Friday, August 7, 2009

RIP John Hughes, 1950-2009

Writer and Director John Hughes passed away yesterday at the age of 59. Hughes was best known for what The New York Times rightly terms "a slew of films in the 1980s that defined what it meant to be an American teenager, from the music to the fashion to the social faux pas." Hughes both wrote and directed such hits as Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles.

As Entertainment Weekly notes, Hughes' films presented adolescents who weren't "merely mindless horn dogs peeking through peep holes into the girl’s locker-room shower; they were funny, smart, and troubled — fully formed characters in a genre that usually presented teens as little more than bundles of hormones." He wrote about the life of the American teenager with a kind humor but a respectful seriousness--an understanding that at 16, every decision is a matter of life and death.

For more on John Hughes, check out this touching post from a blogger who became his unlikely pen pal after writing a piece of fan mail. Below are clips from some of his best known (and best loved) works.

Ferris Bueller gives a lesson on "Faking Out Parents" in Ferris Bueller's Day Off:

The trailer for Weird Science:

And lastly, the lunch sequence from The Breakfast Club, the film that taught us all that "If you mess with the bull, you get the horns:"

Monday, August 3, 2009

Final Cut Pro 7

Apple recently released Final Cut Pro 7, and it's got some nifty new features geared towards saving editors time. Most impressive is Final Cut Pro 7's support of iChat Theater. If you're working on a collaboration and you want your co-workers' thoughts on a clip, you can set up an iChat and view the clip in real time while simultaneously discussing it. You can even switch between clips and sequences as you chat. This could be really helpful for cross-country collaborators.

Another new feature is automatic transfer, which allows users to "transfer clips from a wide range of file-based cameras including Panasonic P2 and Sony XDCAM. The files are automatically copied to your media storage volumes the moment your media is mounted." There's also a Log and Transfer setting that lets you " set up custom metadata and add it to all your assets in a single step." This option means you'll spent less time organizing your clips after they're imported.

A few smaller features are also included in the update, among them a larger, movable timecode window, and multi-touch gesture support, which allows the user to utilize the MacBook Pro Multi-Touch trackpad in the editing process. Users can "inch to zoom horizontally within the Timeline; rotate to scrub the Timeline, Viewer, or Canvas; and use a three-finger swipe to advance the playhead across edit points."

Also new and notable is the "Voice Level Match" feature of Soundtrack Pro 3 which will help smooth out the common problem of clips not matching. Soundtrack Pro instantly identifies and analyzes vocal content in both clips, then adjusts the level of the stamped clip to make the dialogue levels match.

Apple's color-correcting software suite, Color, is sporting some useful new features such as 4K support for Red camera footage, 20 new film looks, and a few more improvements.

If you're interested in upgrading to Final Cut Pro 7, check out these independent reviews from PC World and Macworld.