New Macs! Also Timescapes, the first film to be released for purchase in 4K and now native to the new retina macbook pro in just under 3k!

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Tom Lowe has been working on Timescapes for as long as I have known him. He is the man who inspired me to try timelapsing at night, which I have to say is bloody hard work!

Working out of a Toyota truck almost every night for two years, he put together the movie using Canon DSLRs and the Red Epic. Excuse the pun but it has been an epic endeavour and it must be very odd for him to finally have the movie done and released. Like seeing your first child leave home! The dedication to make this film was immense, and this was from a man who until this had never shot video before.

Tom also responded in a fantastically zen-like way to his movie being available on torrent sites and you can read that here. 

I first met him at NAB back in 2009 and we have remained friends ever since. In fact, Tom and I just over a week ago caught the midnight screening of Prometheus in London when he was over.

I saw Timescapes at its premiere at this year’s NAB, and it was a wonderful experience that was actually in a way ruined by being in a theatre surrounded by people. For me, and some may disagree, this film makes you want to strip naked (hence being alone as wouldn’t want to subject others to the same!), assume the lotus position, and let the movie transport you to an almost LSD state of visual splendour (Not that I have taken LSD, but I am very familiar with LCD and LEDs, and have been known to take large doses of Vitamin C on occasions when I feel I have the man flu coming on!)

There is no story. There is no deeper meaning. It is a film that is what it is. A stunning capture of a part of the world that will be preserved for ever. I don’t want to sound too pretentious, but this is a film that will be a piece of art that people will watch for decades to come (Tom can now send me that cheque he promised me! Kidding!)

I bought the blu-ray and it is astonishing, looks better on my TV than it did in the theatre. I also have the download version on my iPad “3” retina (insanely detailed),  a native one for my 30″ Apple Display monitor, and now Tom has made available a version optimised for the new Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Retina Display of 2880 x 1800 which is pretty much 3k. This is the first movie to be released for this resolution and if that is not good enough for you, there is always the 4K version and a 4K cineform version. Rumours of Tom bringing out a version on VHS have proven to be false, much like the rumour of a hugely revamped Mac Pro. You can buy the film in physical form or download it by clicking the image below.

On that topic, it’s a real shame that the incremental improvements of the Mac Pro pretty much sum up where Apple is heading for pros. Minor speed increases, no new graphics card. Literally the same old mac with a teeny bit more oomph. Not what was needed after 2 years of zero love. I love me an Apple and my MacPro has lasted longer than any computer I have owned and pretty much most of my girlfriends (joke), but it has been switched off and replaced by a top spec iMac for the past 6 months. My wallet is kind of relieved to be honest. I can’t afford a pimped out MacPro right now, and I am not sure if I need it. Most of my big editing jobs are done by pro editors and on my smaller projects which I cut I generally use my MBP, as I am 9/10 months of the year in hotels! The new 15″ Retina MBP looks rather spiffy although pricey. A sub 3k display. Lovely new NVIDIA graphics card, a welcome return back for MBPs and should hopefully integrate nicely with the CS6 Freddie Mercury engine. Two thunderbolt ports and FINALLY USB 3.0 but at a cost of firewire 800 and ethernet (both available via thunderbolt adaptors). No more built in optical drive, but that is no big loss as I never stick anything into that slot anymore, all digital download now.

It’s about time that more thunderbolt accessories came out. I can count the one I have on one finger. So far it’s a totally underused tech that might now finally start being utilised properly with the new BlackMagic Design camera sporting a thunderbolt port, the G-Tech thunderbolt hard drives now out, and AJA having a Kona style I/O add on the XT. Some thunderbolt hubs would be nice, and now that we have lost the 17″ MBP there goes the last express port laptop from Apple, so these add-ons need to really start appearing. An SD card slot is no replacement for an express port.

