Video: Tascam DM3200 mixing desk, integrated audio interface, control surface and DSP

Video: Tascam DM3200 mixing desk, integrated audio interface, control surface and DSP

Rob Holsman of talks us through the features of Tascam’s DM3200 digital console and explains why this is a relevant choice for someone looking for a DAW controller and high quality audio interface.

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


Our guide to FCP X 10.0.4 device compatibility

Our guide to FCP X 10.0.4 device compatibility

Since Apple released the latest version of Final Cut Pro X – 10.0.4 – earlier this week, manufacturers have been quick to show they’re in the FCP X gang by announcing compatibility updates. Third-party devices from AJA and Matrox are already on board, and with more to follow we’ve drafted up a quick compatibility guide so you can see what updates you need.

If you don’t already have the FCP X 10.0.4, it might not have the attention-grabbing new multicam editing and file relinking features that the recent 10.0.3 update brought, but it’s still essential downloading. 10.0.4 improves image quality and responsiveness of broadcast monitoring with compatible third-party PCIe and Thunderbolt I/O devices (more on those below), improves multicam syncing and editing, as well as adding a Share option for 1080p video on compatible iOS devices.

Here’s our list of devices that are fully compatible with 10.0.4:

AJA devices

The new AJA v10.3 firmware upgrade brings improved FCP X support for the AJA KONA, Io XT and Io Express capture cards and interfaces. The update includes improved support for Broadcast Monitoring in FCPX 10.0.4, as well as 16-channel embedded audio with the Io XT. Other enhancements and resolved issues include:

  • KONA 3G. Added Control Panel > Firmware tab support for 4K Mode setting.
  • KONA LHe Plus. Resolved an issue where the Default Video Output selected would not be maintained after a computer reboot.
  • Io XT. Addressed an issue where not all of the Dual Link capabilities and settings were presented in the Control Panel application.
  • All KONA and Io. Resolved an issue where the input video format/frame rate wasn’t always auto-detected accurately for some video formats/frame rates. Addressed an issue where audio was sometimes not captured when using Final Cut Pro 7 and Log and Capture.

The AJA v10.3 update is available to download from the AJA Support site.

Matrox devices

A new 3.0.1 update is also now available that provides compatibility with Final Cut Pro X 10.0.4 for Matrox MXO2 I/O devices and the Matrox Mojito MAX card. These are the biggest enhancements for FCP X editors using Matrox devices:

  • Broadcast monitoring in Final Cut Pro X 10.0.4 allows video and audio output to a variety of external monitors and other equipment using the SDI, HDMI, or analog video outputs from Matrox products.
  • 10-bit hardware scaling.
  • HD monitoring with theMatrox HDMI Calibration Utility.
  • 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound monitoring using professional connections.

You can get the 3.0.1 update from the Matrox User Forum.

As soon as we hear of more devices confirming compatibility for FCP X 10.0.4, we’ll add them to the list above. In the meantime, get in touch on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com.

Get all the latest announcements from NAB 2012 by keeping up with our roving reporters in Vegas. Follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter and ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

NAB 2012 news: Magma ExpressBox 3T Thunderbolt to PCIe expansion

NAB 2012 news: Magma ExpressBox 3T Thunderbolt to PCIe expansion

After first surfacing a good few months ago, there’s news from Magma on their ExpressBox 3T Thunderbolt to PCIe expansion at NAB 2012. It’s good to see the device, which brings PCIe slots to iMacs and MacBook Pros, is being shown off on the Avid and RED stands too.

This makes the Magma ExpressBox 3T Thunderbolt to PCIe expansion a very interesting proposition for those in audio and video who currently need PCIe slots to run their apps. The ExpressBox 3T would open something like Pro Tools HDX or HD Native up to older machines, and Rob explained that will be a major boost to Pro Tools HDX or HD Native users, with the future of Mac Pro machines hanging in the balance.

“Irrespective of what may or may not happen with Mac Pros, it at least opens the market for HD Native to those who have a decent iMac and want to get into the Pro Tools HD market but don’t want to buy a whole new machine as well as the hardware,” said Rob.

