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Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – October 29, 2015

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Digital Production Buzz

October 29, 2015

[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]

(Click here to listen to this show.)

Larry Jordan

Tech Talk with Larry Jordan
BuZZ Flashback: Cory Trepanier

Brad Malcolm, President, Athentech Imaging Inc.
André Gabriel and Jonathan Burcin, Students
Cirina Catania, Founder/Lead Creative, The Catania Group
Maxim Jago, Director,

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, two nights before Halloween, Brad Malcolm explains how to create better images. Brad is the President of Athentech Imaging, whose top app provides intelligent image correction for still images.

Larry Jordan: Next, two student filmmakers from CUNY created Building The Future: A City Tech Tale. Tonight, we talk with André Gabriel and Jonathan Burcin about what happened when they entered their film into the SMPTE Student Film Festival.

Larry Jordan: Next, Cirina Catania, the Supervising Producer of The Buzz, shares what she learned watching the films at the SMPTE Student Film Festival.

Larry Jordan: Next, Maxim Jago is a filmmaker who spends a lot of time thinking about creativity and actors. He shares his thoughts on how he directs actors and his creative process tonight.

Larry Jordan: All this plus a Buzz Flashback and Tech Talk talks color correction. 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. 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 covering content production, post production and distribution around the world. My name is Larry Jordan; Mike Horton and Randi Altman have the night off, but we’ve got a substitute.

Larry Jordan: There are two big announcements that I want to share with you tonight. The first is the announcement last week from Western Digital that they have acquired the third largest manufacturer of flash memory in the world, Sandisk Corporation. This is a cash and stock deal worth $19 billion. Western Digital has acquired a lot of technology lately – Hitachi Global Storage in 2011, HGST made hard disks, a 15 year licensing deal for flash memory with Toshiba earlier this year and now Sandisk.

Larry Jordan: As Kinetics Communication wrote in their newsletter today, hard drive manufacturers such as Western Digital are faced with an evolution in the IT industry as well as flash storage becoming more and more desirable and the need to diversify their storage portfolio becomes vital as hard drive sales slowly decline. The acquisition of Sandisk instantly expands Western Digital’s foothold in the non-volatile and flash memory industry and gives them access to a segment of the consumer data storage market that they weren’t in before.

Larry Jordan: For everyone creating media, storage is far more critical to our projects than the computer we use. With this recent announcement, our storage options are likely to become more limited, but we should also see a greater integration of flash with spinning disks.

Larry Jordan: Another announcement that I found intriguing was a press release from Addo Technology highlighting their products that support the simultaneous demands of 8K or 4K editing, real time video processing, CGI and visual effects, as well as the needs that studios have for multiple simultaneous ultra high definition video streams. These new Addo devices support Thunderbolt, fiber channel or SAS and provide network speeds up to 40 gigabits per second.

Larry Jordan: Addo has a longstanding and well deserved reputation for high quality connectivity products. What struck me were the incredible data transfer speeds we now take almost for granted. As someone who began his computer career with a single sided eight inch floppy disk, it never hurts to admire just how far we’ve come.

Larry Jordan: I want to remind you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at, which comes out every Friday. I’ll be back with Brad Malcolm right after this.

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Larry Jordan: Brad Malcolm is the President and Co-founder of Athentech Imaging. They’re the makers of Perfectly Clear. This innovative technology provides intelligent image correction for still images. Hello, Brad, welcome.

Brad Malcolm: Hi. Thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: Ah, it’s my pleasure. I was just thinking, it’s been a while since we’ve had you on the show and it’s time to take a look and see what the new news is. How would you describe the technology behind Perfectly Clear?

Brad Malcolm: Well, outstanding.

Larry Jordan: Yes, but what does it do? For people who don’t know what Perfectly Clear is, tell us what it does.

Brad Malcolm: Perfectly Clear is one touch magic for your photos and we’ve been licensing it for, gosh, 14 years to the largest printers around the world and we have advanced plug-ins for professional photographers, which is a one button click. The value proposition there is it’s all about saving you time. So the technology behind Perfectly Clear, we’ve got lots of patents and physics and the best math in how it works. It’s basically here to save you time. Cameras have physical limitations, images are dark, noisy, all that stuff and we automatically fix that with one click.

Larry Jordan: We’ve had image correction for a long time. iPhoto has it and Photo has it. What is it that separates you from the other applications that are doing image correction?

Brad Malcolm: I guess the difference is we’re robust and it’s a real color correction. You can run through millions of images every day – and in fact, our licensees run through 30 million prints every day – and it’s automatically better. It’s not worse and it’s realistic, so we’re never going to damage an image and we’re always going to make it better. That’s what makes it robust. There are 20 different corrections that we can do automatically and we do it at an advanced level so it doesn’t look fake, it doesn’t look artificial.

Brad Malcolm: There have been a lot of filters – that’s a hot topic – but we’re not a filter. Filters are for creative and artistic effects and there are enhancements to make things look pretty, but then they look fake and that’s not us. Have you ever had that moment, you go on that special vacation, for example, snap the picture of your family and what you see with your eyes is full of vibrant color but you take that picture and it’s just black, lacking color vibrancy, it’s noisy, it’s dark and that’s the challenge. Reality doesn’t match; the reality as we remember it, that we actually saw, is different than the camera captured, so we bring it back to how your eyes actually saw it.

Larry Jordan: I want to talk more about that, but let’s take a look at some specific images and see how your technology corrects them. For instance, we’ve got this image here, it’s a picture of a penguin. Tell us what’s happening with that image.

Brad Malcolm: That’s a great example and we took it especially for you guys, but other than that it’s just a typical example where you’re shooting and take a picture with your high quality camera and it’s dark because you have a light dynamic range that the eye sees but the camera only has a single aperture and therefore the exposure doesn’t match what you saw. We analyze that, we see that it’s dark and we correct ever pixel independently, so that image that you see now is 20 million independent apertures all properly optimized so that it’s full of life, just as you saw it.

Larry Jordan: Now, I should mention that this image is inside your desktop application. You’ve also got a mobile app that we’ll talk about in just a second. Let’s take a look at a second image and here we’ve got a young boy, the before on the left and after on the right. What’s happening here?

Brad Malcolm: In that case, it’s another example – a special memory, it looks great, you take a picture, the camera didn’t capture it as reality was and what happens a lot with digital cameras is images are lacking in color vibrancy. It’s due to the linear response of the sensor versus film, which is non-linear. It’s like it’s been washed out, like a newspaper sitting in the sun, and that happens a lot even with good, expensive gear.

Brad Malcolm: So we analyze that, we detect that and we automatically bring back the color vibrancy. Note we don’t oversaturate it, that would make it worse. We just make it look like you saw with your eyes, full of natural, rich, vibrant color, and we bring back a lot of pop because we’ve got technology in there from the medical realm where we work on X-rays to make sure your image has lots of depth, just like you saw with your eyes.

Larry Jordan: So it’s more than just correcting levels or adding chroma. You’re actually doing much more subtle adjustments than that?

Brad Malcolm: Absolutely. We’re analyzing every pixel independently and if it’s noisy we’ll remove it; if it needs an exposure correction, we correct exposure, but we never clip and we always maintain the real color. What that means is right now you’re wearing a red sweater, we’re not going to wash that out, we’re not going to cause that to become washed out and faded, which is a common problem. We just maintain that real color.

Brad Malcolm: You’ve got purple behind you, which is really difficult for cameras to capture. A FedEx box has purple – most cameras will capture that as two blue. If you’re shooting a wedding or bridesmaids’ dresses or lavender flowers, where color is very important, you want that accurate reproduction. We’ll bring it back to the proper color vibrancy. You’ve got normal tints which happen a lot in candescent lighting. Skiing, the snow turns out blue. We detect that and we fix that, but this all happens automatically behind the scenes.

Larry Jordan: Ok, let’s take a look at another image. This looks almost like skin softening, that we’re making blemishes disappear. Is that a true statement?

Brad Malcolm: It is a true statement because we have our Beautify technology. With one click, we actually do ten different corrections. We smooth the skin, but it’s very natural looking, as you can see. We’ll lighten teeth, we’ll enhance eyes, we can remove blemishes and we just make it easy to look your best. It’s not fake, it’s not artificial. There’s a lot of technology out there where you can smooth images and people complain a lot, “That looks fake, that’s not me, I don’t recognize me.” Well, that’s not the case. With us, it’s totally natural because what happens a lot, even with lenses, they’ll do the wide angle and they’ll distort skins a bit, so our face contourance brings your face back to the natural proportion.

Brad Malcolm: Again, what’s different with us is we’re automatic and that’s the key value proposition. You click the button, we do the rest. We detect faces, we detect age, we detect a gender and automatically make you look your best. You don’t have to go there and manually choose a face, manually choose removal of red eye or any of that complicated stuff. We do it all behind the scenes.

Larry Jordan: You’ve also recently released a new Android and IOS application. If I’m correct, it’s called Lucid? Or is that the desktop app.

Brad Malcolm: That’s the desktop app. We’ve had plug-ins for people in the Adobe workflow, Photoshop plug-ins, Lightroom plug-ins and those work very well and we’ve got a lot of people loving that. What we launched recently is our Photo Enthusiast line. It’s a standalone and Lucid makes your images perfectly clear. It’s a standalone app for Windows and Mac, so for those people who are not in Adobe, it’s very easy to just run images through and you can batch process.

Larry Jordan: Well, we’ve got an image of a young girl on screen. It’s split screen – we’ve got before on the left, after on the right. What’s Lucid doing here?

Brad Malcolm: That’s in our IOS app and that’s what we just launched as well. In that case, that’s a cute young girl and it’s a typical example where she’s outside, it looks great. Wide dynamic range, camera couldn’t capture that. We detected that, we’re correcting every pixel automatically, making the exposure look the best, but we also detect the face and we can see her eyes are a little dark, so we’re making her eyes pop, bringing out the shine, the sparkle that her eyes naturally have, because she’s full of joy.



Larry Jordan: All right, well, what I’m hearing is the big benefit that your software provides is not that you can exceed necessarily the capabilities of the skilled photographer, but you don’t have to be a skilled photographer to take advantage of this – it’s one click, easy. It strikes me that the broad market, people who just want their pictures to look better, is a perfect market for what this product is. Do I have that correct?

Brad Malcolm: Yes, that’s correct. I would dissect it in two areas. If you’re a working pro or an advanced amateur, some of the stuff you can do in Photoshop and it’s going to take you five minutes. For us, it’ll take two seconds. Now, take that if you’re shooting weddings, if you’re doing a commercial, you’ve got a thousand images. If you’ve got to manually correct every one, that’s going to take you a lot of time. Run it through, we automatically correct it. That’s where there are huge time savings because you make your money doing creative stuff behind the computer, not doing mundane editing. If you’re a photo enthusiast, well, you don’t want to learn complex tools. We get you there without the learning curve. So there are two segmentations there.

Larry Jordan: One of the buzz words that we’re hearing a lot about especially in video but it’s been around in photography for a long time, is high dynamic range images where we have blacker blacks and whiter whites. Are you able to work with HDR images? And, if so, is there really that much of a difference after we’ve run those images through your product?

Brad Malcolm: Absolutely. There are two aspects to that. One, HDR images are often quite noisy because you’re taking out a very high ISO and then you’re combining that, so you’re getting the noise aggregated throughout two, three, five or seven images so running it through Perfectly Clear will actually remove the noise. Even with the HDR images, yes, you’re taking several exposures and combining them together, but with Perfectly Clear we’ll notice that it still is often dark and we’ll just make those colors pop and fix that exposure. We have a lot of people using that with a lot of success and loving it.

Larry Jordan: You’ve got technology for Mac and Windows systems, you’ve also got it for Android and IOS. Are you seeing that uses of the product are different depending upon what platform they’re using?

Brad Malcolm: No, I wouldn’t say the uses are different. We license the core technology and then we’ve got our mobile applications, our desktop applications, so no, we have people with very expensive cameras and lenses and I’m one of those, but still there are physical limitations where it’s like, “Wow, I just didn’t get it right,” and you run it through and the photos look amazing and I don’t have to spend time doing it, so it’s more from a use case.

Brad Malcolm: But we have a lot of Android users and we have a lot of people on IOS as well, so I wouldn’t say there are any specific trends within a certain OS. Those are just OS’s, but it’s getting the big picture. People are still taking pictures, they want images to look their best and they don’t want to spend hours behind a computer making it so.

Larry Jordan: I just realized that, according to what I was reading on your website, your software does 18 different tests or 18 different corrections to an image to make it look better. Can I select which of those I want it to do, or is it all or nothing?

Brad Malcolm: You can tune every one individually as well, so you can definitely adjust it. Those are the two sides. One button click – and we have eight different presets that you can choose from. We have Details, which works very robustly across everything. If you’re working on portrait, you hit our Beautify or Beautify Plus, but then if you want to fine tune it in our plug-ins or the standalone, there’s a separate tab you tap, all the slider bars are there and you can make adjustments if you want.

Brad Malcolm: The adjustments are very simple because they are exposure and when you move exposure to the left or to the right, you’re adjusting every pixel independently, never clipping, always maintaining real color, so no complex levels or curves adjustment but it does an excellent job with one slider.

Larry Jordan: I should say that congratulations are in order. Apparently Apple’s awarded Lucid one of the best new apps on the IOS platform. Congratulations. That’s very exciting.

Brad Malcolm: Thank you very much.

Larry Jordan: What did you have to do to qualify? Did they pick you out of the blue or did you wave your hand and say, “We’re here, pay attention to us”?

Brad Malcolm: We worked a year and a half of hard development and engineering and just developed a world class app.

Larry Jordan: When did they give you the Best New App award?

Brad Malcolm: Well, what they do is they do their featuring of different apps and they rotate that frequently as well. That happened a couple of days ago, just when we launched it here. I was on a call and all of a sudden I started getting Skypes from people in Norway and our… buddy and part of the development team there said, “Wow, this is cool, check it out,” and I was trying to stay focused on the call and another guy said, “Hey, wait a minute. What’s this going on here?” so, yes, it was pretty cool.

Larry Jordan: That’s very cool, congratulations.

Brad Malcolm: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: You’re focused on making images look better. What new technology are you keeping your eyes on in the near future that could enhance the images that we take?

Brad Malcolm: Stuff that we’re specifically doing or just stuff in the industry in general?

Larry Jordan: Well, I know you’re not going to preannounce products, that’s always what I’m interested in but it won’t happen, but I’m just thinking more of what new things are coming down the pipe that you’re keeping your eyes on, generically speaking?

Brad Malcolm: One thing that we’re always interested in is to be as good as we can and, with technology, we’ve got lots of inventions but we want to continue to innovate so that when you touch a button – and we’re very good, we’re the most robust that there is out there, but there’s always room to make it better, make it faster, do more stuff. Those are the things that we’re always working on- how do we do it better? How do we even refine everything more? Are there more corrections that are needed?

Brad Malcolm: One thing we don’t deal with is blurry images due to motion – can we take an image after the fact and make it crisp? Different things like that. There are other examples but everything about picture quality – how can we make it easy to look your best? Sure, cameras are getting better and there’s a lot of great equipment out there and great processing software, but there are still physical limitations – the way that the human eye works dynamically… the light versus a single aperture, that still continues to be the case.

Larry Jordan: If you can figure out how to make a blurry image look sharp, that I think qualifies as absolutely magic. How do you find an edge in a blurry image?

Brad Malcolm: I don’t have an answer for you. If I did, we’d probably have a product out there. But that’s just one of many. Yes, there are some really challenging problems out there.

Larry Jordan: Yes. It’s analogous to taking echoes out of audio and human speech, how you remove the echo without removing the voice. It’s a real challenge, how you remove the blur and keep an edge when the edge isn’t there. I think that qualifies you for Magician of the Year award. I’m very impressed.

Brad Malcolm: Well, it wouldn’t be me, it would be my team that’s smart behind me, just for clarity. I don’t take the credit.

Larry Jordan: Brad, where can people go to learn more about the products that you guys offer?

Brad Malcolm: You can go to and you’ll find everything there. You can also Google Perfectly Clear and it’ll come up.

Larry Jordan: Perfect. The website is Brad Malcolm is the President and Co-founder. Brad, thanks for joining us today.

Brad Malcolm: Thanks for having me. A real pleasure as well.

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Larry Jordan: We’ve got an interesting story of two cities for you today. Two students, André Gabriel and Jonathan Burcin are students at the City University of New York, the College of Technology, and both of them are third year students studying entertainment technology. André’s background is in production; Jonathan’s background is in post production and they created this film – I’ve got to look at my notes – Building for the Future: A City Tech Tale. But what makes it especially interesting is that, while they go to school in New York, they’re actually in Los Angeles and therein lies a story. Hello André, hello Jonathan, good to have you with us.

André Gabriel: How are you doing?

Jonathan Burcin: How are you doing?

Larry Jordan: I’m talking to the two of you, this is going to be great. Tell me about your film, ‘Building for the Future: A City Tech Talk.’ What is it?

Jonathan Burcin: It’s… that happens that students from different schools, from different states build…

André Gabriel: An energy efficient house.

Jonathan Burcin: Yes, they try to build energy efficient houses. Our school City Tech has an undergraduate architecture students who decided to participate in this proposition. We’re the only participating school with undergraduates, right?

André Gabriel: I think so.

Jonathan Burcin: Yes… so since we were doing that, we were interested in videotaping and documenting their progress in building the house, so we documented them starting the build and their progress. They had to ship it to California for the competition.

André Gabriel: Yes, they build the house completely and then they dismantle it and have it shipped to California and then rebuild it here.

Larry Jordan: And why did you decide to turn this into a film? What was it that caught your attention?

André Gabriel: It was actually the diversity of the students involved. They weren’t just architecture students alone. There were students from other backgrounds.

Jonathan Burcin: Math majors.

André Gabriel: Engineering, all kinds of stuff. Everyone had a hand in it, so we decided to cover the diversity of the student body that was participating in the program.

Jonathan Burcin: Since City Tech is one of the most diverse colleges in the nation, we wanted to highlight that along with documenting the progress of building the house.

Larry Jordan: You’re in production, you’re shooting the film. What were you using for gear? What did you shoot it on?

Jonathan Burcin: It was a Panasonic HBX170.

André Gabriel: That was the camera and we rigged shotgun mics. They were Sennheiser shotgun mics. I’m not too sure if they were using mixers?

Jonathan Burcin: Maybe for narration, but not for…

André Gabriel: Ok, yes.

Jonathan Burcin: It wasn’t the most advanced 4K.

André Gabriel: We basically used what we had on hand.

Larry Jordan: And Jonathan, how did you edit it?

Jonathan Burcin: I edited on Avid Symphony. It’s was good product to work on, as I was learning Avid. It was the first major project I worked on on Avid.

Larry Jordan: Now, you entered this into a contest. Not only was there the architecture contest, but didn’t you enter it into a student film festival? Tell me about that.

André Gabriel: Oh yes, the SMPTE Student Film Festival. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers held their first annual film festival for students this year and we decided to enter it.

Jonathan Burcin: It was on a whim.

André Gabriel: … yes. We didn’t have a chance.

Larry Jordan: And there were how many people competing?

André Gabriel: In our division, there were three schools, eight people competing, three films.

Larry Jordan: And how did you do?

André Gabriel: We got second place in the category, which was best use of entertainment technology and film, but we got first place and Best in Show.

Jonathan Burcin: Best in Show, yes.

André Gabriel: And that was an unexpected thing.

Jonathan Burcin: Yes, we didn’t expect it at all.

Larry Jordan: Well, congratulations. Best in Show is always a delight. I wish you both great success. Is this film going to be posted anywhere? Can people see it?

André Gabriel: I’m not too sure. We’re going to have to speak with our head professor to find out exactly where it’s posted. Right now, it’s posted internally for us to view but it’s not for the general public just yet.

Larry Jordan: Well, I wish you great success, André Gabriel for doing the production and Jonathan Burcin for doing the post production, both at City University New York. Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us today.

André Gabriel: Thank you for having us.

Larry Jordan: Cirina Catania is the Supervising Producer for The Buzz and a highly respected and very productive filmmaker in her own right. Recently, she attended the SMPTE Student Film Festival screenings, where André and Jonathan won the Best of Show award. Hello, Cirina, good to see you again.

Cirina Catania: Hi Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: I am doing great. I was thinking that you were at the SMPTE screenings where our two guest won their award. What were your thoughts, watching all these student films?

Cirina Catania: The enthusiasm in the audience was amazing. These young filmmakers had come from as far away as Ecuador, Canada, United Arab Emirates. It was amazing how enthusiastic they are and that’s rejuvenating for us too.

Larry Jordan: What was it that impressed you the most?

Cirina Catania: The DSLR generation has really taught students how to film well visually. The visuals are very, very good in these films. I was also impressed with some of the special effects and some of the mock-ups that were used in the film. Lighting was good. Editing was surprisingly good and I was also surprised that a lot of these schools are teaching on Avid.

Larry Jordan: Hmm. What was it that needed the most work?

Cirina Catania: I think it was sound. They need to listen to your recent webinars on sound, Larry. There were some sync problems, probably having to do with the DCP that was made on the other end or I don’t know if the schools made them ahead of time or if they were made by SMPTE. Something happened with the DCPs and so there were sync problems.

Cirina Catania: I would advise anybody who’s screening a film in a public venue to first find out how it’s going to be projected and make sure that your specs are going to be top notch and you’re not going to have any problems technically, because if the sound isn’t good it’s very distracting. Some of the films were every good in terms of sound, but others, they even admitted it in the Q&A, that they needed to learn a lot about the sound. They weren’t mixed, the levels were uneven and in the room it sounded very tinny. It was sometimes hard to understand what was being said.

Larry Jordan: How about the storytelling? Was that ok?

Cirina Catania: Actually, that was my next point. Story is a big problem for some of these films. Even a 30 second film, especially the 30 second film, has to have a beginning, a middle and an end, it’s got to have a payoff. You need to know who the good guys are, who the bad guys are, who you’re rooting for and you need an ending and some of these were technically wonderfully interesting but the story was lacking.

Larry Jordan: What was the key takeaway that you’ve got for student filmmakers? What can they learn from these films?

Cirina Catania: I would say get a mentor who is not one of your teachers but a mentor who’s in the industry and is working as a pro so that you can ask them questions outside of the box and get a really high level feedback for your projects. It really does make a difference; I watched the men and women in the room who are professionals who have been working for many, many years and they’re very interested in helping out. You can always find somebody who is from an older generation who’s been around for a while and is willing to spend some time helping you to learn things that you may or may not learn in school.

Larry Jordan: Cirina, thank you so much. We’ll talk to you again. Look forward to seeing what else we’ve got planned for the rest of the show.

Cirina Catania: Thanks, Larry.

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Larry Jordan: Here we’ve got two kids and we can see they’ve got skin and they look normal. Let’s look at our scopes. All right, a little bit of highlight with the sky, but notice that we would consider those kids white, but they’re not white. They’re a mid-tone gray. This brings me to one of the most politically incorrect statements I can think of saying – there are no white people and there are no black people. There are just mid-tone gray people.

Larry Jordan: If you think about it, when you’re getting yourself cleaned up in the bathroom in the morning and a piece of skin falls off, the very first thing you do is you look at that dead skin and make sure that it’s not some major body part that you’re suddenly losing, but the other thing you do is you look at it closely and you realize it’s gray dead skin, because skin doesn’t have a color. Skin has a grayscale. Our blood has a color. So that which gives us color is not our skin, but the blood under our skin. The rest of our skin is just simply varying in grayscale. It’s a grayscale difference.

Larry Jordan: So what does that mean in terms of the scope? Look at the computer. You see this line right here on the vectorscope that’s going up left? That’s called the skin tone line or the flesh tone line. Whether you are Caucasian or black or Asian or Indian or any other ethnic or racial group, every single one of us has the same red blood under our skin and this line represents the color of red blood under skin. The color is always the same, the only thing that changes is the saturation.

Larry Jordan: So here the girl’s skin is that big clump right there on the skin tone line. Here the background is white. Her sweater is beige. Her face between 60 and 80 percent. She’s not white, she’s a mid-tone gray.

Larry Jordan: This Hispanic woman, her skin tone right around 60 to 70 per cent. The background is 90 per cent. She’s clearly not a grayscale white. She’s a mid-tone. This black woman, there’s the white of her sweater, the beige of the couch. Her face? 20 to 40 percent. She’s not black, she’s a mid-tone gray. She’s not white or black, she’s a mid-tone gray. She’s not white or black, she’s a mid-tone gray and look where their skin tones are – right on the skin tone line, right on the skin tone line, right on the skin tone line.

Larry Jordan: In fact, if I go here and go to effect controls and turn on a crop so I just see her skin and go back to the scopes, her skin is right on the skin tone line. This is a huge benefit to us as we’re doing color correcting, because if our skin tone is not on the skin tone line or a couple of degrees above or below it, we’re going to look strange.

Larry Jordan: Here, for instance. Ok, but feels lifeless so the first thing I’m going to do is analyze the image. Let’s pull our blacks down just a little bit. But she’s Caucasian, her skin tone should be around 50 to 70 percent. Nothing gets over 50, so the first thing I’m going to do is apply a crop, go back to effect controls and let’s crop in and find a well lit part of her skin. I want to make sure to exclude other colors, because otherwise it can be confusing trying to read the scope if you’ve got a bunch of other colors in there. There we go. It doesn’t have to be very big. She’s on the skin tone line, but she’s supposed to be between 50 and 70 percent. She’s between 40 and 45 percent, so I’m going to bring my white levels up and pull her up to be about, oh, 55 to 60 percent.

Larry Jordan: Now when I take the crop off, much better. Now we can pull this down a bit to give ourselves a little bit more black level, give ourselves a little bit more richness. This is where we were before, this is where we are.

Larry Jordan: Maxim Jago is a film director, a screenwriter and an author who splits his time between filmmaking and speaking as a futurist. He’s a regular speaker at media technology conferences, film festivals and events celebrating creativity. He’s also the Chief Innovation Officer at and a mentor for many new filmmakers. Welcome back, Maxim. Good to have you with us.

Maxim Jago: Very happy to be here. Nice to see you again.

Larry Jordan: Well, you know, I was just thinking, the last time we spoke, which was back in February of this year, we were talking about your approach to creativity and the training that you do for Adobe. This time, I want to shift gears a little bit and talk about your work as a film director. What are some of the films that you’ve created?

Maxim Jago: Goodness, there are 50 terrible films that I’ve created. A couple of them are acceptable. I think the most significant ones recently, there was a feature length documentary I made about a New York based abstract theater director called Richard Foreman. That was pretty interesting and it’s beautiful as, because he’s an abstract theater director, it’s pretty crazy stuff and at the beginning of the process I interviewed one of the actors who said, “I know this is fake. Just so you know I said it, this is definitely one of those psychological tests and just so you know, I spotted that’s what it was, because it’s too crazy.”

