Digital Production Buzz
September 3, 2015
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
(Click here to listen to this show.)
Randi Altman, Industry Analyst and Editor
Patrick Griffis, Vice President, Education & Executive Director, Tech Strategy, SMPTE & Dolby
Steve Carson, Founder, Carson Filmworks, LLC
Jayce Venditti, Chief Artistic Officer & Founder, Tyme 2 Shyne Artistic Group, LLC
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, Patrick Griffis is the Executive Director for Technology Strategy at Dolby Labs. He’s also the VP of Education for SMPTE. Tonight, Patrick shares his thoughts on new technology such as high dynamic range images and what it means for us in the very near future.
Larry Jordan: Next, Steve Carson is the founder of Carson Filmworks, specializing in color grading, editing and post production. DaVinci Resolve is his tool of choice for color grading and tonight he has a report exclusively for us on the latest beta of DaVinci Resolve 12.
Larry Jordan: Finally, Jayce Venditti is a filmmaker trying to balance the arts with the planet. He’s creating a slate of films including ‘The Hat’ and developing a new studio structure concept with his Tyme 2 Shyne. He shares his artistic vision with us tonight.
Larry Jordan: All this plus Randi Altman’s perspective on the news, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer #1: Tonight’s Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at macsales.com; and by XenData, at xendata.com.
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. Mike…
Mike Horton: Really, this is the first time ever just before the show – and I’ve been doing this for I don’t know how long – that Larry’s said, “Why don’t you turn on Mike’s monitor?” It’s never been on. I have never been able to see this show. I didn’t even know I had a monitor until you told me I had a monitor, so thank you, I have a monitor, and all I’m seeing right now is a countdown. Aren’t there images or something on the monitor?
Larry Jordan: There will be.
Mike Horton: Oh, there will be? But, you know, I’ve never had a monitor to look at. You’ve always had the monitor. I’ve never had a monitor.
Larry Jordan: You know, if you’d just speak up for yourself…
Mike Horton: Thank you for having me. That’s what you said. You said, “You’re the co-host, speak up.” I didn’t know I could speak up. Ok. Guys, thank you. Damn it, I want a monitor. Next time, have that monitor at the beginning, not in the middle of the show. All right, Larry, go ahead.
Larry Jordan: I want to wish you a happy birthday, by the way.
Mike Horton: Thank you very much.
Larry Jordan: It’s in two days, if I’m not mistaken?
Mike Horton: It’s in two days and I’m very happy for making this age.
Larry Jordan: 30?
Mike Horton: Yes. 39. 40.
Larry Jordan: For the fifth or sixth time. You’re doing laps around 39.
Mike Horton: 41.
Larry Jordan: Congratulations, by the way.
Mike Horton: No, I’m actually very grateful to be this old.
Larry Jordan: We had a birthday cake for you. You noticed that the other day?
Mike Horton: Yes, it was a really good birthday cake. By the way, I posed it on Facebook so the whole world knows that The Digital Production Buzz crew up there gave me a birthday cake.
Larry Jordan: It was wonderful.
Mike Horton: Because you didn’t.
Larry Jordan: No, I certainly didn’t because I was too busy getting you a monitor.
Mike Horton: That’s right.
Larry Jordan: And trying to get it to work.
Mike Horton: Thank you, this is a great birthday present. All right, Larry, we have 45 second. Go ahead.
Larry Jordan: We do indeed and I want to stress that, for those of you who want to chat with Mike, you can read his musings inside The Buzz…
Mike Horton: Yes, the secret chat room if you can find it. It’s somewhere on the website.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of chat rooms, remember to join our conversation on Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com and subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. This gives you an inside look at both our show and the industry. The newsletter is free every Friday.
Larry Jordan: Mike and I will be right back with Patrick Griffis of SMPTE and Dolby right after we chat with Randi Altman.
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 postperspective.com. Hello, Randi, welcome back.
Randi Altman: Hi Larry. How are you?
Larry Jordan: You know, IBC is getting close and I’m getting really excited. But before we talk about Europe, on Tuesday Atomos announced the Assassin. What is it?
Randi Altman: It’s not deadly in any way. It’s actually a very good thing. It’s their…, it’s the newest one and it takes on 4K and Ultra high definition and it’s meant for… so very post…
Larry Jordan: Thinking of new announcements, on Wednesday NewTech announced a new Tricaster, the Mini HD4, which supports both HD SDI and HDMI connections in a package small enough to carry in one hand. Randi, this reminds me that IBC is coming up, which is filled with new announcements. What are you looking forward to?
Randi Altman: It’s a pretty good show. What I enjoy is the stuff that was shown at NAB in the whisper suites, not full blown technology yet, is now real and being announced at IBC. There’s going to be a lot of 4K, Ultra high definition, there are going to be monitors, there’s going to be talk of collaboration. Everybody wants to get the data from camera to post as quickly as possible and then once it’s in post they want to talk about collaboration, signing off for viewing approval. So it’s going to be about workflow.
Larry Jordan: Now, you told us earlier this summer that you were looking forward to significant announcements in virtual reality. What are your thoughts on the current buzzwords of high dynamic range video and wide color gamut video?
Randi Altman: What I’m looking forward to is what I look forward to every IBC, which is what company Blackmagic will have bought and then reduce the price of the product to $999 and I’m expecting that. It’s all just conjecture though.
Larry Jordan: How would you describe the difference between NAB in the spring and IBC in the fall?
