Speed, speed, speed. We talk about it all the time in our blogs because it’s one of the top concerns for our customers. Everyone is looking for the fastest technology to get the job done. Today’s blog is no exception! Let’s talk about Thunderbolt 3.
At a max speed of 40 Gbps it’s no real shock that this is the preferred connectivity for many in the M&E industry. Thunderbolt 3 holds so many advantages over its predecessors. Avram Piltch said it best, “If you want to connect your notebook to multiple 4K displays, attach a graphics amp, transfer giant files to the fastest external drives or grab RAW video from an expensive camera, you should get Thunderbolt 3.”
He also wrote a great article on Thunderbolt 3, which you can read here.
It is he discusses some huge benefits of Thunderbolt 3, including:
4x the Speed of the Fastest USB Connection
Uses USB Type-C Connectors
High-Speed, Peer-to-Peer Networking
Daisy Chain Up to 6 Devices
Thunderbolt came from the brilliant minds at Intel and they’ve clearly been perfecting it ever since. Right out of the gate, Thunderbolt was blowing USB data transferring rates away at a two to one ratio. Thunderbolt 3 has taken speed to a whole new level, doubling the transfer rate of Thunderbolt 2 from 20 Gbps to 40 Gbps. That’s more than enough to work with 4K video!
So not only is it super fast, it also works beautifully with USB-C connections – that’s because it’s the same size port! Thunderbolt 3 cables with work with USB-C cables and USB-C cables will work with Thunderbolt 3 cables. ONE CABLE TO RULE THEM ALL!
The only downside is if you want to use Thunderbolt 1 or 2 ports, you’ll need an adapter and obviously that will affect the speed. As we get further and further into 2018 more and more Thunderbolt 3 devices are becoming available.
I recently read (most of) a white paper put out from Imagen about Cyber Security (- it was 36 pages, give me a break!) There was a lot of great information in, which I will paraphrase below. If you care to read the white paper, you can find it here!
Know Your Enemy – there are 5 potential threats both in and outside of your organization.
Casual Hacker – someone who is curious about your system and may cause minimal disruptions.
Hacktivist – an activist campaigner has become more and more common lately with the political turmoil around the world. These generally have an agenda and are centered around a perceived injustice.
Organised Crime – these are groups whose sole purpose is to steal information and sell it.
Nation states – remember the Sony hack? Many believe that this attack was made by the country of North Korea in retaliation for the movie The Interview.
Internal threats – past or present employees have access to company’s information and can take advantage of that access.
There are a number of ways to prepare and prevent these kind of attacks. Prepare and plan; keep websites, software and anti-malware programs up-to-date; educate your team on how to recognise scams; use secure Internet connections whenever possible.
2. Be an informed decision-maker – be sure that you or someone in the organization is responsible for preventing and preparing for a potential cyber attack. This should be someone with not only knowledge but the ability to make financial decisions to protect the company.
3. Use security tools – in this industry we love tools and toys so this one completely makes sense! Use up-to-date technology to protect your assets, even down to the rushes you create. Be sure that connections are secure while information is being passed back and forth and that content such as scripts, calls sheets and contact details are all protected as well.
4. Secure your smartphone – we can do almost everything from our smartphones including shooting an entire movie! This is the most common unsecure place that information can easily get stolen. Using a longer passcode, installing anti-malware, enable whole disk encryption and find my phone are just a few options to help keep it safe.
5. Beware of free WiFi – this easily opens up your phone and computer to hackers who are more than happy to steal your information – and it’s quite easy to do. This can even occur from a hotel wifi so ask questions and know what wifi service you are connecting to. Stay off of banking sites and social media while connected to free wifi, these make stealing your identity much easier. If possible pay for a VPN service.
6. Understand the content lifecycle – live events have a higher value when they are being aired or right after but quickly lose their value. A primetime drama production has different value and risk at different parts of the process. It’s important to consider the project and the risks at different stages and act accordingly.
