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Posts tagged with "video"

Play 2.0 Adds YouTube Channel Support, Folders, and a New Premium Subscription

Marcos Tanaka’s Play has become the way I watch YouTube, which isn’t something I expected would happen as much as I’ve enjoyed the app since its launch early last year. The app, available on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV, started as a way to save YouTube links to watch later. That made Play indispensable for keeping track of videos in a way that is similar to how I save articles I want to read later in Matter.

With version 2.0, Marcos has transformed Play from a utility where I save links for later to how I find videos and watch them in the first place. The big difference is that Play now allows users to manage YouTube channels inside the app. I still come across YouTube links on social media, iMessage conversations, on the Club MacStories Discord server, and elsewhere that I add to Play using its excellent share sheet integration. However, with support for YouTube channels, I now have a chronological list of everything published by my favorite channels delivered to an inbox where I can quickly pick the ones I want to watch, which is wonderful.

If that sounds a lot like RSS, that’s because it is. That’s how I prefer to scan my favorite websites for articles to read, and now, it’s how I’m watching my favorite YouTube channels.

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Detail Duo and Detail for Mac: A Modern, Machine Learning-Powered Approach to Video

It’s harder than ever to push Apple devices to their limits. Sure, some apps and workflows will do it, but for everyday tasks, Apple silicon has opened a gap between hardware and software that we haven’t seen in a while.

The transformation was gradual with the iPhone and iPad compared to the sudden leap the Mac took with the M1, but the result is the same. There are fewer and fewer apps that push Apple’s chips to the max.

That’s beginning to change with the focus on machine learning and Apple silicon’s Neural Engine. While pundits fret over Apple’s lack of an AI chatbot, developers are building a new class of apps that use local, on-device machine learning to accomplish some pretty amazing feats on all of Apple’s devices.

Detail Duo.

Detail Duo.

Great examples of this are the apps by Detail, an Amsterdam-based startup. Detail has two apps: Detail Duo, an iPhone and iPad video production app, and Detail for Mac, which does something similar but with a focus on multi-camera setups more suitable to a desktop environment.

As I explained in my Final Cut Pro for iPad first impressions story last week, I don’t work with much video. However, I’ve been dabbling in video more, and I’ve discovered a story as old as personal computers themselves.

Every hardware advance that creates a huge amount of performance headroom is eventually consumed by the ever-growing demands of apps. That’s just as true with Apple silicon as it was for other chip advances. What seemed like more power than average consumers would ever need quickly becomes a necessity as apps like Detail Duo and Detail push that hardware to its limits.

It’s these sorts of advances that I find incredibly exciting because when they’re coupled with intuitive, well-designed apps, they open up entirely new opportunities for users. For Detail, that means simplifying and democratizing video production that would have been out of reach of most users not that long ago, expanding access to video as a creative outlet.

Before digging into these apps further, though, you should know that my son Finn is on the team building Detail and Detail Duo. That’s one of the reasons I’ve known about and followed these apps for a long time now. I figured that’s context readers should know.

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Pixelmator Pro 3.2 Moves into Video Editing

Pixelmator Pro 3.2 adds a new dimension to the Pixelmator team’s flagship app: video. I have yet to spend much time with the app’s new video features yet, but anyone familiar with Pixelmator Pro should feel right at home because working with video works a lot like editing still images.

Pixelmator Pro adds new video templates.

Pixelmator Pro adds new video templates.

To get you started, Pixelmator Pro includes templates, a feature that was added in version 3.0. There are templates for a movie title clip, a YouTube thumbnail, YouTube channel art, and story-style vertical video. Only some templates incorporate placeholder video clips, but those that do are a great way to get a better feel of the video features added to the app.

Pixelmator Pro's editing controls.

Pixelmator Pro’s editing controls.

Editing a video isn’t much different from working with still images, except you’ll notice playback controls at the bottom of the clip you’re editing for controlling sound and playing back the clip. Also, a three-dot ‘more’ button reveals a scrubber with clip trimming controls and other advanced options when clicked. Other than that, video layers work just like other layers. You can adjust brightness, exposure, colors, and other aspects of a clip, apply filters, crop your video, overlay text, and more.

