Archive for October 8th, 2007

Opening the closed iPhone

Google’s Mark Pilgrim makes an excellent point that if you want Apple to open up the iPhone platform, stop buying it. However, the other way to achieve the same thing might work as well. The iPhone is so popular, that people simply demand more out of it.

For the first time, cellphone users who previously didn’t even care about buying a PDA or a smartphone, now they want applications on their iPhone. This is a good thing for the industry and the consumer, and no matter how much AT&T and control-freak Steve Jobs himself might push Apple to keep things closed or offering their SDK to their partners only, eventually they will open up.

Labels, be gone

The latest big band breaking free from a label contract is Nine Inch Nails. After Radiohead, Prince’s rebellion, and Bruce Springsteen giving away the first single of his new album for free, things are just changing in the music business.

The importance of the labels is quickly fading away, and the digital music revolution (and piracy) had its part on it. And that’s a good thing, because the profession of a musician goes back to its basics: lots of touring and live performances, and no “star” status. If the big 4 labels go out of business, soon enough there won’t be stardom, but simply a profession that will earn you $150,000 per year if you are really good, and $15,000 if you are not.

Be gone will be the times that artists will be selling millions of copies, shoot expensive video clips, snorting cocaine and make big headlines about it, and played on the radio worldwide. Instead, being an artist will be all about being an artist.

This is not to say that some “stars” won’t be arising. Especially if you already have money to invest to your image, you can always hire a PR company that will push your image on the Internet, radio and TV, and a worldwide distributor of music so you can reach other countries too. But these “stars” won’t be controllable by labels where they have to abide to a certain look or do this kind of music or that kind of music. There will be a level of independence instead, an “indie look and sound”.

The truth is, the big losers won’t just be the labels in this case, but also USA as a country. USA’s main “product” is IP, not actual labor and cheap hardware (as it is in China for example). Art is a form of IP and it brings billions to not only the labels, but the US government too. I don’t feel bad about this loss though. Labels have created a status quo, a social behavior, that’s simply not natural. For example, there is no reason for a 16 year old to pee herself when she sees Ricky Martin from 2 meters away shaking his booty. And there is no reason for a 16 year old boy to have long hair and start smoking just because that’s what Guns ‘n’ Roses do. And yet, many teenagers do. Even some adults will wear similar clothes to what a particular star or music movement does. And everyone capitalizes on that.

If labels go away and artists become simply artists, not only the strongest artists will survive (which is a good thing for the consumer as the quality of the music will go up), but things will go back to normal at a social level too. I don’t WANT to go to cnn.com and read about Britney Spears. There is absolutely NO REASON why she should be making headlines. She is not the first neither the last junkie in this world. The fact that she happens to be a singer or a “pop star” is irrelevant to me. And yes, this is how everyone should be thinking too, so the paparazzi stop following her and CNN stops caring. It is disgusting that CNN did not report in their front page about her new album or single (which is the only thing that we should be caring about), but instead everything else that’s none of our business. I am no Britney fan, neither a Lohan or Hilton one. I see no reason why we should be learning everything about them. When you get a job as a secretary you are not asked what’s your religion, your color preference or who’s your boyfriend. So why an artist should be under this scrutiny?

Another interesting article about this is here.

Outputting 60fps from Vegas

NTSC HDV is 60 fields and 60 or 30 frames. However, most applications only endorse editing and exporting in 30fps. Here’s how I managed to export a full 60fps progressive WMV file via Vegas:

Set the Project Properties to “Progressive Scan”, “Best” rendering quality, “Blend Fields” de-interlace method and 59.9400 frame rate. Pull the clip to the timeline and do your editing as usual (although previewing will be slower).

When your final cut is done, export (let’s say, in WMV) by selecting the 720/30p WMV template. Click the “Custom” button. Select “Best” as the rendering quality. On the Video tab select as frame rate the 59.94 option. On the bitrate tab select 8 Mbps and then render out (it will take quite some time to finish rendering).

Previewing the resulted WMV 60fps video (on a very fast machine), it will playback smooth as butter. To make sure that no duplicated frames are there, load the resulted WMV back to the same Vegas project, pull it in the timeline, and by using ALT+arrow-keys move frame by frame to make sure that no duplicates are there.

It should be possible to do the same for MP4 h.264 video too, so this way you can burn a 720/60p Blu-Ray disc as this high-frame rate format is part of the BD standard. 1080/60p is not a standard yet although it will be in a few years.

Some results for your viewing pleasure:
Non-smooth 30fps: video.
Smoother 30fps after disabling “resampling” on the clip’s properties: video.
Smooth, true 60fps: video.