Randi Altman: They’re big shows. Obviously, IBC is more for the international market, but it is true that a lot of the stuff that is introduced in April is now available come September. But it’s got a different vibe to it. It’s a way more laid back show. You’re talking about a convention center that is on the canal. They actually have a beach with chaise lounges and people playing volleyball. There’s beer everywhere. It’s a completely different vibe to NAB in Las Vegas.
Larry Jordan: Randi, I wish you safe travels on your trip and I look forward to talking with you again next week. You can read Randi’s currently interviews at postperspective.com and, as always, Randi, thanks for joining us today.
Randi Altman: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: To read more from Randi Altman, visit postperspective.com.
Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Pat Griffis, Steve Carson, Jayce Venditti, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.
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Larry Jordan: As Executive Director for Technology Strategy at Dolby Laboratories, Patrick Griffis helps define strategy for the company. He also serves on the Society of Motion Picture and Telephone Engineers, called SMPTE. Their executive committee is the Vice President of Education, where he helps design SMPTE’s conference technical programs and overall educational strategy. Hello, Pat, welcome.
Patrick Griffis: Hello. Great to be here.
Larry Jordan: We are actually looking forward to this conversation because Mike loves things like SMPTE and engineering and codecs and stuff, so we’re looking forward to our conversation.
Mike Horton: Yes, we’re only kidding.
Patrick Griffis: No, I hope you’re not kidding. I hope you love it, like I do.
Mike Horton: I will. Actually, your job is to make me love it, so go ahead.
Patrick Griffis: Ok, I hope to do that.
Mike Horton: All right, thanks, Patrick.
Patrick Griffis: …shall set you free, as they say.
Larry Jordan: Patrick, how would you define SMPTE? What is it?
Patrick Griffis: SMPTE, as you mentioned, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, has a rich history. Actually, the genesis goes back to 1916 and that’s a time, you might remember, when there was a World War and, believe it or not, there was a time when film standards weren’t interoperable and the US government, as we’re going to World War I, was getting film clips that wouldn’t work together and they said, “This is crazy, we need a standard,” and they set about forming a group which became the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, to create a very simple standard to make sure all the sprockets were lined up so all the film would work interoperably.
Patrick Griffis: From that humble beginning, SMPTE grew over the decades, began to take on some of the challenges of television in the ’50s and then became the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, where we are today.
Larry Jordan: If I remember right, back in the 1900s and the early teens, film cameras didn’t even have motors. The cameraman was turning the camera by hand, which meant frame rates were everything from eight frames a second to 20 frames a second. Is that one of the reasons why they needed to put this standard together?
Patrick Griffis: Yes, that was certainly one of the problems and it depends if you had coffee in the morning or not as to how fast the film would go. There was clearly a place for standards, which were very helpful, certainly for the war effort.
Mike Horton: Was this a bunch of Americans getting together and coming up with these standards? Or was this a bunch of people from all over the world coming up with this standard?
Patrick Griffis: Originally in the US, you had Kodak and a bunch of companies here, and again it was to support the war effort, but there were different film approaches from around the world, so having a set of standards, something as simple as all the sprockets and the films being standard width, was really important. I mentioned 1916 – next year is our 100th anniversary, so now we’re looking at the next generation of imaging as we head into our centennial.
Larry Jordan: Which is exactly what I want to talk about now, because we’ve moved from an analogue film basis to a pixel basis and before we start talking about this new technology, I was doing some research on you and kept stumbling over the phrase – I’m looking at my notes – the father of pixels. Where did that come from?
Patrick Griffis: That’s actually better pixels, not pixels themselves. Pixel stands for picture element, I think most people are familiar, the smallest element that makes up a picture. But better pixels comes from a notion that, as we look as next generation of imagining, there are really only three ways to make a better picture. The first, of course, is more of those pixels, technically speaking higher spatial resolution.
Patrick Griffis: You’ve certainly heard a lot about the buzz on that recently. If HD, which is two megapixels is not enough, now there’s interest in going to what people euphemistically call 4K, which is actually eight megapixels because it’s twice the number of horizontal pixels, from 2K to 4K, and then twice the number of lines. So more pixels is one of the ways.
Patrick Griffis: Of course, if you have motion, as we were talking about, and you start to pan a camera, the picture gets blurry because of motion blur and you’re losing temporal resolution. The way you fix that is to have more frames per unit of time. More frames per unit of time means more pixels per unit of time and we think of that as faster pixels.
Patrick Griffis: The last one, the notion of better pixels, actually asks, “How do I make each one of those pixels better, no matter how many or how fast I’m sending them?” and by better we’re talking about things closer to what we see every time we open our eyes – brighter whites, blacker blacks, richer colors within the palette that we have available to us – and the holy grail ultimately is getting closer to representing all the colors that we as human beings can see. So I coined the term better pixels for that notion and it’s become popular among some folks.
Larry Jordan: I want to talk about the better pixels in just a minute, but I want to go back a couple of steps. We can have more pixels, which is higher resolution; we can have cleaner pixels, which is reducing motion blur; we can have better quality pictures either with Richard color saturation or greater grayscales. But really, are we changing the pixel? Isn’t it just that a pixel’s a pixel and it’s the environment within which the pixel lives that changes? Or are we going to see a material difference in the pixel itself?
Patrick Griffis: We’re going to see a material difference in the pixel itself, because even you have more of them they still are defined today by how many bits you have per pixel and typically pixels are represented as three colors – red, green and blue – so a picture element actually has typically three elements associated with it – red, green and blue – and one of the things we do when we make them better is to have more bit depth and also have them represent a brighter transition from the maximum white to the blackest black, as well as more colors.