Maxim Jago: Two weeks in, the same guy said, “I get it, it’s amazing, it’s transformative, I’m wowed,” so it was wonderful seeing that development. I got Best Director last year in Monaco for a short film called ‘Strong Heart’ and that was a beautiful little piece, it’s a serendipitous love story, and I did pretty well with a short again last year which was called ‘Theft Unexpected.’ It’s based on a beautiful Douglas Adams story about a man who thinks that his cookies are being stolen by a stranger across the table from him in a railway station café and, of course, the big reveal at the end is that his cookies were under his own newspaper and he’s actually been stealing the other guy’s.

Maxim Jago: There’s this beautiful battle of wills between these two characters, neither of whom have any training to prepare them for a stranger stealing their food like that, and looking annoyed while they did it. It’s beautiful. That actually got Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. It’s a lovely little film.

Larry Jordan: There are a lot of different ways to approach film. Some people, like Hitchcock, like the technical challenge of planning every shot; other directors like working with actors and other directors like the post production process. Which part appeals to you the most?

Maxim Jago: When I was a kid, I was always interested in the idea of lucid dreaming, where you’re in control of the dream. I never managed to pull it off; although I have dozed off a lot during the day, it’s not quite the same. I love the idea that, as a filmmaker, you are using in a sense reality itself as your paintbrush and paint and canvas, that you’re really creating an experience for your audience, and I read a little while ago that the part of your mind that has experiences does not differentiate between something that you literally are experiencing, something that you imagine, something that you remember, something that you dream. It doesn’t differentiate at all.

Maxim Jago: So as a filmmaker, I think that in a very literal sense you’re creating a real experience for your audience and I think that’s very beautiful. I’ve been an actor and I sometimes still do act and so I particularly love helping actors to become very present and very real. I’m not particularly concerned about the precise words of the script. I’m more interested in naturalism and realism, I’m more interested in the authenticity of the moment and as long as the key sentiments of the scene are there, as long as the plot is expressed and the main stuff is right, I’m much more concerned with the audience believing what they’re witnessing and feeling that it’s real.

Maxim Jago: There’s an amazing moment in ‘Interstellar,’ which I enjoyed very much. I don’t know the name of the young actress that plays his daughter at the beginning of the film, but there’s a scene where she is very angry with him because he’s leaving and her performance was so powerful and real that I felt myself welling up watching it. I could feel my own eyes sympathetically responding and she wasn’t even speaking. It was just so completely real and present and I think if you can create something with all of your cast and crew that has that reality tone, it’s just an incredible thrill.

Maxim Jago: I directed a film a while back, I was very proud of it though it didn’t do very well at the festivals. It’s called ‘The Party’s Over,’ you can see it on my Vimeo page. It’s about a guy and a girl in a café and it’s the very serious topic about her being assaulted at a party. I just helped the actress through this emotional journey. There’s a moment where he should be saying, “I’m so sorry this has happened, let me help you,” but he reacts the wrong way and I took her on this emotional journey to the point where there was nowhere for her to go but tears and slapping him, so she does both. Members of the crew were welling up watching her performance and I just thought, “I might as well quit now, I don’t think it’s going to get any better.”

Maxim Jago: So I love all of it, but I also feel that as a director, it’s not about me being in charge, it’s not about my ego or me being right, it’s about me enabling everybody else there to fulfill their genius. I want to reclaim the word enabler. Alcoholics Anonymous use it as someone who justifies behavior, and I want to reclaim that word because I think it’s very powerful. If you can enable other people to fulfill their potential, and as a director if you can be the one – I always think it’s like tuning an orchestra and you’re the only one with a tuning fork and you go around and people show you things and you go ‘dong’ and you listen and it either fits or it doesn’t, it’s either in tune or it isn’t, and if it is in tune then it’s better than my idea, let’s have it, because it makes me look like a better director. It’s wonderful. You just have to help other people, to challenge them in the right way and I find that very fulfilling as well.

Larry Jordan: It’s a hard position, though, for an actor to be in the moment in relationship to the film as opposed to being in the moment surrounded by crew and all the technical gear that’s necessary with filmmaking. What’s a typical instruction you give to an actor to help bring them into the moment you need them to be in relationship to the film as opposed to real life?

Maxim Jago: Yes, I have a rule about that. Following on from this idea that the brain doesn’t differentiate between something you imagine or something that’s really happening, I found that particularly actors are willing to step into a world that you paint for them, a world that you describe, so my rule is this – I say very clearly, and I say it regularly until they really get it, you are not acting for the other cast, for the crew, for the audience, for the camera, nobody. You’re not acting for any of those people. You’re just acting for me – and I will sit next to the camera so the eye lines are right and it’s all just as it should be and I promise to tell you when it’s right and if it’s not right, I’ll tell you why.

Maxim Jago: But if it is, not only will I tell you, but it’s kind of my responsibility, so if I’m wrong, it’s my fault, not yours. If I say it’s good, it’s good and it’s time to move on. But I want you to imagine there’s a bubble around this location that you’re in, this scene, and nothing exists outside of that bubble. If it’s a three wall set and it’s a flyaway stage or whatever, there are obviously crew there. I won’t have this stuff of crew moving lights around. Gaffers are terrible for it. Because you can’t hear them, they think, “Well, I’m just going to move this light,” but of course it’s distracting for the cast, so I want everyone to be very present and I want the cast to only be thinking about whether they’re performing for me – and I’m right there, right next to the camera watching – and am I convinced that it’s real?

Maxim Jago: My rule is if you’re not feeling it, I don’t want to see it and it’s my responsibility to give you the feelings, not yours. Don’t direct yourself; and if I haven’t given you a feeling, show me that, show me absolutely nothing. It’ll be wonderful on camera, it’ll look fantastic because when you have that blank expression, the audience projects onto you and that’s because when people go into shock, when their feelings are so powerful it’s not worth expressing them, you just shut down, so let’s have that. If that’s not what I want, I promise I will give you the feeling.

Maxim Jago: There’s a fantastic UK director’s trainer called Simon Philips, he has this great technique where you never answer the question if an actor asks you how they should feel, just don’t answer it, just pretend they never asked it, but tell them a little story about something that happened to them. So, for example, if you want them to really dislike another character, you can take them aside and say, “You know, the last time you saw that guy, he was really drunk. He was fall down drunk and he mistook you for somebody else and he took a swing and punched you in the head, and he was so drunk he walked off, didn’t even realize he’d done it, he’d just gone. He hasn’t seen you since and you haven’t seen him and he obviously doesn’t recognize you and doesn’t remember he did it. Let’s have the scene.”

Maxim Jago: Now, what you’ve got is this powerful layered story that the actor has in their mind and the other actor has no idea why they’re reacting that way. It’s beautiful, it’s a real feeling.

Larry Jordan: So you don’t give the same instruction to all your actors? Each actor’s getting a specific instruction?

Maxim Jago: Yes, I give two separate sets of direction. One is for everyone together and the other is absolutely separately, because it’s about an internal journey. You can’t give away all the information. You want the reactions, don’t you? You want the reaction and I’m always saying to actors, “Stop waiting for your line. You’ve got to really listen because if you want a lot of screen time, you’d better look like you’re thinking about what the other person’s saying, because your reactions tell the audience how they should feel, so if you’re just standing there waiting, I can’t use it, that’s going to be on the cutting room floor.”

Maxim Jago: Feel it, be present and it’s my job to give them feelings, it’s my job to give them an attitude. You know, I was raised by intellectual hippies, I believe in absolute equality and we should all love one another and drink more tea, but nonetheless as the director you are an authority and I think that you create a space in which people feel safe to take risks and to work magic. In the Native American shamanic tradition, they have this idea that when you’re performing a big ceremony you’ll have two shamans. One shaman performs the ceremony and the other one holds the space, and I think as a director you’re both.

Maxim Jago: You have to create that atmosphere in which everybody in the room, cast and crew, feels that something’s truly being created here, something really magical is happening, and it’s all happening around this scene, this space in the middle of the room if you like, and it’s your job to create that space. You have to be the one that doesn’t freak out when the equipment breaks. You have to be the one that has humor when things go wrong.

Larry Jordan: Maxim, I was looking at my notes, you’re working on a new film called ‘Orpheus Rising.’ Tell us about that.

Maxim Jago: It is my baby. It’s a love story thriller about an uncommonly compassionate and emotionally ok contract killer who falls totally, truly, madly, deeply, French movie style in love and so far everybody who reads the script says they want to work on it for free, they can’t wait. It’s a meant story. It’s the kind of film we get into filmmaking for and I’m just inviting anybody who wants to get involved to get involved. It’s a bit of a challenge, I’m trying to reach out to Gemma Arterton, Johnny Depp, Anthony Hopkins and Terence Stamp to get them to read the script and get involved, and so I’m reaching out psychically because their agents won’t talk to indies, but it is a beautiful project and so far everyone wants to get involved.

Larry Jordan: Well, it seems like you’re sort of caught in a catch 22 – you can’t get money until you’ve got a famous actor and you can’t get a famous actor until you’ve got money. How are you coping with the stress?

Maxim Jago: Naps. You just have to keep going. I read a beautiful quote somewhere that you have to be lucky to be successful and the harder you work, the luckier you are. I think keeping going is one of those great tests. If you keep going, you will eventually have some success.

Larry Jordan: Thinking about success reminds me of the other film that you’re working on, which has a killer title. It’s called ‘James Bond 0013.’ Tell me about that.

Maxim Jago: It’s a fantastic project. Over the years, I’ve had a number of people tell me that they thought I would make a good Bond and being human and male, who doesn’t like James Bond? I’ve met a few people who’ve said, “Why don’t you just go for it?” and I was speaking with Cirina Catania, who you know as well, about this and she’s an incredibly experienced filmmaker and a wonderful person and she said, “Well, let’s work on it together.”

Maxim Jago: Over the years, as I get older and more cynical, I’ve realized that most of the people who say they’re going to do things are lying. They don’t realize they’re lying, they mean it at the time, but they’re lying and they just don’t do it. My old lecturer at film school, Ted May, he’s a genius, said the definition of professional is to do what you say you’re going to do. I used to think it was one in ten; now I’m thinking it’s more like one in 100 or maybe even one in 1,000 people actually do what they say they’re going to do and when you meet someone like that, grab them, marry them maybe.

Larry Jordan: But let’s get back to ‘James Bond 0013.’

Maxim Jago: Cirina was saying, “Let’s do it,” so the plan is that I’ve written a script, I’ve called it ‘James Bond 0013,’ it’s a simple short, it’s about nine minutes, a James Bond case where he conducts an investigation and I’m going to play the lead, I’m going to play Bond, and I’m going to direct it and it’s the second time for me – the first time was an unbearably awful student film – playing the role and directing the film and it’s proof of concept to see if I can do it. Now, I think in a situation like that you need an exceptional crew and you need an exceptional assistant director and production manager.

Maxim Jago: You need people who are really in control and you have to be rehearsed and planned before you get on location. But these days, now you’ve got instant playback of what you’ve recorded and it’s much easier to capture things because we can shoot with two or three cameras, it’ll work out just fine. The goal of the film is to make a short film that is more James Bond than the last three James Bond films. Now, we’re a little bit scared that we’re going to get sued. Well, I should say I’m a little bit scared that I’m going to get sued, but it is just a fan film. We’re not going to make any money from it, it isn’t for distribution and for sale. We’ll put it online and, you never know, perhaps the Broccolis will see it and think, “That could make a Bond.” You never know, right?

Larry Jordan: So it’s an audition reel, I understand, this makes perfect sense. Now, James Bond films are $100 million to $200 million enterprises, so clearly you must have $30 million or $40 million budget behind this nine minute short, correct?

Maxim Jago: Well, I’m an optimistic realist and we’re aiming for a $30,000 budget. Because of the technology work, I’ve got some wonderful friends working for a lot of technology companies who’ve offered to help in lots of ways and that makes an enormous difference. The thing that’s the most important, though, is the people. You can shoot incredible films on a phone now, it’s the people that make the difference and over the years I’ve met some just extraordinary souls that I’m proud to have had the opportunity to work with and this is finally an opportunity to say, “Ok, let’s go, let’s work on something amazing, something just fantastic,” and so I’m ringing that bell and I’m inviting people to come and get involved.

Larry Jordan: So are you funded or are you looking for funding?

Maxim Jago: Well, it depends who we’re speaking to. If you’re talking to investors you have to say, “We’ve already got the money, but if you want to get involved, the train’s leaving the station but jump on board, the doors haven’t closed yet.” No, we don’t have any finance yet. We’ve got some offers of a lot of in-kind support, which counts for thousands and thousands. We’ve got a little bit of cash offered by companies where, if we talk about using their technology and produce some marketing material, we can fund it a little way, but we haven’t actually asked anybody yet for any money.

Larry Jordan: For people who decide they’ve got extra cash and need to fund another Bond film for less than $200 million, where can they go on the web to learn more about you and/or your projects?

Maxim Jago: Oh, thank you for asking. I’m at Actually, it’s easy to find me if you Google me. It’s a weird spelling of my name, but the website is good and I’m MaximJago on Twitter. Pretty easy to find.

Larry Jordan: And Maxim Jago, the filmmaker and the artist and the creative source and the Adobe wizard, is the person we’ve been speaking to. is his website. Maxim, thanks for joining us today.

Maxim Jago: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a great pleasure. Thank you.

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

Core Trépanier (archive): There’s nothing that I’ve found that replaces the attempt of trying to capture something in real life. Talk to any artist, people who want to paint nudes, it’s better working from life. Well, similarly when it comes to the land, when you can smell the air and feel the cold in your fingers or the mosquitoes biting down your neck, whatever the case may be, it all lends to a greater sense of understanding of the place and hopefully trying to capture the essence of it.

Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.

Larry Jordan: I enjoy listening to the comments of all of our guests, but I was especially struck by the comments that Maxim made about when he was working with actors and he wasn’t telling his actors what to do and he wasn’t telling his actors what to say, he was giving them tips on what they should feel, which I thought was a very interesting approach, because once they knew what they were feeling, then the actions and the dialog would then come out from that. The other interesting thing, I liked his quote where he said professionalism is doing what you say you’re going to do, which struck a chord with me

Larry Jordan:  I also enjoyed chatting with our two student filmmakers as they were just bubbling over with excitement on the film that they not only created and submitted, but won Best of Show for at the SMPTE Student Film Festival; and Brad Malcolm with Athentech and his image enhancement technology is exceedingly exciting.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank Brad Malcolm, who is the President of Athentech Imaging, and André Gabriel and Jonathan Burcin, the filmmakers, and Cirina Catania, the Supervising Producer for The Buzz, and Maxim Jago, filmmaker and futurist for being on tonight’s show.

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; and please remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter.

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

Larry Jordan: Our producer is Cirina Catania; engineering – Megan Paulos, Ed Golya, Keegan Guy, Hannah Dean and Brianna Murphy. My name is Larry Jordan and thanks for joining us for The Digital Production 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 provides highly competitive digital video archive solutions.

Digital Production Buzz – October 29, 2015

Join Larry Jordan as he talks with Brad Malcolm, André Gabriel, Jonathan Burcin, Cirina Catania and Maxim Jago.

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Guests this Week

Brad Malcolm
Brad Malcolm, President, Athentech Imaging Inc.
Brad Malcolm is President and co-founder of Athentech Imaging, makers of Perfectly Clear and Lucid, recently named a top app in the Apple Store. His innovative technology provides intelligent image correction for still images.
André Gabriel
André Gabriel, Student
André Gabriel and Jonathan Burcin are student filmmakers at the NYC College of Technology at CUNY. Recently, they crowd-funded a trip from NYC to LA to attend the SMPTE Student Film Festival for their film: “Building the Future: A City Tech Tale.” Tonight, we’ll discover how they did.
Jonathan Burcin
Jonathan Burcin, Student – CUNY
André Gabriel and Jonathan Burcin are student filmmakers at the NYC College of Technology at CUNY. Recently, they crowd-funded a trip from NYC to LA to attend the SMPTE Student Film Festival for their film: “Building the Future: A City Tech Tale.” Tonight, we’ll discover how they did.
Cirina Catania
Cirina Catania, Founder/Lead Creative, The Catania Group
Our Supervising Producer Cirina Catania attended the SMPTE Student Film Festival and shares her thoughts on what she saw, what techniques the filmmakers were strong at and areas where they still needed help.
Maxim Jago
Maxim Jago, Director,
Maxim Jago is a film director, screen writer, and author who splits his time between film making and speaking as a futurist. Tonight, we talk with him about creativity, filmmaking, directing actors and his new role impersonating James Bond in “James Bond 0013.”

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – October 22, 2015

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Digital Production Buzz

October 22, 2015

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Larry Jordan
Mike Horton

Randi Altman’s Perspective
Tech Talk with Michael Kammes

Zane Pond, Actor/Comedian
Cas Anvar, Actor/Comedian
Richard Hatch, Actor, Director, Writer & Teacher
Larry O’Connor, President & Founder, Other World Computing

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we begin with Zane Pond. Zane is a successful LA-based comedian who likes to push creative limits in his act, but he only recently came to LA. Tonight, we talk with him about what it takes to create a successful career as a comic.

Larry Jordan: Next, we return to Club Nokia and the Geekie Awards with two more interviews. Our reporter, Madison Mills, talks with actors Cas Anvar and the legendary Richard Hatch.

Larry Jordan: Next, Larry O’Connor is the founder and CEO of Other World Computing. Tonight, Larry joins us to announce two new products and to explain how to maximize the life of an older laptop computer.

Larry Jordan: All this plus a Buzz Flashback, Tech Talk with Michael Kammes 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. 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. Good to have you with us. Michael, the big news this week is the release of the 10.11.1 update, the first .1 release for El Capitan. It came out yesterday.

Mike Horton: Really?

Larry Jordan: So the question I’ve got for you is…

Mike Horton: Where was I?

Larry Jordan: You were napping.

Mike Horton: Well, I haven’t updated because I have work on my computer.

Larry Jordan: Well, that’s what I was going to ask – when should people upgrade? Should they upgrade to El Capitan now?

Mike Horton: Haven’t you always said to wait at least six weeks or even longer?

Larry Jordan: Mhmm, I have.

Mike Horton: Because that’s at least how long I wait.

Larry Jordan: But nobody listens to me. They all listen to you.

Mike Horton: But I listen to you. I’m the only one who listens to you. No, I haven’t updated yet.

Larry Jordan: I haven’t either. My feeling is it doesn’t hurt to wait.

Mike Horton: In fact, I think we’re talking to Larry O’Connor today and there are some problems there with some external hard drives.

Larry Jordan: A big problem. Not external hard drives, but with RAIDs.

Mike Horton: Oh, with RAIDs?

Larry Jordan: With RAIDs, and we’re going to talk to Larry in the third segment specifically about some problems between El Capitan and the RAIDs.

Mike Horton: And there are a lot of problems with plug-ins with Final Cut Pro X and with Adobe Premiere. In fact, I haven’t heard anything from Adobe Premiere as far as whether you should upgrade to El Capitan or not. In fact, the last time I heard, no, don’t upgrade.

Larry Jordan: I would say that’s probably a safe thing. There’s no new functionality you get in Premiere, Avid or Final Cut by moving to the latest version and my feeling is wait at least three months.

Mike Horton: You get a different looking font.

Larry Jordan: If you’re a fan of San Francisco, it’s a wonderful font.

Mike Horton: Yes. Was it Megan that said it hurts her eyes going back and forth.

Larry Jordan: Between the two.

Mike Horton: Right, Megan? See. Told you. She gave me the thumbs up.

Larry Jordan: You know, the thing I like about you is that you are so font specific. Your knowledge of this stuff is amazing.

Mike Horton: Thank you, Larry. We should do a whole hour on this.

Larry Jordan: Before we move to our first interview, I want to remind you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at This gives you an inside look at both The Buzz and the industry, plus quick links to all the different segments on the show. The newsletter is free and we release a new issue every Friday.

Larry Jordan: Mike and I will be back with Zane Pond right after Randi Altman’s Perspective on the News.

Larry Jordan: This is Randi Altman’s Perspective.

Larry Jordan: Randi Altman has been covering the post production industry for more than 20 years. She’s currently the Editor in Chief of her own website at Randi, welcome back, it is good to see you.

Randi Altman: Hi, Larry, it’s good to be back.

Larry Jordan: I’ve missed you these last couple of weeks as you’ve been off, busy covering the world and writing incredibly great stories, but let’s get back into it. What’s the news this week?

Randi Altman: The news is that one of the things I’m busy preparing for is SMPTE, which is happening next week out in LA, in your neck of the woods. That is kind of a big deal. It’s where all these engineers come and gather and there are tons of sessions. There’s also an exhibit floor, but this year they’re celebrating 100 years in existence and their relationship with the HPA has also been cemented further, so you’ve got this organization that focuses on technology and this other one that focuses on the creativity, so they’re merging together and I think that that shows up in some of the conferences that they’re going to be presenting at the show.

Randi Altman: The first day – and I think you’re going to want to be there – is all about virtual reality and augmented reality and how that affects how the production post workflows need to be adjusted and also delivery, all angles of the R and AR; and then the following day has more traditional type of engineering conferences. They’re talking about compression, UHD, HDR, especially color and how that affects all of that, so it’s going to be a good show.

Larry Jordan: SMPTE, which is the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, is very much an engineering group and HPA, which is the Hollywood Post Alliance, is really focused on the process of editing. Where do they see the synergies between the two?

Randi Altman: It’s more than just editing, it’s the whole creative process, and they do also have technology awards which help creatives be more creative, takes the technology out of it and just lets them do their work, so they feel that this is a perfect combination of engineering and creativity. Going forward, they have their HPA Tech Retreat that happens in Indian Wells down in the Palm Springs area in February and that is also pretty intensive with technology but also creativity type panels.

Larry Jordan: Thinking about this, the HPA really represents the high end of the post market. These are people who are editing all the A level films. What’s happening in the industry to help mentor youngsters to help them get started and join the ranks of A list editors?

Randi Altman: There are a couple of different things that are going on right now. One is, and I think I’ve mentioned this on the show before, the Blue Collar Post Collective, which is an organization that’s grass roots, it started in New York and it is young people who might not be able to attend a SMPTE or an HPA Tech Retreat, so they started gathering at places around Manhattan and building it up from there. That’s one thing that’s kind of cool.

Randi Altman: In terms of mentoring, I interviewed the editor Mick Audsley recently – he cut ‘Everest’ and he’s cut ’12 Monkeys’ and ‘Goblet of Fire’ and a ton of other really impressive films. He is based in London and he and some other filmmakers have started something called Sprocket Rocket Soho and what they want to do is bring young talent and some of the veteran talent together to learn from each other, especially in this digital age when everybody is sort of in their own little pocket, so they’re going to be doing that with a website – – and also some events that are going to happen to get people in the room teaching, mentoring and building on that.

Larry Jordan: Randi, thanks for joining us today. Randi Altman is the Editor in Chief of Randi, as always, a delight chatting with you.

Randi Altman: Thanks, Larry. Take care.

Larry Jordan: To read more from Randi Altman, visit

Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Zane Pond, Cas Anvar and Richard Hatch, Larry O’Connor, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.

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Larry Jordan: Zane Pond is a successful LA-based comedian who tends to explore creative limits in his comedy as he performs it regularly at The Comedy Store. He’s also a newcomer to Los Angeles, which can be a challenge in itself. Hello, Zane, welcome.

Zane Pond: Hi, how are you?

Larry Jordan: We are talking to you, we are already having a better day than we did before this conversation started. It’s good to have you with us.

Zane Pond: Thank you, thank you.

Larry Jordan: Zane, would you describe yourself as an actor or as a comedian? And do you see a difference between the two?

Zane Pond: Oh, of course. In answer to the first question, I would have to say I definitely identify more as a comedian than as an actor and the reason I say that is comedy is my way to be free, to take all my emotions and put them into words and spew them out in front of people. With acting, you’re taking upon someone else and presenting… and I feel comedy is definitely more who I am and I really enjoy it. As far as acting goes, it’s something I’ve just started to do and I want to learn as much as I can before I say, “I’m an actor.”

Larry Jordan: If you’ve got a laptop, grab the top of it and pull it towards you just a bit. Oh, look at that, he has a face.

Mike Horton: That’s a little better. Ah, that’s perfect.

Zane Pond: I already feel better.

Mike Horton: Almost. We’ve still got a couple of sun spots there, but that’ll do it.

Larry Jordan: We are doing much better.

Zane Pond: …sunscreen, I probably wouldn’t have the sun spots.

Larry Jordan: As you look back on it, what was it that helped you to decide that you wanted to be a performer? What was the triggering moment?

Zane Pond: For me, it was getting up the courage to get on a stage and be in front of a group of people. I remember the first time I did comedy, it was in front of about 20 very close friends. I cooked a meal so that I could get them to come, because whenever I cook people come, and then I surprised it on them that I was going to do a comedy show. I made fun of all of them one by one. Some of these are online, some of them aren’t. I just loved the laughter.

Zane Pond: Robin Williams used to say that he hated performing in front of just a camera, but when you have 20 people feeding off their energy, there’s nothing better than that and that’s what really drives me. I love going to a show where the room is dead or they’re not responsive and going in and waking up the entire room. There’s no better feeling than that in the world.

Mike Horton: What was it like that first time that you went to that room without the 20 friends there, with lots of people who were not your friends?

Zane Pond: My favorite thing is to see people’s faces who I mortify the most. You always see that one couple somewhere in the middle of the crowd and the woman’s just like… and I love watching them, because as much as you hear the laughter you don’t really see it. You can only see the people that you probably piss off the most. But that’s The Comedy Store. The Comedy Store’s where you go and you get people who enjoy comedy, listening to comedy.

Zane Pond: Another comic told me once, “If you go more than 30 miles outside of LA, you get a real audience. They laugh at everything you say and they think everything’s funny,” but in LA and at The Comedy Store, you’re dealing with people who love comedy and you can’t just go up there, say a few jokes and expect people to laugh. You really have to bring your A game and that’s what I love about it. It’s like university for comedians.

Larry Jordan: I want to talk about how you move your career forward, so there’s a career component to this conversation, but I just want to follow up on one thing. Your comedy emulates Don Rickles – he’s the first person who comes to mind – and there’s a fine line between comedy and insulting people, between making them laugh and making them feel uncomfortable. How do you balance on that line? It’s so easy to go over.

Zane Pond: One of my favorite techniques is to make fun of myself first. My comedy comes from being a young, gay, fat kid growing up, which is one of the hardest things you can do, and always seeing the brighter side of things, the lighter side of things really helped me through a lot of that. I didn’t really understand it at the time, but it’s all about perspective and it’s about being able to make fun of yourself as well.

