What’s new in Avid NEXIS v7.1?

What’s new in Avid NEXIS v7.1?

Avid have been feeling particularly generous toward NEXIS users of late, bringing out not one but two software updates for their shared storage platform. Here’s a quick rundown of the new features. 

What’s new in Avid NEXIS v7.0?

Protected Workspaces. This release introduces support for protecting Workspaces against the failure of an entire Engine. To use this feature, called media mirroring, your shared storage system must comprise a System Director Appliance and at least three Engines of the same type (three Avid NEXIS | E2, three Avid NEXIS | E4, or three Avid NEXIS | E5 Engines). All the Engines must have the same number and capacity of Media Packs, and all of the Media Packs must belong to the same Storage Group.

For mirrored Workspaces, if an Engine fails there is no impact on workflow. 
You can upgrade an existing shared storage system to support mirrored Workspaces. After the upgrade, a new column called Mirror Capable is displayed on the Storage Groups page. If any existing Storage Groups meet the criteria for this feature, after the upgrade the Mirror Capable column displays a Yes. You do not need to manually enable this support on a Storage Group; it is automatic.
You can choose to use mirroring on new Workspaces you create in that group. Two-disk Media Pack protection is also applied to any new mirrored Workspaces.

Mirror-capable Storage Groups are subject to some restrictions on changes and redistribution; see the Avid NEXIS Administration Guide for more information.

Link aggregation. This release introduces support for link aggregation (also called NIC teaming) on the Ethernet ports in all Controllers in an Avid NEXIS Enterprise Engine or System Director Appliance. Link aggregation provides protection from a single point of failure (one Ethernet port or one switch, depending on how you configure your network).
For more detail, see the Avid NEXIS Setup and Maintenance Guide, the Avid NEXIS Administration Guide, and the Avid NEXIS Network and Switch Guide. All of these documents are available on the Avid Knowledge Base.

Bug fixes. This update fixes several issues, including:

– Drives being marked as under-performing or failed in error. This could lead to media being offline. Avid strongly recommends upgrading to Avid NEXIS v7.0.

– An issue where using copy and paste actions in the Agent did not work on the CONFIGURE tab, in the Data Interfaces fields.

– Removed the “Missing/Empty Disk” warnings in Engines that are not fully populated with Media Packs, because that is a supported configuration.

– An issue with LDAP authentication on Avid NEXIS systems, so that it no longer requires reverse DNS lookup.

– Restored the functionality of the Notification Service. In earlier versions of Avid NEXIS v6.x, the Notification Service did not work. This issue also affected Avid ISIS | 1000 systems running v5.x, on which the Notification Service was configured and working, which were upgraded to v6.x. After the upgrade, notification emails were no longer generated.

Aspera support. v7.0 introduces support for running an Aspera data transfer application on an Avid NEXIS client to transfer files between Workspaces on local and remote NEXIS systems. This release also supports transferring data from Avid NEXIS Workspaces to an Aspera Enterprise Server running Aspera on Demand for Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). For more information, see here.

What’s new in Avid NEXIS v7.1?

Increased capacity. Starting in the v7.x releases, the total scale of the Avid NEXIS Enterprise has been raised to 2.88PB of capacity and 192 GBps of bandwidth.

More Media Packs. The limits on the number of Media Packs in an Avid NEXIS system have increased, too. You can now have: up to 24 Media Packs in systems with a System Director Appliance and the Avid NEXIS | FS Extended licence and any combination of Avid NEXIS Enterprise Engines, or up to 48 Media Packs in systems with a System Director Appliance and the Avid NEXIS | FS Advanced licence and any combination of Avid NEXIS Enterprise Engines.

More secure passwords. This release introduces support for extended password lengths for users. Now, users can have passwords of up to 127 bytes, which is equivalent to 127 ASCII characters. The Administrator account for an Avid NEXIS system can also be up to 127 bytes (ASCII characters).

Better drive performance. This release fixes a problem where drives were marked as under-performing or failed in error. This could lead to media being offline. Avid requires upgrading to Avid NEXIS v7.0 or higher.

Bug fixes This release fixes a problem specific to the Avid NEXIS | PRO running Avid NEXIS v7.0, where running the Log Aggregator caused the System Director to restart. It also fixes a problem isolated to Avid NEXIS v7.0 systems, where a client could not open a Pro Tools project stored on an Avid NEXIS system.