Patrick Griffis: I’ll explain a little bit more about that. Today in television, one of the notions we talk about is how bright something is and the nomenclature we use for that when we measure how bright something is – luminance – means that when you shine a light meter at a light source it tells you how bright it is and it’s measured in candelas, per meter squared. That’s hard to say more than three times in a row so we’ve come up with a euphemistic term NITS. One of the things people say about me is I’m nuts for NITS because I like to see more of them.
Patrick Griffis: So in making a better picture, the ability to represent those whiter whites or higher NITS, as well as the blacker NITS, takes more bits and that’s one of the things that changes the pixel as we move to this exciting new world of better pixels.
Larry Jordan: Patrick, back when we were playing with Photoshop, we could define the grayscale value of a pixel in 256 steps, where black is zero and white is 256. As you move into this new high dynamic range space, where we have more grayscale values, are we doubling that or tripling it? Or just how bright is bright and how dark is dark if we’re looking at it in the 255 step range?
Patrick Griffis: Oh, 255 steps is not enough to represent the real world. As I like to say, every time you open your eyes, you see high dynamic range and, in fact, I’m working with a lot of studios – and this is some of the standards work that SMPTE does – to agree to try to represent as much as we could for entertainment purposes with about 12 bits.
Patrick Griffis: By the way, in the real world, we as human beings deal with tremendous dynamic range, from the brightness of the sun, which is about 1.6 billion NITS, to a dark moonless night and, of course, maybe even in caves, where if you didn’t see the saber toothed tiger coming you weren’t around for the next generation. That’s ten to the minus six, so 15 orders of dynamic range as human beings we have to deal with. But, of course, we can’t see sunlight and starlight at the same time because our irises adjust up and down and we adapt to a lighting environment.
Patrick Griffis: For entertainment we don’t need 1.6 billion NITS. Apart from needing a small nuclear power plant to power the television, blinding the eyes of our consumers is probably not a good entertainment proposition. And on the dark side, while we can see in very dark environments, it takes a long time for our eyes to adjust, often several hours, so 30 minute scene changes aren’t practical.
Patrick Griffis: What we were interested in what’s the useful range for entertainment purposes and to that point what we concluded is that for CGI content, to guarantee that there’s no artifacts in any case, you actually needed 12 bits or 4,096 to use your example. So from eight bits, zero to 255, to 12 bits, zero to 4,095, I guess you could say.
Larry Jordan: Now, there’s been a lot of debate as we look as these new frame rates which give us cleaner pixels and as we look at increasing the dynamic range, that we’re losing the traditional entertainment value that we grew up with with film, that motion blur actually makes a scene more believable as opposed to the stark reality of very, very clean, sharp edges. How much do we need to worry about the past cinema viewing experience with motion blur, with low illumination, and how much does that change and perhaps degrade the viewing experience when images are brighter, pixels are crisper and we can see edges more clearly?
Patrick Griffis: That’s a great question. In fact, motion blur in the real world gives us the sense of really high speed – it’s so fast that even our eyes can’t detect it – so you’re right, and there’s been a lot of work to show that higher frame rate, imagine a boxer who’s punching and you now suddenly capture it at a very high frame rate and you can see the hands move, it doesn’t appear to be as fast as when you have motion blur. So the creatives understand that and a lot of the work we’re doing now is actually to give them the ability to dial in blur when it adds to the story, when it is part of the artistic intent.
Patrick Griffis: And there are other cases where you actually want to see that motion, particularly in some 3D scenes. When there’s too much motion and it’s too blurry, you can’t see the detail, so that becomes we think a knob you can dial in going forward. So having higher frame rate has a role and motion blur has a role and we’re now trying to come up with ways where it is actually something a creative can dial in as needed.
Larry Jordan: Well, there’s a down side to this and that is if we have higher resolution – 4K, 6K, 8K – if we have higher frame rates, if we have greater bit depth, our file sizes, which are already large, are going to be come unbelievably huge. How are we going to store all this stuff?
Patrick Griffis: It’s going to be great for cloud services, I guess. More memory, more memory, yes, and of course the storage is always an issue. One of the other lines I’m famous for is ‘Bits are bucks’, whether you’re capturing them, delivering them, storing them or rendering them, they come with a price tag or you earn money from them.
Patrick Griffis: Compression has never been shown to improve picture quality; it’s all about bit rate efficiency while preserving the quality of the image and, indeed, you’re right, the file sizes are getting bigger and as we talk about delivery over pipes like the internet or broadcast pipes, that becomes a case where we need better compression technologies to try to preserve the quality and reducing the bit rate at the same time.
Mike Horton: That was an excellent line about preserving the quality. We were just talking a couple of days ago – and it’s all over the news – VP10, which is Google’s compression codec, which will apparently take half the bandwidth of 4K out of the equation so we can have half the bandwidth. So we’re doing this almost every year, so it’ll be interesting to… well, I’m talking about codecs again, Larry, so I’m getting tongue tied here, so excuse me, but the VP9 is I guess what’s…
Larry Jordan: Patrick, I want to pick up on Michael’s point. At what point do we do compression? As soon as you do compression, you’re taking away bit depth, you’re taking away data from the file that we need for editing. For people who are doing production and post, we can’t go to compression until we’re ready to do distribution, correct? So our file sizes remain huge.