Zane Pond: If you say something that’s borderline offensive but they think you’re just saying it to say it, they’re not going to laugh. But if you really bring the audience through your eyes and how you look at things before you do something like that, it really makes them understand it and they can feel a brighter side, the funny side about it.

Mike Horton: Were you the funny guy in high school, though?

Zane Pond: I was the class clown, yes. I cannot sit in front of 30 people and just be quiet. It’s either my… and my knees tapping against the bottom of the desk or just making funny comments. I can’t focus unless there’s something fun going on with it.

Mike Horton: Did you come out as gay in high school and make fun of that?

Zane Pond: No, no.

Mike Horton: You didn’t? But you were the class clown.

Zane Pond: Well, there are lots of things you can make fun of besides being gay. For me, coming out in high school was as scary thing. The first couple of years of being gay, you don’t want to be gay, you want to be normal and in high school, especially when you have feminine qualities – they used to tell you guys can’t cry and I would always cry and I wouldn’t really understand why guys couldn’t cry but, wow, how is a girl going to like me, how is somebody going to like me if I cry?

Zane Pond: I’m not masculine – so I tried to project as much of a masculine image as possible and I really didn’t feel comfortable coming out in high school. But the second that ended, I got out of high school, it just came out of me quicker than a fart after a Burger King.

Mike Horton: Awesome.

Larry Jordan: I want to shift gears. You’re relatively new to Los Angeles and probably the classic Hollywood story is they come to LA and they become an instant star, whereas the reality is people come to LA and they disappear without a trace. How do you grow a career in LA?

Zane Pond: You work really hard. For me, it’s all about building up a fan base, building a brand. If you do 20 shows and after 20 shows you don’t even have two people coming back to see you or two people that recognize you, you’re not doing your job. You have to leave a mark. When I go into a show in The Comedy Store, I want to be the best comedian in that room. I want to take a room and I want to take it through a journey and I want people to feel that.

Zane Pond: I feel that if I you can do that on a good stage, there’s nothing more important than that, and even as hard as I’ve worked I still have so much more to do. There are so many people that have worked a lot harder than me and they don’t really understand the concept of branding. I know that if I work just as hard as them, as long as them, I can go very far.

Mike Horton: Can a good joke kill 100 percent of the time, no matter what the audience is?

Zane Pond: No.

Mike Horton: Ok.

Zane Pond: Actually, I take that back. Do you want to hear one?

Mike Horton: Sure.

Zane Pond: If Donald Trump was black, he would be Kanye West – obsessive, narcissistic and married to plastic; and I opened my show for about a month with that joke and what’s funny is I used to say that before the whole Kanye West ‘I want to be President’ speech at the VMAs. I had said that for the first time about a week before that and that joke always kills. But it’s very rare that it’s the same joke.
Zane Pond: I remember I did two shows in the Main Room about two months ago and the first one I did, I had the entire room under my spell. The second one that I did, I only got about half the room. Same set, same thing, different audiences. It’s really important to understand your audience before you go onstage.

Mike Horton: It is so hard being a comedian. It is so hard. Those nights where you’re just going to kill and the other nights where you’re just going to die.

Zane Pond: I bomb sometimes, everybody bombs. The key is, just like anything else in this life, you can fall hard, you can fall soft, but if you don’t get back up and keep going, no-one cares. No-one cares. Seriously. I think I bombed last Saturday in a show. I just went off and I insulted everyone and got about two minutes of laughter and then I started relating LA to Vietnam.

Mike Horton: This must have been in Orange County.

Zane Pond: After that joke, the crowd turned on me and for the rest of the show I had dead silence. I got offstage, I had a drink, I bomb… I went back up and I said, “Now I know what I need to work on – the last two and a half minutes of that set – and if I work on that last two and a half minutes, I won’t have to do this again.”

Mike Horton: Man, you picked a tough life.

Larry Jordan: Yes it is. Let’s go back to your career again. When you’re marketing yourself, is what you do onstage most important or is it positioning yourself to get the next gig? How does a comedian get themselves started?

Zane Pond: You bring people to shows. That or you do countless numbers of open mics. I have friends who do ten, 15 open mics a week. They can’t get booked at The Comedy Store because they’re newcomers and they don’t know how to bring people. A lot of comics hate on it, but the truth is if you have a crowd of people who love you enough to come out every week and see you, that tells you something; and it also shows The Comedy Story something, it shows, hey, you can build something. I’m not even doing this three months and I can bring ten people to every show.

Zane Pond: I did a show in the Main Room, I brought 20 people. I think I brought more than anyone else in that night and that’s how I like to keep it, because it’s money. At the end of the day, it’s money. They don’t want to develop new people, they don’t want to spend money on you, but if they know you generate money they’re going to want to invest in you, so it’s really a combination of being smart business wise and funny wise.

Mike Horton: Do you have an agent?

Zane Pond: No.

Mike Horton: You will.

Zane Pond: I know, I know. To tell you the truth, I don’t think it’s important for me at this stage.

Larry Jordan: How come?

Zane Pond: Because I don’t have a brand. The best thing for my career right now is to go on the road with another comedian.

Mike Horton: Well, I saw that YouTube video that you have up which talks about, “Do I sound gay? Do I look gay?” that kind of stuff, which is somewhat of a brand.

Zane Pond: It is, and for me I’m a very interesting gay, as you call it, I’m very masculine but I can always go off like this and… feminine with you. I love to do both and for me it’s a character. I want to build that character, but the things is agents don’t want to talk to you unless you’re making money and the most important thing you can do is have exposure and to hone your craft.

Zane Pond: This is my time to hone my craft. This is my time to get exposure. An agent might want to work with me, but how are they going to market me? How would I be able to market myself? You need to really find someone who believes in you and then wants to invest time in marketing and branding you and I think that’s much more…

Mike Horton: What’s going to happen is you’re going to kill one night and there’s going to be that right person in the audience and that person in the audience is going to take you on and then you’ll be alright. It’s just, like you’re doing right now, you’re just honing your craft and one of these nights you’re just going to kill and somebody’s going to be there.

Zane Pond: Thank you.

Mike Horton: Well, it’s the way it works.

Zane Pond: Yes. I actually have had something like that happen to me, I won’t say the name or the agency or anything, but hopefully down the road I can work with someone that really believes in me and wants to take me to that level. There’s nothing more that I want to do than promote positivity through comedy and, believe it or not, positivity through insult comedy.

Mike Horton: Well, Don Rickles did it.

Zane Pond: And he’s my idol. He is the one I look up to the most and I feel he bridged a lot of gaps. In this generation, we need someone like that.

Mike Horton: Well, I think we all love confrontational comedians. We love confrontation and we respond to that.

Zane Pond: A lot of people, though, especially right now with racism in LA and political correctness, it’s really a big deal and it was big back then, I’m sure, I don’t know, I wasn’t around for it, but now it’s really, really big in LA and I don’t like it.

Mike Horton: Nobody does, nobody does. We need to talk more about that too.

Zane Pond: Believe it or not, I don’t even like white guys.

Mike Horton: Neither do I. Neither does Larry. I’m speaking for him.

Larry Jordan: Zane, for people who want to be able to join the posse that follows you from one gig to the next, where can they go on the web to learn more about you?

Zane Pond: Facebook, Instagram, Zane Pond.

Mike Horton: Yes, go to his Facebook page, folks. That’s where you’ll find links to his YouTube videos and everything else.

Larry Jordan: And the person’s name that we’re talking to is Zane Pond. Zane, thanks for joining us. This has been a great chat.

Mike Horton: Good luck to you, my man.

Zane Pond: Thank you, thank you.

Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Cas Anvar and Richard Hatch, Larry O’Connor, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.

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Larry Jordan: Last week, The Buzz crew attended the Geekie Awards with live reports direct from Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles. This week, we wrap up our Geekie coverage with two more interviews. Let’s go back to Club Nokia, where Madison Mills is talking with actor Cas Anvar.

Madison Mills: I’m here with Cas, who is a voice on Assassin’s Creed. Cas, tell me a little bit about your work on one of the most popular video games out there.

Cas Anvar: I play the character Altaïr in the Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, part of the franchise. He’s like the Captain Kirk of the franchise, he’s the first assassin out of many assassins, he’s the one who started it all off. He’s a Middle Eastern assassin, he’s Turkish, Syrian born, and he’s a very intense and very interesting character. I really love him, actually. He’s one of the most fun roles I’ve got to play.

Cas Anvar: The game itself is incredibly popular. It’s in every country in the world, it’s been translated and when I go and do signing autographs at different Comic-Cons, I’m always mobbed. Of all the things I’ve done – I’ve done some Spielberg movies, I’ve done lots of television, I’ve been on Lost before – everyone’s all about Assassin’s Creed. It’s pretty amazing.

Madison Mills: Obviously you’ve done great work in the past, but what do you have going on right now with your new sci-fi show?

Cas Anvar: Right now, my big geeky thing that I’m excited about is this new sci-fi series called ‘The Expanse.’ Syfy is rebranding itself as a hardcore real sci-fi network now and they are bringing back sci-fi like the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ type thing. The Expanse is going to be premiering on December 14th and 15th, a bit two part thing, and it’s based on these novels by James S A Corey, hugely popular, bestselling novels.

Cas Anvar: We’ve just shot the first season and I’ve seen a few of the episodes already and my mind is kind of blown. I’m so excited because they look so good. We showed them at San Diego Comic-Con, we showed them at Toronto Comic-Con and New York Comic-Con just last week. The audiences were cheering and on their feet and nobody can wait to get this thing on the air, including myself and we’re really excited about that.

Cas Anvar: I’ve also got a big feature film coming out called ‘Room,’ with Brie Larson, William H Macy, Joan Allen and Jacob Tremblay, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and it was a tiny little movie that we were doing based on a bestselling novel of the same name and it has blown up. Brie is getting the buzz for Oscars and Globes and Spirit awards, and the movie, everyone’s saying it’s one of the best movies they’ve ever seen, so I’m really excited and thrilled and honored to be part of it and can’t wait for the next few months to see what that brings us.

Madison Mills: Tell me a little bit very quickly about why you’re here tonight.

Cas Anvar: Why I’m here is because I’m a huge geek. I’m one of the biggest geeks around. I’m a huge comic book collector, a video game player long before I used to voice them, and I love fantasy, science fiction, all of that. So as a result, they figured, “Let’s let this geek give an award,” so I’m going to be giving out the Best Podcast award.

Madison Mills: Well, thank you so much for chatting with us, we appreciate it.

Cas Anvar: My pleasure.

Madison Mills: I’m here with Richard tonight. Richard, can you tell me a little bit about why you’re here at the Geekie Awards?

Richard Hatch: I’m actually in two shows. One is called ‘Prelude to Axanar,’ which is a groundbreaking Trek indie film, and I say that because there have been fan films of very famous genres like ‘Star Trek’, ‘Battlestar Galactica’ ‘Firefly.’ Fans are getting together, forming independent productions and putting together shows online. They can’t make money, they can’t sell it, but ‘Axanar’ is something totally different. It’s made by professionals from top to bottom. They’ve raised a million three and it is on the level and quality of a studio film.

Cas Anvar: It’s going to be groundbreaking because there’s never been anything like this, so the question is how will the networks and studios deal with something on the level and quality of this? There could be revenue sharing, there could be licensing, it could open a whole new door for how quality indie productions can take some of the shows like ‘Firefly,’ ‘Babylon 5,’ ‘Farscape’ that the networks don’t want to do any more and actually do it under a different business model and be able to put it out there for the audience.

Cas Anvar: There’s definitely a very definitive, very dedicated audience for those kinds of shows but the networks don’t want to serve that agenda any more. So we’re here the Geekies and the Geekies is all about indie producers, directors, writers, actors developing a whole alternative network system of raising money, producing shows and delivering them to the audience not via the old distribution pipeline with networks and studios, but actually using a whole new process of having a more intimate, more personal relationship with the fans. So we’re entering a new day.

Madison Mills: Sure, and can you tell me a little bit about the project you’re talking about? What’s your new day? What are you working on?

Richard Hatch: I’m working on many things. Right now, this Axanar thing I love because I’m getting to play this phenomenal character and it’s very well written. The way they’re orchestrating the special effects, integrating all the elements of what should have cost $100 million but they’re making it for far less money than that. But just to watch the business model of what they’re creating is blowing me away, of what’s possible. People don’t realize you can make quality projects for a lot less money than the studios do.

Richard Hatch: Again, the whole new industry that’s developing right now, instead of making a two hour pilot, you make a 20 minute extended trailer and you pitch that to the networks, to Hulu, to Netflix, to whatever other stations are out there. You can develop it, turn it around much faster, it doesn’t take you so long to produce it, you can test the marketplace, see if people are interested and see if it works, so it’s a whole new day of producing things and opening up a door to all these wonderful indie producer/writer/directors to be able to develop new ideas, new stories, new concepts and pitch it out there to the world, pitch it out to the marketplace, see what hits and then the networks and studios look at this and if they see something that really works they want to option it, maybe pick it up.

Richard Hatch: But I think the day is coming when independent productions are no longer going to go to the networks or the old distribution round. They’re going to go develop their own relationship to the marketplace, build a new business model and do their own programming. We’re in a whole new day in the entertainment field.

Richard Hatch: I want to add one last thing – I’m developing a sci-fi project that I’ve done for the last 15 years called ‘GWOM’ – Great War of Magellan – and we’re doing an electronic game, a new series of graphic novels, a novelization and I’m doing a very high end web series to launch the novel. That’ll be coming out next year. Again, we artists have to learn the business of the art, learn how to market it, learn how to put together the business agenda to raise the money and be able to put it all together, which unfortunately has never been done in the past. I wish schools taught the full equation of filmmaking, but again we’re in a new day, it’s very exciting and I can’t wait to see what we have tonight. It should be a really exciting show.

Madison Mills: Richard, thank you so much.

Richard Hatch: Thank you very much.

Madison Mills: Thank you, Richard, we appreciate it.

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

Larry Jordan: My focus for this class is not to teach you how to design with Photoshop – design is beyond my skills – but I can show you how we can take existing images and edit them. I’m talking about digital photography and still images, and manipulating them in Photoshop is what today’s session is all about.

Larry Jordan: Welcome to Tech Talk, sponsored by Keycode Media.

Michael Kammes: Logging footage has always been a buzz kill before you edit. While it does help you get familiar with the footage, it can be extremely tedious. But what if there was a tool to help autolog media and, as a bonus, subsequently help to find media based on the actual dialogue taking place in the clip as opposed to someone’s interpretation of the content? Fear not, my logging friends, I’ve got a great tool to show you – Dialogue Search by Nexidia.

Michael Kammes: Many of you know Nexidia because of Phrase Find, an immensely popular add-on for Media Composer that was shipping several years ago. Phrase Find allowed an Avid user to search content based on the words and phrases spoken in the audio tracks of the media files. While Phrase Find is for now not currently shipping for Media Composer, its core technology is shipping inside Dialogue Search.

Michael Kammes: How the underlying technology behind Dialogue Search and Phrase Find works is pretty darn cool. Nexidia’s technology analyzes the audio tracks in your media files and creates a database of the phonemes in your speech. These phonemes are the tiny sounds that make up every word coming out of our mouths and, because Nexidia searches a database by phonemes and not by words, you have the ability to search for names or even slang.

Michael Kammes: Also remember, a majority of logging is based around subjective terms as the logger perceives the media. Dialogue Search allows users to search on the actual spoken content, the reality of the shot, as opposed to an interpretation of it.

Michael Kammes: Dialogue Search to the end user works in a basic webpage. In this basic webpage, the user can search by not only the aforementioned words, but also by the other common metadata such as the creation date or date range, the frame rate, the duration or even aspect ratio of the media file, or even by where the media may reside – assuming, that is, you already have your media physically organized on your disc. Dialogue Search also allows you to save searches or even review previous searches.

Michael Kammes: Great, so that allows you to find prospective matches on your word or phrase, but now what? I’m glad you asked. When your search results are presented to you, clicking them loads them on the same page inside of Media Player, along with a listing of all of the phonetic results within that file if there are multiple hits. Dialogue Search also gives you a confidence rating on how accurate it believes the match is. Clicking on the match previews it for you in the Media Player.

Michael Kammes: You can then utilize the search results out of Dialogue Search in several different ways. First, you can export a .csv or .pdf or simply copy the data to your computer’s clipboard. You can also get into your NLE by exporting as an .aaf or as an .xml. Once you load the .aaf or .xml into your NLE, you can then re-link to the media or simply import it and link.

Michael Kammes: I personally like tying this into an automation or asset management system, like a CatDV or even larger Enterprise solutions like Avid Interplay, Dilect or Vizrt so media management is handled under the hood without you needing to worry about it. Plus most asset management solutions can generate web proxies to view the clips in a webpage and still retain the relationship between the original media and these web proxies. However, if you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, there is in fact a JSON based REST API so you can dig into it relatively easily.

Michael Kammes: Dialogue Search runs on a Windows server hosted in your facility. The faster the server, the faster you can certainly index media. Index times of 40 times real time or better per core are not uncommon. This is infinitely faster than the index time with Phrase Find inside Media Composer, as the speed on Phrase Find was intentionally throttled. Many folks have asked, “If Dialogue Search is so accurate, why not use it for automated closed captioning? That’s a massive expense,” and that’s a great thought, I’m totally on board.

Michael Kammes: However, the requirements surrounding the accuracy of closed captioning in the broadcast realm are very strict and poorly recorded audio won’t always yield clean captions. For example, when I was working back in Chicago, we’d often record scenes outside near the L tracks in the loop. No dialogue was ever usable during these shots because a train always drowned out anything of use. Like the old adage – garbage in, garbage out.

Michael Kammes: I’m sure all of us have seen reality shows where often they need to subtitle what’s been said already. Dialogue Search can’t really search through that. However, for projects that may involve semi-controlled spaces with clean sound, like interviews or news reports, Dialogue Search is an excellent choice.

Michael Kammes: Nexidia Dialogue Search starts at $49.95 for the software and the license for one Dialogue Search engine to run on one server and includes two user seats and a thousand hours of searchable media. Each additional seat runs $5.95 and Nexidia has a tiered structure for adding on additional hours of footage, starting at $2 an hour.

Michael Kammes: A good trick to reduce costs for unscripted shows is to simply remove the previous season from the searchable database. No reason to keep it sitting there when the season is over. Keycode Media has a demo server of Dialogue Search running and we invite you to get in touch with us so you can test run it for yourself and even test it out on your media. Interested? I’m Michael Kammas at Keycode Media.

Larry Jordan: Larry O’Connor founded Other World Computing, which is also called OWC, in 1988. Their website, which you may know better, is OWC is both a reseller and a developer, supporting all things Mac for more than 25 years and, as you may have noticed, they’re also a sponsor of The Buzz. Hello, Larry, welcome back.

Larry O’Connor: Hey, good evening, Larry. How you doing tonight?

Larry Jordan: Mike and I are looking forward to this conversation because every time we talk to you, we learn something new.

Mike Horton: Hey, Larry, I’ve always wanted to ask this question – why do we have to go to instead of

Larry O’Connor: Well, somebody beat us to the punch on by about three years. We registered in 1995, but was registered about three years prior.

Mike Horton: Really? And they won’t give it up?

Larry O’Connor: They’re some multibillion dollar financier conglomerate that’s changed names many times over the years and we’ve attempted it but the long and straight of it they’ve never wanted to give up that name.

Mike Horton: Jerks.

Larry Jordan: Just don’t have any sense of humor.

Mike Horton: No, exactly.

Larry O’Connor: Yes, we only used it for email too. They never made a website there and it’s like darn it, oh well.

Mike Horton: Oh jeez.

Larry Jordan: Larry, the last time you were on The Buzz we were talking about problems between Mac OS 10 Yosemite version 10.10 and SSD drives. Now, apparently, there’s a problem with RAIDs and MAC OS 10 El Capitan. What’s the problem?

Larry O’Connor: Let’s actually hit it two ways. In my opinion, there’s always been a problem with… RAID… on any MAC OS version, just from the standpoint that once you trade a RAID with the Disk Utility, if you trade a RAID1 for example, if something happens to one of your two drives, unless you’ve gone into the Disk Utility and got more information on your RAID set, you have no information to even tell you that there’s a problem. One of your drives could fail and it continues operating just like every day until, well, the other drive fails, so one shoe is dropped and you only find out that there’s a problem when both of them have gone offline.

Larry O’Connor: That’s been the case for years. Apple hasn’t updated the RAID capability Disk Utility for more than five years, I think it may even be six or seven years. With El Capitan, they actually took away the ability to create a RAID with this utility. There are still ways to do it with terminal line commands, but there is no official RAID support now at all with 10.11 and later. As far as continuing the support of it has not been something that they really have done anything with for years and any of the current computers are putting out, they don’t have internal bays for drives.

Larry O’Connor: From Apple’s point of view, there’s nothing they ship that they should be supporting RAID on and if somebody’s connecting devices that can RAID, when you use Disk Utility, now it’s a support, there’s an issue. They’re supporting something that requires third party hardware and it puts them in the middle of things, so I can understand them not wanting to do it, so… they just took the functionality away.

Larry Jordan: I want to be really clear here. With Disk Utility, we can create RAID0s or RAID1s, that’s what it’s been able to do in the past.

Larry O’Connor: Up to ten times.

Larry Jordan: Ok, so my question is if I’ve created a RAID in OS 10.10 using Disk Utility and it’s a RAID0, will it work when I upgrade to 10.11 or does the RAID break?

Larry O’Connor: The RAID does not break, you just no longer have the ability to maintain it. It continues to function just fine, but it’s no longer supported via Disk Utility. And if you want to create a new RAID0, well, you can’t do so with Disk Utility under 10.11.

Larry Jordan: So existing RAIDs are fine, but creating a new RAID is the problem. Granted, fine in relative terms, but if you upgrade you haven’t lost your data, your RAID doesn’t die, you’re not totally screwed so you can keep your data. I just want to check how severe this problem is before we get carried away.

Larry O’Connor: Well, I don’t really call it a problem, it’s just removal of a function. The problem really is notification and disk health and monitoring, but it’s just a feature that was supported is no longer supported. Your existing Vines or existing hard drive sets are grandfathered in, but you can’t trade new Vines, not using Disk Utility.

Larry Jordan: Now, to create something else like a RAID5, we’ve never been able to create that in Disk Utility, which means that now we have to have some sort of a software tool that allows us to create a RAID0 or a RAID1 or a RAID5. Do you guys have something that fills that gap?

Larry O’Connor: Well, we have SoftRAID 5, of course, which gives a RAID0, 1, zero plus 1, 5. It also provides that disk helping, monitoring including the predictive analysis, so even before there’s an issue, it would trip smart and tell you that there’s something to worry about. SoftRAID gives really good information and is looking at a lot of information on the drive and how it’s behaving to give you a much earlier warning compared to what you otherwise get from Smart.

Larry O’Connor: I don’t want to bad mouth anyone, but one organization, when we explained how SoftRAID actually monitored and watched drive behavior and would tell you if there was a probability of failure, said, “Well, doesn’t that create more RMAs?” Well, technically if a drive’s going to fail, it’s going to fail and you could have a drive that’s starting to do things that lead towards failure with still six months or a year, or even longer, before it actually bites the dust, so technically it increases more warranty incidents.

Larry O’Connor: However, for us, we’d rather replace that drive than have a customer lose data or have a risk at being down because a drive has gone offline. If we can tell you that there’s something going on – hard drives fail, that’s just a fact, whether it’s a year, three years, five years, ten years. It’s a mechanical beast and you should have good backups – and there are a thousand things we could talk about there – but if there is a drive that’s starting to go south, it’s better to know that that’s happening sooner rather than later so you can swap that drive at your own discretion and not be in the middle of an important project, when something actually could otherwise happen.

Larry Jordan: There’s another issue I was thinking about. If we’ve created a RAID with Disk Utility, can I then switch over to SoftRAID without losing my data? Or if I use SoftRAID to take an existing RAID and upgrade it so I can monitor it, have I lost all of my data?

Larry O’Connor: No. First off, when you install SoftRAID onto your Mac, not only will it monitor the drives that it’s initialized, that it’s actually taken control over, it also will start monitoring all the drives that it has access to in your system, even your solid state drives. Whether it’s a Mac 2013 or their latest iMac, it’s irrelevant, the drives in that system will be monitored whether they’re a RAID volume or not.

Larry O’Connor: In addition, SoftRAID is able to take over an existing RAID. In taking over the RAID, it enhances its notification and its ability to really check out and know what’s going on, including certifying the drive. The other nice thing with RAID1, a lot of people use them because data’s important, you want to have that live redundancy. When SoftRAID takes over a RAID1, actually… performance on the… side is twice as fast as Apple’s RAID1, plus all of the live monitoring.

Larry O’Connor: All these things are great because it kills me to know that Apple’s RAID1, the whole point of having a RAID1 is to have redundancy. You set it up with the Apple RAID and the RAID1 itself is fine with Apple, it’s slower than ours – half the speed on the… – but a drive can fail and you’d never know about it unless the other drive failed and you find that both drives have bitten the dust. So SoftRAID will take over an existing RAID set, it doesn’t have to but there are certainly benefits for it to do so, and you do not have to start over and re-initialize and re-transfer the data. It will take it over non-destructively.

Larry O’Connor: Right now, we have SoftRAID 5, which is a $179 application. All the SoftRAID applications are Enterprise class solutions in terms of their data integrity, their checksumming. This is not a command line interface. This is some heavy duty stuff.

Larry O’Connor: This weekend, SoftRAID Lite will launch, which will provide all the great features in terms of the disk monitoring and such that SoftRAID 5 offers, but be limited to just providing the RAID0 and the RAID1 support, which covers a large percentage of what people’s needs are out there, so for $49 you have an application that will give you everything that Apple’s Disk Utility previously provided for RAID support, plus the faster RAID1, plus the drive monitoring, the actual health monitoring that, if you’re going to have a RAID set, especially a RAID0 set, to a certain degree it’s playing with fire not to have some sort of real health monitoring going on.

Larry O’Connor: People say, “Oh, I use Smart monitoring.” Smart is an industry standard and some of the testing, you would think, was driven by the hard drive manufacturers because by the time Smart starts to tell you that there’s maybe something up with your drive or probably up with your drive, you typically aren’t having system issues. You don’t want to have system issues if they can be avoided and, yes, Smart will tell you it’s time to replace the drive, but if that’s been after system lock-ups and crashes and probably data loss, it’s a little late.

Mike Horton: SoftRAID 5.1 is not shipping until October 26th for El Capitan.

Larry O’Connor: Correct.