7. Know the law of the land – we all travel – a lot. It’s important to remember that laws change and security levels change depending where we are. Removing sensitive material from electronic devices before traveling is probably the easiest and also one of the best safeguards. It may also be a good idea to encrypt things if they are being exchanged from one country to another.
8. Know your friends – a good hacker will know how to get a username or password out of a potential victim and responsible organizations will never contact you and ask for personal information. Spam filters are set up on email services for a reason – use them!
9. Dispose responsibly – when you return rental equipment, make sure you wipe all personal information from it. There are free tools that can be downloaded that will securely erase your data, remember pressing delete doesn’t always completely remove something from the computer.
10. Be prepared by planning – it you expect it and plan for it, then you can minimize the damage when it happens.
There’s a lot of great information and examples in Imagen’s guide. This brief synopsis was meant to make you think and consider your security. For a full account and detailed suggestions, read the full version here!
By now all Apple users have heard and (hopefully) upgraded to 10.13.1 to avoid the security issues present in 10.13. So what heck actually happened and what did Apple have to say. Let’s take a look:
Many of us got a notification on the morning of Wednesday November 29th that we needed to do an update immediately that related to security on our computer. I’ve been a Mac user for a long time now (10+ years) and I don’t remember seeing an update like that before! Like a good Apple user, I complied… immediately. And like any Apple user, I took to Google (yeah, not Safari 😁) to figure out exactly what was going on!
The discovery was posted to Twitter (my inner customer service rep shutters at the thought of this kind of bug being reported via social media) and the frenzy began!
So basically that meant that anyone can log into a Mac by entering “root” as the username without a password. The first time you try to login, it won’t work. But if you try it again, you will be granted access.
According to Apple, “The user account named ”root” is a superuser with read and write privileges to more areas of the system, including files in other macOS user accounts. The root user is disabled by default. If you can log in to your Mac with an administrator account, you can enable the root user, then log in as the root user to complete your task.”
So as you can see allowing just anyone access to a “superuser” account is kinda bad!
To Apple’s credit the response was swift. Within hours they had a fix and within 24 hours they were pushing it to all their users. And I’ll give them credit… they messed up BUT their response was perfect. They corrected it and owned up to the mistake.
“Three years after raising its curtain on operations, Bloomington-based Pigasus Pictures is making its mark, with one award-winning feature film to its credit and another with growing expectations set to wrap up production within a month.
And the firm’s two young Hoosier founders say they’re ready to accelerate production even faster.
The company’s early success has put a spotlight on a unique financing method founders Zachary Spicer and John Armstrong are using for Pigasus’ projects, including three more feature films and two television pilots. All that work is slated for production in 2018 and 2019, with initial release by 2021.”
I stumbled upon a great article from the IBJ this morning and wanted to share it not only because it comes straight out of Indiana but it also outlines a unique outlook on feature films, budgets and quick timelines for production. The production company, Pigasus is “a small-town production company with a forward-thinking, community-focused approach to filmmaking.” Rooted in Bloomington Indiana, owners Zachary Spicer and John Armstrong say they shoot all over the state and edit in Bloomington.
‘“Indiana has a lot to offer in terms of landscapes,” Armstrong said. “From the flatlands of northern Indiana to the hills of southern Indiana, it’s very diverse.”’
Their unique funding plan is what really caught my eye!
“The Pigasus founders aim to raise $6.5 million to produce “Ms. White Light” and the company’s other five upcoming projects. The duo said they’re off to a good start and feel confident about reaching their goal but declined to say how much they’ve raised so far. They have set up a private equity fund as a separate limited liability company. Pigasus is manager of the fund—and has a small stake in it. There is no limit to the number of investors, Armstrong said. Pigasus can allocate some of its ownership share for each production as an incentive to actors or any creative partner. Investors get paid back first, Armstrong said. Once investors “are made whole,” he explained, the creative team and actors get a share of the profit based on pre-arranged agreements.”
