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The Search for Earhart with Imagine

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 5CB3C784-3CE8-4BED-BAA0-E654A84661D6enthusiast 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.

None of us knew Mark very well when we were making small talk at dinner one evening. He casually offered “I’m off to the South Pacific again next month.” He told us about his involvement in the search for Amelia as the videographer for The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR).

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:

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Nikumaroro

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 smith dronesuch 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.

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CineGear 2017

CineGear is always a great show. Who doesn’t love being on the Paramount lot? There’s an incredible amount of history in one place AND there’s more being made everyday. This year we were on Stage 15 which has been home to some incredible movies and tv shows like True Grit, The Hunt for Red October, The Birdcage and Glee. Probably the coolest building I saw was the furniture warehouse – what I wouldn’t give to walk through there!

New at CineGear for us this year was PrimeTranscoder – it’s a transcoding app – as if that weren’t obvious from the title. Between that and talking about long term storage with PreRoll Post I don’t think I stopped talking for a solid two days. Which is great particularly since that’s my job!

One of the coolest things about being in Hollywood is the casual name or project dropping. We talked to people who had worked on Guardians of the Galaxy and American Gods and learned how far and wide our software has traveled! We heard horror stories of lost media and hero stories about how ShotPut Pro saved a project (and probably someones job!). We also made some people VERY happy by announcing ShotPut Pro 6 for Windows would be released as soon as we got back – and it was (and it’s awesome)!

Overall it was another incredibly successful show for us. Check out some of our pictures below and if you are looking for workflow tools – look no further, We’ve Got Your Back(Up)!

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Apple File System: What do you need to know?

The new Apple File System (APFS) has been in beta for a while now and Apple enthusiasts everywhere expect it very soon. But what exactly can we expect and what’s the point?

The point is that the APFS will run on WatchOS, iOS, tvOS and macOS making the whole Apple universe more scalable and a more seamless experience all the way around.

But why the change? Well, the current system, HFS+, is over 30 years old. I can tell you from personal experience that things over 30 years old tend to not work as well as they used to! It was designed when we were still using floppy and hard drives and a rigid data structure but times, they are a’changing and we need backwards and forwards compatibility and APFS is more flexible and dynamic.

Now don’t freak out, if you have apps that run on HFS+ (and we all do), APFS will not kill them. APFS is designed to both support and replace HFS+, you will likely see no change at all.

Before I go further I want to make sure to give credit where credit is due, this clever, well written blog is all mine but all the information within came straight from the horse’s mouth, more accurately, from Eric Tamura and Dominic Giampaolo’s mouths.

If you are interested in watching the 36 minutes video that goes all through the new APFS you can do so here. They do some cool demos in this and it really shows how much faster APFS is versus HFS+.

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What these two smartie pants shared is as followed, I am not going to go over every new feature but I will touch on most of them:

  • Space Sharing: Do you have more than one partition? Cool, you’ll love this. Currently, free space on one partition doesn’t translate to more space on another partition.. but with APFS it will! Now there will be ‘containers’ which will hold all the available space allowing any partition to grow at any time.
  • Flash/SSD optimization: most of the products have solid state drive, APFS is designed with that in mind. It’s predecessor was created when floppy disks were prevalent – can you even find those anymore?? HFS+ has basically been pushed and pulled as far as it will go and it’s just not feasible or financially responsible to continue with it.
  • Crash protection: no one ever plans on crashing but it happens, hell we buy insurance for just such an occasion. APFS takes crash protection to a whole new level. The new metadata scheme safeguards that the writes to storage are always in sync with writes to the file system journal even in the event of a power failure.
  • Low-latency design: this basically means that apps will open faster (yay for app developers – ahem) and data will be delivered faster (again, yay!).
  • Strong encryption: APFS will support metadata encryption, per-file encryption and per-extent encryption (each “region” of a file can be encrypted). APFS is the only file system currently allowing users this level of encryption – hence why we love Apple so much – they give us what we want!
  • 64-bit inode numbers: Now I’ll be honest, I had no earthly idea what this meant! Fortunately our developers do. Inodes are data structures that store metadata about objects (we love metadata) as opposed to 32-bit, meaning it is capable of storing 9 quintillion files…. that’s a thousand raised to the power of six (1018)!

