Digital Production Buzz — Feb. 3, 2011

    Lance Maurer, Bill Macomber, Alfred Holighaus, and Philip Hodgetts

    HEADLINES: The New Mexico Post Alliance, surviving as a boutique post house, meet LOLA – Germany’s Oscar, and WebM, H.264, and HTML/5 explained — all this, plus a NEW Buzz Shout-out!, on this week’s show!

    The Buzz Shout-out! gives you a FREE chance to showcase your best work! Visit here for all the details.

    This week’s episode of the world’s only interactive talk radio program covering Digital Production, Post-Production and Distribution is filled with information and entertainment designed for the independent filmmaker or industry professional.

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    Join host Larry Jordan and co-host Michael Horton, as they talk with:

    Lance Maurer, Founder/CEO, Cinnafilm, and Co-chair New Mexico Post Alliance 2011 Conference

    Lance Maurer is the founder, president and CEO of Cinnafilm, Inc. – an Albuquerque, New Mexico-based specialty engineering company focused on creating the most powerful, reliable and simple to use texture control and resampling image processing solutions for creative professionals working in the film and broadcast postproduction markets. However, he’s also the Co-chair of the New Mexico Post Alliance 2011 Conference. The New Mexico Post Alliance is a professional organization founded by members of New Mexico’s post-production community for networking, promotion of the industry and advocacy of industry interests. This is very new and we want to learn more.

    Bill Macomber, Principal, Fancy Film Post Production

    Bill Macomber graduated from film school in 1996, and moved to Los Angeles to follow his dreams of working in the film industry. He quickly made a name for himself as a top Final Cut reality editor. Before long, he set up Fancy Film Post Production, a boutique post house in the Silver Lake neighborhood of LA.  With a small crew of staff editors and assistants, the company has redefined “boutique.”  In an era that has seen the spectacular collapse of several of the biggest post facilities, Fancy Film is busier than ever. We want to learn how he did it.

    Alfred Holighaus, Managing Director, German Film Academy

    Alfred Holighaus is the managing director of the German Film Academy, which is the German equivalent of the American Academy Awards. Lola is the German version of the American Oscars, so we spoke with him to learn more about his awards program this year.

    Philip Hodgetts, CEO, Intelligent Assistance

    Regular Buzz Correspondent, Philip Hodgetts, is the CEO of Intelligent Assistance. This week, Philip stops by to give us a quick backgrounder on the differences between competing compression standards WebM and H.264, then explain how HTML/5 fits into this whole mess.

    You can’t find people or interviews like this anywhere else! It’s another fascinating show.
    It’s all the information you need now to know what’s coming next!


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    The Digital Production BuZZ airs LIVE Thursday from 6-7 PM Pacific Standard Time. Ask questions during the show on our Live Chat, listen live, download an episode from the archives, or subscribe to the podcast either through iTunes or our website. Whatever you do, DON’T miss this week’s show!

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    1. Kenneth Pardue

      There are several misconceptions about the WebM/H.264 segment of this podcast. Disclaimer: I see the current HTML5 video codec debate as unsolvable and favor neither H.264 or WebM over the other. I’m both a video editor and web developer, so I see both worlds.

      To clarify: Google’s position to keep Flash and lose H.264 isn’t hypocritical in the slightest. Flash support is primarily about supporting the legacy web, pre-HTML5. There’s a lot of content out there in Flash. It’s a fairly ubiquitous tool for developing *previous* generation websites. Ousting H.264, however, is about defining the *next* generation of web standards–HTML5–which has the full intent of building broad support for displaying dynamic content and applications that rival desktop applications. The idea is that the browser should support these Internet technologies, and as a point of fact the Internet has *always* been built upon royalty free and open tooling. This is largely what enables startups like Google and Facebook to have been created.

      To clarify: Ogg Theora is not an audio codec. Ogg is a container format (like WebM) and Theora is a video codec. Neither are related to WebM in the slightest. The audio codec used in the VP8 container is Vorbis.

