AJA’s new T-Tap Pro output device for 4K HDR

AJA has released the T-TAP Pro, a new video output device for editors, colorists, and VFX artists, targeting 4K and HDR workflows.  I wrote a series of articles throughout the fall about the various components of an HDR editing workflow.  Covering software, workstations, GPUs, I/O Cards, and monitor options, it looked at the state of Adobe based HDR post production at the time.  But new things continue to be developed all the time, and this new device from AJA is a hardware output solution that is much more tailored to the needs for most editors who need to output and view HDR content.  The KONA 5 is a great tool, which supports nearly everything you can think of for both input and output from SD to 8K.  But most editors are now using file based workflows that have no need to input via SDI or HDMI, (or even output those ways besides for monitoring purposes) and few users are viewing content in 8K.  So what a majority of editors and other video professionals need, is a solid and reliable way to output UHD and 4K content to their monitor or other device, and ideally one that offers them support for, and control over, HDR color settings.
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Workflow Options Via Newtek’s NDI

Newtek announced their “Network Device Interface” (NDI) protocol back in 2016, as a way to transfer HD video signals in real-time over IP networks.  It was designed to replace SDI transmission and routing of high fidelity video signals, usually within a facility.  SDI was used to connect tape decks, computers, and monitors to routers and switches, which would direct and process the signal.  The vision was to replace all of that coaxial cabling infrastructure with IP based ethernet packets, running on the same networks and cabling that were already needed to support the data networks.  NDI is a compressed alternative to the SMTPE 2022 and 2110 standards which require much more bandwidth for uncompressed video routing over 10GbE.  NDI uses its own codec to compress video around 15:1, allowing it to be utilized over existing Gigabit networks.  There is also an “HX” variant of NDI that utilizes a lower bitrate H.264 based level of compression, optimized for higher resolutions and wireless networks.
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Tech With Mike First on Youtube

I have begun creating a series of technology videos on Youtube.  While I have posted a few Youtube videos of my camera tests in these articles over the past few years, I haven’t been creating stand alone video content.  I still plan to use written articles as my primary way of sharing news and reviews, but will start using videos to share my tips and tricks, as well as workflow ideas and other software interface focused information.  My first set of videos about using my KB Covers overlays for the Loupedeck+ in various Adobe applications went up this month.  And I am planning to do a series of videos about more advanced settings and workflow ideas in Premiere Pro as the year goes on.  Anyhow, enjoy these videos.  The presets involved are at the link in the header.  And the overlays can be ordered from KB Covers.
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A First Look at AMD’s Threadripper Pro in Lenovo’s ThinkStation P620

AMD’s Threadripper line of processors has been available for High-End Desktop users since August 2017.  They compete with Intel’s Core-X lineup, for users who want higher performance, quad channel memory, and more cores than gaming focused systems.  And during the last three years, numerous smaller vendors have sold Threadripper based desktop systems as “workstations” due to their high performance.  But in July, AMD announced their Threadripper PRO lineup, which brings a number of new professional features to the Threadripper lineup, making them more comparable, (but far more powerful and flexible) to Intel’s Xeon-W line of processors.  These new features include double the overall memory bandwidth at 8 channels, twice as many PCIe 4.0 lanes at 128, as well as a number of enterprise level security and system management features, branded AMD PRO Security.  Currently AMDs Threadripper PRO line of chips is only available in Lenovo workstations.
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Testing Dell’s Newest HDR1000 Monitor

Dell sent me their newest top-end HDR monitor to test out.  The UP3221Q is an HDR1000 certified 31.5 inch UHD display, with 1000 nits of Brightness, displaying images from HDMI, DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt inputs. It can display both HLG and HDR10 PQ content, and has a built in colorimeter for precise calibration.  The backlight is composed of over 2000 independently controllable mini-LEDs (or dimming zones) to control the brightness in different areas of the screen, allowing higher overall contrast.  This feature is what sets this five thousand dollar monitor apart from other lower budget HDR displays.  Its true 10bit IPS panel claims to cover 99.8% of the DCI-P3 spectrum, and 83% of the BT.2020 spectrum.
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KB Covers Overlays for the Loupedeck+ Console

It has been a year since I posted my in-depth review of the Loupedeck+ Console.  One of my main issues with the unit, was that it was too difficult to keep track of all of the functions it was capable of, in the various applications that it supported.  I had created paper overlays to label the functions for each application, and I shared that process in my review.  Since then, I have been working with the guys at KB Covers to create a more polished solution, with well labeled plastic overlays, that we can market to other users as well.  That product is finally available for purchase, and can be found here.
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Canon HDR Reference Displays

I was recently given the opportunity to review Canon’s DP-V3120 4K HDR display.  This model is a significant step up from the HP Z31x Dreamcolor and Dell UP3218K monitors I have tested in the past, and the five digit price tag reflects that difference.  At a list price of $32K, the 31″ display is not in everyone’s budget, but that is not more than a high end SDR reference monitor’s cost a few years ago.  It is the top end model in Canon’s line of HDR reference displays, but there are 24″ and 17″ options that offer many of the same features at a significantly lower price point.  It is a reference display, not a computer monitor, and while that distinction has been shrinking for awhile, with the common factor of HDMI connections, this unit’s features are a perfect illustration of the differences that remain.  I have used a computer monitor as a reference display many times, especially in the case of the original Dreamcolor on the set of Act of Valor, connected directly to the camera.  But a proper professional reference display has a number of features that computer monitors do not.
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Adobe MAX 2020

Mike McCarthy   October 20, 2020   No Comments on Adobe MAX 2020

Adobe MAX was held online this year, just like most other annual conferences have been in 2020.  It was also offered for free, a vast departure from previous years, but Adobe has tried to preserve as much of the experience as possible in the new online form.  The schedule is similar to past years, kicking off with a big keynote presentation of what Adobe’s product teams have been developing over the past year, hosted by Conan O’Brian.  Continue reading

NVidia GTC Fall 2020

I usually attend GTC in San Jose during the spring, and that was interrupted this year by Covid-19.  Instead, I watched a couple of sessions online, in what was most decidedly not a replacement for the real thing.  This fall, NVidia normally would have been putting on GTC Europe, but instead made it a global event, since it was online anyway.  As a global event, the sessions are scheduled at all hours, depending on where in the world the presenters or target audience are.  (Tagline: “Innovation never sleeps”)  Fortunately, the sessions that were scheduled at 2 or 3am were recorded, so I could watch them at more convenient times, albeit without being able to ask questions.
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Professional GPUs Announced at GTC

NVidia is hosting another online GTC conference this week, to coincide with the launch of their new professional Ampere generation GPUs. These are professional variants of the chips that are in the GeForce 30 series cards that were launched last month. They appear to enable the last few shaders on the GA102 chip, and at 48GB, have twice the memory of the GeForce 3090.
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