So now you are in the know and we can patiently wait for the new Apple File System to drop together.

I had to sneak this throwback Apple in just for fun! article_img#apple #APFScountdown

Michelle's Headshot  written by Michelle Maddox,

Marketing Director for Imagine Products

 

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The Power of a LUT

If you’re an experienced shooter or editor you know what a LUT is and all the wonderful vibrancy that comes with them or the desolate sadness they can provide. But if you are just breaking onto the scene you may not know the power of a LUT. First off, LUT stands for Look-Up Table and refers to the coloring that can be added to a shot or clip. When you add a LUT to the original files, amazing things can happen! Color grading is most often used to enhance the scene, evoke an emotion or convey a change in time. A LUT can allow for a preview of what could be after proper color grading occurs in post.

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This image from Shadowhunters is a great example and shows you exactly which LUT was used, free LUT f-8700-V2-STD. There are many different free LUTs available from Blackmagic, Panasonic and many other awesome free LUT sites – we’ve just provided you with a few!

Another thing to remember is that different LUTs are appropriate for different cameras and color spaces. It is important to understand which is recommended. The blog, Understanding LUTs: Why One LUT can NOT fit all shots gives an indepth look at the different LUTs and their purposes, ie technical, creative and camera LUTs.

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This example from Ryan Hayslett shows how different LUTs can affect the same shot, turning it from morning to night instantly.

So the best way I could think of to end this blog was with a cat video – but wait! It’s a cat video that does a great job explaining the different uses of LUTs and it’s from our good friends at Ground Control. #happygrading

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ShotPut Pro 6: Tips and Tricks

ShotPut Pro 6 has now been out for four months. We have been incredibly humbled by the positive response from our faithful customers as well as our new customers. With any major upgrade, there is a learning curve. We’ve put together some tips and tricks for offloading your media with ShotPut Pro – please be sure you are on the most up-to-date version; 6.2.

  • Let’s start with a new, direct line to us! We’ve included a feedback option under the Help Menu which allows users to connect directly with the developers of ShotPut Pro. Do you have a feature request? Great! Send it to us. Did you find a bug? It happens! Send it to us. Do you have a question you just CAN NOT figure out? No problem! Send it to us.
  • If you’re offloading CARDS we strongly recommend using ‘Source Integrity’ under Advanced Preferences. This option reads the card a second time for the checksum values. While this takes more time, it gives the added assurance that problems aren’t occurring on the incoming side such as overheating readers, bad cable connections, or a failing card. These are actually the most common reason an offload errors. If your source is say a digital recorder, these type errors are very unlikely and you can turn Source Integrity OFF (causing a single read of the source for both copies and checksum values).
  • If you’re interested in more speed but still want the safety of checksums, turn OFF the PDF report option and use text or CSV type logs. PDFs are more time consuming because we’re extracting metadata from the source files, including thumbs, and generating a PDF.
  • We did not offer the File Size Comparison option in the initial release of ShotPut Pro6 but soon found that many people were comfortable with it’s risk/reward proposition and asked us to add it back in the application. We did so with a twist–adding the option to still gather and report the XXHash checksums from the source files so you’d have these in your reports for downstream copy comparisons.
  • Most user configurations hit a bottleneck of either a card or disk maximum bandwidth or available bus throughput. Few users have super setups or fast RAIDs and SSDs everywhere. So a majority of offloads are down around the 100MB/s range (top speeds of most spinning media or cards).

