Foxvideo Productions

March 2014

A relationship ends...


My relationship with Apple computers and Mac software began in late 1993, I installed a Mac 8100 Nubus (with a whopping 64 Mb of RAM!) along with one of the first Media100 systems in the UK, Cadbury (the chocolate company) had put in 3 Media100 systems and ours was only the seventh Media100 system in the UK - it worked well for us and I continued updating and using it until 2001 when I switched to Final Cut Pro.

I'm still on FCP 7,  I can drive it in my sleep, I have many FCP 7 plugins, it still does what I want with the formats I work with and it's not slow on my old Mac Pro Quad, I tried the 30 day demo of FCPX and didn't get on with it for the reasons I've discussed earlier in previous posts. I was in a lucky position to obtain Adobe's CS6 Production Suite just before they went to the Cloud with "CC" and although I'd used it for a few small jobs it's really been sitting on the hard drive unused - until now.

It started with Audition, normally I'd use Apple Soundtrack for audio editing, sweetening and mastering but recently I've been using Audition. It's a great program, everything the next version of Soundtrack should have been, it's easy to learn with hundreds of free tutorials out there, there's some great built-in presets to get you started tweaking your sound, it's fast and I just love the 'paintbrush' feature for cleaning up audio and cutting out coughs, 'um's' and "er's'.

DVD Studio Pro was a great program, I understood it from the off, I can author a DVD with menus in minutes although I prefer to take the time to make them look great, a recent project in DVDSP looked OK and as I had the MPEG and AC3 files from Compressor, I thought I'd drop them into Encore just to 'kick the tyres' and see how it worked. What a surprise, Encore is everything DVDSP 5 should have been. Apart from a few minor points I had to look up in tutorials I had a working DVD with menu's in no time at all, it's very intuitive, has a great range of built in templates and buttons to tweak and is fully compatible with Photoshop.

After Effects - what can I say that's not already been said about this, my first version (called CoSA, before Adobe acquired it) came on floppy disks and you got 2 free disks of extra effects if you registered by post. I used it constantly with Media100 and kept the upgrades going to v5 until I got FCP 2.0.1. Using Apple's Motion was OK'ish but it wasn't After Effects and as FCP allowed me to do so much more in it than Media100, I dropped AE. Using AE again recently was like finding an old friend after years apart, true - there's so much more to it now including many features I'll probably never use, but the basics (or the level I need to be at) came back after just a few hours use.

Premiere - I remember using Premiere at v4.2 with Cinepak, it was 'clunky' to say the least, v5 was better but it took Adobe to v6.5 before they had a usable program so I never really bothered with it. It was if Adobe were always playing catch up to either Media100 or Avid in the early days then later, Final Cut Pro. Today, Premiere is every bit as good, and probably better than FCP 7, from reading many posts over on Creative Cow and other forums, thousands of editors have switched to Premiere CS6 (or the newer CC version) from FCP 7. Although I can drive CS6 I still prefer FCP 7 and will continue using it until I, or my current Mac die.

Which leads me onto Mac machines, I have a dedicated and upgraded late 2010 Quad just for editing, using OS X 10.8.5, an SSD, a 1Gb video card and 12Gb RAM, I'd like to upgrade it but it's working just fine, we waiting a long time for a MacPro upgrade and the rumour mill went into overdrive, when it finally arrived it was revolutionary (I don't need to go into all the names mentioned!) and it was certainly very fast and powerful - the problem at the moment seems to be in actually getting hold of it, apart from a few select users who have obtained one, the waiting list time is extending, Apple normally give a delivery time in days or weeks, for the Mac Pro it's currently listed as just April (at the time of writing this)…….work that one out.

There's no doubt Apple are astute, and a successful business, they seem to be aiming their market now to the 'shoot it quick and upload it' YouTube generation so, for the few years I should have left in this game, it looks like my relationship with Apple production software is coming to an end, I'll use Audition, Encore and AE more, I'll continue using FCP 7 for as long as I can and then probably switch to Premiere, and I'll keep an eye out on eBay for a later MacPro than I have at the moment, probably a used 2013 MacPro from a user who has finally managed to get an "Ashcan". 

YOPO final day sale - All CD's inc licence just £1.00 each

Just a one day sale but if you're visiting today (11/3/14) this might just be of interest. I bought 5 CD's so hurry before they all go -


ISOBuster saves the day

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 17.12.54

There's no doubt producing and mastering to DVD is way better than using analogue tape but just occasionally something goes wrong with a DVD that throws a spanner in the works - today was such a day!

I sometimes get asked to convert VHS and S-VHS tapes to DVD, I use a combination of tape players to a Liteon DVD recorder through an MX50 and get good results. As a favour for a friend I'd successfully captured 5 short VHS-C tapes and was on the 6th, all to 1 DVD when something went wrong, I'm not sure what but the DVD refused to show - I just got a message "Insert a blank DVD" - BUT THERE WAS ALREADY ONE IN THERE WITH NEARLY 2 HOURS OF CAPTURED VIDEO - Urgh!

I tried for 10 minutes to get the half finished DVD to show up but failed, it would't read in my Mac either as it hadn't been finalised - all that work lost!

I did remember a PC program that could read non finalised DVD's - ISOBuster, so using an old PC I've not used for many months, I downloaded a copy and installed it, it saw the non finalised DVD but I needed to register to save as a Video_TS folder, £36 off my credit card and the program saved all the contents from the DVD to the PC desktop. Moving the files to my Mac I could then burn a DVD from a Video_TS folder using Toast, testing the DVD in a player and all was fine. ISOBuster is probably one of those programs I'll only ever use once in a blue moon, so it's good to know it works on non finalised DVD's when needed.

Voiceover artist caught cat-napping