Digital Production Buzz
November 5, 2015
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
(Click here to listen to this show.)
Tech Talk with Michael Kammes
BuZZ Flashback: Patrick Inhofer
Evan Williams, CEO & Co-Founder, Riverview Systems Group
Ryan Neil Postas, Film Maker, Elevated Minds Entertainment
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, Evan Williams is the CEO and Co-founder of Riverview Systems Group, a 28 year old Silicon Valley based corporate event production company. Evan has designed more than 600 theatrical and industrial productions, including the Google/iO developers’ conference. Tonight, he shares his secrets on integrating the latest production technology with a live event.
Larry Jordan: Next, Los Angeles based filmmaker Ryan Postas works as a cinematographer, an editor, a producer and a director, frequently with music videos and always with great gear. Tonight, he gives us an in depth look from a cinematographer’s point of view at the new Canon EOS 5DS camera.
Larry Jordan: All this plus a Tech Talk from Michael Kammes and a Buzz Flashback. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer #1: Tonight’s Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at macsales.com; and by Blackmagic Design at blackmagicdesign.com.
Announcer #2: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking… Authoritative…one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals… Current…uniting industry experts… Production…filmmakers… Post production…and content creators around the planet. Distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now. 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 has the night off, but our co-host, the ever handsome Mike Horton, is with us. Hello, Mike.
Mike Horton: Hello, Larry. Nothing’s working.
Larry Jordan: Yes it is.
Mike Horton: No it isn’t. My computer’s not working. Now it’s working, ok. You know what? I’ve been fooling with this computer for the last 30 minutes trying to get the email thing working. I upgraded to El Capitan and I shouldn’t have. Seriously, I shouldn’t have done it, but I did. I just wanted to be able to talk about it.
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, Apple has just released in the last day or so the latest update to El Capitan and, within a day of that, released the latest beta version of the next release of El Capitan.
Mike Horton: Seriously?
Larry Jordan: Seriously. So my question is do you think technology is changing so quickly that many media folks are hesitating to buy new gear, simply because whatever they buy is going to be obsolete?
Mike Horton: Isn’t that Apple’s way, planned obsolescence?
Larry Jordan: Well, it’s not just Apple, it’s any tech company.
Mike Horton: That’s true.
Larry Jordan: But I was just reflecting on the number of emails that I’m getting. People are trying to figure out what to do and whatever they do they feel like they’re getting yesterday’s product when they buy it.
Mike Horton: Here’s a good answer for you. My wife uses an iMac and it is a 2006.
Larry Jordan: So the egg shape?
Mike Horton: No, it’s a flat panel.
Larry Jordan: I wasn’t sure how old we were talking.
Mike Horton: It looks like an iMac and she’s running El Capitan on it and it runs fine for what she does. She does a lot of text work and a little bit of graphics and it runs fine. It runs at four gigabytes of RAM, doesn’t really need any more than that. It should probably last a couple more years. That’s, what, 12 years for a computer?
Larry Jordan: That’s not bad, yes. And then there’s you and me, who…
Mike Horton: Then this is a 2012 and it’s driving me frigging crazy. I swear to God, I’m going to switch to PCs. But then you read about PCs, they’re in the hospital more than the Macs are, so I don’t know.
Larry Jordan: So what you do want to know is to find out what the latest is that’s happening in our industry.
Mike Horton: Yes, talk to Larry.
Larry Jordan: Just sign up for our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Get tons of quick links to all the different segments of the show, plus information on the industry. The newsletter is free and we release a new issue every Friday.
Mike Horton: And don’t upgrade to El Capitan.
Larry Jordan: Mike and I will be back with Evan Williams right after this.
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Larry Jordan: Evan Williams is the CEO and Co-founder of Riverview Systems Group Inc, the 28 year old Silicon Valley based corporate event production company. Evan holds a Masters degree in lighting design and theater technology. In addition, he’s a member of IATSE and has held faculty and staff positions at Indiana University and San Jose State University. He has designed over 600 theatrical and industrial productions, though none of them Supermeets, and for the past seven years served as the Technical Producer for the Google/iO developers’ conference. Hello, Evan, welcome.
Evan Williams: Thank you very much.