Hopefully these tips and tricks have shed a little more light on the power of ShotPut Pro 6. If you are interested in upgraded your ShotPut Pro 5 license or purchasing a full version please visit our website here. #offloadconfidently

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Checksums and Verification Part 2: Define and Decide

This is a multi part blog. As more blogs are posted, links to those posts will be included in this blog. Before reading further, we encourage you to begin with Checksums Part 1: The 5 W’s which defines what a checksum in and why it’s important in the media and entertainment industry.

For Part 2, we asked YOU what you were most interested in and many answered they would like each checksum defined and explained as to which is better to use in different situations. Obviously you are all using ShotPut Pro for your offloading right? Perhaps you are researching which offloading application is right for you. This blog will also discuss appropriately comparing offload applications and their use of checksums.

We will not reinvent the wheel but we will give credit where credit it due! All sources used to help explain and define checksums have been appropriately included. If you’re looking for some light reading… These are not be for you! But if you are looking for more in-depth information, they have plenty.

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.

MD5 – The MD5 algorithm is a widely used hash function producing a 128-bit hash value. It is optimal as a checksum to verify data integrity. (Wikipedia MD5)

For years MD5 was the fastest and most secure checksum available. Although xxHash is becoming more widely used there are still many companies that require the MD5 checksum for data integrity.

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The primary things to consider when choosing a checksum is how fast is it and when talking about files, what is the chance of a checksum collision?  The collision chance is the probability that two different files will map to the same checksum value.  xxHash is great because it is fast while still having a low probability of collision.  Many even consider hash functions more secure than a byte by byte comparison because the chance that hardware gives back the wrong results is in many cases higher than the chance of an checksum collision.

SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1) – is a cryptographic hash function. SHA-1 produces a 160-bit (20byte) hash values known as a message digest. A SHA-1 hash value is typically rendered as a hexadecimal number, 40 digits long. (Wikipedia SHA-1)

SHA-2 (Secure Hash Algorithm 2) 256 and 512 – this is an upgrade to SHA-1 and includes six hash functions, Imagine Products applications offer two of the six. Cryptographic hash functions are mathematical operations run on digital data; by comparing the computed “hash” (the output from execution of the algorithm) to a known and expected hash value, a person can determine the data’s integrity. (Wikipedia SHA-2)

MD5 and some of the SHA checksum algorithms are sometimes still used as a requirement for different insurance companies or by the government because they are older and established, but they were designed to be cryptographic hashes.  Cryptographic hashes are those originally designed to store things like passwords.  They were meant to be complex and sometimes even slow to ensure that passwords were safe.  This isn’t ideal for many of us which is why xxHash was created.

Anymore, unless you have a specific requirement from a vendor, we recommend xxHash or sometimes MD5 because the speed of the others is usually not worth the trade off in collision space. In the cases of SSD to SSD copies you most likely will see a performance hit with any of our algorithms other than xxHash.

 

Comparing Checksum Applications

It’s a good idea to choose the right tools for the job. Obviously we think our products are the best (and so do thousands of others!) but it’s a good idea to test different workflow applications to be sure you are getting what you need to ensure data integrity and accuracy.

Here’s one thing to remember…

Computers are designed with a combination of caches along the data-handling stream. They’re present in hard disks, in the connection ports and inside the computer’s operating system. The idea is to speed up the return of data requests for ‘known’ recently accessed items.

Think of how your web browser caches web pages you’ve previously visited. Caching browser history allows them to quickly present recent pages when requested again without having to go back and download the entire page each time.

The Apple operating system has a similar methodology (as do hard drives themselves). Items recently accessed are kept in a revolving cache of RAM for fast presentation.

So when an application asks the operating system to read back the most recent file from the output hard disk the Mac OS says “Oh! No need to go get that again, I have a copy right here!” and simply returns the cached information. This is great if you’re not trying to actually compare and verify one copy to another. Instead, it’s just a repeat of the source file and not a fresh full read of the file from the output disk, which is meaningless for verification purposes and doesn’t even offer the security of comparing file sizes.