Mike Horton: I just wanted to make that clear.

Larry O’Connor: Well, let’s take a step back.

Mike Horton: It says it’s shipping October 26th.

Larry O’Connor: Correct. It’ll begin shipping this Sunday, as will SoftRAID Lite, and just to take a step back, the version 5.07 of SoftRAID is El Capitan compatible, but the in-menu notification is disabled. Apple made a change between 10.10 and 10.11 and the… have changed.

Mike Horton: Do you use SoftRAID, Larry?

Larry Jordan: Yes, I’ve got four OWC RAIDs here and they’re all running SoftRAID.

Mike Horton: They’re all running SoftRAID, mhmm.

Larry Jordan: Now, to be clear, there is a difference between a software RAID and a hardware RAID. Other companies like Promise and G-Tech or even CalDigit are using hardware RAID controllers. Is a hardware…

Larry O’Connor: I’m going to stop you at CalDigit. CalDigit’s multi-base solution is not a hardware RAID.

Larry Jordan: Forgive me, I’ll restate that. Promise and G-Tech, which are two well known companies, use hardware. Are hardware RAIDs affected by this change? It’s only software RAIDs created by Disk Utility, correct? I’m just trying to get my arms wrapped around the size of the problem.

Larry O’Connor: Well, technically no-one’s RAIDs are affected by the OS update. What’s affected is an actual user’s ability to create new RAIDs moving forward under 10.11 and if you have a hardware RAID, you’ll be using your hardware RAID box to accommodate the problem. If you’re using a software RAID, then at this point you should have our SoftRAID.

Larry Jordan: Now, you chose to go to software RAID. Why do you like a software RAID better than a hardware RAID?

Larry O’Connor: Number one, it’s faster. It allows you to take advantage of multiple buses, you can create multiple RAIDs across the same solution, it gives you greater flexibility than you ever get from a hardware RAID and the other big thing is just the ability to properly monitor the drives. There’s really not a good solution, certainly in the competition. The kind of health monitoring that occurs is pretty well limited to what Smart reports and you’re in the same circumstance if you’re just using a Smart utility on your computer.

Larry O’Connor: There’s better health analysis from a software RAID because it’s looking at what those drives are doing and how they’re behaving, as well as using Smart attributes to give some predictive analysis and actually identify a problem before it becomes a visible problem. The other thing you can’t do with any hardware RAID, which I personally do and I think it’s just freaking awesome, is have multiple RAID sets across a single set of drives.

Larry O’Connor: If you want a scratcher, you could do a RAID0. If you want to have light redundancy, you could have a RAID5 on that set. For maximum redundancy and some protection performance, you can do a RAID zero plus 1. You can do a RAID1 across four drives and you can do all these different RAIDs at the same time on the same drive set so you can move your data from its effective editing space to its storage. That to me is a really nice thing.

Larry O’Connor: Then the other cool thing about software, when you set these volumes up, it will allow you to create the partition in a way that is used in the fastest part of the drive, for the kind of partition that you’re setting up for the work that needs that speed, so you’re archiving and in the case of spinning platters software will use the outermost tracks on those drives for your RAID0 portion; and it will use the tracks that are more inner for the RAIDs that are more for redundancy than they are for maximum performance, so you always know you have the fastest part of the drive when you’re doing that work.

Larry O’Connor: A RAID5 across two Thunderbays across two Thunderbolt ports also provides pretty darn amazing performance. It’s just…

Mike Horton: Larry and I at the top of the show were talking about when you should upgrade to the latest operating system and I came up with six weeks after. What do you come up with, Larry, and when should we upgrade?

Larry O’Connor: There are three points to when you should upgrade. Point number one is you have an application that absolutely requires it, that it can’t live without; point number two, perhaps, is when there is a feature that you really want to take advantage of, that that new OS brings to the table; and I suppose point number three would be even if there’s not a great new feature, maybe there are some things that appeal to you and you just want to bring it up to date. I’d honestly wait as long as I could to make sure.

Mike Horton: Yes, we’re talking generically speaking. I say six weeks. I still stick with that.

Larry O’Connor: …if you don’t have to, why upgrade?

Mike Horton: Yes, that’s true.

Larry Jordan: Larry, there are a bunch of other questions I just need short answers to because there’s some cool stuff you’re doing that doesn’t necessarily affect RAIDs. Tell me about this new mini version of the Envoy SSD. What’s this?

Larry O’Connor: Ah, the Envoy Pro Mini has been a great success. It’s a key sized drive, a little flash drive, but it’s an SSD in that small profile. We’ve been shipping 120 gig and 240 gig since May. Our 40 gig will begin shipping in about two weeks, so you now have 480 gigs in these little tiny key sized drive that also provides performance of up to over 400 megabytes a second.

Mike Horton: Oh my gosh. Jeez.

Larry Jordan: But how does that attach? Is it USB3 or is it Thunderbolt or what?

Larry O’Connor: That’s USB3. There’s honestly no real reason to kick it to Thunderbolt. USB3 is bus powered, use it on a Mac, use it on a PC, transfer data between Macs and PCs with it, and it’s great for those quick data sets between different systems.

Larry Jordan: One of the other questions is the brand new iMacs that were released, both the 21 and the 27 inch. The RAM inside the 21 inch is soldered in. Can we get more RAM for a 27 and what’s the maximum we can get?

Larry O’Connor: The 21 inch, buy 16 gigs when you buy that machine. It’s a nice machine but 16 gigs is the max. If you skimp at the time you buy it, you can never upgrade it, as you’ve noted. The 27 inch, Apples offers upgrades up to 32 gig; we offer up to 32 gig sets as well, which are at a substantial cost discount versus Apple.

Larry O’Connor: But even more importantly, we offer up to 64 gigabytes and there are plenty of applications where that gap between 32 and 64 really enables a lot of performance to be unlocked, where you’re not processor bound as you are memory resource bound. These 64 gig kits, which is double what the Apple factory maximum allows – we offer 40 gig also as an option – really take this machine from a high end consumer machine and start to put it into that low end pro machine, somewhere between a Mac Pro and iMac that can only go to 32. Only the new model that Apple just began shipping last week can go to 64 gigabytes.

Larry Jordan: One last quick question – if you’ve got an older laptop and you’re debating about whether to upgrade the laptop or buy a new one and money does not grow on trees, can you upgrade the older laptop and what would you recommend?

Larry O’Connor: You can upgrade laptops and we can go further, but pretty much every MacBook or MacBook Pro from 2006 to 2012, every Mac Mini up until early 2014, every Mac Pro silver tower through 2012 has exceptional upgrade opportunities and these machines by and large have never been so much processor bound as they’ve been IO and memory bound, so putting the maximum memory in these systems, putting in a solid state drive is transformational.

Larry O’Connor: Things like DaVinci Resolve require powerful GPUs, which is a reason to get a new system, but for everything else, having memory, having an OWC SSD in your system – and our SSDs are built for these, built to take… especially the 3G machines are really specifically to give those machines the best performance…

Mike Horton: Yes, I’ve got a 2012 MacBook Pro in front of me right now with an OWC SSD drive in my DVD drive and use that as my boot-up drive. I’ve got the maximum amount of RAM. I’m ready to go. I’m set for the next three, four years. I’m fine.

Larry Jordan: Larry, for people who want to get the latest gear or find out the latest information, where can they go on the web?

Larry O’Connor:, and very important – all the videos are there to show people, even before… Not sure? You can watch a video to see how easy it is to do these upgrades. The last thing I’ll leave you with – a 2008 or 2009 MacBook Pro with an SSD and a memory upgrade will beat a 2012/13… It will beat those machines.

Mike Horton: What?! What?! What are you talking about? A 2008 will beat a 2012?

Larry Jordan: Larry, we’ll have to tend that later. Thanks, Larry. Bye bye.

Mike Horton: Really? Oh, for God’s sake.

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

Unknown male (archive): So it’s really a production support vehicle and a safe, quiet place to process your media, which is your most precious commodity. We landed on a nice solid Kino Flo fluorescent lighting system, we have a nice ARRI HMI package for superior lighting and we have a lightweight battery operated LED system that’s fantastic new technology.

Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.

Larry Jordan: So what do you think? Was he blowing smoke? Can you really make a 2008 system…

Mike Horton: Did you hear him right? He said something about a 2008, they can make it better than the 2012 that I have right now with the SSD drive in my DVD drive with a maxed out RAM, with everything else. No, you were wrong, Larry. Don’t tell me that. I spent $1,000 more.

Larry Jordan: This is a quiz now – what was he saying that you could not upgrade?

Mike Horton: He was talking about the iMac.

Larry Jordan: He was talking about the MacBook Pro as well.

Mike Horton: I didn’t hear that part. I have early stages of Alzheimer’s. What was it, Larry? Is this a trick question?

Larry Jordan: It is a trick question. You can’t upgrade the GPU, so if you wanted to run software which is heavily GPU dependent – think DaVinci Resolve or Final Cut X…

Mike Horton: But we’re going to have external GPUs.

Larry Jordan: No.

Mike Horton: Why not? With Thunderbolt and…

Larry Jordan: The Mac operating system does not support external GPUs because the Thunderbolt is not fast enough, so we can’t do external chassis based GPUs.

Mike Horton: We will.

Larry Jordan: Hopefully, but not this week.

Mike Horton: Not the 2008s.

Larry Jordan: No, and while Mike is pouting I want to thank our guests for tonight, Zane Pond…

Mike Horton: You’re wrong, Larry, I don’t care what you said.

Larry Jordan: …and Cas Anvar and Richard Hatch, all actors, and Larry O’Connor…

Mike Horton: I spent $1,000 more. Damn 2012s.

Larry Jordan: …the CEO of OWC. Visit our website at while I console Mike. You’ll find thousands of interviews all available to you free; and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter as well.

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

Larry Jordan: Our Geekie Award coverage was produced by James Castle Stevens; our producer is Cirina Catania; production team: Megan Paulos, Ed Golya, Hannah Dean and Brianna Murphy. On behalf of Mike, thanks for watching The Buzz.

Mike Horton: Yes.

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 provides highly competitive digital video archive solutions.

Digital Production Buzz – October 22, 2015

Join Larry Jordan and Mike Horton as they talk with Zane Pond, Cas Anvar, Richard Hatch, and Larry O’Connor.

View Show Transcript

Watch the Full Episode

Tech Talk
With Michael Kammes

Buzz on YouTubeTranscript

Listen to the Full Episode

Buzz on iTunesTranscript

Guests this Week

Zane Pond
Zane Pond, Actor-Comedian
Zane Pond is an LA-based comedian who likes to push creative limits. He is currently shocking audiences regularly at the Comedy Store. Interestingly, he only moved to LA a few months ago. Tonight, Zane shares his thoughts on what it takes to create a successful career as a comic.
Cas Anvar
Cas Anvar, Actor-Comedian
Our Geekie Awards coverage continues with Canadian-born Cas Anvar has performed in over 70 film and television productions including the upcoming web series from SyFy, The Expanse and Olympus. He has been nominated for two ACTRA awards, two Gemini awards, and won the SAG award for Best Ensemble Cast for his role in Argo.
Richard Hatch
Richard Hatch, Actor, Director, Writer & Teacher, Website
Our Geekie Awards coverage concludes with Richard Hatch is an internationally-known actor, director, writer, teacher and motivational speaker with major roles in series such as All My Children, The Streets of San Francisco, and his role as Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica series.
Larry O'Connor
Larry O’Connor, President & Founder, Other World Computing
Larry O’Connor is the founder and CEO of Other World Computing (OWC). Their website – which you may know better – is OWC is both a re-seller and developer of Macintosh-based products. Tonight, Larry joins us to preview some new products and share his thoughts on where the media industry is heading.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – October 15, 2015

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Digital Production Buzz

October 15, 2015

[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]

(Click here to listen to this show.)

Larry Jordan
Mike Horton

Philip Nelson, Senior Vice President of Strategic Development, NewTek
Kevin Bourke, Principal, Founder, Bourke PR
Kristen Nedopak, Creator, CEO, The Geekie Awards

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, NewTek generated a lot of news with the release of TalkShow, which connects Skype conversations with live video production. Tonight, Philip Nelson, the Senior VP of Strategic Development for NewTek, explains what we need to know to make our Skype interviews look as good as possible.

Larry Jordan: Next, Kevin Bourke is the founder of Bourke PR. He’s been marketing technology clients for more than 20 years, but what does marketing mean versus PR or advertising? And how should we work with a professional marketer? Tonight, Kevin will help us optimize our marketing efforts.

Larry Jordan: Next, the Geekie Awards are tonight. Kristen Nedopak, the founder of the Geekie Awards, explains what they’re all about. Then we go live to the awards and join Madison Mills at the show to meet the presenters and nominees. This will be a fun night.

Larry Jordan: All this plus a Buzz Flashback and a tribute to Bruce Nazarian. 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. 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, it’s good to have you back, by the way.

Mike Horton: It is good to be back. I had a good excuse last week though, but I won’t tell you all about it now.

Larry Jordan: No, I think some things are better left kept private. By the way, tonight is the Geekie Awards over at Club Nokia in downtown LA. Have you been paying attention to these?

Mike Horton: We actually had Kristen on, what, about three months ago talking about the Geekies. That was the first time I’d ever heard about them, so I looked into it and I looked into it again today. It’s a big deal.

Larry Jordan: It is a big deal.

Mike Horton: I mean, it is a BIG deal, so I congratulate her on doing this. They’ve got a lot of good people – Kevin Smith is going to be there, a lot of really good people, a lot of people that I listen to – and how come you’re not up for an award? Are we not part of that whole scene?

Larry Jordan: Well, I didn’t realize until yesterday, when I chatted with Kristen, that you have to enter yourself.

Mike Horton: Oh, yes, just like the Emmy Awards, just like the Academy Awards.

Larry Jordan: We are so humble and we are so shy and retiring, we didn’t nominate ourselves, so therefore…

Mike Horton: Well, if you did, you would win.

Larry Jordan: I think I would take second fiddle to the co-host. I think you would be the key…

Mike Horton: No, Larry, you would just be down there. Actually, you probably should be down there interviewing the people on the red carpet, but…

Larry Jordan: We are interviewing people.

Mike Horton: Yes, ok.

Larry Jordan: Madison Mills, who does a lot of the videos for USA Today, is our host at the Geekie Awards.

Mike Horton: Wow!

Larry Jordan: We’ve got a team of six people down there.

Mike Horton: Seriously?

Larry Jordan: Seriously.

Mike Horton: That’s really cool.

Larry Jordan: It is really neat, so we’re going to be feeding stuff back from there for our third segment today.

Mike Horton: How’s this working? Do we have time to even talk about that? Are they furiously editing the segments right now and they’re going to play them?

Larry Jordan: They are recording and editing and we are sending them back via DropBox.

Mike Horton: That’s so fun.

Larry Jordan: We’re trying to reach up to the internet and pull it down as fast as possible.

Mike Horton: Well, I hope this works out. It’s fun.

Larry Jordan: Well, at the end of the show we are going to know, that’s for sure. It’s a little close. Actually, I just got the sign from the control room, we do have something to talk about, so let me say this.

Mike Horton: Oh, cool.

Larry Jordan: Thinking about staying in touch, by the way, before we switch over to the Geekie Awards, I want to remind you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at This gives you an inside look at both The Buzz and the industry plus quick links to all the different segments of the show.

Larry Jordan: The thing I’m so excited about is that Mike and I will be back with Philip Nelson after we go live to the Geekie Awards and Madison Mills. Madison.

Madison Mills: Thanks, Larry. The Digital Production Buzz is live tonight at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles for the third annual Geekie Awards. We’re here to celebrate the best and brightest minds from creative artists and web, games and entertainment. I’m Madison Mills and I’ll be on the red carpet all night and I’ll give you some highlights from the show.

Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Philip Nelson, Kevin Bourke, Kristen Nedopak and the Geekie Awards, the Buzz Flashback and a tribute to Bruce Nazarian.

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 Other World Computing carries the best upgrades that let 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 catalog 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. Whether you need to maximize your system’s memory, add blazing speed or enhance reliability, look no further than the friendly experts at OWC. Learn more by visiting today.

Larry Jordan: Video interviews via Skype are becoming more and more frequent on television and on the web. Philip Nelson, the Senior Vice President of Strategic Development at NewTek, joins us tonight to showcase their new TalkShow hardware and explain what we need to know to make Skype interviews look as good as possible. Hello, Philip, welcome.

Kevin Bourke: Hey, how’s it going, man?

Larry Jordan: We are really looking forward to chatting with you about this because making Skype look good is one of the things that we’re all interested. But before we talk about Skype, let’s position you. How would you describe your position at NewTek?

Kevin Bourke: I’m the chief relationship officer. The easiest way to describe that is I handle a lot of our celebrity and VIP accounts.

Larry Jordan: Well, that sounds like it’s truly boring and completely uninteresting.

Mike Horton: I like that. The celebrity accounts. It’s Larry Jordan. Larry Jordan is now a celebrity.

Larry Jordan: Well, Mike has been a celebrity for a long time.

Mike Horton: I think that’s pretty cool.

Larry Jordan: Philip, I want to talk principally with you about the TalkShow hardware that NewTek just released which connects Skype video to live productions. In fact, we’re using TalkShow tonight for your interview. But first, Skype is owned by Microsoft. Why is NewTek even interested in Skype?

Kevin Bourke: Everybody needs a way to get guests into their show. We live in a world now where remote guests are very important, just like we’re doing right now, and so Skype is the leader. There are over 300 million Skype users worldwide and now, with the TalkShow, you can have any of those 300 million guests as a guest on your show.

Larry Jordan: Ok, so now that you’ve shifted gears into the TalkShow, tell us what the TalkShow is.

Kevin Bourke: The TalkShow is a single rack unit broadcast interface for Skype, a very simple product, relatively easy to set up. The only challenges you do face from time to time are IT issues, but if you can accept a Skype call, you can bring in a guest live through TalkShow.

Larry Jordan: Well, I will admit that we are bringing you in live through TalkShow because apparently we have serial number two; serial number one went to Microsoft and serial number two went to us, so we’re very excited about being one of the first two people to use the TalkShow. What do you like best about it? I have things that I don’t particularly like that I want to chat with you about, but I’m going to give you a chance to set all the good stuff up first.

Kevin Bourke: The good stuff is it’s a low latency remote guest solution. If you have a satellite uplink, you’ll see on Fox News or CNN all the time where they’ll toss to someone in the field and, through satellite uplink even using hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment, there is a very long delay and you see that a lot where they pause and they wait and then it’s, “Hey, this is blah, blah, blah and here is so and so.”

Kevin Bourke: With Skype, it’s very easy to get latency that is less than 200 milliseconds, so you can truly have a conversation instead of toss to someone out in the field, wait for things to catch up and then they start talking. That’s my favorite thing. Also, you can do a high def live feed through Skype and it looks fantastic if your system’s set up correctly.

Larry Jordan: We will talk about that in just a minute. Mike, you had a question.

Kevin Bourke: I’m ready, I’m ready for those questions!

Larry Jordan: I know, I’m going to get there, I promise.

Mike Horton: No, we’ll stay positive here before we get negative. I have a couple of questions for a little bit later on, so go ahead.

Larry Jordan: Number one, I don’t want to pick on you and I definitely don’t want to turn this into a tech support call, because that bores everybody except the people doing the tech support call, but about two weeks ago I wrote a review of the NewTek TalkShow that we’ve been using for the last six months and there were four key areas that I had concerns about.

Larry Jordan: One was the price point, because it’s priced at $39,99; two, it only supports one Skype call at a time, we can’t have multiple calls going at once, even if we have the bandwidth; the installation, sir, needs help; and number four, there’s poor image quality and poor image scaling, which means that we’re not taking advantage of the high def picture that you talked about with Skype. Those are my four knocks against it. Which one do you want to talk about first?

Kevin Bourke: You know what I love about knocks? If you can solve them, then you’re now our biggest champion on the planet.

Larry Jordan: Absolutely correct and we spent the money because we absolutely believe in NewTek, we absolutely believe in Skype and what we have been disappointed in is the execution so far. But that doesn’t mean that I’m against the box. I’m looking forward to it.

Kevin Bourke: I’m going to save point one for the end. Talking about who’s using these systems, we’ve sold thousands of these TalkShows and they’re all over the world now. One of our biggest projects we’re doing right now is a live television show on NBC with Neil Patrick Harris called Best Time Ever. There’s a segment where they take three or four TalkShows and hide them in people’s houses and they do a hidden camera karaoke segment. It’s 720p live out of their house with SDI cameras and it really is an amazing segment. It’s been one of the most popular segments on the show and it’s really awesome.

Kevin Bourke: We have these in CNN, we have them in CBS affiliates and ABC affiliates and tech shows, so they are truly all over the place now. As long as you can get a good internet connection, you can get HD. I checked something on my TalkShow. One of the benefits of the TalkShow is I can see what’s on your system, so when I’m connected to you I can see if you’re using too much CPU on the computer.

Kevin Bourke: Now, you’re using a TalkShow, so you’re not, but let’s say you have a guest coming in from a laptop and you look at it and it says you’re using 90 percent of the CPU, so you can say “Hey, quit playing Minecraft or shut down whatever’s in the background because it’s taking too much CPU, which drops your quality.” You can see what type of connection you have. Now, Skype is really cool because it’s designed to get a video through almost no matter how bad your internet connection is.

Kevin Bourke: There are two types of connections in Skype and this is one of the problems you’re having, I could see it from my system. UDP is what you want. If your firewall is set up incorrectly and it’s blocking traffic on the ports that Skype needs, the way Skype works is when you call me, it goes through the general internet to connect us and once we’re connected it tries to bypass the general connection of the internet and go straight to a UDP connection.

Kevin Bourke: That’s what allows you to get the 720p and the high def but sometimes if people have firewalls or their network is set up a certain way, it will not allow that UDP connection and then it stays at a lower quality because that’s all your router or whatever will allow to pass through, as it’s not giving us that one to one link and Skype actually does link you directly if it can.

Kevin Bourke: I checked on our system right before I ran over – I don’t know if you saw me running over to my chair – we’re connected on a relay and that is one of the reasons I think you’re getting the lower quality, because it’s not allowing us to get that UDP connection. It’s a cool scalable thing. If it didn’t allow that and you didn’t have the bandwidth or your router wasn’t configured correctly, you would just get no picture. But because Skype is scalable and flexible, even if somebody does have a bad internet connection, it tries to still give you a picture, which also brings me to one of the features of TalkShow.

Kevin Bourke: If somebody’s bandwidth drops below a certain threshold, it automatically goes to a still image and keeps the audio quality high, so if a reporter’s out in the field and something’s happening, they can still be talking to the studio. We can help you get this set up; it usually involves the ports on your router or something like that and we’ve actually created a ten page document. If you go to the TalkShow portion of our website, we have a document that explains how to set up your network. On something like the fifth page as you scroll down our TalkShow website, there’s a document you can download that explains UDP and CPU.

Kevin Bourke: An example on the Neil Patrick Harris show – one of the things that makes live TV great is the unknown, what’s going to happen, that random craziness that could make it more interesting instead of just an edited segment. I was in the control room at NBC as we were getting ready for the Neil Patrick Harris show and we had a perfect 720p connection, it was looking great and all of a sudden, eight minutes before we’re about to go live on national primetime television, their quality drops to nothing.

Kevin Bourke: We’re texting the engineer and it turns out that a little kid in the house apparently was watching Netflix in another room and if the bandwidth goes away, what do you do? So they were texting, and it’s a hidden camera thing so they can’t just go, “Hey, everybody, turn off your phones,” but they were able to kill that Netflix feed so that our 720 came back a couple of minutes before we went live to air and they were at 720p again.

Kevin Bourke: I know you guys have had some quality issues and I would bet money that it has to do with your network configuration and the tips in that document could probably walk you through it and, if they can’t, then our tech support can definitely help you.

Larry Jordan: Well, we will talk about that later, because so far tech support hasn’t been able to help, but we will look at the document and see.

Kevin Bourke: We’ll get you sorted out.

Larry Jordan: But I want to switch this over, because in order to Skype to look good, we have to have the users look good. The user has to have enough bandwidth and camera and mic. What’s the minimum bandwidth that a guest needs to have and what cameras and mics do you recommend?

Kevin Bourke: The most important thing when doing a quality Skype call is lighting. I’m sitting here in the NewTek studio, I’ve got a backlight here and a key and a fill, so the lighting looks good. I’ve got a Lavaliere microphone which I just hit, so hopefully you didn’t hear too much of a pop. I’ve got an earpiece. This is one of the most important things. I noticed in your studio, at first I heard an echo which tells me you probably have speakers in your studio so you can hear the guests, right?

Larry Jordan: Correct.

Kevin Bourke: I do a lot of interviews and I’m used to hearing a loopback, so I can even talk through a loopback, but a lot of times you have guests that have never done an interview or they don’t do interviews all the time and that echo will make them start talking really slowly. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that. We suggest that, if you are going to do Skype calls, one thing you could do is have your guest be on headphones with a mic, which doesn’t look good.

Kevin Bourke: What I have – and I’ll just take it out – I’ve got this little earpiece and they’re cheap, you can buy them on Amazon or at any video dealer. The way I have our TalkShow set up is I have our TalkShow feeding into a Tricaster, which is doing this virtual set behind me so it looks all nice; I’m just sitting in front of a green screen in the NewTek studio. But I have the audio coming in to my Tricaster through a network input, so it’s coming in through ethernet into my Tricaster. I have your audio going into an auxiliary output out of the Tricaster, which feeds my headpiece, so what it does is it separates the audio, so I’m not hearing myself in my headpiece, and then I have this audio coming out by itself into the TalkShow through the network input and so I don’t hear myself in my ear and you hear me without hearing my echo.

Kevin Bourke: The only thing on your end, if you both had earpieces on, you wouldn’t have to have the speaker in the room. Now, one of the things that I tell people if they are going to have a speaker in the room, make sure it’s far away from the mic and not very loud, but that’s kind of a headache. The best way around that is some sort of headset or earpiece for both guests. In broadcast television most of the time, they all have these little earpieces, but on a lot of technology shows where you have really nice gear in your studio but your guests may not, a lot of times they’ll have ear buds in. If they just had ear buds in or one ear bud, it would be fine.

Larry Jordan: Is it more important to have a good quality camera or better lighting?

Kevin Bourke: I would say better lighting. You see the demos for $500 cameras and everything looks perfect – it’s because all of it’s shot out in daylight. If I have good lighting and a halfway decent camera, even my webcam on my Notebook can look a million times better with a couple of lights. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend thousands of dollars on lighting. You can actually position some lamps in your room correctly and really increase the quality of your lights.

