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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NVidia Ampere for Creatives – GeForce 3090

NVidia is releasing an updated generation of GeForce video cards based on their new Ampere architecture. NVidia also shared a number of new software developments they have been working on. Some are available now, and others are coming soon. The first three cards in the GeForce RTX 30-Series are the 3070, 3080, and 3090. The cards have varying numbers and CUDA cores and amounts of video memory, but strongly outperform the cards they are replacing. They all support the PCIe 4.0 bus standard, for greater bandwidth to the host system. They also support HDMI 2.1 output, to drive displays at 8Kp60 with a single cable, and can encode and decode at 8K resolutions. I have had the opportunity to try out the new GeForce RTX 3090 in my system, and am excited by the potential that it brings to the table.
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Seeing HDR through the AJA Kona 5

AJA’s KONA 5 I/O card has been available for two years, and is the most recent in a long line of PCI expansion cards offering professional video interfaces for a variety of applications. While the card isn’t new, capabilities continue to be added to it through various software developments and firmware releases. The most recent of which is Adobe’s support of the KONA 5 as one of the few ways to monitor HDR content in Premiere Pro, over either SDI or HDMI. With this update, many Premiere editors are going to have the opportunity to edit and view HDR content directly from their timelines on HDR displays for the first time. This will require an understanding on various new technologies and settings to get the best results for HDR workflows, which I intend to cover as thoroughly as possible here, as I work my way through covering the KONA card’s options and settings.
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Premiere Pro editor’s guide to HDR workflows

The newest release of Premiere Pro 14.4 includes support for HDR editing.  Technically, HDR has been supported in Premiere Pro since 2015, but only if you were using OpenEXR frame sequences, and with other severe limitations.  This release finally includes a fully developed workflow for editing and finishing projects in HDR.  The most important piece of that puzzle, is that image processing is no longer only being computed in the Rec.709 color space.  Premiere correctly understands various color space formats, and can process them correctly.  The interpret footage dialog box now has a color management section, where users can choose between Rec.601, Rec.709, Rec.2020, Rec.2100 HLG, and Rec.2100 PQ, and there is an option to assign input LUTs to source footage as well.
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NAB Time Announcements

With NAB’s big convention in Las Vegas canceled this year due to Corona virus, a number of technology companies still have products to release that they would have presented to the public during NAB.  The first one of those was Blackmagic Design, which released a number of products targeted at live video production and streaming at the beginning of the month.  Their existing Pocket Cameras can now be used as studio cameras, fully controlled from any ATEM switcher. Continue reading

GTC 2020

Mike McCarthy   March 31, 2020   No Comments on GTC 2020

NVidia has put on a series of conferences every year that focus on the new developments in GPU based computing.  Originally these were about graphics and visualization, which were the most advanced things being done with GPUs, but now they showcase everything from super-computing and AI to self-driving cars and VR.  The first GTC conference I attended was in 2016, when NVidia first announced their Pascal architecture, with dedicated Tensor cores.  Even then, that was targeted to super-computing users, but there was still lots of graphics based content to explore, especially with VR.  Over time, the focus has shifted from visual applications, towards AI applications, that aren’t necessarily even graphics based at all, they just have similar parallel computing requirements to graphics processing, and are optimal tasks to be accelerated on GPU hardware.  Continue reading

Professional Workstations

Computer manufacturers charge a premium for their highest end “workstation” systems, but many people don’t fully understand what really defines a “workstation” class system from any other computer. Admittedly there is no cut and dry line, but workstations usually have a few characteristics that make them more suitable for professional applications than regular home or office PCs. They are usually faster, have a greater level of expand-ability, and are more reliable than other PCs. This of course makes them more expensive, but depending on what you need them for, they can be well worth the additional cost.
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Adobe Premiere Productions

Adobe announced a new set of features coming to their NLE Premiere Pro today.  They now support “Productions” within Premiere, which allow easier management of sets of projects being shared between different users.  The announcement coming from Sundance Film Festival is targeted at filmmakers working on large scale projects, with teams of people collaborating on site.  “Productions” extends and refines Premiere’s existing “Shared Project” model, making it easier to manage work spread across a large number of individual projects, which can become unwieldy with the current implementation. Continue reading