Patrick Griffis: Yes, they are huge. For a movie, you’re looking at terabytes of data. On the local storage side, local storage continues to increase and improve. Already today, if you’re doing animation, typically they work in 16 bit floating points, so the notion that going to greater bit depth actually for them is a blessing because often you take these really wonderful pieces of content and you squeeze them down to eight bits and throwaway color samples, so they’re pleased in many ways because for the first time they’ll be able to get closer to rendering something that was actually sitting in their computers. For animation, it’s actually not such a big deal but for live and these other things we have the issue of pipe size. It’s always a problem.
Larry Jordan: Before we run out of time, I want to talk with you quickly about Dolby Vision, so take your SMPTE hat off, put your Dolby hat on. What is Dolby doing in this regard?
Patrick Griffis: In this regard, Dolby Vision is really our implementation of these next generation standards. One of the things I haven’t talked about yet is how we sat down and asked, “What will the next generation entertainment experience be? What’s a useful dynamic range for entertainment purposes?” I mentioned some work that led to a conclusion that zero to 10,000 NITS would be a useful range. 10,000 NITS, by the way, is 100 times brighter than what we typically deliver in television today.
Patrick Griffis: We also realized that if we’re designing for the next generation with a clean sheet of paper, why would we use a system based on the legacy of cathode ray tubes that goes back to the ’50s and a convenient artifact of physics called gamma, which defines the way they make light? Gamma was a convenient artifact of physics, but it doesn’t represent the way the human eye sees. Some of the work we did was to ask what an ideal system would be that models the human eye, and that led to work that actually brings me back to SMPTE. We created a new standard for the future called SMPTE SD2084.
Larry Jordan: Ok, wait, wait, wait. This is going to take us the next week and a half to describe, so I want to sort of cut it short. SMPTE already has a spec for HDR and it also has a spec for wide color gamma. Why is Dolby creating its own spec in competition with SMPTE?
Patrick Griffis: Oh, the spec that SMPTE has was based on Dolby’s contribution, so we standardized the technology and now we’re implementing it. What Dolby Vision does is implements those standards, we have a variety of ways of delivering that quality in either a backwards compatible fashion, because many in the OTT world have legacy content, standard dynamic range, and you can add high dynamic range on top of existing files.
Patrick Griffis: It is an option within the Blu-Ray standard and, indeed, we also are implementing Dolby Vision in cinema, we call it Dolby Cinema. There are already theaters like AMC and then some movies from Disney that have been delivered with Dolby Vision. So high dynamic range, wide, brighter colors, better contrast than you’ve ever seen before and an end to end ecosystem. We have the tools and the delivery mechanisms, so it’s actually a full ecosystem with products and services.
Larry Jordan: Patrick, we’re going to have to talk with you again, because this is really cool stuff. For people who want to learn more, where can go on the web?
Patrick Griffis: In terms of SMPTE, they can go to www.smpte.org; and then, of course, you can go to the Dolby website to learn more about Dolby Vision.
Larry Jordan: Patrick Griffis is the VP of Education for SMPTE and the Executive Director of Tech Strategy for Dolby. Patrick, thanks for joining us today.
Patrick Griffis: It’s been fun and definitely more to say another day.
Larry Jordan: Yes, I look forward to it. Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Steve Carson, Jayce Venditti, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.
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Larry Jordan: Steve Carson is the founder of Carson Filmworks, a San Diego based boutique specializing in color grading, editing and on-site post production services. While Steve’s first career was in banking, starting about ten…
Mike Horton: Are you serious? Banking?
Larry Jordan: I’m serious.
Mike Horton: Steve? Banking?
Larry Jordan: Will you just hush up? This is the intro. About ten years ago, Steve fell in love with filmmaking and, for the last four years, he’s focused on color grading using DaVinci Resolve as his principle tool of choice for color grading. Hello, Steve, welcome.
Steve Carson: Hi Larry, how are you?
Larry Jordan: We are doing great, even if Mike does interrupt the introduction.
Mike Horton: I think it’s pretty cool that a banker goes to color grading. I think that’s really awesome. Congratulations to you for choosing a good job rather than the other job that messed up the country big time a few years ago.
Larry Jordan: Before we get into having you defend your career as a banker, how would you describe Carson Filmworks?
Steve Carson: It is a boutique based in San Diego and we have a lot of production tools and we do a little bit of everything, from documentaries to shorts, and right now we’re working on a feature film. But my personal favorite is color grading, so that’s where I focus most.
Larry Jordan: Before we talk about color grading and DaVinci Resolve, I have to ask what made you give up a secure, highly paid career in banking, mergers and acquisitions, for 25 years – if I might make a point – to leave for the far less well paid filmmaking world? Defend this choice.
Steve Carson: In a word, creativity.
Mike Horton: Yay!
Steve Carson: When you’ve bought and sold about 100 banks in the south east and the only thing creative was you took the sign out front that said ‘First State Bank of…’ whatever little town and you converted it into a sign that said ‘Bank of America’, that’s not super creative.
Larry Jordan: So you moved out of the south, came to California and set up a DaVinci suite. Why DaVinci Resolve?
Steve Carson: Because it is probably one of the most used in the industry and I started with Resolve 8 and have progressed through 9, 10, 11 and 12 and it has progressively been a more complete feature set. What it’s really done is displaced virtually all of the third party applications that I used to use, except Final Cut X. I still use that.
