Digital Production Buzz
June 25, 2015
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
(Click here to listen to this show.)
Randi Altman, Industry Analyst and Editor
Starr Ackerman, PR & AR Manager, USA/CA/SA, IK Multimedia
James Castle Stevens, Director of Marketing, Larry Jordan & Associates, Inc.
Cullie Poseria, Cinematographer
Larry Jordan: Welcome to The Buzz. We start with Starr Ackerman. She’s a musician, a public relations manager and an artist relations manager for a variety of companies, including IK Multimedia and Musicians First. She shares the latest in music and digital technology with us tonight.
Larry Jordan: Then James Castle Stevens is an actor who got his first LA gig working for ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation.’ James brings his actor’s perspective to discuss what directors need to know to make their actors better.
Larry Jordan: And then Cullie Poseria is a leading edge young cinematographer with a love of movement who does a lot of work in music videos and independent feature films. She takes us behind the scenes tonight of her new music video, Skyler Reed’s ‘I’m Doin’ It.’
Larry Jordan: We have a brand new Tech Talk featuring new features in Adobe Premiere Pro and Randi Altman joins us with her perspective on the news.
Larry Jordan: The Buzz starts now.
Announcer #1: Tonight’s Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at macsales.com.
Announcer #2: Since the dawn of digital film making…
Announcer #2: Authoritative.
Announcer #2: …one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals…
Announcer #2: Current.
Announcer #2: …uniting industry experts…
Announcer #2: Production.
Announcer #2: …film makers…
Announcer #2: Post production.
Announcer #2: …and content creators around the planet.
Announcer #2: Distribution.
Announcer #2: From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: And welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for creative content producers covering media production, post production, marketing and distribution around the world. Our co-host, Mike Horton, has the night off.
Larry Jordan: The Buzz is evolving, and I’m pleased with the feedback that we’ve been getting on the changes that we’re making. For instance, a very popular request is for more product demos so, In addition to our regular interviews, we’re adding a new Tech Talk section. These short demos allow us to showcase techniques that don’t require a lot of time to explain. Tonight, we’ve got one featuring the new version of Adobe Premiere and Adobe Audition.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of media, here in California we have another problem because of our severe drought. Earlier today, KTLA TV reported that an unmanned drone shut down evening aerial firefighting operations over the lake fire. The fixed wing drone was flying about 900 feet above the ground; however, drones are not permitted over 400 feet. Worse, the area was under a Federal temporary flight restriction, making all drone operations in the fire area illegal. The problem is that if a drone is spotted, water dropping aircraft must vacate the area for crew safety. The early flight shut down allowed the fire to expand another 3.5 square miles overnight.
Larry Jordan: Another drone was spotted yesterday over the Lake Arrowhead fire and, again, flight operations shut down hours early, causing the fire to spread. Flying a drone over a wildfire may yield great footage, but the risks of delaying firefighting operations, even causing loss of life, make this a very foolish activity. In other news, last week we introduced Randi Altman’s Perspective. This is a news segment and we continue with it this week. Our goal with these segments is to cover breaking news, along with Randi’s thoughts on other important stories of the week.
Larry Jordan: This is Perspective.
Larry Jordan: Randi Altman has been covering the post production industry for more than 20 years. For more than ten of those, she was the Editor in Chief of Post magazine. Now she runs her own website, called postperspective.com. Hello, Randi, welcome back.
Randi Altman: Hi Larry, thanks for inviting me back.
Larry Jordan: Well, we had so much fun talking about the news with you last week, I want to do the same thing again this week. What’s the big news story today?
Randi Altman: Well, the follow-up to what the big news was last week, the release of the Adobe Creative Suite 2015. There was a lot of excitement, but this week we’re starting to hear about a few hiccups, mostly in the name of plug-in incompatibility with the new versions of After Effects and Premiere, so users are being warned not to overwrite their 2014 versions while plug-in companies are trying to get it together. Currently a few are working, like Maxon Cinema 4D and Boris FX’s Continuum, but the rest are following.
Larry Jordan: Randi, is there a place people can go to get a list of what plug-ins are compatible?
Randi Altman: Yes, they can go to …com and they are a reseller of plug-ins. You can go there and see a list of compatible plug-ins that are available now.
Larry Jordan: I should mention that we have compatibility issues both with Premiere and with After Effects. Keep in mind also that I’ve been reading the Premiere file format for 2015 is different to the file format for 2014, so once you upgrade to 2015 you won’t be able to move back. Randi, the other big news this week has been Taylor Swift and her blog about Apple Music. What have you been hearing?