James thinks the ExpressBox 3T will be equally useful for broadcast work. He said: “I can imagine this being used for treating rushes and doing rough cuts for test shots on set. Also for the smaller environment, this can sit on the desk and really beef up an iMac Avid suite.”

The ExpressBox 3T hosts three PCIe 2.0 slots – two x8 (of which one can hold a x16 card) and a x4 – which connect to your machine via Thunderbolt. It also houses its own 220w power supply. In terms of availability, Magma say they have “begun the Thunderbolt compliance process with Intel and Apple and shipments of ExpressBox 3T will start immediately after completion.”

If you’re at NAB 2012, check out the Avid stand (SU902) to see it in action, or get dibs on one by pre-ordering your ExpressBox 3T from Jigsaw24 now! For more information, get in touch on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com.

And remember to keep up with all the latest announcements by following @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter and ‘Like’-ing our Facebook page, or keeping an eye on our round up post

Babyface vs. Fireface: Battle of the interfaces

Babyface vs. Fireface: Battle of the interfaces

Audio interfaces come in all shapes, sizes and numbers of inputs. To see what difference size makes, we’ve pitted the small but mighty RME Babyface against the heavyweight RME Fireface UFX. Our audio consultants have each taken a corner to argue why their choice should be champion.

RME Babyface

Backing the RME Babyface interface is Alex Judd, who reckons the ultra compact, bus-powered interface packs more of a punch than you’d imagine. “Marketed as the entry level RME interface, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not a serious production tool,” he said. “The Babyface boasts the same amazing sound and ultra low latency as the Fireface series, and comes with a breakout cable for connecting two mic preamps, an instrument input, two headphone outputs, stereo line out and eight‑channel ADAT I/O.”

Alex also points to the Babyface’s fantastic routing, mixing and signal processing software, Totalmix FX, which allows you to perform complete routing and mixing, as well as adding effects (DSP-based EQ, and host based delay and reverb). But it’s the portability factor that’s the real winner for him. He said:

“It  will fit into the most crowded of studios, and easily tuck into your laptop bag (or man bag). Just hook the RME Babyface up to an eight‑channel preamp via ADAT and you have the ability to record multitrack sources when and where you need to. It’s ideal for musicians and producers who are after a simple stereo source for mixing, but who also need something to take on tour or out on location. It’s a very clever way of RME sucking you in,” Alex added.

RME Fireface UFX

Rob Holsman has been using the larger RME Fireface UFX for recording guitars and drums for his band for a while, with one of his standout features being direct USB recording. To see how to set up this function in action, check out Rob’s video below.

“There are clear uses for this technology,” Rob said, “from having a safety recording running in the event of a DAW crash to being able to record live gigs where using a computer might be ill-advised […] Sometimes there are just situations where a standalone recorder is what you want to use, and that’s exactly what this firmware update turns the UFX into – a standalone hard disk recorder.

“The decision to record a single multichannel audio file is a good one too, as it makes it much easier to write high data volumes to slower devices (such as memory sticks) than trying to simultaneously write multiple files. It also ensures that all files remain synchronous when importing into an editing program like Pro Tools or Cubase, which both handle multichannel files natively, automatically showing each channel as a separate region.”

Rob went on to deliver his verdict on the interface. “The RME Fireface UFX was already one of the best professional audio interfaces available based on stability features and sheer audio performance, but [this update makes it] stand out from the competition, pushing the UFX into an exciting class of its own and making it a simple choice for people looking to record critical, non-repeatable performances.”

The results

We’ve used a very complex system of calculations to tot up the points, and it turns out it’s a draw. Which audio interface you go for really depends on how it’s going to fit into your recording and production. As Rob said, the Fireface UFX has top quality sound and a handy direct USB recording feature, but if you’re recording on the move, you really can do no worse than the incredibly portable and affordable RME Babyface interface.

We’re an RMExpert Dealer, which means we can offer expert advice, demonstrations and even loan a wide range of units for customers to try in their own setup. Get in touch for more info.

