Tag Archives: Adobe

Adobe releases DRM for Flash

In case you have any doubt Adobe is serious about dominating the web video space, this from StreamingMedia.com:

Adobe today announced the availability of its Flash Media Rights Management Server, a product that runs on Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat Linux and offers content protection and business rules for playback and repurposing of offline content.

The Rights Management Server is designed to sit alongside the Flash Media Streaming Server or Flash Media Interactive Server and protect streaming content. The company is positioning Adobe Flash Media Rights Management Server as a way to “protect and controls media content downloaded in FLV (Spark or VP6 codec) or MPEG4 (H.264 codec) format and played back on local desktop.

The full press release from Adobe is here. DRM for offline content isn’t new. Apple implements it with every music purchase, but Adobe’s approach gives the content holder more options. The DRM can be as restrictive as the content owner wants. Maybe reports of DRM’s demise are premature.

After Effects CS3 8.0.2 update available

After Effects logoThe awaited 8.02 update for Adobe After Effects is now available for download for Mac OS X and Windows, and through the Adobe Update Manager. It’s been my experience that the process goes a lot faster with the manual download.Support for direct P2 import into After Effects has been added. Mac users get Leopard compatibility.Originally the update was going to address issues with QuickTime 7.4, but the update was released without the QT fix. Adobe continues to recommend CS 3 users do not update to QuickTime 7.4. Known issues include failure to render files that take longer than 10 minutes to render.Some work arounds include rendering still image sequences and then piecing them back together in QuickTime Pro, or downgrading (just like the PCs do in those ads) to QuickTime 7.3 using Pacifist.No word on when a QuickTime 7.4 fix will be released.

ADDED January 25:

Cringley’s wedding bells: Apple and Adobe

Cringley’s always a good read, often a good chuckle. Today he posits Apple will buy Adobe. Great headline, but not likely. Cringley likes to write about Steve and Bill, and his other schoolyard chums, but those guys still have to answer to their boards. And why would Apple’s board want Adobe?

Adobe’s stock has been flat for two years. It’s quite possible its core content creation market is near saturation. The margins on software upgrades are nothing like the margins on new licenses.

Adobe’s a smart company. It will do fine as it reinvents itself. That’s why Adobe’s going into the IP video space (Adobe Media Player) and software over the web space (Buzzword) with such energy.

So let’s go to the charts. It’s apparent that Apple is on a roll, and that if it had $20+ billion in spare change, that it would likely want to buy the next big thing, rather than the last big thing. I’m not saying that Adobe’s best days are necessarily behind it, but Apple could surely find something cheaper with as much upside potential.

Cringley doesn’t make his case well with the old “the Mac is the dongle” argument.

Some readers may know what a dongle is. For those who don’t, a dongle is a sort of electronic key that plugs into a PC to enable the use of some expensive software application like AutoCAD. Each copy of the app comes with a single dongle so you can put the software on as many computers as you like but only one — the one with the dongle installed — can function at a time. Dongles, which are rarely used today, were an early and quite effective form of copy protection. Apple uses a variation of the dongle technique for its professional applications, but in Apple’s case the dongle IS the computer. Yes, the software is a good value but you have to buy a computer from Apple — a dongle — to run it on. So Apple runs its professional application business effectively at breakeven, making its profit on the associated hardware.

If that’s all Apple is doing with ProApps, running it at break even, then why the rumors that Apple was entertaining bids for the unit? Apple doesn’t think of itself as a computer company any more. It’s a consumer electronics and media distribution company these days (that happens to make a hell of a personal computer). iPods and iTunes sell way more Macs than Final Cut Pro. So that argument is a little thin.

In a perfect world, Apple would love to control Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, and Flash. But it’s highly unlikely it will pay all that money to do so. Does it really want to support all those enterprise clients with Acrobat?Interesting read, but I’m confident Adobe will remain independent for some time to come. I think it’s more likely Adobe would buy ProApps.

Adobe CEO steps down

From the Wall Street Journal:

Adobe Systems Inc. announced a surprise change to its top leadership at a critical time, as the software maker begins to adapt to new ways that people are using the Web.

The company yesterday said Chief Executive Bruce Chizen will leave the post at the end of this month, to be replaced Dec. 1 by Shantanu Narayen, currently Adobe’s president and chief operating officer. Mr. Chizen will serve the rest of his term on Adobe’s board until the spring of 2008 and will act as an adviser to the company until Nov. 28, 2008.

The group think is that the change in leadership is a sign Adobe is trying to speed its migration from shrink wrap to web apps. As video applications and content are among the most bandwidth and resource intensive, we’ll be among the last to see the fruits of such an endeavor.

ProRes 422 – After Effects gotcha

Previous testing of the ProRes codec comparing it the Avid DNxHD codec yielded some unexpected results when Adobe After Effects was used to generate test media. While the Avid codec made the round trip from Media Composer 2.7 to After Effects and back without issue, the ProRes codec showed what appears to be an YUV to RGB conversion issue.

Further testing reveals that the issue is not consistent between a recent beta release of Adobe After Effects 8/CS3 and After Effects 7.

ProRes 422 through After EffectsPictured (click to enlarge) are the waveform and vectorscope images when the original ProRes 422 HQ material is placed on V1 of a Final Cut Pro 6 timeline and the same image placed on V2 after being run through After Effects with no changes made to the image – the clip was placed in an AE timeline and simply re-rendered with ProRes 422 HQ.

For the time being I don’t recommend using Adobe After Effects to render ProRes 422 material. While we can be confident this issue will be addressed shortly, this is exactly the kind of gotcha that can be expected when a new codec is released in the latter phases of a beta cycle. I’ve been transcoding clips to the Animation codec with Final Cut’s Media Manager before going to After Effects. Allowing FCP to handle the YUV-RGB conversions seems to work well.

The bigger lesson is that whenever a new codec is introduced to your workflow it should be tested in the applications it will be used in.

Looking down the road, color space, codec, and file format, and frame rate conversions will be with us for a long time. Make hardware and software decisions with eye towards the future and compatibility.