Randi Altman: That’s right, Taylor Swift took Apple to task on social media and Apple reacted pretty swiftly – no pun intended. The artist whose music is going to be shared by Apple for the first three months of their trial period will now be paid for their work, which is incredibly important especially to this industry. There was a time when VFX studios were doing elaborate bids for visual effects work and not getting the bids and not getting paid and it took a big toll on some studios, so I think that we’re going in the right direction with this decision.
Larry Jordan: Do you think this is a change in policy for Apple or do you think it’s a giant PR strategy?
Randi Altman: With Apple, you never know. I could go either way. It could go either way.
Larry Jordan: What other news has been hot this week?
Randi Altman: The other news that happened this week is Avid completed its acquisition of Orad. They are a 3D real time graphics company that also provides video servers and workflow management solutions, so they’re hoping to integrate the Orad technology into their own Avid Media central platform.
Larry Jordan: So Avid now owns Orad, it’s a 100 percent acquisition?
Randi Altman: Correct, completed this week.
Larry Jordan: I know you’ve got tons of stuff to do and your newsletter’s about ready to publish, so we’ll let you go, but we’ll bring you back next week to find out what the latest news is. Randi, thanks for joining us today.
Randi Altman: Thanks Larry, much appreciated.
Larry Jordan: To read more from Randi Altman, visit postperspective.com.
Larry Jordan: We recorded that segment late yesterday. As a follow-up to Randi’s story on Apple Music, this afternoon Taylor Swift announced, quote, “After the events of this week, I’ve decided to put my album, 1989, on Apple Music and happily so,” close quote. Also, hold-out musical licensing groups Merlin and Beggars Group both announced agreements with Apple Music on Tuesday. I’ll be back with Starr Ackerman right after this.
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Larry Jordan: Starr Ackerman is a musician as well as a public relations and artist relations manager for music production software and hardware companies. She has an international reputation and joins us tonight to showcase the latest digital and mobile technology for music, podcasting and network audio. Hello, Starr, it is good to have you with us. Oh, and I wanted to ask before we got started, do you view yourself more as a musician or as a manager?
Starr Ackerman: I’m a musician at heart, but I truly want to be able to… and inspire people to make music, so if that means managing the musician… for the rest of the time that I’m alive and that’s my art and that’s my contribution to humanity, great.
Larry Jordan: Wearing your musician hat, what do you see as the future of new technology? Clearly apps and all the stuff that we need to create music has gotten much cheaper and much easier to access both in terms of hardware and distribution. What’s the future?
Starr Ackerman: I believe in the power of computer music and I have ever since I was introduced to it, more than 15 years ago, when I was able to take a CD-ROM … and I was introduced to it then. I believe in the power of computer music. So when you have more and more powerful computers… your phones and your tablets and devices, you actually have access to music making software, and then also the connectors.
Starr Ackerman: The mobility clearly is the future, when you can fit all of your stuff into a backpack and get on the plane and make music and then send it. …working for… she was sending music tunes to Survivor and they were playing them right away and was doing all this from the plane. So the future is really just more power to your computers, and your mobile devices and more knowledge in the industry of being able to get to that.
Larry Jordan: It sounds like you’re saying that the technology allows us to extend our creativity as opposed to simply altering the sound. Is that a true statement?
Starr Ackerman: Yes.
Larry Jordan: Now, are these audio filters or are these sample clips? What is it exactly that we’re getting and who are the customers for IK Multimedia?
Starr Ackerman: That’s a loaded question. … We have emulation products, so we… and then it sounds like whatever you want it to become, so plugging your car into your iPhone and then you can set a preset, for example, Jimi Hendrix, ‘All Along The Watchtower’ and then you have the exact same tone as that in AmpliTube. AmpliTube is one of the leading applications for Mac and PC for all guitar and bass players and it was brought to IOS. It was actually even on Steve Jobs’… keynote speech and showed the iPod to the world, AmpliTube was on his iPod when he showed it to the world.
Larry Jordan: Very cool.
Starr Ackerman: So it has fans. It’s been around a long time. It was the… gamer, so anyone can make these things and we really want to keep continuing…
Larry Jordan: One of the things that you guys were doing, you recently made some announcements about mobile technology. What are you doing there?
Starr Ackerman: Actually… is a leader in mobile technology. We have every connector and application available for musicians, broadcasters, podcasters etcetera. There are over 78 music creations and broadcasting applications from IK Multimedia just on IOS alone. Now we are making everything for the Android market as well because we solved the latency issue with the iRig UA.
Larry Jordan: Would you consider the products that you’re doing are designed for people who are getting into music and I want to say amateurs, for lack of a better word? Or is it for the high end market or do you span the spectrum?