To find out more about the RME Babyface, call us on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. You can also keep up with the latest audio news and offers on our Twitter (@Jigsaw24Audio) and Facebook page.

To get your hands on an RME Babyface with a free Audio Technica AT2020 microphone (worth £89), visit Jigsaw24.com now!

University-level courses now available as free apps

University-level courses now available as free apps

With fees on the rise, any ways to help students save cash on expensive textbooks and also help teachers manage resources are very welcome. Now Apple’s iTunes U app for iPad allows you to subscribe to free courses from a range of universities, schools and other institutions.

Following on from his top tips on getting digital textbooks into the classroom with iBooks 2, we asked Jigsaw education consultant Rob Williams for his thoughts on why iTunes U is a great app fpr the classroom. To see it in action, check out Rob’s video tutorials above and below.

Where do the iTunes U courses come from?

“First of all, you need to download the iTunes U app for your iPad, which is free. I’ve already subscribed to a range including full music technology and astronomy courses from the Open University, but there’s also material available from top universities like Harvard, resources from museums and TED talks.”

How do you download the courses?

“Finding the materials you need is easy. You can search via a particular institution, or drill down into specific subject areas, education level, highest rated courses or search within the iTunes interface, which most students will be familiar with. To avoid classroom iPads getting clogged up with content, you subscribe to classes then only download elements when you actually need them. There’s more information on finding and downloading the courses you want in the ‘iPad in Education: How to use iTunes U (part 2)’ video.”

How are the courses constructed?

“iTunes U materials are made up of a range of media, including books, videos and audio. These elements can all be accessed directly from iTunes U, so you don’t need to switch back and forth between apps. Students can even minimise a video, pause it or leave it playing while they make notes in the Notes section of the course folder.”

Is it easy to measure student progress through the courses?

“Once a particular section has been completed, it can be ticked off in the course outline. Students can go back and reread or rewatch those elements at any time, but they always know how far through the course they are. There’s also a ‘Learning Outcomes’ section of each course set by the course’s instructor, so students can check they have achieved the particular course criteria.”

How does iTunes U integrate with the new iBooks 2 app?

“Apple are keen to push ‘joined-up’ working, and the same is the case with iTunes U. Any notes and annotations that students make in iBooks materials are stored in that particular course’s folder, so everything is all in one place. I gave a rundown of how to use iBooks in my last video – ‘iPad in education: How to use iBooks 2′ video tutorials’.”

And how much do they cost?

“Subscribing to any course in iTunes U is absolutely free. Some courses may charge a small amount for ‘in-app’ purchases – in one of my Open University courses there was the option of an additional Venn Diagram-creator app – but any charges are clearly signposted.”

Where would this fit into the curriculum?

“At the moment, there’s no feedback aspect of iTunes U, so it is more ideally used as a self-paced learning tool in addition to the traditional course materials. Once it is made possible for institutions to create the course content themselves, that’s when it will get really interesting.”

 

For more information on getting iPad into your classroom, get in touch. We’re Apple-certified, and can help with every step of the process, from providing iPads with AppleCare to integrating devices into your existing infrastructure. Give Rob and the team a call on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com.

To see our full  range of iPad with AppleCare Protection, visit Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter.

Canon release MXF plug-in for FCP X

Canon release MXF plug-in for FCP X

Good news for anyone with a Canon C300, XF300 or XF100 – you’re now supported in Final Cut Pro X! With the new plug-in, any .MXF footage can be loaded directly into Apple’s latest NLE, solving a bit of a headache for those capturing on Canon camcorders but wanting to edit in FCP X.

Until now, users had to go the long way round to load movie clips using FCP 7’s Log and Transfer to save the .mxf files as XDCAM HD422 .mov files before importing them into FCP X. But as long as you have the latest version of Final Cut Pro X – v10.0.3 – installed on your Mac, files from your XF300, XF305, XF100, XF105 or EOS C300 are now supported.

This was big news for Jigsaw Video Consultant and XF300 fan, James Graham. “The XF300 is a very popular small broadcast acquisition camera and for good reasons,” he said. “The only drawback for an FCP X user was getting the files in.”