Speed: Let’s face it, we are all constantly trying to do everything faster. When my computer takes two minutes to boot up, it feels like 2 years. When a page doesn’t load IMMEDIATELY it seems like the world is ending, slowly and painfully <forget about the fact that I grew up during the era of dial up, in fact we didn’t even have a computer in the house until I was 14! Now my family of 5 has…. 5 computers!> Nope, time and speed are always something on our mind. And in the media and entertainment industry it’s paramount – see what I did there 😉
So when it comes to offloading securely and quickly there can be a lot of factors that can seriously affect it. Here are some friendly reminders and things to consider when offloading, especially when you are considering foregoing security for speed.
Bus speed and drive speed:
Keanu taught me that the bus speed has to stay about 50 mph and everyone knows time travel requires 88 mph… wait, wrong kind of bus, wrong kind of speed.
Ok what’s a bus and what’s the speed have to do with it: The bus is a data connection between two or more devices connected to the computer. A bus enables different parts of the computer to communicate with one another. A computer or device’s bus throughput is
The connection between the hard drive and laptop is connected via bus and is therefore affected by that bus and it’s throughput. And as Jason Johnson so keenly put it, “This is why a RedMag on USB 3 will only offload at 120MB/s. The card’s bus for data transfer is the limiting factor. The same goes for Lacie Rugged drives, etc.” (If you don’t know Jason you should, he’s a wealth of information!) Although USB 3 has a throughput of 640 MBps, the transfer is limited to the throughput of the RedMag.
Different connections, have different speed throughputs. This is important to remember! Whatever part of your workflow has the slowest speed or throughput is your bottleneck.
Ryan Nguyen also blessed me with this wonderful metaphor: “USB 3 and Thunderbolt 2 are like speed limits on the highway versus the autobahn. Thunderbolt 2 certainly allows you to travel faster, but your real world speed depends on multiple factors including the weather, traffic conditions, car tire performance, etc.” I love this example because it reminds us that there are many factors to consider when offloading or copying files or folders. It also takes me to my next point and again I will use Jason’s words, well, because they are spot on!
“Copying one large file is faster than copying multiple files. ProRes versus DNG or ARRI comes down to a series of handshakes. Imagine making a deal and shaking hands. That is ProRes. Now imagine making hundreds of smaller deals and shaking hands each time. That is ARRIRAW. Each side needs to stop and start the action every time a file is transferred.” Yet another factor, and sometimes you can’t avoid transferring hundreds of files – that’s ok! It’s important to realize that you have to adjust your speed expectations.
Security: We’ve established in previous posts what checksums are, how to determine which one to use and if your content is actually being verified – if you’re behind read Parts 1 and 2 now!
Checksums are another factor to consider when thinking about speed. Copy and Paste is a bad practice (as we all know) because there is nothing ensuring the copies are 100% accurate. There’s nothing saying “heck yeah man, we got it all” which, by the way, is what every checksum in the world has ever said.
So what do you do when you need something offloaded quickly and securely OR (and this is dangerous but we’ve had the request so it must be addressed) you’re willing to forego some security for more speed?
If you need speed AND security find the right checksum: that’s currently XXHash.
xxHash – xxHash is an extremely fast, non-cryptographic hash algorithm, working at speeds close to RAM limits. It is proposed in two flavors, 32 and 64 bits. (SMHasher on github.io)
For ShotPut Pro, ShotSum and PreRoll Post we use xxHash 64 bit. We recommend using XXHash as the checksum type unless you have a requirement for some other type. XXHash can out perform MD5 for example because it can go at the speed of your RAM whereas MD5 is a CPU dependent process.
If you need less security and more speed you can opt for a file comparison verification over the checksum verification – remember you’re not going to get the “heck yeah man, we got it all” (see Wayne above) with this option. But it’s a possibility and one that has it’s time and place. In ShotPut Pro and myLTO we call it File Size Comparison and we even go a step further and give the option of just calculating the checksum for the source for later reference. Again, not best practice but there is a time and a place for that kind of verification and something to think about when speed is your number one consideration.
