Posts Tagged ‘release’

Synaesthesia 1.0 update and price drop…

Synaesthesia, our film production & logging software has been updated. The latest version fixes a number of issues with shooting mode that were discovered on a recent multi-camera shoot, where Synaesthesia’s shooting mode was used to retrospectively log their clips (more on that at a later date).

The update adds the ability to apply a “template” to file paths in exported documents (accessible from the preferences window). So you can now for example, have Synaesthesia automatically change all file paths from  /Volumes/Data/ to n:\ if you need to send the file to a Windows user.

Finally, we’re announcing a permanent price reduction of Synaesthesia. Effective immediately, the new price will be $199 per user license (anyone who purchased a license in the last 30 days will be credited the difference).

Get the new version here.

Posted: June 18th, 2012
Categories: News
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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.

Synaesthesia minor update…

Just released a quick update to fix an error some new users were getting when running a backup (or exiting the application). Nothing else has been changed.

You’ll be notified about the update when running Synaesthesia, typically within the next few days.

Posted: February 13th, 2012
Categories: News
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Synaesthesia now available…

After nearly 5 years of development (including 2 years of beta testing), I’m pleased to announce that Synaesthesia 1.0 is now available to buy.

It’s been a long time coming, and it still amazes me that there’s not anything else on the market quite like it. With productions increasingly moving towards digital acquisition (and with companies becoming focussed more on environmental impact), it seems that the time is right to end the use of paper-based annotation and logging. Synaesthesia helps you to do that, and more besides.

Starting out as a way for me to work a bit more efficiently on complex productions such as Earth, it soon became apparent that the same tools would be just as useful on a low-budget, independent production, so we gave it a test-drive on an in-house project.

Three years ago we decided the time was right to make it available to others, so work began on adapting the system to make it user-friendly. Then 2 years ago to the day, we announced the availability of the software as part of a beta programme. Initially we thought it was reasonably close to what the final product would be like, but then 2 years went by.

In that time, we’ve listened to feedback, and implemented a bunch of new stuff. We added integration with third-party products like Final Cut Pro (7), Shotgun, Assimilate Scratch, and Final Draft. We added the ability to export everything to CSV files, and created a format that can be used to share data between Synaesthesia systems. We added other features like file checksumming and automatic updates based on feedback, and improved the performance and usability as we went along.

All this, and it still runs on PowerPC macs (running OS 10.5). I wonder how many other applications released this year will be able to make that claim.

If you haven’t yet had a look at Synaesthesia, now is the time to do so. There is a free 30-day trial available on the product website, and you can check out our overview video below.

Synaesthesia demonstration from Surreal Road on Vimeo.

Posted: January 18th, 2012
Categories: Synaesthesia
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Synaesthesia Beta 14 released…

Lots of fixes and tweaks in this version. I’ll let the release notes speak for themselves on the majority of fixes and additions, but I want to focus on one little button:

check out

You’ll now see this button in the Reel Breakdown and throughout the Asset Manager. The purpose of this button is one of the reasons I created Synaesthesia in the first place, and it’s a considerable milestone for it to be included.

Here’s the scenario: during the lifetime of a production, reels (and other assets) that are created will be sent out to post facilities, loaned out to people, and so on. How do you keep track of all of this? Until now, you could do this by simply changing the reel’s (or asset’s) location. The problem is, that doesn’t tell you where the item belongs.

With the check-out system, you still have the original location stored, but there’s a record of who it was checked out to, and when. Nothing earth-shattering, but useful when you later try to track down that reel that’s gone missing. And it’s as easy as going to the reel breakdown and clicking a button (or via the Asset Manager).

Checked out location info

Also, Apple today released Final Cut Pro 10.0.1 which has a brand-new XML format. So expect support for that in the next version of Synaesthesia (maybe…).

Current Synaesthesia users will be notified of the new version when running the application during the next few days, otherwise it can be downloaded as usual.

Synaesthesia has been in beta now for almost 2 years, and I believe, is almost production-ready.

Posted: September 21st, 2011
Categories: Synaesthesia
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