Larry Jordan: Philip, I love talking about all this stuff, but we’re going to have to let you go. Where can people go on the web to learn more about the TalkShow unit itself?

Kevin Bourke: Before I tell you that, I’m going to tell you one thing. We read your interview and we’ve done something that you’re going to love.

Larry Jordan: And that is?

Kevin Bourke: Starting this week, we have announced a new promo for TalkShow for $2995, so we knocked $1,000 off the retail price and that is a special Production Buzz influenced promo and it’s available until the end of the year at that price. We’ve noticed that a lot of people want more than one and we wanted to make that price more aggressive for those people. But if they would like more information on the TalkShow or how to properly configure their network or settings, they can go to

Larry Jordan: And Philip Nelson is the VP of Strategic Development for NewTek. Philip, this has been a wonderful chat, thank you so much for your time.

Mike Horton: Thanks, Philip.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Kevin Bourke: Thanks, guys. Good hanging with you.

Madison Mills: I’m here at the Geekie Awards in Los Angeles at Club Nokia. This is the third annual Geekie Awards. We’re going to have some highlights from the red carpet for you later and a great interview with Kevin Bourke, so stay tuned.

Larry Jordan: If you need long term archiving for your video content, then you should look at Xen Data. They specialize 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: Xen Data 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. Xen Data has hundreds of installations around the world, from Los Angeles to Mongolia, so if protecting your assets is important to you, visit

Larry Jordan: Kevin Bourke, the founder and principal of Bourke PR, has nearly 30 years’ experience in technology public relations. He’s a marketing consultant to some of the most innovative tech companies in the visual effects, post production and production technology markets. Hello, Kevin, it’s good to have you back.

Kevin Bourke: Larry, it’s good to see you.

Mike Horton: Hi, Kevin. Kevin’s in the corner. He looks like he’s in the corner. He’s been put in the corner. Kevin, you should not be in the corner

Kevin Bourke: Nobody puts me in the corner.

Larry Jordan: You know, only Michael would notice that Kevin is in the corner.

Mike Horton: He is in the corner.

Larry Jordan: I was admiring the fact that he was wearing a clean shirt. I thought this was a good start too.

Mike Horton: Well, that’s true.

Kevin Bourke: Well, it’s for you, Larry.

Larry Jordan: Kevin, I want to spend time talking about marketing and PR and advertising, but to start how would you describe what you do?

Kevin Bourke: I’m a public relations consultant primarily and nearly 30 years of my career has been focused on the public relations piece of the business.

Larry Jordan: Your work falls into the broad area of marketing, but it seems that you see a difference between marketing and PR and advertising. How do you differentiate between the three terms?

Kevin Bourke: Sure. I’d like to use a very simple analogy. Advertising and marketing is similar to you telling the world how great your company is. That’s marketing and advertising. Public relations is you convincing the influencers of the industry, the influencers who your customers listen to and trust, to tell the audiences how great your company is, so it’s that third party credibility, that voice that your customers are listening to, they’re the ones talking about how great you are and it’s not just yourself.

Mike Horton: How do you get those influencers to do that, though, if the product is something that they might not want to influence? Sometimes you are dealing with a particular product that has just started out, there are some problems with it and you are trying to get those influencers to say nice things about it.

Kevin Bourke: Sure, and I think that’s the value in having a good consultant at the outset. A valuable PR or marketing consultant is going to sit down with you at the outset and take a hard look and understand your business, your product and the upsides and the downsides of your product so that you can then figure out the best way to position that product, to whom you should be positioning that product and how you position that product so that you’re not just out there blindly trying to convince somebody to buy something they don’t want. But if you can determine up front and understand up front what is valuable about those products, then you can find the right influencers to help you tell that story.

Larry Jordan: I’ve always thought of advertising as trying to generate immediate response and marketing trying to generate long term response. Is that still a true statement?

Kevin Bourke: Yes and no. Advertising is expensive to do long term, ads cost money to create, they cost money to place and, for them to be truly effective, you need to do that over a long period of time in order for them to generate the kind of awareness and visibility that you need. It’s actually similar to public relations, but the difference is with public relations you’re not paying for every placement, you’re not paying for every article that hits. Really, it’s your investment in time to ensure that there is a constant and consistent communications flow through these different channels, through publications, through blogs, through social media. It’s a very different approach and, from a budgeting standpoint, it’s a very different spend.

Larry Jordan: We’ve worked together in various ways over the years and one of the things I’ve enjoyed is sitting and chatting with you when I’m not on camera and we have time to visit for more than just a couple of minutes, and you’ve told me that good marketing takes time, that it can’t just be done overnight. Well, how does a client tell the difference between good marketing and bad marketing if you don’t know the results for six months?

Kevin Bourke: At the outset, again, and as part of the planning process, you need to put some sort of measurement and stopping points in place so you can say, “Let’s set some short term objectives for public relations.” For example, we’ve agreed that there is this group of influencers. Today, they don’t know about us at all. In three months, we need to make sure that that do know us to start, and that’s easily measured.

Kevin Bourke: Then three months after that, we want them not only to know us, but we want them to be talking about us and talking about us in a very positive light. That’s measurable and you can set those goals at the outset instead of just throwing it out into the wind and saying, “Come back in six months when you think you have something for us.” You need to set those metrics along the way and make sure that they are reasonable, that they’re achievable and that they map back to not only your communications objectives, but your business objectives as well.

Larry Jordan: You’ve got a vested interested in this answer, but when should marketing be done in-house and when should you hire a consultant?

Kevin Bourke: It really depends. There are very specific skill sets, especially with public relations. There are skill sets, there are existing relationships. With me, for example, I have a relationship with you. You and I have known each other for 15 years. I carry with me these relationships that I have fostered over many, many years and I can leverage those on behalf of my clients.

Kevin Bourke: Now, if you’re in-house, you don’t have that and it’s very difficult to start from scratch and say, “Ok, now who do I meet? Who do I talk to?” and start to build those relationships. Sometimes people do have that and, if you do, fantastic. Then, yes, you can strike out on your own. But if you don’t, it’s helpful to find that resource that understands your business, understands technology, has the relationships and the connections that they can leverage on your behalf. That’s when you can really benefit from hiring a consultant.

Mike Horton: Kevin, have you ever turned down a client and say, “This just isn’t working,” or “This just isn’t something that I believe in, I’m not the right guy for you”?

Kevin Bourke: Absolutely. There are obvious times to turn down business, when there’s a conflict of interest – I have a client that competes with you, I’m sorry, I can’t help you. That’s an obvious one. But there certainly have been times where I would look at the organization, I would look at the products, I would look at the state of the business and honestly tell them, “In your current situation, either you can’t afford to,” or “What you need to do today is not this, you need to focus on something else for the health of your business,” so it’s a case by case basis but I do take an honest look at each and every company that approaches me and, if I can believe I can help them, then I bring them on.

Larry Jordan: Let’s wear a filmmaker’s hat and let’s say a filmmaker comes to you and says, “I’d like your help in putting a campaign together for my next project.” Clearly short term. How long does it take to build a marketing campaign for a film? And we’re talking indie, we’re not talking a $200 million studio picture.

Kevin Bourke: I’ve done this, I’ve done this recently, so I would say anywhere from three to six months. Three months is a tight window because you need to ramp up, you need to do some basic housekeeping, prepare the language – how do you talk about this film? What are the words that you use to get people excited? – so you need to build up that plan and then start building the excitement in advance of the release. You can’t start talking about it the day of the release, you need to build up excitement in advance of that release, so you want to build in enough time to do it. I’ve done it successfully in three months, but three to six months is probably a smart timeframe.

Larry Jordan: Where does social media fit in to a marketing plan? Is social media everything or 50 percent or you just sort of stick your toe in the water?

Kevin Bourke: Social media is never the silver bullet. I do believe it’s very powerful; I also believe it’s very powerful in our market segment, in production and post production; we have a very active Twitter community, for example. I think it’s one of the things that you need to do, but I also believe that you need to be smart about it, you need to be genuine and you need to understand how to interact with the community in social media.

Kevin Bourke: It’s not just a broadcast mechanism where you spout your messages and don’t engage with your audience. You need to really understand who you’re talking to and who you’re engaging with, but it’s definitely a very powerful way to connect with your potential customers and audiences.

Larry Jordan: Kevin, for people who want more information about you and the work that you do, where can they go on the web?

Kevin Bourke: They can find me at or follow me on Twitter.

Larry Jordan: That’s and the founder and principal for Bourke is Kevin Bourke himself. Kevin, thanks so much for joining us. We’re looking forward to seeing you again and we’re getting ready for all the trade shows next year. You take care.

Mike Horton: Thanks, Kevin.

Kevin Bourke: I’m looking forward to it. Thank you so much.

Mike Horton: Me too.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Kevin Bourke: Take care.

Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Kristen Nedopak, the Geekie Awards live and a tribute to Bruce Nazarian.

Larry Jordan: My focus for this class is not to teach you how to design with Photoshop – design is beyond my skills – but I can show you how we can take existing images and edit them. I’m talking about digital photography and still images, and manipulating them in Photoshop is what today’s session is all about.

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

David Light (archive): First thing in terms of marketing, you have to have a really professional product that is the best that you can possibly make it. Second, you need to choose a track that you feel is going to, in this particular case, garner you the recognition that’s going to allow you to go to a broader audience and for the people that can say yes to you to be able to find out about you.

Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.

Larry Jordan: Kristen Nedopak is the host of her own YouTube channel and has recently won Best Host at the IWA TV awards. But what makes her most special is that she is the creator and the Executive Producer of the Geekie Awards that honors gaming, comics and indie film content, occurring today at Club Nokia in LA. Hello, Kristen. Welcome.

Kristen Nedopak: Hi, how are you?

Larry Jordan: We are delighted to be talking to you. We’re covering the Geekie Awards tonight on The Buzz. Our reporter, Madison Mills, is at the scene on the red carpet, but before we hear from Madison I want to have you set the scene. How would you describe the Geekie Awards?

Kristen Nedopak: Oh wow. Well, the Geekie Awards first and foremost are for independent creators, but it’s also an award show for geeks and so we sort of have this combination of people that have never been at an award show, this is their first time hitting the red carpet, this might be their first win, so it’s this excitement of something big and watching them really take off; and then at the same time we’ve got Kevin Smith, we are literally just announcing that we have Ernie Hudson also presenting an award, so we’ve got this slew of geek talent that’s coming to present these awards to these creators, and then we’ve got the fans. It’s just one big geek festival, if you will. It feels like a big family reunion of geeks.

Larry Jordan: How does someone get considered for an award?

Kristen Nedopak: Earlier in the year, in the spring, we open for submissions for about three months and everyone submits themselves. That way, it’s not based on popular votes, it’s not based on us going out and only looking at people we know about. This is how we get unseen talent. Then, of course, I’m out there scouting people, I’m going to conventions; if I see somebody who’s amazing, note, if I talk to you, you should definitely enter the show. I have a habit of choosing people who definitely go on to become nominees and, of course, I’m not part of the judging process, but I think I have pretty good taste. So if I talk to you, you should definitely enter.

Larry Jordan: What’s happening on the red carpet?

Kristen Nedopak: Oh my gosh, it’s usually a madhouse. This year, we have opened it up. We usually have presenters and nominees and this year we’ve actually opened it up to a lot more talent, so we’ve got our player piano nominee is actually bringing in a Nintendo built custom designed piano that’s for photo ops and it’s just really manic. When Kevin Smith or Ernie Hudson show up, or Stan Lee if he decides to come, which he usually does, there are fans, there are people screaming, it’s such fun. That’s the point in time in the day when I’m done with setup and we’re done with rehearsals and I walk outside and I go, “It’s begun.” It’s pretty crazy.

Larry Jordan: Thanks, Kristen. When we first heard of the Geekie Awards, we realized this was a perfect event for The Buzz to cover, so today we sent Madison Mills and the rest of The Buzz team down to Club Nokia to see what’s going on. Hello, Madison.

Madison Mills: Thank you, Larry. I’m here at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, where we’re celebrating the third annual Geekie Awards. We’re here to celebrate creative artists from web, games and entertainment and I’m here with some of those artists right now. Rayna and John Merritt, you guys must be so excited to be here. Tell me what category are you nominated for tonight?

John Merritt: We’re in the Toys and Crafts for Tentacle Kitty.

Madison Mills: What is Tentacle Kitty?

John Merritt: Tentacle Kitty is a kitty from another dimension. She just happens to have tentacles. We have a web comic online, at, and we’re also in pre-production of the movie.

Madison Mills: Wow!

John Merritt: Yes.

Madison Mills: Can you give us a preview of the movie, or is it a secret?

John Merritt: It’s definitely a secret.

Madison Mills: What’s it going to feel like if you guys get up on that stage and win tonight?

Rayna Merritt: I will be really lucky if I don’t pass out, because I’m kind of shy. I really hope we win and I’m very excited.

Madison Mills: Can you tell us a little bit of what you’ll say on stage if you win tonight?

Rayna Merritt: No. You’ll just have to wait.

Madison Mills: Well, thank you, guys, so much.

Rayna Merritt: Yes, thank you.

Madison Mills: All right, I’m here with Dante Basco. Dante, tell me a little bit about your obviously incredible career – you were in Avatar. What was that experience like?

Dante Basco: It’s great to be at the Geekie Awards, I have some geeky roles that are appreciated by the so-called geeks, myself being on, so of course Avatar: The Last Airbender, where I play the misunderstood Prince of the Far Nation, Prince Zuko, which I love, it’s been a really phenomenal hit for Nickelodeon and it’s kind of like the new Star Wars for a new generation in a way, how the world has been created, this new world; and then, of course, all my throwback fans that are big fans of Rufio from the movie Hook, so a shout out to all the lost boys and lost girls out there.

Madison Mills: Tell me a little bit about what you’re doing now.

Dante Basco: Right now, continuing to work as an actor. I have a film coming out called Head Thieves, which I’m really proud of, and I also have a production company called Kinetic Films, we do Asian/American/Pacific Islander films and you can see our first three releases online right now, Man Up with KevJumba and Justin Chon; Hang Loose with myself and KevJumba; and then also our dramatic film which is called Paradise Broken. I’m continuing to work on both sides of the camera, in front of and as a writer/producer.

Madison Mills: That’s so great. Obviously, you’ve made it, you’re at the top, you’ve done the thing. What would you say to the haters out there who maybe didn’t let you embrace your geekiness from a young age?

Dante Basco: A lot of times when I tour around the country and I speak at cons or I speak at colleges, what I like to tell the, quote unquote, geeks or nerds out there is you’ve got to understand that Comic-Con a few years ago in San Diego was a place that most Hollywoodites thought was some kind of place to be shunned. But what you realize now, the nerds and the geeks are actually the arbiters of taste of Hollywood.

Dante Basco: Hollywood goes down to San Diego every year, goes to cons to see what the nerds like because the nerds’ taste is really what is next on the horizon. Everyone wants to know what the next Game of Thrones is, what the next Firefly is – what are you guys into? What are the really good things? The nerds and the geeks are the ones that are the arbiters of taste of pop culture right now. Represent your geekiness, represent your nerdiness. We are the taste of pop culture, so it’s all good. Celebrate that.

Madison Mills: Right. Thank you so much. This has been an incredible night. I can’t tell you how many amazing people I’ve met, how many great costumes I’ve seen tonight and we’re so excited we got to be here. From downtown Los Angeles at the annual Geekie Awards for The Digital Production Buzz, I’m Madison Mills.

Larry Jordan: Bruce Nazarian was a long time contributor to The Buzz who passed away last Friday. Bruce was a good friend to Mike and myself and many in The Buzz audience. This is our tribute to Bruce Nazarian.

Larry Jordan (archive): Bruce Nazarian is the President of the DVD Association, as well as being a guru on all things DVD.

Mike Horton (archive): And I love Bruce.

Larry Jordan (archive): And he’s a great guy and Cirina herself said he has a killer smile in his photograph, so what more could we ask? Bruce, good to have you with us.

Bruce Nazarian (archive): Hello, you guys.

Bruce Nazarian (archive): We believe that Blu-Ray is a very powerful, potentially very wonderful format to use for publishing, but we’re very concerned at the way licensing and complexity has worked out. It’s virtually impossible for second tier producers, who are the vast majority of our audience here today, to really afford to publish on Blu-Ray instead of publishing on DVD, and there are a lot of people that I’ve talked to and a lot of people out there in general who want to use Blu-Ray but can’t either deal with the complexity of licensing or the cost of the licensing. Simple as that.

Bruce Nazarian (archive): The biggest continuing change that we’ve had, of course, is the migration away from analogue to digital and that means digital recording, digital mixing, digital synchronization, everything under the sun, although interestingly we’re kind of coming a little full circle in that the pendulum’s swung very much to emphasize… for a while and now people are beginning to re-appreciate the fine art of a well played musical instrument done by… musical ensemble, great players, great instruments.

Bruce Nazarian (archive): The bulk of what I had done in the DVD optical media industry was to be of service to non-Hollywood authors and encoding engineers etcetera who were working in that field and wanted to gain insight and technical knowledge about how it all worked, and I did that quite happily for about ten years.

Bruce Nazarian (archive): Well, music and blood are part of my DNA, so no matter how technical I get from one side of the brain, I always keep getting yanked to the creative side, the other side of the brain, and reminded that first, last and always I was put on the Earth to be a musician, so I’m going to do it again.

Larry Jordan: Bruce Nazarian will be missed. He’s a good guy.

Mike Horton: Yes. Yes, we did talk a lot about having that lunch and we never did have that lunch. I knew, as you did, Bruce as the DVD guy, I didn’t know him as a musician.

Larry Jordan: Studio musician in Detroit, did most of the bass guitar work on many of the Motown hits.

Mike Horton: Once I found that out, I went crazy and we had to talk; and every time we did talk, we would talk more about music than we did about DVDs and authoring and stuff like that because, as you know, I’m a music freak. But we never did have that lunch. We never had that long talk and I miss him terribly because he was a Renaissance man. He knew something about everything and, boy, could he be articulate about it. You would never, ever have a debate with Bruce Nazarian because he would always win, even if what he was saying was wrong. He would articulate it so well. He was one of a kind.

Larry Jordan: Yes he was.

Mike Horton: He was the best.

Larry Jordan: Yes. We’ll have that tribute posted to the web so you’ll be able to look at that coming up a little later tonight. I want to thank our guests for this evening: Philip Nelson, the Senior VP at NewTek; Kevin Bourke, the CEO at Bourke PR; and Kristen Nedopak, the CEO of the Geekie Awards.

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; plus our free weekly show newsletter.

Larry Jordan: Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugie Turner, with additional music provided by Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription – visit to learn how they can help you.

Larry Jordan: That tribute to Bruce Nazarian was edited brilliant by Brianna Murphy. Our Geekie Award coverage was produced by James Castle Stevens, hosted by Madison Mills, with technical help from Alex Hackworth, Joseph Kim, Ty Moss, Kate [YISH] and Alex Corrie-Wright. Our Supervising Producer is Cirina Catania; production team led by Megan Paulos and includes Ed Golya, Keegan Guy, Lindsay Luebbert and Brianna Murphy. On behalf of Mike Horton, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for watching.

Mike Horton: Goodbye, everybody. Goodbye, Bruce.

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 provides highly competitive digital video archive solutions.

Digital Production Buzz – October 15, 2015

Join Larry Jordan and Mike Horton as they talk with Philip Nelson, Kevin Bourke, and Kristen Nedopak.

  • The NewTek TalkShow for Better Skype Interviews
  • The Differences Between Marketing and PR
  • The Geekie Awards – Live from the Red Carpet!

View Show Transcript

Watch the Full Episode

Tech Talk
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Buzz on YouTubeTranscript

Listen to the Full Episode

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Guests this Week

Philip Nelson
Philip Nelson, Chief Relationship Officer, NewTek
Skype video interviews are becoming more and more frequent on television and the web. Philip Nelson, Chief Relationship Officer at NewTek joins us tonight to showcase their new TalkShow hardware and explain what we need to know to make Skype interviews looks at good as possible.
Kevin Bourke
Kevin Bourke, Principal, Founder, Bourke PR
Kevin Bourke, the principal and founder of BourkePR, has been marketing technology clients for more than 30 years. His clients include some of the most interesting and innovative tech companies in the visual effects, post production and production technology markets. Tonight, Kevin explains the difference between marketing, PR and advertising and what do we need to know to maximize the impact of each.
Kristen Nedopak
Kristen Nedopak, Creator CEO, The Geekie Awards
The Geekie Awards celebrate the best and the brightest in technology, games and the web. Tonight, Kristen Nedopak, the Creator of the Geekie Awards, explains what the awards are, then we go live to the red carpet to meet the nominees and share the excitement of an event by Geeks and for Geeks.

Transcript: Digital Production BuZZ – October 8, 2015

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Digital Production Buzz

October 8, 2015

[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]

(Click here to listen to this show.)

Larry Jordan

Mathias Omotola, Manager of Events & Community Outreach, Maxon U.S.
Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor, Digital Video Magazine, Ned Soltz Inc.
Emery Wells, CEO, Co-Founder,
Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, Mathias Omotola builds strategic virtual communities for Maxon Computing. Today, where social media and online conversations drive success, Mathias shares his thoughts on what we need to know to successfully build online communities for our own projects.

Larry Jordan: Next, Ned Soltz is known around the world as a guru on digital video. Tonight, Ned returns to The Buzz to compare several leading color grading solutions.

Larry Jordan: Next, Emery Walls launched in 2014. is a media collaboration platform for post production teams and clients. This week, he successfully landed venture financing for $2.2 million. Tonight, Emery explains how he did it and what we can learn from it.

Larry Jordan: All this plus a Buzz Flashback and Tech Talk looks at the brand new Avid DNxIO. 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. 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. Randi Altman and Mike Horton both have the night off.

Larry Jordan: Here at The Buzz, we are getting excited. Next Thursday is the Geekie Awards live at Club Nokia in Los Angeles and The Buzz will be covering it direct from the red carpet. The Geekie Awards is an annual event and awards show by geeks for geeks that combines a live ceremony with geek focused digital content to create an event that combined Hollywood pizzazz with the fun of a comic or tech convention.

Larry Jordan: Well, when it comes to geeks and the media, we are all over it. We’re sending an entire production team, led by Madison Mills, whom you may have seen hosting videos for USA Today. We first learned about the Geekie Awards from Kristen Nedopak – she’s the Executive Producer of the event – when she was a guest on The Buzz last July. Since then, their guest list has exploded to include Kevin Smith, Katrina Law, Andrew Bowen, Christina Wren, Philip DeFranco and many more. Join us for The Buzz next week and watch the excitement live from Club Nokia and the Geekie Awards.

Larry Jordan: Thinking about staying in touch, I encourage you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at Our newsletter is undergoing a re-design; we’re adding more industry relevant articles, faster access to show transcripts, courtesy of, a cleaner design and more relevant information about the show and our guests. Our newsletter gives you an inside look at both The Buzz and the industry all in one place. The newsletter is free; all you need to do is to subscribe on The Buzz website at A new issue is released every Friday.

Larry Jordan: I’ll be back with Mathias Omotola right after this.

Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Mathias Omotola, Ned Soltz, Emery Wells, Tech Talk and 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 Other World Computing carries the best upgrades that let 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 catalog 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. Whether you need to maximize your system’s memory, add blazing speed or enhance reliability, look no further than the friendly experts at OWC. Learn more by visiting today.

Larry Jordan: Mathias Omotola is the Manager of Events and Community Outreach for Maxon US. There, he oversees strategic development, event marketing, business planning and user group outreach. Hello, Mathias, welcome.

Mathias Omotola: Hello, Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: I am delighted. I’ve known Maxon for a long time and I love talking about Cinema 4D, so I’m really glad that you’re here.

Mathias Omotola: I’m extra glad. Thanks for having me. I always see you at NAB, so I’m lucky to be here in the studio.

Larry Jordan: Yes, but you’re surrounded by so many people with all the work that you’re doing.

Mathias Omotola: That’s true.

Larry Jordan: We’re going to talk more about that in just a minute, but before we do, how would you describe your role at Maxon?

Mathias Omotola: For me, it’s a dream come true, first of all.

Larry Jordan: How long have you been there?

Mathias Omotola: Not long enough. It really has been a joy. I started, I believe, five or six years ago and I sat down with Rick Barrett and Paul Babb, Paul the CEO and Rick the VP of Operations there. I really fell in love with the small culture and how close it is to artists in the community. What I’m doing with the company is pretty much all the events – any events that take place from Canada down to Chile, I’m pretty much involved with the planning, getting artists there, the entire production, everything else, as well as some original things.

Mathias Omotola: One of the things we’re doing right now is an eight city roadshow this fall. That’s completely independent, something that was put together; and when I’m not doing the events, I’m actually reaching out to the community to find who can either present at a future event or other partners, so plug-in developers, other technology that would work well with Maxon, and introducing them to the team and developers.

Larry Jordan: I want to talk about the community part in just a minute, but let’s focus on events. We’re talking things like SIGGRAPH and NAB, we’re not just talking something in a hotel room, correct?

Mathias Omotola: Yes, very true. The biggest ones are NAB and SIGGRAPH, but we’re also at GDC, the Game Developers’ Conference, South by South West, just finished up Adobe Max, we’ll be at After Effects World. Anywhere you find artists who are potentially using Cinema 4D, 3D, you’ll find me somewhere nearby or listening to what’s happening. But that’s where we’re at.

Larry Jordan: NAB is a show that we both know, unfortunately, way too well. It’s massive beyond words to describe. Maxon’s booth is about the size of Rhode Island. What’s it like to put one of those events together? When do you start working and how much advance planning are you doing? Walk me through the process.

Mathias Omotola: All right, how much time do you have? The planning process actually starts now. Right now, I’m already getting phone calls from the NAB show, different locations, so by December I’m pretty much reaching out to all the talent that I have, but all year long I’m collecting talent. There are usually some key guys that I know you’ve had on your show – Casey Hupke has presented with us several times, Jayse Hansen, I’m still trying to get him on board, he’s a busy man – and I’m always searching for talent and usually by December/January, talent’s locked in. But in December I have already the hotel booked, already have our meeting conference rooms booked and then it’s just about logistics after that.

Larry Jordan: Are you handling staffing?

Mathias Omotola: Oh yes. It’s a full production.

Larry Jordan: So if something goes wrong, it’s your fault?

Mathias Omotola: Yes, it really is unfortunately. It’s like wrangling cats too, because everybody has different schedules. Sometimes we’ll have an artist that has to get pulled last minute because they’re on a major project and they just can’t miss it. Those things are unfortunate but luckily there are so many amazing talented artists nowadays in cinema that it’s basically a waiting list.

Larry Jordan: You’ve got an amazing group of talent that you’re pulling from. What criteria do you use to decide if they should be in the booth?

