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March 8, 2012

Why the New Apple TV, iCloud, and 1080p iTunes Affect Filmmakers More Than the New iPad

In addition to the"new" iPad announced yesterday, Apple also rolled out a whole host of other updates to its "iProducts." The Apple TV was updated to 1080p, as was iTunes, and iCloud now includes the ability to buy movies and play them from any Apple device. In addition certain apps were updated including iLife, iMovie, and Garageband, and a brand new app for iOS was introduced called iPhoto. But it's really the new 1080p iTunes and iCloud that could do more to affect filmmakers in a specific way than the iPad.

With 1080p finally coming to iOS and iTunes in hardware and software, we get not only increased file sizes, but those movies we've worked hard on might finally get to be seen in the quality we intended them to be seen. Granted, it's not that easy to get a film on iTunes (Distribber can help), but it's one of the most widely used services for buying content on the web. Regardless of the successes or failures on iTunes, getting 1080p is finally a step in the right direction for Apple and you're going to be seeing a lot of films being bought and sold through its iCloud service - and since it's less likely to find an independent film at your local theater, at least we can get those films in "real" high definition.

Apple also updated Apple TV, and it now includes full support for 1080p, finally. For a media box in 2012 to not have 1080p would have been a glaring exclusion, but thankfully the hardware is now capable. With the updated Apple TV comes 1080p for all the other services it is compatible with. One of the most widely used, Netflix, will now have full HD streaming thanks to the additions Apple has made. They've even given users the option to sign up for an account right through the Apple TV, and use iTunes to pay for it.

The iPad is still somewhat of a gadget (that's changing). While it's much nicer to watch a film on an iPad than an iPhone, many, many people still watch movies on TVs, and obviously to a large extent on laptops - so it's nice to be able to watch movies through Airplay, with the iPad now able to stream 1080p through Apple TV. The ability for filmmakers to get a movie on iTunes means that it can be watched from almost anywhere in full HD. We are now getting to a point where all that hard work we've put into a film can at least be seen at the resolution it's supposed to be seen at (4K is probably coming eventually). Since the software will far outlive the hardware, it's important for these updates to finally be happening, and thankfully Apple will actually make it enjoyable to watch one of these iTunes films on a bigger screen.

The other big announcements are a new app called iPhoto (compatible with iPhone 4 and iPad 2 and higher) and an updated iMovie. Here's a description for iPhoto:

With iPhoto for iOS, Apple brings Multi-Touch to photography in a breakthrough way. Browse, edit, and share your photos from your iPad or iPhone, like never before – all the powerful tools you need are at your fingertips. And with iCloud, you can share your experiences as stunning photo journals.

Use simple gestures to quickly sort through photos and find your best shots. A powerful set of Multi-Touch tools helps you perfect color and exposure, crop, straighten, and retouch images. Enhance pictures by adding beautiful, Apple-designed effects with just a tap. Or use fingertip brushes to apply adjustments exactly where you want them. In addition to posting photos to Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter, you can beam photos between your iPhone and iPad, stream photos and slideshows to your Apple TV with AirPlay, and use iCloud to publish photo journals to the web to share your stories with friends and family in a whole new way.

An interesting update for sure, and it allows you to create collages and then send those to other people. iMovie added quite a few features, here's The Verge to explain:

The update adds more advanced editing and planning tools. You can now cut fancy trailers as you're recording video, and iMovie will include nine stylized genre templates, which also include custom soundtracks from famous composers like Hans Zimmer. Movies can be shared in 1080p resolution to the Apple TV using AirStream, and also shared to YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo.

There were lots of new updates for Apple products, and even if you are not an Apple fan, iTunes is so widely used that it's hard to ignore. Thankfully, we can finally buy and watch (as well as submit) films and have them be in full 1080p (not to mention streaming them in 1080p to a television). I know there have been plenty of independent films that I've wanted to get on iTunes in 1080p. Now I can finally do just that (when they update them), and it's a welcome addition.

[via The Verge]

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17 Comments

How does 1080p delivery affect us directly? Yes, it gives us opportunity to show our films at intended resolution, but that affects the viewer, not so much the creation of content, unless you were making content with the intent of distro only 720p...

It doesn't so much affect us as it shows that their is constant progress on distro quality and accessibility. Just like how the new iPad gives us the first full HD distro outlet, it's an exciting example of progress being made, but I don't see how it impacts me in any stage of production...

March 8, 2012

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Right, it affects distribution. That's all I was trying to say. If you've got a film on iTunes it can now be shown anywhere and everywhere on any Apple devices in full resolution. I think that's more important at this point to filmmakers than a resolution improvement on the new iPad.

