Digital Production Buzz
February 13, 2014
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
Sam Mestman, CEO, FCPWorks
Mike Timm, Filmmaker, Thug in Love
Jared van Fleet, Communications & Business Development, Pond 5
Philip Hodgetts, President, Intelligent Assistance
Frank Morrone, President, Motion Picture Sound Editors
Voiceover: This Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Blackmagic Design, creators of the world’s highest quality solutions for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries.
Voiceover: Live from Ralph’s Maytag Museum at Podcast Studio in beautiful downtown Burbank, it’s the Digital Production Buzz.
Voiceover: Production, post production, distribution. What’s really happening now and in your digital future?
Voiceover: The Buzz is live now.
Larry Jordan: And welcome to the Digital Production Buzz; the world’s longest running podcast; covering creative content producers and tech news from media production, post-production, marketing and distribution around the world. My name is Larry Jordan, our Co-Host Mike Horton, has the night off.
Larry Jordan: We’re going to start with a great guest; you’ve been reading about him on FCP.co. His name is Sam Mestman; he’s one of the founders of FCPWORKS.com, which is a Workflow, training and pro video solutions provider. This week Sam joins us to talk about 4K editing, collaboration plug-ins that simplify editing and a host of new technology that is coming to Final Cut Pro X.
Larry Jordan: Then Mike Timm is a successful filmmaker; his first film was A Guy, A Girl and a Space Helmet, which, how can you now succeed with a title like that? It was released, it’s now in distribution and he’s in the process of casting his next feature film, called Thug In Love.
Larry Jordan: Tonight, we talk with him about the process of casting; what works, what doesn’t, what he looks for and how an actor should behave in an audition.
Larry Jordan: Jared van Fleet works in Communications and Business Development for Pond5. Tonight we talk with him about how to make money, setting and selling our footage into stock.
Larry Jordan: Philips Hodgetts, the CEO of Intelligent Assistance, returns with a look at new software that speeds getting video from production, with less work on our part and Frank Morrone is the President of the Motion Picture Sound Editors Guild. He’s heading up their upcoming awards ceremony; celebrating great sound on February 16th. Tonight we get to learn more about both the MPSE and their award ceremony.
Larry Jordan: Just as a reminder, we are offering text transcripts for each show, courtesy of Take1 Transcription; now you can quickly scan or print the contents of each show, as well as listen to it. Transcripts are located on each show page; you can learn more about the transcript process itself at Take1.tv and thanks to Take1 for making this service possible.
Larry Jordan: The Buzz is going to the 2014 NAB show in Las Vegas in April; we’re going to be broadcasting live from booth SL11505. That’s wonderful if it’s April but this is still February; so what we want you to do now is get your free ticket; visit digitalproductionbuzz.com to get the free registration code and skate through the door without spending a cent.
Larry Jordan: Remember to keep an eye on us at Facebook, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. We’re also on Twitter, @dpbuzz and thinking of NAB, you want to keep your eye on the upcoming website, which is called nabshowbuzz.com; we’re going to be fleshing this out over the next week or two; and what you’re going to see is a list of all the live shows that we’re doing and all the recorded shows.
Larry Jordan: We’ve got some really cool stuff to talk about this year that I can’t wait to share with you, as we get closer to NAB; and you’ll get all the news first in the Digital Production Buzz’s newsletter. You can subscribe at digitalproductionbuzz.com. This is a free weekly newsletter; gives you the inside insight on what’s happening at the show. Featured highlights, featured news; all kinds of really, really cool stuff at digitalproductionbuzz.com.
Larry Jordan: You can also check us out for the latest news. When it comes to keeping up with the industry, there’s no better place to go than at Digital Production Buzz.
Larry Jordan: We’re going to be back with Sam Mestman right after this.
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Larry Jordan: Sam Mestman has worked for Apple, ESPN, Glee and Break.com, to name a few and is now one of the people behind FCPWORKS, our Workflow training and pro video solutions provider; built around Final Cut X and the Apple ecosystem. He’s also a regular writer for FCP.co and MovieMaker magazine. Teaches post-production Workflow at RED’s REDucation classes and basically doesn’t sleep. Hello Sam, welcome back.
Sam Mestman: Hey Larry, how you doing?
Larry Jordan: I am doing great and I’m surprised you’ve been able to work us into your schedule; thanks for taking the time.
Sam Mestman: Oh, thanks for having me; it’s not as bad as you think.
Larry Jordan: Sounds pretty awful. By the way, what is this brand new thing you’ve created called FCPWorks?
Sam Mestman: Well it’s not just me, they just make me do all the talking. But, basically, what FCPWorks is, is this crazy idea that you can view integrated solutions built around Final Cut Pro X; despite what people may think.
Sam Mestman: Basically, you know, our goal really is to be kind of the Apple store for pro video editors and so essentially, the idea that we are a reseller for all of the gear that we use in our day to day and on top of that, we do Workflow and integration that’s built around our Final Cut Pro X systems; whether that’s feature films, broadcast or the Indie filmmakers.
Sam Mestman: That’s kind of the long and short of it and the real idea is that we happen to really believe that pro video work can actually be done with Final Cut X and actually, in many cases, can help editors get work done faster and then spend more time on their stories; which I think, at the end of the day, is the whole point of the thing.