Starr Ackerman: In the beginning, we were pro-audio. We’ve been in business for 19 years and so it was… to musicians… $500, $600 for an application that had maybe six or seven gigabytes of material samples that they could play through their Mac or PC and… software and we’re not talking about the software samples, like you asked before. Eminem … That was made with SampleTank, that’s one of our products. That was for Mac and PC and at the time SampleTank was $500. Now you can get SampleTank on your iPhone for 20 bucks and it has 500 sounds in it.
Larry Jordan: I was reflecting, the company’s been in business for 19 years and you’ve been doing music for a while. How has the business side of music, as opposed to the creative side, changed in your world over the last, say, five years? Can artists still make a living with music?
Starr Ackerman: Yes, artists can still make a living doing music, but you just have to achieve perfecting that art and keep trying and keep building. The most important thing… is that when you kick into the consumer side, it’s not just pro-audio any more so anyone with an iPhone or an iPad, an iPad touch or the Android can now make music.
Starr Ackerman: The software and hardware used to cost a lot of money. The inner cases are $400. The software… $500. Now it costs $20 for an app or it’s a free app and then the interface at the very lowest is $39 for an iRig, so guitar players plug in their songs – and the very first iPad commercial was someone playing their song with a guitar was iRig and AmpliTube. In that time, there have been over 25 million downloads of AmpliTube in the USA alone.
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, in the controversy over the last week over Apple Music and its non-payment and ultimately payment of royalties, the business side and the amount of money that artists receive from streaming sites is so small on a per song basis that the way to make up for it is through volume, having lots of people listen to a song. But many artists aren’t high volume artists. What do you recommend they do to get their music heard so that they can earn a living? Or is it all just concerts?
Starr Ackerman: I believe in the power of creativity and sheer talent and if you really are good at what you do, you’re going to see every part of it. Some musicians out there, they’re just musicians and that’s all they can do, but some musicians out there have a little bit more sense and try to market themselves. Truly, playing out and getting yourself out there is the best way right now to be able to make a living at what you’re doing. Sales have definitely decreased, revenue overall. All the major record labels are, I don’t want to say anything bad about them, but it seems they’re not the moguls they were before. At this point, you have to think… you can make a lot of money.
Larry Jordan: There’s a wide spectrum of musicians that are recording and you’re on the electronic side and it ranges from that all the way back through traditional music. How important is it for musicians to keep up on the constantly changing technology? Or can you adopt a technology and stay with it for a while?
Starr Ackerman: The best thing for musicians to do now is to embrace technology for what it is. You have a computer in your pocket, it’s your phone. It is better than a computer that you had three years ago, a laptop. You also have the ability to plug into that phone any connector that you need and you can record and do everything and you can even use web applications with other people around the world to collaborate.
Starr Ackerman: You can upload it all through TuneCore and be your own record label and you can make your own money. You don’t even need a deal. You don’t have to have a middle man. You can call up the venue yourself, send them your demo or just one song and get a gig. They’re just waiting, people are booking… they’re just waiting for talent to come out. When I was doing… that’s what I did and we got booked every time.
Larry Jordan: And what projects are you working on next? What can we look forward to from a musical point of view from you?
Starr Ackerman: I recently got back into playing acoustic guitar because I… come up with some interesting… nice stuff and now I can just… in the iPhone and… and then just sit there and play and come up with ideas on the side; and then I will just play it and I’m like, “You know what? This is good.” I think I want to keep this and then build upon it so then I’ll take the audio out of that and I’ll go and I’ll create on top of that.
Starr Ackerman: When you have the technology available to you even if it’s just a short… or even just an…, which is a $40… your options are limitless. But creativity is all in the mind of the person and making music is all about your emotions, so wherever you are, mobility is key. If I’m in a hotel room or I’m in New York City walking down the street, as long as I have my phone, as long as I have a microphone in the back of my pocket… I’m already ready. I can do vocals.
Larry Jordan: Starr, what website can people go to to learn more?
Starr Ackerman: If you would like to know more about IK Multimedia products and music creation apps and accessories for Android, IOS, Mac and PC, please visit ikmultimedia.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s ikmultimedia.com. Starr Ackerman is with IK Multimedia. Starr, thanks for joining us.
Larry Jordan: Hi. I have an exciting new training bundle called The Craft of Production. In it, we cover interview techniques, how to use cameras to tell stories, how to pick microphones and record better audio and tips on lighting. Watch as we work on set and outdoors with actors and crew to show behind the scenes techniques you can put to work immediately.
