Autodesk move the goalposts: Update rules to change from February 1st

Autodesk move the goalposts: Update rules to change from February 1st

If you’re considering updating your Autodesk software, be warned: from February 1st the rules about which product versions can be upgraded will be changing, and if you decide to wait, you may end up forking out more than you need to. Here’s what you need to know before you hit the ‘buy now’ button…

The current system

Currently, there are two Autodesk upgrade paths. If you’re working on one of the last three versions of your software (those are the 2012, 2011 and 2010 versions), you’re eligible for an upgrade at half the cost of a full seat. If you’re using a version from 2009 or earlier, you’re eligible for a legacy upgrade, which costs 7o% of the price of a new seat – both fairly tidy savings.

From February 1st 2013…

On the 1st of February 2013 Autodesk will implement a new, simpler upgrade programme with only one upgrade path. Anyone on one of the last six versions of their software (2012, 2011, 2010. 2009, 2008 or 2007) will be able to upgrade to the current version for 70% of the cost of a new seat.  Versions of any Autodesk product older than seven years will not be eligible for an upgrade.

If you’re fewer than three versions back, you’re obviously going to be the heaviest hit by this – you could actually end up spending 40% more on your Autodesk upgrade if you miss the February deadline. For example, upgrading to 3ds Max 2013 from 2012, 2011 or 2010 currently costs £1450, but as of Feb 2013 it will cost £2030. Upgrading before the policy change would save you £580.

How to sidestep this kerfuffle entirely

If you want to avoid having to deal with upgrades ever again, opt for an Autodesk subscription. Users with a valid subscription contract get upgrades to new releases of their product free of charge, even if they’re full releases, so you pay a flat yearly fee and that covers all the paid upgrades you need. A 3ds Max subscription costs £495 per year – that’s around a third of the cost of a current upgrade and a quarter of the cost of upgrading after Feb 2013. As well as being cheaper, it’s also a much more predictable cost, as you pay a single fee for your one or three year subscription, then simply pay again to renew it at the end of your contract.

Subscriptions can be added to your Autodesk software when you buy it, or for 30 days after. The start date is always backdated to the day of purchase, so you’ll always have to renew your subscription on the date you originally bought the software. After the 30 day period a subscription can still be added, but you’ll be charged a late fee and your subscription will still be backdated to whenever you bought the software. You still won’t have to worry about upgrades, though…

To find out more about your Autodesk options, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page

New firmware brings DNxHD encoding to Atomos Ninja-2

New firmware brings DNxHD encoding to Atomos Ninja-2
Leading us into the weekend on a dizzying high, Atomos have announced an update to the AtomOS (geddit?) operating system that powers their devices. AtomOS 4.01’s headline feature is that it beings support for Avid DNxHD to Ninja-2 recorders at no extra cost, meaning existing Ninja-2 customers can download the update now and spend their entire weekend playing about with the new format.  
“We are really starting to see the benefits of our architecture, which gives us the ability to provide such major feature enhancements to our customers at no extra charge,” said Jeromy Young, Atomos’ CEO and founder. “Avid DNxHD opens up our recorders to Windows users. Support for Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere makes Ninja-2 the perfect recorder for Mac and PC.”
Rounding out the list of new features are a HDMI timecode start/stop trigger for the Canon C100 and 1DX, and a new audio offset function that’s designed to improve compatibility with DSLR cameras. Atomos have also re-engineered the “pressure responsiveness” of their touchscreen, making it more responsive, and improved input detection for PCs, Macs and iPads connected through DVI and HDMI.
Want to find out more about the Atomos Ninja-2? Give us a bell on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. To keep up with all the latest releases, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page

Touch up your audio with TriCaster Audio Mixer for iPad

Touch up your audio with TriCaster Audio Mixer for iPad

If you’re already using an iPad in conjunction with your NewTek TriCaster 8000, 855, 850, 455, 450, 300 or 40, you can now shift another function over to your favourite fondleslab – audio mixing.

NewTek’s newly-announced NewTek TriCaster Audio Mixer app is available now from the App Store for free. Once it’s on your iPad, you simply connect with your TriCaster of choice over WiFi and the app gives you remote control over all your audio channels, allows you to monitor UV meters in realtime and synchronises with your desktop audio mixer automatically.

“Using your iPad as the audio mixer control surface for TriCaster dramatically expands the flexibility of our systems,” said Andrew Cross, NewTek CTO. “By combining the mixer with the ease and mobility of the iPad, you can share the workload of a multi-camera production.”

You can use the built-in presets to switch between commonly-used settings, and the app should auto-detect which model of TriCaster it’s connected to and show the appropriate controls, so you won’t find yourself trying to adjust the levels on channels that don’t exist.

Download NewTek TriCaster Audio Mixer

If you’re thinking of introducing a TriCaster to your live production setup, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

What are Softron up to now?

What are Softron up to now?

After a heck of an IBC showing, Softron are up to their knees in updates, new releases and intriguing theories about what you should be doing with your Mac Pro. We thought we’d do you all a favour and round up all the news into a single, easily digestible blog post. Go on, make yourself a cuppa, kick back and scroll down…

Multicam Logger

Showcased at IBC 2012, Multicam Logger does pretty much what it says on the tin. It logs which inputs are being used when in a live multi-camera production and uses the log to create a multi-cam clip that can then be polished in post before it’s broadcast or put online for on-demand consumption.

Although it’s designed primarily for use with Blackmagic Design’s ATEM range of production switchers, Multicam Logger can be paired with Softron’s GPICommand2 and then hooked up to your existing switcher. The resultant multi-cam clips will work in FCP X, Final Cut Pro 7 and Adobe Premiere Pro.

On the Air Studio

OnTheAir Studio is Softron’s Retina Display-ready radio streaming solution. It allows you to share your radio content directly with SHOUTcast or Icecast streaming services.

With a built-in Multiband Compressor, the ability to schedule 24/7 unattended playout, support for standard keyboards or MIDI controllers and the ability to change the volume on tracks, playlists or outputs without an external audio mixer, OnTheAirStudio offers a comprehensive set of features for anyone who wants to begin streaming their own radio content. It’ll even auto-generate ‘mix points’ when the volume of your output dips below a certain level, ensuring there’s never any silence as you switch between tracks.

Thunderbolt expansion chassis

At IBC, the Softron stand played host to an old favurite of ours, the Sonnet xMac mini Server, which they used to play four streams of HD from a Mac mini (with a bit of help from a Decklink Quad). For the uninitiated, the xMac mini server turns your Mac mini into a 1U rackmount server solution, complete with expansion slots, allowing you to use Thunderbolt-aware cards from AJA, Blackmagic Design, Matrox and more with your Mac mini.

They were also quick to big up the Sonnet Echo Express Chassis which, according to their press team, is “the ideal solution for mobile configurations with a laptop. We did run tests with this chassis together with the latest MacBook Pro Retina and the results are pretty impressive. Here is what we could achieve:

• 4 HD output with OnTheAir Node and OnTheAir Video

• 3 HD input with MovieRecorder (on a laptop!! incredible!!)

• 2 HD output with OnTheAir Video Express. (Note that playing out multiple streams with OnTheAir Video Express is still not recommended as there is no buffering as there is with our playback engine, but we could see a major difference when using an SSD; files playing very quick.)”

 

Total cost per CPU

 

After a bit of a barney with another vendor about whether it was cheaper to use a Decklink Quad and a four input Mac Pro or use four Mac minis and give each channel a dedicated CPU, Softron have released this handy price comparison chart. Granted, it’s in dollars, but it should still help you work out a round guide to whether a four CPU or a single CPU is going to work out better for your budget (don’t forget to factor in support!)

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

Sony’s PMW-100 and PMW-200 get v1.10 firmware upgrade

Sony’s PMW-100 and PMW-200 get v1.10 firmware upgrade

Just a quick one this morning: Sony have just announced the first firmware update for their PMW-100 and PMW-200.

Sony PMW-200

Available for free from the Sony support site, the updates mainly add extra bits to your menu and give you more assignable switch options. The PMW-100 v1.10 adds White Clip level setting, Audio Reference level setting and Auto Black Balance to the user menu, and allows you to set one of your assignable switches to Steady Shot. The distortion compensation feature has been improved (we haven’t actually seen this yet – if you try it out, drop us a comment and let us know what you think).

Download the PMW-100 v1.10 firmware update here.

PMW-200 users also get v1.10 for free, and will see Auto Flange Back, WiFi Remote Control and Audio Reference Level settings added to their user menu. Steady Shot is now an assignable switch option, and you can save your camera setup data to a USB memory stick, as well as SxS memory.

Download the PMW-200 v1.10 firware update here.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

Blackmagic bring ProRes 422 to the HyperDeck Shuttle 2

Blackmagic bring ProRes 422 to the HyperDeck Shuttle 2

HyperDeck Shuttle users, warm up your pointing and clicking hand. Blackmagic Design have released HyperDeck v3.6, a new update which adds support for Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) to the HyperDeck Shuttle 2.

According to the press release: “The HyperDeck Shuttle 2 with the new ProRes compression feature significantly reduces the size of uncompressed HD video files while preserving full frame 10-bit 4:2:2 quality, allowing customers to record up to six times longer.”

“Adding ProRes 422 (HQ) recording and playback to HyperDeck Shuttle 2 shows our continuing commitment to open systems and gives users the freedom to work in either compressed or uncompressed formats,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Recording ProRes 422 (HQ) straight to disk now costs less per minute than recording to professional tape, plus it’s the most efficient workflow possible. A 64GB SSD is less than $70 and will record 50 minutes of the highest quality ProRes video. That’s broadcast quality recording for less than $2 a minute.”

As well as adding support for the popular ProRes 422 codec, Blackmagic Design’s latest update brings closed caption support to all HyperDeck models. The captions will work in 1080HD video formats and HyperDecks using software v3.6 will be able to read closed caption data from the SDI input when recording. The captions are saved as .mcc files – the format favoured by popular authoring applications like Maccaption – and when you play captioned footage back from your HyperDeck, the file will be read and embedded into the SDI output.

Download Blackmagic Design’s HyperDeck software v3.6 now

Find out more about the HyperDeck Shuttle 2

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jisgaw24.com. You can keep up with the latest news by following @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter‘Like’-ing us on Facebook or, more specifically, taking a look at Blackmagic Design’s press release.

Aerohive explained: StudentManager and TeacherView

Aerohive explained: StudentManager and TeacherView

If you’ve spoken to any of our education team about a 1:1 iPad deployment or are already part of the e7 scheme, we’ve probably mentioned Aerohive already. The current darlings of the WiFi world, they’ve come up with a simple system that makes it easy (and affordable) for you to get consistent, secure WiFi coverage in your school.

You can find out more about Aerohive on our website, but we thought we’d also share this nifty white paper, which explains two of Aerohive’s key classroom features: StudentManager and TeacherView. Between them, they make it simple for teachers to manage who in the school has access to which resources at certain times, and maintain complete visibility over which devices students have connected to the school WiFi network and what they’re doing on them.

Download the PDF – StudentManager and TeacherView: Giving teachers control of wireless computing in the classroom

Want to know more about how Aerohive could help in your classroom? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. You can also keep up with the latest news by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter

How do I zero my hard drive and reinstall OS X?

If your computer’s slowed down and gotten glitchy, it’s sometimes a good idea to zero your hard drive and reinstall your operating system, as this should speed things up and solve any number of issues with your OS. Here’s how it’s done…

1. Gather up all your install discs and serial numbers so that they’re to hand when you start reinstalling applications (zeroing your hard drive deletes everything on it, so you’ll need to reinstall everything. Unless you’re restoring from Time Machine, in which case your should be able to restore your apps intact.)

2. Back everything up. Zeroing your hard drive completely wipes it, so you’re going to want to perform a Time Machine backup and ensure you’ve got copies of your important files and applications on an external drive or in the cloud (preferably both). Don’t rely on Time Machine alone (it’s generally great but like every system, if it’s going to fail you, it’s going to fail you when you’ve deleted the entire contents of your hard drive).

3. Back everything up again, to a different location. We’re not kidding about this completely wiped thing.

4. First you need to boot to the Recovery partition or CD. If you are running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or earlier, insert your OS X CD into the machine and turn it on while holding down the C key. If you’re running OS X 10.7 Lion or higher, turn on your computer while holding down Command and R on the keyboard.

5. Head over to Disk Utility. (When you’ve got the Finder menu at the top of the screen, click Go > Utilities > Disk Utility)

6. Go to the Erase tab. Select the drive you want to zero from the list on the left.

7. Click Security Options, then select Zero Out Data from the drop down list if you’re on Snow Leopard or earlier, or drag the slider from ‘fast’ toward ‘safe’ if you are on Lion or later. (Formatting your hard drive is fastest and, while it means the average user can’t get to their files, the information will still be on your hard drive and could potentially be restored. A zero pass writes zeros over all your old data, while seven and thirty-five zero passes write seven and thirty-five zeros respectively. They’re more secure, but take seven and thirty-five times longer respectively.) Click OK.

8. Wait patiently while your computer zeros itself.

9. Exit Disk Utility and follow the on-screen instructions from the OS X Installation Wizard.

10. When you get to the Select a Destination screen, select your newly-zeroed drive. Carry on with the installation as prompted. At the end, you’ll have a pristine new environment to restore your files and applications to. Good times!

11. Begin the slow and laborious process of putting all your files and applications back on your computer. Sigh.


How do I troubleshoot an external drive?

If your external drive is being a bit temperamental, there are a few things you can try before taking a hammer to it in frustration or sending it in for repair. Give these a go and see if they help:

1. Plug it in. Low power can impact performance, so where possible you should plug your drive in to the mains rather than relying on bus power.

2. Switch ports and cables. We know it’s an obvious one, but if there are multiple ports you can connect your drive to, try them all to make sure it is the drive that’s the problem and not the port itself. If your drive’s connecting to a USB hub or similar device, try connecting it directly to your computer instead. If you’re working on a desktop computer, use a port on the back of your computer rather than on the keyboard. If you have any additional FireWire, USB or Thunderbolt cables, try using those, too.

3. Relaunch Finder. Sometimes a drive can be available and working fine, but Finder fails to display it properly. To turn Finder off an on again, hold down the alt key, right click on the Finder icon in your dock and click Relaunch in the popup menu.

4. Check your formatting. It may be that your drive is formatted using a file system your Mac doesn’t understand. You can check this by opening Disk Utility (click Go in the top menu, click Utilities and select Disk Utility) and checking the Format field in the bottom left of your screen. It should read Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or MS-DOS (FAT32). If it’s not in a supported format, you’ll need to reformat the drive before your Mac can access it, but this will wipe any information on the drive, so make sure it’s backed up first.

5. While you’re in Disk Utility… If your Mac can definitely see the drive but you can’t access content on it, open Disk Utility and click on Verify Disk. Your Mac will scan the disk to see if it can pick up any errors. If it does find errors, click on the Repair Disk button to troubleshoot them. (You can see our video on the wonders of Disk Utility here.

6. Boot in Safe Mode. It may be that third party plug-ins or something else installed on your computer is causing problems with the drive. You can check for this by booting in Safe Mode (power off your Mac and reboot it while holding the Alt key down until the grey Apple symbol appears). This mode only enables the core functions of your Mac, so if your drive is recognised in Safe Mode the problem probably lies with a third-party program installed on your computer.

How do I back up my Mac to Time Machine?

Whatever’s wrong with your computer, you’re going to feel far better about it (and probably come out the other side with far less work to reproduce) if you’ve backed up your files beforehand. Mac OS X makes this process less of a hassle by including Time Machine, so you can simply assign a backup drive (or partition) and back up as often as on the hour every hour, automatically. Here’s what you do:

1. Get your hands on a large, reliable external drive (there are some here. If your Mac has a second internal drive you can use this for backup instead – any drive other than the one you want to back up will do.)

2. Make sure it’s empty, as Time Machine will ask you to erase any files already on there before using the drive for backup.

3. Wait until dark – the first backup takes a while, especially if there’s a lot on your Mac, so it’s best done overnight.

4. Connect the drive to your Mac. If it’s the first time you’ve connected the drive to your computer, you’ll see a pop up asking you if you want Time Machine to use it as a backup drive. Click ‘Use as Backup Disk’.

5. If you’ve connected the drive before, click the Time Machine icon in your dock.

6. Set the slider in the Time Machine Window to ‘on’ and click ‘Select Backup Disk’

7. Select your drive from the drop down list and click ‘Use for Backup’.

8. The Time Machine Preferences window will open. Lion OS X users can click ‘Encrypt Backup Disk’ to encrypt the drive using FileVault2.

9. Click ‘Back up Now’.

10. Kick back and watch the progress bar. Your first backup will take a while as all the information you’re backing up has to be copied. Subsequent backups will only record changes since the previous backup, and so will be much faster. Time Machine stores hourly backups for the last day, daily backups for the last month and weekly backups for as long as it has space on your drive.