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

Apple Making Real Computers Again: The Mac Pro

It has been 7 years since Apple released a computer with PCIe slots, and therefore the ability to customize or upgrade core components, like the GPU, which is half of a modern workstation.  With this month’s release of the Mac Pro, Apple is once again in the business of supplying its users with powerful computers.  While the Mac Pro isn’t necessarily faster than the options that have been available to Windows users for the past few years, it is much faster than anything Apple has ever sold.  And it scales higher than anything Apple has ever built as well.  Both the minimum and maximum price for the Mac Pro exceeds anything Apple has ever offered, including their previous server line. Continue reading

Adobe MAX 2019

Mike McCarthy   November 7, 2019   No Comments on Adobe MAX 2019

I had the opportunity to attend Adobe’s MAX conference at the LA Convention Center this week. Adobe showed me and 15K of my closest friends the newest updates to pretty much all of their Creative Cloud applications, as well as a number of interesting upcoming developments. From a post perspective, the most significant pieces of news are the release of Premiere Pro 14, and After Effects 17 (AKA the 2020 releases of those Creative Cloud apps). Continue reading

Using the LoupeDeck+ Effectively

It has been a year since Loupedeck first announced support for Premiere Pro and After Effects with their Loupedeck+ hardware interface panel, originally designed for Lightroom users. I had seen it online prior to that, and had wished that they had something like that for Premiere, so I was pleased to see that announcement, and eager to try it out. It was a bit challenging to get it installed at first, as I was still on Windows 7, in Premiere 12, but I eventually got it working, and posted my initial impressions of using it here.
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System Review: Boxx Apexx A3

The new BOXX APEXX A3 workstation is based on AMD’s newest Ryzen CPUs, and the X570 chipset.  BOXX has taken these, added liquid CPU cooling, professional GPUs, and a compact solid case to create an optimal 3rd generation Ryzen system configured for professional users.  It can support dual GPUs and two 3.5″ hard drives, as well as the 3 M.2 slots on the board, and anything that can fit into its 5 PCIe slots.  The system I am reviewing came with AMD’s top CPU, the 12 core 3900X running at 3.8Ghz, as well as 64GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, and a Quadro RTX 4000 GPU.  I also tested it with a 40GbE network card, and a variety of other GPUs.
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