Larry Jordan: Well, I want to come back to the way that Final Cut and Workflow and collaboration all work together; but let’s take a step back. Creating a career in Workflow is not an eight year old’s number one goal in life. What got you interested in Workflow and systems like this in the first place?
Sam Mestman: Well, you know, I mean my background is as an editor and colorist and I’ve kind of been around the block in a lot of different places; and one thing I kind of noticed is that, one of the big problems is that a lot of the productions tend to be focused on their particular job and, in terms of managing how things get from point A to point B, there tends to be a limited amount of communication I think that a lot of departments have with each other; and I think a lot of problems that a lot of productions face can kind of be solved with a little planning at the beginning and figuring out how you’re going to get from point A to point B, as opposed to running into problems down the line. I mean, like, well I thought you were supposed to do that.
Sam Mestman: For me, you know, I think there’s kind of a niche and I’m kind of a bit of and when it comes to hard drives and gear and all that and so, you know, I kind of felt like there was sort of a missing link, I think, in a lot of this. You know, especially having worked with so many different productions and productions where, you know, the producers, they just kind of want to get it done and want to figure out the best way to get there.
Sam Mestman: With Final Cut X and stuff, I also noticed there was a little bit of a hole in terms of education and how it can really be used in a pro workflow and I’d been using it and, sort of, just kind of one thing led to another and I ended up in this little niche somehow.
Larry Jordan: Just to give a quick précis, what are some of the film projects you’ve worked on?
Sam Mestman: Well basically, I cut my teeth mostly doing lots of independent film; so I did an independent document back in 2006 or 2007 for a company called The Gloves. Then we went off and shot our independent feature film, which was kind of our dream, well one of our supposed to be dream projects; so that’s where I really kind of learned how to, I guess, make a feature film from beginning to end, because no-one really was there to show us.
Sam Mestman: We started pretty much right from the very beginning with an early build of the Red camera when it was first released and kind of took that all the way through the process; and that’s how I got up to speed on Red. Then I ended up in Los Angeles and I was working a lot in broadcast and then branding and sponsored content; but on the side I would finish and color correct movies for broadcast in a lot of cases.
Sam Mestman: In terms of, you know, from kind of production through to the post side, I kind of filled in a lot of different niches on the post-production process and there is broadcast and I was over on the NBA Finals for a couple of years.
Larry Jordan: A ton of work. You know, I was just thinking, let’s get specific for a second. I want to pin your feet to the floor here. You recently had a Workflow event where people could attend. What were some of the key takeaway points? What was the key things that people needed to learn? Because now I want to start to get specific about how we can collaborate and how we can set up a Workflow within Final Cut X.
Sam Mestman: Okay. Just to give you background on what the event was. It was the launch event and pretty much it was all about different Workflows. Our main presentation was about an hour long and actually we went long on all of them; we did it three times over the course of the day.
Sam Mestman: There was a presentation on the new version of Final Cut from Apple, where basically, you know, I would say the highlight of it was 4K performance on the new Mac Pro and they were demoing 16 streams of 4K media, playing back in real time in a multi cam, among other things; with preview of all effects and live editing in our better quality performance, not even better performance but better quality.
Sam Mestman: The heart of that was just showing how 4K is really just another resolution in terms of performance; and, you know, with some of the hardware that’s out now, you don’t even need to worry about it, you just sit down and edit. That was kind of the theme throughout the presentations.
Sam Mestman: Bryce Button from AJA presented 4K Workflow with the Key Pro and the new IO4k. Then I was up and I demoed a new App that’s going to be released hopefully next month called Shot Notes X; which is basically going to allow you have a fully synched, renamed and completely searchable metadata from the Script Supervisor; and you’re able to now do this in ten minutes, from downloading your footage from set. For scripted workflows, that’s really valuable.
Larry Jordan: What’s the name of that soon to be released program?
Sam Mestman: Shot Notes X.
Larry Jordan: Okay, Shot Notes X. Well that, I think, leads into another discussion. There’s been a lot of talk that Final Cut X is not designed for collaboration; it’s perfect for the single editor but not when you’ve got files that have to move around a team. How would you answer that?
Sam Mestman: Well, at the end of the presentation, we brought everyone out into what we called the Ecosystem Room and we had about eight or so Mac Pros that were all connected over Quantum StorNext actually; which is about as professional a collaborative environment can get and it’s about as high end as you can get. They were all working off of shared media and over eight gig Fiber and you can do the exact same thing off …; and with the new Library model, it makes collaborative editing substantially easier than it had been in previous versions. Basically, you know, we just brought people over and showed them.
Larry Jordan: Well it seems to me that, in order to do this, to be able to share files around, you need to have not only Final Cut but a set of plug-ins, that work with it, to support collaborative editing and the reports that people need. What plug-ins are you recommending as part of a high end Final Cut system?
Sam Mestman: Well there’s a few different things. Do you want me to include Apps in some of that as well?
Larry Jordan: Okay, yes please.
Sam Mestman: I mean the guys over at Intelligent Assistance, who are actually there demoing Lumberjack; which is, for documentary work, is I think going to be kind of a lifesaver on a number of levels. If you’re in documentary, reality etc, it’s very similar in terms of application to what Shot Notes X does, except it’s for basically non-scripted Workflows.
Sam Mestman: There is that element and they also have a few other applications that are pretty much … for Final Cut 7 to X. But then they have Producers Best Friend, which can send out reports, music cue sheets, etc; which is very valuable for, you know, passing things to different departments and keeping people on the same page and letting you know what’s in your edit.