Offload confidently and be on the lookout for Checksums and Verification Part 4. If you have something you’d like us to discuss, please leave a comment here!!
And now, this…..
You didn’t really think I would mention Back to the Future and not include and awesome shot of Doc and Marty did you??? 1.21 jiggawatts!!!!
New technologies at the heart of the system make your Mac more reliable, capable, and responsive – and lay the foundation for future innovations. macOS High Sierra also refines the features and apps you use every day. It’s macOS at its highest level yet.
Apple File System – for a complete overview check out our APFS blog – this allows ShotPut Pro to support the file cloning feature – which saves drive space
64 bit architecture for flash technology with the ability to scale for future uses
common tasks happen instantly, iApps have all gotten face lifts and added features
built-in encryption, crash-safe protections
more powerful GPU and the ability for apps to utilize GPU more efficiently like PrimeTransocder
High Efficiency Video Coding – H.265 – hooray for more 4k
So there are the quick facts! Imagine is ready for High Sierra, are you?
This week in the news we all learned of the discovery of the USS Indianapolis WWII battleship in the Pacific.
The news footage was amazing, and of course reminiscent of Titanic’s wreckage found by similar technology back in 1985.
In 2000 we were selling a product called The Executive Producer ® (TEP). It was a logging software that did live cataloging with thumbs and timecode, or after the fact from tape, to index where on the tape specific clips of interest were located.
One afternoon we sold two TEP Windows licenses and then moments later we sold two TEP Mac licenses, all 4 to an organization called Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). This was fairly unusual because the software was rather expensive and was usually only bought one at a time or for one platform or another. At that time you still had to literally ship software to people on diskette or DVD – forget about downloading it from the internet! Before we shipped the boxes out I wanted to be sure this customer hadn’t accidentally purchased multiple copies so we picked up the phone and called Bill Lange.
The more we talked the more I realized how cool of an adventure he was about to go on and that our software would have a front row seat on the ride. Bill explained that they were preparing for a trip to the bottom of the ocean, to the most notorious ship to ever sail – the Titanic.
Bill was (and still is) the Director of WHOI Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory. He told us that the purchases were intentional (yay!) and that they would be using them on ship while surveying the Titanic.
They would be cataloguing the video footage from the ocean floor. Along with Win and Mac TEP they would be taking USB video capture devices for analog video to get the playback on the computer screen and to snag the thumbnails.
The bundle also included RS422 serial cables that allowed video deck control such as Sony Betacam Video Tape Recorders (VTR) not only to control, but to play and job shuttle as well as acquire the timecode position from the tape. The resulting video log could have printable thumbnails, timecode position and notes.
Loggers of this era were often used not only to provide reports, but to output digitizing lists (files) for the editors to capture the footage of interest into the NLE systems. Hard disks weren’t large back then so it was important to only capture what might be useful in putting together a video, and avoid digitizing a lot of unnecessary footage.
Below is a video of Bill talking about his multiple experiences with the Titanic. This particular video discusses the 3D technology used in 2010 but there are a number of great images of the wreck site over the years:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has been a long time user of Imagine Products’ applications—everything from analog video logging software, HD acquisition, offloading and conversion tools, to ODA archiving with PreRoll Post™ system today. Imagine has been there. Literally.
It’s always amazing to me what many of our users do and where they go. Our software has been sold and used on all 7 continents, yes, including Antarctica (but that’s a story for another time). Many of these adventurers travel to exotic places and it’s humbling to know we’re an enabling part of that. Helping them document and share what they experience, and in a small way be part of history.
New LTFS Copy Application From the Creators of ShotPut Pro™
INDIANAPOLIS — August 10, 2017 —Imagine Products, Inc.®, publisher of applications for backing up, viewing, sharing, transcoding and archiving video assets, has released myLTO™ a new LTFS copy software. From the creators of ShotPut Pro 6, and with a similar user interface, myLTO formats and mounts tapes then seamlessly copies files to them. The application checks and corrects for LTFS data compliance and uses checksum technology for guaranteed accuracy. Based the knowledge and technology from PreRoll Post, Imagine’s widely used LTFS archive system, myLTO boasts the same speed and security users have come to expect from Imagine Products’ applications.