In fact, with Apple operating systems you can not obtain a hard disk read of files (instead of from cache) without explicitly circumventing the cache–a method only seasoned programmers would be aware of or those incredibly interested in how checksums actually work – like yourselves!activity-monitor-icon

To test different offloading applications, open the Activity Monitor utility on the Mac. Boot it up and click on ‘Disk’. Then open the Terminal utility and flush the cache by typing in the command “SUDO PURGE”.

Once you’re ready, do a reasonable size offload–say 15 GB. Then look at the Disk Read and Write GBs in the lower right table. In order to perform checksum comparisons the Read GBs should be double the Write GBs. That’s because you’re reading once from the source, writing once to the output drive, then reading back from the output drive to calculate the checksums.

If the application or method you’re considering using in your workflow doesn’t have double the read GBs compared to the write GBs then it’s not actually retrieving the disk’s content to compare with the source files and is less secure than true checksum comparisons. In other words, the final destination of your files may not actually match the source – this is a big problem if you are truly concerned with data integrity. Remember, if it seems too good to be true – it probably is.

That’s all for Checksums Part 2. If you have questions or feedback leave them here, email us or post it on any of our social media pages. Part 3 is coming soon – let us know what you want to learn more about. And always – Offload Confidently!

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Checksums and Verification Part 1: The 5 W’s

This a multi part blog. As more blogs are posted, links to those posts will be included in this blog.

 

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What is a checksum?

A checksum is a string of numbers and letters that uniquely identify a particular file regardless of the type, ie .mov, .ari, .dng, .png, .txt. Think of them like a fingerprint; no two fingers have the same fingerprint (nope, not even identical twins!) and no two random files have the same checksum; different files = different checksums. This allows people (obviously with the help of computer applications) to compare checksum values to ensure a 100% exact copy of a file is made when duplicating, or offloading files.

Why are checksums important in the media and entertainment industry?

Video files are made up of bytes. Many times when files, especially video files, are being moved around the bytes can be corrupted, inverted or lost completely. This can cause lags or glitches in video during playback. Simple applications like Finder or Explorer do not use checksums. Instead, they “look” at the files or folders being moved or copied and say, “ok, looks like 10 GBs. Yeah I’ve got room here for that amount” and then they dump the files. The problem occurs when only 9.8 GBs are moved and 0.2 GBs are lost OR the total 10 GBs are moved but bytes 3.2 and 3.3 are switched around so that 3.3 comes before 3.2…. I think you can see the problem here! Finder and Explorer have no safeguards put in place to ensure this doesn’t happen.

When and where are checksum appropriate to use?

Checksums can be used when transferring any file type. Many real estate, doctors and lawyers offices usesnape checksums when moving files from one place to another. You can understand why losing files or folders for these industries would be disastrous. In the media and entertainment world, losing files equals losing shots. Sometimes you can not replicate those shots or they would be too costly to replicate. Either way, the short answer to the question is ALWAYS. Any time files or folders are being moved, checksums should be used. Sorry (not sorry) for the Harry Potter reference, I couldn’t resist!

Who should use checksums?

Honestly, if you are serious about data integrity – you should be using checksums. Not only that but make sure you have a report with all the checksum values to cover your own butt. Many studios and insurance companies are requiring offload applications like ShotPut Pro that use checksum algorithms. If there is not a report you can’t prove that checksums were used.

That’s all for this post! I hope it’s cleared up what checksums are and why they are important to use. We will be delving more deeply into the world of checksums in the near future. If you have a specific question you would like answered please post a comment here, tweet or Facebook us!

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ShotPut Pro 6 for Mac – the industry standard copy and verification program gets a makeover

Written by Matthew Allard ACS, Published on Newsshooter.com

ShotPut Pro has been the de-facto standard copy and verification program used by major movie studios for years. While the program has always been bulletproof, times have changed, and the user interface was starting to look a bit long in the tooth. After recieving customer feedback, Imagine Products set about to completely redesign the user interface in their latest version – ShotPut Pro 6.