Mike Horton: So you’re using Resolve as an editor, as well as a color grader?
Steve Carson: Michael, even earlier than that, I do on-site DIT work, so we use it to process dailies, we use it to back up cards from the cameras, we use it to develop looks on set, so it starts from there then it goes to the edit side and then to the color side and then finally on the finishing and delivery, so it really does almost everything for us.
Mike Horton: So since Blackmagic Design actually bought Resolve a few years ago, are you happy with what they’ve done with it?
Steve Carson: I’m ecstatic with what they’ve done. It is amazing how they’ve improved the product. Like I said, I started with version 8 and version 12 is just amazing. I just could not wait for it to come out.
Larry Jordan: Tell us more about what version 12 has in it. What are some of the cool new features that you’ve discovered?
Steve Carson: Larry, you’ll like this, being a Final Cut X guy. To me – I’m a little different than a lot of the colorists – the biggest change is metadata. It now has Final Cut X -like, not completely, metadata so it has smart folders, smart bins if you will, so when you’re burning in footage you can group it any way you like, create smart folders so it automatically goes into those folders and then it carries that metadata over to the color page.
Steve Carson: A good example might be you could rename all of the files – each clip typically has a name that doesn’t make sense to a lot of people – but you can rename it to ‘Scene 23 take 1’, ‘take 2’, ‘take 3’, and that creates a displayed name and that name carries throughout the project. So when you’re in the color page color grading and the director says, “Hey, let’s take another look at scene 23a. Can we do something with that?” I can filter the timeline in Resolve.
Steve Carson: For a feature film, you might have 1500 clips on your timeline and they could be chopped up all over, so scene 23 could be in the beginning of the film, the middle or the end, but what I can do is filter that timeline and show all of the clips from scene 23a that were used and then I can color grade them all at once side by side to make sure they match. It’s an unbelievable new tool.
Mike Horton: Could you not do that with Resolve 11? Is this new in Resolve 12?
Steve Carson: No you could not to the degree that you can now. For instance, in 11 you could put a blue flag on it, so you would have had to manually go through and blue flag each of the clips, then you could filter the timeline and say, “Show me all the blue flags,” which coincidentally happened to be, let’s say, scene 23a. But it was much more labor intensive to do that and you only had a certain number of colors that you could work with, whereas with the new metadata it’s unlimited.
Larry Jordan: Can we use Resolve for editing itself? And, if so, do we have to have a high quality video monitor and a control surface to be able to use it? Or can we get in much less expensively without buying all that hardware?
Steve Carson: The latter. One of the new features in Resolve 12 is the ability to manage the overhead, if you will, of the system. Remember with RED, how you can go with half size or quarter size or one eighth size? Same concept you can do now in DaVinci and there’s a whole host of tweaks that you can do to your settings to make it easier on the lighter weight computers.
Steve Carson: Also, another really nice change is on the user interface, it now scales perfectly, so if you’re working on the 5K iMac, what you see as the user interface will just shrink down automatically and I’ve heard you can even do it on a 12 inch Macbook Air. That’s pretty amazing, that that interface just…
Mike Horton: Yes, I’ve actually seen that and yes you can.
Larry Jordan: That’s amazing.
Mike Horton: And it’s free.
Steve Carson: Just remember, it’s all free.
Larry Jordan: Well, it isn’t all free. You’ve got the high end version.
Mike Horton: Yes, there’s the high end version which you and I don’t need. We can use the free version. Do you use the free version or the high end version?
Steve Carson: Well, I happen to own three Blackmagic cameras and they’ve changed the nomenclature. The light version is light no more, it’s called DaVinci Resolve 12. What you would have called the fully paid version is now DaVinci Resolve Studio, and so there’s the distinction there.
Larry Jordan: What’s one of your favorite new features, aside from the metadata handling?
Steve Carson: On the DIT side, you can now sink dual source audio with wave forms, so that’s really big. That’s very helpful. As a colorist, what I like is there are a whole host of new features that make us more efficient. There’s a new keyer that keys much more dramatically, if you will, and more easily. There’s a tracker. DaVinci has always been known to have a really good tracker, but they have a new tracker that’s even better and it’s just amazing, it saves a lot of time. That would be my vote for the features on the color side. It’s just a lot of the efficiencies.
Larry Jordan: If we’re just editing and we don’t have the skills to do color correction, can we use Resolve for editing and let somebody else do the color grading? Or would we be better off working with other applications?
Steve Carson: Let’s put it this way – if you’re editing and you’re willing to edit on Resolve, then I’m very happy with you and I would love to work with you because it makes it so much easier to jump back and forth between edit and color. Right now, the edit features are amazing. They have virtually every feature you could ask for and so, yes, you could definitely edit. You could make a career using DaVinci Resolve 12, the ‘free’ one, and it’s a very capable editor.
Mike Horton: You know, a lot of people are using Premiere because they can go back and forth with After Effects. Well, now we can edit in Resolve and go back and forth with all the color correction tools that everybody is using within Resolve, so why not stay with Resolve? And it’s free.
Larry Jordan: How do the effects packages in Resolve look compared to, say, Premiere or Final Cut or Avid?
Steve Carson: I love them. If it’s an OFX effect, you can use it. One of the new upgrades in 12 is a whole host of audio effects, so if you’re a fan, for example, of RX4, it’s available to you. Then the other big change is you can now export directly to Pro Tools, so if you’re doing high end audio finishing, it’s very easy now to send that work out to the audio specialist.