Mathias Omotola: This goes back to community. It’s not just quality of work, it’s also quality of person. There are a lot of people who can do amazing work, but if they’re not personable, they’re not able to talk to the audience, they’re not able to inspire, engage or explain even what they’re doing artistically, it’s pretty much like a magician – they can give a good show but you can’t go home and say, “Hey, I want to do that too. You’re just like, “They were amazing,” and so…

Larry Jordan: They’re actually representing the companies. There’s a huge PR function, even though it’s implicit rather than explicit.

Mathias Omotola: Yes and no. We try and keep the spotlight on the artist. That’s one of the things that I think keeps Cinema unique. You don’t see a lot of sales pitches from us and luckily we don’t have to. We feel that the artist can do the majority of the talking and the work that they do kind of speaks volumes for it. We try and keep them as original as possible, because that’s what people like.

Larry Jordan: You’re using the word ‘cinema’. I assume that means Cinema 4D, which is your lead product?

Mathias Omotola: Yes.

Larry Jordan: Just making sure that we’ve got the right acronym. You’ve talked about the role that you have in building communities and the fact is you’re using communities to pull your artists from. Why are communities so important?

Mathias Omotola: Oh, man. A lot of reasons. The community is basically going to shape art. If Leonardo da Vinci was born in Chicago now, would he be Leonardo da Vinci or would he just be another Chicago artist? I think a lot has to do with the environment that’s created for artists and our role as people who actually support and engage with the community is to provide that environment in which they can flourish.

Mathias Omotola: Going to events and engaging, inspiring, educating and motivating, doing those different things that create that environment so artists feel great, they feel like, “Hey, I’m supported, I have the tools available to me, I have mentors, I have sponsors, there are people who care about me being successful in this and I have resources that will allow me to succeed so I can express myself.” To me, community is all about environment.

Larry Jordan: But it could also be argued that art is really a solo endeavor, especially when you’re drawing. There’s not a group of people that are drawing, it’s really just the artist sitting there with the tools and their imagination, creating something that has never existed before. Where does the support come in?

Mathias Omotola: When you’re looking at pencil art, it’s definitely different. I started personally as an artist and I went to school and wanted to learn 3D animation and VFX. I went and saw they were teaching a different 3D program and I got my degree in economics.

Larry Jordan: Of course. It made perfect sense.

Mathias Omotola: Yes, so that was an easy transition for me.

Larry Jordan: Like all smart artists, you’ve got a back-up Plan B in case you need it.

Mathias Omotola: Well, yes, that was a failsafe, unfortunately. But the thing is, with the tools and technology nowadays, there is a learning curve so you’re not just going to go off into a forest and do 3D animation and learn Cinema. You might if you have some power out there, you could plug in, hit the help system and go for it, but nowadays I think for artists, yes, you’re going to be pretty much solo most of the time.

Mathias Omotola: But you’re often working in teams, you’re working on collective projects, and the more tools and resources you have that you can access as well as the support that you can get from other artists and mentors, that’s going to encourage you to be able to push further and maybe even try things that you thought were too technically challenging before. That’s what a lot of our artists do up on stage at NAB and SIGGRAPH.

Larry Jordan: You’ve got artists in a variety of different industry groups. There’s video games, there’s movie production, there’s visual effects. Do they need the same level of support, the same kind of community or are the communities different depending upon the tasks that they’re doing? And are they looking at you for different resources?

Mathias Omotola: Excellent question and the answer is yes. There are different not just communities but also cultures. The video game culture is very different from the VFX culture, even though a lot of the cultures actually pull from the same things – a lot of sci-fi inspiration, the medical illustration/animation community, completely different to general VFX and motion graphics because they’re very technical and they have to tell a story specifically. So they are very different when it comes to different communities.

Larry Jordan: Maxon has developed a really cool training resource that Paul Babb has talked about several times on the show, called Cineversity, which is an online training facility for artists to learn how Cinema 4D works. It’s not for the faint of heart, but one of the things that you guys go after is the beginner. How do you encourage people, when they see the work at NAB of your artists, which is just breathtaking, I can’t begin to imagine how they create it, and now I want to start a career in Cinema 4D and I look at this and I say, “I don’t even know where to start.” How do you encourage them to ask questions and how do you encourage them to get the help that they need so they’re less intimidated and more creative?

Mathias Omotola: The first thing is anybody who’s out there like that, I try and engage with them on a one on one basis as much as possible. If they meet me at a trade show, I’ll actually jump into a demo at any given time because Cinema 4D, luckily, has liberated me from my life of just economics and now I can actually pick up the tool and do some things.

Larry Jordan: That’s very cool.

Mathias Omotola: It’s the fastest, easiest to learn, the best integration with the tools that they’re pretty much probably already using in the Adobe suites and stuff like that, so within five minutes I can usually give people an overview of the interface. Our youngest user that I’ve come across is five years old.

Larry Jordan: Five years old.

Mathias Omotola: Five years old. It was at South by South West, her dad came up and said, “My daughter uses this to make titles for her YouTube channel,” and I was blown away.

Larry Jordan: That’s just scary, isn’t it? Why do the rest of us bother to show up?

Mathias Omotola: Yes, why do we show? The next generation, folks. So it is that easy. There are just a couple of basic things that you need to learn and once you get started and you learn the interface, it isn’t so intimidating because, surprisingly, 3D, we’re used to that. 2D and trying to add perspective and everything else, we live in a 3D environment, we have the lights, we have the stage, you know how if a light’s further away, how it casts shadows, all those different things. 3D is that, but then you’re just adding the element of time, that’s why Cinema 4D, because you’re now able to control all those parameters. It’s a lot to control, but it’s something that you’re already used to. You’re already in that environment.

Larry Jordan: What’s the difference between engaging in business development and creating an experience for customers? One is a sales job and the other is enhancing the bonds between the company and the end user, which is not the same thing.

Mathias Omotola: Yes, definitely.

Larry Jordan: That’s a hard role to play both sides of, isn’t it?

Mathias Omotola: That’s where the economics comes in. Yes, it’s definitely a creative position because we do work with a lot of other partner companies and on the roadshow we have sponsors such as Dell, Nvidia, Adobe, Greyscalegorilla, so we have a ton of sponsors throughout different activities. The focus for Maxon, with it once again being on the artist, is what can we do between the companies that is going to give a quality experience for the customer, that is going to inspire, that is going to help them out with their workflow, that is going to improve their ability to create?

Mathias Omotola: A sales pitch is only as good as what it’s actually going to do for the artist. If I say, “Hey, this machine is so much faster, it does all this other stuff,” well, learn the nuts and bolts, how is it going to affect my workflow? What is it going to be like in my day to day life? That’s one of the things that I think about when we’re looking at partners, is, “Hey, that’s a tool and a plug-in that helps create amazing particles. Great. We have people looking for that, that does fluid simulation.” There are different things that we do well and Cinema 4D is kind of like a hub where a lot of different things can plug in, that are plugging into your workflow for different types of things and we focus on what else can be plugged in to create that full experience? Even though you can have that full experience with Cinema, the community’s always building more tools, so we find out how to solve problems with them.

Larry Jordan: Are you seeing the requirements that artists have for Cinema 4D are changing? Are they looking to create different things over the last two or three years or are they using the tool in essentially the same way?

Mathias Omotola: Right now, everything’s evolving, it’s always in a state of flux and I think everyone wants to be able to make ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Toy Story.’ Pretty much our number one question is, “How do I make Toy Story? How do I make Jurassic Park?”

Larry Jordan: Can you with Cinema 4D?

Mathias Omotola: Oh yes, definitely. You can do all that and now you could probably do it just on your laptop compared to the hardware you need and the truth is we are used in high end vis effects and everything else, but there is also the techniques to understand animation. It’s not just one click and now my idea’s out. There are techniques, there’s a…

Larry Jordan: There’s not a dinosaur button?

Mathias Omotola: There’s a dinosaur preset, so it’s in there. You’re just going to have to do a little bit more. But, yes, that’s one of the things, is as art and art style has evolved, we’re seeing it used all over the place. We’re seeing it in VR environments, we’re seeing live events, so we’re seeing it in unconventional ways. I’ve been using it recently on a comic book project. One of my friends is doing a comic book, ‘New Praetorians,’ it just came out, and she was looking for environment, so I was able to actually create labs and environments and then, instead of her having to redraw every single one, she was able to use the perspective that was already built. There are endless uses, anything that you can think of you can actually use, so it’s evolving a lot.

Larry Jordan: We’re seeing the artist changing and I’m seeing the industry changing, especially since 2008 with the financial conditions. Are you seeing the environment for trade shows changing?

Mathias Omotola: Oh, definitely. Unfortunately.

Larry Jordan: How so?

Mathias Omotola: I think now, comparing NAB now to when I first started, NAB was very segmented. You had the central hall which had all of our satellite information and things there, in south lower you had most of our software guys and then you had a section for audio and everything else. Now it’s pretty much everyone everywhere.

Larry Jordan: That’s because everybody was going to south lower and the other halls were empty. That’s the reason.

Mathias Omotola: That’s very true and I think one of the things that happens is it’s becoming like the ’90s internet, where you have nothing but pop up ads. Everyone’s fighting for attention so if they couldn’t get a sponsor dollar here, they’ll move and bump it over. I think there’s some good and bad. It’s good because the trade shows continue to be successful, so we have them and we can have the networking…

Larry Jordan: But only the larger sizes. I’m seeing small shows are struggling or are struggling to succeed.

Mathias Omotola: Yes, there are small shows that have shut their doors. It is a lot of work, but that’s why I think the larger shows get more noisy, because everyone’s just trying to jam pack in there, where I think the user experience would actually go up if more of the larger companies would support more of the smaller shows as well as the larger shows to stay segmented, because if you’re an audio guy you don’t really need the satellite.

Larry Jordan: Yes, but they are so cool to look at.

Mathias Omotola: They are, but they’re not an impulse buy. If I’m walking by, I’m not doing to drop 150 grand.

Larry Jordan: I almost bought a $3 million helicopter.

Mathias Omotola: Oh well, that’s an impulse buy.

Larry Jordan: There was no money in a checkbook, but I would have bought it had I had it. What projects are you working on next? Are you buried in next year’s NAB or have you got something coming up before that?

Mathias Omotola: Right now, it’s all the roadshow. Starting October 20th, we go from LA to Portland that week – the 20th to 22nd – and then we’re in Seattle and then we’re in San Francisco and then we’re in Vancouver, New York, Atlanta and then finish up in DC, and I have trade shows going on in New York at the same time as the roadshow. There’s some overlap there but this is something that we’ve wanted to do for a while.

Larry Jordan: You’ll sleep when you get back.

Mathias Omotola: Oh yes, and weekends.

Larry Jordan: For people who want information about the trade shows or Maxon in general, where can they go on the web?

Mathias Omotola: They can just go to

Larry Jordan:, not

Mathias Omotola: Exactly. You’ll find a trucking company there.

Larry Jordan: Mathias Omotola is event coordinator uber all with Maxon. Mathias, thanks for joining us today.

Mathias Omotola: Thanks very much, Larry.

Larry Jordan: Take care.

Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Ned Soltz, Simon Walker, Emery Wells, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.

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Larry Jordan: Ned Soltz is an author, editor, educator and consultant on all things related to digital video. He’s also a contributing editor for Digital Video magazine, a moderator on 2-Pop and Creative Cow forums and a regular correspondent here on The Buzz. And today we’re going to talk with Ned about color grading. Hello, Ned, welcome back.

Ned Soltz: Hi, Larry, it’s great to be back. It’s just been ages, it seems.

Larry Jordan: You never call, you never write, I’m really depressed.

Ned Soltz: Oh, I know, I know, I know. You and the whole family says that.

Larry Jordan: Well, I want you consumed with guilt.

Ned Soltz: Oh, I am, I am.

Larry Jordan: Ned, when it comes to color grading, my first thought always turns to Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve. Is there anything else in color grading?

Ned Soltz: Oh Larry, there is just absolutely so much that this time I actually am speaking from notes, because I must have about 15 to 20 products that I need to rattle off just in my few moments that I have with you. There are so many possibilities, but I really want to take it back to the beginning here, because a lot of times in this brand new world that we have of people dealing with log footage, of raw footage, moving from linear footage but still shooting linear footage, people really don’t fully understand where we are and what the process is. I think first of all, before we do this and jump into some products, I want to talk about a process. If we’re dealing with log footage, our first task is to delog that footage.

Larry Jordan: Wait, wait, wait, hold it, Ned, stop a second. When we’re talking log footage, first give me a quick definition of what log is and are there different variations of log or is it all Log C?

Ned Soltz: There are different variations. Panasonic has its version now of the Z Log. There’s a Log C that Canon has. Sony has S Log, S Log 2, S Log 3. The JVC 300 camera has now just adopted AJD C Log and it’s essentially the way in which the top of the curve is compressed to be able to get more values into that same range.

Larry Jordan: Top of the curve means highlights?

Ned Soltz: It’s going to mean highlights, right, it’s going to mean those highlights are going to be compressed in that log, it means that there is going to be a removal of saturation. Until now, all the values are there in that curve but that curve is going to have to be turned into a linear curve in order to be visualized, to be displayed, to be seen as anything other than just a washed out, almost black and white image.

Ned Soltz: Different cameras and different manufacturers employ different logs and different techniques and so when we’re dealing with this log footage, we have to look at software that’s going to decode specific to the log of the camera. That’s going to be accomplished by LUTs, by lookup tables that are going to understand the characteristics of that camera and of its curve and return that log curve to what we’re calling Direct 709, the video curve, which is going to then have all of those values. Once we’ve done that process, then the next process is really color correction and many of us have been doing this for years, like those of us that started back with Adobe Premiere ages ago and then moved to Final Cut. I jumped on the bandwagon at Final Cut 1.2.5.

Ned Soltz: We were dealing with a three way color corrector and a two way color corrector and were correcting, and we’re going to express that now in terms of lift, gamma and gain. That is the blacks, the mid-tones and the highlights, we’re going to color correct. Only after we’ve done the color correction, then, are we going to put our artistic grade on and that’s where many of these plug-ins and options and everything else that’s available to us are going to come in, not just for the correction, not just for the D Log, but then finally when we’re ready to put some kind of artistic grade on the process.

Larry Jordan: So we’re going to convert our log footage or we’re going to convert the raw footage, so you’re talking conversion before color correction?

Ned Soltz: Yes, yes.

Larry Jordan: You’re going to do it all at one pass?

Ned Soltz: Well, we’re going to do that first. The first thing we’re going to do if we have raw footage is we’re going to what is known as debayer that footage. To put it in other terms, it’s like developing a negative. If we try to talk about debayering and debayering routines, I will never get to a single piece of software tonight. If we’re dealing with log footage, we’re then going to be delogging that footage before we begin any color correction at all. That’s step number one. Step number two is going to be our color correction for everything from white balance to shadows to mid-tones to our highlights, and get the image the way we want that to look; and then finally we’re going to put some kind of artistic grade on that footage.

Larry Jordan: Ok, so we’ve got a workflow going on and you’re saying that we can do it in multiple different pieces of software, so keep going.

Ned Soltz: Correct, so I’ll keep going. Of course, the first place you’re going to do that, particularly if you’re dealing already with linear footage – Rec 709 footage – you’re not dealing with log footage, you’re not dealing with raw footage because that adds to the post time and everything else. You’re going to be dealing with your non-linear editor, so let’s take Final Cut Pro, for example. The color boards in Final Cut Pro X are remarkably powerful tools that a lot of people don’t fully appreciate. Remarkably powerful.

Larry Jordan: How so?

Ned Soltz: How so? Because of your ability to move those values around, because of your ability to visualize that on the scopes, to be able to take that output then to a reference monitor where you’re able to really see how that video is going to be displayed in the medium in which you’re going to be delivering it, depending on which auxiliary hardware you have. Those color boards are very powerful.

Ned Soltz: Now we’ll move over to Adobe. There’s a speed grade. I personally have not gotten into speed grade as much as I can, but I know that a certain Larry Jordan sells a tutorial on how to really get into speed grade and I think that’s got to be mentioned as well. Again, powerful. But now in the latest 2015 version of Adobe CC, you have the Lumetri layer that can be applied and in that Lumetri layer you can then click and apply whatever lookup table you want. It’s these lookup tables that also help delog your footage or put looks upon your footage and everything else.

Larry Jordan: Ned, I agree with you in that Lumetri panel that’s new with the 2015 Premiere has an amazing amount of functionality in it that I was not expecting when I first saw it. It does far more than a simple three way color corrector.

Ned Soltz: Oh yes, it’s amazing. I began to wonder whether Adobe is really beginning to migrate more of the speed grade functions actually into Premiere Pro and that’s probably part of the Adobe roadmap because, again, remember, color correction is something any idiot like me can do. Color grading is now all of a sudden something that’s really a highly specialized area and people devote their whole lives to being colorists. All of a sudden now all of the tools there, it’s like you’ve got your private pilot’s license and now, wow, I’m going to take my hand at flying an Airbus A380, just because I can fly that… I think that’s probably part of the analogy of it.

Larry Jordan: Well, you’re going to find that A380 without me on board, that’s the first thing I’m going to tell you.

Ned Soltz: Well, they say it’s so automated you just have to… and it flies itself.

Larry Jordan: We’ve talked about speed grade, which is connected with Premiere. We’ve talked about Final Cut X for color grading and Final Cut X really revolutionized the whole idea of three color wheels back with Final Cut 1.2, but there’s more. What else do we have?

Ned Soltz: Then we’ve got Avid Symphony, of course. We shouldn’t really leave Avid out of the equation because it’s still there as almost the de facto studio application and, although Symphony is getting a little long in the tooth, for those who are Avid users, Baselight is a $500 plug-in, you’ve got the multi $100,000 Baselight systems that are dedicated color systems, but for about $500 Avid users can add Baselight, which brings you much of the power and functionality of the Baselight system. Of course, it’s on a clip by clip basis, it’s a little more difficult to work with, but it’s there and it’s certainly there for Avid users.

Ned Soltz: I want to move into other things that are available, both in terms of plug-ins and LUTs that you can buy. Right now, there is something relatively new – a guy who’s trading as Rocket Rooster sells collections of LUTs that range anywhere from $5 to $50; Color Finale for $99 from Denver Riddle, Color Grading Central, is yet another plug-in for Final Cut X, but also Denver Riddle has a number of different LUTs that are available and most of these are going to be more in the looks type of areas.

Ned Soltz: But if you really want to get into looks, there is Magic Bullet and the Magic Bullet Suite 12.1, just released, has LUTs; Colorista III, which is one of the most powerful of all color correction; Magic Bullet Film, which allows you to put emulsions and varying film looks; Magic Bullet Cosmo and Magic Bullet Mojo, and these plug-ins work in all of your hosts, including the open FX which is for DaVinci Resolve, as well as for Nuke and we’ll probably have a lot of the Nuke compositing users tuning in tonight.

Ned Soltz: The downside of Magic Bullet, and I love it, it’s extraordinarily powerful, is for those of us who take our video out through a Blackmagic or through a KONA card to see what it’s going to visualize like on a reference monitor, you can’t do that in Looks. You’re going to be judging basically on the computer screen and then only after you apply that in your NLE are you going to be able to go back out, so it could be a little cumbersome. But let me move on right now, Larry.

Ned Soltz: Another package that’s one of my favorites for $299 is called Film Convert. Film Convert is a standalone, as well as plug-ins for everything available, and it not only will do your color grading, lift, gain and gamma, it also has film scans of varying film emulsions. So you can have varying Kodak emulsions, Fuji emulsions, you can control grain. In other words, this is going to give you a very film type of look. I’m going to move on. Something similar to Film Convert is called Kojicolor. You can buy the Koji LUTs for $99 but the full Koji plug-in set is $899. I think they do an even better job of film emulsions than does Film Convert.

Ned Soltz: Now, in the $49 range for those who are Final Cut Pro and Adobe users, the FX Factory family of plug-ins that run under FX Factory, they’re virtually unlimited. I love the Hawaiki Color, which gives you onscreen controls in Final Cut X and autograde and automatch. DaVinci Resolve 12 now allows you to match scenes, but that’s in a $49 plug-in as well for Final Cut from Hawaiki Color under FX Factory.

Ned Soltz: Nattress has levels and curves and contrast; Lawn Road Color Precision 6 has something called color looks and now finally, if we’re in the Sony ecosystem, Sony has a free product called Catalyst Browse which reads the formats from virtually any Sony camera and allows you to change from log to Rec 709, but it affects that globally. They have a paid package called Catalyst Prepare and Catalyst Edit. It’s $400, it reads all the metadata and everything else. Very useful if you’re in the Sony ecosystem but, again, you’re able to do a basic grade with that and then export that basic grade through edit into your NLE.

Ned Soltz: Of course, if you’re in RED, RED pioneered all of this with the free RED software to be able to do what colorists called and RED called the One Light, where in RED you are taking that raw material and beginning to develop that and putting all of your looks and everything else onto it.

Ned Soltz: We’re just overburdened and overwhelmed with software right now, just like we’re overburdened and overwhelmed with hardware and it can be a very confusing and a very daunting process. DaVinci blew it wide open by taking one of the de facto standards for the whole industry and making it free, even the $1000 version. When you look at a multi $100,000 DaVinci system, which you can now get for $1,000, and software and run it on some garden variety iMac or HP or Dell workstation, or even less of a quality intensive machine, the possibilities out there for us are amazing.

Ned Soltz: So my advice here is basically pick the system you want, learn it, become adept at it and figure out how you’re going to make something look the way you want it to look. That’s really what this grade is about. It’s not right, it’s not wrong, it’s how do you want your final production to look?

Larry Jordan: Well, Ned, there is no shortage of color grading software out there. I’m really impressed, your report has been phenomenal. For people who need more information, can they go on the web somewhere to get a sense of what you’re thinking?

Ned Soltz: You can, of course, always look for my writings and the writings of my colleague, Oliver Peters, who writes extensively about this, in Digital Video magazine and Television Technology and that would be at

Larry Jordan: And Ned Soltz is the man that’s writing it. Ned, thanks for joining us today. The report was phenomenal, thank you very much. We’ll talk to you soon.

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

Larry Jordan: My focus for this class is not to teach you how to design with Photoshop – design is beyond my skills – but I can show you how we can take existing images and edit them. I’m talking about digital photography and still images, and manipulating them in Photoshop is what today’s session is all about.

Voiceover: Welcome to Tech Talk, sponsored by Keycode Media.

Michael Kammes: The long awaited new I/O box from Avid, the DNxIO is here and here’s the scoop on it, what to expect and what to look out for.

Michael Kammes: At NAB this year, Avid showed us their new I/O box, the DNxIO. Although it was behind glass and probably made out of balsa wood, it reassured the Avid community that there would indeed be an updated way to capture and play out from within Media Composer without having to rely on a third party interface. Well, two out of three ain’t bad, right?

Michael Kammes: The DNxIO box, or Bob as we affectionately call it, is made by Blackmagic Design, who’s been manufacturing I/O cards and Bobs for many years. They’ve also been part of the Avid Open I/O Initiative since the beginning.

Michael Kammes: The DNxIO at its core is the UltraStudio 4K extreme, which coincidentally just started shipping from Blackmagic as well. Connectivity to the internet is pretty simple, either via a Thunderbolt connection, which isn’t included in the box, or via a host card inserted into your computer, much like the older Mojo DX and Nitrous DX. It is cross platform and works with Media Composer 8.4 and above. Yes, this means that with 4K enabled version of Media Composer, you can play out 4K, HD and SD resolutions from within Media Composer via either HDMI or the onboard three, six or 12G SDI spigots.

Michael Kammes: For those of you who flank your Media Composer with an army of other software solutions, you’re in luck. Final Cut X, Adobe Creative Cloud and, of course, Blackmagic’s Resolve can play out using the Bob as well.

Michael Kammes: The DNxIO also has a handful of features not found in its UltraStudio cousin. First, it’s purchased and supported through Avid or through your friendly neighborhood Avid reseller. Secondly, DNX HR, the new codec for Media Composer that supports resolutions larger than HD, will have hardware acceleration on the unit. Hopefully Avid will enable this by the end of the year. There is also talk of adding H.265 acceleration, which is notoriously slow to encode on just CPU alone. I expect these features to be turned on with a software update for anyone under current Avid support.

Michael Kammes: Lastly, the DNxIO also comes with a free Fusion Connect plug-in for Media Composer. Avid has published an FAQ about this unit, as well as a .pdf comparing the DNxIO with the Mojo DX and the Nitrous DX. You can find them on the Avid website.

Michael Kammes: Thanks to some early fieldwork by our engineers at Keycode Media, here is what you need to know about the unit. First, not all resolutions are supported, most notably, 720p running at 23.98, 25 and 29.97. Also absent in the first release are some standard def, NTSE and PAL progressive formats. However, interlaced formats are 100 percent supported. There are also some audio limitations – no SPDIF on the Bob, 48K audio sample rates are the lone format currently supported and several audio mapping and mixing options are also unavailable in this first release. Some key features on the Avid Nitrous DX that are missing on the DNxIO hardware include hardware deinterlacing, universal mastering and closed caption play out.

Michael Kammes: Most of these restrictions seem to be software based as opposed to a limitation of the hardware, so the likelihood of a software update to fix them is pretty good. What I dig about this collaboration is that it reinforces Avid’s intent to become more open. Blackmagic has sold many more I/O devices than Avid ever will, so it’s good to build on the strengths of strong players. You can buy the DNxIO standalone for $38.99 or bundle with Media Composer for $48.99.

Michael Kammes: Here are two links to help you more. The top one is to an Avid FAQ about the DNxIO and the lower one is a comparison of the different Avid hardware units.

Michael Kammes: So, dear viewer, will the DNxIO Bob work for you or are you going to go with an AJA device? Or are you even going to ride out your DX hardware as long as possible? Let us know.

Michael Kammes: I’m Michael Kammes of Keycode Media.

Larry Jordan: Emery Wells launched in the summer of 2014. is a media collaboration platform designed for post production teams and their clients to collaborate and this whole idea of collaboration tools and finding the money to fund them fascinates me. Hello, Emery, welcome.

Emery Wells: Hey, Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: Well, I’m delighted to be talking to you because one of the things I want to learn more about is what is and then we’re going to talk a little bit more about how you found the money to pay for it. But start by describing

Emery Wells: Sure. is a media collaboration platform. It’s a place to upload any source media or work in progress into a private work space where you can invite your team and your clients to collaborate, and we’re really replacing the hodgepodge of different services that all of us have been using for years. We’re using something for file sharing like DropBox or Box or YouSendIt or HighTail or FTP.