Do I mourn the loss of the 17″? Yes. It is a heavy beast, but it has been my workhorse for many years, and that screen space has been wonderful for editing. Sure the new 15″ retina will have a much higher resolution, but it just means I am going to have to sit about a foot closer to it, as my eyes are not as good as they were 5 years ago! Better resolution is great, except it just means smaller text!

I do have the 15″ on order and will test it with CS6 as soon as I get it. There does not appear to be a matte option. A shame, at least I can check my make up whilst editing with it.

You can buy the new MBP from B&H now here

In the meantime, buy Timescapes the movie, get your kit off and get in that lotus position by any means possible. Oh and turn that damn phone off and disconnect from the grid whilst this is on. You won’t regret it!


TimeScapes: Rapture 4K from Tom Lowe on Vimeo.


  1. My last tenuous link with Apple as a video professional is now severed.

    My 2008 Mac Pro can now not cut the mustard or 3 layers of HD so must be replaced. I kind of like to have my screens in alignment so a Macbook Pro is off the radar, plus I also like to add bits like hard drives and RAM, lots of RAM. And also like PB my eyes can’t see a pixel the size of an anorexic pin-head any more.

    A new Mac Pro with USB3 and a processor newer than a Canon 5D MKII would have been just fab for CS6 and Avid 6 but now I return to the welcoming arms of Microsoft and leave Macs to those who are prepared to fit into Apple’s narrowing market space. Floreat Windows.

    Anyone want to buy a lightly used Mac Pro 2.1?

  2. Did you know your brain compensates for vision loss? Like the auto-colour correction your brain does, you just can’t tell your vision is not as sharp until it deteriorates quite badly. And then you get ‘editing’ glasses, and if you get close, it’s like the world is a 4k retina display. It’s a weird experience. (They are editing glasses. They only work close up.)

    Sometimes I’ll put my editing glasses on when I’m with my little kids, and the detail in their glassy eyeballs and eyelashes is so precise it’s like watching a Tom Lowe movie of super sharp love. If you think your eyes are going, they already went.

  3. I’m unsure of the value of the Retina display on a 15inch screen. I’d rather Apple had gone and released a 10bit display at more typical resolutions actually.

    Not to poo-poo more pixels and I do hope that Apple does the same thing for the iMac line, only because it will drive all larger LCD displays to a higher resolution, possibly making screens able to display a 4k image standard. Again, I’d prefer if they were all 10bit though.

  4. Well the 2.5k screen will go great with the BMCC, as it outputs 2.5k, great coincidence, not much of an upgrade from the last macbook, but it’s a great improvement over mine. Used macs sell for a lot in my country, so money isn’t THAT much of an inconvinience. The solid drive, though, that will make a difference in speed. I’m not sure whether the the processor is the same, It is faster than mine, which i got in 2010. And the 16gb memory, is nice too.

      1. 2013 is long overdue, I agree, but Apple has done this before… A few years ago their normal schedule of updating OSX got stalled because resources went into iOS. Now I get the feeling the Mac Pro and even the iMac are being stalled because of the new generation Macbook Pro – which by all means together with a powerful iMac is ridiculous fast for editing on FCPX. FCP7 not so much, but that didn’t use the power of the Mac Pro either.

        And as a pro you might be shocked by the lack of support, but if you look into any quarterly financial report of any ICT hardware company, you know that pro workstations is not where it is. The luxury you have as a pro with Adobe and Avid is that they only have the pro market, but you can be sure that any other hardware or software manufacturer with a broad consumer market is better off in investing in their consumer products than to invest time, money and resources in a small market that is pro. Not to mention: what is pro nowadays.

        Having said that, I feel the new generation Macbook Pro is actually a very pro designed workstation. Not even the normal Macbook Pro can compete on the full package of performance.

        And in that effect Apple is once again skating to where the puck will be.

  5. You’ll find that FCPX has already had a n update to run with the Retina display MackBook Pro; when yours turns up, why don’t you give it a go, because knowing the speed Adobe work at, it could be some time! 🙂

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