Monthly Archives: June 2011

Final Cut Pro X: Apple’s Failure

Dear Apple,

Today you released your much-anticipated, so-called “revolutionary” editing software, Final Cut Pro X. Being a FCP user since 2004, my expectations were high for this new release with all the hype that the software generated prior to its release. Even if FCP is a software I’ve opened pretty much every day for the past 2 555 days of my life, I thought it had many easily-fixable flaws, and the fact that much of these flaws have been present since version 4.5 made me think about switching to Adobe Premiere often. Being a hardcore Adobe After Effects user, it would have been a logical choice, but my knowledge and ease to work with FCP has kept me from doing the switch.

When I heard about all the new features of version X that were announced at NAB back in April, I was very excited. 64-bit engine, background rendering and much more were issues that needed to be adressed and you did. What you forgot to mention though, was that you would implement these new features at the detriment of already existing, essential ones. Yes, your magnetic timeline is amazing, the fact that everything we do is realtime is awesome, but in the end, those features only simplify my workflow, they don’t allow me to do things that were previously impossible.

But, removing the customizable interface, the OMF and XML import/export, the support for external monitors and the compatibility of third-party plug-ins did as much good to me as being hit by a speeding Audi R8 (geeky reference here). Those things that were so easy to do in the past are now non-existant, and for what reason ? They used to be there, don’t tell me you don’t have the technology to implement them in your “revolutionary” editing software… I’m seeing people say “these features will be available in upcoming updates of the software”. The problem is, I don’t care if these updates come out in a week or a month, I need them tomorrow morning to hand-in a project to serious clients who don’t give a damn about missing features in a software. Telling them “Look! I can apply effects in realtime now!” will not get them the OMFs they need, nor will it let me show them their project fullscreen on an external 37-inch LCD display, something I’ve been doing for the past 2 years.

Apple, you got absolutely murdered on Twitter today (take a look at the hashtag #finalcutprox or #FCP), by both amateur and top-name professional filmmakers. I hope you will have the respect to address them by releasing a statement or a press-release tomorrow and explain to the filmmaking community what kind of fiasco this new software is. What they need is not iMovie Pro, what they need is an upgraded version of an already working software. Sorry Apple, you had your chance and failed on this one.

FCP, we had some good times you and I, but now it’s time for us to continue on our own paths now:

For more info, take a look at these links:

http://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/final-cut-pro-x-the-missing-features/
http://www.digitalrebellion.com/blog/posts/final_cut_pro_x_frequently_asked_questions.html

Bad Meets Evil – Hell: The Sequel Review

Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Detroit rappers Eminem and Royce da 5’9 collaborated on many tracks, including Scary Movies and the original version of Jay-Z’s Renegade, creating the duo Bad Meets Evil.

After embarking on different journeys, Royce staying as the king of underground hip-hop in Detroit, and Eminem becoming the best-selling rap artist of the decade, the two MCs decided to reunite again, over 10 years later, releasing their new EP, Hell: The Sequel.

Being labeled as an EP, and not an album targeted at reaching multi-platinum status, you have to be in a certain state of mind to listen to this 9-track extended play, something I forgot to remind myself before listening to it the first time. If you’re looking for a summer album to listen to while cruising in your convertible car on Highway One, look somewhere else. If you’re an occasional Eminem listener and the only tracks you know are Without Me, Shake that Ass and Love the Way you Lie, chances are this album is not fit for you either.

After the evolution and maturity of Eminem that could be heard on Recovery, one could only expect that Em would pursue this path in this Bad Meets Evil project. Well, Eminem decided totally otherwise, digging out his old rhyming style attributed to his early work, reminiscent of The Slim Shady LP. Marshall Mathers looks like he decided to give something back to his die-hard fans after Recovery was labeled as a more commercial album.

The EP is a 45-minute display of lyrical mastery, both from Royce da 5’9 and Eminem, sometimes even pushing it too far, as if the MCs focused on technical skills and left aside the musical aspect of rap. Nonetheless, for any fan of battle rap, this is incredibly impressive. Listeners will pause, rewind and loop a lot of tracks to catch all the details in the lyrics.