“This application was created for users who need the speed and security we offer in PreRoll Post without higher end features such as video proxies and a database of your tapes. myLTO looks like ShotPut Pro in terms of copy functions, but adds LTFS compatibility and tape controls” said Michelle Maddox, marketing director at Imagine Products. “With this software we can cover the needs of users that just need to make tape backups of their assets both in and out of the media and entertainment industry.”
myLTO allows users to mount, format and backup to one or more LTO tapes, or to hard drives, simultaneously. Like all applications from Imagine Products, files can be drag and dropped into the queue. Details about each file or volume like the size and number of files automatically populate.
The LTFS application also boasts detailed reports that can be customized to user’sspecific needs. PDF reports, with thumbnails and metadata for all video files can be selected. CSV and TXT reports are also available.
Similar to ShotPut Pro, naming presets can be set up in myLTO and color coded for quick reference and even shared with other myLTO users. Advanced naming options allow nest folders inside one another for better organization.
In the Destination mode, files, folders and volumes can be dragged from the source column to the destination column into pre-existing folders. Switch the interface between light or dark motif to suit your workflow environment.
In a boon for organizations with multiple seats of software, myLTO uses Imagine Products’ new account-based activation system, which has already proven successful in other Imagine Products applications. Applications can now be activated with either the email and password associated with the account the app was purchased, or single use serial numbers can be generated – these are particularly useful to rental houses or large post facilities.
More information about Imagine Products and its line of software tools for digital video is available at www.imagineproducts.com.
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About Imagine Products
Imagine Products Inc. develops innovative video workflow solutions that help film and media professionals back up, view, share, transcode, and archive their digital-video assets. Powerful, affordable, and easy to use, these specialized workflow applications have become invaluable tools for broadcasters, postproduction facilities, and others whose businesses rely on digital video. In business for more than 25 years, Imagine Products is based in Indianapolis, USA. More information is available at http://www.imagineproducts.com.
With the new activation, we’ve gotten this question more than once so clearly I thought to myself… “Self, we should write a blog – cuz it’s super easy.”
On the first computer, click DEACTIVATE under the application menu, just above Quit. That releases the license for use elsewhere.
If you no longer have access to the old computer, Go to MY PRODUCTS page under Main Menu on the website. There, REVOKE/DELETE the prior computer’s use and then the license will be available to activate on a different computer.
The recent flurry of news and controversy over History Channel’s purported ‘new’ evidence and ensuing Docudrama regarding a theory about Amelia Earhart’s disappearance brought back memories about our company’s involvement in the search.
Amelia Earhart was an American aviation pioneer who disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean during an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight in 1937. Earhart received the Distinguished Flying Cross, which she was awarded as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She was also the first woman to be honored with this award.
As an Indiana company, an aviator and history enthusiast myself, Earhart has naturally always been an inspiration. In fact, whenever I travel to the Los Angeles area I always try to fly through the Bob Hope airport in Burbank. There you’ll find a bronze statute and some interesting facts about Amelia and her use of that Lockheed airstrip back in the 30’s.
As a small company, we sometimes recruit customers to assist us with manning our tradeshow booths. And so it was in 2007 that I asked Mark Smith from Oh Seven Films to join us at NAB Las Vegas. Mark was an early adopter of Panasonic P2 cameras and had been a long time user of our then popular videologger application, HDLog. So he was a natural to speak with potential customers on the show floor about his use of our products and emerging technology, etc.
He proceeded to explain what a long journey it is to the small island of Nikumaroro, previously known as Gardner Island, where the group thinks she landed and was stranded as a castaway.