Larry Jordan: See the difference camera framing makes, listen to different microphones to decide which sounds the best, learn better ways to ask questions and see how changing the lighting changes the emotion of your scene. More than four hours of in-depth practical production techniques and, even better, we’re bundling a session created by Norman Holland called ‘Get To Your First Cut.’ Norman is a world renowned feature film editor, as well as the head of the editing track at the USC Film School.
Larry Jordan: He shares his thoughts on how to get your production dailies ready to edit. I specifically selected these titles because they’re comprehensive, fun to watch and only available here. I enjoy teaching technology, but I really like showing technology in action as we put it to work in the real world. Get your copy of The Craft of Production here in my store.
Larry Jordan: James Castle Stevens is currently the Director of Marketing for my company, Larry Jordan Associates Inc, and The Digital Production Buzz. Prior to that, though, he spent 16 years in Los Angeles as a professional actor. He started by studying with notable instructors like F Murray Abraham and John de Lancie, but James soon started working on such television shows as ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’ ‘The Drew Carey Show,’ ‘The King of Queens’ and ‘Heroes.’ Welcome, James. Good to have you with us.
James Castle Stevens: It’s great to be here.
Larry Jordan: What do you consider the most valuable qualities for a successful actor?
James Castle Stevens: Tenacity is number one. We’re talking about acting, which is the art and the fun and the joy, and then there’s the business. They don’t call it show fun, they call it show business, so tenacity is number one, absolutely.
Larry Jordan: And coping with rejection, I’m sure, has got to be number two.
James Castle Stevens: Absolutely. You have to start to realize as an actor that you’re a product and that’s not to say that it can be that separate from yourself. You are a product but you’re also you, so you have to start to compartmentalize a little bit, realize that you’re selling a product, but at the same time be yourself. It’s an interesting balance act.
Larry Jordan: Well, one of the things that you have is a unique perspective because you’re both an actor and a director, especially working in theater as opposed to film and television. From an actor’s point of view, what makes a good director, say, for film and TV, casting back to your ‘Star Trek’ or ‘Heroes’ days?
James Castle Stevens: Jeez, yes, and of course it changes for everybody and it changes with every situation. For me, though, one of the best qualities that a director would have is letting you do what you do first, you know what I mean? They allow you to try something, allow you to do your best first choice. A lot of directors will come from different parts of the entertainment industry, like editors, for instance, or a writer and sometimes the writer has a very specific idea – this is how I want it to be, this is how I wrote it – and then they start directing and they’re not saying, “You know, hey, go play, show me something, show me what your first choice is.”
James Castle Stevens: They’re just, “This is how I want you to do it,” and they’ll just tell you right flat out, they’ll put you in a box right off the bat and it crushes all creativity. Usually the one quality I like the most is when they go, “Ok, this is nice and easy, let’s take it easy, let’s just go ahead and let’s play, let’s try this,” and then, of course, if they don’t get what they want, if they don’t get a good choice and now that they’ve seen something, they go, “Ok, I see what you did. Great, let’s try this then, let’s see if we can bring it into the world that I want you to bring it into rather than what you did yourself.”
Larry Jordan: One of the things that I’ve heard, although not always followed, is the admonition that directors should not give line readings. Why not?
James Castle Stevens: Yes. First of all because you’re kind of stepping on the actors’ bailiwick. This is his or her arena and by giving a line reading you’re basically saying, “Do it exactly like this,” which is kind of per what I was just saying before. Interpretation is incredibly important and if the director says, “Do it just like this,” you’ve just squelched all type of creativity out of the process. There’s more than that to this, obviously ego’s involved and things like that as well, but part of it is also that the director may not be the best person to give that line reading. You may do it exactly the way the directors asks and then the director will still be unsatisfied because it wasn’t necessarily a good reading.
Larry Jordan: In other words, the director may not be able to act.
James Castle Stevens: That does happen, yes.
Larry Jordan: Well, give me an example of a director that you’ve worked with that you enjoyed working with. What was their style that you liked?
James Castle Stevens: There are several. Jonathan Frakes on ‘Star Trek’ was a good example. He is a very fun-loving guy. You never got the impression that he took anything seriously, although obviously the job got done. He was doing ‘Star Trek,’ he did the movies after that, you’re doing eight days of work to get an hour program recorded and he’s working with all these actors and all these technical folks and the special effects that have to come afterward and all these considerations and it seems like he’s just having a ball. He’s joking and he’s laughing and he’s taking time to be silly and he’s encouraging goofiness on the set and you’re like, “How does anything get done”?