NEXIS v7.1 is available now through your Avid Master Account.

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’ us on Facebook.

Your virtual reality content kit list

Your virtual reality content kit list

If you want to get students creating virtual reality content of their own, you’re going to need to get your hands on the right hardware. As well as the very chic headsets you’ll have seen demos of, you’re also going to need a workstation and a VR-ready graphics card. Here’s what we recommend.

HTC Vive

HTC Vive is our favourite of the recent crop of headsets. It’s designed for ‘room scale’ VR, in which each participant interacts with objects, characters and environments in a limited space (so ideal if you’re converting a broom cupboard in your media department into a VR space).

Each player is equipped with a wireless sensor that boasts 24 sensors and SteamVR tracking technology, which combine to give realtime feedback on a player’s location within the room, enabling more realistic interactions and unobstructed movement. To counteract participants’ tendency to wander into walls while immersed in VR, the Vive has a built-in guidance system called Chaperone. If you double tap a menu button, or are about to hit a real-world obstacle, Chaperone drops an overlay of the real world onto your VR environment, so you can veer away from any walls, furnishings or people you don’t want to collide with.

Bear in mind, though, that having the headset alone is not enough – you need to opt for a kit that includes base stations, link boxes and face cushions to ensure that you’re ready to go. HTC are offering a Business Edition of the Vive that combines all of these, and adds in a commercial use licence should you want to put your Vive to work recouping its own cost.

HP workstations

Rich media work is always demanding on your hardware, and creating and powering virtual reality content is no exception.

If you’re already using Avid-approved HP workstations for video editing, animation, or VFX-related courses, the top end of these will be suitable for virtual reality work, too – we recommend an HP Z840, as these workstations are not only powerful in and of themselves, but allow plenty of room for expansion should you want to increase your capabilities in the future.

As well as the towers themselves, we offer accessories, warranties, storage and infrastructure solutions, so can help you update an existing media lab, install a new one, or add additional machines on their own network so that working with VR content doesn’t slow things down for anyone else.

One thing that you need to bear in mind, whether you’re buying new workstations or updating existing ones, is that you’re going to swap out your standard graphics card for a 3D-ready one.

A 3D-ready graphics card

NVIDIA/PNY have already got two cards ready for you: the 16GB P5000 and 24GB P6000, both of which should work with your HP workstations. These cards harness NVIDIA’s Pascal GPU technology, and offer enormous memory capacity so that you can work with ever-larger data sets and more complex visuals.

If you’d like a hand putting your 3D workstations together, you can get in touch with our team on the details below, or come along to our virtual reality event on 8th February to see how industry professionals are using VR in their new projects (you can register for that 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’ us on Facebook.

NewTek’s new education pricing structure explained

NewTek’s new education pricing structure explained

If you’ve been eyeing up a TriCaster or 3Play system for your gallery, it might interest you to know that NewTek have rejigged their education discounts. Instead of getting education-specific pricing, you now get free extras as standard with your hardware. 

TrIcaster setup at Staffordshire uni

Rather than getting a chunk off the cost of your initial hardware, you’ll now get a choice of two complimentary education software add-ons, that allow you to extend the functionality of your kit at no extra cost.

Option one gives you two coupon codes for any virtual sets of your choice, so you can drop journalism students into a TV studio complete with background effects and picture in picture display.

Option two gives you a free download of NewTek NDI Telestrator, an on-screen annotation app that allows you to add graphics to and draw on live video, instant replays, still images or clips. NewTek’s addition to the screen annotation app canon is touchscreen-friendly and IP-ready. It gives you the ability to add standard graphics to an image, plus the ability to draw freehand over the top of your video stills. NDI Telestrator includes configurable paint and shape tools, colour and highlight options, and other standard visual elements.

The free versions of these add-ons are only available to accredited educational institutions, and you will need to provide qualifying educational institute documentation. You can claim one or the other add-on whenever you a buy a new TriCaster or 3Play unit.

Advanced Edition: The exception that proves the rule

While you may not be getting special pricing on your hardware anymore, you still get a massive discount on NewTek’s Advanced Edition software bundle, which is £999 for education customers as opposed to the usual £3800 sell (not a typo).