Larry Jordan: Steve, where can people go on the web to learn more about your work and you and hire you to do their next color grade?
Steve Carson: The website is www.carsonfilmworks.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s carsonfilmworks.com and Steve Carson’s the founder of Carson Filmworks. Steve, thanks for joining us today.
Steve Carson: Thank you.
Mike Horton: Thanks, Steve.
Steve Carson: I enjoyed it.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Jayce Venditti, 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 they’re 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.
Larry Jordan: 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. 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.
Larry Jordan: I’m proud of all of my training and especially this one. Get your copy today in our store at larryjordan.com 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.
Voiceover: This is Tech Talk from The Digital Production Buzz.
Larry Jordan: Let’s take a look at lighting. Here, I’ve added some text and the text is against a background. Again, I’ve already added some light, so I’m in 3D space, but let’s look at this from the top. I want to have a separation between the ‘Let there be light’ – that’s the text which is out here – and the rectangle.
Larry Jordan: Again, if you want to have elements interact with each other, they can’t be at the same Z space. Either we move it forward or backward, select it, go to the inspector, go to properties and we can move stuff backwards and forwards by grabbing the Z and just dragging it. I’m moving it with the mouse and dragging the position of this text. Control A to go back to the camera view.
Larry Jordan: Now, let’s add a light. Let’s just deselect this. There are four kinds of lights – ambient, spot, point and directional. Ambient is where everything is equally lit regardless of what direction it’s facing. That’s the default setting and it’s a really good choice when you’re not messing with lights. To add a light, select our project, go up to object, go down to light and by default it adds a point light. Let’s switch this to ambient and you can see there it is. The only difference between adding an ambient light and the default setting is here I can add a color for the ambient light and have everything be lit with whatever color light you want.
Larry Jordan: In this case, though, I want to switch this to a directional light. A directional light can be pointed. Let’s make this, oh, let’s make it yellow. Click hold and drag and notice that I’ve dragged the light totally off, I can’t see anything. Now we’re adding a yellow light and now it’s bright and now it’s fading out and now it’s gone again.
Larry Jordan: The directional light points in different directions and, depending upon how you have it pointed, you can get different lighting results. Let’s switch this back to white again. We can adjust the intensity, we can adjust the diameter to say how focused the light is, from very broad to very narrow, or very close to narrow, and again we can spin it with these on-screen controls to determine which way it’s pointing.
Larry Jordan: Let’s go back up to our top view again. If we look at our text, there’s our text right out here. There’s the rectangle right on the red line and here’s our light. Well, I want the light moved here and pointed toward our background, right about there. Notice that our ‘Let there be light’ is way out here. Our light is between the ‘Let there be light’ and the text and the background. When I go back to our light, let’s make it kind of a reddish color, right around here, and take a look at it. Now we’ve got a ‘Let there be light’ directional light which illuminating the background and foreground. Well, let’s slide up the foreground as well. Let’s add another light. We’ll make this one a point light and we’ll pull it back in Z space so it lights up our text.
Larry Jordan: There we go. So now I’ve got the point light lighting up our text and yet the background has got a different color light on it. Here’s where this can really start to play. I want to turn on shadows and it’d be nice if this point light hit the text and the text cast a shadow on the background. So go back to light, double click it – this is our point light and this is the directional light. With the point light selected, now go to light and see where it says shadows? I’ll just turn the shadows on. Look at that. Now we’ve got light. Let’s go back to the light properties, let’s raise it up just a bit. Our shadows go down. Let’s move it from side to side.
Larry Jordan: As the light pans, the shadows move; and notice that our foreground text is white, our background text is red. Why? Because I’ve got two lights. I’ve got the point light shining on ‘Let there be light’ and I’ve got the directional light, which is red, shining only on the background, which means it’s filling in those black shadows with a red cast light, which you’ve got to admit is kind of cool, and we’re taking advantage of the depth that is provided by having our text V in the foreground and our rectangle be in the background, and we can use multiple lights. We can also, for that matter, use multiple cameras, but we’ll save that for another session than today.
Voiceover: This Tech Talk was shared from Larry Jordon’s website at larryjordan.com.
Larry Jordan: Jayce Venditti was raised on a farm by an artistic family, where he fell in love with the arts and the planet.
Mike Horton: Are you serious? He was raised on a farm?
Larry Jordan: Forced to choose…
Mike Horton: That’s so romantic.
Larry Jordan: Forced to choose between soccer and his love for singing, acting and dancing, the arts won out. He’s developing a film, ‘The Hat,’ and creating a new studio concept with Tyme 2 Shyne. Hello, Jayce, welcome.
Jayce Venditti: Hi. Thank you, guys, for having me.
Larry Jordan: Let’s start with a question that is most on Mike’s mind. What was it like growing up on a farm with two very creative parents?
Jayce Venditti: What was it like? Honestly, it was a blessing. My dad’s a world known fine artist, my mother was a singer at the time and I was able to build an appreciation for something that I don’t think I would have been able to, which was nature, animals. It made me think, I was forced to think about other things because I wasn’t in town. I was on a 12 acre farm out in the middle of nowhere.
Larry Jordan: Was it a working farm or just simply a place where your family lived?
Jayce Venditti: It was at one point. It changed over when I was young. It was a smaller version of, my grandmother had a 200 acres dairy farm out in Bodega Bay and it was a break off of that and changed when I was younger, yes.
Larry Jordan: Where did a choice between soccer and the arts come from?
