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Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – August 27, 2015

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Digital Production Buzz

August 27, 2015

[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]

(Click here to listen to this show.)


Larry Jordan


Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney & Labor Reporter, TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter

Avery Lu, Co-Founder, CMO, Palo Alto Scientific, Inc.

Casey Hupke, VFX Designer/Animator


Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, SAG-AFTRA just went through an election that exposed deep rifts still festering in the union. Jonathan Handel, the entertainment labor reporter for The Hollywood Reporter, joins us tonight to explain what’s going on and what it means to the rest of us.

Larry Jordan: Avery Lu is the cofounder of Palo Alto Scientific, a company that makes wearable tech. He’s concerned about improving our fitness, but I’m concerned about the security of wearing all this highly personal medical data on our wrist. We talk with him about tonight about both issues.

Larry Jordan: Casey Hupke is a freelance visual effects designer and an animator. He combines his love of comedy with illogical special effects to create offbeat, unique looks for IBM, AT&T, Coke and many others. Tonight, he shares his thoughts on creativity.

Larry Jordan: All this plus Randi Altman’s perspective on the news, Tech Talk and The Buzz Flashback. The Digital Production Buzz starts now.

Announcer #1: Tonight’s Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at; and by Xen Data, at

Announcer #2: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking… Authoritative…one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals… Current…uniting industry experts… Production…filmmakers… Post production…and content creators around the planet. Distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.

Larry Jordan: 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 and marketing around the world. Mike Horton has the night off.

Larry Jordan: Last week on The Buzz, Doug Sheer, the CEO of DIS Consulting, said something that’s been echoing in my head ever since. During the interview, Mike asked why cameras that used to cost $100,000 are now less than $10,000 and Doug responded by saying he didn’t think the media industry has recovered from the recession of 2008. So many companies are on the financial edge that he expects to see a number of acquisitions in the not too distant future.

Larry Jordan: This started me thinking – every one of us loves to get something for free or, if we can’t get it for free, we want to save a ton of money when we do buy it. After the financial meltdown in 2008, no-one was spending any money so companies lowered prices just to get something to sell. As every business owner knows, payrolls don’t stop even if sales slow down. Prices started falling and at the same time many companies ramped up R&D to create new cooler products which they released as soon as possible and, in some cases, these new products went to market before they were ready.

Larry Jordan: But in other cases, these new products replaced older products but at new, lower price points. Pricing pressure accelerated as new companies came to market with lower costs than existing companies. New products were released at increasingly faster rates and new technology replaced old technology, except that now changes were coming so quickly and prices were dropping so rapidly that a new sensibility arose in customers, meaning the longer you wait to buy, the better and cheaper the product that you want will become.

Larry Jordan: This new paradigm tends to paralyze the market. I read this every day in my email from readers and hear it in my conversations with vendors – why buy now when, if I wait, it’ll be faster and cheaper? This puts us in an untenable situation. Vendors need us to buy today to fund the development of tomorrow, but customers are reluctant to buy today because they know something better will be released tomorrow, and an industry finds itself in a precarious position of needing sales that aren’t forthcoming.

Larry Jordan: We have serious expectations disconnecting between buyers and sellers, one that is only going to get worse. The center cannot hold and at some point soon things are going to break. As Oliver Hardy said, it’s another nice mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.

Voiceover: This is Randi Altman’s Perspective.

Larry Jordan: Randi Altman has covered the post production industry for more than 20 years. She currently runs her own website at Hello, Randi, it’s good to have you back.

Randi Altman: Hi Larry. How are you?

Larry Jordan: I’m talking to you, this is the highlight of my week. It’s good to see you again. We missed you last week.

Randi Altman: Yes, it’s been a quiet summer.

Larry Jordan: Well, IBC is coming up. What big announcements should we expect?

Randi Altman: Your guess is as good as mine. At this point, everybody is very close lipped about it. Everybody’s announcing that they’re going to be there with great stuff, but nobody’s actually being specific about what they’re going to bring to the show. I expect 4K, I expect cloud based workflows, collaboration and all that, but no specifics yet. Sorry.

Larry Jordan: You mean they’re not telling you their secrets ahead of time?

Randi Altman: If they are, I will be sued on many levels. I have to zip it and lock it, yes.

Larry Jordan: Ah, where are our ethics when we want to know the inside scoop? That’s my question. You know, I was just looking over your website again, because I always enjoy reading all the interviews that you’ve got there, and you’ve spent your professional career interviewing people. How do you find and select your subjects?

Randi Altman: It depends. I never like following an actual framework, even though in publishing you need to do that. I like to see what’s new, what’s interesting. I am a fan of film, I’m a fan of TV, of any sort of entertainment, so if I find that I like it, I’m assuming maybe other people do as well, so a lot of times it’s just from personal taste, and a lot of times that’s worked pretty well for me. Plus interesting people, people who seem fun.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of fun and interesting people, there have to be a couple of interviews that stick in your head. What’s one of the memorable ones?

Randi Altman: One of the most anxiety inducing interviews was with Jerry Bruckheimer right around the Pirates of the Caribbean time, early on, and his assistant said, “He will call you one day,” and I just sort of had to wait. He’s a busy guy, I understand, but when he did call it was about seven o’clock my time and my young son was with me. There was nothing that I could do, so I handed him a toy and hoped for the best. But the toy was Sing and Snore Ernie and every three seconds he would hit the belly and you would hear Ernie snoring. Jerry Bruckheimer.

Larry Jordan: Does Bruckheimer remember or even talk to you about this?

Randi Altman: Well, he hasn’t spoken to me since, so I’m assuming it didn’t go well on his end.

Larry Jordan: How about another one? Any other interviews come to mine?

Randi Altman: Oh, there have been a lot. Stephen Colbert was a ton of fun to interview, very serious about what he does but fun. Danny DeVito I spoke to about the After Effects work he did on his own film, ‘Death to Smoochy,’ which was not critically acclaimed but it was a ton of fun to speak to him about it. He is a gear head. I’m assuming he still is, this was a while ago, but he really got into the technology behind it, which was fun.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of technology, next week is the last week of the run-up to IBC, so we’ll talk to you about how you get ready for IBC next week. In the meantime, Randi, what’s your website for people who want to keep track of what you’re up to?

Randi Altman:

Larry Jordan: Thanks, Randi, we’ll talk to you next week.

Randi Altman: Thanks, Larry. Take care.

Larry Jordan: To read more from Randi Altman, visit

Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Jonathan Handel, Avery Lu, Casey Hupke, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.

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Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel is an entertainment and technology attorney of Counsel at TroyGould in Los Angeles. He’s also the contributing editor on entertainment labor issues for The Hollywood Reporter, with his own blog at Hello, Jonathan, welcome back.

Jonathan Handel: Larry, it’s a pleasure to be with you.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, there’s so much I want to talk about. I’m going to stop talking about your Porsche and get right to the important issues. Hollywood unions have been making news these last couple of weeks and especially SAG-AFTRA. What were the results of the recent election?

Jonathan Handel: There has been a lot of news and I’m wearing my residuals tie in honor of the unions. The elections at SAG-AFTRA were very contentious. The group called Membership First, the challengers who were in control of the union from 2005 to 2008 have come warring back. They didn’t win the presidency, the President is still Ken Howard of Unite For Strength, the group that’s run the union now for the past six years and Ken has been President for the past six years, but they did win the Secretary Treasurer position and the Head of the LA local, which is the largest local in the union; and then, of course, they won a number of board seats and so on and so forth – there are a lot of boards and delegates and things like that in the SAG-AFTRA structure.

Jonathan Handel: The takeaway is that the next several years are going to be very contentious. First they have their convention coming up in a month and they elect certain officers there; then they have their commercials contract negotiations early next year; and then late next year, they’ll begin the process of negotiating their 2017 contract. The entire process of negotiating these two big ticket contracts, the two contracts that account for most of the income of SAG-AFTRA members, is going to be very much inflected by political contention.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, if I remember correctly, we’ve got the two different parties and Membership First was in power from 2005 to 2008 and there was just constant internecine warfare to the point that they lost a contract, if I remember correctly. Are we looking to have this kind of interparty warfare going on again?

Jonathan Handel: It hopefully won’t be as bad as it was because, of course, in that period SAG and AFTRA had not merged and so there was this big target for Membership First to say, “Look, AFTRA is undercutting us on deals, they’re doing this, they’re doing that,” and there was the specter of the other, the other union there to contend with. But it is clear that we’re going to be hopefully not at that level of contention, but we are going to be seeing a more contentious period in contract negotiations and that may affect how the studio and commercials relationships play out.

Larry Jordan: One of the interesting comments that was made by the Membership First people, the insurgents in this election, as it were, was that AFTRA and SAG were losing money in royalties because of the way the contracts were negotiated. But your research turned up something different, did it not?

Jonathan Handel: That’s correct, at least to the extent that we have figures. We don’t have figures for SAG-AFTRA but we have figures for the Writers’ Guild and there is a great degree of pattern in the way these unions bargain. I brought a prop today which is the residuals book that I’ve been working on and the cover of the residuals book is the residuals chart. The reason I’m able to summarize the residuals system in a chart is that there is a great deal of patterning between the unions – it’s called pattern bargaining – so when you get stats from the… who does publish detailed statistics, you can make some inferences about SAG-AFTRA, and for the first time last year the Writers’ Guild new media residuals exceeded their network prime time residuals.

Larry Jordan: I find that to be fascinating. New media exceeded prime time.

Jonathan Handel: That’s right, so in practical terms you’re talking about Hulu, and you’re also talking about Netflix and Amazon Prime re-runs of programming made for other platforms, so it’s not quite apples to apples, but the growth rate on new media is 40 percent year over year, whereas the decline in network prime time is five percent declining year over year. This year, when we see the statistics play out, you’re going to see an even stronger new media year and an even weaker network prime time year.

Larry Jordan: How would you describe the core disagreement between the two parties inside SAG-AFTRA? I remember Membership First. What’s the other side called?

Jonathan Handel: Unite For Strength. Unite For Strength is the incumbents and the core disagreement really goes back to merger and it’s whether merger has brought benefits or not. Believe it or not, at some level Membership First is still fighting the merger battle, even though the unions merged three years ago. One thing that does bother them and has taken quite some time is that the pension and health plans still have not merged. The health plan they are working on; the pension plan is a very difficult and much harder situation. But one wonders why it has taken three years.

Jonathan Handel: Part of that is the contracts. The TV contracts and commercial contracts didn’t merge themselves until 2014 and so until those contracts were merged, it was unlikely that they were going to merge the pension or the health plans. But it still is obviously something that people are really dissatisfied with because your earnings count for one plan or the other and if you work under separate jurisdictions, as it were, you may not qualify for health under either, whereas if… were combined in a single plan, then you would. That’s the essence of the problem that people have with this.

Larry Jordan: Both sides have high level actors being visible, but something that you wrote about caught my attention, which is there are tens of thousands of actors who are at the bottom level of the union which used to be the Screen Extras’ Guild. It sounds like they’re being used as pawns in this whole discussion. Is that a true statement? And, if so, how?

Jonathan Handel: I don’t want to wade into whether they’re pawns or not per se, but they certainly are a political factor. They’re a group that is inherently going to be unhappy with the status quo because the status quo for extras is they’re paid like paupers and they’re herded like cattle. That’s the way that to a great degree it’s going to continue to be, because there is a hierarchy of extras versus principal actors versus star actors. There’s a pyramid in the way the economics and, frankly, the power works within the acting profession.

Jonathan Handel: Extras as background actors as well as stunt performers do play a significant role in the politics here and, in fact, Jane Austin, the woman who ran for Secretary Treasurer and for LA Board President on a Membership First ticket, is actually not an actor, she is a stunt performer, so the head of the largest local of the largest actors’ union in the world is not actually per se an actor. It’s kind of surprising.

Larry Jordan: Do you think the two top executives, one from each of the different parties, are going to be able to work together? The initial statements were all very conciliatory and were all in one family, but sometimes those can be deceptive.

Jonathan Handel: I think it’s going to be difficult. There is a lot of mistrust, there’s a lot of politicking. The convention process where they elect the Executive Vice President – who in many ways is more powerful than the Secretary Treasurer, really is the second most powerful elected officer – that’s probably going to end up being contentious, but it probably will end up being the Unite For Strength candidate because Membership First didn’t want delegate candidates to really control the convention. But it’s difficult politics for them.

Larry Jordan: I want to talk about the IATSE agreement, but one thing that struck me in the article that I read which you write was that broadcast and cable audiences are in decline and new media audiences are in the ascendancy. What does that mean for the long term health of the unions?

Jonathan Handel: What does it mean first of all for the long term health of the industry is the question, because it flows downward from corporate and companies to labor. I think that’s a cloud of uncertainty that everyone’s operating under. One of the points is if you are able to successfully as a consumer get off of a $100 a month cable package and go to a $40 a month skinny package or never buy the $100 package in the first instance and just buy your skinny package with Netflix or Amazon Prime and maybe a bit of cable, you’re talking less money that flows into the system.