Emery Wells: Well, those services are really crummy when you want to view something online, so we tend to use Vimeo or YouTube and we password protect it and then distribute links around in an email and try to communicate in a static email around moving visual content, which always leads to lots of confusion, not to mention that you have multiple versions and many iterations that you go through before it’s done.

Emery Wells: On a typical job, it’s not uncommon to have five, six, seven different services in the mix. You’ve got stuff all over the place, you’ve got conversations all over the place, nobody can keep track of anything. That’s what solves. We bring that all into one cohesive interface.

Larry Jordan: I’m already depressed just listening to you list the problems, much less the solution. But I swear, a week doesn’t go by that another company doesn’t rear its ugly head saying, “Hey, we’re a collaboration software and you need to use us,” and without naming any names, what makes different? Why should somebody even consider you?

Emery Wells: I think there are a couple of things that make us different. First and foremost, was actually started as an internal project at my previous post production company. We started building something to solve our own problem. It was actually not even originally intended to be a separate company and I think that informs our product choices every step of the way and it that’s resonated with people.

Emery Wells: People use the product and they say, “Oh, these guys get it. This is how it should work,” because we’ve done it for years –I’ve been in the media industry for 16 years and worn every hat there is to wear, I’ve been an editor and a motion graphics artist and a colorist and a producer and a director and a DP and I’ve… original content for network television, I’ve done it all so I know all the pain points across all the different job titles. So when we started building it as an internal tool for ourselves, it’s not surprising that we were solving the problems that pretty much everybody else was having. I think that’s the primary thing that’s really resonated.

Emery Wells: Then secondly, I think we’ve actually made this a tool that you want to use. We’ve made it fun, we’ve made it sexy. There are a lot of tools out there that have tried to do similar things and for the most part they’re either too utilitarian or they got the pricing wrong, they’re too expensive to be accessible to the masses, and we know that this industry is really dominated by the smaller shops, the one person to five people teams.

Emery Wells: The creative industry is predominantly made up of these small teams and we control the mindshare of the industry, so it would be great if we made a product that was accessible to big Hollywood studios and to bigger companies, but it’s guys like you, Larry, that are influences on Twitter and the people that are out there doing the real nuts and bolts work every day, we’re the ones that spread the word throughout the community of, “Hey, this is a tool that we all want to get behind and we all want to use.” I think the industry really wanted to have an industry standard.

Emery Wells: We’d like to all say, “Ok, this is the tool we’re going to use for all this. We’re going to learn it and everyone’s going to be comfortable with it,” and I think that we’ve started to get a lot of support from the community saying, “ gets it and I think this is the one that we should support.”

Larry Jordan: I want to take this a step further, because first you came up with a great idea based on your experience and in 2014 you started the company; and then you suddenly realized that you’ve got a company that’s data intensive and bandwidth intensive, and that is not cheap and developing that stuff is not cheap. So what you’ve done recently is you just closed some venture funding, am I correct?

Emery Wells: Yes. Yes, we raised $2.2 million that was led by Excel Partners, who many are familiar with, being one of the early investors in Facebook and Slack and DropBox and tons of great companies. They really get our space.

Larry Jordan: First, congratulations, that’s a major accomplishment and it’s a lot of work, so major congratulations. But walk me through the process. How did you go about getting funding? How long did it take and what were the steps? For people who haven’t gone through that sometimes painful ordeal, what’s it like?

Emery Wells: I guess it was a bit of a mystery to me as well a couple of years ago. I’ve had two dreams in life. One is to be a filmmaker and the other is to have a tech start-up, so I’ve followed and studied the tech start-up world very closely and what the venture funding process is like, but it still was a bit of a mystery to me as to how you go from reading about how it gets done to actually getting it done.

Emery Wells: I think one of the things I’ve learned is that basically nobody is going to fund you until you deserve it. You have to do the leg work to put yourself in a position where you’re actually something that an investor wants. It really doesn’t work the other way around and I think that’s where most people think it’s really hard to raise money. I guess in a sense that’s true, but if you are something that investors want, if you’ve built an opportunity that investors want to invest in, it’s actually really easy.

Emery Wells: In our case, it was really hard until it was really easy. We had to work really hard to get our company to a place where it was something that investors were interested in. We closed our round a couple of months ago; we just announced it this week, but the round was actually closed a few months ago and this experience, when we met with investors, we were very fortunate in that we had our pick of who to work with and our round was oversubscribed, meaning we had more people wanting to give us money than we wanted to take, because we only wanted to give up so much of our company. So it was a very odd experience to have people that want to give you money that you have to turn down. It’s very strange, especially from really incredible people, people that you really respect.

Emery Wells: But that wasn’t our initial experience. A little over a year ago, we met with investors and the reaction was, “Wow, phenomenal product” – this was before we launched – “but we think you’re a little bit too early. Come back when you’ve proven more.” To me, at the time it was a little bit confusing because I don’t know if you follow the tech start-up world and you read ‘TechCrunch,’ but you read every day about some company that’s getting funded and so many of them, you think, “Well, how did they get funded?” It’s some silly idea to you and it just seems like anybody can get funded if they have an app idea. But that’s actually really not the case.

Emery Wells: It’s very, very rare that a pre-launch product will get funded if the founders don’t have a previous track record of building a successful start-up. When you hear, “Oh, this company that is in stealth mode that’s not going to launch for a year that has some product that sounds really not useful,” the reason they get funded is because their founders usually have a really solid track record. If you are an unknown person, then you have to build the value before any investor is going to invest, and in our case that’s what we had to do.

Larry Jordan: One of the things we’ve heard about venture funding is that you have to give up control of your company, especially initial funding. I don’t want to know percentages, that’s not what I’m asking, but are you still running the company or are they telling you what you have to do?

Emery Wells: Oh no, no, we still run the company 100 percent. Actually, none of our investors have any control whatsoever over anything. They have very little governance. At this stage, which is called the seed stage, there are a couple of different rounds of funding. You typically would have an angel round, which is the very first money into a company, maybe it’s $50,000, maybe it’s $100,000. In our case, we didn’t have to do that because I was able to fund it myself for a while and it was really incubated in my previous post production company. We were building it as an internal tool, so it was incubated in that company and we didn’t have to take outside angel investment.

Emery Wells: Then you get to the seed stage, which is the stage that we’re at, which is usually up to a couple of million bucks and you don’t really give up control at that point. Investors don’t want to get in your hair. We’re still a small company, we need to move quickly, we need to make decisions quickly and they don’t want to be making those decisions for you. They want to invest in people who are going to make the right decisions.

Emery Wells: Much later, when you take on maybe 10 million, 50 million, then you’re giving up Board seats so they have some say in the company. But at this stage, no, they don’t.

Larry Jordan: So what are you going to spend the money on?

Emery Wells: It’s really primarily going to go to people, to build our engineering team and our product team. We’re not very focused on sales right now, we’re really more focused on building the product, so it’s going to be hiring; and our infrastructure has gotten kind of expensive, so we’ll continue to be able to pay for our infrastructure. But most of it just goes to hiring.

Larry Jordan: As you look back on it, what did you learn during the funding process that you didn’t know? What’s been the most eye opening moment and what’s the key lesson that you learned?

Emery Wells: It’s a lot like dating. You go on a lot of dates and you’re like, “Well, I kind of like this person, we kind of like each other,” maybe there’s a little bit of mutual interest but then you meet somebody and it just clicks and it’s like, “Oh, you get it, it all makes sense now.” A lot of the initial investors that we met over a year ago, maybe they didn’t have a great deal of experience in our industry, so explaining the product to them was a little tricky and then maybe they didn’t get it.

Emery Wells: I think one of the things we learned is this is a partnership; they don’t have control but we are going to continue to be working with these people and as we continue to work together they would have more control, so you want to make sure you’re really choosing the right partner.

Emery Wells: I guess the thing that I learned most after pitching to all these different investors – and it was crazy, we were pitching to these billionaires and people that run these major tech companies and it was a really interesting experience – was how to pitch. The thing that I was not doing in the beginning was I wasn’t giving my pitch in the form of a story and it made it very difficult for people who maybe were not very familiar with our space or the problem to understand. So I would explain the problem but not explain it in a narrative story that made sense.

Emery Wells: We’re all filmmakers, so you would think that that’s maybe how I would have approached it from the beginning. When you’re pitching to an investor, they meet tons of people and they get pitched by tons of people and the first thing that they need to do, they need to place you in their brain – “Ok, who is this person and why are they the right person to be tackling this problem in this industry?” So telling my own story and what led me to build the product and then explaining the problems in the form of a story allowed me to communicate our pitch much more effectively.

Emery Wells: The other thing I learned about pitching is that you really are just trying to remove risk. Investors are always thinking about risk and so in the process of your pitch you need remove the technical risk – you have the technical team that can pull this off; you have to remove the market risk – is there a market large enough to sustain a company that can grow substantially?; you have to remove the business model risk – is there a business model around this that can make money? So really it’s all about removing risk and you have to hit those points through your pitch.

Larry Jordan: So you’ve got to tell it in a story and make it sound like the risk is limited.

Emery Wells: Yes, the risk is limited, but you want to hit those specific points.

Larry Jordan: Interesting. Emery, for people who want to learn more about your company or sign up for your services, where can they go on the web?

Emery Wells: They can go to

Larry Jordan: I was hoping you’d remember that. Thank you so much. Emery Wells is the CEO and co-founder of Emery, this has been a wonderful chat. Thank you for sharing your time.

Emery Wells: Sure, thanks a lot.

Larry Jordan: My pleasure. Look forward to talking to you soon. Take care.

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

Unknown male (archive): We launched September 13th and then immediately received a cease and desist from a local channel because we’re carrying what’s called OTA or over-the-air broadcast channels out of New York and Seattle; and then we replied back to them explaining that we’re not infringing a copyright – the cease and desist claimed copyright infringement, even though there’s the legal ability to retransmit.

Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.

Larry Jordan: You know, thinking about that IVI quote, I remember that conversation from five years ago, where they had emulated but not completely the idea of the original cable television, where they had shared antennae’s and ultimately IVI lost their court battle and went out of business. We’ve followed a number of technology companies that have not been successful, just as we follow a number of technology companies like that we hope will become successful.

Larry Jordan: Watching the industry grow and change over all these years has been a fascinating experience and we’re sharing some of that history with you every week as we look at The Buzz Flashback. It’s funny, we spend time during the week thinking about what we want to talk about and how we want to highlight it and I always enjoy seeing it every week on the show.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests for tonight. We started with Mathias Omotola. He’s the Manager of Events and Community Outreach at Maxon; Ned Soltz, the contributing editor for Digital Video magazine, and Emery Wells the co-founder and CEO of

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; and don’t forget – sign up for our free weekly show newsletter.

Larry Jordan: Visit with us on Twitter, @DPBuZZ, and Facebook at We love your conversations and truly enjoy hearing from you. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugie Turner, with additional music provided by 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 is led by Megan Paulos and includes Ed Golya, Hannah Dean, Lindsay Luebbert and Brianna Murphy. On behalf of Mike Horton, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for joining us for The Digital Production 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 provides highly competitive digital video archive solutions.

Digital Production Buzz – October 8, 2015

Join Larry Jordan as he talks with Mathias Omotola, Ned Soltz, and Emery Wells.

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Tech Talk
With co-host Michael Kammes

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Guests this Week

Mathias Omotola
Mathias Omotola, Manager of Events & Community Outreach, Maxon U.S.
Mathias Omotola oversees strategic consulting, business planning, user group outreach, event marketing and strategy development for Maxon Computing. He is known for his ability to bring communities together through “action.” In an age where social media and community drives success, we thought it would be interesting to hear what advice he has to help us build online communities for our projects.
Ned Soltz
Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor, Digital Video Magazine, Ned Soltz Inc.
Ned Soltz is an author, editor, educator, and consultant on all things related to digital video. He is also a contributing editor for “Digital Video Magazine,” a moderator on and Creative Cow forums, and a regular correspondent for us on The Buzz. Tonight he compares several of the leading color grading solutions.
Emery Wells
Emery Wells, CEO, Co-Founder,
In July of 2014, CEO and Co-Founder, Emery Wells, launched, a media collaboration platform that allows us to upload source media, work in progress, and assets into a private workspace where you can invite your team and clients to collaborate. This week he announced a successful round of financing yielding $2.2 million headed by Acel Partners. Tonight, Emery explains how he did it.

Transcript: Digital Production BuZZ – October 1, 2015

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Digital Production Buzz

October 1, 2015

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Larry Jordan
Mike Horton

Randi Altman, Industry Analyst and Editor, postPerspective
Jayse Hansen, Freelance Holograph, HUD and fictional UI Designer
Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney & Labor Reporter, TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter
Jessica Sitomer, President, The Greenlight Coach

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, Jayse Hansen designs computer interfaces for movies, for example the heads-up display in the Iron Man helmet or the control room monitors for ‘The Hunger Games.’ Tonight, Jayse shares his secrets to creating movie magic and we have illustrations of his work.

Larry Jordan: Next, Jonathan Handel, the entertainment labor report for The Hollywood Reporter has breaking news of an undisclosed provision in a recently ratified union agreement that looks likely to cost independent filmmakers money. This you need to pay attention to.

Larry Jordan: Next, are you doing something stupid when you’re looking for work? Jessica Sitomer, the President of The Greenlight Coach, has discovered that far too often people act like idiots in their cover letters and she has suggestions on how to improve how you present yourself to the world.

Larry Jordan: All this plus a Buzz Flashback, Tech Talk on color correction 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. 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. It’s good to have you with us, Michael. It is wonderful to finally see you sitting across the table. Where have you been for what seems like a lifetime?

Mike Horton: It’s good to be back in this chair. You know, we should get comfortable chairs. These are not the most comfortable chairs.

Larry Jordan: You have not been on many sets, have you?

Mike Horton: By the way, has anything else changed while I was gone? No, it looks the same. I like your shirt.

Larry Jordan: Thank you.

Mike Horton: Good to be back. I could just some comfortable chairs.

Larry Jordan: Have you ever sat on a comfortable chair on a set in your life?

Mike Horton: Actually, no.

Larry Jordan: I didn’t think so.

Mike Horton: Just, like, those director chairs. Whoever did those things? They’re ridiculous.

Larry Jordan: They never give you comfortable chairs.

Mike Horton: Well, they fold up.

Larry Jordan: With comfortable chairs, you sit so far back all we do is look at your knees and I’ve seen your knees and they’re not that good, so better to have you in a non-comfy chair.

Mike Horton: Anyway, it is good to be back.

Larry Jordan: How was Amsterdam?

Mike Horton: It was great. It was a really good show. Walter Murch, of course, was there.

Larry Jordan: He always does a good presentation.

Mike Horton: Yes, he was wonderful. He went on for about an hour on things I still don’t understand to this day. We actually recorded his talk and it should be up on the web probably within the next couple of weeks and it’s well worth listening to and watching and if you can understand it, then you’re a better man than I. So thank you Walter.

Larry Jordan: Just to listen to him talk and his examples, he’s done so much incredible work, so I’m glad you got him.

Mike Horton: Well, everybody pays attention, that’s for sure, even if they don’t understand.

Larry Jordan: Even if they don’t understand.

Mike Horton: Exactly.

Larry Jordan: And did you enjoy the city at all?

Mike Horton: I did, I did. I stayed there an extra day just because I came home too soon in the last couple of years and I actually went to Belgium, to Antwerp, and that was fun. It was kind of a rainy day but I got to see beautiful Antwerp, Belgium and went into a couple of diamond stores and went into chocolate stores. The chocolate stores look exactly like the diamond stores, you know that?

Larry Jordan: And they cost the same.

Mike Horton: Yes. No, really, all that stuff is under glass.

Larry Jordan: Oh, and you watch them mix the chocolate. It’s just amazing to watch.

Mike Horton: Oh, it’s amazing. It was fun.

Larry Jordan: By the way, if you haven’t had a chance yet, remember to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at for an inside look at both our show and the industry. It’s free and new every Friday. We have got an amazing discussion on holographic images coming up. Mike and I and Jayse Hansen, right after this.

Larry Jordan: This is Randi Altman’s Perspective.

Larry Jordan: Randi Altman is the publisher and the Editor in Chief of her own website, called She’s been covering our industry 20 years and it’s always fun to get her perspective on the news. Hello, Randi, welcome back.

Randi Altman: Hi Larry, it’s good to be back.

Larry Jordan: First, tell me about this panel you were on last night, then we’ll talk about the news.

Randi Altman: It was a panel in New York City sponsored by the VES New York and also HBO and the main guest was Victoria Alonzo from Marvel Studios. She had been their VFX and post chief and she has been promoted within the last couple of weeks to head of physical production. She was kind enough to fly across the country and spend the night with us, talking about how to break into visual effects and the beauty of mentoring and encouraging people.

Larry Jordan: What was the key takeaway for people who want to get into visual effects?

Randi Altman: To just keep trying. She was encouraging people to come up to her after the panel and put themselves out there and really the key was to love what you do. Visual effects is a hard business. It’s long hours, there’s a lot of traveling involved, you might have to move. If you don’t love what you do, you’re not going to succeed, so that was the key takeaway – just love what you do and want to do it.

Larry Jordan: The next big piece is that we’ve had some new cameras and new gear announced today. Let’s talk about the new cameras first. What’s the breaking news there?

Randi Altman: Over the last week, RED came out with their new Raven, which is lightweight and under 10k, so that was a big deal. GoPro came out with a new camera as well, which is wifi and Bluetooth enabled and mountable. The Raven isn’t available yet, they’re taking pre-orders, but it just shows you how many different options there are for people out there.

Larry Jordan: And how about Dell?

Randi Altman: Both Dell and HP came out within the week. Dell today announced new precision mobile in-tower workstations and they’re kind of good looking, durable workstations. The mobile ones have been redone inside and out and I think that our industry, which likes cool looking and very fast, sleek computers, are going to like these. HP came out with new entry level systems, so instead of those who might be inclined to build their own, it’s a very good stepping stone and you don’t have to start from the very beginning, you could start with this and then add what you like for what your needs are.

Larry Jordan: What other highlights have been percolating across your desk?

Randi Altman: Oh, you’re not going to like it.

Larry Jordan: Oh, ok.

Randi Altman: Virtual reality. The train keeps running along.

Larry Jordan: Virtual reality refuses to die?
Randi Altman: It does, it does, even though it’s at its beginning stages but… just announced that they got a lot of investments from some big players and studios, so that is going to turn into some creative content for the virtual reality world. But also even at IBC there were some rigs people were putting together, GoPro rigs at the Al-Jazeera booth, there was an eight camera rig for virtual reality and it’s not going to go away. Not yet.

Larry Jordan: Randi, I think virtual reality has a lot of promise, but I’m always skeptical of all this new technology. Any other thoughts before we leave today?

Randi Altman: Actually, at this moment in time, we have an interview with Ridley Scott, the director of ‘The Martian,’ up on the website; and writer Ian Blair – I spoke to him recently about working digitally, his love of pre-vis and his dislike of long post production schedules. It’s an interesting read and I encourage everybody to check out that website and that story.

Larry Jordan: Randi’s website is As always, Randi, a delight visiting and have yourself a great week.

Randi Altman: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: To read more from Randi Altman, visit

Larry Jordan: This week on The Buzz – Jayse Hansen, Jonathan Handel, Jessica Sitomer, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.

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Larry Jordan: What do you do when you’re making films about worlds that don’t exist with characters that are using technology that doesn’t exist as well? Well, you hire our next guest and ask him to create believable user interfaces like these from ‘Ender’s Game.’

Larry Jordan: That art was designed by holographic artist Jayse Hansen. Jayse specializes in creating advanced 3D fictional user interface graphic designs and animations for on-set playback and post production visual effects. Hello, Jayse, welcome.

Jayse Hansen: Hey. How are you guys going?

Larry Jordan: Well, we’re stunned. After watching that ‘Ender’s Game’ thing, Mike and I have just decided to pack it in and go home. That was just brilliant.

Jayse Hansen: Oh, thanks. I can’t take credit for all of it. It was a great team. There was a dream team of people on that one.

Larry Jordan: Well, take credit for all of it at least for the next ten minutes. How would you define holographic or HUD or user interface art?

Jayse Hansen: I would say it’s pretty much time an actor or character in a film is interacting with a computer of some kind, either has it on his head as a heads-up display, like ‘Iron Man’, or a holograph, like in ‘Big Hero 6,’ and they’re interacting with it. All that stuff needs to be designed, created and animated and staked ahead of time.

Larry Jordan: I want to stay with ‘Ender’s Game’ for a minute. Here’s a screenshot of the cafeteria scene. Notice the big scoreboard that’s on the back wall. Now, let’s dissolve to the same scoreboard. This time we see it not on set but inside After Effects. Jayse, do any of these designs exist during production or is everybody just acting with a green wall?

Jayse Hansen: It differs with each film. Sometimes the director really likes to have everything on set so that the actors have something to react to, but sometimes – in cases like this – it’s just so big and they want it to be a volumetric holographic look and so we’ve got to do it in post. It’s designed sometimes ahead of time and Ash Thorp and some of the guys came in on that one ahead of the film; and then in post, we go in and design the final storytelling version of it.

Larry Jordan: I noticed that the scoreboard was inside After Effects. Is After Effects your main creation tool?

Jayse Hansen: Yes, I pretty much stick to just Illustrator, After Effects and Cinema 4D. That gets me pretty much everywhere from concept all the way to final – sometimes we’ll deliver the final plates, sometimes even in stereo, right out of After Effects.

Larry Jordan: We’ve already established that you worked on ‘Ender’s Game.’ What are some of the other recent films you’ve worked on? This then gives me a lead-in to what I want to talk about next.

Jayse Hansen: One of the ones that was most fun recently is ‘Big Hero 6.’ Also the ‘Iron Man’ stuff and ‘Avengers.’ I spend a lot of time in the Marvel universe doing HUDs and holographic displays and also designing things like the grass screens on the heli-carrier in ‘Avengers.’

Larry Jordan: In a minute I want to show some specific examples from ‘Iron Man,’ but before I do, when you get a new project such as ‘Iron Man’ or the ‘Avengers,’ what instructions are you given and how do you plan your work?

Jayse Hansen: Sometimes it’s fairly detailed, sometimes it’s really rough. On ‘Avengers,’ we got kind of like an Excel spreadsheet of every shot – there were quite a few – and in each one it had one or two story points they wanted to get across that the HUD should be doing, but it’s all text. Sometimes the editors will send us a pre-vis version, no real design to it, but what’s happening and the pace of it and we’ll take that and it’s almost like starting with a blank slate. We have Robert Downey Jr against a blue screen and then we filled that in with the design.

Larry Jordan: Let’s get back to some specifics because, frankly, I love looking at your images. Let’s look at the heads-up display for the Iron Man helmet. What were your goals in creating this display?

Jayse Hansen: This is the mark 7, it’s one of the crazy advanced suits where he adds weaponry for the first time, where he goes all out in fighting the aliens at the end of ‘Avengers.’ The reason this one is mostly red is Joss Whedon, the director of that, and Yannick… the VFX… wanted it to be, “This is weapons mode,” and it starts out all blue and calm and then it transitions to this crazy armored version.

Larry Jordan: Here’s another example of your design work for ‘Iron Man.’ It’s more of a two dimensional display. What is it for and how did you create it? It’s got all the text callouts going around it.

Jayse Hansen: I do all these at Cantina Creative. That’s a company that’s known for all this kind of work, especially in Marvel films. This is how I present the work. This is actually in the HUD for ‘Iron Man 3’ the mark 42 suit, and this became the basis for the next hero suit in ‘Avengers II,’ mark 43. This is just explaining all the functions of this particular widget and the directors love this because they’re trying to tell such a fantastic, crazy story so anything that grounds it into some real functionality they really love.

Jayse Hansen: We’ve found that we can’t just put random graphics up, even if it’s up for two seconds. You feel it. You may not be able to pinpoint what was wrong with it, but you feel that it’s all fake. So we put quite a good deal of thought into thinking these out and how they work.

Larry Jordan: Thinking about all fake, I want to transition from live action to animation, because ‘Big Hero 6’ was another film that you worked on. What are the difference between designing HUDs for movies with live actors – think ‘Iron Man’ – versus cartoons, where the interface itself is a cartoon?

Jayse Hansen: Yes, that was a super fan transition. They came to me and said they usually don’t hire out, but they had all my work up on their inspiration board at Disney Animation and they thought, “Let’s just see if he’s available,” so I was of course very available for this one and they said, “We’d like to give you ideas for what this is and then set the design language and tone,” and we did a variety of things. We did stuff really as advanced as an Iron Man UI, as we were trying to figure it out, and then we did a more caricaturized version where it was the same language that I had established but Disneyfied and softened and I always thought of it as my UI… but on a Playschool toy or something. It’s got the softer edges and it’s bigger and cuter.

Larry Jordan: Did you have to change your design tools because it’s softer and not as sharp and in focus? I was really struck by the fact that you have to design this incredible interface and then you’ve got to make it cartoony.

Jayse Hansen: Yes, we’re always degrading the images to make them look as though they were photographed, and all of this final work here was done by the Disney animators and Bruce Wright specifically did a lot of work on the holographic stuff. What I would provide is all these concepts, mock-ups straight out of the typical tools – Cinema 4D and After Effects – and then they used their big proprietary software that they use for all their animation stuff and repurposed it and took it and recreated it inside of that. It worked out really well, it’s nice. It was a great project to work on.

Larry Jordan: Let’s go back to ‘Iron Man’ and take a look at this holographic design. For example, we’ve got this full body shot from ‘Iron Man.’ What tools are you using to create these holographic images?

Jayse Hansen: That’s pretty much all Cinema 4D and then I composite it all together in After Effects. I’ll typically render out maybe seven or eight different passes and then combine those in After Effects for the final comp.

Larry Jordan: We’ve got a live chat going and Don is asking whether you do any effects for TV’s CSI series.

Jayse Hansen: I don’t. I’ve never done any TV series, but I’ve always been interested. I love watching those and they get kind of crazy, but it always looks like it’d be fun to work on.

Larry Jordan: I want to switch from the craft, and we are just stunned with these images, they are…

Mike Horton: Oh, let’s stay with the craft.

Larry Jordan: But I want to get to the tools that you’re using. You’ve talked about After Effects and Cinema 4D. Do you sketch out ideas first or do you start to build models? Talk to me about your workflow.

Jayse Hansen: Yes, I always start on paper and I draw badly but that’s the thing I allow myself to draw really badly and just get ideas out of my head, and then it becomes really apparent once I’ve done that what I need to research and so I’ll back that up with research on real world interfaces, research on fake interfaces. I like to know everything that’s ever been done out there and I’ll also look at hardware and re-imagine that – if that was a holograph what would it look like? – and so I go straight to Illustrator from paper, and then straight from Illustrator to After Effects to break it up, and then back and forth between Cinema 4D.

