Izzy’s Final Cut Pro X Tutorial – Helpful & Insightful!

Wednesday, 29 June, 2011

While I am very disappointed of Apple’s handling of Final Cut Pro X (the way it was launched, the implicit FU signal its sending to the pro editors (note to Apple: Some editors do make a living editing using FCP, you know?)), Izzy’s helpful & insightful Final Cut Pro X free tutorial (“2 hours and 39 minutes”) is highly recommended!

I watched part of the tutorial last night and today and I think I’ve got a better idea of the software already. Thanks Izzy.


The Trembling Veil of Bones won two Leo Awards

Monday, 27 June, 2011

I want to congratulate Matthew Talbot-Kelly, talented filmmaker & storyteller (of Moving Tales fame), for winning two Leo Awards (best direction and best music) with his The Trembling Veil of Bones. Congrats Matthew!

Have a watch of my extensive interview with Matthew about his award-winning film. And see my review of the excellent Moving Tales iPad app ”Unwanted Guest“.


Final Cut Pro X – Impulse purchase halted by negative reviews

Wednesday, 22 June, 2011

June 27 Update: Excellent reviews/comments here, here (dvcreators review, long but very insightful), here, here (MacWorld), and here (PC Magazine).

***

Final Cut Pro X - USA (avg 2.78 stars by 183 users)

I was hoping to simply buy Final Cut Pro X as an impulse item because it is relatively cheap ($299) given I expect a full suite of powerful features plus more! So it is unfortunate to read the really “mixed reviews” (less diplomatic wording: shitty reviews) of the buggy FCP X is getting since it came out yesterday. Check out the mixed FCPX articles/reviews by Philip Hodgetts and Larry Jordan. And App store comments like: “2 hours of use: 3 crashes” and then “As a new, more sophisticated version of iMovie? Sure. As a “pro” app marketed to professionals to replace aging FCP7? Not ready for prime-time.” )

If Final Cut Pro X had received universal glowing reviews, I would have bought it myself and playing with it now. Instead, my perfect little impulse item has turned into an item that needs to be justified. And a buggy/crashed prone (according to some users’ experiences) software doesn’t deserve three of my crisp $100 bills (paper or polymer)!

Update: Looks like FCP X can’t import Panasonic AVCHD MTS files directly. No good!

Quoting Larry, who works closely with Apple in creating FCP X training, has not surprisingly an overall positive review despite the following complains,

“There’s no multicam support.

[...] Worse, there’s no native way to export a project to send it to either Soundtrack Pro or ProTools for sound mixing.

I’ve already mentioned there is no native ability to layback to tape using timecode control.”

Final Cut Pro X - Canada (avg 2.72 stars by 50 users)

June 24 update: TechCrunch, “Conan Wastes No Time Lampooning “Final Cut Pro Ex”


Guardian’s iPad Eyewitness app – Love it!

Saturday, 23 April, 2011

I’ve been using the Guardian’s iPad Eyewitness app for a while and I love it!. Here is a YouTube demo of the app by a photographer. [HT Guardian eyewitness]

Here is another explanation.


iPad app review: Moving Tales’ Unwanted Guest

Thursday, 3 March, 2011

Moving Tales' Unwanted Guest - pix 1Moving Tales' Unwanted Guest - pix 2

Apple iPad app:  ”Unwanted Guest

Price: US$ 4.99

Star rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Unwanted Guest“ is great story and wonderfully designed app by the creative people at Moving Tales. The story about a poor old man, down on his luck and living in a tumbledown house, is visited by an unwelcome house guest was very engaging that I ended up finishing the app/book in one reading! The animations are beautifully imagined, stunningly designed and rendered. The English, French, and Spanish voice-over all sounded very engaging and worked great with the story. I can imagine some parents using the foreign languages option to teach their children one or more of the languages. I highly recommend you check out ”Unwanted Guest“.

By the way, if you haven’t seen Moving Tales‘s first story app ”The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross“, have a look of my 2010 August app review and you may want to get that app too. By now, I have seen and reviewed producer/director/animator Matthew Talbot-Kelly’s Moving Tales team of creative people’s last two out of three story apps and they are setting very high standard for the industry!

The following is a promotional clip of the app from Moving Tales.


Robert Louis Stevenson 160th Birthday – Treasure Island FlyingWord iPad app

Friday, 12 November, 2010

FlyingWord - Treasure Island - pix 1

Thanks to Google, we learned that today is the 160th birthday of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Well, as it happened, a few days ago, I posted my FlyingWord Treasure Island iPad app review and my interview with Joe Weber FlyingWord CEO about their Treasure Island iPad app. Check them out.

Nov 15 Update: Here is a link to the Treasure Island app on iTune.