Jayce Venditti: I started out as a child actor doing a lot of musical stuff and my friends were all in sports and they would tease me, make fun of me, kind of scare me out of being a dancer, singer and an actor, even though my parents loved it and noticed I had a knack for it, which also put added stress on it, so I said, “It’s not fun any more. My parents are stressing me out with it, my friends are giving me a hard time,” and so I fell in love with soccer and I played it for most of my life, realized something was missing and in junior college I tried to figure out where my life was to go. I took a singing class, a dancing class and an acting class and I was like, “What have I been doing?”
Mike Horton: What junior college did you go to?
Jayce Venditti: Santa Rosa Junior College in northern California, Sonoma County.
Mike Horton: That’s a beautiful area.
Jayce Venditti: Oh, so beautiful. So beautiful.
Larry Jordan: So singing, dancing and acting – of the three, which one did you enjoy the most?
Jayce Venditti: Ah, wow. Honestly, for the only reason that it came much more naturally to me, acting. Singing, I really, really had to work hard at and dancing, I loved it, but acting just happened naturally. It was a meant to be kind of thing. I loved singing and dancing because it was a different outlet, it was live and there was a different type of energy there.
Larry Jordan: I had a chance to look at the trailer for ‘The Hat,’ which is your film and we’ll talk more about that in just a minute, but do you see a relationship between the way that dancing helps you think about your body and how your body moves and do acting and singing reinforce each other in terms of your craft? Or do you see them as separate?
Jayce Venditti: No, they all actually intertwined at one point. I didn’t really understand the mechanics behind singing until probably when I moved to LA, which was around 2000, and I happened into a boy band, which was pretty amazing. It was like an off the bucket list kind of thing. I realized how you really have to pay attention to your breathing and there are certain muscles that are things that we don’t think about, that are more second nature and you really have to work on controlling those. So those tied into working out, which ties into dancing. They’re all involved at some point; and then, of course, performing as an actor… stage stuff, movement is vital.
Mike Horton: Yes, you go to a four year theater or cinema program or anything like that, especially for acting, you always take not only acting classes but movement classes, you always take singing classes, you always take vocal classes. You always take all of that because it is interconnected.
Jayce Venditti: It’s interconnected, yes. Everything feeds off of everything.
Mike Horton: Right.
Larry Jordan: Tell me about this new Tyme 2 Shyne idea that you’ve got. What’s this?
Jayce Venditti: When you’re a, “starving actor or entertainer,” there’s a vicious circle that exists. You need money to get your website up and running and to get head shots and for this and that, but you need those to get the money and the gigs.
Mike Horton: That vicious circle.
Jayce Venditti: That vicious circle. Luckily, my mom also got into graphic arts when I was young and I’m kind of a computer nerd as well, I love anything creative, so I got into editing a little bit, I got into Photoshop and I realized, hey, I could do this for myself, I could implement these skills for other artists who can’t afford what the industry standard at the time was and they didn’t have that pocketbook, I guess you could say, so it started there.
Jayce Venditti: Tyme 2 Shyne, the… is – cheesy as it sounds – it’s everybody deserves a Tyme 2 Shyne, so the concept was it doesn’t matter what your pocketbook allows or doesn’t allow, you should get an opportunity. That’s where that concept came about. I started a business plan back in 2007. It was 72 pages geared more towards the performing arts and music, because that’s what I was really intense with at that point, but over the last eight or nine years it has developed into an all round artistic utopian concept, everybody helping everybody whether it’s networking, producing, showcasing, distributing. A little bit of everything.
Larry Jordan: Where is this based?
Jayce Venditti: Right now, it’s home based, it’s here in San Diego. Steve, who you guys did an interview with prior, is one of my partners and we’re working right now with some potential investors in the first of what’s going to be three phases. There would be just a small place where the new team can get together and gather for some of these feature films that we’re helping partner with LA and a couple here in San Diego; and then once those get moving, the goal is to move to a build out of a 40,000 square foot warehouse and then we have connections to some land down here for the first 60 acre to 200 acres build out, which will take about five to ten years and it’s motion picture, fine arts, music and performing arts.
Mike Horton: Did I hear you right when you said a 72 page business plan?
Jayce Venditti: That was in 2007 and that only revolved around music and performing arts, yes, it was 72 pages.
Mike Horton: And you’re going to build a studio? Is that what I heard?
Jayce Venditti: We want to. I don’t want to build it, I’d like to utilize it, but we’ve been blessed. It’s really crazy how – which we’ll talk about when we get to ‘The Hat’ – the love attraction most definitely is in the air and is working for us. We’re gathering the right people as far as people who have the right vision and mission and who care about things, also artistic and creative. We have access to three different types of land in San Diego and investors now, because of ‘The Hat’ teaser that has been floating around. Yes, things are moving along.
Larry Jordan: Is there a point of view that you’re bringing to your creative vision? Or is it just ‘We’re going to make films’? Do you have a specific idea of the films that you want to make?
Jayce Venditti: Most definitely. The films have to have a message. It doesn’t have to be present right there in your face. For example, ‘Avatar.’ I fell in love with it for the main reason that it kind of told the story of the Indians and the Pilgrims and in a cool way it pulled the masses in. It’s really difficult to take something that has meaning and something that has cool, that wow factor, and Avatar was a great film that did that and that’s what I want to do with projects that we accept, whether they’re feature films or fine art or music based.
