What I saw at Apple HQ on October 27th

In what seemed to be an unprecedented display of confidence, on October 27th as part of the FCPX Creative Summit, Apple invited attendees of the Summit to see unreleased features of the new FCPX 10.4 and to see demonstrations of the performance of the soon to be released iMac Pro. 

Since there are tons of people writing articles and posting photos about what they have seen concerning the new features in FCPX, (new color tools, 360 Video and HDR features) I’m not going to go to much into those features. I will however say I’m really excited about the new color features but not really interested in HDR or 360 video.

What is significant however is how Apple shared these features with a limited number of users, some of which could be called “press”. (Myself, Alex4D and Peter Wiggins, although, Peter is the real deal.)

Maybe you had to be there to fully understand what happened but let me explain. First, all the attendees from the event were invited, via shuttle, to 4 Infinite Loop on the Apple campus. The Apple Town Hall is where Steve Jobs made many notable announcements including the first iPod over almost exactly 16 years earlier. Upon arrival, everyone was warned that photography was strictly forbidden. As a matter of fact, Jeff Greenberg, the organizer of the event asked if he could take ONE iPhone photo of the packed Town Hall for publicity. He was informed that he could NOT take that one seemingly innocuous photo. 

Then, we all sat through a very exciting and feature packed demonstration of the new FCPX 10.4 that we were told would be release “later this year”. At that point we were invited, in two sub groups to walk across the hall and experience a “hands on” demonstration of the new software. 

But what was truly significant is that we were told that not only were we going to be allowed to take photos in the Hands On room but we were encouraged to share those photos and our thoughts via social media.


Jeff and I were so shocked by this announcement that we walked up and asked Steven Bayes, the Product Manager of Final Cut Pro if we had heard him correctly. Did you just say what we THINK you said. We were then assured that sharing our thoughts and photos online was indeed allowed, and we got the impression we were being encouraged to do so.

In actuality Apple had highly skilled members of the FCPX software team to talk with attendees one on one and show off the software and answer questions. I was even allowed to stage a few photos of closeups of the software that I shared on my twitter account. 

During the Hands On demo Steve Martin of Ripple Training approached me and said something to the effect of, “What do you think? Isn’t this amazing that Apple is letting us share this stuff?” 

If you don’t know how Apple as a company works heres the deal. It ABSOLUTELY WAS a very big deal that Apple was showing off software with an unannounced release date. 


So what does it mean?

I think that it is extremely important that Apple has chosen this tactic to seek out portions of the public, even if we were already a very friendly group of known users. I think it shows that they have begun to act on the fact that the “Oompa Lumpa Strategy” that I’ve spoken of in the past is not the best thing for the dedicated users of their software. 

If you haven’t listened to my podcasts, the Oompa Lumpa Strategy is reminiscent of Willie Wonka’s strategy of letting the public think that the chocolate was somehow magically produced because, according to Slugworth, “no body goes in, and no body comes out.” If you think about it for years we just sit outside the walls of the factory, or Infinite Loop, and wait patiently for the next product to be released. 

I think that it is important as die hard Kool-Aid drinking Apple fans that we don’t take advantage of the fact that Apple has decided that they want to adjust their marketing strategy. I for one am very thankful that things have changed in the past few years. I believe it has been helpful to professionals to make plans for their future so that they can be more competitive in the creative workspace.

If we’re REALLY lucky, maybe one day Steve and Estelle will be allowed to come and talk on The Grill and properly school us about the best strategies for adopting FCPX and Motion into our daily workflows. 


CNN and $25 Million Bucks

I haven’t given this a lot of thought but I wanted to “flesh out” some ideas and I thought I’d do this publically, because… Pizza. 

Casey Neistat, the wildely successful and popular YouTuber, recently accepted an offer to “work” for CNN for $25,000,000 bucks. I say “work for” because I really don’t know all the details of the deal and for that reason you may want to stop reading, which is fine by me. 

About a month after Casey started his “VLOG in early 2015, I came across one of his videos, loved it and then back tracked and watched the earlier episodes… (long tail… Look it up). From that point on I was hooked, I am fairly certain I’ve watched everyone of his VLOG entries, and yes, I still feel like a dope saying the word “VLOG”. 

My own history of telling stories with pictures and video go back to when I used to travel on long trips. I’d take photos, I’d shoot video and nightly I’d conjure up some sort of “entry” for a travel diary. Yea, I was doing this before the word “blog” was popular. So basically I think I have some “standing” in the evaluation of the medium. 

Casey was great!

I was drawn to his entries on multiple levels. Technically, they were amazing, (except of the occasional, if not frequent, bad audio from dropping his camera all the time), sociologically, they were fascinating. I couldn’t fully understand why so many people were watching and yet, I never missed an episode. Textbook dichotomy?

About a month ago (late October 2016) on Carl Olson’s podcast, I stated that I thought Casey had “jumped the shark”, soon after I was amazed that some people don’t know what that reference is. It wasn’t so much about what Casey was doing but what he wasn’t doing, and what he wasn’t doing was surprising me anymore. 

(Perhaps the actual “shark jumping moment” was the day he hung from a helicopter for a Samsung sponsored video at some LA based award show.) 

Jump to early November and the first few episodes where Casey referred to boring days filled with meetings, then episodes where he apologized that he was on the phone all day, and then the spat of missed episodes. All of these clues, now in retrospect, tell us that something was up. 

Here’s the part that I don’t understand though. 