The new user interface still includes the traditional preset mode, but they have now included a new destination mode. This makes for a much more intuitive drag and drop system. You can also give your files an offload identifier so ShotPut Pro will automatically create a destination folder for you on the drives you have selected.

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Destination Mode

What I like about ShotPut Pro 6 is that you can now also just drag and drop between drives or individual folders without it automatically creating new output folders. This is very quick and easy to do and you can avoid the confusion of copying the same material to multiple different folder names on the same drive.

Another nice feature is a new status bar shown when backing up and verifying your files. The bars are different colours depending on what the program is doing. Light blue for copying, dark blue for verifying, orange if you have cancelled the offload, and green for once it is completed. There’s also a time remaining indicator, so you know exactly how long the file is going to take to copy.

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One of the most useful features is that ShotPut Pro 6 can pause and resume the copy process if it is interrupted. Even if you eject hard drives or camera cards or shut the lid on your computer, as long as you don’t close ShotPut Pro you can go back and continue the copy process from exactly where it left off. One thing to bear in mind: this only works if you’re copying multiple files, if you are just copying one long file, it will not let you pause the copying process.

Also new is the ability to create PDF reports with a company logo, offload name, metadata and thumbnails for each video file. As with previous versions of ShotPut Pro you can also have the program text or email you a report once your offload is complete. This gives you peace of mind and you don’t have to sit around and wait and check if your files were offloaded and verified.

The only negative thing I found about ShotPut Pro is that if someone enables the PDF report option with thumbnails, that of course costs some time since the files are further interrogated to extract metadata and thumbnails. I also found out that in Advanced Preferences settings, the default is to read the source files a second pass when calculating checksums. The idea behind this process, while it too costs a bit more time, helps detect failing cards, over-heating cards or card readers giving off inconsistent data. These are potentially disastrous errors that if you’re serious about your data back up, are worth the cost of some time to catch.

ShotPut Pro certainly has a lot of features and the new improved user interface is nice to use. I love the email and text alerts notifying you when files have been copied and verified. The ability to pause and resume copying is also extremely handy. The customisable PDF reports are great if you’re working on a large set and allow you to provide accurate information about exactly what has been backed up to clients or editors. While it isn’t as fast or as simple to use as some competitors, it does offer a lot more features that may be better suited to users who require a more in-depth program.

ShotPut Pro 6 for Mac is available for download now, and if you are a Windows user, don’t worry, there will be a new version available for you in the next few weeks.

How to Purchase ShotPut Pro 6 for Mac

Stand alone new purchase $129 US

Upgrade ShotPut Pro 5 to ShotPut Pro 6 for $49 Us

To upgrade from the ShotPut Pro 5 application: Open the application menu and select “check for upgrades” you will be prompted from there to log into your account and purchase the upgrade.

To upgrade from the website: Log into your account and navigate the ShotPut Pro macintosh page. Select the upgrade, once purchased the download link and account wide serial number to activate your new software.

If you own more than one license of ShotPut Pro 5 you will need to upgrade each one of the licenses.

About ShotPut Pro: ShotPut Pro is an offloading application optimized for the media and entertainment industry. ShotPut Pro quickly and securely offloads any file, folder or media using drag and drop functionality and checksum technology. Offload from multiple locations, to multiple locations automatically with watch folders. ShotPut Pro will send email or text notifications when the offload is complete and generate exportable offload logs and reports. For more information visit the Offload Home Page at www.imagineproducts.com 

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Announcement: ShotPut Pro 6 for Macintosh

The wait is over! ShotPut Pro 6 is better than ever.

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You asked, we listened.

ShotPut Pro 6 is the most feature rich software application we have ever created.