This is a fairly fantastic deal, as Advanced Edition offers many unique and additional features to TriCaster, with just a few of the highlights being:

– Enhanced streaming engine; enabling multiple streams to multiple platforms, simultaneously.

– Augmented reality keys/graphics, within virtual sets, making them appear as a 3D, integral part of the set.

– Undo/Redo functionality added.

– Support for Dante Audio networking.

– Audio output configuration.

– Data Link Integration to allow real time updating or graphics information.

– Control Surface button lock selection.

– Improved social media integration.

– Higher quality LiveSet rendering.

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’ us on Facebook.

Your backup glossary

Your backup glossary

While the perils of not having a proper backup solution are widely known (you’ll lose a lot of time and money if you suddenly can’t get at your application or files, basically), not everyone out there is clear on how to start implementing a plan, or what kind of backup strategy they need.

Even if you know your options, choosing between options can be a challenge – especially if you don’t speak the lingo. Backup and archive is as full of acronyms, abbreviations and just plain odd terms as every other area of IT, and it can make working out what you actually need a bit of a minefield. With that in mind, we asked our consultants to define some of the most common buzzwords, just to help you get started…

3-2-1 A popular backup strategy that suggests you have three copies of your data. Two copies should be onsite but on different devices in case one fails. One copy should also be kept offsite in case anything happens to your office. We recommend following this model.

Backup A copy of a file or application saved in case the original is lost. You can perform incremental backups or full backups of your systems and devices.

Backup rotation strategy Competing strategies that suggest how and when you should back up your data in order to maximise data retention but minimise the resources needed to maintain and implement backups. Common strategies include FIFO, GFS  and the Tower of Hanoi (all below).

Backup window The period of time in which it is most convenient for you to back up your data and applications. For example, if your business is open from nine to five Monday to Friday, your backup windows are from 5pm to 9am the next day, and all day over the weekend, as workers are not in the office so it doesn’t matter if systems are slowed down by (or inaccessible because of) an ongoing backup, and there are no open files (many solutions do not back up open files). Knowing your backup window has a big impact on your choice of backup system, as different kinds are able to back up different volumes of data in given timeframes. If your setup is designed to perform an automated backup at a specific time, this is also sometimes referred to as a backup window.

Cloud backup Cloud backups are a form of offsite backup. Your backup is kept in cloud storage (hence the name). The cloud can be private (run on hardware that is reserved just for your company’s use, regardless of where it’s hosted or if you manage it yourselves) or public (in which you share storage with multiple other users, and it is managed by a third party). Factors to consider when choosing between the two include your budget, data security requirements and retrieval time targets.

Disk Usually, backing up to disk will refer to backing up to hard drives (HDDs) instead of tape storage. This has the advantage that it is generally faster to back up to and retrieve data from disks than it is tapes, but on the other hand the cost per TB is higher and they have a shorter shelf life.

FIFO First In, First Out or FIFO is a backup rotation strategy in which you constantly rewrite your newest files over your oldest and least useful files. For example, if you had seven disks or tapes and did one back up every day, every Monday you would write over the previous Monday’s backup, lose the iterations of your work it contained and replace them with new ones. While this is simple and easy to organise, it does mean that if someone accidentally deletes a key file and doesn’t notice until a week later, all the backups containing the file will have been overwritten.

Full backup A complete backup of all data on a machine or system, regardless of whether the data has changed since the last back up was performed. Usually performed a regular, fairly spread out intervals (e.g. weekly or monthly) and supplemented by incremental backups.

GFS (Grandfather – Father – Son) A tape rotation strategy that suggests you have three levels of backup, for example monthly (grandfather), weekly (father) and daily (son). To give an example, you might use drives 1-4 to back up Monday-Thursday. Friday’s drive, 5, would be archived and replaced with a new drive, 6. The next week you would use 1-4 to back up Monday – Thursday, then archive 6 and replace it with 7. At the end of the month, you would archive the final Friday’s tape. This system would mean that at any time, you would have access to a back up from every day in the last week, every Friday in the last month, and every month for however long you care to keep those backups for. Some systems also include an annual ‘great grandfather’ backup.

HDD A hard disk drive, sometimes called a hard disk. Common storage media.

Hosted backup A form of offsite backup in which your data is kept on storage that is hosted (i.e. housed and maintained) by a third party. For example, our Backup24 solution allows you to back up your files to a Tier 2+ UK datacentre which we maintain on our clients’ behalf.

