The new Foolcat
It's a mantra that we've applied since our humble beginnings. Today, we're applying it to FoolCat, our camera report creator: as promised, we're finally adding support for Sony X-OCN.
Next to that, we're adding support for a range of cameras and RAW codecs, including Canon, Codex HDE, Alexa 35, Phantom Flex, and RED V-Raptor. We’re updating ARRI, RED, and BRAW, and expanding the already present support for BlackMagicDesign’s BRAW to new cameras from FujiFilm and Leica using BMD’s Video Assist. Also new: ProRes RAW support, enabling many cameras and devices that output RAW via HDMI or SDI. Alongside all of this, we've also added support for Avid’s DNx flavors, DJI drones, and GoPro action cameras 🚀
Today’s update is Mac-only - we’re still working on doing the same for Windows. Why? Keep reading👇
The History Channel
After we wrote about our 7-year journey, so many people said they loved reading history pieces that we felt we should at least touch a bit on FoolCat's history too. Not in the mood for our History Channel? Skip to the next bit to return to the Here and Now ⏭️
FoolCat was initially released in 2012 by Mikael Lubtchansky - known for FoolControl, the de-facto standard for remote-controlling RED cameras. FoolCat was a little side project that stayed just that for a few years. When mutual customers introduced us, we immediately saw the usefulness to Hedge users.
So, in 2017, we released an integration that allowed you to create a FoolCat report directly after offloading media in Hedge. It was such a success that we immediately decided to work together more closely. Mikael added ARRIRAW, and FoolCat became a joint venture where Hedge handled all support, with Mikael handling development.
For two years, we received dozens of weekly emails asking for broader codec support and a Windows version. Mikael didn't have the bandwidth to do either, but we happened to have met an excellent team that could help: Lesspain. Having built Kyno, they were now looking to spin out its guts as a standalone product that could be used to enrich other apps: the Lesspain Media Engine, or LPME. We completely rewrote FoolCat, added LPME, and ta-dah - FoolCat gained support for BRAW and more 🪄
That didn't stop the emails, though. All of you were very, very much of the same mind: you needed support for Sony Venice's X-OCN clips. Now, as much as we wanted to offer that, Sony required a hefty license fee.
As part of our deal with Lesspain, more codecs would be added regularly, so we were discussing the Sony situation, but alas: because Lesspain got acquired by Signiant in early 2021, that option vanished into thin air.
We realized it was the end of FoolCat as we knew it.
The Third Life
However, we were definitely not ready to put FoolCat to the grave. We knew what we had to do: find a new media engine. We didn't want to rely on a third-party media engine anymore, which left us only one option — to build one ourselves.
A media engine is a headless piece of software that can process media of various codecs for jobs like transcoding, rewrapping, handling metadata, and more. Most media engines only focus on creating deliverables; they can transcode but can't manage color or interpret RAW. We wanted a media engine that deeply understood camera media, metadata, and more. We knew we needed comprehensive color management for that too, but that's not the type of knowledge you gain overnight.
Half a year later, Mike and Colin of Divergent Media joined Hedge together with their apps EditReady and ScopeBox. Serendipitously, Mike and Colin had an idea on their roadmap that would turn EditReady into a fully color-managed transcoder: Color Awareness.
That feature, which Mike and Colin never had the time to build, was the starting point of our media engine journey.
Because every company needs at least one NASA-style acronym, meet HERMES: the Hedge EditReady Media Engine System.
HERMES is not a product you can buy. It's our in-house cross-platform media engine that's built for camera media instead of for deliverables. Building a media engine is a huge amount of work, and as with everything, we don't want to work on something for years without someone using it in the meantime. That's why we're drip-feeding our progress into our apps one at a time. FoolCat for Mac 23.1 is the first implementation of HERMES' humble beginnings.
Everything we do at Hedge is about speed: speedy transfers, speeding up data processing, easy and thus fast to grasp, and speeding up workflows by removing friction. Thanks to HERMES, the new FoolCat is up to 3 times faster in report creation than the previous versions.
Thanks to HERMES, FoolCat’s camera and codec support are now quite complete on the Mac. We've already begun working on the first codecs on Windows as well. On Windows, we can’t make as big of a splash as we’re doing with the FoolCat for macOS release; instead, we’ll have to add one codec at a time. First up for FoolCat on Windows is Sony X-OCN, which we expect to release later this year.
Upgrades and updates
From this version onwards, FoolCat follows the paradigm of other Hedge apps — each license comes with a year of updates and support. This way, we’re committing ourselves to keeping FoolCat up-to-date with all the camera firmware versions, paying for the yearly license fees some camera vendors require, and adding more codecs.
In summary: today, FoolCat for Mac gains a lot of codecs and is now up to 3 times faster at generating reports. We've already emailed all existing FoolCat users a massive discount for upgrading to the new FoolCat.
For all of you that are on Windows: no need to upgrade today, as we’ll directly reach out with a similar discount when FoolCat for Windows gains Sony support.
New to FoolCat? Check out the trial - it will create as many fully featured reports as you need for up to 5 clips. This month only, you can get a full FoolCat license with 12 months of support and updates for $99, saving users 30% ✨