March 8, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
145

It might be a point to consider that with the iPad 3 now enabling 2K (ish) screen resolution, it may prove to be a cheaper alternative as a field monitor or at least playback of content in full (and beyond) HD quality. Where I could see a use for Apple TV is on a production where rushes taken from an SD card (Im referring to cameras that use SD cards for capture as the iPad has an existing SD card reader) could be previewed on an iPad and also streamed via the Apple TV unit to a TV screen in moments (as in file transporting not iTunes) to see at a larger screen size. Im not sure of the mechanics of how to do this but in theory, Apple TV and iPad may be useful in combination within an existing HD SD card workflow? Of course, if a TV can read the SD card then there maybe not much point! But you get what I mean about possibilities, am sure there are hundreds of other uses as well but an interesting feature nonetheless to see 1080p content.

March 8, 2012

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Shaun Wilson

How do you use an iPad as a field monitor? Last I checked, it doesn't play any of the codecs most DSLRs put out (in 24p mode).

March 8, 2012

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Eduardo

Yeah, it does. Use the Camera Connection Kit (SD or USB inputs) then import your movies direct to the iPad's Photos app. Plays in iOS5 or later on my iPad 2, apparently iPad 1 works as well. New iPad (3) will work at full resolution.

March 9, 2012

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That's at least true with the H.264 from Canon DSLRs. Not sure about Nikon or others.

March 9, 2012

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The forthcoming WFT-E6A from Canon will likely allow for using your iPad as a remote controller (that's what I've been told). It would be awesome if Canon could set it up so that multiple iPads may log in, with one being the master control unit (with camera control) and the others just video slaves. Hopefully the lag in response will be acceptable (just a few frames).

March 9, 2012

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Mmmm. would love this. But it depends on what your shooting, the 8 bit colour and subsequent stepping is not ideal at all.

March 10, 2012

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Lliam Worthington

It only plays up to 1080p footage, only in h264 MOV or MP4 files. Everything viewed on it is upscaled to fill the screen.

March 15, 2012

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i've always been able to view Vimeo movies with my apple tv at 1080p. really, this article is a bit of a stretch, no?

March 8, 2012

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man with no name

99% of videos streaming on Vimeo are 720p. Here's the full Apple spec on the previous generation Apple TV:

H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format

March 9, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
145

There's hardly such a thing as 1080p video on Vimeo. Turn off the scaling function and you'll see...

March 9, 2012

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Not to mention, even if the video were 1080p on Vimeo, the Apple TV's resolution is still only 720p. It doesn't magically become 1080p just because the video online is.

March 9, 2012

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Travis

Wait and see if the movies available via itunes are actually true 1080. or a compressed form of 1080. See https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3792616?tstart=0

March 9, 2012

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bg

They'll be real 1080 in resolution, but obviously they'll have to be compressed in some form in terms of bitrate. This is old but it's still a good reference for comparison: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/ou/heres-what-fake-hd-video-looks-like/962?tag...

Streaming is also not very good, with most HD coming in around 1-3 mbps. Things will hopefully improve as compression algorithms get better and bandwidth gets cheaper and faster.

March 9, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
145

Though the new 1080p Apple TV 3 and the iTunes 10.6 enables to play 1080p video, it
only support 1080p in h.264 format.
Apple TV still cannot import, stream and play 1080p HD video which is in MKV,
AVI, WTV, WMV, FLV, WebM, AVCHD, MPG, DivX, MXF, and VOB etc format.
Just google search Step by Step Guide on How to Convert 1080p MKV, AVI, Xvid, Divx, MP4, FLV, WMV, and MPEG to Apple TV/Apple TV 2/Apple TV 3
you will find a step by step guide on how to convert 1080p video in MKV, AVI, Xvid, Divx, MP4,
FLV, WMV, WTV, WebM, AVCHD, MXF, MVI, VOB, F4V, BIK, RMVB and MPEG to Apple TV 3/Apple TV 2/Apple TV supported format

March 19, 2012

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igrowingboy

I just saw my first 1080p iTunes rental yesterday... (For Lovers Only), and it looked great (on my greater than 1080P 27" iMac). This is a really good thing, as xboxlive and playstation network are only 720 (maybe that's changed, but last I looked)...

And Nextflix's "HD" is bad enough that I only watch their content (whatever it is, I don't know b/c they don't say) when I'm on my laptop. (Or phone.)

So with Apple upping the ante, hopefully the other brands of streaming content will begin upgrading as well.

March 22, 2012

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Daniel Mimura