      To clarify: Microsoft’s support of H.264 in Chrome has the same limitations as the one for Firefox. It’s only for Windows 7 users–which is still a pretty small subset of the market. And, it doesn’t tap into the capabilities of HTML5. It replaces the HTML5 element with a Windows Media Player embed. HTML5 “fits into this” because the whole point is to make video a part of the web page. By doing so one opens up any number of creative approaches to manipulate semantic data into the mix (examples below). Microsoft’s approach makes video just as much of an artificial island on the web page as Flash player does. It’s not an adequate solution and will introduce serious compatibility problems as more dynamic content emerges on the web.

      To clarify: MPEG-LA most certainly does NOT make claims that they contain every essential patent to H.264 and that they will NOT indemnify users against future legal threats upon H.264. See: http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/AVC/Pages/FAQ.aspx “No assurance is or can be made that the License includes every essential patent. The purpose of the License is to offer a convenient licensing alternative to everyone on the same terms and to include as much essential intellectual property as possible for their convenience. Participation in the License is voluntary on the part of essential patent holders, however.” Google, who owns all of the known patents on VP8 at this point, seems keen on building its own group of industry supporters of a royalty-free video codec, and many of the partnerships it’s built with software and hardware makers are stakeholders in the H.264 MPEG-LA pool (http://www.webmproject.org/about/supporters/). From statements that Google has made recently, it’s quite likely that they are interested in countering any MPEG-LA patent pool with their own patent muscle. If anything, it just shows how screwed up the patent system is in this country.

      Google’s approach–releasing codecs for Internet Explorer and Safari that support WebM–is much more wholesome. Since IE and Safari use DirectShow and Quicktime, respectively, for video support, adding these codecs to the supported codecs in the operating system means that WebM fits in natively with the HTML5 video solution. Ironically, Google is taking advantage of an architectural design that Apple and Microsoft are using to push their own codec while denying such flexibility in their own browser (Mozilla and Opera also deny this flexibility).

      While the statement that H.264 will always play back in Flash, the statement that 2% of people in the open source community is a completely fictitious number. Sourcing Net Applications, Internet Explorer (H.264) has 56% market share; Safari (H.264) has 6.3% market share; Firefox (WebM) has 22.75% market share; Chrome (WebM) has 10.7% market share; Opera (WebM) has 2.2% market share. So basically, you’re looking at roughly 36% of the market supporting WebM exclusively–or basically any web browser that doesn’t ship with the operating system.

      That said, I don’t think the time is right for WebM. If Google had started going down this path two years ago, maybe. But right now, WebM is too immature with too little hardware support to be pushing in this manner. H.264 is much more ubiquitous and widely supported. The ideal solution would be for browsers to support both formats and let them compete with one another in the market based on their merits rather than grandstanding one codec over another.

      Some examples of the more dynamic possibilities of baking video support right into the browser (it’s important to note that the video is a screen capture of an HTML5 demo running; these videos capture not just the HTML5 video but all the other components in the web page as well). These are simple technical demos, but you get the idea:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNNzP6fyOyQ (the map is not part of the video, it’s dynamically displayed using Google Maps)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Har-PRP4X9U
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvtdkxCIKC8 (the reflection and video effects are dynamically generated by the web browser)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSvlI8K5aOM (a metadata track syncs with the video of a shuttle launch and updates other charts on the web page)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tLBLVtIk3A
      http://blip.tv/file/2265515
      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/01/experimenting-with-sotu-and-html5.html

      • Kenneth:

        Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. I learned a great deal reading it and look forward to sharing it with our audience.

        Thanks,

        Larry

    2. stu aull

      http://www.motionvfx.com/blog,3d_world_map_motion_template,456.html

      This template link does not work (error 404) in Safari or Firefox.
      Sorry if this is not the place to leave this – “ContactUs” page had no contact access (!!?)
      Stu Aull
      Alaska

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