Sam Mestman: They have Change List X which will update Change Notes, which is kind of a standard working thing in higher end Workflows, where you need to update your cuts for the sound designer, etc; and that replicates, you know, what a lot of people felt was a missing feature from Final Cut 7 and Avid etc.
Sam Mestman: DaVinci Resolve is the big one which, you know, integrated with Final Cut X, they just updated for X.1 and in terms of high end color and finishing that’s, you know, becoming rapidly the industry standard and it works extremely well with Final Cut.
Sam Mestman: Then there’s some plug-ins, for instance. CoreMelt SliceX is, I think, pretty much the coolest plug-in that exists.
Larry Jordan: I think between SliceX and TrackX, I’d have to agree with you; both of those from CoreMelt are amazing.
Sam Mestman: Yes, I mean those guys are just fantastic and FxFactory actually has a bunch of really cool ones as well. By the way, Autodesk Smoke now takes Final Cut X XML, I even heard a rumor that … is now. By the way, going to some of the other applications, another Intelligent Assistance App which is Xto7 is actually great for getting to premiere or after effects; but actually it’s more useful to get to applications. You know, you can get to Scratch; I’ve actually done that for a short film; or Pablo for instance.
Sam Mestman: The fact is, it’s actually not a very closed ecosystem at all; you can get anywhere you need to go. X to Pro obviously for Pro Tools Workflows works very well; especially the advanced versions where, if you know what you’re doing with rolls, you can customize those and have a really nice AF come in to your sound designer. People actually are a little bit surprised at how clean a lot of those come in. I personally don’t miss … at all, to be honest.
Larry Jordan: Sam, for people that want to learn more about the kind of solutions that FCPWorks offers, where can they go on the web?
Sam Mestman: Well, we have launched our site which is fcpworks.com and we are going to be adding to it considerably over the next few months. But probably the best thing, if you’re interested in learning more is, you know, probably just to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; because we’re going to be putting out recommended solutions and a lot of these other things and we have, then they just have not been fully fleshed out on the website.
Sam Mestman: Although, actually I think the website looks really nice, it’s just, there’s a lot more that’s coming soon.
Larry Jordan: The website is all one word, fcpworks.com and Sam Mestman is the official voice of FCPWorks. Sam, thanks for joining us today.
Sam Mestman: Hey Larry, thanks for having me.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye, bye.
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Larry Jordan: Mike Timm is a successful filmmaker who is winning numerous awards with his first project, A Guy, A Girl, A Space Helmet and he has also started pre-production and casting on his next feature, called Thug In Love. Mike, welcome back.
Mike Timm: Hello Larry, how are you?
Larry Jordan: I am doing great. You know, I was looking it up; the last time you and I chatted was August of 2012; what’s happened to A Guy, A Girl and a Space Helmet since then?
Mike Timm: Well, let’s see, it’s so far away. You know what? I think that maybe the film just won Best Picture in the Nyack Film Festival and then there’s another festival after that; I kind of forget, honestly. Soon after that, Pathfinder Films picked it up that winter and they brought it to the Cannes film market; so they picked it up as the selling distributor and since then they’ve been going from market to market and just kind of promoting it.
Mike Timm: You know, it’s been great, just getting a lot of good feedback; making tons of connections and just since then, really just been focusing on my next feature, Thug In Love.
Larry Jordan: Which I’m going to talk about. But now that you’ve got a successful film under your back, you’re independently wealthy, you’re kicking back by the side of the pool and doing nothing right?
Mike Timm: Oh I wish.
Larry Jordan: Tell us about Thug In Love.
Mike Timm: Thug In Love is basically about a respected thug who has a near death experience and, you know, he sees the brighter side of life afterwards and winds up falling in love; an experience that he’s never really let himself feel; for the first time, you know.
Larry Jordan: Well it’s an interesting hook. Where are we now in pre-production?
Mike Timm: In pre-production; so what I’ve been doing, I have the script and I’ve started casting through the grapevine and while I’m also casting, I’m raising money slowly, because it’s a low budget feature. It’s going to be a bit bigger than A Girl, A Guy, A Space Helmet which was produced on $10,000. This is going to be another micro budget film but I’m just sort of adding a zero; I’m going to produce this one like around a little over $100,000.
Mike Timm: I’ve been just meeting with lots of actors and just, as of yesterday, I cast my lead who is Scott Subiono, who is a fantastic actor; also he was in A Girl, A Guy, A Space Helmet and he’s also been in a lot of great TV shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and then things like that. Then along with him, a Buzz alumni, Olivia Cornell, who I met that last time I was on the show. She and I have kept in touch and she has agreed to be in Thug In Love; so there you go.
Larry Jordan: Oh that’s very cool.
Mike Timm: The show has brought two people together.
Larry Jordan: How do you approach a casting session? I mean, clearly you’ve cast one of the guys that you worked with before, because you know his work; but you’ve got to fill it with more than just the people you’ve worked with before. How do you look at a casting session?
Mike Timm: Oh sure. Well, you know, there are many different ways to open a casting session. Obviously, you know, you go with the Casting Directors and things like that. I will just say, on this one, because I don’t have a locked in date yet, I’ve been going through the grapevine of just different people I know, different actors I know, a Casting Director and basically you put up a LA casting or at Frontier, you basically put up, you know, the breakdown and people submit their headshots.
