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Posts tagged with "video"

Snapthread 2.0 Adds a Refined UI, an Improved iPad Experience, and New Tools

When I first covered Snapthread early last year, you could tell where it was headed. The app was conceived initially by developer Becky Hansmeyer as a way to combine Snapchat videos. By last January though, the app had evolved into a general-purpose solution for quickly and easily stitching together Live Photos, still photos, and short videos that could be shared on any social network or directly with friends and family. With version 2.0, which is out today, Hansmeyer has refined the existing user experience, added useful new functionality without complicating the app, and leveraged the iPad to create a more versatile video creation tool that works equally well for quickly sharing your creations on social networks as it does with small groups of friends and family.

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Mobile Video Production Spotlighted at the 2019 NAB Show

Every year, the National Association of Broadcasters holds a trade show spotlighting advancements in technology in the media and entertainment industries. Jeff Benjamin, who produces much of 9to5Mac’s video content, was on hand for the show this week and reports that mobile video production was one of the highlights of the show:

The first thing that I noticed about this year’s show, is that some of the major players in the mobile video editing space planned their booths to be adjacent to one another. This was a smart move, as it created a stronger presence for mobile video editing than in years before.

I also noticed that there was a significant uptick in foot traffic than in the past. Some of this can be attributed to the way the booths were organized, but I feel like mobile video editing has gained more legitimacy as a whole as people come to grips with how powerful the available apps, tools, and hardware have become.

Benjamin’s story includes details on upcoming updates to LumaFusion and Filmic Pro that are in the works as well as a new app coming later this year from Filmic called Filmic Audio that allows one iOS device to be used as a remote audio recorder that will sync its recordings with video filmed using Filmic Pro on a second iOS device. Benjamin also previews an update coming to the Gnarbox, an outboard storage and backup solution, which is designed to be used by photographers and videographers wired or wirelessly with iOS devices, and the Movi Cinema Robot, an iPhone gimbal that is gaining Filmic Pro integration soon.

Mobile video production is one of the most interesting pro areas for which iOS devices are being used currently as was recently highlighted by Jonathan Morrison who has used apps like LumaFusion to produce YouTube videos. As Benjamin points out, mobile video production is clearly on Apple’s radar based on the company's behind the scenes look at how it shot some of its recent iPad Pro ads. I too hope Apple’s interest foreshadows the arrival of new iOS 13 features that will simplify video and audio production.

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Apple Spotlights the Use of Its Products at Work in ‘The Underdog’

The Caffè Macs pizza box was already something of a legend, but now it has its own Apple video too.

Earlier today, Apple posted a three-minute video title ‘The Underdogs’ which tells the story of a group of co-workers who stumble into the opportunity to pitch their idea for a round pizza box to their bosses. One of the group is rear-ended in a company parking lot at the start of the day. To make amends, a meeting to pitch the box is arranged.

The quartet of co-workers gets to work turning a simple sketch of a round pizza box into a finished product in a few days’ time. They use a combination of Macs, iPhones, iPad Pros, and the Apple Watch running a variety of apps including Microsoft Office apps like Excel, a 3D-design tool, and an AR app to get the job done. The video closes with the tag line ‘This is Apple at Work’ as the group jumps into an elevator on their way to make their presentation.

The video is nicely done capturing the frantic pace of a the group as they try to make the most of the opportunity presented to them. As Cabel Sasser of Panic notes though, what’s even better about the video is that the pizza box they design is the same pizza box that Apple patented and uses at its Caffè Macs cafeteria at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino.

Apple’s patented pizza box has been featured before including in a 2017 feature onThe Outline.

‘This is Apple at Work’ is featured on a special Apple at Work webpage on Apple.com that showcases how its products can be used in a collaborative work environment. The page walks through each stage of the design of the pizza box and the tools the team in the video uses to create it. The six-part feature even includes a downloadable USDZ augmented reality file of the pizza box featured in the video.

