Apple’s Latest OS and Hardware Updates Look Great for Moviemakers

by Karin GottschalkLeave a Comment

Apple's special event of October 16 included several items of vital interest to this moviemaker/photographer at least. Now that I have had time to consider them and use Yosemite every day since, that interest has turned to pleasure. What I have seen so far, I really like.

Yosemite Goes Dark

Foremost is Yosemite, Mac OS X 10.10. I downloaded it onto my ageing Mac Book Pro as soon as it appeared at the App Store. That machine has been relegated to office and admin work while awaiting a RAM and SSD upgrade so nothing to lose if there are problems with the new OS.

I had nothing to fear – Yosemite has been running happily on my MBP for days now.

Oddly, I have only just now received an email from Apple Australia informing me that “Yosemite is here” and that I can upgrade for free. Gosh guys, I thought Australia led the world (after New Zealand) time zone wise at least. ;-)

Yosemite in dark mode on an Apple Thunderbolt Cinema Display.

Yosemite in dark mode on an Apple Thunderbolt Cinema Display.

That aside, I am enjoying being in the dark now that the General pane in System Preferences offers the option to choose “Use dark menu bar and Dock”. Match that up by choosing Graphite in Appearance and Solid Gray Pro Ultra Dark as my desktop and I have a spread of three side-by-side screens looking suitably dark and color neutral for video editing and especially color grading.

How to make your Mac go dark via the General pane in System Preferences.

How to make your Mac go dark via the General pane in System Preferences.

I Should Go All Dark Too

Should I risk upsetting my partner's carefully planned house-wide color scheme by painting the walls of my workroom to match my Apple desktops? Probably. The biggest benefit of going dark on all three screens is my retinas are not opening and closing so much and my color judgement seems more accurate, more acute now.

I have become far more conscious of environmental color and lighting since I began learning Resolve 11 courtesy of the folks at Blackmagic Design and Tao of Color. The right screen viewing environment has become especially important since starting to shoot so much outdoors under grey skies and indoors under available light and oftentimes available darkness.

While Screens Need to Go Sharp, Rich and Finely Detailed

And that they have with the new iMac with Retina 5K display. With video acquisition and editing – if not yet broadcasting – evolving into 4K it was clear Apple was going to introduce a 4K display at some stage but this 5K display at 5120 x 2880 resolution is even more welcome.

4K footage in Final Cut Pro X looks wonderful on the Sharp 4K displays that have been residing in Apple Stores for some time now. It looks even better on two of them side-by-side with one set to play back full screen. But the iMac with Retina's 5K screen with real estate enough for a big viewer window, media browser and timeline looks luxurious especially when you are limited to just the one display on your desk.

Dark mode is a good match for FCPX’s professionally dark look though the menu bar fonts could be a little less bright.

Dark mode is a good match for FCPX’s professionally dark look though the menu bar fonts could be a little less bright.

There are plenty other new and upgraded features in Yosemite and the new iMac that I don't have time or room for here so may I recommend watching the keynote or reading Apple's Mac pages.

Will the New iPad Shunt Our Mac Books Aside?

Possibly, for some production duties. My experience with iPads has mostly been limited to using them as display devices for media consumption rather than productivity. I am going to have to reverse that habit now that the iPad Air 2 is here. Change is in the Air. ;-) Change is good. So are power and lightness. According to Apple, the iPad Air 2 is “thinner, it's also a lot more powerful.”

“As powerful as many personal computers,” apparently. That is all to the good if moviemakers are going to be using apps on it like Replay and the iPad port of Pixelmator that were shown off onstage at the recent Apple event. Add other essential production apps like Scrivener for iPad which is hopefully not vaporware as Scrivener for Mac is an amazing writing app that formats screenplays a treat. There are alternatives, though, like Storyist for iPad.

Not to forget Apple's own productivity apps which more than do the job – Pages, Numbers and Keynote in my personal order of importance and daily use. Adobe has been active in the apps front too with a slew of Creative Cloud (CC) mobile apps for iPad released this year – too many to list here but listed here at Adobe. When I saw Sketch and Line demonstrated earlier this year along with Adobe Ink & Slide, they looked like great tools to sketch out movie ideas and draw up production diagrams.

Then there are other Adobe apps like Voice, Premiere Clip, Draw, Lightroom Mobile, Photoshop Mix and some very attractive apps by other developers, such as TouchEdit, Pinnacle Studio, Storehouse and plenty more. And let's not forget Apple's own iMovie for iOS.

A friend is a top Australian copywriter now semi-retired. He spends his time at the beach and in cafés, equipped with iPad, the world his office and home. I envy him. I want to do the same, toting iPad, movie-cum-stills camera, my eyes and mind with me away from this office and into the world while being a Backpack Multimedia Journalist par excellence.

Hopefully, Watch This Space

But right now though all that is moot. I have yet to try out the iPad Air 2, all the apps above and the iMac with Retina 5K display. It may only be matter of time. If I do, I'll be sure to report back to you here at planet5D.

(cover photo credit: snap Karin Gottschalk)

Karin Gottschalk

Karin Gottschalk

Karin is a documentary moviemaker, journalist, photographer and teacher who conceived and cofounded an influential, globally-read, Australian magazine of contemporary art, culture and photography. While based in Europe, contributing to the magazine and working in advertising, she visualised a future telling the same sorts of stories with a movie camera and audio recorder. Now back in her home base in Sydney, Karin is pursuing her goal of becoming an independent, one-person, backpack multimedia journalist and documentary moviemaker. Mentorless and un-filmschooled, she is constantly learning and sharpening up her skill set.
Karin Gottschalk

Leave a Comment