Mike Timm: What I’ve been doing is, I’ve been going through all the headshots online; and then I just call in and ask to meet a certain amount of people. I don’t do a whole just blanket, everybody come in, full day, meet somebody ever five minutes. I want to just look at them all and then cherry pick and then meet with those people; and then I read lines with them.
Larry Jordan: Well what do you look for in an audition? Is it just the look? Tell me the thought process you go through.
Mike Timm: The thing is, the look is where everybody goes to first, you know, and of course you’re going to want to be like, alright, do they look good? For me, each character is so flexible, especially with the script, I just wanted to leave it open; and I was looking at people that were rather large through people that were a little bit on the smaller side. What I really look for, I just look for a certain tonality; and when I see that tonality in them, in the way they read the lines, I try to envision the movie with their version of the movie as the lead.
Larry Jordan: What does tonality mean to you?
Mike Timm: Tonality to me means just more or less the energy, the feel, the style, the actual like art direction look of the movie that would have them in it. The way they carry themselves. You know, really that effects the movie.
Larry Jordan: So does an actor need to come into the casting room in character or do they assume character? What advice would you give an actor to be successful in front of you?
Mike Timm: You know, the thing is that, in front of me personally, I would say come in character; but that doesn’t always work for everybody. A lot of casting sessions are run so many different ways and I feel for actors because you can’t win, you just have make a choice of your own, go in and just do that choice and either they’re going to say yes or no. Sometimes they know what they want, sometimes they don’t; and you can’t second-guess anything; so just do your best and, you know, it’s kind of a crap shoot at times, honestly.
Larry Jordan: What if you find a great actor but they don’t fit the look that you’ve got in your head as you were putting the script together?
Mike Timm: You pretty much say, I’ve loved meeting you and I hope we get to work together soon.
Larry Jordan: So you’re really trying to match up two things; you’re trying to match how their voice approaches the character, because that’s the best they can do with that moment; is modulate the voice, and then have them be within shouting distance of what you think they need to look like?
Mike Timm: Well the thing is this, yes a little bit. You know, you definitely need to have a certain idea of what you want when you’re going in. For me I had two different ideas and, you know, I auditioned both and ultimately I chose one over the other obviously. As far as meeting great actors, there are some that think about the casting process from a director.
Mike Timm: I was just meeting so many wonderful actors that just killed it; but at the same time, I couldn’t go down the path with them as that character, because I didn’t want the movie going down that path. But at the end of the day, I was like, wow, I really want to work with this guy or gal. You just have to make choices.
Larry Jordan: Now thinking of choices, you’ve got 100k production budget, you’ve raised about 20; how are you going to raise the rest of it?
Mike Timm: Well I’m going to probably do what they call stage financing; so I’m going to raise some more equity and then after that, the second stage, I’m going to do a crowdfunder campaign and then after that I’m going to do another third stage of equity financing.
Larry Jordan: For people that want to keep track and keep their fingers crossed you can pull this puppy off, where can they go on the web to learn more?
Mike Timm: They can contact me through thuginlove.com; so just contact me through there. I haven’t made the Facebook page public yet but I will; but just contact me through there and I’ll keep in touch with them; when I know exactly what’s going on.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, thuginlove.com. Mike Timm is the filmmaker behind it and Mike, thanks for joining us today; we appreciate hearing from you.
Mike Timm: Thanks Larry, look forward to being back on.
Larry Jordan: Well, you know, I hope that this is a success and I hope you get the money that you need, because it would be just way too cruel to have this project not work.
Mike Timm: Well thanks man. Once the crowdfunding campaign is live, I would love to be back on the show to promote it.
Larry Jordan: Give us a holler, we’ll talk to you then. Take care, bye, bye.
Mike Timm: Sweet, alright have a good night. Bye, bye.
Larry Jordan: Jared van Fleet works in communications and business development at Pond5. Before that he worked for years as a professional musician and sound recordist for film, before joining Pond5 in 2011. Hello Jared.
Jared van Fleet: Hi, how you doing Larry?
Larry Jordan: I am talking to you, how can I not be doing great? What does someone who works in communications and business development at Pond5 actually do?
Jared van Fleet: Well gosh, you know, every day brings a host of different things to do; so I was one of the sort of kind of earlier people that joined the company, I was I think the ninth person, we now have, I think, almost 60 employees and that’s happened in the past few years. During that time I’ve done everything from answering phones and customer service to going to trade shows and representing the company and trying to work out partnerships with various other companies.
Jared van Fleet: Right now, a lot of it is doing things like this or writing, you know, releases and various copies for the company.
Larry Jordan: For people that have not been paying attention completely or are confused between [Creatos], Artbeats and Pond5, what makes Pond5 different as a stock footage house?
Jared van Fleet: I think pretty much the foundational thing that makes us really different; is we had a different approach now that was founded by artists or musicians like myself and Shooters. We paid out 50%. That was something we stuck to from the beginning, to all of our contributors, on every sale, everyone always makes 50%; whether or not they’re exclusive with us and they get to set their own prices.
Jared van Fleet: So the results was, pretty quickly and organically, Pond5 built up the largest collection of royalty free footage on the web. So if you’re looking at footage, you really can’t find a better selection; it’s almost two and a half million clips now.
Larry Jordan: Two and a half million?