Overall, the EP is very dark, and as I said earlier, is not one to be listened to on a bright sunny day while having lunch on your patio. It also feels very uneven. Fastlane has shades of Scary Movies, while The Reunion sounds like a track that could have been on the Relapse album, and then you have Lighters, featuring Bruno Mars, that, in my opinion, has no place on an EP like that, and feels like a track that was pushed in by the record label to ensure some radio play.

Having two rappers exchanging verses on every track feels refreshing though, getting out of the mold of 90% of hip-hop tracks that are rapped by one artist and have a sung-chorus by an invited artist. But, having two rappers sort of battling it out on an entire EP, you can’t help but start to compare them at some point. Honestly, I never thought I’d say that, but I think that overall, Royce da 5’9 overshadows Eminem on the EP. Eminem sounds too agressive and out of control, while Royce has an incredible flow that doesn’t feel forced. Em also brings back his multiple disses towards celebrities, which start to feel a bit old after the wisdom shown (not on every track of course) on Recovery. He even brings back another diss to the late David Carradine, which is pushing it too far in my opinion…

After pointing out its flaws, I now have to raise my hat to the highlight of this EP, which is Take From Me. This melancholic song about internet-leaking and lack of confidence towards their entourage is to me, musically, one of the best tracks Eminem has ever been featured on. Both rappers show vulnerability and honesty accompanied by an incredible melody by Mr. Porter, making it a memorable song, even if it feels like an orphan on an EP focused on battle rap.

Hell: The Sequel, fulfills what it was meant to be: an album for hardcore hip-hop fans looking for lyrical prowess and a dark, agressive sound. Royce da 5’9 and Eminem prove to the world once again that they’re 2 of the greatest rap artists ever, even if sometimes the quality of the musicality suffers from the technical display.

Kanye West’s Monster

Yep, it was the WWDC yesterday, where Apple announced a bunch of cool stuff, including iOS5 and iCloud, but I know a lot less about it than the thousands of geeker-than-me people that have followed every second of this event, so no, I’m not going to talk about it, and you can go here to know everything that was announced: http://live.gizmodo.com/

After having it leaked earlier this year, Kanye West finally released the final version of the Monster video. After a disappointing, seizure-heavy video by Hype Williams for All of the Lights, Mr. West got veteran director Jake Nava to direct this controversial short for the very hard-hitting single that is Monster.

Of course, we couldn’t expect Kanye to release a bright, shiny, easy-to-watch video for a song like this one, and of course, he didn’t. Dark, morbid images hit the screen one after the other for 6 straight minutes, leaving you with this now almost usual “what the hell was that” feeling you have after looking at anything Kanye has done in the past 3 years. That aside, the video is very original, especially in its editing, where very long shots compose the editing process, something almost inexistant in today’s music videos.

While different in its content, the Monster video is visually very similar to the half-hour-long Runaway short film that Kanye launched a couple of weeks before the realease of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Vivid colors and vintage sets and costumes are the main elements of the art direction. Where Monster differs, it’s on the message side. While I haven’t truly figured it out yet, the visual from Monster shows Mr. West and fellow rappers surrounded by either in-distress or dead women lying around. While it may sound disgusting, it has a signature Kanye aesthetic that just can’t be over-looked. Kanye’s style, Jay-Z’s class, Rick Ross’s “ballin” and Nicki Minaj’s S&M sexiness/craziness come together beautifully to score yet another piece of art that will cause discussions, controversy and boycotts.

What I’m not sure about is the disclaimer at the beginning which reads: “The following content is in no way to be interpreted as misogynistic or negative towards any group of people. It is an art piece and it shall be taken as such.” It’s as if Kanye was scared by the people’s opinion, something he’s clearly not known for. Let’s hope this was the record label’s request…

I couldn’t find any Youtube or Vimeo version that didn’t get deleted in 5 minutes or less, so I can’t embed it in this post. There is a Twitvid version on Mashable that should highly quench your Kanye thirst for now: Mashable.com