Final Cut Pro X 10.4.1 Available Next Week With ProRes RAW and Advanced Closed Captioning

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Apple today previewed Final Cut Pro X version 10.4.1, an upcoming update to its professional video editing software.


The headline feature is a new ProRes RAW format, which combines the visual and workflow benefits of RAW video with the performance of ProRes, a lossy video compression format developed by Apple for use in post-production.

With ProRes RAW, editors can import, edit and grade pristine footage with RAW data from the camera sensor, providing ultimate flexibility when adjusting highlights and shadows — ideal for HDR workflows. And with performance optimized for macOS, editors can play full-quality 4K ProRes RAW files on MacBook Pro and iMac systems in real time without rendering. ProRes RAW files are even smaller than ProRes 4444 files, allowing editors to make better use of storage while providing an excellent format for archiving.

The update also adds advanced closed captioning tools that allow video editors to view, edit, and deliver captions from right within the app.


Apple says Final Cut Pro users can import closed caption files directly into their project or create them from scratch. Captions appear in the viewer during playback and can be attached to video or audio clips in the timeline, so they automatically move with the clips to which they’re connected.

Apple is also updating Final Cut Pro’s companion apps Motion and Compressor with ProRes RAW and closed captioning features respectively.

Final Cut Pro 10.4.1 will be available April 9 as a free update for existing users, and the app remains $299.99 for new users on the Mac App Store in the United States. Motion 5.4.1 and Compressor 4.4.1 will also be available on April 9 as free updates, or $49.99 each for new users from the Mac App Store.

Apple has updated its Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor pages on its website with more detailed information.

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Report: Netflix is ‘in advanced talks’ to acquire Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp studio

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Last year, French filmmaker Luc Besson released Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a glitzy, CGI-filled summer blockbuster which ended up being a disappointment at the box office for his studio EuropaCorp. According to a report in the French site Capital (via The Playlist and io9), Netflix is “in advanced talks” to purchase the studio.

Besson co-founded the studio in 1999, and since then, it’s been known for films such as Lucy, Taken, Lock-Out, The Circle, and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The studio blamed the later and other weak performers for an $ 83 million loss at the end of 2017, and weeks later, Variety reported that there were several buyers interested in purchasing the company, which was struggling with…

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Pacific Rim’s Robots Are Less Advanced Than Some of Today’s Real Robots

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Giant robots duke it out in the middle of major cities. Humans inside robotic exoskeletons control them just by thinking about it. The robots hack each other with massive saws or fling stacks of cars at one another.

Yes, Pacific Rim: Uprising is the most popular movie in the U.S. right now. In it, humans must pilot enormous robots, called Jaegers, to ward off otherevil enormous robots.

The bots themselves seem pretty high-tech. But there’s an element that may not be as apparent: our real-life technology is actually much more advanced.

That’s according to Robin Murphy, a professor of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M University, in an article published today in the journal Science Robotics.

If robots like the Jaegers seem like a staple of sci-fi everywhere, that’s because they pretty much are, Murphy writes. In the 1960s and 70s, the U.S. military, in partnership with GE, made the first real-life exoskeleton, and dozens more have come out in years since.

Through it all, engineers have learned a few things — things that have fallen by the wayside in Pacific Rim. Here’s a brief breakdown of what Murphy saw to be lacking in the Jaegers, and what scientists have already learned about how to do it better.

Size

The Jaegers of Pacific Rim clock in at an impressive height of about 76 meters (250 feet). However, controlling such massively complex robots in reality simply “cannot be done,” according to Murphy. Today’s researchers are far more likely to focus on smaller robotic exosuits, similar in size to those worn by Tony Stark in Iron Man or Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow.

Walking

It looks really hard to get a Jaeger to walk or run. That’s because, in the movies, the massive bots mirror every step their pilot takes — a process that is much more complicated than it has to be.

“In reality, locomotion is becoming one of the easiest functions to totally delegate to a robot,” writes Murphy.

Think about the Boston Dynamics robots. Engineers simply communicate a speed and direction to one, and it handles the process of lifting and lowering each foot.

Use

In Pacific Rim, pilots use Jaegers as weapons against hostile aliens. In reality, we’re far more likely to design robotic exoskeletons to allow humans to do everyday tasks more easily and safely. Think the power loader used in the movie Aliens to lift heavy materials. You know, before Ellen Ripley uses it as a weapon against a hostile alien.

In fact, Murphy notes, Hollywood has largely ignored one of the most likely uses for human-powered robots: healthcare. Researchers have used exoskeletons to help people with spinal cord injuries walk again.