Jared van Fleet: Actually I think it’s 2.2 million, so yes, it’s coming quickly; we should be hitting two and a half pretty soon. It passed two million I think in October or November.
Jared van Fleet: But yes, we’ve got that and the other thing I think that really sets us apart is that it’s really more media types than you have in one place anywhere else; so, you know, in a single search bar you can be looking for motion graphics, you can be looking for sound effects or music, photos, vectors, illustrations; even 3D models. So we’re trying to represent all these different media types which to us, I think, is representative of the fact that people are making a lot of different types of media and want one place where they can market that.
Jared van Fleet: Also people that are looking for stock are typically looking for a variety of different things.
Larry Jordan: You’ve got 2.5 million clips in varying formats and stuff on your website; can someone actually make money by selling on the site? I mean that is a ton of competition?
Jared van Fleet: Well absolutely but I think, you know, the thing to keep in mind is that, the amount of users that we have that are buyers far outweighs the amount of users we have that are artists; so there is thousands of artists on the site but over 100,000 buyers. Even last month I was just checking, we had close to 100 of our artists made over $1000 just last month alone; so it can actually be, you know, a pretty decent paycheck.
Larry Jordan: You said that you had over 100 artists who made more than $1000 last week, did I hear that correctly?
Jared van Fleet: Sorry no, that’s last month.
Larry Jordan: Okay, 100 artists made more than $1000 last month.
Jared van Fleet: Yes. I mean, there’s many artists that, you know, make a good living actually selling stock and many of them specifically from our site. I think the trick is less, you know, a question of whether or not you can make money, but what do you do to really kind of set yourself apart. The ones that are really successful, they do a lot of things right.
Jared van Fleet: One of the first things I think is appropriate keywording; so we see this all the time, but on our site, when people are searching for a clip, our search algorithm will actually keep in mind whether or not they’ve found what they were looking for. So if you’re tagging your clip with things that are relevant, for instance, or that aren’t what users are looking for, or maybe giving it too many keywords and not being specific enough; then that’ll fall.
Jared van Fleet: The people that have the best content have really good metadata in keywording or they have the bestselling content; and they also experiment with the prices; so that’s one of the good things with Pond5 is having the freedom to set your own price; you know, really allows you to have control with that. Then I could get more into the kinds of stuff that people are buying.
Larry Jordan: Well we’ll get there in just a second.
Larry Jordan: First on the legal side, what are some of the key contract points a producer needs to keep in mind when they’re posting footage to your site?
Jared van Fleet: I think that the main thing is, obviously you need to have the rights to sell it; but keep in mind that, when people buy the footage or the music or whatever the content media is that you’re creating, that they will have the right to use it worldwide, across all media in perpetuity; royalty free. The money that you’re making is on that upfront sale.
Jared van Fleet: That basically just affects how you’re going to look at it as a business and then you set the price point based on how that works for you. What we found is that, because of the way media’s working these days, the people that are actually buying stock, just having that freedom of knowing that there’s the piece of mind that what they buy, that they’re going to be able to use it, results in a much higher volume of sales.
Jared van Fleet: Those are the main things with the contract; I think it’s worldwide, perpetually it’s across all media, you’ll always be paid out 50%, there’s no hidden credits or a weird thing like that. I should mention, you know, people that aren’t familiar with the stock media industry, a typical percentage, it be 15 or 20; some places if you go exclusive it’s 30%; so it’s really kind of setting a standard in the industry to split it half and half.
Larry Jordan: Well let’s just talk about pricing for a second. You said that one of the things that smart producers are doing is, they play with different price points to see what works. What seems to be the most successful price points at this point? Does it have to be the cheapest or the most expensive to get attention?
Jared van Fleet: You know, I think, honestly, typically what works better, and this is going to sound like kind of a copout, is somewhere in between the cheapest and the most expensive. But, you know, each artist I think needs to look at what their value is in the marketplace; so look at what’s there and maybe what’s missing from the marketplace. We try to do a lot to help people understand that as well.
Jared van Fleet: You know, ultimately I think people can be scared away by very, very expensive clips, although if you have a clip that was expensive to produce or make or for whatever reason, you know, there’s no limit to the price you can set.
Jared van Fleet: At the same time, people seem to try to avoid the lowest so, you know, a typical price, I think, to be honest it really ranges, but anywhere between $40 to $200 for a good 30 second HD clip and video seems to be kind of normal.
Larry Jordan: Is there an image type or an image genre that is most in demand or most popular?
Jared van Fleet: You know, the two things to keep in mind is the things that are the most popular are also going to be the most dear; so sometimes the better approach is to go for something that’s really rare. But I would say that, people are always looking for time-lapse and slo-mo; obviously very high res stuff; we’re now accepting 4K and raw res footage. You know, high res stuff, shoots of the environment or health are always very popular. 00:38:17:11
Jared van Fleet: We have again, if you go to the website, which is pond5.com, there is some sorts of guidance there as well for that. But those tend to be popular subjects and I think the main thing is just to keep in mind to have a fresh kind of perspective; so if you’re going to be uploading a video of a sunset, which we have a lot of, you know, try to find something interesting about that; so maybe the framing is interesting; maybe you’re using a higher resolution than we have anywhere on the site; or doing a time-lapse that’s panning, you know, and we don’t have anything like that. Just to kind of play with those genres in creative ways, I think is kind of key.