Jonathan Handel: The less money that the hated cable companies scoop up from us, the less money they have to pay the program suppliers and in turn the less money goes to the unions, so it’s difficult. You’ve got more programming on the air, more shows, residuals have grown, television residuals in particular have grown. Bottom line, TV residuals have grown I want to say maybe ten percent year over year or something, I forget the exact number. I do know that over the last six or eight years, that theatrical residuals have been completely flat. I’m getting this from Writers’ Guild figures.

Jonathan Handel: It’s going to put pressure on the union, there’s no doubt about it, and when you have changing viewing patterns, things like over the top services like HBO Now, that people use instead of HBO, you get a lot of technical questions. Again, this residuals chart is complex because there are a lot of distinctions that are made between different media and when you get a new medium out there… it doesn’t fit necessarily correctly in those categories. People have to juggle to figure out, “Ok, do we treat this as new media? Do we treat it as HBO, as pay TV? What about when… with the new media and theatrical release, how do you treat that?”

Jonathan Handel: So there’s a lot of complexity and the trouble with complexity is that virtually every above the line strike in the history of these unions from inception 80 years ago have been about residuals. So the complexity of the residuals system has a real impact ultimately on whether we see these labor disturbances.

Larry Jordan: In the few minutes that we’ve got left, let’s shift gears to a different union, which is IATSE. They recently announced that they had a contract settlement. What’s happening there?

Jonathan Handel: They negotiated their three year contract and it has three percent increases, it has some increases in pension, I believe. There are various working condition and new media related terms. They really didn’t release many of the details, so we’re still looking at that and I may be reporting something hopefully in the next week or so relating to that contract. I will tell you, in terms of other developments, we have a study which just came out from the DGA on diversity in television directors.

Jonathan Handel: The headline there is no more diversity today than there was last year, it’s still basically a white man’s job. 84 percent of the TV episodes in the last season were white male directors, so that’s a very difficult place. And then just hot off the press, for those who work in music, SAG-AFTRA just announced a new sound recording… that is a new deal with record labels and it has some media residuals and royalty permissions in it.

Larry Jordan: We’ve had a lot of conversation today and over the last year looking at the union situation in LA, which is important for LA markets and New York, but is there relevance, can this be extended to the broad media universe in which we live or is this just really isolated to those two cities?

Jonathan Handel: Well, no, these are nationwide unions. The IATSE contract is a West Coast contract, 13 states, California obviously among them, but 12 other states. But the SAG-AFTRA contracts for commercials, sound recording and TV theatrical upcoming, those are all nationwide contracts, so we are talking nationwide impact here.

Larry Jordan: How about international? Is there any kind of spillover in terms of how these negotiations go versus what’s happening overseas?

Jonathan Handel: Certainly when you have productions that are under US jurisdiction that are done overseas, for example with SAG-AFTRA actors, you’re talking SAG-AFTRA contracts that would apply at least to the American actors. In terms of the contract negotiations that you would see in the UK or in Canada, there is sometimes some modeling. They are aware of what’s going on in the US, but we’re obviously talking separate unions and separate industries.

Larry Jordan: So what stories are you watching for the next two weeks? What’s bubbling under the surface that’s got your attention?

Jonathan Handel: Gee, if I could tell you I would, but my competitors might be watching this as well so I have to be careful with what I say. But I am taking a closer look at the IATSE agreement; I think there may be something interesting there. I’m taking a look at what’s going on with SAG-AFTRA and further I say it not.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, even if your competition takes notes on what you’re doing, they won’t write it as well as you do. Where can people go on the web to learn more about what your reporting is covering?

Jonathan Handel: Two places –, my own blog, and

Larry Jordan: What do we find on your blog that we don’t find in The Hollywood Reporter?

Jonathan Handel: I don’t blog a lot these days so what you find more is background about me, you find links to my past appearances in the media, including Digital Production Buzz, of course, and a way of contacting me, so if there are stories that people want to tip me on or things that I haven’t gotten right, I welcome contact from people around the country and around the world.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, it is always a delight chatting with you. Thanks for joining us and thanks for bringing us up to date on the guild situation in Los Angeles. Jonathan Handel of We’ll be right back.

Jonathan Handel: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Avery Lu, Casey Hupke, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.

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Larry Jordan: Avery Lu is the cofounder and Chief Marketing Officer at Palo Alto Scientific. This is a wearable tech company whose goal is to bring sports science to everyone. They do this by integrating sports science, data analytics, wearable technology and the internet of things, including shoes. Hello, Avery, welcome.

Avery Lu: Hi Larry, good afternoon.

Larry Jordan: Avery, how would you describe Palo Alto Scientific?

Avery Lu: What our company’s mission is, is to empower sports enthusiasts to participate in sports science, leveraging the whole wearables and the big data analytics. Our first product, ProfileMyRun, is actually designed to help runners improve their running form and technique using an app on our IOS device in the smart insole.

Larry Jordan: This app actually connects with, if I remember from your website, an insole device which has got a sensor built into it which tells you everything you want to know about your feet. Is that true?

Avery Lu: Correct. Basically, there’s a force sensing sensor that’s built into the insole and that would replace your existing insole in your running shoe. That’s actually one of our patent pending capabilities. Then we’re also using accelerometers as well as a Bluetooth LE to communicate with IOS devices to in real time advise runners to improve their posture or…

Larry Jordan: What was it that woke you up in the middle of the night saying you have to cofound a company that does inserts to shoes?

Avery Lu: My founder and CEO, CK Lim, several years ago was told by his doctor that he had to take up a sport to improve his health because he would otherwise have to take beta blockers for the rest of his life. Being an engineer and understanding data analytics long before we had the terms big data, data analytics and data science, he said, “I can solve this problem and I can help others as well.”

Larry Jordan: Your company uses the phrase, ‘Bringing sports science to everyone’. What does that mean?

Avery Lu: What that means is we’re really basing on the sports science and leveraging the whole technology capabilities to really improve people’s lives. Just like right now you have the Fitbits that are kind of the first generation wearables, giving you descriptive information about your weight, your calories, your steps, we want to take it one step further. What if we can predict what’s going to happen and also prescribe to you what you can do to improve your health, improve your fitness to augment your life? That’s really, I think, the goal where a lot of the wearables going forward are going to be focused in order to get that stickiness or rate of adoption that right now is sorely missing in the wearables space.

Larry Jordan: There are two reactions I have to this. The first is that this is just way cool. This is really cool stuff, you’re getting some incredible data out of something that I wouldn’t have thought you could get any data out of, which is how your foot hits the ground, so that’s side one, which is the cool side. The other side is we’re collecting a whole lot of personal information, medical information about ourselves and storing it on a portable device. It strikes me that there are a lot of security issues here. What data are you collecting and how are we keeping it secure so that just an average passer-by can’t get access to all this medical data about ourselves?

Avery Lu: I’m not a data security expert, but I would say that… how we segment the data in terms of how much information… have to have for the user… what they do with it to provide some value, at the same time not having to take enough data to, like you say, piece it together so that people can really understand… to the level… they would like to know. I think that’s really the…

Larry Jordan: You’re aggregating the data to keep it anonymous, but do we need to worry about things like HIPAA rules? I know HIPAA makes medical information even more secure than standard business data.

Avery Lu: I think right now most start-ups like ourselves are trying to avoid the HIPAA and FDA in terms of just getting enough data to provide and prescribe but without actually diagnosing an illness, because that’s where HIPAA and the FDA would have to come in. We have been approached by many different companies that are already working on wearables in the medical space that would like to also participate in the consumer side, so I think there’s an opportunity to work together to try to create these safeguards for people’s medical data going forward.

Larry Jordan: What information is stored locally on the cell phone and what information is aggregated in the cloud?

Avery Lu: Right now, for our current app, I think most of the data is actually being pushed up into the cloud. We just use the data coming back from the cloud in order to advise – using some audible tone so it doesn’t interrupt a runner’s session – if they’re leaning too far forward or too far back. As we improve our app and add additional functionalities to advise them and also as we work to possibly a smart watch as a standalone wearable that can last for ultra marathons, 100 miles, 300 miles, that’s where a lot of the data will be stored locally on a Flash memory and then at the end of the session or maybe at different points during the marathon, it will be uploaded to the cloud.

Larry Jordan: Now, you’ve mentioned that this is anonymous. How can you analyze it if the data is anonymous? There has to be some personalization for you to give feedback to the runner. How are you making sure that the right data does not get lost?

Avery Lu: When we collect the data, of course the user has to… collect data, but I think it’s really after we collect the data, how we safeguard it and then basically be able to give them and only them access to their data. So what happens after the session, they can actually go and look at the runner score and personal data on and that is only accessible with a password.

Larry Jordan: Talk to me about the technology. How are you getting the data from the shoe to the phone? How does that work?

Avery Lu: From the shoe, the insole would replace your existing running insole and what you do is there’s actually a cable that collects data from the foot… up to 700 pounds per square inch, and that data is aggregated with the accelerometer data in a module that clasps onto your shoelace. That will then be communicated through your iPhone and then to your IOS app. It basically advises you about your lean, if you are leaning forward enough or leaning too far back and so on.

Larry Jordan: How does your company make its money?

Avery Lu: Initially, it would be from selling the hardware units, the insoles, but really what we want to do is revolutionize the wearable industry in terms of not only selling hardware. Hardware is just a platform to collect data. I think the future wearables are really going to be about data analytics, the prescriptive and predictive nature of what we can provide, and we want to create something, kind of like Steve Jobs took the… MP3 and made it into iTunes and having artists sell their data or their music or their art on an ecosystem tied to IOS.

Avery Lu: What we want to do is create a sports marketplace leveraging social media so runners can share their data amongst themselves and we can even get celebrity runners to sell their profiles, just like artists sell their music on iTunes, and therefore if you wanted to run like Ned Kennedy, who won the Boston Marathon, then he can actually sell you the profile and, using machines or apps and understanding your physiology, we can actually map your run to learn his form and technique to win marathons.

Larry Jordan: Is this a business model similar to Google’s, where the money is in the advertising and you’re marketing our data back to other people or to ourselves?

Avery Lu: In some respects, it’s like that but I think that people will opt in because they see value in how it’s going to augment their life. If they see that the data we’re returning back to them is something we’re expanding, then they’re willing to pay a monthly subscription – it’s $5.99 or $9.99 – if it improves their life.

Avery Lu: Right now, you have MapMyRun and you also have the Fitbits and they will charge subscriptions, but that data is still not as useful as it should be. We’re striving as a company, just like the industry, to provide valuable data so that you’re willing to spend money because you’re getting a big bang out of your dollar. With us paying cell phone and direct TV and other bills, why should I justify paying yet another expense?

Larry Jordan: Where can people go on the web to learn more about the products that your company makes and your company itself?

Avery Lu: They can go to or they can check us out on Facebook, at What we do is we blog and post different aspects of our run science and sport science.

Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Casey Hupke, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.

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Larry Jordan: We also have improved editing trimming and trimming display, I’m going to take the morph cuts out and trim here. As we trim, we have the ability to see the shift in timecode by looking inside the program monitor and if you look really closely you can see the timecode display. As you have a larger screen, the timecode display becomes more visible. I’m running this at a 1280 by 720 set-up.

Larry Jordan: We can also use command, right arrow to move a clip, command, left arrow to move a clip. If I select an edit point, we can move an edit point with option, left and option, right arrow. If we go up to Premiere Pro CC, go down to keyboard shortcuts and search for ‘nudge’, this is where we’re able to set what happens when we want to move a clip. Notice its command, left arrow and command, right arrow.

Larry Jordan: If we select ‘trim’, this is where we’re able to trim. Notice how its option, left arrow, option, right arrow. You can use the same keyboard shortcut, whichever one you prefer, for both trimming with the keyboard or nudging with the keyboard. This is a subtle but significant change because it decreases the number of keyboard shortcuts you have to remember. This next one’s really cool, let’s go back. This is one of those things where you look at this and say, “Why is everybody excited?” but it’s really nice.

Larry Jordan: Let’s go back to our Grand Teton shot here. Go up to effects controls, click this icon to enable the on screen motion control settings and if you’ve got the eyes of an eagle, you’ll be able to see right here in the center of the frame, that’s the indicator for the anchor point. We can now grab the anchor point and drag it wherever we want it to go. Now, I can hear you asking already, “Why does anybody want to move the anchor point?”

Larry Jordan: The anchor point is that portion of the frame around which it rotates and around which it zooms. So rather than have to do a two step set-up where you’ve got to set a position command and you do a zoom and you do a scale command, now you just simply move the anchor point to the point around which you want something to grow or shrink or rotate. You can move the anchor point and then you just have a single command – change the scale. Much easier.

Larry Jordan: The problem in the past with the way this worked was – let me reset here – we would need to remember that Premiere considered the zero zero point to be the top left corner and that meant that if I wanted to rotate around this corner we’ve got to do a ton of math to figure out exactly how many pixels over and how many pixels down that particular point is and then we had to dial the numbers in. It was just painful. Now, thank goodness, we can grab the anchor point and drag it. It’s a small thing but I’ve been cheering ever since I discovered that was a feature.

Voiceover: This Tech Talk was shared from Larry Jordon’s website at

Larry Jordan: Casey Hupke is a visual effects designer and an animator who’s been working commercially for more than seven years. As a freelancer, he collaborates with studios to help to find an artistic style for clients such as IBM, AT&T, Coca Cola and Buick. His passion for comedy and a special love of illogical special effects helps to define his workflow and his aesthetic. Hello, Casey, welcome.