Incremental backup A backup which only copies files, applications or data which has changed since the previous backup. Quicker and easier than full backups, incremental backups are often performed hourly or daily in order to supplement full backups, which are carried out less frequently.

LTO Linear Tape Open is the standard format for magnetic tape storage. You’ll hear tape storage referred to as ‘LTO tapes’ and tape libraries as ‘LTO libraries’ – all this means is that they are made up of tapes which use the LTO standard to store their data. The current version of the standard is LTO 7 (capacity: 6TB per tape). LTO 7 technology can write to LTO 7 or LTO 6 media, and read from LTO 7, LTO 6 and LTO 5 media.

Offsite backup A backup which is stored somewhere other than your primary location. These are useful in case your main office is affected by fire, flood or power failure, and are often an insurance requirement. Data can be copied to a drive or tape in your location and then removed (for example, if you were to save everything to a drive that was then couriered to a data centre), or transmitted to another location and backed up there. Cloud backups are a form of offsite backup.

Onsite backup A backup which is stored on your premises, rather than offsite. They are generally quicker and easier to retrieve from than offsite backups, so are useful if, for example, someone accidentally deletes something.

Snapshots A snapshot backup captures how the entire architecture of an application, device or system looks at a particular moment in time. Restoring a snapshot backup that was taken a week ago will restore the system to the settings, content, etc that was in place when the snapshot was taken; users will lose any content created since the snapshot, and any changes to their settings they’ve made in the past week will need to be made again. You can also mount your file system as it was at the time of the snapshot and retrieve individual files.

Tape Magnetic tapes have been a staple storage medium for donkey’s years. Tape is ideal for backup and archive as it has a low cost-per-terabyte and a shelf life of up to 30 years (although it is generally slower to write to and retrieve from than disk storage). Tapes are written and read in a tape drive, and housed in tape libraries, sometimes referred to as LTO libraries after the standard used to store data on the tapes.

Tape library A piece of hardware designed to hold a large number of tapes, and which includes a robotic arm for reading and retrieving disks.

Tape rotation strategy Often used interchangeably with backup rotation strategy. Just means planning how to rotate your tapes so that you don’t end up spending your entire budget filling your entire office with storage media.

Tower of Hanoi A backup rotation strategy based on the Tower of Hanoi puzzle. You take a series of tapes – let’s say five, and let’s say they’re labelled A – E. Tape A is backed up every other day, B is backed up every fourth day, C every eighth day, and D and E are backed up on alternate 16th days. This gives you a range of restore options, while minimising the number of tapes needed.

Want to know more about backup? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com. or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Take the hassle out of repairs with our managed service

Take the hassle out of repairs with our managed service

As well as the convenience of having your machines collected and returned according to schedule, our managed repairs service allows you to tailor your repairs provision to your business needs, offering you the chance to spread your repair costs with manageable monthly payments and simplifying admin for your in-house team, as they can sidestep the hassle of booking in each machine as a separate repair. 

As well as the convenience of having your machines collected and returned according to schedule, our managed repairs service allows you to tailor your repairs provision to your business needs, offering you the chance to spread your repair costs with manageable monthly payments and simplifying admin for your in-house team, as they can sidestep the hassle of booking in each machine as a separate repair.

Why choose managed repairs?

– Convenient collection and return of all your faulty units.

– Batch repairs meaning there’s minimal admin per month, no matter how many machines need work.

– Monthly invoicing to spread the cost of repairs over the year.

– No lengthy waits for diagnosis on each machine.

– Dedicated point of contact and direct access to our engineers.

How does it work?

Step 1 You gather up any faulty devices over the course of a day, week, fortnight or month – whatever suits you.

Step 2 We contact you to book the repair batch onto our system, and then arrange transportation.

Step 3 We turn around the repairs in an average time of 3-5 working days.

Step 4 Your fixed Macs are returned, and any newly faulty ones collected.

Step 5 You’re invoiced monthly for any repairs that have been carried out.

Why choose Jigsaw24?

– Apple Authorised Service Provider with over 20 years’ experience.

– Repairs centres in Nottingham, Soho and Manchester.

– Our engineers are all Apple-accredited.

– In warranty or out of warranty diagnostics and repairs covered.

– Repairs by us won’t void your warranty.