Video can be exported as MP4 files, QuickTime movies, animated GIFs, or PNGs. The Pixelmator team also says it has improved support for Motion projects.

Pixelmator Pro isn’t a replacement for a timeline-based video editor that lets you build a video from multiple clips. However, for clips like title segments and short-form social media posts, Pixelmator Pro strikes me as a far simpler solution than a more complex video editor like Final Cut Pro.

Pixelmator Pro 3.2 is available on the Mac App Store and is a free update to existing users. New users can purchase currently purchase Pixelmator Pro for $19.99, a 50% discount of its usual price.


Adobe Updates Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements with Apple Silicon Support and New Features

Source: Adobe.

Source: Adobe.

Today, Adobe announced the release of Photoshop Elements 2023 and Premier Elements 2023, its photo and video editing apps for the Mac that guide users through a wide variety of creative projects and support for Apple silicon. The paid-up-front apps, which don’t require a Creative Cloud subscription, have been updated with an extensive list of new features and projects designed to help users get the most from their photos and videos.

Source: Adobe.

Source: Adobe.

Photoshop Elements 2023, which focuses on photo editing projects, features a long list of new features. The centerpiece of the update is the ability to select an area of a photo and animate it, applying a dynamic effect to parts of an otherwise static image. The update to Elements also allows users to add photo overlays that can be used to frame shots, replace image backgrounds and skies, and brushes to add patterns to images.

Premier Elements' new slideshow designs. Source: Adobe.

Premier Elements’ new slideshow designs. Source: Adobe.

Premier Elements 2023, Adobe’s video creation app, includes new effects that can be applied to video to add artistic effects to video. The app also has new collage and slideshow templates with modern designs and more than 100 new soundtrack options.

Both apps have been rebuilt to take advantage of Apple silicon Macs. Adobe also announced a browser-based beta version of Elements.

Both apps are available now for $99.99 or as a bundle for $149.99 from Adobe’s website and other retailers.


Captionista: Simple, Flexible Video Subtitling for the iPhone and iPad

One of the tradeoffs I see a lot in the apps we cover is between simplicity and flexibility. Simplicity has its virtues, but often apps designed to make things as easy as possible for users end up being inflexible, resulting in cookie-cutter output. The flip side is that maximum flexibility can get out of hand fast, leading to a steep learning curve. Striking the right balance is hard, but the apps that do are always among my favorites because they work so well for a wide audience. That’s exactly how I feel about Captionista, an iPhone and iPad app for adding text to video. It’s simple to understand but includes the kind of depth that epitomizes what it means to do one thing well.

I don’t work with video a lot, and when I do, my needs are pretty simple. Often, I want to demonstrate something with a screen recording, which isn’t always easy to follow without some sort of explanation. That’s where Captionista comes in.

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Apple Releases Behind the Mac: Skywalker Sound

To mark Star Wars Day, Apple released a special Behind the Mac video featuring the sound designers of Skywalker Sound, who rely heavily on Apple devices. The film, which runs just under 17 minutes, is a fascinating look at how the Skywalker Sound team captures and mixes real-world sounds that they transform into otherworldly sound effects for the Star Wars movies and other films.

The Behind the Mac video, which is currently featured on Apple’s homepage, focuses on Skywalker Sound’s production process from start to finish. Behind the scenes, the group’s mixing and editing are backed by a lot of Apple hardware. Sound editor Ryan Frias is featured in the video touring Skywalker Sound’s central machine room, which is filled with racks of Mac Pros. According to Apple’s press release:

With the power of approximately 130 Mac Pro racks, as well as 50 iMac, 50 MacBook Pro, and 50 Mac mini computers running Pro Tools as their main audio application, along with a fleet of iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV devices, Skywalker is advancing sound artistry and reshaping the industry.

That’s a lot of gear, but the video’s primary focus is on the creative process of the professionals at Skywalker Sound, who have been pushing the boundaries of sound design for many years. If you enjoy getting a behind-the-scenes look at creative people doing cutting-edge work, I recommend checking out Behind the Mac: Skywalker Sound.


Play: A Fantastic Utility for Saving and Organizing YouTube Videos for Later

Today, Marcos Tanaka released Play, an iPhone, iPad, and Mac app for saving links to YouTube videos for later. The app doesn’t save the videos themselves. Instead, it saves their URLs, along with metadata, making it easy to organize, sort, filter, and rediscover videos that might otherwise fall by the wayside.