Casey Hupke: Hey, guys, how’s it going?

Larry Jordan: Casey, how would you describe what you do?

Casey Hupke: I guess the most poignant way to describe it is a motion designer hacker. A lot of the time, I have to come up with solutions for… at a fast pace.

Larry Jordan: Do you think of yourself as a solutions provider or as a designer of effects?

Casey Hupke: A little bit of both, but probably more of a solutions designer.

Larry Jordan: How come?

Casey Hupke: Well, there are a lot of times where I may be more like a technical director or a lead on a project, so I don’t end up actually getting to go from zero to 100 percent with a frame or a shot. I more or less come up with an idea or a trick and… that out to a team or a department, then they’ll usually finish it off.

Larry Jordan: Who are some of the clients that you’ve had in the past?

Casey Hupke: I’ve worked with a lot of the big studios out in Los Angeles and most recently I’ve been doing concert visuals. I just worked on the U2 tour that’s going on right now and I’ve worked with Katy Perry and Lady Gaga… and Nicki Minaj.

Larry Jordan: We’re going to talk more about the U2 tour in just a minute, but we went to your website and downloaded your demo reel and when I showed it to the team here in the office, everybody’s jaw was on the floor. It runs about a minute and it’s worthwhile, I think, to share it with the audience, so let’s take a look at your demo reel.

Casey Hupke: Ok.


Larry Jordan: I tell you, Casey, you haven’t met a particle system that you didn’t like. I haven’t seen that many particles in a long time.

Casey Hupke: Thanks. Yes, that was I think my biggest claim to fame, working with particles in Datavis or future user interface type design. It was something that there wasn’t a lot of Cinema 4D users using. There was a big hole in that community for a particle guy and I basically saw that as an opening for me to fill that hole and… this is a door that’s wide open… if I could just figure it out and it can’t be that complicated. So after a lot of time, research and development and reading the Cinema 4D manual, eventually I’ve got to a point where that’s now what I’ve been typecast as, which I’m totally fine with.

Larry Jordan: If you get results like that, that’s a great thing to be typecast as. Some of those effects are just amazing. Congratulations.

Casey Hupke: Oh, thanks.

Larry Jordan: I want to deal at high level first and then I want to talk about some of the more specific projects you’ve worked on, but a company comes to you – how do you decide how to solve their problem? Do you see the solution in your head and you go right to it or is it a process of exploration? What’s your creative process? How do you work through getting some of the effects we just looked at?

Casey Hupke: I try to look at the micro level of what’s going on and the design reference or the flame or even the verbal ask and I try to think, at the core of this what’s the movement? Is there something in the real world that I can relate this to? Usually it’s some kind of dust particle in the wind or fluid coming out of a faucet or something and I start actively creating those types of effects and mixing them and mashing them up.

Casey Hupke: A lot of it just comes down to trying to figure out what all the little things are that are making this motion or this reference feel right and it’s usually things that you’re not even aware of, like a little bit of depth in field wiggle or a little bit of motion blur error or just little things that break up the linearity of animations. Those are the things that I look for in a design, the things that are going to make your brain feel confused, like it’s looking at something real but it can’t quite understand it.

Larry Jordan: I don’t want to bring up past history here, but you’re using terms like depth of field and creative terms, but you didn’t start out as a designer. How did you get into this field?

Casey Hupke: I was working at a hair salon that my wife worked at, answering the phones, and I went on Craigslist – and this was in 2004 – and I was literally looking for a cool job and I found this posting for a motion graphics studio called Exopolis who were looking for a production coordinator. So I sent them a completely informal email, just word vomiting about what I do and what I like to do and in that list was this hacking zine that I had published with some friends and I’d built a lot of computers and a lot of technology and instead of hiring me as a production coordinator, they hired me as a part-time IT guy.

Casey Hupke: After about six months of that, they brought me on full time and then they saw me using Cinema 4D and After Effects and Photoshop and they were like, “What are you doing?” and I was like, “Well, I’ve been trying to learn these apps so I can figure out why they’re crashing when people are trying to get renders done, so I’ve just been learning them on the side,” and they were like, “Oh, cool,” and they kept watching and eventually I started answering people’s questions about core level technologies in Cinema and After Effects and then they were like, “Ok, now you’re going to start doing some of this work”, so they gave me a job as a junior animator/designer and kept me as the IT guy.

Casey Hupke: A little bit of time later, they said, “We’re hiring a new IT guy.” I initially thought I was being fired, but they said, “We want you to be a regular staff animator on the team.” I was like, “Wow, ok, this is amazing.” And then over the course of the next several years, I went from a little 19 year old kid in the company to a 24 year old lead animator and the last project I worked on there was this really big thing for Microsoft XBox 360. It was like a ray vision of their user interface and it was the anthem video. But, yes, my college was basically answering a Craigslist ad and then getting thrown into this world of motion design and I had no idea this was going to be where I am today.

Larry Jordan: Well, you’ve got to admit, going from a hair studio to working on a U2 tour is a heck of a change in life.

Casey Hupke: Yes, yes, especially as I didn’t go to art school, I went to junior college a little bit. Even high school I got out of when I was 16 through the California High School Proficiency exam. I’ve always been a self-motivated educator and it’s always been easy for me to pick something up or learn something, so I’ve really enjoyed doing that and lately I’ve been doing NAB and SIGGRAPH with Maxon and trying to pass off the stuff that I’ve learned along the way.

Larry Jordan: That is very cool. Let’s talk more specifically about this recent gig you did for U2. You’ve done a lot of music – Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. What is it about music videos that caught your interest and what are you doing for them?

Casey Hupke: The live concerts were another thing that a company hit me up about a few years ago, this company called Possible Productions, and we decided to do kind of like contractual dating. I came in as a creative director of the company and they wanted to make concert visuals and I was like, “This looks awesome. I’d love to sit for another huge arena and make content, figure out how we’re going to make this song and this theme feel appropriate.” Sometimes its 97 HD screens that are wrapped around a sphere. Sometimes it’s an inflatable that’s impossible to projection map.

Casey Hupke: But the main thing is that you’re not making something that’s just going to be seen on TV or in a movie theater. You’re adding in the vanilla or the sprinkles to someone’s dessert. They’re experiencing this entire thing you’re just a small part of it, but it’s really important to the overall piece. So I just love the fact that we were collaborating with all these different departments – the sound engineers, the grips, the band themselves, the wardrobe – to create this big show. It just felt like I was working in a creative world that I’d never experienced in commercial motion graphics or visual effects for movies.

Larry Jordan: Who do you report too? Who gives you the assignment and who signs off on the creative? How does that process work?

Casey Hupke: It really depends on who I’m working with. I’ve worked with a few different companies that do these large tours. Most recently I was working with Empirical Studio, which is a company in London and they do AC/DC and Ed Sheeran and U2, obviously, and so I’ll usually just be like an implant in their team, travel to whatever venue we’re at. For U2 specifically, we rehearsed in Pennsylvania for a month and then I took a week off and went to Vancouver for two months to get ready on set for the first of the shows on the tour. To answer your question, whoever’s employing me is going to be the boss, whether that’s a band manager or an art director.

Larry Jordan: It’s not the band itself, but it’s their producer or manager who’s the one that’s doing the hiring and making the creative decisions?

Casey Hupke: Well, the band definitely is going to have their say and it’s usually the final word, but with some bands the only thing I’ve got from them is, “Yeah, that’s cool,” and the manager will be like, “Ok, I know they said this is cool, but check this out. We have this idea, we want it to go up and down and then zig-zig-zig,” and then they want to see that in five, six hours. So we have small teams usually, three to six people, that have to turn out an hour of content, so everyone jams on a song, we make style frames out of clipped images sometimes and we just do it like we’re doing Pinterest boards or Cinema 4D explorations with R&D and say, “How does this look?” “I don’t know, let’s try it.” “How is it?” So it’ll be like a quick edit over or something and throw it up on the huge arena screen and practice…

Larry Jordan: How are you playing it back once it’s been rendered and finished?

Casey Hupke: That’s again situational to the concert. There are usually operators who handle the projections that run through a D3 service or a touch designer. It’s like software that’s basically a whole bunch of PCs that are piped in to whatever screens or run into the projectors. There’s usually some form of projection mapping that we see in real time after we render out of After Effects or Cinema and we usually are sitting with maybe 30 other people in an arena, alone, two o’clock in the morning, looking at the stuff that we just made. It’s a super surreal experience.

Larry Jordan: Casey, where can people go on the web to learn more about you and your work?

Casey Hupke: You can find me on Twitter, @darkcasey, or you can find me on my website – I’m in a bit of a transition right now but it’ll be back.

Larry Jordan: That’s You can see it on the screen. Casey Hupke is a visual effects designer. Casey, thanks for joining us today.

Casey Hupke: Thank you for having me.

Larry Jordan: It’s time for a Buzz Flashback. Five years ago today…

Unknown male (archive): When we started out in the library, there was a dearth of music that was actually active that drew attention. A lot of production music was background and it kind of meant that if you were scoring the World of the Squirrel, it would be fine for music, but if you were actually scoring a promo or a trailer or anything where you wanted to cut to video, you couldn’t find anything. So we created a library that actually did that.

Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.

Larry Jordan: I was struck by the amount of diversity in today’s show. We were talking with Jonathan Handel about the guild situation and contract negotiations; and then we started to switch to feet and how we can keep track of our running and improve as runners by getting feedback from our feet in terms of the exercising we’re doing; and suddenly we’re doing tours for U2 and Lady Gaga with art design. I had not considered until I was talking with Casey about how we get these to play back, because they’re filling huge walls with multiple projectors and it was interesting that they could have as many as 30 PCs playing this stuff back all at one time.

Larry Jordan: I love the diversity and I love the range of subjects that media now covers today, from the very business-like contract negotiations to some very what used to be outlandish and now considered typical examples of media.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests today – Jonathan Handel of Counsel at TroyGould and the entertainment labor reporter for The Hollywood Reporter, Avery Lu of Palo Alto Scientific and Casey Hupke, freelance visual effects artist.

Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at, here you’ll find hundreds of past shows and thousands of interviews all online and all instantly available. Plus our website’s getting a facelift – check out our new look at

Larry Jordan: Visit with us on Twitter, @DPBuZZ, and Facebook at Our theme music is composed by Nathan Doogie Turner, with additional music provided by Smartsound. Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription – visit to learn how they can help you.

Larry Jordan: Our producer is Cirina Catania; our engineering team, Brianna Murphy, Ed Golya, Keegan Guy, Lindsay Luebbert, James Miller and Jen Smith. Thanks for watching The Buzz.

Announcer #1: The Digital Production Buzz was brought to you by Other World Computing, providing quality hardware solutions and extensive technical support to the worldwide computer industry since 1988; and by Xen Data, who provide highly competitive digital video archive solutions.

Digital Production Buzz – August 27, 2015

Join Larry Jordan and Mike Horton as they talk with Jonathan Handel, Avery Lu, and Casey Hupke.

  • More Conflicts at SAG/AFTRA
  • The Power and Risk of Wearable Technology
  • A Love of Art, Comedy, and Particle Effects

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Guests this Week

Jonathan Handel
Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney & Labor Reporter, TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter
SAG/AFTRA’s recent election re-energized long-standing rifts in the union. Jonathan Handel, entertainment labor reporter for “The Hollywood Reporter,” joins us live tonight to discuss what’s happening in SAG/AFTRA and its repercussions on the rest of the industry.
Avery Lu
Avery Lu, Co-Founder, CMO, Palo Alto Scientific, Inc.
Avery Lu, is Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Palo Alto Scientific, Inc., a wearable tech company. The company’s goal is to “Bring Sports Science to Everyone” integrating Sports Science, Data Analytics, Wearable Technology and the “Internet of Things.” He is also an in-demand technology speaker. Tonight, we talk with him about wearable technology and the risks we run when we have all this personal data dangling from our wrist.
Casey Hupke
Casey Hupke, VFX Designer/Animator
Casey Hupke is a visual FX designer and animator who has been working in the commercial industry for the better part of seven years. As a freelancer he collaborates with studios to help define an art style for clients such as IBM, ATT, Coca Cola, and Buick. This week, he explains how his passion for comedy – and particle effects – helps define his workflow and aesthetic.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – August 20, 2015

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Digital Production Buzz

August 20, 2015

[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]

(Click here to listen to this show.)

Larry Jordan & Mike Horton


Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System

Sean Mullen, CEO & Lead Creative, Rampant Design Tools

Doug Sheer, CEO / Chief Analyst, D.I.S. Consulting


Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, Philip Hodgetts, the CEO of Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack Systems, is a noted technologist with a love of media.  Recently he developed The Haiku of Production, and tonight he explains what this means and how we can use it ourselves.

Larry Jordan: Rampant Design Tools recently launched over 2,000 new 4K effects for filmmakers, some of which are free. Tonight, CEO Sean Mullen showcases his latest titles.

Larry Jordan: Finally, D.I.S. Consulting, founded in 1982, specializes in research to the broadcast and pro-audio-video industry.  This week, Doug Sheer, their CEO, explains what his company does and how it can help us better understand our markets and our audiences. 

Larry Jordan:  All this plus Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.  The Digital Production Buzz starts now.