Joe Weber FlyingWord CEO interview – “Treasure Island” iPad app

Tuesday, 9 November, 2010

FlyingWord - Treasure Island - pix 2

The following are video clips of my Skype video interview with Joe Weber, CEO and co-founder of FlyingWord, to talk about their Treasure Island iPad app based on the classic Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. (beautifully narrated for about 7 hours)

Also check out my FlyingWord “Treasure Island” iPad app review.

Here are part 1 of my interview with Joe.

Part 2

Part 3

Here is a promotional clip of FlyingWord’s Treasure Island,


iPad app review: FlyingWord’s “Treasure Island”

Tuesday, 9 November, 2010

FlyingWord - Treasure Island - pix 1

The following is a review of the pre-release version of FlyingWord Treasure Island iPad app. And I will post my video interview with Joe Weber, CEO and co-founder of FlyingWord, later.

***

Apple iPad app: “Treasure Island” by FlyingWord based on the classic Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Price: $7.99

Launch date: Nov 13, 2010

Promotional clip of FlyingWord’s Treasure Island

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Pros

- Lively and very engaging narration of the original full-length classic Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. (beautifully narrated for about 7 hours)

- Excellent music and sound effects at the right places.

- Historical original Treasure Island illustrations by N. C. Wyeth and Walter Paget.

- Nicely rendered 2D illustrations into “3D projections”, camera angle controllable by readers. [Note: the 3D here is not real Avatar 3D, but closer to what Ken Burns does with his "layers" of photos in a scene.]

- Some of the pages have objects for readers to play with. For sure to check out the cannon. (These objects have “physics engines” behind them to allow users to move them around.)

Cons

- The initial version of the app has a few bugs that I’ve reported to FlyingWord.

-The app has problems waking up from “sleep” or “auto-lock” modes. Narration fails to restart gracefully. In a few instances, waking up after sleep actually tripped the narration and it got stuck in repeating a word/sound.

- If the reader flip to a page where part of the text in the paragraph is in the previous page, the narration will read from the text in the previous page. This result can be very confusing for the readers as they may not know this is the “expected behaviour”. To me, readers may expect when flipping to a new page, the narration will match the text she/he reads on the page.

- Many of the objects are a bit too small and difficult to control.
+ e.g. in the breakfast scene (bottle is ok, but the egg, plate, and sword are difficult to manipulate)
+ in the scene with the apple barrel, the barrel can be easily moved but the apples are not controllable even though the readers will likely spend time to try to move it. It may be more enjoyable if the apples are made bigger and controllable by readers like the barrel.

- This one is technical. Currently, the space outside of the edges of the 2D to 3D projections are blank (set to black space). I think it will look nicer and gives a more immersive experience if the whole background are filled and readers won’t see black space around the edges of the original 2D frames.

Comments:

As discussed in the Pros section, the narration is lively and very engaging and I really love it. At the same time, the app may have been a bit ambitious in using the full-length original Treasure Island in its launch version. The good news is that an abridged free update will be released in a few weeks after the initial launch. To me, the abridged version with shorter audio (~1.5 hour long) and text will be a nicer fit for kids who will appreciate the physics engines games and 2D-to-3D effects more.

To write this review, I also found and checked out a LibriVox free audio book version of Treasure Island on the app store and it has the original text and the audio is reasonably good but definitely not as exciting/engaging as FlyingWord‘s version.

FlyingWord - Treasure Island - pix 2

Coming Soon

FlyingWord‘s next book is ‘Twas the night before Christmas (tentative price: about $4.99).


Pedlar Lady is Apple iPad App of the week for US & Canada

Thursday, 19 August, 2010

Pedlar Lady - iPad App of the week for US & Canada (Aug 19, 2010)

I am excited to report the really cool Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross app is,

Apple iPad app of the week in US and Canada!

#1 on iTunes Canada Top Paid iPad Book Apps.

- #2 on U.S. iTunes store – top paid AND top grossing iPad books.

Check out my review of the Pedlar Lady iPad app. And my video interview with Matthew Talbot-Kelly, director and producer of the app, to talk about the app.

Congrats Matthew, really happy for you and your team!

Pedlar Lady - iPad App description

Cinematic iPad storytelling app review: “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”


Matthew Talbot-Kelly “The Trembling Veil of Bones” interview

Tuesday, 10 August, 2010

Matthew Talbot-Kelly interviews (Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross iPad app & The Trembling Veil of Bones animation)

Matthew Talbot-Kelly (imdb), director & producer of the animated short film “The Trembling Veil of Bones” and creator of the “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” iPad app, is an animator that was trained in architecture. In the following Skype video interview, I chatted with Matthew about how his knowledge of architecture influences his animations, why he decided to find an actor to play Bones, the story’s protagonist, the meanings of some of the images in the film, and more. Enjoy.