Our current technology might not make you say “dude that’s awesome!” as much as the stuff in the movies. But as Murphy notes in her article, our current tech actually is awesome.

The post Pacific Rim’s Robots Are Less Advanced Than Some of Today’s Real Robots appeared first on Futurism.

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Apple ClassKit: All You Need to Know about Apple’s Advanced Framework For Educational Apps

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Apple ClassKit

Apple has unveiled “ClassKit” at its Field Trip education event. It’s basically a framework for educational apps and works pretty much like HealthKit and SiriKit.

The tool allows developers to create apps that can work with Schoolwork, which enables teachers to assign handouts to students and also track their progress. Schoolwork also lets students report their progress to teachers.

Apple ClassKit

Apple ClassKit: The Framework for Educational Apps

“Schoolwork only receives and displays student progress data for activities a teacher explicitly assigns, and only when students use the Managed Apple ID that was created for them by their school on their device. If your app already uses a student account to enable certain features, ClassKit does not associate that account with the Managed Apple ID that the student uses.” – Apple

When Will ClassKit Be Available?

The ClassKit framework will be available with iOS 11.4 and work in conjunction with Schoolwork. According to Apple, developers can build apps that work with Schoolwork using Xcode 9.4 beta and iOS 11.4 beta.

They also require the access to Apple School Manager and a beta version of Schoolwork for testing.

Some apps have already begun using the tool. Teachers and students can take full advantage of them to collaborate on assignments, report and track progress.

Student Privacy

ClassKit and Schoolwork offer desired privacy to students’ privacy. Schoolwork will receive and display student progress data for activities only when a teacher assigns them, and students use the Managed Apple ID.

Just in case an app already uses a student account to enable certain features, the tool won’t associate that account with the Managed Apple ID.

Stay tuned!

What’s your take on ClassKit? Toss up your thoughts in the comments.

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Deals: Apple’s latest 15″ MacBook Pro (512GB) for $2,399 ($200 off); 13″ Air for $899; DJI Phantom 4 Advanced for $829 ($370 off)

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How HomePod leverages Apple’s silicon expertise to deliver advanced audio performance

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Over the last nine months, Apple announced HomePod, provided early demonstrations of its sound, briefed journalists on its design and intent, released the product to the market and followed up with additional details highlighting its capabilities that many early reviews didn’t catch on their own. Here’s an in-depth look at what makes HomePod not just an interesting product, but new product category with the ability to change how users experience audio at home.
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Chinese Doctors Are Using Modified T-Cells to Treat Advanced Forms of Cancer

According to China’s National Central Cancer Registry, Esophageal cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in China. Like many other types, cancer of the esophagus can be treated with chemotherapy. But, as is also true of other forms of cancer, chemotherapy isn’t always successful. In China, and around the world, there’s a great need for the development of new treatments.

Dr. Shixiu Wu, president of the Hangzhou Cancer Hospital, has tested a somewhat new treatment that takes a patient’s T-cells from the body, genetically edits them to target cancerous cells, then puts the altered cells back. If the process sounds at all familiar, it’s probably because using T-cells in this manner was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration back in August 2017.

We reported on a pair of CAR-T studies in December that used T-cells to fight cancer, as will the first CRISPR trial set to take place in the United States.

The other research involving modified T-cells to fight cancer doesn’t diminish the impact of Wu’s work, though. In fact, Wu believes the study is one of the most advanced involving CRISPR in China. Currently, Wu’s T-cell treatment is being tested on 21 people with advanced Esophageal cancer that didn’t respond to other treatments. So far, 40 percent of his patients have responded positively to the new treatment.

“If they have not received this treatment they will die — most of them will die in three to six months,” Wu told NPR.

There are those, like Lainie Ross a bioethicist at the University of Chicago, who are worried about the experiments in China; primarily because the country’s medical research isn’t as regulated as it is elsewhere. Ross told NPR there is concern that Chinese doctors and researchers could be rushing the experiment along, putting their patients at risk.

“My concern is: Are we really ready? There so much about CRISPR that we don’t understand,” Ross explained to NPR. “We could be doing more harm than benefit. We need to very, very cautious. This an incredibly powerful tool.”

In response to concerns expressed about the research, Wu has made clear that patients are told about the risks of the treatment beforehand — and many of them consent to receive it despite them. “Chinese patients want to be cured very much,” Wu said. “There’s a Chinese saying: A living dog is better than a dead lion. So patients are willing to try new cures. That’s why the ethics committee and the lab are very positive about this.”

Wu has since started treating patients with other forms of cancer as well, specifically pancreatic cancer. “We [are] just beginning. We should improve it to get more benefits for the patients,” he said. “If you don’t try it, you’ll never know.”

