Archive for June 5th, 2007

In search for a better video editor

Don’t get me wrong, for basic video editing iMovie is the king.

But already 3 days into owning an HD camcorder I need tools and features that are not available in iMovie. Specifically:
1. No 24 fps support (I can’t create a movie-like movie)!
2. No de-interlacing option while exporting (my 1080i clips look like shit when exported to other resolutions, e.g. 720p/24 which is what the AppleTV can do at its maximum).
3. No image stabilization (available through a third party plugin, $35)
4. No color enhancement/degrading tools (available through third party plugin, $25)

So, I went looking elsewhere and I was willing to pay up to $200 for a prosumer video editor. “Ulead 11 Plus” is as easy to use as iMovie, but it still has no image stabilization support and given the sad state of their web site and broken downloads, I don’t trust them. Sony VEGAS 7.x Platinum comes with no such tool either (only their very expensive version comes with the third party BorisFX that does that — but you need to export, process and re-import). AVID’s app requires specific graphics cards and other tech specs that I ain’t got. Pinnacle’s 11 Ultimate app doesn’t do stabilization either (requires you to buy a $500 addon), while Apple’s Final Cut Express HD does not run in our 10.3.x PowerMac and it doesn’t include the SmoothCam stabilization plugin either (plus it’s overkill for what I need). And the Adobe Premiere Elements app reportedly has a bug when used with the Canon HV20 (can’t separate the clips or something).

I feel stuck. The features I need are pretty easy for Apple to add in the next iMovie version, but the big question would be: would iLife ‘08 work with Mac OS X 10.3.9? I highly doubt it.

I am in the market for a new Macbook Pro, when Leopard/iLife’08 come out of course, but the lack of the rumored h.264 hardware encoder put me a bit off. Oh well.

iPhone apps, nanolaptops etc

Jobs said recently that the iPhone will support “some sort of third party apps”, hinting it’s going to be widgets instead of compiled native or java applications. The problem with this is that there are no real applications written so far for their widget platform. There are over 1000 widgets for Mac OS X and 99% of them are toys. I see no spreadsheets, word processors or gfx manipulation apps written for the widget platform, even if it’s possible to write such apps with Javascript. Now, someone would argue that “a phone is not a desktop”, but that would be very short-sighted.

As I wrote a few days ago, the world evolves toward miniaturized laptops that do almost as much as desktops do. That’s where the smartphone market goes to — the two markets will eventually merge. In 5-10 years from now “smartphones” would be evolved into these mini-laptops that run real operating systems in x86 (not ARM-based). VIA and Intel already announced such efforts, and if you put the Nokia N800 and the Palm Foleo into perspective, you can see where that market is going.

And this brings me to my next point. Desktop application developers must think small again so their apps work in these nanolaptops/phones. For example, there are a bunch of new apps released for Gnome that simply don’t fit in 800×600 anymore (e.g. the “About Me” pref panel). The cheaper bunch of these laptops won’t utilize higher resolutions or high CPU speeds, and so the current desktop apps must get well-optimized. Same goes for web sites too, of course: webmasters must stop thinking “too wide”.