ShedWorx plans for 2010

ShedWorx Development Plans for 2010

Here are the ShedWorx development plans for 2010, as of January.

Our development for 2010 will focus on two main areas - AVCHD workflow and Digital Asset Management.

This focus on some big new features will mean that we won't be doing many bug fix releases for any products as we go. All of our efforts will be focused on the new features. This means that if you report a bug you will most likely get the 'it will be fixed in the next release' answer, rather than us pushing out a quick fix.

These plans are just that - plans. We're not guaranteeing that these features will be completed as we lay them out here, we're just letting you know what we intend to do this year.

AVCHD Workflow

We have always been working towards an end-to-end native AVCHD workflow. This started with the ShedWorx AVCHD Editor introduced with VoltaicHD version 2 last year.

This year we will complete the workflow by adding native AVCHD output from Voltaic. This will include trimming and joining for AVCHD.

This new feature will allow you to access AVCHD movies on your camera, do simple trims and a join to create a new AVCHD movie.

Why would you do this?

  • Its fast - no conversion delays at any point in the workflow
  • Perfect Quality - we won't be converting the AVCHD at any point, so what you get out the end is what the camera shot

The AVCHD movie produced by VoltaicHD can then be played back on a PS3 or burnt to AVCHD DVD using RevolverHD, for playback on any Blu-ray player.

Digital Asset Management

FlamingoHD as been a good product for us, but its only in its early stages now. During 2010 we will re-focus on Flamingo, to give it an overhaul in the following areas:

  • User Experience - we will be re-working the media views that we currently have to provide a faster, easier way to navigate your library
  • Digital Asset Management - we'll be focusing on better ways to manage your library and metadata
  • Editing - we will introduce simple edit support for all supported media types

VoltaicHD For PC v2.3.6 Released

VoltaicHD v2.3.6 has been released and includes the following improvements:

- Improved Export to 24p
- Added option to rotate for Depth of Field adaptor.

Choosing the Panasonic GH1

Choosing the Panasonic GH1

We recently purchased a Panasonic GH1 for the ShedWorx test bench.

There is a lot of movement out there in DSLR camera land, so I thought that I would write up the key differences between the GH1 and the traditional high-end DSLRs.

Micro Four Thirds sensor

The GH-1 has a Micro Four Thirds Sensor which is smaller in capacity than the 'big guns' like the Canon 5D and 7D. Its about 70% of the size of the sensor used in these cameras. This allows for smaller camera bodies. Check out the Panasonic GF1 and Olympus E-2 for examples of smaller cameras using this system. This new system is aimed at bridging the gap between cheaper instant cameras and full-blown Pro DSLRs.

The other interesting thing to note about the Micro Four Thirds system is that unlike the Pro DLRs, there is no mirror used.

On a regular DSLR you look out through the viewfinder, through the lens by way of a mirror that drops down in front of the sensor. This mirror flips up out of the way as the photo is taken.

On a Micro Four Thirds camera you are looking at the image as projected on the sensor at all times, but unlike an instant digital camera, or a video camera, the lens still does its job of opening and shutting to get you your shutter speed and aperture (how far the shutter opens).

The GH1 has a viewfinder but this is just another view of the LCD output.

Price

The GH-1 is a bit cheaper than the entry-level Pro DSLRs. Using Australian retail prices in December 2009, you have the following:
- Panasonic GH-1 (with 14-140mm lens): $2,200
- Canon 7D (with 18-135mm lens): $$2,800
- Canon 5D (with 24-105mm lens): $4,500

Video

As a comparison with its nearest rival, then Canon 7D, both the GH1 and 7D shoot Full HD 1920x1080 video, but here's the kicker: None of the Pro DSLRs have auto-focus while recording video. This can be a deal breaker for those who want to take any sort of action shots with their video camera. It is practically impossible to be manually focusing on a moving video subject.

All of the DSLRs lack motor-driven zoom also. Thats right - manual zoom only.

The big thing with the GH1 video is QUALITY. The sensor used by the GH1 is about 5 times the size of the sensor in a handycam. The GH1 also has a 'real' lens - made with lots of glass and stuff. The lens alone of the GH1 weighs more than our Canon HF11. These two factors combined give the GH1 killer video performance. Its just better than the handycams in all areas - colour, low light, image quality, etc.

The GH1 produces far and away the best AVCHD video in the pro-sumer market.

Wrap-up

The GH1 (and the GF1 and Olympus E-2) marks a new hybrid camera entering the market. Its a great still camera which gets you into DSLR territory and its a killer video camera. I had tried to use my Canon HF11 as a hybrid still and video camera, but to be honest, its still pictures were just rubbish. The stills from the HF11 were always inferior to those shot on our old instant digital (a Canon IXUS 800) so we ended up always using both.

Panasonic looks like it has another hit on its hands. The rugged FT1 (TZ3 in the USA) was a huge hit earlier in the year with stock sold out for months. The same is happening now with the GH1.

The GH1 marks the first time that you can have one camera which can take top-quality stills and video. Its no wonder that they're sold out everywhere for XMas 2009.

VoltaicHD for Mac v2.0.2 released

We have just released VoltaicHD for Mac v2.0.2.

VoltaicHD for Mac v2.0.2 adds some new features as well as introducing our first ever YouTube competition.

The following features have been added:

  • New YouTube Competition has been added
  • Simple titles can now be added to your final movie
  • Added support for DOF (depth of Field) Adaptors
  • Allowed multiple resolutions for YouTube uploads

35mm Depth of FIeld Adapters

We've had a number of requests from users about 35mm depth of field adapters.

We have looked into this and when you shoot with a 35mm DOF adapter, the video ends up upside down. We will be adding a 'flip' feature to VoltaicHD soon to allow you flip the video back up the right way when converting.

For those who haven't seen this before, here are some examples of what is possible with a DOF adapter.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxeBMQ3VfV4&NR=1

To put it simply, you can shoot professional quality footage not possible with a consumer camera. The DOF adapter gives you a very narrow depth of field which allows you to focus in on a subject in ways not possible with AVCHD cameras out of the box.

We've just bought an adapter from these guys for $199 US:
http://www.vid-atlantic.com/

We're pairing it with Canon EF 50mm f1.8 SLR lens which we bought for $120 (AUS - about $100US), just like this:
http://www.vid-atlantic.com/photos.html

We will certainly post up some samples to Youtube once the new toy arrives.

So how popular is this? Let us know if you use a DOF adapter already, or are planning to.

VoltaicHD for Mac v2.0.1 released

We have just released VoltaicHD for Mac v2.0.1.

VoltaicHD for Mac v2.0.1 fixes a few minor issues with our new release.

The following issues have been addressed:

  • Fixed problems with conversions on OS X 10.4.
  • Fixed problems uploading non AVCHD files to YouTube
  • Fixed memory issues with very large files.
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