And filmmakers who have got on board with Canon’s latest foray into cinematic cameras – the C300 – will also benefit from the new interoperability between Canon Long GOP cameras and Apple FCP X. James said:

“The C300 looks set to become the low budget advert, drama and film camera of choice, squaring off against the mighty Sony F3. There’s been a lot of debate around the F3 vs the C300, but suffice to say owners can now edit natively in the platform they are most comfortable. And if that’s FCP X, then there will no longer be any issues.”

How to get it

The 3.4 MB plug-in is available for any Mac users running Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3 over at the  It will enable any users of Canon’s EOS C300, EOS C300 PL, XF305, XF300, XF105 or XF100 camcorders to load movie clips into FCP X. Here’s what you do once you’ve downloaded it:

1. Confirm that Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3 has been installed to the computer.

2. Download “xpfm-2-0-0-4-8l.dmg.gz” from the download page.

3. Double-click “xpfm-2-0-0-4-8l.dmg.gz”. After decompressing the file, “xpfm-2-0-0-4-8l.dmg” will be created.

4. Double-click “xpfm-2-0-0-4-8l.dmg”. The disk image “XPFM20″ will be mounted.

5. Double-click the installer, “UpdateInstaller” in “XPFM20″.

6. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

Having trouble installing, or just generally want to shout about how this news is making you feel? Let us know in the comments box below.

To find out more, call us on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For more articles, reviews and news, follow@Jigsaw24Video on Twitter and ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

 

FCP X 10.0.3: Reactions, resources and compatibility announcements

FCP X 10.0.3: Reactions, resources and compatibility announcements

An update to Final Cut Pro X this week finally gave pro video editors the multicam support and ability to relink files they had been craving. Now that the dust has settled, we’ve started to see a few more reviews and tutorials come out in praise of v10.0.3. It also seems Apple has been working with third-party developers to iron out a few compatibility bugs, as Blackmagic Design, GenArts, Red Giant and Matrox all announce hardware and plug-in support for the latest version of FCP X…

New features in 10.0.3

A major gripe from editors when FCP X first came out was that it no longer supported multicam editing, but Apple promised the feature would be on its way soon. True to their word, it’s now arrived in v10.0.3 to positive reviews from FCP expert Larry Jordan. Another editor impressed by the new features was Apple Certified Trainer and guest Jigsaw blogger Jonathan Eric Tyrrell, of postpost.tv.

“So far I’ve had chance to experiment with Multicam editing, the updated Keyer Effect and relinking media; they all seem sophisticated, robust and relatively straightforward to use,” said Jonathan. “They are symbolic of the intrinsic power of FCP X in that respect. It’s an amazing feat to take something like Multicam editing, a process that will be so familiar to so many seasoned editors, and provide such terrific enhancements – automatic multicam clip creation will turn heads and deservedly so. The significance for the wider post-world is surely in the message that development of Final Cut Pro X is ongoing and that Apple is clearly intent on producing new and reimagined tools that are unequivocally best of class. The revisions to FCPXML are also a great leap forward. The possibilities for third-parties are expanding with this release and tools like 7toX for Final Cut Pro, which is a terrific application, are a boon for the community.”

More resources. There’s more from Jonathan Eric Tyrrell, including an excellent walkthrough of using 7toX, at his website postpost.tv. Creative Cow, always a handy source of media and entertainment news and reviews, have come up with this tutorial “FCP X INs and OUTs – Multicam Part ONE”. There’s also an interesting video review of 10.0.3 over at MacProVideo.com, and the consistently useful fcp.co have put together a good roundup of third-party apps available, as well as a balanced review of FCP X from a former ‘hater’.

Finally, Apple have released a white paper, ‘Final Cut Pro X: Xsan best practices‘, which they say is “designed to help you determine the best way of working with a SAN, such as Xsan, to speed up creative work and eliminate copying files across networks or hand-carrying hard drives on multiuser projects.”

Blackmagic Design

One thing people had been calling for since FCP X was first announced was monitoring, and now that it’s been included in the latest version, BMD have been quick to ensure their capture and playback products support it. The Desktop Video 9.2 beta 1 includes a new control panel for selecting the video output format from Final Cut Pro X for output to devices such as broadcast quality monitors, HDTVs and projectors.

Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design said this would allow editors to see exactly what masters will look like in television colourspace: “Now working with Final Cut Pro X is even better since our customers can accurately view projects on whatever monitor they choose and can ensure that their final output meets crucial broadcast standards.”

The Desktop Video 9.2 beta 1 for Mac OS X includes support for all current DeckLink, Multibridge, Intensity and UltraStudio models, and is available to download for free now.

Matrox

Also taking advantage of the new monitoring capabilities in 10.0.3 were Matrox, who announced a new software update (if only in beta form for the time being) for their I/O products. The release will give Matrox’s PCIe cards, ExpressCard/34 or Thunderbolt I/O devices broadcast quality output to a variety of monitors – SDI, Analogue Component or HDMI monitors – while editing with Final Cut Pro X. Matrox’s 3.1 beta will be available to download from the 13th February.

Sapphire Edge

Sapphire Edge, the younger sister of GenArts’ Sapphire effects and transitions plug-ins, has now also got an update to make it compatible with Final Cut Pro X. Delivering the same pro effects as the more high-end version, Edge is designed to be more streamlined with “the busy, modern editor in mind”.

“Using Sapphire Edge with Final Cut Pro X transforms the experience so editors can apply premium visual effects in a more intuitive workflow to quickly create higher quality, better performing video.” said GenArts CEO Katherine Hays.

Magic Bullet Looks

It’s also worth mentioning Red Giant has now updated their Magic Bullet Looks colour correction tool (available in Magic Bullet Suite) to accomodate Apple editing. The plug-in’s FCP X compatibility has been hampered for quite some time, as Red Giant explained:

“There was a serious bug in Final Cut Pro X that did not allow it to properly hand off imagery to many plug-ins […] Over the last few months, we’ve worked directly with the Final Cut team to get this issue resolved and, thanks to their dedicated work, the latest build of Final Cut Pro X fixes the issue that kept Looks from working properly.”

Softron

To round things off, Softron are touting their MovieRecorder and updated MovieRecorder Control as “must haves” for editing multicam projects with FCP X. Using the ‘Gang record button’, apparently all you have to do is start recording all the camera angles, then MovieRecorder Control will import them all, create the multicam clip and project for you, and you can start editing while it is still being recorded. The updated version will be out later this week.

 

For more information on Apple FCP X, get in touch with us on 03332 409 306, email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest media and entertainment news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

HP or Epson: What’s the best draft printer?

HP or Epson: What’s the best draft printer?

Looking for a print solution for your drafting workflow? There are dozens of large format printers out there which will all produce good quality results, so we’ve pitched two of the top offerings from HP and Epson against each other so you can see what kind of printer is best for your needs…

HP DesignJet T790

HP are primarily known for producing technical CAD printers for use in architectural, engineering, surveying and construction environments. Their 44″ DesignJet T790 is a plug-and-play large format printer which combines high-speed results with intuitive use. The real stand-out points here are the ability to easily create print-ready PDFs with the optional AutoCAD plug-in and the collaborative aspect of HP’s exclusive ePrint & Share application. This free web-printing solution allows you to select, print and share files directly from the colour touchscreen.

Epson Stylus Pro 9700

Epson’s range of photo and graphics printers have a heavy emphasis on print quality, and so are mainly used in the print for pay, production graphics, pre-press proofing and photographic sectors. They may seem a little over-qualified if you only need a printer that’s adept at producing 2D drafts, but if you’re working in an environment where you work with a range of designs and media, the flexibility of the 44″ Epson Stylus Pro 9700 could be what you need. ENERGY STAR-qualified, it also boasts plenty of eco-features such as a fixed printhead and low power consumption to boost your green credentials and keep printing costs down at the same time.

How they stack up

The stats you need to know, at a glance.

Printer HP DesignJet T790 Epson Stylus Pro 9700
Printhead HP Thermal Inkjet Epson Micro Piezo TFP Variable-sized Droplet Technology
Max resolution 2400x1200dpi 1440x1440dpi (special line mode)
No. colours/cartridges Six cartridges (C, M, Y, Photo Black, Matte Black, Grey) Four colours, five cartridges (C, M, Y, Photo Black and Matte Black), ten ink channels
Nozzles 2,112 nozzles per colour, 12,672 nozzles 720 nozzles per colour, 3,600 nozzles
Minimum droplet size 6-9pl 3.5pl
Max print speed 50m^2/h 50m^2/h
Best quality print speed 2.8m^2/h 4.2m^2/h
Paper thickness 60 to 328g/m^2 up to 0.8mm 0.08 to 1.5mm
Memory 8GB 256MB
Power consumption 120W 85W
Warranty One year onsite ex printhead One year onsite inc printhead

The verdict

In terms of initial cost, there’s little to separate the two printers (both have an RRP of around £3000), but the Epson does just edge the HP in terms of consumables, with printheads included in the guarantee and ink costing nearly half per ml. The real decider should be what you want your printer to achieve – for a dedicated drafting printer, you may be better off with the quicker, more accurate Epson 9700 and its collaborative tools, but if you need your printer to do more flexible colour design work, the HP T790 could clinch it for you.

To find out more about large format printing, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email CAD@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

A listen in to the Event 20/20BAS monitors from RØDE

A listen in to the Event 20/20BAS monitors from RØDE

RØDE paid a visit to Jigsaw24 HQ to run us through their new 20/20BAS monitors. In the video, International Sales Manager Ben Sweeney demonstrates the power and transparency of the speakers, and explains the great protection circuit features.

For more information, call 03332 409 306, email audio@Jigsaw24.com or leave us a comment below. You can also keep up with more news, reviews and offers on our Twitter (@Jigsaw24Audio) and Facebook page.

Feds turn down the volume on US ads

Feds turn down the volume on US ads

For a long time, canny advertisers have used dynamic range and loudness as a way of drawing attention to their messages between programmes. Now, irked by increasing volume levels on US TV ads, the Federal Communications Commission has passed an act to keep them in line with the rest of the scheduled programming. In time-honoured fashion, it won’t be long before the shakedown hits these shores too…

The FCC’s Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (cleverly acronym-ed to ‘CALM’) will come into effect this December, and make sure adverts’ loudness stays within allowed limits. “The average volume of a commercial,” an FCC spokesman explained, “cannot be louder than the average volume of the programme during which the commercial airs.”

While the current standards in the UK exist as self-imposed guidelines from the broadcasters themselves, Jigsaw audio consultant Rob Holsman said it won’t be long before limitations similar to the US hit these shores. “The same standards will be brought in across Europe and the UK over the next few years, although many broadcasters have already adopted them.

“It is the broadcaster’s responsibility to ensure that their transmissions are in accordance with regulations, but of course they are already minimising their accountability by insisting adverts that are submitted hit those guidelines, and sending back submissions that don’t conform,” he added.

So what’s the best way to ensure your work is broadcast-safe? Jigsaw audio expert Alex Judd said many of our post-production house customers have already been gearing up for the changes with new products to keep their loudness levels in check. “Anyone making adverts and promotional videos, or producing the audio for them, will need to have or invest in metering equipment or software that shows the PPM [Peak Programme Meter] signal of their content,” he said.

Hardware such as TC Electronic’s TM7 and TM9 loudness monitors has been popular for providing a standalone solution with a consistent readout, and there’s also a native plug-in version for Pro Tools which provides much of the same functionality at a fraction of the price – the TC Electronic LM6 Radar loudness meter. Waves, normally known for their effects plug-ins, have also got into bed with loudness monitoring, releasing their WLM software. Plug-ins are a very affordable way to ensure you stay within acceptable loudness limits, so it’s likely these will feature alongside most post-production houses’ DAWs very soon.

For more information on PPMs and loudness monitoring solutions, call us on 03332 409 306, email audio@Jigsaw24.com or leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you.  You can also keep up with the latest audio news and offers on our Twitter (@JigsawAudio) and Facebook page.