I like this video a lot. It does a great job of telling a compelling story in just a few minutes that’s relatable to a wide audience and demonstrates how Apple believes its products can help solve everyday problems faced by people at work. Whether or not the lives of this quartet of co-workers parallels yours, this is a video worth watching for its sheer comedic entertainment value.


Samsung Announces iTunes Movies and TV Shows App and AirPlay 2 Support for Its Smart TVs

In a first among TV manufacturers, Samsung has announced that its 2019 TVs will ship with an iTunes Movies and TV Shows app in over 100 countries as well as AirPlay 2 support in 190 countries. 2018 models will receive the same support via a firmware update.

With the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas just around the corner, Samsung's US newsroom site issued a press release stating:

With the new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app on Samsung Smart TVs, Samsung customers can access their existing iTunes library and browse the iTunes Store to buy or rent from a selection of hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodes — including the largest selection of 4K HDR movies. iTunes Movies and TV Shows will work seamlessly with Samsung’s Smart TV Services, such as Universal Guide, the New Bixby and Search, to create a consistent experience across Samsung’s platform.

With AirPlay 2 support, Samsung customers will be able to effortlessly play videos, photos, music, podcasts and more from Apple devices directly to Samsung Smart TVs, including QLED 4K and 8K TVs, The Frame and Serif lifestyle TVs, as well as other Samsung UHD and HD models.

The press release also reports Apple's Eddy Cue as saying:

We look forward to bringing the iTunes and AirPlay 2 experience to even more customers around the world through Samsung Smart TVs, so iPhone, iPad and Mac users have yet another way to enjoy all their favorite content on the biggest screen in their home.

Apple's partnership with Samsung, one of the largest global TV manufacturers, is particularly notable given Apple's efforts to amass a stable of original content for a long-rumored video streaming service. By making existing and future content available directly within Samsung's Smart TV system and providing a means for iOS device and Mac owners to easily play content on Samsung TVs, Apple greatly expands the potential viewership for the content it offers.


Apple Releases Annual Holiday Ad ‘Share Your Gifts’

Apple has released its annual holiday ad titled ‘Share Your Gifts.’ The video tells the story of Sophia, a creative young woman who uses a MacBook to write but puts her finished work in a box where no one can see it. Set to ‘come out and play’ by Billie Eilish, the story follows Sophia over time as she continues to write and pursue other creative avenues always hiding them from others.

In the heart-warming conclusion of the video, Sophia’s dog pushes her window open causing the pages of her printed writing to blow out the window into the streets. Sophia races outside after the sheets of paper, but can’t retrieve them before townspeople pick them up and start reading with smiles on their faces as they enjoy her writing.

The video was released with an accompanying ‘making of’ video that shows how much went into the piece, which combines hand-built miniature sets and CG graphics. It’s a fascinating look at how much care and work went into making the nearly three-minute video.

I’ve always enjoyed Apple’s holiday ads and this year’s is no exception. The message of sharing your creativity as a way of connecting with others is a great message for the holiday season that also fits well with the company’s products.


Jonathan Morrison on Editing Video on the iPad Pro with LumaFusion

Jonathan Morrison has an excellent walkthrough of what it’s like to edit an entire 4K video on an iPad Pro. In the video, Morrison adjusts the audio, color corrects footage, and assembles everything from multiple clips using LumaFusion running on a 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Morrison came away impressed with LumaFusion and the iPad Pro’s performance as a video editing workstation. Among other things, previewing and scrubbing through footage was smooth and responsive, and the iPad Pro exported the final video in close to real-time.

Near the end of the video, Morrison addresses some of the criticisms leveled against Apple’s latest iPad:

Everyone’s looking at it as a laptop replacement when it’s an alternative, and you’re looking for traditional methods when you should be looking for alternative methods.

That’s a refreshing perspective from someone coming from video editing on the Mac. It’s also a point we touch upon on this week’s episode of AppStories. Trying to map workflows directly from the Mac to iOS is a recipe for disappointment because the platforms work differently. The differences often require adjustments be made, but they can pay dividends as Morrison demonstrates.