No other offloading application has the functionality ShotPut Pro has, which is why it is the industry’s de facto standard and why so many major movie studios and insurance companies require it in their workflows. We listened carefully to our customers’ needs and wants and channeled all of that feedback
into creating ShotPut Pro 6.

ShotPut Pro now has two ways to offload.

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Destination Mode
The traditional preset mode
(above) and the new destination mode (to the right). Expand volumes in the source window (left window) and drag them to the destination window (right window). Files and folders waiting to be offloaded will be bold.

Report-01PDF Reporting

Customize reports with a company logo, offload name, metadata and thumbnails for each video file. TXT and CSV reports available. Export past reports quickly. Need it in a different format than the original? No problem!

 

 

Pause and Resume Offloadsresume

Easily pause the copy process and resume where you left off. Eject hard drives or camera cards for hours, plug them back in and resume! Close your laptop lid, just don’t close ShotPut Pro and you are good to go!

Offloads can be canceled as well and the new progress window can be cleared off all competed offloads with one click.

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Name offloads consistently, nest files into folders and preview naming choices before offloading. Export and share naming presets with other ShotPut Pro users.

checksum-menuChecksum Security

Verify any file with checksum technology and save the verification number with the offload report.

 

Watch the ShotPut Pro 6 Macintosh Introduction Video

 

ShotPut Pro 6 for Mac is available for immediate download from our website for $129.

Click on this link to start offloading confidently

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Imagine Products’ Connection to the Olympics

The Olympics are always a fun and exciting time for the world. It’s amazing to come together as one human race and celebrate the incredible achievements of talented athletes. In 2002, Imagine Products was asked to travel to the Salt Lake City games to assist with the logging of that years Olympic footage using Image Mine®, our video cataloging software. Dan Montgomery, President and Owner of Imagine Products, recounts his time at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

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As I sit watching the Rio summer games, and truthfully whenever any Olympics rolls around, I can’t help but reminisce about my experiences with the Salt Lake Winter Olympics in February of 2002. 

Our sales manager “made the sale” the summer prior to the Olympics. It was the largest single sale to date and of course being the Olympics made it even more exciting. The agreement was that we would customize a version of Image Mine for them and provide on site support during the games. This last part was like a cherry on top as far as we were concerned! Who hasn’t wanted to go to the Olympics.

Then 9/11 happened and the whole world changed.

Instantly the thought of traveling, which was once a no brainer especially in the business world, became a serious question of safety. For our small company it meant the loss of our sales manager whose young wife was afraid of him traveling, and understandably so, it was a scary time for most of the world. Of course as the President and the next best

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My badge to get me “behind the scenes” – or really just to the broadcasting center.

 

 person knowledgeable to fulfill the contract, I went. 

I arrived about a week prior to the opening ceremonies and was housed at a Ramada Inn about 10 blocks from the Salt Palace Convention Center that had been transformed into the broadcasting center. On the first bus ride to the center I noticed lots of concrete road barricades, chain link fences, barbed wire, etc. At first I thought, “Wow, it’s just like Indiana. They tear up the roads just before the Indy 500!” But of course it was all about security. 

 

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Barricades outside the Salt Palace Center. Photo Attributed to www.sbe24.org

There were three rings of barricades around the convention center, bomb-sniffing dogs, airport style metal detectors and police with assault rifles. Oh! And did I mention snipers on rooftops around the city? Yeah, it was like that.

Inside the center was a grid of temporary “offices” built from drywall. It was like a large city with security guards positioned at each intersection of the grid and they had to have eyes on each other at all times.

There were two scary moments leading up to the games. One was someone setting off a door alarm going outside to smoke. The other was detected “explosives” which turned out to be the fireworks they were bringing in for the opening ceremonies. Both times a very loud alarm would sound, the security guards would take off running and the building went into immediate lockdown. Fortunately both instances were short lived and once the games actually started there were no more issues.