Jayce Venditti: We want somebody that’s got that star quality or that creative juice and potential, but we’re looking for people who want to make a difference with that. Will Smith had a great video that I watch all the time when I need to be inspired and one of the things he said – and he pulled this quote from somebody else – is, “If you’re not making somebody else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time,” and luckily, being raised on a farm, connecting with nature, having parents that really cared, I think that’s a vital piece of the puzzle.
Larry Jordan: Well, Jayce, it could be argued that message films are the fastest way of losing money on the planet, that nobody turns out for a message film. Why even bother?
Jayce Venditti: Because it matters. It just matters. Look at what’s going on with media now. It’s all I, I, I, me, me, me. Everybody’s saying, “Look at me,” and they’re not looking at what’s going on over here and before they know it, that’s going to come full circle and affect them. The pendulum’s always going to shift. Change is the only constant that exists in this universe, so change will happen. It’s just when and you’ve got to keep fighting the fight and I’d rather not settle and give in to, “Oh, I just want to make money,” because ultimately when I’m… by myself I won’t be happy with myself.
Mike Horton: You want to change the world.
Jayce Venditti: Ultimately, yes. I want to be a part of that. I can’t do it myself. Cirina had a… don’t underestimate the power of one. That’s all it takes.
Mike Horton: Yes, if anybody’s going to change the world, it’s going to be Cirina, our producer.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that you’ve done is you are working on a film called ‘The Hat.’ What’s this?
Jayce Venditti: The goal is to take franchises that are successful and implement into that multi idea franchised film something that matters. I did a photo shoot back in 2007, it was really cool. It was three actors and models and we all wore the hat at different points in the storyline of a photo shoot and whoever wore the hat had power in that picture. It always bugged me, since 2007 it’s bugged me. 2012, finally I decided I’ve got to do something about this. I was really heavily into the law of attraction and a light went off and I was like, “Ok, I want to do with the law of attraction what Inception did with the concept of lucid dreams.” So that’s where ‘The Hat’ was spawned from.
Jayce Venditti: You have the double meaning of the hat – what hat are you going to wear in life? What role are you going to play? – and that’s why the item ended up being the hat, but you find out that this hat has actually changed form over history. It was once the cloak of a religious individual; it was once a handkerchief of another political leader. You find out that all of these people throughout history had it in one form or another as…, I guess you could say. So that’s what it is.
Jayce Venditti: The goal is to create a 12 saga independent feature film blockbuster. Three trilogies and the last film of the last trilogy would be a three part. So my goal is to take your Harry Potters, your Fast and Furious, your Avatars and create an independent saga.
Mike Horton: Go for it! Absolutely, Jayce. Love you.
Larry Jordan: What stage is the film in? I notice that you’ve got a teaser for it.
Jayce Venditti: We have a teaser. We actually have a lot of footage that we put together for a longer trailer that was a little more involving, because obviously what’s out now is very mysterious – what is this about? Kind of thing. The one that we have footage for, I don’t think it’s ready, I don’t think the footage we’ve shot is up to the par from the teaser and it was geared towards creating a social media marketing campaign. They were 15 second parts of the first feature film that we were going to put on Instagram and Vine to start creating momentum and fan base.
Larry Jordan: For people who want to learn more, where can they go on the web?
Jayce Venditti: Thehatfilm.com.
Larry Jordan: Thehatfilm.com and your website is?
Jayce Venditti: Jaycevenditti.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s jaycevenditti.com and, Jayce, thanks for joining us today.
Jayce Venditti: Thank you guys for having me.
Mike Horton: Good on you, Jayce.
Larry Jordan: Take care. See you soon. Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: It’s time for a Buzz Flashback. Five years ago today…
Oliver Breidenbach: We like to call it a TV truck without the truck. It can do anything a big TV production system can do – 3D graphics, character generation, video switching, video scaling, green screening – you name it, it can do it. So it’s basically a versatile video production system.
Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.
Larry Jordan: Michael, you’ve got to admit that this is a show which spanned the waterfront. We started talking about the technology…
Mike Horton: Absolutely.
Larry Jordan: …high dynamic range video and brand new ways of displaying pixels and then we’re doing color grading with a new application for Resolve…
Mike Horton: And then we’re talking to a guy with a lot of wonderful idealism.
Larry Jordan: Changing the world. It’s very cool.
Mike Horton: Yes. Very inspiring. People are so smart and so idealistic and it’s just, ah, you know, there’s something about this in almost every show that we do, there’s something inspiring and something idealistic and something wonderful in all these people. It’s what keeps me coming to this place. That and birthday cakes.
Larry Jordan: That and birthday cakes.
Mike Horton: Yes.
Larry Jordan: And a very happy birthday again…
Mike Horton: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: …two days early. I want to thank our guests for today – Patrick Griffis, the Executive Director for Technology Strategy at Dolby Laboratories; Steve Carson, the owner of Carson Filmworks; and Jayce Venditti, the filmmaker of The Hat with a wonderful vision for the future.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find hundreds, even thousands, of interviews all online and all available to you today.
Larry Jordan: Talk with us on Twitter, @DPBuZZ, and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugie Turner, with additional music provided by smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription and make a point to visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you.
Larry Jordan: Our producer is Cirina Catania; our engineering team is led by Megan Paulos and includes Ed Golya, James Miller, Keegan Guy and Brianna Murphy. On behalf of the ever handsome and affable Mr. Mike Horton, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for joining us for The Digital Production Buzz.
Mike Horton: Goodbye everybody.
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