Telestream purchases Vara

ProVideoCoalition has the blurb announcing that Telestream has acquired Vara Software, makers of ScreenFlow and Wirecast.

I’m not sure what to make of that – Telestream has shown good taste in who they acquire, having previously purchased Popwire, makers of the Episode line of products. However, Vara was a rising star in the mac software community, consistently delivering highly polished, fun to use, reliable applications that pushed the boundary of what was thought possible. One hopes they continue to retain some independence after the acquisition, and can keep churning out the products that have won them so much acclaim.

Anyways, congrats guys, hope you made some serious cash.

Apple releases standalone ProRes codecs

Apparently not content letting DNxHD eat the whole cross-platform near-uncompressed HD-interchange pie (what a delicious pie), Apple has released standalone copies of the ProRes codecs for both Mac and Windows. These are available as a free download, which will allow any Quicktime-supporting application to playback prores files.

This is a major step towards what would be the ideal solution – a codec pack, which many of us would happily pay for, which would provide codec parity between mac and windows, without having to purchase Final Cut Studio.

Control Motion from your iPhone

Silicon Studios has launched a number of iPhone apps that tie into their small desktop stub to provide MIDI control from the iPhone. Basically, you run an app on your iPhone, which connects to your desktop over wifi, which creates a MIDI interface on your computer and pipes in control from the phone.

So, get the desktop app from, get the free demo app from the iTunes store, and start playing. Launch Motion, add a filter to a layer, then right click on any filter control and select “midi” – now you can control that setting from the phone. This is highly entertaining.

Confused? This video might help (large one here):

A clever set of headphones

I love my Plantronics USB headset mic, but the quality of the audio isn’t good enough to make them my full time headphones, and the microphone tends to get in the way. Steelseries has come up with a clever solution, the 5Hv2, which combines over-the-ear headphones with a retractable microphone boom.

Now, I’m not sure these are the end-all-be-all – I’d rather they were USB and from a higher end manufacturer, but the day Sennheiser makes a set like this, I’ll be the first in line. Thanks to MacNN for pointing me to them.

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Open Directory for Editing Suites

I’m currently working on switching our edit suites over to an Open Directory authenticated setup, with centralized storage of permissions. The idea is that we want a student to be able to sit down at any Mac editing station and have the dock look the same, Final Cut behave the same, etc. I figured I’d offer a few tips for folks trying to do similar things.

I’m an Open Directory newbie. There’s plenty of documentation and training material out there, but often it’s overly complicated. For a setup like this, here’s a few things I’ve found helpful.

  1. In workgroup manager, make sure each user has a local home (/Users/username) and a network home (afp://server/sharename/username) and leave the network home highlighted.
  2. Create a group to assign the preferences to, and then make each editor a member of that group
  3. In mobility preferences for the group, be sure that you ‘always manage’ all of the sync options, even if you don’t intend to use background or manual sync
  4. Sync a non-existant folder in each of the important ‘home directory’ folders. Otherwise, folders like Music, Pictures, etc won’t exist for users on machines other than the one they do their first login on:

Picture 4-4

That’s pretty much it. You should be able to leave the OD server in ‘basic’ mode, and do all of your work within Workgroup Manager, aside from setting up the afp share. Then just add the server within Directory Utility on the clients and you’re set. Syncing is very quick and painless.