Announcer #1: Tonight’s Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Otherworld Computing at and by XenData, at

Announcer #2: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking… Authoritative…one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals… Current…uniting industry experts… Production…filmmakers… Post production…and content creators around the planet. Distribution. 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 and marketing around the world.  My name is Larry Jordan, and joining us as our co-host, the ever affable, ever handsome, every vivacious, Mr. Mike Horton. 

Mike Horton: Hello, Larry!

Larry Jordan: By the way, I should mention that our news editor, Randy Altman, has the week off.

Mike Horton: Oh darn, really?

Larry Jordan: Yes.

Mike Horton: That’s why I come in here.  Go ahead, Larry.

Larry Jordan: Gosh, thank you.  Mike, I moderated an interesting panel last night that was sponsored by Keycode Media and Sony about the future of post.

Mike Horton: You had a lot of really good people there a

Larry Jordan: We had Michael Cioni, who is the president of Light Iron, who’s been on the show; Michael Whippel, who’s the chief engineer for Sony Picture Entertainment that handles their post production.  He builds the equipment.  Then Brian McMahan, who is the Senior Digital Colorist for Modern Video Film was the artist talking about how to use the equipment.

Mike Horton: I think we’ve had Brian on this show before.

Larry Jordan: We have had.

Mike Horton: He does all the big movies.

Larry Jordan: And what I was interested in was, where’s the future?  Is the future in 4K or is the future in High Dynamic Range, HDR video or something new is Wide Color Gamma.

Mike Horton: Yes, you and I talked about this a little bit, and I didn’t see that there was much future for HDR, but you think there is before 4K, at least on TV.

Larry Jordan: Well, I think that it’s going to be really, really hard for the audience to see a difference between a 2K and a 4K image.

Mike Horton: Well, yes.

Larry Jordan: And from a marketing point of view maybe, but from a real point of view probably not.  But the ability to see differences in video from HDR to what Mike Cioni called SDR, Standard Dynamic Range, HDR is just going to jump off the screen and wrap its arms around you and wrestle you to the couch!

Mike Horton: Yes, but don’t you think HDR really looks video-like? 

Larry Jordan: No!

Mike Horton: You don’t?

Larry Jordan: No, I think it looks much more real.

Mike Horton: Really?

Larry Jordan: Yes.  Remember how video highlights blowout in such a way that it just looks bad, as opposed to the way film highlights blowout when it’s over-exposed?  HDR gives us much more of a filmic look, because we’re able to retain the detail and the highlights.

Mike Horton: That panel last night, was it on a big screen?  Were you looking at images on a big screen?

Larry Jordan: No.

Mike Horton: Or was it just cues?

Larry Jordan: Just talking.  We didn’t do any image analysis.

Mike Horton: I’m telling you, I don’t like HDR.

Larry Jordan: You don’t like HDR?

Mike Horton: I like it in still photography and what you can do with it, but on movies, it just looks like video. 

Larry Jordan: Well, we will have to see.

Mike Horton: People on chat, tell me that I’m right!

Larry Jordan: I just want to say I did some checking and currently Media Composer and Final Cut and Premier don’t support HDR, so it’s a future thing.  I think we’re going to hear more at IBC; we’ll just have to see.  Thank you, Mike.

Mike Horton: Okay.  I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Larry Jordan: You always know what you’re talking about!  In fact, Mike and I are going to be right back with Philip Hodgetts talking about The Haiku of Production right after this.

Still to come on The Buzz:  Philip Hodgetts, Sean Mullen, Doug Sheer, Tech Talk and The Buzz Flashback.

Larry Jordan: When you’re working with media, one thing is essential, your computer needs peak performance.  However, when it comes to upgrading your Mac, there are so many different options to choose from that the process can be confusing.  That’s why Otherworld Computing carries the best upgrades that lets your computer performance and storage grow as your needs grow.

Larry Jordan: Since 1988, OWC has become one of the most trusted names in quality hardware and comprehensive support to the worldwide computer industry.  With an extensive online catalogue of Mac, iPhone and iPad enhancement products, as well as a dedicated team of knowledgeable experts providing first rate tech support, OWC has everything you need to take your current system to the next level.

Larry Jordan: Whether you need to maximise your system’s memory, add blazing speed or enhanced reliability, look no further than the friendly experts at OWC.  Learn more by visiting today.  That’s

Larry Jordan: Philip Hodgetts is the CEO of Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System.  He’s also involved with technology in virtually every area of digital production and post production.  Even better, he’s a regular contributor to The Buzz.  Hello, Philip, welcome back!

Philip Hodgetts:  And I guess Michael?

Mike Horton: Yes, me too, I’m here!  I’m the guy with the mug!

Larry Jordan: Michael is the technologist in the group, so if there’s a technical question you’ve got, Philip, that you don’t know the answer to…

Mike Horton: Yes, if you want to know anything about metadata, Philip, you want to ask me!

Philip Hodgetts: I have a couple of codec questions for you later.

Mike Horton: Okay.

Larry Jordan: Philip, I love the phrase, The Haiku of Production.  What does that mean?

Philip Hodgetts: It’s a phrase I coined to try and describe what I was doing with the solo odyssey, because a haiku is a very specific type of poetry.  It has a very rigid structure and you have to try and fit whatever thought you want to do into that very rigid structure and, in that way, I see that what I’m trying to do with a small production kit and still maintain quality is trying to fit something into a very rigid structure which, in this case, it’s that over the shoulder bag that I demonstrated with on an early show this year.

Larry Jordan: I want to talk more about the reduced gear, but I want to think about whether The Haiku of Production is moving in the right direction or not.  I can understand when you want to do run and gun shooting having the least amount of gear, because it’s easy to run and gun when you’re not carrying tons of stuff, but video is in the details: putting the right amount of light in the right spot.  Putting the right microphone in the right spot.  And sometimes, having a choice of tools allows you to get higher quality production.  Are we at cross purposes here?

Philip Hodgetts: No, in the same way that a haiku is only one form of poetry, there are probably 20, 30, 40, 50 other forms of poetry and various structures in poetry.  Sticking with my analogy, different types of production fit into different roles. So I want to be able to carry stuff internationally.  I want to be able to carry a kit into a restaurant and set up without imposing on the restaurant, without having to have three or four people around and the additional logistics that that requires.  So this is really not so much a case of are we doing the highest possible quality production we can, this is more a case of let’s do production that we couldn’t do in any other way.  There’s no reason that anyone should be forced to write a haiku, and there’s no reason that anyone should be forced to try and make a reduced, minimalist production kit unless they want to travel internationally and not have to be weighed down by six or seven bags.

Mike Horton: Speaking of that, there are more and more airlines now restricting what you can bring on your overheard or underneath bags.  Pretty soon they won’t allow you to bring on pretty much anything other than your purse and what you absolutely need, and so what you’re getting into, Philip, is what you’re going to have to have for your production gear.  So the less you have, the better off you are.

Philip Hodgetts: You know, this is not the only type of production I get involved with.  When we’ve needed some promotional video for Lumberjack, I made sure that we shot with some really nice Blackmagic cameras, we had all of the lighting, we used reflectors.  It was a quality production, because that’s what we were going for.  Whereas, in what I’m doing with the haiku kit is that I’m trying to create a good quality production, something that I can work with, but not carry a lot of gear and yes, it does mean you compromise.  It does mean that you don’t have a belt in case the braces fail, or a brace in case the belt fails.  So you do have to accept that you’re trying to fit into a particular structure, and there will have to be compromises, and if you don’t have to make those compromises that’s great!  If you’ve got a chase car and a truck yay for you! 

Larry Jordan: Well the analogy that comes to mind is that haiku poetry is minimalist poetry, and what you’re looking at here is minimalist production.  How do you get something that’s artistic haiku with the least amount of words, the least amount of syllables, the least amount of gear.  So it seems to me that the analogy is in the minimalism, is that fair?

Philip Hodgetts: I would think so, yes.  I mean a haiku is a very minimalist piece of poetry.  It think it only has 21 syllables.  I probably should have looked that up before I came on the show!  But yes, it is kind of a think with me know is how small can I go?  We do trade off in the compromise.  We trade off the flexibility of having to have that dynamic swoop around the table show, or the dynamic shot swooping in on the food for that pick-up shot, you know?  You do have to trade off.

Mike Horton: The crane shot for your food!

Philip Hodgetts: Yes, the crane shot over the table.  I’m happy to compromise on that.

Mike Horton: Exactly!

Philip Hodgetts: You know, for the other show that we’re doing in the Lunch with Philip and Greg Show, there’s no real compromise because we have to set up within the restaurant context, and we can only do that with the sort of minimalist kit I’ve been using, but for the other show that Greg and I are doing, the cooking show, you know, we’re including a DSLR, so we do have the two GoPros for those over the camera shots, but we also have a camera that we alternate using so that we can get those moving shows and add the dynamism without adding too much to the production kit.  And yes, I’m carrying a light because you do have to fill some light sometimes.

Larry Jordan: Well, I want to hear more about this Lunch with Philip and Greg thing.  What’s that?

Philip Hodgetts: It’s an idea that I had a couple of months back, and finally we started implementing it around the time of the Final Cut Pro X Creative Summit up in San José.  It is literally what it sounds like.  Greg Clark and myself take somebody that we find interesting out to lunch – an open invitation, Larry, when you’re ready!  We take them somewhere nice and we set up little lapel mics, the same kit that we showed on The Buzz a couple of months back.  Lapel mics on each person and two 4K GoPros facing both sides of the table.  Now, from the 4K GoPro I can do a nice zoom in.  I can extract a two shot or two single shots of Greg and I.  I’ve got a lot more flexibility in post production to play with it and simply drag and drop presets from the browser onto the multicam clip makes it very easy in Final Cut X to reframe the shots as we go, so go back to those same shots over and over.  So by having the oversampling, I’ve got that flexibility.

Philip Hodgetts: It’s really just a way of getting to know people that we’ve known in one way or another for a long time, and getting to know the person as opposed to the public figure.  It’s surprising how long you can know people and really know nothing about them.

Mike Horton: Do you ask for permission to mount the cameras at the restaurants?

Philip Hodgetts: No, I learnt a long time ago that it was a lot easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, because if you ask for permission people start to think about it.  If you just put the cameras up, nobody complains.  I’ve been incredibly surprised that we can put two cameras up.  We’re only using like clamps and the goosenecks, so they’re very non-intrusive, but either the wait staff have asked what was going on, or mostly they just ignore it.

Larry Jordan: Philip, on our live chat, Russ Fairley has been taking you at your word on The Haiku of Production, and wants to remind you that a haiku poem is three lines.  The first line is five syllables, the second is seven syllables and the third is five syllables, for a total of 17 syllables.  I mention this only because you now have two GoPros, so you’ve got 15 other thingies that you can put in your kit!

Larry Jordan: How are you getting rid of lens distortion?  Because the GoPro, because of the fisheye lens, is not a flattering camera for interviews.

Philip Hodgetts: No, and I have learnt that putting them in too close is very, very unflattering.

Mike Horton: But can’t you turn that off?  Isn’t there a little switch or something like that, that you don’t have to shoot that fisheye? 

Philip Hodgetts: It depends on the mode in the GoPro.  The 4K has only one lens angle option.  If you’re going in 1080 mode, you can go into narrower options, and that’s what I used on the family history video.  I shot 1080 and had one camera in a narrow and one camera in a wide, a two shot.

Philip Hodgetts: I probably do have more than 15 other things in the bag when you count, and it certainly comes up to five tracks in my multi-clip, because I have the two video tracks and three audio tracks, angles in my multi-clip.

Larry Jordan: So let’s just talk gear for a minute.  What gear are you using?  What microphones are you using, and how are you attaching stuff to the table?

Philip Hodgetts: I’m sorry, just before I’ll finish the lens distortion question.  There are two solutions.  One, you can just move in very, very close to the screen and lens distortion will go away, because it’s really only because we’re taking a wide angle and squeezing it into a screen that we get that lens distortion at all, but a more practical solution that’s a bit more flexible than making everyone sit this far from the screen is to use one of the very many lens distortion reversal filters.  I happen to use 4D, Alex Gollner, simply because Alex was coming on the show.  His remove lens distortion filter is free and I thought it would be a nice irony to use Alex’s filter on Alex’s shots.

Larry Jordan: I tend to favour the filter to take the lens curve out, because that way you don’t have to worry about where the people are sitting and you can still clean it up.

Philip Hodgetts: Yes.

Larry Jordan: So what other gear do you have?

Philip Hodgetts: Pretty much the same kit that I showed for the family history video: the two 4K GoPros in the strap mount, so very low profile.  I mount those on goosenecks, and you can actually mount multiple goosenecks to get the table height if you want.  I have learnt that in most cases, attaching to a chair or a nearby railing is better than the table because very few restaurant tables are stable enough not to wobble!

Mike Horton: A lot of camera jiggle!

Philip Hodgetts: The stabilise filter is going to get a real workout on at least one of the lunches coming up.

Philip Hodgetts: Then there are the three Zoom H1N’s for the audio recorder for speech.  The participant gets one recorder.  I’m using an inexpensive lapel microphone that’s sold on Amazon as a replacement for a Sennheiser radio mic.

