News for the ‘Tools’ Category

Introducing Onebox for WordPress…

Our latest WordPress plugin, “Onebox” is now ready for public consumption. Version 0.5 has been submitted to the WordPress plugin index and should be available there soon. Inspired by the module of the same name for the excellent Discourse forum software, Onebox lets you turn any link into a fancy Facebook/Twitter style widget. It generally works with any URL, but some special features are enabled for certain sites, with more coming later on. You can see some live examples below (with the corresponding shortcodes), rendered using the default theme (a dark theme is also available in the plugin, and everything is fully customisable if you’re fine with hacking HTML and/or CSS), and I’ll try to add more as they’re enabled in the plugin.

Update: please visit this site for live examples and more information.

[onebox url=""]
[onebox url=""]
[onebox url=""]
[onebox url=""]
[onebox url=""]
[onebox url=""]
[onebox url=""]
[onebox url="" title="The Lord of the Rings" description="The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien."]
[onebox url=""]
[onebox url=""]
[onebox url=""]
[onebox url=""]
[onebox url=""]


We hope you enjoy this plugin and find it useful. If you’d like to request additional modules for soecific websites, or report a bug or have some other feedback, the best place is to open an issue on our github page.

Posted: December 15th, 2013
Categories: Tools
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The Hiero we deserve, not the Hiero we need…

The Foundry’s Hiero launched last month, after a public beta period. Described as “a pipeline in a box”, perhaps the best way to think about is a bells & whistles conforming system.

Here are some of the things it can do:

  • Conform media
  • Transcode or rename media
  • Track versions (to some extent)
  • Generate NUKE scripts

It’s fully extensible through python, so in theory a lot of features can be customised to specific workflows. Quite frankly, I would have killed for this on almost every production I’ve worked on. It would have made a lot of data management chores a breeze. There are a few notably absent features, such as the lack of scene detection, and the extremely limited notation functionality, but that will happen in time no doubt.

The Foundry view Hiero as a kind of post-production hub, managing shots coming in, and shots going out. A client can view the latest overall version of a show, before going into a grading room. On one hand this is a necessary step: colour grading is less often about colour and more about asset management and versioning. This fulfils a crucial need: to have a stage that exclusively deals with editorial issues prior to grading.  So with Hiero, the production team goes over to the Hiero system, reviews visual effect versions, checks editorial issues, delegates more work and so on. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that in the real world.

For starters, who’s responsible for maintaining this hub? In general, the production team would lack the expertise required to manage the process, and in any case, from their perspective, they are paying everyone else to ensure the various pieces fit together. At the launch event, there were talks by people who’d been using it at visual effects houses The Mill and Framestore. But even these are edge cases: it would be extremely unlikely to have a single facility responsible for doing the bulk of the post work on a major film. On a typical film, The Mill might be handing off a bunch of effects to a DI facility elsewhere, and not really care how it fits in with elements from other sources (let alone that the production might not want the Mill having such a level of control over the film). Likewise, the DI facility will expect to just conform everything in the grading suite, as they always do. There wouldn’t be much benefit to adding another link in the chain.

So it could fall to a third party, who would coordinate everything, but then who is going to pay for such a service? I agree with the principle of Hiero, and I’d argue that someone should be paying for such a service. But if there’s one thing we know about post, it’s that people hate having to change their workflows.

So where does that leave us? Currently Hiero is around $5,000 for a node-locked license, and that prohibits it from being considered a utility a freelancer could invest in, or that a facility would pay for “just in case”. I hope that the Foundry can crack this problem, because it can arguably make post easier for all of us.

The Foundry offer a 15-day trial of Hiero, as with all their products.

A problem of numbers…

Anyone working with digital intermediates will undoubtedly have experienced this situation.

You start off with a frame sequence, let’s say 090000.dpx through 180000.dpx. However, there are gaps in the sequence (maybe because these frames were captured using an EDL, or maybe they’ve been selectively exported from a more complete timeline). You process them in some processing application, but now you have something more like 0000.dpx through 7864.dpx.

Often it doesn’t matter how the modified files are named, such as if you are going to edit them into a timeline by eye, but sometimes you just really need the names to match and so you have to waste lots of time massaging all the filenames until they are just right.

I found myself in just that situation recently. We’d exported a bunch of frames from a timeline that needed some last-minute dust-busting. The quickest, most available option was to run through them all in After Effects. Great but then the problem was getting them back in. I imported the renders as a single, new reel, and then proceeded to cut and splice them back into the timeline shot by shot. That took around 2 hours. But we had time.

The next time we were in the same situation, I decided I would make like easy for myself. I essentially had a list of filenames I needed to use (from the original exported folder), so surely there had to be an easy way to automate renaming them. Well there wasn’t, so I made one.

One of the things that I’ve come to love about working with OS X is AppleScript. The process of writing some AppleScript, testing and running it can be done (in this case) much more quickly than just doing everything manually. Granted, there’s a learning curve, but the other good thing is that even if you can’t program AppleScript yourself, you can benefit from someone else’s.

With that in mind, I’ve released the AppleScript I made on Google Code. If you find it useful, let me know.


Posted: November 15th, 2010
Categories: Tools
Tags: , , , , , ,
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Vimeo is YouTube for HD…

YouTube is an awful website. It’s low-rez, the compression is horrendous, and the interface is badly designed. However, it’s popularity is undeniable.

Website Vimeo… seems to offer all the features of YouTube but with improved resolution and picture quality, ideal for anyone with HD footage to show off.

There are a couple of catches: “HD” is limited to 720p (1280×720 pixels) and you can only upload 500MB of video per week.

Gone in a Flash – HD from Chris Crutchfield on Vimeo.

Posted: May 12th, 2008
Categories: Tools
Tags: , ,
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Redemption build 5 released…

Build 5 is now available (the Windows version is still unchanged).

Noteworthy changes are the separation of metadata and user colour settings, and the addition of multiple batch-processing templates.


1. Import update method now matches by Reel, Camera, Clip, Start TOD Timecode and Date rather than filename.
2. There are two sets of colour parameters, one for the clip’s metadata and another, user-defined one. Importing CSV files will only write to the metadata parameters.
3. Added button to paste colour parameters from metadata.
4. Added button to reset colour parameters to defaults.
5. Added an ID field to clips table for indexing purposes.
6. Added infrastructure for multiple project tracking (note multiple projects are not implemented yet…)
7. Added template tags for metadata values. For example {ISO Meta} will be replaced with the value stored in the ISO metadata field. {ISO} will be replaced by the custom ISO value.
8. Added ability to copy and paste values via a “colour clipboard”.
9. Redline-specific options have been placed into their own tab under the revamped “Batch script generation” area.
10. You can now create and work with multiple templates.
11. Added some text to the UI to make the purpose of different sections a little clearer.
12. Added {RedDate} template tag, which uses the older (6-digit) method of calculating the numeric date value. New templates now use this method for the output path by default.
13. Added a button to generate some example templates.

Download and more information…

Posted: April 14th, 2008
Categories: Tools
Tags: ,
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