Mark had been using our software to catalog the mountain of visual historical items from things like newsreels of the day, interviews with people involved in the preparations and logistics of Amelia’s last trip, and others offering opinions and documentary evidence over the ensuing years. The cache of materials filled several banker boxes and spanned various media types from film to videotape. All of it carefully indexed and cataloged with the help of our software!
This excerpt is from a user story written in February 2008:
TIGHAR recruited Smith to shoot the 16-day archeological exploration of the island seeking clues to Earhart’s presence there. “Because of the limited space aboard ship, on this particular trip I was the production team, camera, sound, and director, with a little jungle cutting thrown in on the side,” the DP said. “The HVX200 was an excellent fit for this production. Since I would be working single-handedly much of the time, choosing a camera that gave the best image quality in a small, easily transportable package was of prime importance.”
Smith had traveled to Nikumaroro with TIGHAR in 2001 on a similar research trip. “I made that trip with a BetaCam, two DV cameras, a very large box of videotape, a myriad support gear and an assistant,” the DP recounted.
“Hauling around all that equipment in tropical heat that often exceeds 110°F was no picnic. Luckily, the shifts in camera technology over the last six years greatly facilitated this trip, as my equipment package was dramatically smaller and lighter.”
“Shooting exclusively on tape during the earlier trip (2001), we’d encountered some problems with condensation causing tape transports to shut down until the moisture cleared out, even after we took extra precautions to prevent this condition from happening,” Smith said. “I wasn’t sure how a P2 camera was going to react in essentially the same conditions.”
Smith’s 2007 equipment package comprised the two P2 HD cameras (the second HVX200 as back-up), an AJ-PCS060G P2 Store, a Macintosh PowerBook loaded with HD Log, three hard drives for storage, two wireless microphones, and grip/lighting package for outdoor use.
“Each day at 7 a.m., a skiff (small boat) moved the first work crew about a mile down the island to a landing channel blasted in the reef nearly 50 years ago, where we climbed out into thigh-deep water and waded ashore with our gear,” Smith said. “At low tide we got out on to a wet reef which was notoriously slick and slippery.”
“From there, we would either trek about a kilometer down the beach to one of the sites being searched in the old colonial village, or hike through the jungle to the lagoon shore where we stored another skiff used to travel three miles down island to the Seven Site, the castaways campsite that TIGHAR began excavating in 2001,” Smith said. “There we faced another wade ashore Shooting on Niku carrying our gear through deep water and lagoon muck.”
“Even though I’m an experienced hand working with P2 media in the field and managing workflow for post purposes, I had some concerns as I was going to be out over the horizon in terms of resources,” he added. “Whatever I took had to work without trouble because once the boat was en route to Nikumaroro, there was no turning back, no skiff rides to the imaginary floating rental house on the other side of the island.”
Smith shot on 16GB P2 cards, off-loaded to the P2 Store as needed, and backed up everything after each day of shooting. Using HD Log’s P2 Offloading feature was “a blessing to be able to make 3 backup copies at once” of all the raw files from the P2 Store. Smith’s choice of format was 720 30pN, which he considered the best quality/drive space/ shooting time trade off.
“I offloaded all footage from each day to one 750GB hard drive as MXF files, and to a second 750GB drive as QuickTime movies exported from Imagine Products’ HD Log Gold,” Smith said. “The MXF files would be my copy for future editorial purposes, and the QuickTimes were made so TIGHAR staff would have access to all footage simply by connecting the drive to a computer—one of the huge advantages of file-based acquisition.”
TIGHAR and Mr. Smith have been to the island several times in their efforts to find conclusive evidence. So far they’ve turned up only circumstantial evidence of an American castaway including the remains of several campfires, and U.S.-made items such as a jackknife, a woman’s compact, a zipper pull, and glass jars.
Mark as it’s turned out has proven to be a great Beta tester for Imagine Products and a friend for over a decade – and he looks pretty cool flying a drone!
But wait, there’s more!
Check out this video that captures an…. interesting moment during his adventure.