Larry Jordan: Hold it, hold it, hold it!  Why are you recording on three separate Zoom recorders as opposed to using dual channel mono?

Philip Hodgetts: Well, because this way I can have one lapel microphone and one on each person feeding into a recorder in their pocket, and there are no wires travelling around the table to get caught up.  Radio mics add another layer of complexity, another layer of having something else to check.

Larry Jordan: I wasn’t asking about a radio mic, but the Zoom can record two microphones, because it’s a stereo recorder.  You wouldn’t need the third.  You could just have you and Greg, say, on channel one and channel two, and the guest on a second recorder.  Why did you decide to go with three?

Philip Hodgetts: Well, because there is no simple way of plugging those into a Zoom recorder, they only have one input on these particular models, and so I would have to get a wire rig, and that would be more connectors, and more connectors there’s more chance of points of failure.  Plus, having the separate recorder means that it’s just very easy for me to switch the audio angles in Final Cut Pro X as people start to talk.  It works remarkably well; I’m quite surprised. 

Larry Jordan: Okay, and are you doing anything with lighting?

Philip Hodgetts: For the Lunch with Philip and Greg, no, apart from choosing carefully where we sit and where we place the cameras, keeping the angle of the light in mind.  For example, we recorded lunch with Gerry Hoffman up in Colorado last week, and although the view out to the river and the hillside behind would have been a much nicer view than the restaurant wall, the light was coming from that direction, and so we learnt back in the day to keep the light behind the camera, and so I stick with that.  That’s my lighting in the restaurant.  The other reason is its lunch for that reason, so there is some natural light in the restaurant.

Larry Jordan: What did you decide for a mic?

Philip Hodgetts: It’s a very inexpensive, I think 29.95 sold on Amazon as a replacement microphone for a Sennheiser radio microphone pack.  It’s got the twist on screw thread that matches the Sennheiser.  Overall, I’ve been very impressed with those microphones.  I mean, as your series shows, every microphone has its own unique characteristics, but these have been remarkably good at rejecting the sound that I don’t want and keeping the close mic sound, to the point where, under the pathway for the San José International Airport, it rejected the aircraft noise…

Philip Hodgetts: Wow!

Mike Horton: …to an acceptable level.  So yes, the whole kit is probably under $1500 without the DSLR.

Larry Jordan: New subject, are you going to IBC, and what are your plans for Amsterdam?

Philip Hodgetts: I am going to IBC, and certainly will be showing Lumberjack at the Supermeet and the Intelligent Assistance software, and I think we’re going to be part of the FCP work Soho Editors project where they’re going to have a Final Cut Pro X expo for a couple of days during Amsterdam, and I want to shoot Lunch with Philip and Greg and some semi-serious foodie shows while we’re there.

Mike Horton: When are you getting there?  Because I’m getting there early and I’m leaving late.

Philip Hodgetts: Well, I’ve decided that, since I’ve got to do the long air flight we’re going to get there the week before and fly down to Barcelona and stay with a friend there and do some foodie shows, then come back to IBC and after IBC go down to Munich and spent some time with a long time friend of the family, who I haven’t seen for five years, so that should be fun too.

Mike Horton: Yes.

Larry Jordan: So one last question on pontification, which I know you hate to do, but what are you looking to see at IBC?  What should we pay attention to?

Philip Hodgetts: Everything that was announced at the NAB!

Mike Horton: Exactly!

Philip Hodgetts: I mean my interest is in post production, so I’m still looking for a better miniature audio recorder than the Zoom H1.  It’s kind of a little clumsy to put in your pocket, and if I could find a smaller recorder that can take the micro SD cards, I’d certainly be looking for that.  Really just to keep a feel for what’s going on.  An interesting thing about IBC is that it’s the European version, so you see a lot of European companies have a much better presence than they do at NAB, so you see a different range of products in some cases.

Larry Jordan: It’s going to be a fun trip.  I’ve always enjoyed going to Amsterdam, and the one time that Mike allowed me to go to IBC, which was very kind of you, I might add, I had a great time at the show.

Philip Hodgetts: You stayed there for 18 hours and got on the plane and came home.

Larry Jordan: Well yes, but I didn’t have to sleep during that time!

Philip Hodgetts: I love Amsterdam, it’s one of my favourite cities and I’m kind of glad IBC is held there as a good excuse to go every year.

Mike Horton: Absolutely!

Larry Jordan: Where can people see Lunch with Philip and Greg?  Is it starting to be released, or are you still in production?

Philip Hodgetts: There are four published, and the simplest way to do it is simply type in the URL,  That will take you to a filtered feed of the blog that shows you only the lunch episodes.

Larry Jordan: And for people who want to keep track of the rest of what Philip Hodgetts is going, where can they go?

Philip Hodgetts:; or

Larry Jordan: And that’s the Philip Hodgetts himself.  Philip, as always, a delight visiting.  I look forward to seeing you when you get back from Amsterdam.

Mike Horton: See you next week, Philip, at Lassiters!

Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz, Sean Mullen, Doug Sheer, Tech Talk and The Buzz Flashback.

Larry Jordan: If you need long term archiving for your video content, then you should look at XenData.  They specialise in providing secure long term storage of video content with a low cost per terabyte. The company has a variety of archive solutions that range from external LTO drives that can connect to your laptop to multi-petabyte storage systems using huge robotic libraries.

Larry Jordan: XenData Systems will store your content on LTO or Sony optical disk archive cartridges and, with their next release, they also provide an option for archiving to the Amazon cloud. They offer great compatibility with many of the third party applications used in the media and entertainment industry, including most media asset management systems. XenData has hundreds of installations around the world, from Los Angeles to Mongolia, so if protecting your assets is important to you, visit That’s

Larry Jordan: Sean Mullen is the CEO of Rampant Design Tools.  He is also an EMI award-winning visual effects artist with over 60 feature film and television credits, including Charmed. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ali McBeal, ER, and Nip Tuck.  His company, Rampant Design Tools, specialises in creating original drag and drop visual elements for editors and VFX artists, and they have been busy!  Hello Sean, welcome back!

Sean Mullen: Hi Larry, hi Mike!  How are my two favourite people here?

Mike Horton: Hi, Sean! 

Larry Jordan:  So here’s the question, you obviously don’t sleep, so the first thing I want to know is what have you released lately?

Sean Mullen: Everything!  Pretty much.  Since I saw you at NAB, I’ve released 18 volumes.

Larry Jordan: 18 volumes of what?

Sean Mullen: Tons of transitions, overlays.  We did a texture toolkit with over 1600 12K textures.  We did motion graphics for our Editor product, all kinds of things.

Mike Horton: How do you come up with 1600 textures?

Larry Jordan: He does one texture; it’s red and then it’s blue and then it’s green and it’s the same texture, it’s just different colours!

Sean Mullen: That makes things a lot easier.

Mike Horton: Okay, well now I understand!

Sean Mullen: Just rotate the hue!

Larry Jordan: Sean, one of the things you’ve been doing recently is doing a lot of 4K work, and I want to just chat with you about that.  Why the interest in 4K, is there really a market for it?

Sean Mullen: Our higher end clients, the studios and the people doing features are all requesting 4K or higher.  Do I think everyone’s delivering in 4K right now?  No, but there’s a lot of productions protecting for 4K and delivering in 1080, so I think right now the big thing is protecting for 4K, just like back in the day when we would work in SD, but you would shoot it in film so you’d protect it for HD.  You know, I think they’re doing the same thing nowadays where they’re protecting for 4K if and when broadcast 4K really picks up.

Larry Jordan: Well, why can’t we just take our regular 1080 stuff and scale it up?

Sean Mullen: I mean there’s some pretty amazing hardware and software technologies out there, but to up res an entire show would take a lot, and it still doesn’t quite look right.  I’m sure it would be fine.  I mean there are some networks that still produce in 720 and they broadcast in 1080, you really can’t tell.  But if you put a true 4K image next to an upres’d 1080 image, I think you’d definitely tell the difference.

Mike Horton: On a TV?

Sean Mullen: Oh, I believe so.  As a matter of fact, if you go to like your Best Buy where they have a Samsung 1080 right next to a Samsung 4K playing the same feed, it’s night and day.

Mike Horton: Oh.  How come it’s night and day in the Best Buy, but it’s not night and day in your house?

Sean Mullen: Just a ridiculous amount of compression, I think.  I mean once H265 really takes over, I think that will completely change, but right now you’re seeing a lot of 4K delivered super crunchy.

Mike Horton: Yes, well I meant there are some 4K in your house with 4K displays, and if you go that person’s house and watch that 4K display, it certainly doesn’t look anything different than my 1080 at home.

Sean Mullen: That’s true.  If you get a 4K Blu-ray or an actual 4K feed in that monitor, or go to YouTube and watch 4K, it’s gorgeous.  But you’re absolutely right, the satellite delivered 4K is really crunchy.

Mike Horton: I don’t even see the difference when I watch a 4K YouTube thing.

Larry Jordan: But that’s because you’re watching it with your glasses off, Mike.

Mike Horton: I’m watching it on the computer!

Larry Jordan: It isn’t 4K on the computer.  It is in 2K on the computer.

Mike Horton: Even on my retina computer, no?

Larry Jordan: Even, no.

Mike Horton: What am I watching, then?

Larry Jordan: Well, I don’t know what you’re watching.  I don’t want to know what you’re watching, I want to talk to Sean.  Suddenly we’re talking about your home movie collection.

Mike Horton: I don’t understand what we’re talking about here.

Larry Jordan: Okay.  Sean, what kind of stuff have you been releasing?  What are your effects about?

Sean Mullen: Well, we were asked quite a bit recently to make transitions, so we’ve been making a lot of custom transitions, everything from flare transitions and glitch transitions to I made a series of matte transitions.  We had a very popular matte product a while back and so I made a supplemental transition pack for it.  Just a lot of hand created transitions.  We did a Motion Graphics for Editors kit, where it has 600 pre-animated elements for editors and they can drag on and make their own mograph, which has done really well and, of course, your favourite Texture Toolkit, where I shot one texture and rotated it 1600 times!

Larry Jordan: By the way, you have a lot of fans on the live chat.  Russ says, “Since we added an URSA camera, my clients insist on 4K, so it’s pretty much a rampant town around here.”  So fans are all over the live chat today.

Sean Mullen: Well, that means a lot.

Mike Horton: Yes, Monica’s in there.  She’s saying where are you?  Well, nobody can figure out how to use this live chat.

Larry Jordan: We have to give Michael instruction on how to chat.

Mike Horton: They did, it was a 30 minute demo on how to use this thing!

Larry Jordan: A very sad situation.

Larry Jordan: Who are the clients that are buying the 4K?  Are you seeing it just going to high end studios or is it broader?  What I’m trying to figure out is how big a groundswell do we have for 4K or is it still being driven by marketing hype?

Sean Mullen: 4K in general is definitely marketing hype.  You know, you want to sell the new TVs, you’re not going to sell a lot of 1080p TVs right now, so with Black Friday and the Superbowl coming up, you’re going to want to push that in 4K, whether or not you’re going to get 4K.  But for us, I would say 40% to 50% of our sales are 4K.  I’ve done a lot of tutorials showing editors that, even if you’re working in HD, the 4K gives you a lot more latitude.  You know, you can rotate the frame, you can scale it, so you can get a lot more flexibility out of the effects by using 4K and 1080.  That being said, our 2K products outsell our 4K products quite a bit, just because some people are afraid of 4K, thinking their machine won’t push it, but, in reality, it’s really not that heavy of an element to put on top of your footage.

Larry Jordan: From a computer point of view, 4K doesn’t make any difference.

Mike Horton: Even I know that!

Larry Jordan: From a storage point of view, it does take more storage. 

Sean Mullen: That’s correct.

Larry Jordan: What format are you shipping for 4K?

Sean Mullen: I do everything in ProRes.

Larry Jordan: 4:2:2, four by four?

Sean Mullen: It depends.  If it has an alpha channel, it’s quad four, if it doesn’t it’s 4:2:2.

Larry Jordan: 4:2:2: or 4:2:2 HQ?

Sean Mullen: I try to do HQ, it just depends.  For the download versions, I’ll give you HQ or LT, on the hard drive versions everything is best quality as possible, because we ship you a hard drive, so drive space is irrelevant at that point.

Mike Horton: The download version, are we talking big, big downloads?

Sean Mullen: Oh yes!

Mike Horton: That take three to four days.

Sean Mullen: Absolutely.  At 4K, yes, you’re looking at, you know, between 30 and 60 gigabytes for a volume.

Mike Horton: Oh wow!

Larry Jordan: 30 and 60 gigabytes for a volume?  And you’ve done 18 volumes?

Sean Mullen: Oh, total we’re in the neighbourhood of something like 30 or 40 volumes.  I mean my Amazon bill is huge!  But yes, I’m not going to sacrifice quality just for the ability to download.  If it’s really an issue, we’ll ship it to you on a hard drive, which we offer all the time, but there’s really no reason for the end result to suffer because the download takes a little bit longer.

Larry Jordan: What’s been a popular seller?  Transitions or some of those light leaks that you’ve put together, or what?

Sean Mullen: Our light leaks do really well, everything from the free stuff all the way up to the 4K.  We have editors of all types using our light leaks everywhere.  You see a lot of our mattes and lens flares and light leaks on America’s Got Talent.  Our stuff is everywhere, but the light leaks and the flares and the light effects are definitely the most popular.

