25 Jul

Avid S6 software update v2.0

Few days ago Avid released the brand new update for their flagship control surface. To be honest, I think the S6 community was very excited to have this new software version, as this seems to be a milestone. This version gives us functions which were missing from the S6 from day one. It gives us important things that could speed up our workflows, which is one of the main things we buy control surfaces for.

Update and test

After downloading the new version, the update went smoothly, the only thing took longer was to find all the necessary numbers, as this install need to be activated online or offline, so you’re going to need those yellow cards you received with your S6. This activation took me longer to finish than the whole upgrade. And don’t forget to upgrade the WScontrol software on your Mac/PC.

Version 2.0 supports Pro Tools 12 and 11.3.2 which is not released yet. As our facility wide upgrade is due to happen in a few months, I’ve been testing the new version with Pro Tools 11.3.1 and OSX 10.9.2. Be aware, this configuration right now is NOT officially supported by Avid. On the DUC they even acknowledge that with systems like this, we might experience a few bugs and obviously we cannot use every new function.

S6 v2 software

Still, I thought I give it a try as I think this update looks too good on paper to miss it. The test session is a feature film score mix in supersession format. It comprise 280 tracks, 224 buses, so many plugins I didn’t bother to count, complicated routing and 6 pieces of 5.1 stems and a Fullmix 5.1 and a downmixed Stereo recording track. All with a 90 minute long HD movie on the main video track. Automation is quite dense.

With a session this big, I experienced some crashes during these 5 very active mix days. Interestingly the crashes always happened when I tried to create new tracks for example. Never happened during recording or automating something. Plugin instantiating is stable, tweaking, automating, banking and all other operation on the surface is smooth and stable.

Available new functions works very well, although I just got my feet wet with these new things. One of my biggest fetish function: FLIP mode is a great thing, although now it is still somewhat limited in functionality, I already find it immensely helpful during mixing. As one of developers told us at the Avid forum, this function was probably the hardest to implement properly, so further improvement is coming with future releases.

One thing that seems to be a bit slower is boot time and session population on the surface, but this is a non-issue for me and I talk about a few more seconds here, nothing serious. Once it loaded up completely, all the banking, layout switching is fast.

Conclusion

I know nowadays it’s not fancy to say good things about Avid, I’m pretty happy with this new release and the way developers reach out to investigate, comment and help us with our issues and questions. Updates are coming, with every new release we get something new, or more refined and more stable thing, which proves that the original concept seems to be working in our favour and shows that the guys at Avid are really passionate and serious about their jobs.

Using software 2.0 on a unsupported system is surprisingly stable and great experience. Will report back after the full system upgrade to Yosemity and Pro Tools 12.

If you’re interested in the full new features of version 2 S6 software, read this article.

24 Jun

When you need to know the time

Recently I had a few projects where I was the one who was responsible keeping track of the time being spent on the tasks. At the end I had to know how many hours we spent with editing, mixing, etc. Who really knows me might just laughing right now as I’m very famously forget everything related to time. Birthdays, important dates, historical dates, pretty much everything. So I’m not the best person to keep track of things like this, but this time I had no choice.

There’s an app for that

As soon as my first panic attack went away, I remembered the marketing line from Apple: “there’s an app for that…” so I started to search the AppStore for possible solutions. I needed something that’s:

  • easy to use
  • doesn’t require complicated setup
  • reliable
  • can keep track of spent time on different task
  • can remind me to use it

I know that the last point might sound ridiculous to you, but it’s a fact, I needed something that reminds me to use it.

And I’ve found the aptly named Hours.

time

This is really a great app for me. It’s dead easy to use, requires very basic setup, and, most importantly you can set reminders inside the app!

I keep it very simple. For example I made two tasks: Edit and Mix. You can set the amount of time you spent with a task, or you can simply tap the clock icon and it’s immediately start to count time. Don’t forget to stop when you finish, but other than this, you don’t need to pay attention to the app.

Make a task list and always measure only what you really do. After the fact, you can create a complete report which can be as simple as a usual work clock, or you can create a detailed one with notes. Reports can be daily, weekly, monthly, whatever fit your needs.

If you’re a tweaky kind of person, you can set up time format, rounding rules and of course, reminders.

time prefs

I hope you find it as useful as me.

15 Jun

Worth to read #1

I’d like to recommend you a great book, which surely will stick with
you for a long time. Not because it takes long time to read, quite
the contrary, once you start reading it will be very hard to put it
down. It’s going to stick with you because it’s filled with knowledge
and wisdom.
This is not a technical book, you won’t find detailed explanations of
different compression techniques, or hidden tricks in Pro Tools,
instead you’ll find ideas, examples of critical thinking, creative
collaboration and thoughtful, diligent decision making. All through a
series of conversations. Walter Murch is a true legend, who never
fails to eloquently describe his methods and discoveries and great
stories about some of the most famous films ever made.
You can buy it online, so you can have it on your iPad or any kind of
tablet or eReader or even on your laptop. This is a book worth
reading multiple times. Happy reading!

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