– Direct point of contact within our technical team, who can explain a fault without hiding behind jargon.

– Experience of creative and business workflows, so we understand your setup.

We can tailor our managed repairs service to your business’s needs, schedule and budget. Call us on 03332 409 306 to discuss your options, or contact the team at any time at solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Adobe reveal new Creative Cloud features at Adobe MAX

Adobe reveal new Creative Cloud features at Adobe MAX

Adobe have used their annual Adobe MAX conference to announce a raft of new features for Creative Cloud users, which we can expect to join the Adobe lineup between now and the end of the year. The new improvements are designed to make it easier for creatives to deal with the new challenges presented by virtual and augmented reality, and the rise in demand for 3D content.  

Adobe’s latest updates are designed to promote collaboration, mobility, a ‘cloud first’ philosophy (in which work lives primarily in the cloud and is then edited on various devices but not housed on them), and machine learning, which constitutes extending the kind of intelligent technology that powers Photoshop’s Context Aware tools into other apps.

Coming soon: Project Felix

Felix is intended to allow graphic designers to combine 2D and 3D assets to create their images without having to familiarise themselves with more complicated applications like After Effects.

The beta is going to be opened to paid Creative Cloud for teams members at the end of the year. Once you’re on board, you’ll be able to use Project Felix to develop photorealistic 3D images using a workflow that’s specifically designed for people who aren’t experienced 3D content creators.

Key features announced as part of the beta include a free library of models, materials and lights to help you get started straight away, realtime rendering so that you can view updates as you design, and machine learning features that include auto lighting and auto horizon positioning tools.

Based on user feedback so far, Adobe are already working to improve interoperability with Photoshop and Illustrator, make label/decal application easier, add GPU rendering support and more, so it’s well worth keeping an eye out for the start of the beta.

Now in beta: Adobe Experience Design CC

The Experience Design (XD) beta continues apace, with over 50 features added since March. The app is designed to improve teamwork among workgroups who are prototyping apps and mobile content, and allows you to build and share prototypes, then collaborate and feed back on them in realtime. Adobe say it’s now ready for everyday use on computers that are running macOS, so if you’ve been holding off on downloading XD until it became more stable, now’s the time to get involved.

Major new additions include the arrival of Layers, a slightly modified version of the layers you know from Photoshop et al that makes it easier to navigate between artboards and work with elements on each. The idea is that Layers will speed up your XD workflow by allowing you to focus on just the elements you want to modify (the Layers panel contextually displays only the layers for the artboard that you select).

To navigate to the artboard you need, just double-click its icon and XD will automatically pan and zoom to that artboard, fitting it into the application window. Double-clicking on groups allows you to explore and navigate to nested elements. You can also reorder, rename, show/hide, export, make symbols and lock/unlock layers quickly and easily.

Another addition is Symbols, aka objects that you use throughout your design, and which are all dynamically updated if you edit once instance. All you need to do to create a Symbol is hit Cmd+K. For ease of organisation, all your Symbols are stored in their own library, and you can drag and drop them from there into your prototype.

Once everything is added, your peers will be able to comment on it in realtime, and preview changes on different devices as they are made.

The XD beta is currently available on macOS, iOS and Android platforms, with Windows 10 compatibility coming soon.

What’s new in… desktop design apps

The biggest overall change is to your in-app searching capabilities. The new Universal Search in Photoshop not only lets you search all panels, menus, libraries and assets from a single pane (great for finding a command you’ve forgotten the location of), but includes a Visual Search component.

A bit like Google Images, Visual Search allows you to find an image that’s almost right in a library or Adobe Stock, and then search specifically for images that are similar to that one. In a nice additional touch, you can add text descriptors to the image you’ve searched, so if we were to have found a particularly noble picture of our mascot, the zebra, but wanted it to be standing against a setting sun, we could search “[selected image] + sunset” to see pictures that feature similar zebras against the sunset, or ask for a zebra with water in the foreground and mountains behind. This will also work when searching for textures and shadows to add to 3D objects.

Both Photoshop and Illustrator are now going to include template libraries to help new users (or experienced users who are short on time) to get started on common document types. Additional templates will be available in Adobe Stock, and should you download one that you don’t have the right fonts for, Typekit will automatically source and download them for you.