The following are clips produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

THE TREMBLING VEIL OF BONES (MAKING OF)

THE TREMBLING VElL OF BONES: INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR MATTHEW TALBOT-KELLY


iPad app interview: Matthew Talbot-Kelly “Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”

Tuesday, 10 August, 2010

Matthew Talbot-Kelly interviews (Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross iPad app & The Trembling Veil of Bones animation)

Aug 19, 2010 update: Pedlar Lady is Apple iPad App of the week for US & Canada

***

It was a lot of fun chatting with Matthew Talbot-Kelly (imdb), director & producer of the Apple iPad app “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” (see app review here).

Matthew got the idea to develop an iPad app right after watching Steve Jobs first demoed the iPad online (in late Jan 2010). After watching Jobs’ demo, Matthew concluded Jobs “didn’t really have the killer app” for iPad and demoed uses were things people could already do with their computers. Soon after the Jobs’ demo, Matthew took one of his animation projects (one previously pitched as a short film) and pitched it again, but this time as an iPad app. And Matthew was able to quickly find an interested Vancouver investor. A note to creative people out there: sometimes your prior creative ideas/efforts can generate result in unexpected places at a later time, you never know if you keep your eyes open.

Pedlar Lady is a story based on an 800 years old poem and this story has many variants around the world. Matthew turned to his partner Jacqueline Rogers and asked her to write and transform the story into a story telling text that is playful, magical, dynamic and alive at the same time. The time it took to create the iPad app is hard to determine because it included a long process of research & development to figure out what are possible or not possible in the current iOS software development kit 4. There are more technical discussions in the video interview.

The animation artists involved int app development are experienced 3D or 2D animators, so animated objects are 3 dimensional and are in prospective. Take a look of the included promotional clip to see what the animations in the app looks like.

The creation of the Pedlar Lady was the beautiful result of an international effort with Matthew and his partner based in Gibson, BC and other collaborators working from Ireland, New Brunswick, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, South Africa, London, Mexico, Peru, Finland, etc.

The following are the videos of my interesting Skype video chat with Matthew. Enjoy.

Here is a promotional clip of “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” iPad app


Cinematic iPad storytelling app review: “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”

Monday, 9 August, 2010

Cinematic iPad storytelling app review: “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”

Aug 19, 2010 update: Pedlar Lady is Apple iPad App of the week for US & Canada

***
The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” is a beautifully designed cinematic iPad storytelling app published by Moving Tales. Make sure you check out the enclosed promotional clip of the Pedlar Lady app so you can see some samples of the beautifully rendered images/animations.

Apple iPad app:  “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross

Price: US$ 4.99

Star rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Pros:

* Beautifully and cinematically 3D rendered moving images that go along well with an engaging story. Matthew Talbot-Kelly, producer and director of the iPad app, is also a very experienced animator and you can totally tell from the stunning animations. Even the “cover” of the story app contains a 3D fly through to the Pedlar Lady’s house. (see clip)

* Beautifully recorded sound effects and narration.

* Users can also select the Spanish text and Spanish narration option. And the Spanish narration also sounds great. Potentially a great tool to teach children Spanish.

* The narration can be turned off so the story can be read by a parent or grandparent out loud with the sound effects playing in the background.

Cons:

I subtracted 0.5 star for the following:

* At the moment, the app doesn’t have interactive elements. Some of the pages (e.g. one page has many bottles hanging on the tree) are perfect candidates for adding interactive elements for user to touch/move and make sound or interact. (According to Moving Tales, this combination is technically not possible yet.)

* As part of this review, I discovered and reported a bug that stops the animations. Restarting the app may fix the problem, and rebooting the iPad should fix it. I’ve reported the conditions that can trigger this bug to Matthew, he has promised a bug fix and possibly some additional enhancements in the next update. (see my Skype video interview with Matthew).

[latest update from Matthew: a bug fixed version (v 1.01) was submitted to the app store last week, they are now waiting for Apple to approve it.]

[Aug 16, 2010 Update: version v 1.01 has been approved by Apple. The above identified bug has been fixed. Added new sound effects. Improved application stability.]

Recommendation:

Highly recommended. Great experience for much less than the price of almost all children books. Moving Tales, a Gibson BC based Canadian company, has done a wonderful job in creating a Cinematic iPad storytelling app for all to enjoy. Of local interest, the iPad app programming for the Pedlar Lady is done by a Calgary based programmer.

The official site of Moving Tales says it well, “How does Moving Tales bring stories to life?

  • sophisticated 3D animation on every page
  • original music, voice over and sound effects
  • animate the text using the iPad’s accelerometer
  • Cover Flow-like navigation
  • page swipe or tap for page turning
  • auto page turning option
  • sound effects only sound option
  • compelling narrative
  • randomly selected alternate views and extras to ensure no two viewings alike
  • sophisticated and dynamic typographic layout
  • evocative poetic language
  • Spanish option—choose to hear and display the story in Spanish as well as English”

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