Video collection and distribution was organized through a shell company, International Sports Broadcasting, based in Salt Lake. While NBC also had their own production team on site, the ISB was tasked with shooting all events without regard or preference to the athletes and creating the International Olympic Committee’s visual archives of the games. When I say ‘without preference’ I mean each country represented is primarily interested in following their athletes regardless of ranking, so it’s a somewhat monumental task to provide that kind of coverage. 

backuproom
The Backup Room in the Broadcasting Center. Photo Attributed to T.Buckingham Thomas

To do this the ISB contracted videographers from all over the United States to assist in the various venues and broadcasting tasks. Additionally, they hired about 50 senior broadcast students from various universities to perform the cataloging tasks. It was a great gig for a college student – you got to see the games, pad your resume and earn $50 a day! 

The ISB had set up 28 video logging stations. Each had a Gateway laptop with a USB 1.0 video capture input and our logging software on them. Gateway was a sponsor of the Olympics that year and all the equipment was ‘payment in kind’. The USB throughput was slow considering the video was analog, we are talking 20 frames per second! But since the software was just grabbing thumbnails, it was adequate. This was the first Olympics that thumbnails were used for archiving, before that all archives included descriptive text but no pictures.

 

DVCPro
Panasonic DVCPro 50 Photo Attributed to www.abelcine.com

The workstations also had two Panasonic DVCPro tape decks plus two VHS tape decks. Yes, you read that right! Panasonic had its own support area with about 20 techs solving any issues that arose immediately. Three high quality copies were made, one came from the truck or venue and two VHS tapes, one with timecode and one without. I was really surprised and asked “Why VHS?” and they said because VHS was the lowest common denominator for universal viewing footage.  

Olympic Fun Fact: No two modern Olympics to that point had been shot on the same video format. As far as I know, this is still true!

Remember I said part of the agreement was customization? ISB had paid 3M for a custom full-sheet label that printed top and side labels for all 5 tapes, plus the box labels all at once. Our tracking software printed them with information extracted from the cataloging database. The Tracker module also was used to keep inventory of blank tapes as they left to the various venues. It supported barcodes to check the In & Out as the used tapes returned to the center.

Control room 1
I met a lot of really great people when I was in Salt Lake. The Olympics has a tendency to bring out the best in people.

 

I found it fascinating that the students had been practicing cataloging for days before I arrived. It was the first time I didn’t have to teach anyone how to use our software; instead they were showing me tips and tricks!

Since they would be cataloging video LIVE it was important for them to know the rules of the events they were logging. And they needed to know the key players, what to watch for and what drama might ensue. To prepare for this the organizers had been pumping video to the center from the prior Olympic games as if it were happening live and the students were cataloging them as if they were as well. Pretty smart way to prepare, considering the day the games actually started – it was like any other and they did what they’d been doing all along. 

The students were versed in several sports each so they could credibly catalog them. Each morning during the games there was a big white board with the assignments for the day. It was hilarious to see the ones assigned to curling – big sighs and grumbles, “Curling again! Ugh.”

My own kids at that time were teenagers and when their school teachers found out I was at the Olympics of course the questions flew. My daughter after having explained my involvement several times decided it was easier to tell them I was an Olympic class curler! After all, what else would a 50 year old, overweight diabetic be able to compete in?!?

My actual job at the Olympics? Remember the “support” portion of the contract, turned out to be much like the Maytag repairman. Nothing failed and no support was needed so for almost a month it was me sleeping at my desk or watching the Olympics – on a tv screen – exactly like I do from home 😂

Control room 2
Can you see Muhammad Ali holding the torch? This was the practice footage used from the 1996 Olympic games to get everyone ready for live logging. From the beginning I had plenty of time to take pictures and chat with my fellow loggers because we’ve always made quality software!

Good luck to all the Olympic competitors!

We hope you have enjoyed this little walk down Olympic-Memory lane.