Photoshop also benefits from tighter SVG integration, an enhanced Properties Panel, and support for SVG fonts.

As well as templates, Illustrator is poised to receive font, text and glyph enhancements as a result of Adobe answering 81 common user requests in this update.

Dreamweaver is going to get a new, streamlined interface with a fast, flexible coding engine, but we haven’t managed to get a peek yet – we’ll let you know more when we do.

What’s new in… video apps

The emphasis here is on preparing video and animation workflows for the influx of 3D and virtual/augmented reality projects that are expected to hit the pipeline as everyone attempts to develop the next Pokemon Go.

A new 3D rendering engine in After Effects allows for the creation of extruded text and shape layers, and handles CPU rendering of 3D elements up to 20 times faster than the current version.

As part of their push to integrate more machine learning elements into Creative Cloud, Premiere Pro is getting a new auto-aware virtual reality feature that auto detects the kind of content you’re creating, and a new Social Publishing Panel (released in beta at MAX) will optimise the publishing of content you create in Premiere Pro across multiple social channels, so you achieve maximum impact.

There were two other key beta trials launched at Adobe MAX: Team Projects and Character Animator. Character Animator is designed to improve the connection between Photoshop, Illustrator and video apps to speed up puppet creation and animation – you might have seen it in action during The Simpsons’ live episode or when a cartoon version of Donald Trump appeared on the The Late Show. By mapping characters’ movement patterns onto an actor’s features, Character Animator lets you see your animated creations walk and talk in realtime.

Team Projects allows Creative Cloud for teams and Creative Cloud for enterprise members to co-edit video files simultaneously in Premiere Pro, After Effects and Prelude, so multiple users can be working on the same frame at the same time, but all accessing it from different machines.

What’s new in… mobile apps

The big news is that Photoshop Sketch, Comp and Photoshop Fix are now going to be available on Android. There have also been a number of workflow improvements, including automatic creation of mockups, universal copy/paste within and across documents (hooray!) and enhanced font support in Comp.

Photoshop Brush is also going to be supported in Sketch, and both Sketch and Draw are going to gain new layer blend modes.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 251 or email adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Apple launch new MacBook Pro lineup with Touch Bar and Touch ID

Apple launch new MacBook Pro lineup with Touch Bar and Touch ID

Apple special events are always a high point in the Jigsaw24 calendar, but last night’s was particularly rewarding, yielding up two new MacBook Pro 13″ models (one for function key fans, one with the aggressively cool new Touch Bar) and an all-singing, all-dancing 15″ model. 

Held at Town Hall, Cupertino, Apple’s latest set of announcements features demos from Adobe, Twitter, Algoriddim and the Final Cut Pro team, the launch of a new Apple Accessibility site and news of a new TV app that turns your Apple TV into a hub for all your digital content, but nothing could distract from the real stars of the night: the all-new MacBook Pro lineup.

After years of incremental improvements, it’s great to see Apple really give some love to the pro end of their notebook line. The new lineup features a standard MacBook Pro 13″, which was explicitly positioned as ‘the MacBook Pro for people thinking of buying a MacBook Air’, a MacBook Pro 13″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID, and a 15″ model with Touch Bar and Touch ID, plus four Thunderbolt 3 ports with integrated USB-C.

What is Touch Bar?

See that row of function keys at the top of your keyboard that you only ever use to adjust the volume? Apple has taken them away and replaced them with a multi-touch Retina Display quality mini display that knows what programme you’re in and displays the appropriate controls automatically.

When you’re working in the finder, you’ll see the brightness and volume keys you’re used to. Open Mail, and they’ll instantly change to shortcuts for sending, forwarding and moving your emails, among other tasks. Go into Photoshop, and you’ll see common shortcuts and a scale for adjusting properties like brightness and contrast. You can even scrub your video timelines in Final Cut Pro and make edits to audio and video clips using multitouch gestures, right on the Touch Bar.

All this means that whether you’re working with images or in productivity apps, you don’t have to leave off typing to use a trackpad or mouse to find common shortcuts; they’re right there for you on the keyboard, and you can even customise what Touch Bar displays in each app to ensure maximum productivity gains. Rather than having to take a step back from your images to find menus and palettes, you can work full screen and use one hand on Touch Bar and another on the Force Touch trackpad to edit without pauses or distractions.

