Monday, September 27, 2010

Transitions In Technology Series: Juniper Media Flow

Over the past few months, we've been hard at work on a workflow article on Juniper's Media Flow technology, which the company has been integrating since the acquisition of Ankeena.

This paper is called "Refining Media Delivery: Intelligent Caching Comes of Age" and covers a variety of aspects around intelligent media caching. This is the first paper in the Transitions in Technology white paper series, a series of commissioned documents that leverage the Transitions' team's experience in the marketplace to tell a compelling story. 

In this case, it's a story that we've followed for several years, as Ankeena announced Media Flow Controller. We think the acquisition bodes well for Juniper's move in to the scaleable media marketplace. 

Here's the link to the white paper. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Does Adobe Elements 9 Plays Well With All?

Adobe today announced its Elements 9 consumer image- and video-manipulation products (editing sounds so 1990s) in the form of Photoshop Elements 9 and Premiere Elements 9.

Over the past few releases, Elements has begun to move toward parity on both the Macintosh and Windows platform, but the Mac version had always lagged behind.

It appears the days of second-class citizenry for Mac users may be over, though, as Adobe lists an equal feature set between the Mac and Windows versions of both Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements.

Premiere Elements, in particular, now has the sharing and access to the Plus service, which gives up to 20 GB of storage for approximately $50.00 per year.

In addition, Premiere Elements 9 addresses the ability to use tapeless workflows—from Flip cameras to D-SLR consumer and pro cameras—a feature that's only recently been added to Adobe's flagship editing tools, Adobe Premiere Pro, as part of the much more expensive Creative Suite 5 software bundle.

Speaking of pricing, that has also dropped for Elements 9 bundles with Amazon reporting the combo pack—Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements—that's pictured below clocking in at $149.00 but with a rebate that drops the price to $119.00 (after waiting for several weeks to receive the mail-in rebate check, of course).

We look forward to testing the two products, on both platforms, to compare the feature sets, before the product release on November 1, 2010.  [Update: Adobe's PR reps say that the product is available now, even though Amazon still lists the availability at November 1]

Saturday, September 18, 2010

SNAFU - Toast 10 Titanium Pro's Addition Problem

For Macintosh-based content creators, there aren't many options for Blu-Ray disc creation: Toast 10 Titanium Pro is the least expensive alternative that has an option for Blu-Ray conversion and burning. It clocks in around $110 on Amazon compared to several hundred dollars for Adobe Encore (and a downloadable version of Toast 10 Titanium Pro offered by Amazon is even less expensive).

Yet, for all the Toast goodness we've seen from Roxio over the years, this Blu-Ray version of Toast 10 Titanium is a dud: it can't calculate storage space in any meaningful way.

I found this out the hard way, having chosen the "Blu-Ray Video" setting and then spending 8+ hours digitizing standard-definition (SD) miniDV content into Toast 10 Titanium Pro.

Once my content was all digitized, I let the system choose its own automatic encoding, which yielded a pleasantly spacious additional 777.1 MB left on the theoretical Blu-Ray disc:

Except that's Toast Math, which means it bears no semblance to reality. While the Toast calculation tells the user that only 22.55 GB will be placed on the disc, the reality is that this number already exceeds the amount of space on a single-layer Blu-Ray disc!

How's that? Don't Blu-Ray discs have 25 GB of unformatted space (or 23.31 GB of formatted space)? Yes, gentle reader, you are correct. But in the world of Toast Math, 22.55 GB is greater than 23.31 GB.

To fully understand the equation, you must allow your computer to crunch data—lots of data—for more than 36 hours. At the end of this time, your computer will then generate the following error:

Cross-check the Toast Math: Toast calculates 22.55 GB out to be equal to 23.76 GB. The latter is the amount that Toast says it needs to burn the same disc that started with the original amount of 22.55 GB on disc (and 777.1 MB of free space!)

I thought this was an anomaly, so silly me, I re-ran the same scenario for another 36 hours, and used a different Blu-Ray (BD-RE) writer.

Guess what? Same exact issue.

Then,  foolishly, I tried making a stand-alone Toast image (ending in .toast) and burning it via the Copy "Image File" option in Toast 10 Titanium Pro.  The .toast file ended up at almost 25 GB, almost 2.75 GB higher than the original Toast calculation of 22.55 GB).

Yet, when I chose "Image File" under Copy, guess what happened? You are right, gentle reader, I received an error telling me that 23.76 GB of disc space was required on the Blu-Ray disc, the exact same amount that Toast 10 Titanium Pro had calculated in error during its initial bad math day (we're now over 100 hours into testing Toast Math).

What about just removing one of the miniDV files from the Toast layout?  That seemed like a natural conclusion, but due to Toast's automatic encoding, it's not so simple: rather than just taking away the 3.1 GB +/- for each of the miniDV tapes, Toast 10 Titanium Pro does another round of Toast Math, and comes up with less free space on the Blu-Ray disc than before.

Perhaps I don't understand new math, or Toast Math, but apparently the re-calculation is based on Toast 10 Titanium Pro changing the compression rates to "fit" on to the Blu-Ray disc.

In theory this makes sense, since fewer minutes of video being compressed to the Blu-Ray disc could yield a higher-bitrate-per-minute scenario. But not in Toast Math.

In the world of Toast Math, 1+1 doesn't equal 2, 3 or any standard calculation.  It equals Toast Math.

Please, Roxio, teach your program to add before sending it out in to the world!