Larry Jordan: The live chat has already spotted the live cat walking behind you.  We want to know if the office mascot has a name.

Sean Mullen: That’s Dash.  We have five cats.  It’s like Animal Kingdom here, so there’s lots of animals all over the place.

Mike Horton: As a matter of fact, Dash is one of the transitions!

Sean Mullen: Yes, we’re going to do cat effects!

Mike Horton: Walks across the screen.  The Dash effect!

Larry Jordan: The Dash effect.

Larry Jordan: What are you working on next?  More transitions, more visual effects, or is there a cool new thing you’ve just discovered that you can’t talk about, or is it more of the same at the moment?

Sean Mullen: There’s definitely cool stuff that I can’t talk abut, but I will say we’re doing a whole new series of effects and I know you’re going to not like this, maybe, we’ve been asked to develop an 8K series for a studio, so we’re going to start working on 8K sooner than later.

Mike Horton: Well, you probably should because the Olympics are coming up in Tokyo, and it’s going to be all 8K over there. 

Sean Mullen: Exactly.

Mike Horton: So you might as well start doing it for them.

Sean Mullen: We have friends at Technicolor who told us that 8K is coming, and it’s coming fast.

Mike Horton: Sure!

Larry Jordan: Although we’re going to be shooting 8K, like we’re shooting 6K now, but I wonder if we’re going to be editing 8K?  And I wonder if you’re going to be able to see it, because how are you going to monitor in 8K?

Mike Horton: You talked to Sony last night.  They showed a complete workflow from shooting 8K, editing 8K, broadcasting 8K.

Larry Jordan: But when I put him on the spot, he said 4K’s going to be our distribution format for the next ten years.  8K is going to be what we originate in.

Mike Horton: Yes, but we’d like to see it and we talk about it, and it’s fun.

Larry Jordan: You’re not going to see an 8K image!

Mike Horton: We did, we saw it on a big 8K display. It’s huge!  It looked like video.

Larry Jordan: Wrong!  It’s just…  Sean, talk to Mike quietly after the show’s over, would you?  Just explain to him just how…

Mike Horton: It looked like crap.

Larry Jordan: …how wrong he is!  For people that want more information about your products, where can they go?

Sean Mullen: They can go to

Larry Jordan: All one word.

Mike Horton: And, by the way, Rampant is going away raffle prizes at the Amsterdam Supermeet.  So another reason to go there.  Right, Sean?

Sean Mullen: Absolutely, Mike!

Mike Horton: Get Stephanie on it.

Larry Jordan: The website is  Sean Mullens, the CEO.  Sean, thanks for joining us today.

Sean Mullen: Thank you, Larry and Mike.

Mike Horton: Thanks.

Larry Jordan: Bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz, Doug Sheer, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.

Larry Jordan: Hi, I’ve got a ton of brand new training videos showcasing all the new features in Final Cut Pro 10.2, and it’s available today.  In fact, we’ve updated our entire Final Cut training just for this release.  We added more than 70 new movies covering every major new feature in the software.  Then I added new techniques and new ways of working that I’ve discovered and written about in my newsletter over the years.  I updated our workflow and editing training with 31 new movies and effects with 41 new movies.

Larry Jordan: This makes our Final Cut Pro X training the most comprehensive, most up-to-date and most affordable way to learn everything about this amazing software.  It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s complete.  I’m proud of all of my training, and especially this one.  Get your copy today in our store at or, even better, become a member of our video training library and get access to all our training for one low monthly price.  Both are incredible value.  Thanks!

Larry Jordan: This is Tech Talk from The Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan: One of the features that separates Final Cut from other editing software is its ability to label clips using keywords.  A keyword is a descriptor that describes some part of a clip, maybe a costume, the actor that’s in it, or any other characteristic that you prefer.  The cool thing is that we can search on keywords and build both keyword collections and smart collections, which is what I want to illustrate today.

Larry Jordan: I’ve got a bunch of clips here that we’ve imported.  Now, you know when you import clips that you can import keywords based upon folder names, which is what’s happened here.  This is part of the import process and, while very useful, it’s even more important to be able to add keywords to clips as part of the editing process.  For instance, here I’ve got a polar bear.  If we want to see what keywords are associated with the polar bear, we go down to this key icon right here, and when that clip is selected we see that it’s been assigned a keyword for animals and a keyword for Pond5.

Larry Jordan: Notice these icons right here, the blue icon.  These are called keyword collections.  When you click on a keyword collection – let’s close the keyword window – only those clips that have been assigned the animal keyword are displayed, even though all the clips are available to me.  The keyword collection gives me a subset of those clips, to which a keyword has been assigned.

Larry Jordan: We’ve got other keyword collections of dance and people and, say, space.  Well, let’s say that I want to create another keyword collection.  I want to say let’s highlight everything that’s a bear.  So we’ll hold a command key down and select the black bear and a grizzly bear and a polar bear.  Select our key icon and we’ll give it the word ‘bear’.  And when I press Enter, we’ve added that keyword.  Notice that bear is not part of the tiger clip, but it is part of the bear clip, and a new keyword collection is bear, which allows me to see just the bear clips as part of the animal clips, which is part of all the media which is in that particular stock footage folder.

Larry Jordan: This ability to assign an unlimited number of keywords to any combination of clips makes it really easy for us to not just have to group clips in folders, but to group them by content or subject matter.

Larry Jordan: Where this power becomes especially important is when we start to find the stuff.  If we go up to the search box up here and I type the word bear, I search for those clips that have bear in the filename or bear in the notes field associated with that clip.  But notice that grizzly’s not there, because the grizzly clip is not called grizzly bear but grizzly sow.

Larry Jordan: What I’d like to be able to do is do a more refined search, which we can do by clicking on the magnifying glass.  This opens up a search filter.  We could search for text if we want, but the key is to click this plus sign right here, and look at all the different things I can search on, whether the media’s used in a project, whether it’s been stabilised, what format it has.  All useful, but the one that I like the best is keywords.  Keywords allows me to display all the keywords that are assigned to every clip inside the selected folder or the selected library.

Larry Jordan: One of the new features inside Final Cut 10.2 is the ability to resize this window.  In the past, we were limited to 27 keywords, now we can do hundreds because even the window, not only can it be resized but we can also scroll it should that become necessary.

Larry Jordan: With this filter, let’s say that I want to find all clips which are both animals and landscape. Now, I’m using the word ‘and’ not in a logical sense, I’m saying that if it has an animal keyword – there it is – or a landscape keyword…  We’ll just show you the landscapes, see no animals!  We’ve got animals, no landscapes or both.  This ‘any’ means that if a clip has either animals or landscape – it’s a Boolean ‘or’ – it’ll show up here in the browser.  If I switch this to ‘and’ include all, now is there any clip that has animals and landscape?  No, so this comes up empty.  But is there a clip that has animals and bear, the answer is yes. All three of these clips have an animal’s keyword and a bear keyword.

Larry Jordan: This ability to use multiple keywords in a variety of combinations, clips that have any of the keywords or clips that must have all the keywords, makes a huge difference in trying to be able to sort through clips.  It’s far superior to simply grouping clips in folders or bins.

Larry Jordan: What makes this especially useful is if we have a search that we like, for instance it must be both animals and bear, we can create what’s called a ‘smart collection’.  A smart collection is a saved search.  We’ll call this ‘animals and bears’, and, notice the colour of the icon.  Blue means it’s a keyword collection assigned automatically, maintained automatically by Final Cut.  A saved search, a smart collection, has got the purple icon.  For instance, if I go back to here and let’s pretend that this iceberg is a bear.  So we’re going to give it a bear – there we go – and we’re going to call it an animal.  Now, those of you who know icebergs know that this is neither a bear nor an animal.  There is a great leap of faith going on here!  But I digress.  Notice when we click on ‘save search’, our new clip, which has got both animals and bear as a keyword assigned to it, shows up as part of the saved search.  Keyword collections and saved searches are maintained automatically by Final Cut.

Larry Jordan:   The power that keywords provide is the ability to organise our clips any way that we want and find clips based upon any combination of keywords that we like.  It is a powerful feature inside Final Cut Pro X.  I recommend you take a look at how it works.

Larry Jordan: Douglas Sheer founded D.I.S. Consulting in 1982, and has led the firm through 550 field studies, researching cameras, servers, storage, audio switchers, lighting, lenses, digital cinematography and much more.  He also currently serves as a governor for the New York region for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, which all the rest of us call SMPTE.  Hello, Doug, welcome!

Doug Sheer: Hello!

Larry Jordan: Before I offend you, do you want to be Doug or Douglas?  I have managed to say it twice differently?

Doug Sheer: I like Doug.

Larry Jordan: You’ve got it!  Doug, what is D.I.S. Consulting?

Doug Sheer: Well, we are a syndicated market research company.  We do both syndicated studies and also custom projects.

Larry Jordan: What does the word ‘syndicated’ mean?

Doug Sheer: It means that more than one company can buy the same study.

Larry Jordan: Well, research companies have been doing that for a long time where they’ll do research and sell it to anybody that wants to pay for the cheque, so it sounds like syndication also has some control over the content of the study?  Or is it just simply that you’re selling to multiple buyers?

Doug Sheer: Well, another way to say it is multi-client.

Larry Jordan: Oh, okay.  That is much more understandable than syndicated, because syndicated I’m still struggling with.  Who are typical clients?

Doug Sheer: Well, we’ve had over 1700 of them, so you could say that if the study is about cameras or camcorders, it’s most of the major brands supporting that study.

Larry Jordan: So then tell me about the research itself.  What are we trying to determine?

Doug Sheer: Well, the core of any of these studies is the product area, so people are wanting to know what their brand share is.  They want to know which market segments, which regions are purchasing the most equipment or planning to purchase the most equipment, and what kind of equipment they’re going to buy.  There’s a lot of range, let’s say within cameras or camcorders.  We collect our information by censor, and so that’s of more use to the manufacturers.

Larry Jordan: Well, there’s lots of different ways that we can do this.  Are you looking at sales data and trying to see what’s buying or are you looking at demographic data in terms of projecting who the audience is?  What are we looking at?  What are we basing our studies on?

Doug Sheer: Well, we’re basing the studies on feedback directly from end users, in this case broadcasters, professional video or audio users of a variety of types.  So ranging anywhere from institutional users to TV broadcasters to independents, mobile companies (meaning the truck companies) and everything and anything in between.

Larry Jordan: We’ve had a lot of fun over the last several shows talking to several different market companies who are trying to figure out what’s selling or predicting what’s happening in the future, or determining what futures manufacturers need to add to their equipment, what would be an appropriate use of your data?

Doug Sheer: Well, as I say, the central area is the product data, but we go way beyond that.  So in our technology trends section, we look particularly at the features or the specifications that people might want in the next generation of camera, server, whatever the product is.

Larry Jordan: So you’re helping people figure out what the next product should be in terms of a feature set, not just simply whether it’s selling or not?

Doug Sheer: Exactly.

Larry Jordan: So what are some recent studies, and what have you learnt?  Tell me all the gossip!  I really want to know all the secrets here.

Doug Sheer: Well, I think there are a lot of different things going on in the industry at the moment.  One is what I would call prices in freefall.  So, looking at cameras and camcorders as an example, something that you might have had to spend $100,000 for just five or six years ago is now probably something you can put in your hands for less than $10,000.  So you know, we’re seeing that as a real change in the accessibility of equipment to customers.

Mike Horton: That’s a question a lot of us have always been asking.  The price of these cameras and other items have gone from six figures down to a couple of figures.  How did that happen?

Doug Sheer: Well, part of it is competition.  I think part of it is a reaction to the crash of 2008, because in many ways the industry is still reacting to that, is still puling itself up from that and, in fact, another thing I would say is a big trend at the moment is that there are a lot of manufacturers who I feel are hanging on by a thread.  You know, they are really candidates for acquisition and they’re not hiding it very well.

Mike Horton: So obviously the margin is not very wide, as it used to be, correct?

Doug Sheer: Right, so profits are very tight.  I don’t like to name names of companies, particularly, in part because they’re almost all clients.

Mike Horton: That’s alright, we’re not going to ask you.

Doug Sheer: I would say that, just taking the category of cameras and camcorders, what you’re seeing is that there are many of the same features, many of the same levels of operation.  Most cameras now are ultra high definition or certainly most companies are offering one flavour or another of ultra high def, and yet you can buy such a camera for as little as a thousand dollars or you can buy it for 25 or 35,000 or more.  Those companies that are insistent on maintaining profit, are insistent on providing what they believe to be better quality, they’re getting tough competition from what I would call bottom feeders.

Larry Jordan: One of the challenges that we have, especially in the technology industry, is technology changes so quickly that you’re afraid that whatever you buy today in six months is outdated.  Does your research look into that at all in terms of fear of buying because whatever you get’s going to be out of date, and what have you seen?

Doug Sheer: Well, I like to quote this.  In the ’80s I edited the first guide to electronic news gathering, and C. Robert Paulson, Bob Paulson, was the principal author.  He said something in there which was, if you’re seeing it in the market now, if it’s been introduced at NAB, let’s say, whatever it is, don’t buy it for the first year.  If it’s still around a year later and there’s nothing superior to it and enough people are out there using it, then you might feel safe in investing in it.  Pretty good advice.