Mike Horton: Where do your inspirations come from? Some of the stuff looks like Hadron Collider schematics or something, that you got a bunch of blueprints from stealth fighters in a military place and you put all these ideas together and come up with these wonderful HUDs.

Jayse Hansen: Yes, you’ve pinpointed it exactly. My bookshelf is full of manuals for how to fly the Space Shuttle, schematics, diagrams, anatomy books and a lot of data visualization design is a lot of my inspiration.

Larry Jordan: I just realized, you’re based in Las Vegas and most of the productions you’re working with are in New York or LA. How do you move files back and forth and how do you get notes? Walk me through the interface with the rest of the post team.

Jayse Hansen: That’s a good question. For instance, on ‘Ender’s Game,’ which was done with G Creative in Canada, we had people stretched out. I actually live in San Diego, I was here in Vegas, Navarro Parker was in LA and Paul Bodrie, who did a lot of work on ‘Hunger Games’ as well, was in Canada and we finally figured out that for image sequences we could just use .jpegs at first and get the main bulk of the work done with that before needing to start transferring .exr files all around.

Jayse Hansen: We used a version of Boxcryptor, which lives in your Dropbox. It works like Dropbox but it encrypts it before it uploads with a 256 bit encryption so that everything was really locked down and protected but we could just work inside each other’s folders as though we were all in the same room, so we did really well that way.

Mike Horton: Can you stay in Las Vegas or did you have to go up to Canada every once in a while?

Jayse Hansen: I’ve actually never been to Canada. I’ve done maybe four or five films with G Creative and I’ve never been there. I’ve got to get there.

Mike Horton: Do you know how many people want to stay in America and not have to go to Canada? Can you tell them how you’re doing this?

Jayse Hansen: I think it’s just building up trust, that took a while, and working harder than anybody else. I think I work harder because I work from home – I’ve got to prove myself more, I guess – but sometimes I go to LA to Cantina and … with those guys because they’re so awesome.

Larry Jordan: Jayse, a quick question. Say for Iron Man, how long does it take to put one of these designs together?

Jayse Hansen: I’ve got a lot faster now. At first it took forever, but when people approach me I’ll usually have an initial design in a few days. For instance, on ‘Avengers,’ I did the initial UI design for the heli-carrier in three days and I was expecting a lot of changes, but it ended up being kind of the final signature look, and for many films to come after that as well. Then something else like sometimes the HUDs, on ‘Avengers’ I was at Cantina for six or seven months just doing all the shots and the animation and the compositing. We went all the way to final delivery for that one.

Larry Jordan: That’s just amazing. I couldn’t do it if you gave me an entire lifetime to put it together.

Mike Horton: That’s why he does what he does and you do what you do.

Larry Jordan: Jayse, this stuff is amazing. For people who want to learn more about your work, where can they go on the web?

Jayse Hansen: They can go to my website –

Larry Jordan: And if you haven’t, do check out The artwork that he creates for movies is stunning. Jayse, thanks so much for joining us and thanks especially for sharing these images with us. The crew and I had the most fun afternoon just looking at all of these. We’re very grateful. Take care.

Jayse Hansen: Ah, that’s awesome to hear. Thank you so much for having me.

Mike Horton: Thanks Jayse.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Jayse Hansen: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: This week on The Buzz – Jonathan Handel, Jessica Sitomer, 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 and has a website at Hello, Jonathan, welcome back.

Jonathan Handel: Hey, Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, there are two things I want to talk with you about tonight and Mike is especially interested in the second one, which is the SAG-AFTRA convention that starts tonight. But first I want to talk to you about the breaking news that you ran in today’s Hollywood Reporter. What’s this secret deal you were talking about?

Jonathan Handel: Well, not so secret exactly, but the implications were less than obvious perhaps. IATSE did its new three year contract with the studios, they reached agreement and it became effective, I guess, August 1st. What’s in that agreement that’s interesting is a new residuals provision that increases residuals but only for independent producers, not for the studios. That’s intriguing because the people that negotiated that were the studios and IATSE. The independent producers weren’t represented at the table.

Larry Jordan: Is this residual increase like a tenth of a percent or is it enough that we should pay attention to it?

Jonathan Handel: It makes a difference. It’s more than a tenth of a percent. It’s a few percent, but what also is possible is that this will become a model for changes to the above the line union contracts when they start to renegotiate them at the end of next year, so that’s one of the things to keep an eye on. That would have a ripple effect and would increase the cost additionally.

Larry Jordan: I’m going to try to summarize this and then you can laugh at me for screwing this up, because the calculations are really complex. Basically, if you hire union help that work with IATSE, those union members are paid residuals based upon the revenue that you earn from the film.

Jonathan Handel: Well, actually the IATSE pension and health fund gets residuals but individual IATSE members don’t.

Larry Jordan: Ah, so it goes to pension and health and it’s calculated based upon different criteria. If it’s in theaters, they get one percent; if it’s on the internet, they get another percent; if it’s on television, they get a different percent. Is that so far true?

Jonathan Handel: Close. In theatres, normally it’s zero percent. For a theatrical movie, when it plays in theatres, there are no residuals on the box office or film rentals. But for the other media, that’s right – home video versus internet versus television, there are various percentages.

Larry Jordan: So because theatrical used to be zero percent, now calculated residuals are being calculated at four and a half percent based upon theatrical revenue, which suddenly changes the whole equation. Again, do I have that right?

Jonathan Handel: That’s right, and the way this works is that it only applies in situations where a producer sells the movie into a territory for what’s called a minimum guarantee, or MG, that covers multiple media. That’s the way independent producers sell their movies. In other words, they’ll get a license fee out of Spain, let’s say, or Germany, from a buyer there that covers multiple or all rights in that territory; whereas the studios, in the major territories they self distribute, so they deal with a network, they do a deal with exhibitors and the language is crafted in a way that it only applies to the business practices of independent producers.

Larry Jordan: Now, the language is tricky enough and I don’t have enough time, nor a chalkboard, to explain how it all works. But for an independent producer who’s selling their movie and working with union talent, they need to read this article. Where can they get the information so that they can get the details on how to calculate the new and already in effect residuals?

Jonathan Handel: Probably the easiest way is to go to and they will find this article at the top of the list today.

Larry Jordan: Ok, so that deals with working with IATSE union people on your crew, but there’s another union that’s having a big soiree in town and that’s SAG-AFTRA and this is where Mike gets to pay attention. What’s happening with SAG tonight?

Jonathan Handel: SAG-AFTRA is having its biannual convention and it starts tonight with a board meeting and a reception and so on and so forth, then the real business starts tomorrow and goes for three days. What they’re up to is electing certain officers. Now, they’ve just had an election, as I think we’ve probably talked about on the show, for president and secretary treasurer and various other positions, but certain positions, rather than being voted on by the members directly, are voted on by this convention process. They also have resolutions and seminars and all sorts of hoo-ha that you’d see at a… convention.

Larry Jordan: Is there a big issue? Is there an elephant in the room that people are trying to avoid talking about?

Jonathan Handel: I think the biggest thing is that really the second most powerful position in the union, which is executive vice president, is going to get elected in this process. Other than that, it’s a bit anti-climactic. This convention process is something that AFTRA had but SAG did not and as a condition of agreeing the merger, the AFTRA folks insisted that SAG-AFTRA adopt this convention process.

Jonathan Handel: It’s not the most significant thing and it’s somewhat expensive to run the convention, but what is significant, by the way, about SAG-AFTRA really is what’s going on in the next 12 months, which is that they’ve got three contracts that they’re dealing with. One is the interactive or video game contract, where there’s a potential for a strike. They’ve been trying to negotiate that and we have to wait and see what’s going to happen there. The second one, the really big one, is the commercials contract which comes up for renegotiation in early to middle of next year.

Jonathan Handel: Then finally, the TV theatrical. It feels like we just had a negotiation of that, but those only last three years. So starting at the end of next year, we’ll have the DGA, the Writers’ Guild and SAG-AFTRA all negotiating their TV theatrical contracts.

Mike Horton: I’ve been reading a little bit about the SAG convention. Obviously, I’m a member of SAG and have been for 112 years or something. One thing I’d like to impart to all the people who are listening out there who are new to SAG and AFTRA is to get your butt over to the convention, because it’s an interesting couple of days and you can learn a lot.

Jonathan Handel: Well, it’s actually not open to members. It’s only open to elected delegates.

Mike Horton: Oh. Maybe I’m thinking of something else then, I don’t know.

Jonathan Handel: It is curious that way and none of it’s open to the press, even the keynotes, so it’s a bit of a curious process.

Mike Horton: Ok, never mind.

Larry Jordan: But I think it does indicate that you really do need to get involved with your guild if you’re going to be a member, even if you’re not tuned into when their conventions are. That’s still good advice.

Mike Horton: I’m still a member but I haven’t been involved for 15 years now, but I still follow it. Obviously I’m not following this very well.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, where can people go on the web to keep track of what you’re writing and trying to keep up with, with everything that you’re doing?

Jonathan Handel: and also are the places to go.

Mike Horton: This new IATSE thing is really… I just read the article and it’s kind of scary for a lot of independent producers and directors.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, we’ll keep our eye on it and thank you so very much for joining us. We’ll talk to you soon. Take care.

Jonathan Handel: Thanks. Take care. Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Bye.

Larry Jordan: This week on The Buzz – Jessica Sitomer, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.

Larry Jordan: My focus for this class is not to teach you how to design with Photoshop – design is beyond my skills – but I can show you how we can take existing images and edit them. Taking digital photography and still images and manipulating them in Photoshop is what today’s session is all about.

Voiceover: Welcome to Tech Talk, sponsored by Keycode Media.

Larry Jordan: There are three key rules of color correction. Rule number one, light levels must never exceed 100 percent and black levels must not go below zero percent and we monitor these levels on the wave form and we clamp them as necessary with the broadcast safe filter – I’ll illustrate all of that today.

Larry Jordan: The second rule is to remove a color you add the opposite color. If you have too much blue, the opposite of blue is yellow. Now, the way that Final Cut X work is, rather than working on a wheel as every other video editor does, Final Cut X uses the color board. To add a color, you move a puck above the line. To remove a color, you drag a puck down a line. Again, I’ll show you how that works in today’s session.

Larry Jordan: Rule number three is that equal amounts of red, green and blue equal gray. Combining colors in video is additive, which means that they add together and when you add them all together they create white. Printing is a subtractive color process – when you add red, green and blue together in printing it equals black.

Larry Jordan: So here’s the secret. Although everybody nods their head and says, “Equal amounts of red, green and blue equal gray,” nod their head, yes, that makes perfect sense, that’s not really actionable. But when we turn this around, it becomes one of the most powerful rules in color correction inside any video editor, and that is if something is supposed to be gray it must contain equal amounts of red, green and blue.

Larry Jordan: Now, what scope do we have that allows us to see the amount of red, green and blue in an image? Right, the RGB parade and, in its own way, the vectorscope. If there’s a blue cast, we can use the vectorscope or the RGB parade to help us exactly precisely determine how to get rid of that blue cast, or orange cast. Any other aberration of color we can use the RGB parade and the vectorscope to fix.

Larry Jordan: If something is supposed to be gray, it must contain equal amounts of red, green and blue. If you look at a professionally designed set, on that set somewhere you’ll find something which is a neutral gray – a TV black and a TV white. It may be a coffee mug, it may be the frame of a picture, but a good art director will always put something on the set that’s neutral gray which enables the colorist or the editor to center on that gray and dial out any color aberrations that may be in the shot, with it still providing something which looks natural within the environment of the set.

Larry Jordan: It’s a very secret, sneaky, very powerful technique and we’ll be using that today as well. Here, oh dear, we’ve got plenty of skin but all of it is green. Hmm. Let’s first think about the idea that if something is supposed to be gray, equal amounts of red, green and blue. Well, do we see anything gray in the shot? And the answer is absolutely yes, her white TV shirt – remember white is gray – her black vest – remember black is gray – because white, black and gray are equal amounts of red, green and blue. So I’m going to select this clip and go to the crop menu and crop in so I see just her T-shirt.

Larry Jordan: Let’s go to 50 percent so I can see a little bit more here and we’ll just pull that over to here. There we go. This is supposed to be white and even to our eye here we can clearly see that it may be any color you want but white is not one of them. Command 7, let’s reveal the scope and we’ve got this strong green cast. Well, first thing that I want to do, then, is to grab the global puck and drag it until I remove the green cast.

Larry Jordan: Now, the way that color works inside the color board is you add color by going above the line and you remove color by going below the line. I will confess that I am not a fan of a rectangular color board at all. I find it very, very awkward to use, but once you understand the process, adding color above the line, removing color below the line, I grab the puck and I don’t look at the color board at all. I’m watching simply as I drag wildly around what’s happening inside the vectorscope and I finally get the vectorscope parked where I want it.

Larry Jordan: If I try to watch what I’m doing in the color board, chaos ensues, it just doesn’t work for me. But now notice that that T-shirt is now white. Let’s go back to the inspector, turn off the crop and look at that. This is where we started, this is where we ended up. Totally improved.

Larry Jordan: Jessica Sitomer is a job coach who helps people find work. She’s also the President of The Greenlight Coach but, best of all, she’s a regular on The Buzz because Jessica is really good at providing really helpful career advice. Hello, Jessica, welcome back.

Jessica Sitomer: Hello there, good to be back.

Mike Horton: It is, it’s been a long time hasn’t it?

Larry Jordan: Well, she’s been gone longer than you have, Mike, and you’ve been gone, like, forever.

Mike Horton: That’s true.

Larry Jordan: Unbelievable.

Mike Horton: Good to have you back, Jessica.

Larry Jordan: Which part of the world are you in today?

Jessica Sitomer: Thank you. Today I was in Miami. Two weeks ago I was in Austin, Texas, so I’ve been having fun.

Mike Horton: Isn’t there a hurricane coming down on Miami soon?

Larry Jordan: Not on Miami, but on the mid-Atlantic.

Mike Horton: Oh, over there, ok.

Jessica Sitomer: Yes.

Mike Horton: Well, stay safe.

Jessica Sitomer: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: Jessica, you spend much of your life counseling creative folks on how to get work, keep work and how to be better at work, but before work starts we need to get an interview, so what are you coaching people on currently?

Jessica Sitomer: Well, the big focus lately has been on cover letters because I placed an online ad looking for crew and I left the ad up for 36 hours, received 140 responses and they were terrible. They were making the same mistakes over and over again. I’m lucky I didn’t get any from people I coached because not one was great and very few were even good. Most were just two or three lines and it makes me wonder if people want jobs or if they just want to feel like they’re busy looking for work. I think that’s how other people feel too who get those types of cover letters.

Mike Horton: The cover letter in this particular case, is that just an email, “Hey, I’m available, call me”?

Jessica Sitomer: No, this is for people who are applying for a job online. They’re seeing jobs online or it could be a cover letter for a resume that they’re sending to someone they’ve been referred to because a production is coming to Atlanta and they want to get in touch with somebody. They don’t understand that a cover letter is a reflection of you and who you’re going to be on set or in post or in pre-production.

Larry Jordan: Let me pin you down on this. What makes a good cover letter, then?

Jessica Sitomer: Something I’d like to point out first, since it’s really what people get aware of, is what they’re doing wrong in the cover letter. I have five things that are the biggest mistakes I’ve seen. One of them is never, never, never put anything about being eager to learn in a cover letter – I’m always motivated to learn more, I’m still looking for a great script as a feature debut. People don’t want you learning on their dime, so it’s not a plus and I’ve seen a lot of that.

Larry Jordan: Jessica, I need to emphasize that. We were interviewing for somebody to join our team here and one of the people we talked to just said how excited she was to work with us because she could learn so much and this would be so beneficial to her, and I realized about halfway through that conversation that I wasn’t interested in teaching her and she managed to totally talk herself out of the interview because she thought she was being kind and flattering to say, “I could learn so much from you,” and I need to get work done. So I agree totally with that point of view.

Mike Horton: Never thought of that.

Larry Jordan: Ok, that’s number one. What’s another one?

Jessica Sitomer: I can’t even believe I have to spend time on this but, believe it or not, no profanities in your cover letter. There’s one guy and he’s like, “I’m so and so from New York, I’m a filmmaker who lives, breathes, eats and beeps cinema,” and you can imagine what the beep was. It’s just so unprofessional and he wasn’t the only one who used profanities and people say, “Oh, well, you say be yourself, to be your personality, this is who I would be.”

Jessica Sitomer: Well, if you’re meeting people, then you might want to wonder who you’re being, then, because like attracts like and most people out there who are spending millions of dollars on production are professional. They might curse once in a while or maybe a lot, but they’re the head and you’re not yet. So not in a cover letter.

Larry Jordan: Ok, stop swearing. What’s number three?

Jessica Sitomer: Number three is, oh my gosh, please, I’m desperately pleading with you, don’t put desperate pleas in your cover letters. Things like, all capital letters, “PLEASE, JUST CALL TO SET UP A MEETING,” or “PLEASE, JUST SEND YOUR MAILING ADDRESS SO I CAN SEND YOU SOME ADDITIONAL INFORMATION,” or “PLEASE JUST GIVE ME A CHANCE,” or “PLEASE JUST GIVE ME A BREAK.” Oh my gosh, please stop being so desperate.

Larry Jordan: Well, wait a minute. Now, I disagree with that. Shouldn’t you be polite in your letter and shouldn’t you be respectful and isn’t it appropriate to say please and thank you?

Jessica Sitomer: There’s a difference between saying please and thank you and putting pleas in all capital letters, and literally this sentence is all in capital letters, “PLEASE JUST CALL TO SET UP A MEETING AND PLEASE JUST SEND A FAX NUMBER AND/OR MAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN SEND YOU SOME ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND PLEASE JUST GIVE ME A CHANCE AND PLEASE JUST GIVE ME A BREAK.” That was one sentence, all in caps, in addition to a very long cover letter.

Larry Jordan: That strikes me as excessive.

Mike Horton: It’s desperate.

Jessica Sitomer: Yes, they’re desperate pleas. I’m not saying no please, P-L-E-A-S-E. I’m saying no pleas, P-L-E-A-S. No desperate pleas.

Larry Jordan: Oh, all right, so you dropped the last E. Stop pleading, in other words. Well, if we could hear how you spelled it, Jessica, it would make our life a lot easier.

Mike Horton: P-L-E-E-S-E.

Jessica Sitomer: Well, sorry.

Mike Horton: Pleeeeease.

Jessica Sitomer: No desperate pleas for work and attention.

Larry Jordan: All right, so let’s see if I’ve got this correct. No pleading, no profanity and I can’t even remember the first point. Jessica, quick, what was the summary?

Jessica Sitomer: It’s the one you agreed with, it’s never say you’re eager to learn.

Larry Jordan: Oh yes, absolutely. So now we’re up to four and I’ve already forgotten the first one.

Mike Horton: I bet you had that in about 70 percent of the cover letters, “I’m eager to learn,” because that’s flattering.

Jessica Sitomer: Not that many, but enough to bother me. A lot of people were very experienced, but those experienced ones made the fourth mistake and that’s having a cover letter filled with spelling and grammar mistakes. I love especially the one from the 1st AD that I got. It was all about the importance of detail and was nine lines containing five spelling errors. That’s not the way to get an interview about the importance of detail.

Jessica Sitomer: You have to understand, everything is read into either on a conscious level or unconscious. You’re telling me you have an eye for detail and there are five spelling errors in nine lines. That does not say you have an eye for detail and you’ve just lost a job.

Larry Jordan: Yes, I agree with that. When I teach my college kids, I remind them to please check their spelling before they turn in their assignments, and these are not slow kids, and it’s amazing how many spelling errors I have to deal with. If they’re not going to have the courtesy to check their work, why do I have to have the courtesy to even talk to them?

Jessica Sitomer: Right.

Mike Horton: Can you forgive a bad cover letter if their resume is outstanding?

Jessica Sitomer: Maybe. But how outstanding does it have to be, you know what I mean? Most of the people who are applying online are not so outstanding or they wouldn’t really need to be sending a cover letter out for work. When I think outstanding, I’m thinking the top five or ten percent of the industry. Everybody else is on an equal playing field.

Jessica Sitomer: There are a ton of talented people out there with long resumes and I’d be one saying, “Why are they not working?” and if I get a really bad cover letter, I’m like… personality or maybe they just don’t care any more. It would make me question the validity of a great resume if their cover letter was terrible.

Larry Jordan: If I’ve got 50 people applying for a job, I want to use the cover letter and the resume to say no so I can get my initial cut down to five or six people to interview.

Mike Horton: But why go through this process at all? Why not just go through word of mouth, say to somebody you respect, “Hey, do you know a person who could do this job?”?

Larry Jordan: The answer is most of the time we do, but when we can’t find somebody through word of mouth then we have to go to cover letters.

Mike Horton: Ok.

Jessica Sitomer: Yes.

Larry Jordan: We’re at four points, Jessica, and before we run completely out of time, what’s the fifth?

Jessica Sitomer: Don’t put your negative baggage in a cover letter. I had a guy say, “I’m not opposed to volunteering my time or my gear for the right project, but I’ve found that if a production can’t afford to pay for its crew, equipment, location etcetera, it usually can’t afford to fund the project so I definitely lean towards paid projects,” and the one that I put in was not paid because I intentionally wanted to weed out the people who wanted paid work.

Jessica Sitomer: But the way this guy was, I was like, “Excuse me?” because I’ve done some very quality work for low paid projects and there’s so much more to it – letting your bitterness and frustration toward other people, other circumstances, complaints about tax projects were in some of these cover letters. There are a lot of things that people fill out in cover letters that are showing their baggage, showing that bitterness and resentment and you’ve got to get that out of there. It doesn’t belong in a cover letter.

Larry Jordan: Jessica, we’ve got live chats going and one of the questions refers back to the conversation we just had a minute ago. They’re wondering whether you’re saying that if you have to look for a job, you’re not good enough to have a job?

Jessica Sitomer: Oh gosh, no. No, no, no. What I’m saying is when you’re asking me if a resume would be so good that I overlook a cover letter, I’m saying the opposite – who in the world would I think was too good to have a bad cover letter, and no-one. There’s that top five or ten percent who don’t need to look for work, people are going to them, but everybody else is on an equal playing ground. Everybody else is looking for work, everyone’s got resumes and cover letters. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had ten shows, ten days of work or ten years of work, you’re all on equal playing ground.

Larry Jordan: Let’s take and flip this. You’ve already told us the five things that we don’t want to do. What should we do to make a cover letter stand out?

Jessica Sitomer: I have a wonderful program that goes into that, but I would say the number one thing you want to do is read the ad very clearly and address what’s in that. If they’re asking you for specific things and in specific ways, such as attach your resume as a .pdf, then attach your resume as a .pdf. I asked for a cover letter along with the resume and a bunch of people didn’t attach a cover letter. They were instantly out.

Jessica Sitomer: If you can’t follow the directions that are given to you in the ad, then you’re out. Like you said before, it makes it easier to weed people out and my goal of how to write a great cover letter, that program, is to help make it really hard on all the producers and people out there who are hiring. I want them to have to say, “Oh, I want to meet this person. Oh, I want to see this person.”

Mike Horton: Yes, that drives me nuts.

Jessica Sitomer: Everyone’s…in the door.

Mike Horton: People don’t follow instructions. Drives me nuts.

Larry Jordan: Another thing that drives people’s nuts is Jessica’s newest book. Jessica, tell me about the name of your book and why you decided to write it. Michael, see if you think of somebody this applies to.

Jessica Sitomer: ‘From Burnout to Blitz,’ and it’s 12 productivity keys to transform stress to success. I write it because I lived through it and I took four years to get out of it and I want to help people get out of it in 12 weeks.

Mike Horton: Well, then I’ve got to get that book because I’m going through burnout. I am, seriously. Larry and I have had this discussion before, lots of times over the last five years. Once a week.

Larry Jordan: Most people think of this as a show, but it’s actually a therapy session, as Mike and I talk before hand.

Mike Horton: I just show up to talk to Larry.

Jessica Sitomer: Well, I’m surprised I’m not… then.

Larry Jordan: Jessica, for people who want more information, you’ve got a ton of resources on your website. What’s the URL and what can people look to see when they come visit?

Jessica Sitomer: You can go to and if you click on The Greenlight Coach, you’ll find everything you want on entertainment; and if you click on Burnout to Blitz, you’ll figure out how to go from stress to success.

Larry Jordan: And what’s your upcoming seminar? What’s the name of the next one you’re doing?

Jessica Sitomer: The next live one that I’m doing?

Larry Jordan: Do you have a seminar title that we should look forward to seeing more about?

Jessica Sitomer: I’ll be doing a webinar on ‘From Burnout to Blitz.’

Mike Horton: Great.

Larry Jordan: Sounds perfect. Jessica Sitomer is the President of The Greenlight Coach…

Mike Horton: I look forward to that one.

Larry Jordan: …spends way too much time working too hard. Jessica, thanks for joining us today.

Jessica Sitomer: Thank you for having me.

Mike Horton: Thanks.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

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

Bruce Dorn (archive): The SLRs use a great big giant sensor and the larger the sensor, the smaller the depth of field at any given F-stop. The SLRs are capable of delivering imagery that looks like it came out of an Aeroflex or a Panavision rather than a camcorder. In a very cost effective body, we’re able to get an incredibly beautiful look.

Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.

Larry Jordan: You know, Michael, I was just reflecting back on our conversation with Jayse Hansen and those spectacular user interfaces and how they so contribute to the reality of the movie because you feel that it actually exists.

Mike Horton: Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to do that sort of thing?

Larry Jordan: Oh yes.

Mike Horton: Especially from your home and not having to go to Vancouver or Toronto like everybody else has to do. At the beginning, Randi was talking about you have to love what you do and you have to want to travel if you’re a VFX artist. They don’t want to travel, they want to do it in the city that they live in and Jayse has proven that you can do that with that talent, so hopefully more can and don’t have to go to Vancouver and Toronto and Singapore and London. They can stay here.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests for today, starting with Jayse Hansen, creating advanced 3D fictional user interface graphic designs; Jonathan Handel, the entertainment labor reporter for The Hollywood Reporter; and Jessica Sitomer, the President of The Greenlight Coach and a wonderful job coach in her own right.

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.

Larry Jordan: Talk with us on Twitter, @DPBuZZ, and Facebook at Our theme music is composed by Nathan Doogie Turner, with additional music provided by 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 is led by Megan Paulos and includes Ed Golya, Hannah Dean, Keegan Guy, James Miller himself and Brianna Murphy. Oh behalf of Mike Horton, the handsome voice at the other side of the table, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for joining us for The Digital Production Buzz.

Mike Horton: Bye everybody.

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