James Castle Stevens: But because first of all these are very professional folk and when it came time to do what you had to do, you got it done, and then let’s go enjoy ourselves. It made for a really, really enjoyable experience on the set. Another director I might mention would be Rob Schiller. He directs for sitcoms primarily and he’s really just affable, easygoing, soft spoken, not a screamer as is sometimes the case. Was just super nice, very kind and would come over and quietly whisper something to you to say, “You know, I’d like you to try something a little more like this,” and you really got the feeling that you were collaborating with him rather than just, “Hey, go. You’ve got to be louder, funnier,” you know? He was really, really intimate with it and it was very nice.
Larry Jordan: Now, you don’t necessarily need to name names, because I want to have you stayed employed in the industry, but where have directors been unhelpful?
James Castle Stevens: I’m thinking of someone in particular and if he ever watches this he’ll probably know I’m talking about him, because he’s a friend, he’s a very nice person off set, but he was very abrasive. He’s a yeller. He likes drama. He ran a set like a Greek wedding – a lot of screaming, a lot of emotions and, like a Greek wedding, probably a lot of love in there too – and if you were on the set for a long time, you knew this. You knew that it was just a lot of bark, not a lot of bite, and it was just the way he liked to work. It was very explosive, very emotional.
James Castle Stevens: But I didn’t find that to be very helpful to anybody who came on who was new, certainly if you were new to the industry. You were probably, “What is going on with this man? Why is he screaming at me?” and you came to realize, again, over time, it was just the way he worked. But, oh no, that’s not helpful. It’s not conducive to good work.
Larry Jordan: What are some other mistakes that are common that you’ve run into?
James Castle Stevens: One of the things that I find is a bigger problem is that often a director will have a very clear idea in their mind how they want the end result to be and they will start to basically tell you what the end result to be, they won’t give you a chance to explore those options – so kind of what we were talking about before – but they’ll tell you specifically. “By this moment or this line right here, I would like to see you get into this high point of emotionality.” Ok, that’s an end result but how do you want me to get there? Can we talk about the process, can we talk about what’s going on for this character at this moment? You’re saying you want this huge moment here, but we haven’t done any of the work to get there, and so it’s those things where the director is looking for the end result…
Larry Jordan: Wait, wait, wait, just stop there for a second.
James Castle Stevens: Sure.
Larry Jordan: I would have thought that setting the direction of where you want them to go would be much more helpful than, say, here’s the steps you take to get there, and it sounds like you’re saying just the opposite.
James Castle Stevens: Well, you don’t want to say, “Here’s the steps,” that’s the actor’s process, the actor’s going to have to find those steps for themselves, and if they talk about it from the script point of view, that is to say, “Right here there’s a transition, right here there’s a pivot point, right here you’re building up to this moment but then here’s where I think you have an epiphany, you understand what’s going on and then you make a transition,” that sort of thing, that’s great.
James Castle Stevens: But if they say, “I want you to be in tears, I need this here,” that’s a little awkward because really, if I were to take on that director’s point of view, it would be more, “Here are the stakes, here’s what’s going on for you, here is emotionally where you should be for me,” explaining the situation, “Your daughter is dying,” whatever the situation is, and really getting into the understanding of what the emotional content of the scene is, then let the actor do what they’re doing. If you build it up with the right emotional information, the actor will do the scene and they’ll get to that point and it’ll happen, it’ll actually happen. But if they’re thinking about it, if they’re in their head going, “Right here is the part I have to cry,” never going to happen. And if it does, it’ll be false.
Larry Jordan: Well, how would you contrast the ability of a television director – when you’ve only got eight days to do an hour’s show – versus a theatrical director, where you’ve got four or eight weeks? Is it unrealistic to assume that somebody who’s a filmmaker and trying to get that whole thing shot in a day can even do that kind of dramatic coaching?
James Castle Stevens: No, generally they don’t. Sitcom is sort of the mid ground, but you’re right, movies and hour shows, these are 16 hour days, there’s not a lot of coaching going on. Pretty much you got cast because you could do the job. If they thought you couldn’t, you wouldn’t have been cast, and you show up and they probably won’t give you coaching, you’ll do your best job and they’ll say, “Great, wrap. Next scene.” If they don’t say that, there’s a good chance you’ll get one note and if it’s going onto the third note, you’re probably about to be released. It’s a tough business.
James Castle Stevens: But sitcom is a longer form, it’s five days but it’s only a half hour show, they’re doing rehearsals. They’re rehearsing, like, a little mini play so you get a little bit of that theater experience, it can be a little looser. They’re doing it usually in front of a live audience and that sort of thing, so it’s kind of this hybrid; and then, yes, theater is you’re all chummy, you’re all having beers after rehearsals. It’s a lot more fun.