Play is an excellent example of how purpose-built apps often outshine more general solutions. There are many ways to save a YouTube video for later, from a bare URL pasted in a text file to a bookmarking or read later app. YouTube has its own solution, too, with its Watch Later playlist. Each solution I’ve tried in the past works to a degree, but by focusing solely on the experience of saving YouTube links for watching later, Play outshines them all.

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Matthew Panzarino Tests the iPhone 13 Pro’s Cinematic Mode and Interviews Apple Executives

Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch’s Editor-in-Chief, put the iPhone 13 Pro camera’s new Cinematic mode through its paces at Disneyland in an excellent real-world test of the new feature. Panzarino also spoke to Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing and Johnnie Manzari, a designer on Apple’s Human Interface Team about how Cinematic mode works.

As Manzari explained:

“In cinema, the role of gaze and body movement to direct that story is so fundamental. And as humans we naturally do this, if you look at something, I look at it too.”

So they knew they would need to build in gaze detection to help lead their focusing target around the frame, which in turn leads the viewer through the story. Being on set, Manzari says, allowed Apple to observe these highly skilled technicians and then build in that feel.

“We’re on set and we have all these amazing people and they’re really the best of the best. And one of the engineers noticed that the focus puller has this focus control wheel, and, and he’s just studying the way that this person does this. Just like when you look at like someone who’s really good at playing the piano, and it looks so easy, and yet you know it’s impossible. There’s no way you’re going to be able to do this,” says Manzari.

“This person is an artist, this person is so good at what they do and the craft they put into it. And so we spent a lot of time trying to model the analog feel of a focus wheel turning.”

To make it all come together into one, coherent feature, Apple’s engineers had to solve a long list of technical challenges:

Some of the individual components that make up Cinematic Mode include:

  • Subject recognition and tracking
  • Focus locking
  • Rack focusing (moving focus from one subject to another in an organic-looking way)
  • Image overscan and in camera stabilization
  • Synthetic Bokeh (lens blur)
  • A post-shot editing mode that lets you alter your focus points even after shooting

And all of those things are happening in real-time.

Despite everything that goes into Cinematic mode, Panzarino notes that the battery impact of using it throughout the day was surprisingly slight.

Cinematic mode isn’t without its flaws, which are covered in the story, but it’s worth watching the entire video that Panzarino shot during a Disneyland visit with his family to get a sense for it yourself. If you study the video closely, you’ll pick up on the places where Cinematic mode struggles. However, sitting back and casually watching the video like you would after a vacation or if a friend sent it to you, the flaws largely fade into the background. I’m eager to test Cinematic mode for myself, and I don’t mean to suggest that it’s necessarily fine as it is, but I also expect that it will be a net positive in a lot of circumstances.

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Hands-On with the Apple Store’s Insta360 ONE X2 Camera Bundle

Source: Insta360.

Source: Insta360.

Starting today, Insta360 is offering an exclusive bundle of the Insta360 ONE X2 camera and an assortment of accessories through Apple’s online store for $479.99.

I’ve been intrigued by Insta360’s action cameras since coming across them during CES in 2020. I bought a DJI Osmo Pocket when it launched at the end of 2018, which sold me on the notion of a tiny, versatile camera that integrates with the iPhone. So, when Insta360 offered to send me the Apple Store bundle to try, I was curious to see what it can do and what a 360-degree perspective would add to the mix. I’ve only had the ONE X2 for a few days during a brutal Chicago cold snap, so my use of the camera has been limited. Still, the excellent app integration has made getting started a breeze, so I wanted to share my first impressions.

The Insta360 ONE X2 bundle being sold by Apple is a great starter package that includes the ONE X2 camera, an Invisible Selfie Stick, an extra battery and case to carry it, a 32 GB MicroSD card and SD card adapter, two charging cables (USB-A to USB-C and USB-C to Lightning), a carrying case, and a soft pouch. Separately, the camera retails for $429.99, and with the accessories, the entire package would cost around $511 based on the prices listed on Insta360’s website. However, through Apple’s online store, you can purchase the kit for $479.99, saving some money and getting everything you’ll need to get started.

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