Larry Jordan: Do you have a preferred video format that people should submit files in?
Jared van Fleet: You know, the two main containers that we accept for the file format are .mov and .mp4. Within that, basically any kind of codec, so camera native codecs, photo jpeg, all those and we’ll gladly work with people if you have a large collection in another format, to try to see what we can do to get stuff transferred. But we do encourage people to transfer to the .mov or .mp4 file formats before uploading.
Larry Jordan: Do you re-transcode once the file comes up to your servers?
Jared van Fleet: We can, yes, so occasionally clients will need something in a different [Kodak] and we can do all of that in the cloud.
Larry Jordan: I guess what I’m saying is, if I send you a .mov file, do you like automatically convert it to some other interim format, so that I know that the file’s going to get compressed, or does the file that I send up be what the customer downloads?
Jared van Fleet: No, the customer will have access, absolutely, to the original that’s uploaded. Yes we would only do transcoding in the event that that’s necessary.
Larry Jordan: Getting back to what a producer can do to make themselves more successful; you mentioned keywording, which is the way your search engine works. I’m looking for a person blowing glass, for instance. What tips do you have? Should you have lots and lots and lots of keywords or unusual keywords? I mean, I want to have my footage sell, how do I keyword it to be successful.
Jared van Fleet: Right, well, I think, you know, this is going to sound clichéd, but avoiding spam so, you know, for instance you’ll see some people and a lot of this we do read out in the curation stage; but some people, you know, they know that maybe the word happy is going to get a lot of results and so they have a video that maybe isn’t happy if they add the keyword happy and, you know, that gets caught usually pretty quick in the event that it doesn’t get caught by a curator, then it’s kind of punished in the algorithm in the sense that, if people are looking for happy footage and are not clicking on it, will realize it.
Jared van Fleet: You know, as far as synonyms and things like that go, you know the algorithms are capable of getting a lot of that; so it’s not really important to stress on whether the words you’re using are unusual, I would just say that accuracy in describing the clip is the most important thing; and yes, full accuracy; as many accurate keywords as possible is helpful.
Larry Jordan: What do we do if we have legacy footage; stuff that were shot back in the days of PAL or NTSC? Can we post that, assuming that it is of safe historical value; or do you want stuff that’s timeless and all HD only?
Jared van Fleet: Well no, we do still accept SD footage and we have quite a bit of it still on the site; so we have no problem with that. Especially, as you said, that there could be value for people looking for that. It is important to keep in mind though, these days, I mean 10.80 isn’t really the high resolution that a lot of editors and people are looking at it and a lot of it’s even, you know, 4K now and above. You know, we do encourage HD footage and that tends to be a little more future proof right now, but we don’t exclude anything on the basis of resolution.
Larry Jordan: Do you want clips color coded or do you want them in un-color coded format? Not color coded but color graded.
Jared van Fleet: Most producers kind of preview access to a raw clip; so we encourage people to leave it untouched. One exception is with [Red] footage, it’s sort of non-destructive editing; there’s a separate file that includes the color grading. In that case you’re welcome to do it.
Jared van Fleet: It depends also on the clip. There are some clips that really do need a color correction to show what they’re trying to show; but in general, we do encourage uploading as raw as possible.
Larry Jordan: And Jared, what website can people go who want to learn more about the products you’ve got to offer?
Jared van Fleet: Check us out at pond5.com.
Larry Jordan: And Jared van Fleet is the Communications and Business Development guru over at pond5.com. Jared, thanks for joining us today.
Jared van Fleet: Alright, thank you so much.
Larry Jordan: Bye, bye.
Larry Jordan: Philip Hodgetts is the CEO of Intelligent Assistance, involved in the technology of virtually every area of digital video. He’s also a regular contributor of the Buzz and has taught me just about everything I know. Hello Philip, welcome back.
Philip Hodgetts: Yes I’m here.
Larry Jordan: Hello, welcome, it’s good to hear your voice again.
Philip Hodgetts: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: You’ve been listening to Sam Mestman’s discussion on Workflow earlier; besides listing virtually every product your company made, for which you can pay him late; but what are your comments in terms of Workflow and collaboration?
Philip Hodgetts: Yes it was nice of Sam to mention some of the contributions that we make to that Workflow through Intelligent Assistance. I think Sam is latching onto an important thing, is that it’s not just the applications that we have but it’s how we use them to actually get results. I mean we write stuff, we shoot stuff, we log stuff, we edit stuff, we color correct stuff, we output stuff; and getting all of the communication going.
Philip Hodgetts: Very often, useful valuable material is created on a set but it doesn’t get passed through to editorial because somebody’s handwriting is very bad or because the output of the Script Supervisor’s tool doesn’t talk to Final Cut Pro X XML and that’s what Shot Notes X is going to really facilitate. You see a foot from ScriptE, which is a very familiar Script Supervisor’s tool can bring that information straight from the Script Supervisor, without loss, into Final Cut Pro X.
Philip Hodgetts: I think that’s what we’re all wanting to do is, whatever information we can get on the set, we want to keep it and use it throughout the editorial process.
Larry Jordan: Philip, I forgot to ask Sam this, is Shot List X your product or who makes that?
Philip Hodgetts: Shot Notes X is actually a product from a friend of his that we kind of know professionally but don’t know personally; and so it’s not one of ours this time, it’s something that Sam’s worked with a friend of his called Kevin, whose name I should remember.