The post Chinese Doctors Are Using Modified T-Cells to Treat Advanced Forms of Cancer appeared first on Futurism.

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Updated Apple TV Trademark Filing Hints at More Advanced Gaming Capabilities

An updated Apple TV trademark from Apple points to the coming possibly working on making the HDMI streaming box a better gaming machine. The patent was filed under international class 028 which is specifically related to gaming consoles. Continue reading
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Facebook Rumored to Launch Two Advanced Smart Speakers in July

Facebook is not known for producing consumer devices. But, apparently, Facebook has plans to change that in the future.

A new report this week suggests that the Menlo Park firm will launch two smart home speakers by July 2018. The two devices, codenamed “Aloha” and “Fiona,” are both rumored to sport 15-inch touchscreens and will focus on video chatting and social-based features, according to industry sources cited by DigiTimes.

Make no mistake, the two devices are likely Facebook’s answer to the growing smart home market — already crowded with competitors like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s HomePod. The addition of touchscreens and video calling abilities seem to suggest that the speakers will go toe-to-toe with Amazon’s Echo Show.

DigiTimes reported that the “Aloha” device would be more advanced than “Fiona,” and would likely launch under the brand name Portal. The publication added that Aloha would use voice commands, but could also sport facial recognition technology to automatically log users into their respective Facebook accounts.

We can assume that the social-related functions will be tied to Facebook’s flagship social media platform, but the company is also rumored to have signed music licensing contracts with both Sony and Universal Music.

While DigiTimes doesn’t have a perfect track record of predicting launch timelines, rumors of Facebook smart home speakers have been circling the tech industry for some time.

In August 2017, Bloomberg reported that the tech juggernaut was developing at least two separate smart home speaker products with a digital assistant. Bloomberg noted that at least one would have a touchscreen. Similarly, Business Insider reported that Facebook was working on a mysterious video chatting device codenamed “Aloha.”

These reports seem to suggest that Facebook is becoming serious about edging into the consumer hardware sphere. Notably, “Aloha” and “Fiona” would be the first two products to officially come out of Facebook’s secretive Building 8 — the company’s mysterious hardware development lab.

Reportedly, Facebook was originally planning on unveiling the devices in May, but held off to perfect the “acoustic quality” and “software modification” of the devices, DigiTimes reported.

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Samsung’s ‘3D Emoji’ Rumored to Be ‘More Advanced’ Than Animoji

So far, we’ve heard and seen just about everything we need to know about Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ — from their leaked specifications and rumored features, to the more recent, full-on front and back images flaunting its slightly modified design.

One of the latest reports on the S9 duo revealed that Samsung may have abandoned its earlier plans to incorporate a 3D camera sensor (a la Apple’s TrueDepth) on its upcoming Galaxy devices. However a newer report published this morning by Korea’s ETNews has boldly asserted otherwise. It claims that Samsung’s S9 and S9+ will in fact boast a new “3D emoji function” even “more advanced” than Apple’s TrueDepth camera, the publication reports.

Samsung’s feature will reportedly allow users to place a variety of 3D characters, including animals, over their natural face to “mimic facial movements as tracked by the Galaxy S9’s facial recognition sensors” MacRumors noted.

Much like Apple’s Animoji feature powered by iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera, Samsung’s 3D emoji feature will be powered by the Galaxy S9’s new facial recognition system — however said system is not expected to be as secure as Face ID is on the iPhone X.

Sadly, today’s report lacks additional details about Samsung’s 3D emoji feature, including what it will be called and/or any other noteworthy functions it’ll be capable of performing so we’ll just have to wait until the company unveils its S9 duo to find out more.

Just speculating based on what we’ve seen of the Galaxy S9 so far though, it’s not entirely clear how Samsung’s feature could (in any meaningful way) be “more advanced” than Animoji.

Not only is Apple’s TrueDepth camera years ahead of any competition in terms of its 3D imaging and biometric security capabilities, but the Galaxy S9’s design, relative to the Galaxy S8 and S8+ from last year, makes it even harder to fathom anything “groundbreaking” was incorporated. The devices literally look identical..

And considering the fact that Samsung is expected to keep its iris scanner onboard the Galaxy S9 as well, it’s downright difficult to imagine how whatever the company came up with this quickly is going to be “better” than what Apple spent the last several years (and hundreds of millions of R&D dollars) developing from the ground up. But only time will tell, right?

Samsung will be taking the wraps off its Galaxy S9 and S9+ flagships on February 25, and they’re expected to hit store shelves on or around March 16.

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