Larry Jordan: Today you’re actively involved in theater. Are you more interested in acting or directing?
James Castle Stevens: It’s changed. Toward the end of my professional acting career – because as you know I’m the Director of Marketing for your companies – I was kind of getting to the point where there were diminishing returns, you were going out for guest stars and series regular and now you’re going out for co-star and smaller roles again, and you go, “Mmm, I don’t want to do that. That’s not the route I want to go.” My daughter was born so, you know, you make a transition, you make a shift.
James Castle Stevens: But I have been directing theater because it’s something I can do, something I can do while also having a full time job, and it is joyful. So as much as I do enjoy acting still, and I still gladly perform in a show, directing is the whole enchilada. It allows me to explore all of those performances plus the technical plus the direction of the… It’s very exciting.
Larry Jordan: Are you a good director or a bad director?
James Castle Stevens: You’d have to ask the actors I work with.
Larry Jordan: James, thanks for joining us today. James Castle Stevens is an actor and a director, also the Director of Marketing…
Voiceover: This is Tech Talk from the Digital Production Buzz.
Larry Jordan: I’m a big fan of Adobe Audition, as you know. We can send project video to Audition via dynamic link, so let’s go back to this project. Let us pretend that Dr. Surf is a fully edited project and we’re ready to do the sound mix. We can do the mix inside Premiere, but Premiere’s mixer is essentially a clip mixer, it’s not a track mixer and we don’t have access to all the wonderful tools we have inside Audition. But we could send the project over before, that has been around for a long time, but then we’d have to do a separate export of the video and compress the video and now it’s all really easy.
Larry Jordan: Select the project, go up to ‘edit,’ go down to ‘edit in Adobe Audition’ and select ‘sequence.’ Notice we’re giving it a name – we’ll call it Morph Cut. There used to be four choices here where we would have to create a video, but we don’t have to do that anymore, that’s done automatically. We’re going to send the entire sequence through Dynamic Link. What Dynamic Link means is that we no longer need to render the video, export the video, generate the video. Audition’s going to work with the exact same video files that Premiere uses, it’s going to treat it as though it’s editing the video in Premiere; and now when I click ‘ok,’ watch what happens – it automatically says do you want to do it? I did it before, so I’m getting rid of it.
Larry Jordan: It exports the file, it starts Audition, it loads the audio into Audition and it’s automatically got the video file as a single piece of video. We don’t even see the clips up here and we can now do our mixing until we are happy and then, to send our file back to Premiere, we go up to ‘multi track,’ go down to ‘export to Adobe Premiere Pro.’ We can then decide that we want to export each track as a stem, we can mix the entire project down to a mono file, a stereo file or a surround file or all three, have it automatically open Premiere and ask where do we want to place the audio file?
Larry Jordan: This round-tripping between Premiere and Audition is smoother than it has ever been and what Adobe has done is take the hardest part of the process, which is creating the standalone video file and making sure it’s synced to audio, that’s now automatic in Dynamic Link. No rendering, no exporting, just click. Really smooth.
Voiceover: This Tech Talk was shared from Larry Jordan’s website at larryjordan.com.
Larry Jordan: Cinematographer Cullie Poseria loves creating unique and emotional images with lighting and camerawork. She’s focused on developing an organized, creative and collaborative approach to her filmmaking which fits in well with the collaboration between actor and director that we were just discussing. Hello, Cullie, welcome.
Cullie Poseria: Hi Larry, how are you?
Larry Jordan: We are having fun here today. It’s good to have you with us. What first attracted you to cinematography?
Cullie Poseria: I guess the first time I was interested in cinematography was probably when my dad took me to an IMAX film up in Cleveland when I was a little kid and we had gone to see a National Geographic film about natural wonders and it was a really immersive experience and, when I was watching the film, all I could think was, “Wow! This is amazing. How did they film this? Where did they go? How did they make this film?” and at that time I had no idea what a cinematographer was.
Cullie Poseria: But then later on, my dad was into photography and he bought me a point and shoot camera and I practiced taking pictures and once I got into high school I got a little interested in doing art so I thought, “Ok, what can I do that would be part of my creative side but then still be able to make a living off of that?” and then I learned about filmmaking and cinematography and I took a leap and applied to film school. So I had no previous film experience before going to film school.
Larry Jordan: Where did you go to school?
Cullie Poseria: I went to New York University. I did… film and TV program.
Larry Jordan: Yes, I know that program very well. As you are doing your work, do you find yourself more interested in camerawork or lighting?