Larry Jordan: But given the technology turnover that we’re seeing now, even if something is successful, a manufacturer’s scrapping it and moving onto something else in six to eight months.

Doug Sheer: It depends on which product you’re talking about.  I think that that’s very true, certainly very true of consumer products.  I think it’s a little less true in professional broadcast products.  The problem really, for a consumer of professional products who’s trying to be sophisticated and thoughtful about it is that yes, they are being bombarded with one offering after another, and so it’s very hard when so many products are so similar to the others, to decide which one is really the superior product.

Larry Jordan: Let’s flip the coin.  You’ve been doing research for manufacturers, helping them figure out what features they need.  For people that are creating content or the broadcasters who are using the gear, can your research help us to figure out what we should be doing next?

Doug Sheer: It can.  I can say personally, we’ve always chased after manufacturers.  That isn’t to say we haven’t had broadcasters and major facilities and even the consulting companies, the Accentures and the McKinseys as clients.  We have, and that has sometimes been very useful to end user customers.

Larry Jordan: So can creatives draw conclusions from some of the trends you’re seeing, and what trends are you seeing that we need to pay attention to?

Doug Sheer: Well, I think there are a umber of things now.  Certainly, ultra high definition, but I think we get lost in what I like to say is I’m a K, you’re a K.  You know, everybody has a different flavour of K, and I think it’s important not to get snookered, not to get taken in simply by the idea that high resolution is going to give you what you need.  I think professionals are now looking much more carefully.  They’re looking at high dynamic range.  They’re looking at high frame rates.  They’re looking beyond purely ultra high definition, and that’s smart.

Doug Sheer:  Take a company like Arriflex.  They’ve been a client, but for a long time they offered some very, very nice cameras and they had a very strong position in digital cinematography, and yet they weren’t offering Super 35 or 4K, they were taking a different path, and yet they’ve produced cameras that offered very high quality, very high end features, and they have a very strong following.  I think it illustrates that true professionals, I mean customers, are often able to look beyond simple the next generation, and they’re able to look for and seek and buy those products that have the features they really want, and that, again, is very smart.

Larry Jordan: I’m thinking about professional consumers and the flight to the bottom that we’re seeing with pricing.  Are we seeing more decisions are based solely on price because either there’s a feature similarity or we don’t understand the feature and therefore discount it, or is there something that is more dominant than price, such as brand name or testimonials from somebody else?

Doug Sheer: Well, I think, you know, I feel that the forums, meaning the online forums, are among the most useful things to users, because they can get genuine feedback – regardless of the fact that there are some ringers in there – from other similar customers about new products or existing products, and that’s very helpful beyond the promotional control of the manufacturers.  So I advise people to use things like that in order to have a feel for what really happens when you buy a certain product.

Larry Jordan: Are you looking principally at hardware or do you look at software as well?

Doug Sheer: We do look at software.  I think the overarching thing about software today is that every system which requires software, let’s take cameras although I’m not a one-trick pony here, but there’s virtually no identical workflow between cameras even of the same manufacturer.  So each one has different compression, each one has different connectivity, each one has different kind of software that is required in order to blend it all into an end to end capture to finish system.

Doug Sheer: So you know, therefore software is tremendously important, and I think that the model today which was really promoted largely by Adobe, which is leasing your software and not owning it, is advantageous in the sense that most of the major software packages that you would need in order to operate either as an independent or within an institution, are available in that way and that way you’re always knowing that you’re having the latest iteration of that software.  But we do cover software in our sports report, in our digital cinematography report, in many of our reports where we’re focused mostly on editing or graphics.

Larry Jordan: As you look at the last six months and project into the next six months, what’s the big takeaway that we should learn based on your research?

Doug Sheer: Well, I think there’s some things that are really coming to the boil, I would say.  One is that flash media is just absolutely primed to take the place of hard drives, and I think you’re going to start to see that show up in products in the form of all flash storage within laptops and tablets and so forth.  I think you’re going to see much more proliferation of flash.  It’s already probably penetrating something like 65 or 70% of camcorder use, but that’s very much spreading.

Doug Sheer: I think certainly the impact of drones and robotics and other forms of automation, is very important and continuing to grow.  We have a drone study, so we’re very interested in that.  I think as far as six months, the economics are a concern.  I mean the world has continued to be very unstable from an economic point of view, and that’s certainly most seen in Europe, but it’s seen in pockets around the world, and that’s difficult for manufacturers.

Larry Jordan: It’s difficult for the rest of us too!

Doug Sheer: Right!

Larry Jordan: Doug, for people that want to learn more about your research or invest in your reports or just congratulate you for a job well done, where can they go on the web?

Doug Sheer: Simply  You’ll find all the prospectuses there.  They’ll find information about the company.  That’s a good suggestion.

Larry Jordan: Doug, I want to thank you so very much for your time.  This has been fascinating.

Mike Horton: Yes!

Larry Jordan: And the website that they can go to is  Doug Sheer is the founder.  Thank you, Sir.

Doug Sheer: My pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: It’s time for a Buzz Flashback.  Five years ago today…

Bruce Sharpe (archive):  And our flagship product in that area is PluralEyes and what it does is it allows you to automatically synchronise audio and video clips.  If you don’t use PluralEyes, you’re faced with a pretty tedious process of looking for handclaps or using a clapper and looking for that, so we take away that synchronisation step for you.

Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.

Larry Jordan: Michael, I was just reflecting on the comment that Doug Sheer, where it’s a race to the bottom for pricing.

Mike Horton: Yes.

Larry Jordan: And we all feel it’s great, because we get stuff for a lot less money, but we’re not really benefitting ourselves for the long term if these manufacturers go out of business.

Mike Horton: No.  Some of them will.  I mean is there anything different than it was, say, ten years ago, 15 years ago?  I still don’t have that answer of why did the prices of these very, very expensive items drop so much!  And we’re talking about 80, 90%, and it can’t be just because we shipped off the manufacturing to a country that…

Larry Jordan: I think Doug gave us the answer.  Back when the economy collapsed, 2008-2009, and nobody was buying, if you’re got nobody buying you drop your price to get somebody to buy something, and the prices fell through the floor because there was just nothing going on.

Mike Horton: Final Cut Pro was $999 in the year 2000.

Larry Jordan: Yes, but Final Cut Pro was also seven applications.

Mike Horton: It was software, and for hardware it began with that, it seemed like.  Everything just began with Final Cut Pro being a cheap piece of software, and all of a sudden it went to cameras and it went to hard drives, and it went to everything else with digital video as thought the entire world decided to make movies.

Larry Jordan: It’s interesting.  We’re going to be talking more about that in the future, but that was a fascinating segment.  Thinking of fascinating, I want to thank our guests for tonight: Philip Hodgetts, the CEO of Intelligent Assistance, Sean Mullen, the CEO of Rampant Design Tools, and Douglas Sheer, the CEO of D.I.S. Consulting.

Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at  Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online, and all available to you today.  Our website is getting a facelift.  Check out our new look at  Talk with on Twitter @DPBuZZ, and Facebook at

Larry Jordan: Our theme music is composed by Nathan Doogie Turner, with additional music provided by Text transcripts from Take 1 Transcription.  Visit to learn how they can help you. Our producer is Cirina Catania; or engineering team, led by Megan Paulos, includes Ed Golya, Alex Hackworth, James Miller, Lindsey Luebbert, Brianna Murphy and Jen Smith.  And thank you to Alex for a wonderful summer, we will miss you when you go away.

Larry Jordan: My name’s Larry Jordan.

Mike Horton: Bye, Alex!

Larry Jordan: His name’s Mike Horton.

Mike Horton: Yes!

Larry Jordan: Thanks for watching The Buzz.

Announcer #1: The Digital Production Buzz was brought to you by Other World Computing, providing quality hardware solutions and extensive technical support to the worldwide computer industry since 1988; and by XenData, who provides highly competitive digital video archive solutions.

Digital Production Buzz – August 20, 2015

Join Larry Jordan and Mike Horton as they talk with Philip Hodgetts, Sean Mullen, and Doug Sheer.

  • The Haiku of Production
  • Explore the World of 4K Effects
  • Analyzing the Current State of Professional Media

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Watch the Full Episode

Buzz on YouTubeTranscript

Listen to the Full Episode

Buzz on iTunesTranscript

Guests this Week

Philip Hodgetts
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System
Philip Hodgetts owns two companies: Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System. He is a noted technologist and spends time currently talking about how to manage production when space and weight is limited. Because of his conservative approach to essential production gear, he’s developed “The Haiku of Production.” This week, we ask him what that means.
Sean Mullen
Sean Mullen, CEO & Lead Creative, Rampant Design Tools
Rampant Design Tools has launched new 4K effects footage for filmmakers – and now they are offering 4K effects free. We talk with CEO Sean Mullen about his latest titles any why he decided to offer them for free.
Doug Sheer
Doug Sheer, CEO / Chief Analyst, D.I.S. Consulting
D.I.S. Consulting, founded in 1982, specializes in research and consulting to the broadcast and pro-audio-video industry. This week, Doug Sheer, CEO, explains what his company does and highlights current trends we need to watch.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – August 13, 2015

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Digital Production Buzz

August 13, 2015

[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]

(Click here to listen to this show.)


Larry Jordan & Mike Horton


Randi Altman, Industry Analyst and Editor

Larry O’Connor, President & Founder, Other World Computing

Chris Bross, Strategic Technical Alliances, DriveSavers Data Recovery

Art Adams, Director of Photography


Larry Jordan: No question, The Buzz website has generated more interest than whether we can safely use SSD derives on a Mac. Tonight on The Buzz, Larry O’Connor, the CEO of OWC, shares his answer to that question.

Larry Jordan: Next, the worst feeling in the world is discovering that your hard disk has failed. However, all is not lost – you can actually recover your data if you know where to go. Chris Bross with DriveSavers joins us to explain how to get your data back after a hard disk crash.

Larry Jordan: Finally, Art Adams is a Director of Photography with 28 years’ experience creating films, episodic television and commercials. This week, he shares how he approaches lighting a scene, along with showing specific examples of his work.

Larry Jordan: All this plus Tech Talk and Randi Altman’s perspective on the news. The Buzz starts now.

Announcer #1: Tonight’s Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at; and by Xen Data, at

Announcer #2: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking… Authoritative…one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals… Current…uniting industry experts… Production…filmmakers… Post production…and content creators around the planet. Distribution. 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. That handsome gentleman on the other side of the table …

Mike Horton: I’m sorry, I’m talking to Grant on the live chat.

Larry Jordan: On the live chat?

Mike Horton: Yes, we’re talking about coffee. We’re talking about friggin’ coffee.

Larry Jordan: Mike, Mike, this is a media program.

Mike Horton: All right, I’m sorry.

Larry Jordan: Focus.

Mike Horton: I’m focusing.

Larry Jordan: Next week, I’m chairing a panel which is sponsored by KeyCode Media and Sony, looking at 4K media in post production.

Mike Horton: Can I come to that, by the way?

Larry Jordan: Absolutely, it’s free.

Mike Horton: Or do I have to watch it?

Larry Jordan: You can watch it – it’s a live web stream. It’ll be posted on YouTube later.

Mike Horton: How do I watch it?

Larry Jordan: Go to and sign up.

Mike Horton: And you’re the moderator.

Larry Jordan: I’m the moderator of the panel.

Mike Horton: You’ve got a lot of really good people there – Michael Cioni.

Larry Jordan: Yes, we’ve got Michael Cioni, who is head of Light Iron; Brian McMahan, Senior Digital Colorist at Modern Video Film.

Mike Horton: Wow, I know him.

Larry Jordan: Robert Carroll, Senior Director of Dolby Labs, standing in front of an old reel to reel tape machine, which gives you an idea of just exactly what’s going on, and then myself.

Mike Horton: What do you ask these guys?

Larry Jordan: Keycode and Sony have put this together. We want to talk about how we use 4K in post. Are you doing any work in 4K, Mike?

Mike Horton: We talked about this a little bit before the show started – is anybody working in 4K? – and of course the answer is yes, everybody’s working in 4K. Are they distributing in 4K? No, but are they acquiring in 4K? Yes, because everything is shooting in 4K. Maybe not these cameras and maybe we’re not distributing in 4K but, Larry, come on, you will in, what, a year, 18 months.

Larry Jordan: See, the key is, if you’re going to start to edit in 4K, as opposed to acquire and down res, because if you’re going to drop it into a 720 timeline …

Mike Horton: But storage is so cheap and everybody is editing in 4K, except for you.

Larry Jordan: What were you announcing about Samsung and a new SSD drive?

Mike Horton: Oh, wasn’t that something? I saw it today. It is a 15 terabyte SSD drive that fits into these laptops.

Larry Jordan: Wow.

Mike Horton: 15 terabyte. They didn’t announce the price, which is probably around five grand or something like that.

Larry Jordan: Indeed. Well, we’ve got all kinds of stuff. We’re going to be talking about storage with Larry O’Connor from OWC. We’re also going to talk with Randi Altman, who shares her perspectives on the news. Mike and I will be back with Larry right after this.

Voiceover: This is Randi Altman’s Perspective.