Larry Jordan: That’s alright, I should have asked him and I failed to do that. You know, I was just thinking, wouldn’t it be better for the software developers, the Apples the Adobes and Avids of the world to build all this technology into their product, rather than have to have all these things dangling off the edges?
Philip Hodgetts: Well each of those companies takes a different approach and traditionally the major NLE companies are focused on the editorial process. Avid has a particularly good database system beneath media composer and, you know, never loses track of a timecode or piece of metadata that it encounters; and that’s a good thing.
Philip Hodgetts: Final Cut Pro X has a great set of integrated tools and Adobe, not only have they got Premiere but they’ve built Prelude Live Logger and Prelude for moving the process closer to the shoot.
Philip Hodgetts: But all of these companies have tools that have traditionally been focused on the editorial process and not on the logging separately from the editorial process. I think that’s where time pressures are forcing us to move that editorial process closer and nearer to the set than frequently a movie is being cut at, on or near the set; so there’s editorials only a day behind production.
Philip Hodgetts: The earlier we can get this information into the system, the more accurate we can make it and track it throughout the entire life of the project.
Larry Jordan: Is really onset logging that big a difference? I mean, is it that important?
Philip Hodgetts: Well the advantage of onset logging, be it for feature film or for real time reality show or documentary is that, if you’ve got it logged on the set then you don’t have to spend the time logging it in post-production, which takes a lot longer. Logging it on the set is real time, logging it in post-production, I’ve never been able to log in less than twice the actual length of the material. By putting it into the real time process of the shoot, we make it so much easier to get straight to the editorial process and the creativity that an editor is employed for.
Larry Jordan: How do we match the entry that we’re making in the log, which is on one piece of equipment, with the material that’s recorded on the camera?
Philip Hodgetts: Well it used to be complicated, we used to have to have timecode and, you know, we have much better timecode tools now than ever we did before. I mean, the days of having to bring lockit boxes together two or three times a day and make sure they’re all synchronized and matching time of day; that’s been set aside a lot with things like timecode buddy with real time Wi-Fi syncing. But even so, that’s still a very complicated process.
Philip Hodgetts: With digital files, there’s another way we can do that, in that digital files are all stamped with the time of day when they were shot and time of day continues on; so if we log time of day we can use that time of day to match up our logging up against the media files.
Larry Jordan: An actual clock; now that’s innovative, I like that.
Philip Hodgetts: Yes. You know, this wouldn’t work if we were trying to synchronize, you know, audio and video that have been recorded separately; for that you do need matching timecode or you need to synch on the audio. But for log notes well, you know, a second here, a second there, or five seconds here or there, it isn’t really that material because the editor is still going to actually make the edit point.
Larry Jordan: Yes, you just want to be able to find it and then figure out what to do with it at that point.
Philip Hodgetts: Exactly.
Larry Jordan: You’ve got a new product that you’ve been talking about called Lumberjack. How does that fit into the picture?
Philip Hodgetts: Lumberjack is something that came out of the [Solar Odyssey] adventure of 2012, when I was trying to solve the problem of, how do we shoot during the day, log during the evening and edit before we get to sleeping? And I realized that I could spend six months not sleeping if we didn’t change something.
Philip Hodgetts: So the idea is that we log it in real time as we’re shooting, a simple iPad or in fact any browser or interface; and it’s as simple as checkbox on when somebody comes into a shot, checking the same checkbox off when they leave the shot. Checking a checkbox on when some action happens, checking a checkbox on for the location; and the time between that checkbox on and the checkbox off gets translated into a keyword range in Final Cut Pro X, that matches that keyword that you’ve applied; be it person or action or location.
Larry Jordan: And you could customize this with this character’s name or a set location?
Philip Hodgetts: Absolutely, you can characterize it completely flexibly within the sort of sentence structure that we’ve generated, which is a location, a person or people, an activity and then some subsidiary keywords that you can add; and it’s completely flexible. Location can be as narrow as a bedroom or it could be as wide as New York; I mean, it’s up to you to define that as closely as you want.
Larry Jordan: Has this been released? Because I know you’ve mentioned it before. Is this shipping yet?
Philip Hodgetts: We keep finding great new ways of working with it and we have set ourselves a deadline that we are going to have it out before NAB this year.
Larry Jordan: What year?
Philip Hodgetts: 2014, this year.
Larry Jordan: Okay good, I’m making sure I hear this correctly.
Philip Hodgetts: Yes, that’s our absolute goal and the problem is that we keep finding ways to make it better and we want to keep doing that before we release it to people. We’ve had a lot of fun doing shoots of our own and every time we do we find some way of, like, it would be nice if and then we have to go and do more.
Larry Jordan: Philip, you’ve got to release it guy, you’ve got to let go. For people that want to learn more, what website can they go to?
Larry Jordan: And your thoughts on just about everything are worth reading. Philip Hodgetts himself is the CEO of Intelligent Systems and author and part of the team that put together Lumberjack. Philip, thanks for joining us today.
Philip Hodgetts: Thank you Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye, bye.
Larry Jordan: Frank Morrone is the President of the Motion Picture Sound Editors Guild; he is also a multiple award winning independent re-recording mixer who has worked in both film and television. The MPSC awards are coming up very soon, specifically next week; and we want to hear more about what to expect. Hello Frank.
Frank Morrone: Hello, how are you?