Cullie Poseria: Oh, that’s a tough one, I like both so much. I think it’s a little bit of both because each cinematographer I’ve worked with or met personally coming up through the ranks, they each have their strong suit. One usually comes up through camera, one comes up through lighting, but part of that is the collaborative process and so you’re part of the team and you’re looking over everything but the reason you have gaffer, for example, would be maybe you’re strong at camera, so you make sure you get a strong gaffer so that you can have someone push you in the lighting and steer you for certain things that you may not know; whereas some DPs who are strong at lighting will get a really strong first AC, assistant cameraman.
Cullie Poseria: I’ve enjoyed both, I’ve AC’d and I’ve gaffed and I can’t really pick one of the departments over the other. That’s why I want to be a cinematographer.
Larry Jordan: I had a chance to watch your Skyler Reed video, and we’ll talk about that in just a minute, but before we do, how would you describe your style?
Cullie Poseria: I would describe my style as somewhat experimental. I like to film dramatic and dark films. The short films that I’ve worked on have had some really personal stories but then dark emotional characters in them, so we’ve gone to shoot and kind of pushed the cameras into the darks and seen how much they could handle. Since most of the stuff I’ve done has been digital, you can only go so far before it becomes noisy or you lose the ability to… adjust it in post.
Cullie Poseria: I guess my style is more a dark style. I like really contrasting stuff, but that’s just what I’ve done most of. Actually, the Skyler Reed project was very different for me. That was a project where she came to me and said, “I want to have scenes that are really bright and somewhat nostalgic,” and I said, “Ok, tell me more,” and then we came up with the idea of flashback scenes that had a really bright window light pouring through the scene.
Cullie Poseria: So that wasn’t necessarily what I’ve worked on what I immediately get attracted to, but I figured that the project sounded great and part of being a cinematographer is working with a director and adjusting your style or approach to what they need for the project, so that’s why the project was exciting to me. It was really different to some of the stuff that I had worked on and gave me a chance to mess around with some lighting that I hadn’t really done a lot of.
Larry Jordan: You mentioned that you tend to like dark scenes and stuff where lighting is much more an element of the film itself. Was that something that evolved on its own or have you adopted this from looking at other films? In other words, what’s influenced your style?
Cullie Poseria: I think it’s a little bit of both. We got to shoot 16 millimeter in school, which allowed us to really work with a bigger dynamic range than some of the digital cameras at the time. Digital cameras in the past three years have come so far in how much dynamic range they can handle, from the highlights to the darks, so people have more ability to light into the dark or into the brightness too.
Cullie Poseria: I would say that it’s partly from watching films like Apocalypse Now, which has some really contrasting dark or very stylized scenes. There are so many different films and cinematographers that I like who have influenced me, but then – like I said before – I don’t necessarily want to limit myself, because I’m so early in my career and that’s why I want to take on more projects like Skyler’s, where I can keep adapting my style and changing with the cameras and the medium.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of cameras, do you have a favorite camera? Is there one that works especially well in low light situations?
Cullie Poseria: I would say film in certain instances, but I was actually surprised. Some of the Canon cameras are actually pretty good in low light situations. There’s a camera that they have called a 1DC, which is one of their 4K DSLR cameras. There’s a website called cinematography.net and one of the DPs who runs that site had done a test with that camera against a RED, Sony cameras, other Canon cameras including the C300 and other production level cameras, and that camera actually surprisingly did really well in a candlelight test and it had a very low noise ratio and so I want to do a little bit more with that camera in low light.
Cullie Poseria: But other than that, I think it’s more about when knowing how to light when you’re shooting in low light. Whatever camera you have shouldn’t feel limited. I know that, for example, Blackmagic just came out with a new camera and some of the issues that they had with their previous camera versions was that the ISO doesn’t go over 1600, I think, without getting really noisy. So whatever camera you have, it’s about learning how to light so you can get the most out of that sensor.
Cullie Poseria: To answer your question, I don’t have a favorite camera for low light. It’s more about knowing what gear you have and knowing how to get the most out of it. I’ve shot with RED and Canon and Sony cameras and even ARRI cameras as well, but it’s just about knowing the dynamic range and how many stops you can go down before you’re just going to hit the noise floor. That’s probably not the best answer. If I gave you a straightforward answer, like “This is the camera to use for low light,” someone would come around and say, “No, no, no, there’s this camera,” or some manufacturer would call me up and say, “Why did you say that?”
Larry Jordan: When you were shooting Skyler Reed, what was your goal in terms of lighting? And what gear did you use to shoot that particular video?
Cullie Poseria: We used a Canon C300, the Mark I. They’ve just had a Mark II come out, but it was the previous one.
Larry Jordan: Did you spend a lot of time with lighting or were you working with natural light? I know many of the scenes were outside rather than inside, but did you have a lot of light gear with you?