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Instagram Launches IGTV Video App Featuring Longer-Form Video

Instagram announced a video service today that is available as a standalone app called IGTV. The new service will be available soon from a button in the top right-hand corner of the Instagram app’s main screen too.

IGTV features vertical video that is longer than is available in Instagram’s Stories feature. Currently, channels created by new accounts and ones with fewer followers are limited to uploading videos that are 15 seconds to 10 minutes long, but TechCrunch reports that eventually all accounts will be able to upload videos up to one hour long.

When you first open the app, it opens to a ‘For You’ section of videos from people you follow on Instagram along with a selection of popular content. The currently-selected video dominates the top two-thirds of the screen. The bottom third of the screen is a horizontally-scrolling, tabbed thumbnail interface for picking other videos. The included tabs are ‘For You,’ ‘Following,’ ‘Popular,’ and ‘Continue Watching,’ which are self-explanatory. You can also swipe between videos in a tab the same way you would in Instagram Stories.

Swiping down dismisses the thumbnails and other UI, so the video dominates the screen. A tap on the video reveals play/pause controls, a scrubber to advance or rewind the video, and buttons to mark videos as favorites, comment, share it with other Instagram contacts, copy a link to the video, report it, or hide it. Tapping the title of the video displays its description, which can include URLs that open in Safari View Controller. TechCrunch says users will be able to subscribe to channels, though that doesn’t seem to be implemented in this initial release.

Although there is currently no advertising in the app, that is coming based on Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom’s comments during the event today. According to the TechCrunch report on the event:

“There’s no ads in IGTV today,” says Systrom, but he says it’s “obviously a very reasonable place [for ads] to end up.” He explained that since creators are investing a lot of time into IGTV videos, he wants to make that sustainable by offering them a way to monetize in the future.

Overall, I like what I’ve seen in the short time I’ve been using IGTV. Only a couple of the accounts I follow have posted videos so far, but I expect that will change as creators experiment with this new outlet. One big disappointment from a design standpoint though, is that the app does not support full-screen iPhone X video.

IGTV is available on the App Store as a free download.


Apple Announces Video Deal with Oprah Winfrey

In a brief press release today, Apple announced a multi-year deal with Oprah Winfrey to produce original video content. From the press release:

Together, Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.

The project joins more than a dozen others that have been signed by Apple for video content in the past year or so. There is no word yet on when the programming might be released, but CNN Money reports that Oprah is expected to have an onscreen role as a host and interviewer.

Competition among Apple, Netflix, and Amazon for original video content continues to heat up. Against the backdrop of consolidation among traditional media companies and telecommunications companies like the recently-closed AT&T/Time Warner merger, the stage seems set for major shifts in the video entertainment industry.


Apple Is Targeting Spring or Summer 2019 to Launch Its Video Service According to TV Executives

According to a report in the New York Times, producers and executives who have met with Apple recently said the company is targeting sometime between March 2019 and summer 2019 to launch a video service. With about a dozen shows signed in the past several months, the Times says Apple is on track to spend significantly more than the $1 billion or so that it told TV executives last year it had budgeted to spend on programming. The report says the turning point came last summer:

The week after “Planet of the Apps” made its debut, Mr. Cue greatly improved the company’s standing in the entertainment industry by hiring the veteran television executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht away from Sony Pictures Television, the studio behind “Breaking Bad” and “The Crown.”

The two executives moved quickly to build Apple Worldwide Video from the ground up, expanding its staff to roughly 40 people and opening divisions for adult dramas, children’s shows and Latin American and European programming. In putting together its slate of 12 projects (and counting), Mr. Van Amburg and Mr. Erlicht made deals with big names including Reese Witherspoon (for three shows), Steven Spielberg, Damien Chazelle, M. Night Shyamalan, Jennifer Aniston, Octavia Spencer and Kristen Wiig.

As reports have trickled in about new shows that Apple has signed, it’s become clear that the company has plans to launch a full slate of original programming. Although it remains unclear how Apple intends to roll the shows out to consumers, the New York Times' report provides an interesting peek at where the project stands today and when it might launch.

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