Larry Jordan: Randi Altman has been writing about our industry for more than 20 years. Now she’s got her own website,, where she covers our industry. Hello, Randi, welcome back.

Randi Altman: Hello from LAX, Larry. How are you?

Larry Jordan: Oh, that’s right. You spent the week at SIGGRAPH, didn’t you? And now you’re heading home, but what have you discovered that we need to know about at the trade show?

Randi Altman: It’s sort of a theme that I’ve been talking about on your show for weeks and I know you might not want to hear more about it, but SIGGRAPH, everywhere you looked were headsets, virtual reality and people being immersed into different environments. Yes, it’s a buzz word but it’s there and it’s being used in multiple ways.

Randi Altman: There was a wonderful … and he had a panel made up of James … who worked on Avatar with James Cameron, who talked about how virtual production was like a precursor to virtual reality; and then we had somebody from Jaunt Studios in Hollywood who wants to be the Netflix of virtual reality and creative virtual reality content, not just standing on a mountain and looking over; and then we had the CPO of … Studios and they were all discussing these immersive environments and the different ways that they can be used. … talked about how they’re creating apps where some of the characters that they’ve helped created could be composited into people’s own personal family photos for fun.

Randi Altman: It’s just another example of these immersive environments and how they’re being used. Another one that was … is the Ford Motor Company who was there with a demo that was being powered by … box and that is how they design their cars. They have labs all over the country who’ll all meet in a virtual environment and walk through the car – is the headlight in the place we want it to be? – and that’s how they go about making sure that they’re creating the best cars possible and they’re doing it in a virtual way.

Randi Altman: There are a lot of different ways that people are using it. The question I know that you are going to ask me is, Will it be immediate in entertainment? And I think it will, but as the fellow from Jaunt mentioned, we need the post tools to catch up. He’s talking about the editing tools, the color and visual effects tools, so that’s the next step.

Larry Jordan: Were you finding the greatest amount of interest in virtual reality being the creation of content, the development of tools to create virtual reality content or hardware for consumers to play back content?

Randi Altman: Not necessarily the consumers yet, and I know where you’re going with this, it’s more about the focus for people to create content. Nvidia announced … for VR and many others companies as well, and then of course there are the headsets and they’re making sure that they’re … so you have all these people out there creating these virtual environments and they want to make sure that … so it’s sort of a new frontier but it’s rolling along.

Larry Jordan: Are you seeing the tools to create VR content stable enough for content creators that are not deeply pocketed large studios to start to play in this game, or is it something we need to wait for a few more weeks on?

Randi Altman: I think we need to wait. Right now, the big studios are diving in. I don’t know if I see … yet being able to create these kind of environments, but as the cameras are being introduced, Jaunt has one and … just introduced one as well, the tools are making their way out. I’ll be eager to see how the creatives use these tools and then how the consumers eat up the technology.

Larry Jordan: Randi Altman runs her own website at Randi, you travel safely on your way home and we’ll see you next week.

Randi Altman: Thanks. Take care, Larry.

Larry Jordan: To read more from Randi Altman, visit

Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Larry O’Connor, Chris Bross, Art Adams, Tech Talk and The Buzz Flashback.

Digital Production Buzz – August 13, 2015

Join Larry Jordan and Mike Horton as they talk with Larry O’Connor, Chris Bross, and Art Adams.

  • Keep Your Data Safe
  • Recover Lost Data From A Hard Drive Crash
  • Lighting for a Perfect Scene

View Show Transcript

Watch the Full Episode

Buzz on YouTubeTranscript

Listen to the Full Episode

Buzz on iTunesTranscript

Guests this Week

Larry O'Connor
Larry O’Connor, President & Founder, Other World Computing
Eight months ago, Larry O’Connor, CEO of OWC, was one of the first to issue the warning about OS X and SSD drives on The Buzz. Since then, Mac OS X has evolved and this week Larry rejoins us with an update on how to successful use Solid State Drives with Mac OS X. Then, he shares his thoughts on how to keep our data safe using RAIDs.
Chris Bross
Chris Bross, Strategic Technical Alliances, DriveSavers Data Recovery
Hard disks fail. And when they do, you run the risk of losing all the data stored on them. Chris Bross is the Chief Technology Officer at DriveSavers, a company that specialized in data recovery, eDiscovery and forensics. Every day, Chris and his team work to recover data lost to physical trauma, mechanical damage and lost passwords. This week, he joins us to explain how to keep our data safe, as well as recover it from a bad hard disk.
Art Adams
Art Adams, Director of Photography
Art Adams is a cinematographer with 28 years experience in the film industry. He spent ten years in Hollywood working on features and TV series before returning to his native Northern California, where he currently shoots commercials and corporate marketing projects. Between shoots he works as a consultant for a number of industry companies including Sony, Sound Devices and DSC Labs, and writes technical articles at ProVideo Coalition and DVInfo. This week, he shares how he approaches lighting a scene.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – August 6, 2015

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Digital Production Buzz

August 6, 2015

[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]

(Click here to listen to this show.)

Larry Jordan & Mike Horton


Randi Altman, Industry Analyst and Editor

Mike Mihalik, Computer Industry Maven

Steve Eisen, Vice President, Chicago Creative Pro Users & Eisen Video Productions

John Feland, CEO & Founder, Argus Insights


Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we start with Mike Mihalik. He’s a computer industry veteran creating digital storage systems for companies like LaCie and Seagate. He shares his thoughts on the upheaval we’re going through in digital storage and what we can expect in the future.

Larry Jordan: Next, Steve Eisen is a filmmaker and the Vice President of the Chicago Creative Pro User Group. He’s recently completed his latest film, The 1,000 Feet Project, and we talk with him about his film and creativity.

Larry Jordan: Finally, John Feland is the CEO and founder of Argus Insights. This is a company that uses big data to predict the future. John shares his insights with us to help us figure out how we’re going to generate revenue in the future.

Larry Jordan: All this plus Tech Talk and Randi Altman’s perspective on the news. The Buzz starts now.

Announcer #1: Tonight’s Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at; and by Xen Data, at

Announcer #2: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking… Authoritative…one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals… Current…uniting industry experts… Production…filmmakers… Post production…and content creators around the planet. Distribution. 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. My name’s Larry Jordan; the handsome dude on the other side of the table is a gentleman we haven’t seen for weeks upon weeks. Lifetimes have passed since last we’ve seen this handsome visage staring at us from across the table. The ever handsome Mike Horton.

Mike Horton: Thank you for that wonderful intro. Hey, by the way, were those graphics new, in the intro? I know I’ve been gone for a week, but that looked new.

Larry Jordan: It was. It’s new every show, but the format…

Mike Horton: Is it new every show? The opening graphics are new every show?

Larry Jordan: The template is the same but the graphics are new every show.

Mike Horton: Well, those are really cool graphics.

Larry Jordan: We back you with an incredible production team.

Mike Horton: Who does the graphics?

Larry Jordan: Meagan.

Mike Horton: Meagan does?

Larry Jordan: Mhmm.

Mike Horton: That’s our booth, by the way.

Larry Jordan: Mike, by the way, we are – are you sitting down?

Mike Horton: Mhmm.

Larry Jordan: We are starting a great new contest that doesn’t cost any money to join and you can learn more…

Mike Horton: Ah!

Larry Jordan: …by visiting this website: Have you had a chance to see it?

Mike Horton: I’m actually on it right now. This is very cool. Do you do this every year?

Larry Jordan: Every three years.

Mike Horton: Every three years, where the rules are send in something 20 words or less. Here are a couple of examples – nothing is final. To keep editors happy, no changes should be ever sent on Friday afternoon. The client is always right unless the client wants Comic Sans titles and copyrighted music by Katy Perry.

Larry Jordan: In 2013 we ran the same contest and one of my favorites was never talk to the client with a loaded revolver in your desk.

Mike Horton: Yes! About the time you had that great idea and went to jot it down, you’ll be interrupted. Absolutely. Those are the truths, folks. Send them in, these are great.

Larry Jordan: We pick four winners every week, it costs nothing to join. You can join as often as you want. We’re going to be run the contest probably through until the end of September and we’ve had hundreds and hundreds of entries. One of my favorites, I’ve got to read this one because it’s kind of long, Merrick’s Law, which is submitted by Merrick [DUPAYER], writes Murphy was an optimist. Had he ever worked in post production, he would have said instead, “Anything that can go wrong is nothing compared to what the producer is going to give you about three hours before the deadline.”

Mike Horton: Exactly. Nice, Merrick. There are a lot of really good ones here.

Larry Jordan: The way it works is really simple. Visit – you can enter as many times as you want, there’s a little entry form on the bottom of the page – and every week in our newsletter we’ll publish the winners so that you can see who they are, we’re going to do four, and then when you get selected as a winner, you get a chance to download a free webinar from the website, so you get something for taking the time to enter. Keep it short, keep it clean and enter as many times as you want. Isn’t that cool stuff?

Mike Horton: I’ve got a lot of great ideas.

Larry Jordan: Yes, this is neat. Remember to join our conversation on Facebook, at, and subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter, at, for an inside look at both our show and the industry. Mike and I are going to be back in a couple of minutes with Mike Mihalik, but first it’s time for Randi Altman’s Perspective.

Larry Jordan: This is Randi Altman’s Perspective.

Larry Jordan: Randi Altman has been writing about our industry for more than 20 years and today she runs her own blog at As always, it’s good to get her perspective on the news. Hello, Randi. You’re on the road today, which is why we’re not going to be able to see your face. It’s good to hear your voice, how are you?

Randi Altman: I’m doing well. It’s good to be back and taking part in The Buzz.

Larry Jordan: Well, not only are you back, but you’ve barely time to change your socks and you’ve got to hit the road again. Where are you headed next week?

Randi Altman: I’m going to be out in LA for the SIGGRAPH Show.

Larry Jordan: What are you looking forward to at SIGGRAPH?

Randi Altman: One of my favorite parts of SIGGRAPH is their emerging technology section, so you walk through there and you see what could be and I’ve always thought that we have very, very bright people in this industry and you’ll see how the technology’s being used for medical purposes, for therapy for people who are in wheelchairs, all different sorts of things, so it’s sort of a glimpse into the future and what can be done.

Randi Altman: The rest of the show is obviously visual effects, animation, graphics. Many of the big VFX studios are there recruiting, looking for young talent, and every trade show has their key word or talking point and it seems that this year it’s virtual reality and immersive worlds, and augmented reality as well.

Larry Jordan: Randi, you’ve been a fan of VR since we’ve been talking on this Perspective series, but is there more than VR or is really VR the key component of the graphics industry today?

Randi Altman: Well, I think I see it as a growth area right now because everyone is investing in it – people that make gear, the people that produce content – so it’s sort of everywhere. There are headsets that are going to be on display, there are going to be cameras, there are hands-on demos which will be interesting too, but it’s a way to increase revenue and I think that’s what the interest is right now.

Larry Jordan: Where’s SIGGRAPH going to be held?

Randi Altman: It’s at the LA Convention Center in downtown.

Larry Jordan: Are you doing interviews or are you going to be in your own booth?

Randi Altman: No, I’m going to be walking around with my iOgrapher rig and talking to different people – makers of 3D animation software, visual effects tools, so I’ll be meeting with The Foundry, Autodesk, Chaos, some of the motion capture guys. There’s a lot going on. The one thing with Autodesk which is pretty interesting, they introduced their own game platform and they’re hoping to make it easier for people to produce games on their engine, so it’ll be interesting to get a demo of that and to see where they’re going.

Larry Jordan: Randi, as always, it’s wonderful to hear your perspective on the news. Randi runs her own blog at You can read her thoughts there. Randi, take care. We’ll talk to you next week.

Randi Altman: Thank you. Take care, Larry.

Larry Jordan: To read more from Randi Altman, visit

Digital Production Buzz – August 6, 2015

Join Larry Jordan and Mike Horton as they talk with Randi Altman, Mike Mihalik, Steve Eisen, and John Feland.

  • Randi Altman’s Perspective: Exploring The Reality of Virtual Reality at SIGGRAPH 2015
  • The Future of Storage Technology
  • 1,000 Feet from New York City to Chicago
  • Predicting the Future Using Technology

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Guests this Week

Mike Mihalik
Mike Mihalik, Computer Industry Maven
Storage technology is rapidly changing, just as media files devours ever larger amounts of storage. Computer industry maven, Mike Mihalik, joins us to share his thoughts on the future of storage technology – and what we can expect to see in our edit suites.
Steve Eisen
Steve Eisen, Vice President, Chicago Creative Pro Users & Eisen Video Productions
Steve Eisen is a filmmaker and owner of Eisen Video Productions. He began his career more than 25 years ago as a photojournalist and video editor. Currently, he travels the world filming and editing corporate videos, concerts, sporting events and non-profit videos. He’s also the vice-president of the Chicago Creative Pro Users Group. Recently, he completed a non-profit film called “The 1,000 Feet Project,” which he shares with us tonight.
John Feland
John Feland, CEO & Founder, Argus Insights
John Feland is the award-winning founder and CEO of Argus Insights, a new type of market intelligence company seeking to connect the dots between technology innovation and consumer adoption. John holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and is an expert in consumer response to technology. This week, we explore how he predicts the future of tech by using big-data analysis and sales results.