Cullie Poseria: For all the interior stuff, we supplemented daylight. We did get a full lighting kit with Kino Flos and tungsten… and with the exterior stuff, it just depended. Most of it was just bounce board or using natural light, but I think the key to that was all of the locations that we had, we did location scouts. I myself did multiple location scouts to a few of the locations, just to know what time of day we should be scheduling things, what kind of light we would.
Cullie Poseria: There’s a scene where we’re under a dock at Manhattan Beach and we went there in the morning but then I was like, “You know, if the sun was over there near the horizon, then we would get more light under the stock and also it would be really nice because it would be giving you a nice backlight,” so that’s what we factored in when we were scheduling. Because we were such a low budget production, we couldn’t really have a whole full production on the beach or get a permit for Manhattan Beach and get lights over there and all that other stuff.
Cullie Poseria: Some of our locations were like that, where we just had a bounce in there just to fill her a little bit and we relied on natural light and just trying to get the shots that we needed and then moving on to the other location so we wouldn’t lose this type of sunlight we needed for that location.
Larry Jordan: As you look back on your shoots, do you remember the good parts or the stuff that didn’t turn out so well? Which sticks in your head the most?
Cullie Poseria: Actually, for this shoot, there wasn’t really anything bad about it. This shoot was extremely smooth. I would say there would not be any bad parts that I remember. I don’t even know what the hardest thing about the actual music video shoot was. It was really smooth. We planned everything as much as we could, did as much pre-production as we possibly could and then we made sure we hired people who knew what they were doing.
Cullie Poseria: Even though it was a low budget shoot, the most important part was to hire people who you knew would show up and do a good job and you won’t necessarily have to coach them to do their job. But I think probably the hardest part about our shoot was trying to get extras. We had a couple of scenes where we wanted more extras, for example the park scene. If you watch the music video, there’s a scene where there are people trying to hustle in the park – one girl’s selling CDs and another guy’s selling flowers or whatever they’re doing in the park – and they’re supposed to be scattered throughout and Skyler Reed, the musician, is supposed to be singing and they’re all on their own hear her singing, get attracted to her voice and come to her and listen, because that’s her hustle, is singing, trying to make money on the street singing, and so I think that was the hardest scene because we didn’t have enough people to make it look like a lot of people.
Cullie Poseria: I know that usually when you get a good AP and you have a small room or something you can make it look like a lot of people by having people pass the camera multiple times or placing them so you see a different side of their face or have them change their shirt, small stuff like that, but we were shooting in a park. That was probably the most difficult thing. We only had eight extras, what do we do? We don’t have a huge group. But it looks fine to me and I think it was almost more realistic, that we didn’t have a huge crowd come and be attracted to her voice. It feels like this is more real, two or three people getting interested. It’s not necessarily a huge crowd, so it probably was for the better. So I remember the good stuff.
Larry Jordan: Thinking about that, in the little bit of time we’ve got left, how do you get involved with post? Are you involved with the editing at all and do you get involved with color correction, or does the color grade go to the director?
Cullie Poseria: In low budget productions, I’ve been asked to do the color correction on a few projects, but I don’t generally color correct. I have been dabbling with it a little bit and I do have experience color correcting on a couple of projects, but for Skyler’s I actually ended up doing the color correction because we couldn’t find someone who fit. I don’t know as many people here in LA as I do in New York and so I was posting on Mandy looking for someone to color correct with. I don’t know, I just ended up saying, “You know what? I’ll just do it for you, because we don’t really have the budget to pay someone super professional to do it,” and we just didn’t find the right person in that low budget range.
Larry Jordan: And Cullie, what website can people go to to learn more about your work?
Cullie Poseria: My website is cposeria.wix.com and then /cpdp. But you should go to Larry Jordan’s website and get my website off of there.
Larry Jordan: Cullie, thanks very much for joining us. Cullie Poseria is a cinematographer and you can see her website at cposeria.wix.com/cpdp. Cullie, thanks for joining us today.
Cullie Poseria: Thank you so much. Have a good day.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye. Ah! It’s been a heck of a show and I want to thank our guests for today. We started with Starr Ackerman, musician and gear guru, and then James Castle Stevens, the actor, and Cullie Poseria, cinematographer; and, of course, Randi Altman, the Editor in Chief of postperspective.com.
Larry Jordan: There’s lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all searchable, all online and all available.
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Larry Jordan: Our producer is Cirina Catania; engineering led by Megan Paulos, includes Keegan Guy, Ailin Kim and Brianna Murphy. On behalf of Mike Horton, my name’s Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.
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