July 13th, 2005, a warm summer’s evening in Boston. A crowd coming directly from MacWorld Conference and Expo Boston a block away starts filling the lobby and theater of the Berklee
Performance Center, for a free concert of the Berklee Techno-Rave
Ensemble and the legendary Birdsongs of the Mesozoic.
is the largest school for contemporary music in the world, with over
4000 students. And each one of them enters with a fast Apple Powerbook,
a MIDI keyboard, software and creative ambition.
The Techno-Rave Ensemble, directed by Dr. Richard Boulanger,
throbbed from performers conducting several Powerbooks, each timed to
the millisecond with each other, a tight and captivating sound. Several
attendees wanted to see what Danny Patterson, Tanner Ross, Christina
Chatfield, Eric Peterson and Won Seok Choi were actually doing behind
their laptops, but that may be a trade secret. The sound was utterly
scintillating and demonstrates entirely new ways to generate group
For the second set came the incredible Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, directed by Michael Bierylo.
BOTM is a progressive new age eclectic fusion jazz group (okay, at
least I tried describing them) from this area who’s been around for
over 25 years. This group has probably fed inspiration to everybody
from Blue Man Group to regional drumming circles. Once you experience
them you don’t forget the sound. Founder Roger Miller, who also plays with Mission of Burma,
made a special appearance with the group, which included Berklee
faculty Michael Bierylo on guitar (expertly coping with a cranky
Powerbook mid performance!), crazed pianist Eric Lindgren, versatile Ken Field on sax, woodwinds and percussion, solid Rick Scott on synthesizer and percussion, with special guest Jason Marchionna on drums and percussion.
BOTM reserved their last tune of the evening for a very special
demonstration by the BOSFCPUG of tapeless, Direct to Edit video
production workflow, conducted by Don Peebles of Apple Computer and Don Berube of noisybrain., in association with David Mash,
Berklee’s forward-thinking Vice President of Information Technology
(see separate profile article here at BOSFCPUG’s website), made possible with
special support from Reggie Lofton, Berklee’s Associate Director, Video Services, and his camera and audio mixing crew.
The entire concert was filmed with three video cameras by Berklee
Video. For the last piece, “Beat of the Mesozoic, Part 1,” each camera
feed was connected by Don Berube to a FireStore hard disk recorder—a tapeless, Direct To Edit recording solution from Focus Enhancements.
Each angle went to its' own FireStore hard disk for the six-minute
piece, immediately becoming a QuickTime file and ready for editing.
The idea was to grab each FireStore hard disk at concert’s end, rush
out to the lobby where Apple and the BOSFCPUG had set up a fast G5
tower and 23” monitor and a pair of Roland speakers; connect each
drive, transfer each stream, synch and group the angles together in
Final Cut Pro 5; and edit the piece in realtime using the new FCP
MultiCam feature while the audience emerged from the theater and passed
Don Berube of noisybrain. hands Don Peebles a FireStore FS-4 with footage.
It went like clockwork. While the audience applauded BOTM, the hard
disks were pulled, relayed to the lobby, and connected at the
There was no common timecode between the cameras, only a blackburst
reference signal. Yet Don Peebles easily managed to synch the three
streams using visual and aural cues in each video – Don is musical and
actually attended Berklee a while back-- marking In points on each
stream. He generated an In-point-synched Multiclip in less
than two minutes, and while he was pulled away to talk to curious
onlookers about the system, I put down my camera, sat down and using
the keyboard exclusively, began cutting.
Don Peebles shows a removeable hard disk from a FireStore FS-3 Recorder.
The app was responsive with no latency I could detect, laying down an
angle-switch marker each time I hit Command-1, -2 or –3. This was not
my quiet cutting room, it was a noisy theater lobby. Yet I found myself
easily concentrating on content and making split-second edit decisions
while watching ever-changing angles—like any experienced TV director.
Display in the quad-split Viewer window was absolutely smooth, thanks
to FCP’s new Dynamic RT. When I came to rest at the end of the piece
and hit the spacebar, all the blue timeline switch markers transformed
into edits. All the angle cuts were preserved. I had just completed my
first-ever live-switched Final Cut Pro MultiCam edit.
If I’d wanted to, I could have merely marked each switch with a surface
keytap and revised or committed afterward—even committing to a cut on
the fly as I did, it could be easily revised later. I could have
used Option-1,-2 or –3 to have the audio from each clip follow its
video, for accurate sound perspective. Or I could have used Shift-1,
-2, or –3 to lay down switch edits with transitions. By switching to
the provided MultiCam Editing layout, I had immediate keypad control of
up to 9 available angles. Or… I could even have used the mouse,
clicking on and switching to the desired angle.
FCP 5 supports up to 128 streams in a multiclip, up to 16 at a time on
display! Capabilities like this brings FCP ever more evenly in line
with Avid systems, which have had MultiCam for many years now. It’s a
real milestone for the application.
Don then exported the piece to DVD Studio Pro to complete the workflow.
From stem to stern, from concert theater to broadcast quality edited
piece ready for DVD burn took by my estimation less than 17 minutes.
This even allows time for breathing! Even while a part of the workflow,
I was astounded.
Berklee’s Reggie Lofton (L), Dan Berube and others look on as Don exports.
Don Peebles with David Mash of Berklee during the tapeless workflow demo.
There’s also a nice description of the process by Dan Berube and Don
Peebles on Phil Hodgetts’ Digital Production BUZZ radio show at
www.digitalproductionbuzz.com. Click “Archives” and download the July
13th episode (QuickTime file or podcast) originally generated from the
MacWorld Expo Boston show floor. When he isn’t switching angles from Camera 1
to 2 to 3, Loren S. Miller edits “film style” for clients ranging from
useful NGO’s to broadcast series to independent feature producers. Loren
offers KeyGuides to intermediate and advanced keyboard users worldwide,
with select editions available here at BOSFCPUG at discount. Reach Loren
anytime at .
Copyright 2013 Boston Creative Pro User Group. BOSCPUG is Copyright 2001-2013 Boston Creative Pro User Group, a division of noisybrain. Productions, LLC. Formerly the Boston Final Cut Pro User Group. All Rights Reserved.
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