MacBook Pro gets a new keyboard, trackpad, screen and more…

The 12″ MacBook’s butterfly keyboard and Force Touch trackpad have both been moved to the MacBook Pro, although the butterfly keyboard has become more responsive on the way and “gives more sense of keyboard travel”, which we’re not fully sure we understand but which we are excited to experience.

The new trackpad is twice the size of that on the current MacBook Pro, giving you double the space to work with gesture controls. In combination with the new Touch Bar, Apple think this larger trackpad will allow creatives to develop a two-handed on-notebook workflow way of working, with one hand on the Touch Bar and another on the trackpad, without the need for mice or external pen tablets.

Other good news for creatives (and those of us who watch all their TV on our computers now) is that the MacBook Pro lineup now has a new and improved screen with 500 nit brightness, 67% higher contrast and a 25% wider colour gamut. If you’re more an audio type, you’ll like that speakers are now twice as loud and now have a much wider dynamic range.

Touch ID

Apple’s Touch ID security has made its way from iOS to macOS, powered by a new T1 chip that handles Touch ID and Secure Enclave. This means that not only can you lock your MacBook Pro geometrically, but you can also use Apple Pay to make purchases online. All you need to do is select ‘Pay with Apple Pay’ on the relevant listing, then tap Touch ID to authorise payment.

Most interesting for businesses, schools and other environments where machines may be shared is the fact that Touch ID can remember multiple fingerprints, and that if a user other than the one logged in taps the Touch ID button, the computer will automatically switch to their account, with all their apps and windows open as they last left that – a great productivity boost if you’re hot desking or use a shared pool of notebooks for any projects.

Thunderbolt 3 with integrated USB-C

You may remember USB-C as the somewhat controversial port that Apple added to their lineup with the 12″ MacBook. Combining multiple standards into a single port, USB-C can act as VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort or a power port with the right adapter – and now includes Thunderbolt connectivity as well.

These more versatile ports mean that you can connect your MacBook Pro to high-end displays, RAID storage, docks and third party creative hardware to transform a notebook into a full blown creative workstation.

The models

MacBook Pro 15″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID

The new MacBook Pro 15” is powered by a 2.6GHz (3.5GHz with Turbo Boost) Intel Core i7 quad core processor, configurable to 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 Quad Core processor. With a 2TB 3.1GBps SSD and 16GB of 2133MHz memory at its heart, performance on the new generation MacBook Pro 15” is up to 50% faster, while new thermal architecture ensures cool running. Despite this improved performance, it offers up to 10 hours battery life.

Graphics are powered by a Radeon Pro Polaris graphics card, which gives you up to 4GB VRAM and 2.3x faster graphics performance overall. This translates to a 130% performance boost with regard to 3D graphics work, 57% for video editing and 60% for gaming.

MacBook Pro 15” features 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports, with support for USB 3.1, Display Port connectivity and charging.

MacBook Pro 13″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID

The MacBook Pro 13” is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor (2.9GHz, up to 3.3GHz with Turbo Boost enabled), configurable to a 3.7GHz Intel Core i7 Dual Core processor. Fast response times come courtesy of a 265GB PCIe-based SSD and 8GB of 2133MHz memory. An Intel Iris 550 graphics card with 64MB of eDRAM provides twice the graphics performance of the previous generation, delivering 103% better performance when you’re gaming, and 76% better when you’re editing video or working with 3D graphics. MacBook Pro 13” features four Thunderbolt 3 ports, with support for USB 3.1, Display Port connectivity and charging.

MacBook Pro 13″ 

MacBook Pro is powered by a 2.0GHz Dual Core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost support that can reach speeds of up to 3.1GHz, configurable to a 2.4GHz Dual Core Intel Core i7 processor. A 256GB PCIe-based SSD and 8GB of 1866MHz memory ensure fast response times, while Intel Iris 540 graphics give you superior graphics performance. MacBook Pro 13” features two Thunderbolt 3 ports,with support for USB 3.1, Display Port connectivity and charging..

Want to order the latest MacBook Pro models? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

Rohde and Schwarz release Venice 4K

Rohde and Schwarz release Venice 4K

We first saw Rohde & Schwarz’s upgraded VENICE 4K ingest system back at NAB, but are happy to announce it’s now out in the world, in stock and available for you to buy. Here’s a quick reminder of why you might want to.