In proselytizing YouTube for the past 2 years Casey himself always said he hated working for/with HBO because of the barrier between himself and his audience. I seem to remember multiple times when he went on and on about how the big companies didn’t get it. How much he enjoyed the simple “Submit Button barrier” between himself and all of us, his subscribers. 

So why does he jump at the $25,000,000 from CNN (Casey Neistat Network, I wish I came up with that)? Maybe Casey still thinks that there is a way to create a tool to let non-talented filmmakers create stories that are compelling to watch, which was the apparent goal of Beme, his not so successful software company.

What CNN must know is that Casey, although very charismatic and compelling to watch is not necessarily a ‘news man’. I think the reason Beme was never wildly successful was that it didn’t have a Casey Neistat filter. My videos are never going to look like Casey’s so I may as well uncover my proximity sensor and just watch one of Casey’s videos instead. So, unless Casey himself is involved in editing the content for the new CNN media tool, will it demand the same audience draw that Casey’s work does? Doubtful.

What I can say about this deal is this, there is clearly one person who will definitely win from this acquisition and that is ME… As soon as Casey cancelled his daily VLOG I gained 10 minutes back in my day, now to figure out what to do with that time, and please don’t say running or VLOGGING.


FBI and Apple

This is a complicated story that basically NO ONE is reporting correctly on. 

First, its important to remember that there were 3 phones in the case of the San Bernadino shooters. Two personal phones, which the shooters distroyed before they were killed in a shootout with officials and the infamous iPhone 5C that was actually issued to one of the shooters by his GOVERNMENT job. Yea, he worked for a US govermnet agency. I can’t remember which one, and I don’t feel like looking it up. The probabily that there was ANY sensitive or relevant information on his iPhone issued by his government employer was very VERY low.

Second, encryption. Yes, the data on the iPhone is heavily encryped but the pass code to get into the phone is only 4 digits (in all likelyhood) and that means in 10,000 tries you can get into the phone. Not to secure, but because we want to CONVIENTLY get to our data most people choose the 4 digit code. 

Apple on the other hand has a failsafe that only allows 10 tries to get into the phone for EXACTLY this reason and that was what the FBI wanted Apple to disable. 

By some accounts the FBI has nearly 200 iPhones that they wanted Apple to unlock and it is MY estimation, as well as many others believing, that THIS phone, or rather, THIS case was the one that would garner public support and rally the public behind the FBI and get Apple to “do the right thing”.

For the record, I’m 100% with Tim Cook on this and I don’t want the Goverment to be able to crack my phone, not because I have some terrorist plots hidden in it but because of the 4th Amendment which is part of the Constitution which, I for one, still believe in.

I think that when the public and tech community started backing Tim Cook the FBI Director James Comey realized they were fighting a lame battle and that they were going to back off. So on Sunday March 20th they request a delay in the court proceedings and said, “we may have another way into the phone”.

Why? Because the FBI doesn’t want to look like they allowed a corporate giant to stand them down and win. That’s bad PR for the US government. 

Instead they come up with the other story… “uh… never mind, we found some company in Israel… got into the phone”, which, read above, MORE THAN LIKELY had no good intel in it anyway, “and we don’t need to bother Apple about this”.

So… in doing so, the FBI saves face and they simultaneously “shame” Apple becaue now Apple’s secure iPhones seems much less secure. But hey… its an older 5C… right?

So… What now?

I don’t really know. But I sincerely don’t think that the FBI is either A. IN the shooters phone, or B. that there was any actionable data in the phone either way.

I do know that Apples hardware AND software is more secure today then the 5C was and that the FBI will rear its ugly head again, probably after a school shooting where a bunch of children die and the shooter was more tech savy and had a iPhone 7ex or something… This case is not over. They’ll be back.


Donald Trump...

I’ve been facinated watching the last several months the political discourse in the US. At first when Trump announced his run for the White House he was seen merely as a joke, or PR stunt. Every time a pundant said, “he’ll never pass [insert milestone here]” Trump surprised everyone. Everytime a poll came out saying he would never win this state or that, he has surprised us. (He’s also shamed the pollsters, who are either REALLY bad at their job or just plain LYING about what they SEE happening in order to influence what they WANT to happen.)

I, on the other, hand have just been sitting and watching and I find it really interesting. I don’t know WHAT it means. It could mean that “America wants a dufus in the White House”. It could mean that “America wants a racist in the White House”. Or, it could just mean that America wants someone DIFFERENT in the White House. 

It could also mean that “the establishment” is completely out of touch with the American populace and the fact that we’ve been “dumbed down” by watching American Idol and The Bachelor for SO long that we don’t know WHAT is good for us. But one thing that is clear is that Donald Trump is getting people out to vote and he IS creating a ground swell of people that are, like Howard Beale in Network, “Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore”.

What will be the outcome? I fear Hillary will win, but that is a whole other set of problems. Ultimately I don’t think it matters who is in the White House. I believe the American government is broken by lobbiest and PACs. Its pretty clear that the people aren’t satisfied. 

Meanwhile, enjoy this clip… sort of weird how accurate it is even today, 40 years later.

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter.

Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They’re crazy.

It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’

Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot - I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!’

So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’

Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”



Making Donut Graphics

My new nemisis.

A cool Photoshop Technique

$20.00 AE Script

Another AE trick using “Polor Coordinates” to create a pie, a simple Alpha Mask can cut the center out for you.