Depth

This renders content at 32-bit color depth. Very few output formats actually support 32-bit color but processing at this depth can produce better quality for compositing and effects operations before being scaled back to the output format's bit depth. It can reduce or eliminate artifacts and banding in your video but that benefit comes at the cost of an increase in processing time, so only use it when completely necessary.

You may benefit from this option in the following situations:

  • Your source media has a higher bit depth than the format you are outputting to
  • Your sequence contains heavy compositing or lots of layered effects (particularly layered color corrections)
  • Your sequence contains very high contrast or very low contrast images (for example subtle gradients)

You can read more about Premiere's color processing here.

Maximum Render Quality

This is a high-quality resize operation that should be used when outputting to a different frame size from your sequence. It can reduce aliasing (jagged edges) when resizing images but is of no use when outputting to the same frame size. This operation significantly increases render times so only use it when resizing.

Frame Blending

This option smooths out juddery motion when exporting to a different frame rate than your sequence. While it may improve motion quality compared to not having it switched on, it's not considered a high quality option. You will probably get better results from exporting with the sequence frame rate and then converting in Adobe Media Encoder, Apple Compressor, a standards-conversion tool like JES Deinterlacer or a hardware conversion device like Teranex.

Use Previews

This results in reduced export times because your sequence render files are used instead of having to re-render the sequence. This is of course assuming that you have a significant amount of your timeline already rendered, which may not be the case if you have a fast computer or your sequence is simple enough to be played back without rendering.

Generally you should not use this option because it is likely to result in reduced image quality, particularly when outputting to a different format from your sequence and also because it will bypass the quality options detailed above. It should only be used where processing time is more important than image quality, such as previews or rough cuts for example, although these are likely to be simple enough that this option doesn't significantly affect processing times.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Monday January 12 2015 11:10 AM to Video Editing, Adobe, Tutorials
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Kollaborate 1.3 - timeline markers, nudging, Tasks overhaul

Kollaborate 1.3 is a major update to our cloud workflow platform for video professionals. We've listened to your feedback and have added many new features based on your requests.

Comment overhaul

We've completely overhauled the comment system to improve performance and provide timeline markers below the video (you can switch this off in the new Playback Settings dialog accessible from the Actions menu). You can click on a marker to highlight it in the Comments pane.

Comments are now sortable by timecode or date (making it easy to see what's new) and can be filtered by color, author, type or matching text. The export dialog also lets you filter by author and you can even restrict exported notes to Favorites only, thus making it easy to build up a select list of comments to send to someone.

Task overhaul

We've also overhauled the Tasks section with a much simpler UI. We now show all tasks in the same list and you can sort and filter them to find the information you need. Tasks are now color-coded, with overdue tasks appearing red, tasks due in the next week appearing orange and high priority tasks appearing blue.

It's now much easier to manage tasks and task status and priority can be batch modified directly from the Tasks page.

Nudging

The Viewers section below the player shows lists of which users have and haven't viewed the file. Any users that haven't viewed it can be nudged, which sends them an email alert reminding them to view it. You can also click the bell icon to be alerted when they view it for the first time (this is a redesign of the old Receipts feature).

Change video thumbnails

You can change the thumbnail of a video to the current frame by going to Actions > Set Thumb to Current Frame.

Player improvements

  • Shift + Left / Right Arrow navigates forward and back 1 second
  • Added a 5 second skip back button to help you leave comments in the right place
  • The new Playback Settings dialog allows you to loop playback and disable the marker bar and autoplay.
  • The Info button lists the keyboard shortcuts available for playback
  • Images no longer auto zoom - you can now click and hold to zoom in on a part of an image
  • Added an expand button to view images full size

Other changes

  • Import users from another project into your Team
  • Revisions can now be made accessible in shared links
  • File statuses can be batch-edited from the Files page
  • Previously-entered settings are now remembered when sharing a link and exporting comments
  • Files can be filtered by type or status
  • Duration is now shown on the Files page
  • Search for team members on the Team page
  • Annotations now appear automatically when clicking a comment
  • Many improvements to marker importing
  • Several iPhone browsing improvements
  • Many bug fixes and tweaks

Kollaborate is a cloud workflow platform designed to help you work better with colleagues and clients. Upload files to the cloud, have them reviewed by others and then export their notes back to your editing application. To find out more, view the feature list or sign up for the free no-obligation 15-day trial (no credit card needed).

Posted by Jon Chappell on Tuesday January 6 2015 3:38 AM to DR News, Front Page News, Kollaborate
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2014 - Year in Review

2015 is now upon us so here's a look back at the past twelve months.

We introduced several new products:

CinePlay for Mac, a Mac video player with professional features like timecode, markers, safe areas and overlays. It also integrates with our Kollaborate cloud service to provide cloud video playback, commenting and synced sessions with colleagues.

Kollaborate Plugin Pack - Upload files to the cloud directly from Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro for Mac.

Kollaborate Folder Watcher (beta) - Automatically upload files to the cloud when copied to a particular folder on your hard drive.

Marker Import for Windows - Free Windows tool for importing markers created by our apps into Adobe Premiere Pro. There is also a Mac version available here.

We also released the following major updates free of charge:

Pro Media Tools 1.3 - Complete overhaul of QT Edit's batch processing mode, offering significantly improved performance and stability.

CinePlay 1.1 for Mac - Audio playback, gang multiple files together for simultaneous playback (useful for comparing two or more shots) and playlist support.

CinePlay 1.4 for iOS - Audio playback support.

Cut Notes 2.3 for iPad - Added an Autosave Vault, changed hold behavior to be in line with Cut Notes 1.x and greatly improved Kollaborate cloud integration.

Preference Manager 4.2 - Compatibility with Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 and Lightworks beta for Mac.

In total we released over 100 updates for our apps.

Kollaborate subscribers also received the following features at no extra cost:

  • Annotations (drawing over video)
  • Color-coded comments
  • Favorites
  • Batch uploader
  • Shared link expiration
  • Email notification filtering
  • Move files between projects
  • Metadata
  • Approve / reject files
  • Drag and drop file management
  • Dark UI option
  • Reminders
  • Free storage bump and new pricing packages
  • Server-side encoding
  • QuickLook previews
  • Alias overhaul
  • Custom departments and positions
  • Kollaborate Transfer overhaul with faster encoding and improved queue management

Our most-downloaded app was FCS Remover but our most-used app was Post Haste. Our most popular paid tool was Pro Maintenance Tools. Our most popular iOS app was Video Space Calculator.

We also improved our website in a lot of ways, but most significantly was the creation of an Account section that allows customers to login to manage their licenses and print invoices.

The most popular blog posts in 2014 were:
10 Useful Avid Console Commands (on track to be our most popular of all time)
Fixing missing database errors in DaVinci Resolve
How to protect your video content
Managing frame sequences in Batch Renamer

You may have noticed we've been a little quiet for the past couple of weeks and the reason for this is that we're working on some big updates, so stay tuned for new products and major updates in early 2015. You can keep up to date with new products, features and tips by subscribing to this blog, following us on Twitter or Facebook or by subscribing to our mailing list.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Thursday January 1 2015 4:26 PM to DR News, Front Page News, Analysis
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Kollaborate Transfer 1.2 released with improved queue management

Last week we released Kollaborate Transfer 1.2, an important update to our free Kollaborate uploader.

This update adds lots of improvements to queue management and greater performance and stability when dealing with large batches. We also fixed a couple of issues where the queue could stop processing if one of the files failed.

In addition, the ability to choose whether or not a file should be automatically revised is now back, based on user feedback.

We were made aware that due to an issue in the software update mechanism in version 1.1.5, some users may not be prompted to update when running the older version. If you do not see an update prompt, please download the new version manually.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Monday December 8 2014 9:35 AM to DR News, Front Page News, Kollaborate
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Pro Media Tools 1.3.4 released - Video Check matte detection and more

We've just released Pro Media Tools 1.3.4, a minor update to our suite of media management tools.

Video Check matte detection

If your video is supposed to have a matte on it, Video Check can determine if it is the correct aspect ratio. It can flag up frames where the matte is missing or the wrong size.

Other Video Check improvements include a reduction in flash frame false positives and the fact that detected problems are now listed by timecode instead of frame number.

Gamma Shift Detector improvements

We've improved support for extreme gamma shifts, added timecode displays for each video plus many other UI tweaks.

The app will also now display an error if you try to compare a black or almost entirely black frame, prompting you to select a different one where a gamma shift can be detected.

QT Edit improvements

We've added new Quick Tasks to help you automate disabling or removing audio tracks in batches. We've also added a timecode field to help you navigate through a movie.

Pro Media Tools is an essential toolkit for media professionals. To find out more view the feature list, read the user manual, watch the overview video or download the free 15-day trial.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Thursday December 4 2014 11:11 AM to DR News, Front Page News, Utilities
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Apple adds MXF support to QuickTime applications

Yesterday Apple released Pro Video Formats 2.0 (an apparently renamed version of Pro Apps Codecs), which is a set of professional codecs to coincide with the FCPX 10.1.4 update with MXF integration.

The release notes imply this only adds MXF support to FCPX, Motion and Compressor, however it is actually much broader than this. It adds MXF reading to any application on the system that uses the QuickTime APIs.

You can test this by taking an MXF file on your system (such as from an Avid_MediaFiles folder), right-clicking and choosing to open in QuickTime Player 7. This will work in any app that uses the QuickTime 7 APIs and does not require the latest version of OS X.

There are however some limitations:

  • You cannot QuickLook MXFs
  • You cannot encode to an MXF container
  • The files do not open in QuickTime Player X or any app that uses AV Foundation (this includes CinePlay)
  • You cannot edit metadata (QT Player forces you to save to a .MOV)
  • Some metadata was appearing garbled for me

We would also recommend users do not use MXFs with any of our apps that make changes to movie files. So Edit Detector will work fine but QT Edit will not.

This update will appear for anyone with Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5 or Compressor 4 installed on your system. If you don't have these apps and still want the MXF functionality, I recommend buying Compressor from the App Store for $50.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Wednesday December 3 2014 9:19 AM to Apple, Software, QuickTime
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