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It’s fairly format agnostic. VENICE 4K features native 4K/UHD-1 acquisition, playback and transform functions, delivering leading 4K/UHD-1 performance and the highest picture quality to production and TV studios. It’s based on a modern, open system architecture, offering support for a wide variety of file formats, codecs and interfaces, and effectively makes handling 4K/UHD-1 material with up to 60p as easy as handling HD footage.

It gets rid of stitching VENICE 4K records material directly with 4K/UHD-1 resolution, so there’s no need to carry out time-consuming stitching processes.

It automatically records HD proxies While it’s recording 4K, VENICE 4K can simultaneously generate an  HD derivative to provide compatibility with existing HD workflows.

It supports dual destination UHD-1 signals VENICE 4K supports Sony XAVC and Apple ProRes for the recording of UHD-1 signals, and the dual destination feature makes it possible to save UHD-1 signals in parallel and independently of one another to two different storage environments, eliminating transfer times for copy processes. UHD-1 signals can be directly recorded to internal and external storage media, and the recorded material can be directly accessed.

There are more codecs to come Rohde & Schwarz have committed to releasing regular software upgrades to expand the variety of supported codecs, meaning you can adapt the VENICE 4K Workflow to your individual needs.

It allows users to control multiple channels even in tense playout scenarios Users can directly access all important functions and make changes to processes until immediately before content goes on the air, even in hectic production environments. The clear display of multiple channels in parallel makes it possible to simultaneously view channels in A/B mode and auxiliary channels and to control them even under difficult live conditions.

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’ us on Facebook.

Ultimatte joins Blackmagic Design stable

Ultimatte joins Blackmagic Design stable

Blackmagic Design’s biggest news at IBC wasn’t a product – it was the reveal that they had acquired respected chromakey solution Ultimatte.

Blackmagic have a reputation for acquiring niche companies and using their existing products as a jumping off point to create innovative, low cost technology (see: DaVinci Resolve, Teranex, Cintel), and we’re excited to see how they develop the already impressive Ultimatte lineup.

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“I went to the Ultimatte stand after the announcement – very impressive stuff,” our Product Manager Meg said after IBC. “The Ultimatte 12 is available in HD and 4K, and one thing I really liked about the virtual sets was the fact that they are dynamic – you can have a moving image set up in the windows of the virtual set. On the stand they used some footage of the outside of the RAI centre that they had shot with a GoPro, and having it in the windows made the virtual set look a lot more active. And that the lighting settings include the shadows from the green screen really adds realism to the virtual set.”

Also impressed are the film and television academies, who’ve gifted Ultimatte with an Oscar and an Emmy. Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty, summed the firm up with: “For the past 40 years, Ultimatte has been the industry standard hardware and software used to key these people in front of weather maps, stock charts, and other info graphics. In fact, many broadcasters use Ultimatte to place entire news teams, weather reporters, talk show hosts, sports commentators and more into completely virtual sets.

“Ultimatte uses advanced 4:4:4:4 image processing and provides enhanced matte controls that lets customers accurately separate the subject from the background. Customers also get matte correction features, indirect and direct lighting features, spill suppression tools, edge artifact controls and more, all in realtime.”

We’re excited to see how this partnership plays out and, while we’ve not heard any official release announcements, we’re crossing our fingers and hoping that they’ll at least have a prototype by next year’s NAB.

For more on the latest IBC releases, take a look at our roundup post, give us a call on 03332 409 306, email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Thanks for coming to our SEO Social!

Thanks for coming to our SEO Social!

Thanks to everyone who made it to our fourth Digital Creatives event, the SEO Social!

Thanks in particular to our DC regular, Iain Seers from Watershed Consulting, for getting the night started in style, Bing Ads’ Adela Popilkova for her insights on SEO layering, and Stephen Kenwright from Branded3 for sharing their success stories.

If you want a refresh of the key points (or if you couldn’t make it), you can always email events@Jigsaw24.com to request a copy of the night’s presentations.

If you were wowed by the reps from Extensis and Adobe but have sadly misplaced their cards, you can always get in touch with sales@Jigsaw24.com to request more information on any of the solutions you saw.

For those of you who were taken by Acronis’ Mac PC integration solutions, we offer free trials of  Acronis Access Advanced and Acronis Access Connect.

If you need anything else, just give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook