Archive for March, 2007

Retrospect Orphaned?

Around Macworld time this year, there were rumors floating around that there were problems at the company that produces a pretty key piece of software for a lot of Mac production shops. The product? Retrospect. Retrospect is back up software. I’ve had a long 17 year love-hate relationship with Retrospect and my opinions have had the resultant peaks and valleys, so I wasn’t sure what to think of the rumors. There were initially some denials of problems with the program but now, it looks like Larry Zulch, the founder of Dantz the orginal parent company of Retrospect has left the company.

I’ve been here before, with an investment in a technology that seems to be going away. I tend to take a pragmatic approach as much as possible. Things usually don’t fall apart right away, but as each new software update is added to the puzzle you start to lose functionality. So you have to start your migration strategy early. I first do an inventory of the current technology landscape and what options are available. If there is a clear migration path (hint to backup vendors: If you can read a Retrospect catalog , reverse-engineer the tape format and make it seemless I’ll be the first in line) I’ll take that path. If not, it usually involves some sort of dual platform support until the first technology platform fades into the background. This path is less ideal because that first platform becomes so archaic, Jazz Disks anyone?, that you end up having ancient workstations dedicated to that format taking up valuable studio space. If the data is important, I’ve found that it makes sense to bite the bullet and migrate to the new format.

Either way, none of this is fun. I don’t have any definitive answers of what is the right direction to take, but I’ll be posting some of the information I find out as I do the research and see what’s out there. Feel free to leave comments about any information you have about good options for small and medium sizes businesses with the heavy back-up requirements that digital studios face.

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Using Apple Motion with Adobe After Effects

Looks like Apple’s chocolate is in Adobe’s peanut butter, or is it the other way around? Import Motion Files Into Adobe After Effects is an Apple tutorial on how to bring Motion files into After Effects.

The cool thing about Motion files is that the project format is a well formed XML file that Quicktime understands how to render. That’s how you get cool products like Digital Heaven’s Automotion. If you’ve got more of a DIY bent, that also opens up a lot of possibilities for creating cool projects via XML transforms and scripting. More to come as I explore some of the possibilities.

Update 03.08.2007

While I was researching, it looks likes the folks at motionsmarts have already been hard at work with cool scripts for Motion. After Effects Position to Motion Position script looks particularly useful for the kind of stuff I do.

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Apple Online Seminar – Creating a Rich Media Podcast with Final Cut Pro

Apple is hosting an online seminar on creating rich media podcasts with Final Cut Pro.

It’s a nicely paced tutorial with a lot of useful information marred only slightly by too many required fields in the registration. Interface gripe – Is anybody else tired of web forms with every country in the world included in alphabetical order and the most common countries like I don’t know, the US and the UK requiring days of scrolling. I’m sure all those users in Antarctica are happy to not scroll.

Update 03.02.2007
Martin Baker writes a nice scrolling tip to address the above

Avoid scrolling tip:
Click the menu once and release mouse. Press a letter on the keyboard and the list will scroll to it.

It’s a beginner level tutorial, but you’re likely to pick up at least a few tips. I’ve gotten to where I play this kind of stuff in the background while I work as an alternative to music. Yeah, I’m a geek.

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