Larry Jordan: I am talking to you, it’s a wonderful evening. It’s been a great show and you’re a great way to wrap it up. Start by telling me, what is the Motion Picture Sound Editors Guild?
Frank Morrone: Motion Picture Sound Editors is an organization that, our goal is to recognize the value and what Sound Editors do and keep advancing the craft forward; and also, holding events. We hold sound shows for the community, so that they know what we do at Sound Editors.
Larry Jordan: Who can be a member?
Frank Morrone: To be a member, you have to have worked as a Sound Editor and been credited; you need three years working experience as a Sound Editor and credits.
Larry Jordan: I can see that your guys are interested in audio; why hold an award show?
Frank Morrone: Well, it started in 1953; the very first award show we had was put on to recognize the work that Sound Editors do; that doesn’t often get recognized. The very first show recognized the sound crew from War of the Worlds and Cecil B. DeMille was there to present those honors and he said personally that, Sound Editors are what make the film live and breathe. We strongly believe that, so we like to recognize the people who have been outstanding during the year, working very, very hard.
Frank Morrone: Because Sound Editors comprises of a lot of different talents that come together between Dialogue Editors, ADR Editors, Music Editors, Foley Editors and all of those talents just combine to give you the soundtrack on a film.
Larry Jordan: Well you’re preaching to the choir in terms of the importance of audio; I’ve been saying that for a long period of time. What categories are people nominated for and how are the winners determined?
Frank Morrone: The categories are expanding every year, because now with gaming becoming a big industry that really requires much more work in 5.1; in feature films we recognize dialogue in ADR as one category. We recognize effects as another category. We recognize music editing as another category and then in the television categories, we recognize the same talents and we split those up into the short form and long form; with the long form comprising of many series; short form being the half hour television shows. There is about 25 awards that we give out in all, recognizing it.
Frank Morrone: As I said, I mean every year we’re expanding them out, now webisodes are a big part of who we recognize because again, with some of the webisodes they take as much work as a television show does; so we are constantly trying to make sure that we don’t leave anybody out.
Larry Jordan: What’s the event called and when is it?
Frank Morrone: The event is called The Golden Reel Awards. It’s the Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards. It’s on February 16th. It’s being held at the Westin Bonaventure in Downtown Los Angeles; and it’s going to be a great evening. As our presenters, we have George Lucas, Jon Chu who did the G.I. Joe films. Walter March, we’re going to be doing a special tribute to [Dolby] this year and recognizing Dolby’s incredible contributions to our industry.
Larry Jordan: I know that it’s impossible in the time that we’ve got to list everyone and people would probably not recognize the name of a Sound Editor because you guys work behind the scenes; but what are some of the nominated shows? Can you give us some highlights there?
Frank Morrone: Sure. We’ve got in dialogue and, again, I know you haven’t got a lot of time, but some we’ve got Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis. Some of the television shows that have been nominated are CSI.
Larry Jordan: The point is, is that, the guys that are working on these are at the high end of the industry, creating some amazing sound effects; and this is a chance to celebrate the quality of their work.
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, what I’d like to do at some point is to invite you back, not next week, I’ll give you a chance to actually finish driving. But I’d like to spend time talking about the different audio categories. You’ve mentioned Foley and ADR and Music Editing and Dialogue Editing and then there’s the whole mixing process itself. I think it would be useful for us to chat about those different job functions and what they each do and what makes a successful editor in that particular genre, if we can twist your arm to invite you back.
Frank Morrone: I would love to. I mean, I started out as an editor and that’s when I joined the Motion Picture Sound Editors and have been involved with it since because I know how important it is. I’m mixing a lot now but I really have a tremendous respect for the editors who bring me the elements to mix; because in my opinion, you can’t have one without the other. If, you know, you have excellent exceptional sound that is delivered to you, then it’s easy to mix and I’ve always worked very closely with the Sound Editors on the teams that I’m with, because I know how hard they work, I’ve been there.
Frank Morrone: I started out, you know, editing music on an old quarter inch.
Larry Jordan: Frank, we will save that for another time because one of the things I do want to learn is, how you got started in this bizarre industry. For people that want to learn more about the awards, can they go on the web; and if so, what web address can they go to?
Frank Morrone: Yes, they can go to mpse.org and there’s more information about the awards there.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, mpse.org and Frank Morrone is the President of the Motion Picture Sound Editors. Frank, thanks for joining us today.
Frank Morrone: Thank you very much. Take care.
Larry Jordan: Talk to you soon, bye, bye.
Larry Jordan: It’s been an incredible show and I want to thank our guests for this week. We started with Sam Mestman, one of the founders of fcpworks.com; then Mike Timm is a successful filmmaker, making his second film called Thug In Love. Jared van Fleet is the Communications and Business Development wizard for Pond5. Philip Hodgetts, the CEO of Intelligent Assistance; and Frank Morrone, the President of the Motion Picture Sound Editors.
Larry Jordan: There is a lot happening at the Buzz. Between shows, visit digitalproductionbuzz.com and click latest news. We update it several times a day with the latest in news from our industry.
Larry Jordan: Follow us on Twitter @dpbuzz and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Music on the Buzz is provided by SmartSound; text transcripts from Take1 Transcription. The Buzz is streamed by wehostmacs.com.
Larry Jordan: Our producer Cirina Catania, our engineer Adrian Price. My name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to The Buzz.
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