Alex Kaloostian

Apple Certified Master Trainer | Systems Integrator | Video Editor | Motion Graphics Artist

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I want to like AppleTV more

When Apple released the AppleTV4, I was excited and snapped one right up. It was $150, which was MUCH more than comparable products from Google and Amazon and Roku, but there must have been a reason, right?

  • It must support 4k, right?
    • Well, um, nope.
  • But its from Apple, so I bet it integrates well with their other services like Homekit.
    • Um, nope, we had to wait 10 months for that, and its still not great.
  • What about iPhone?
    • Well the Remote app wasnt compatible for 6 months. Airplay works… usually.
  • Can I stream Netflix, Hulu and amazon?
    • Two our of three aint bad?
  • Well, I sync my keychain to the cloud, so at least I can auto-signin to all my channels.
    • Actually, that doesnt work yet. Still waiting for it. Youre going to have to sign into EVERY app one by one. And many of them will make you sign in again and again and again. Oh, also? Xfinity doesnt allow you to sign into many of them. Forget Comedy Central or AMC, for instance. Even though youre paying for them.
  • But it can play games!
    • Yeah, but game developers are required to support the tiny remote, so most of the games are simple and not very good.
  • The remote looks cool.
    • It looks cool. In actuality, its the worst thing Apple has ever designed. Its tiny and falls between the couch cushions. its not lit so you lose it int he dark. And its a touch screen, so you pause your show every time you pick it up… and half the time you’ll pick it up backwards.

So yeah. Was that harsh? I don’t HATE the AppleTV. but I don’t love it. And for $150 I should love it. But I cant get rid of it yet, because I have iTunes media to stream, and I can Airplay from my phone and laptop to it. Thats cool. But if they don’t get their act together soon, I’m getting a Roku. I’ll buy a used AppleTv3 on Ebay for short money and that’ll be that.


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Two Motion must-haves

Here’s an awesome script that I’ve used for years but never posted. It lets you export Illustrator paths as shape files that can be imported into Apple Motion. Yes, you can import .ai files directly, but theyre not editable. Paths exported this way are editable in Motion.

And speaking of Motion, we finally have a way to truly round-trip between FCPx and Motion! And it wasn’t Apple who gave it to us. Who, you ask? Well, Automatic Duck of course!

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Streaming media around your house

This past spring, I guest blogged at, and never linked to it here! I wrote a semi-in-depth article about converting media, sorting it in iTunes, and streaming music & video around your house with Airport and iPads. Here it is.

Part 1: Music, audio formats, metadata & lyrics

Part 2: Video, Handbrake, batch processing & Subler

Part 3: Home Sharing, AirPlay & streaming music

Part 4: AppleTV, Remote app & streaming video

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Final Cut Pro X hands-on

I finally got some hands-on time with Final Cut Pro X, and I really like what I’m seeing. Now that 10.0.1 is out, theres a clear road map of what’s to come: the XML import opened the door to any number of import/export plugins, and support for broadcast monitor support is already in beta testing at BlackMagic and Aja. Apple has pledged multicam support in 2012, but let’s be honest, thats a really small subset of editors.

The way projects and media are organized is a huge, huge improvement over the old way of doing things, but there are still a few shortcomings, like not being able to manually reconnect clips one by one, and if you need to share projects within a group, it’s still a mess. But it gives me hope that we could see an upgrade that meets or exceeds what Final Cut Server used to do, sooner rather than later.

And XSAN support is a go right out of the box, so that further encourages me that Apple is still behind XSAN.

If you’re part of a department, you’re still going to have to wait a while, but if you’re a solo editor, a freelancer, etc, you really should give it a try, there’s a free trial available now. But remember, this isn’t just an upgrade– everything is brand new, so you should pick up a book at the same time. The Apple Certified book by Diana Weynand will be shipping any day now, in print and Kindle edition.

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Boston Open House THIS THURSDAY!

This Thursday evening I will be presenting at our Boston office’s open house. Our past open houses have had, let us say, lackluster attendance, due in part to bad luck, bad weather and bad promotions. I am excited for this one, so I convinced our Powers That Be to make it FREE.

Whole-house media streaming with Apple. This Thursday at 6 PM

I will be discussing how to set up a whole-house network and stream movies, music, podcasts and photos all over the place with Apple iTunes and some fantastic third-party apps.

  • Creating a home media server
  • Downloading, ripping DVDs and storing media in iTunes
  • Accelerating your media conversions with the Turbo.264
  • Searching and editing metadata
  • Streaming to Macs, PCs and Airport Express
  • AppleTV: What is it?
  • Controlling it all: Universal remotes and the iOS Remote app
  • Streaming from iPhones and iPads with Airplay
  • Streaming media BACK to your iPhone or iPad with third-party solutions

Don’t make me stay late after work for nothing. I’d love to see you all here. We’re at 1 Kendal Square Cambridge, upstairs from Friendly Toast. Street parking or plenty of lots nearby, and minutes from the Red Line. The presentation starts at 6:00. Please email me if you are thinking of coming so I can get a heads up and order some food and such.


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Apple answers FCPX questions

Apple has posted an official FAQ about common FCPX concerns. You can read it here.

Cliff’s notes:

Import from FCP7? No, and don’t wait around for it.
Can I import footage from my camera? Most cameras. The list is here: and mroe are being added all the time.
Capture from tape? You can Capture Now over Firewire. If you want batch capturing or exporting to or from your fancy Betacam deck or whatever, that is up to Aja, Blackmagic and others to support with plugins. Batch capture and export to/from Firewire is not supported and was not mentioned. RED footage can be transcoded to QT with RED’s free software.
Multicam? Not now; in the next “major” update.
External monitors? Desktop monitor: yes. Broadcast monitor: with a video card. Same as before.
Can I have different versions of a project? Yes, manually duplicate the project, with or without the media as you desire.
Can I specify my scratch disk location? Yes.
Share projects with other editors? Yes.
Show or hide events from my browser? Yes, unmount the drive or drag the event out of the projects folder with the Finder.
Export XML? No, but coming in a few weeks.
Export OMF, AAF, EDL? Up to third party plugins once XML export is finished in a few weeks.
Organize and export audio as tracks? Coming this summer.

And the one question a lot of companies and schools have been waiting for: Can FCPX be purchased in volume, and installed without the App Store? Volume licensing of 20+ copies will be available “Soon”.

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Final Cut Pro X, my first impression

Since Apple’s launch of Final Cut Pro X last week, many people have been wanting me to comment, wanting to know my opinion. I’ve been trying to hold off because I didn’t want to get lost in the static, and I wanted to take some time to think it over. I also didn’t want to burn any bridges.

I think FCPX is a remarkable product, and an excellent start, but that’s what it is- a fresh start. If you are a solo editor with all your data stored in one location, say a backup drive or a Drobo or a server, FCPX is fantastic fun and will save you a lot of work. But if you are part of a production team and you need to share your projects with other users and other programs, definitely hold off and stick with 7 for now.

I don’t mind that Apple cut with the past and removed a lot of features that are not widely needed any more. But it bothers me immensely that they completely cut off any sales and support of the previous versions on day one. That was a ridiculous move that hurts many many people and shows just what Apple thinks about their professional audience.

Larry Jordan summed up my feelings almost perfectly, so I’ll let him speak for me.