Larry Jordan: Just reading your resume, Evan, makes me feel tired. What first got you hooked into production?
Evan Williams: I’m going to have to blame my family for that. My mom was a… for Honolulu Opera and in addition to working for NSA my father was a director and an actor in TV and theater when I was growing up, so I kind of got sucked in early.
Larry Jordan: Yes, you didn’t stand a chance, did you?
Evan Williams: No, certainly not.
Larry Jordan: I was looking at your website and your bio and realized that you both teach production and produce events. Which do you enjoy doing the most?
Evan Williams: I think I teach my 50 some people and they teach me every day. I haven’t done any formal classroom teaching in a number of years because I frankly just haven’t had the time, but live events have been part of my blood since I was in my single digits, so I would have to say live events.
Larry Jordan: The website for your company is riverview.com and if you get a chance to visit, you’re going to discover some amazing events, one of which is the Google/iO developer conference and I want to spend a little bit of time talking about that because I was watching the open to the 2015 Google/iO developer conference and it featured what looked like about a 200 to 270 degree surround video screen with three dimensional video animation on the screen, and I suddenly realized that this was far more than just a couple of guys on stage talking. It had morphed into spectacle and visual effects. Is that the driving force in production today?
Evan Williams: I would have to say for the most part it really is and we’re challenged with doing it for 4,000 people in a room and creating an atmosphere that we can translate to the web as well. You had 3500 people in the room there, but you have hundreds of thousands of people watching it and you need to be able to, via multi camera set ups and so on, take that to people who are watching on their laptops, on their tablets, on their phones. Whether it’s 150 people or 3500 people, it’s not just what’s in the room so you need to try to translate the spectacle and I appreciate your comment, because it looks like we made that work.
Mike Horton: Yes.
Larry Jordan: Yes, I’m still recovering from the shock of looking at that animation, which I’m going to talk about more in a minute. But I was just thinking, you’ve got a live audience, you’re doing live theater, but you also have a worldwide audience tuning in on the web, so you’re doing live television and there are always tradeoffs. Talent blocking alone is totally different from theater and television, so which group wins?
Evan Williams: Well, everybody has to win. At least, that’s what the end user experience wants to be, that’s what we are challenged with. Every year at IL and, of course, you do something like what you just saw and then we’re waiting to find out what next year might bring. What you don’t see when you’re watching the spectacle is that we almost literally have a cable TV station backstage there because there are always four wide streams leaving the building, so besides that keynote there are up to 12 rooms running at any one time after the keynote that are randomly streamed, depending on the programming, and there are additional commercials.
Evan Williams: When you’re attending iO remotely, you have a feeling like you’re there, and from what we’ve developed over the last couple of years, we’ve been able to do that pretty successfully from the feedback that we’ve had from the client and the feedback that we’ve received from unsolicited people who have told us what a fantastic job it was, they weren’t able to attend and so on.
Mike Horton: How does this work? Do you get something from the client saying, “This is what we want, make it happen”?
Evan Williams: A lot of times that’s true. We do a lot of work for producing organizations as well as doing the soup to nuts production on our own. In this particular case – and we’ve done this since the inception of the developers’ conference with Google – we work with a company called Group X that’s also based in California. I work with them really closely for six to eight months before the event to put a fine point on what it is that the client’s focus is, and sometimes that’s a moving target.
Evan Williams: Google iO is typically a program where there are new products or software updates expected, but nobody often knows what exactly those are going to be until late in the game, so we support a vision and that’s what we’re here for, to take somebody’s vision and realize it.
Mike Horton: So this is very collaborative, it isn’t just necessarily doing what they want and that’s it.
Evan Williams: No, it’s very collaborative and you never know when someone’s going to call from within that alphabet organization and say, “I’ve never talked to you before but I was referred to you and we’re with this advanced technology group and you’ve probably never seen this before and we wonder if this is possible,” whatever that may happen to be. That’s what we thrive on.
Mike Horton: And you always say, “Yes, yes it is possible.”
Evan Williams: Well, sometimes we aren’t sure.
Mike Horton: But you always say yes.
Evan Williams: Well, sure, but you’re also working with people who are the smartest people in their business. In this particular instance, it’s film and digital video and they’re saying, “We’ve just developed this and we’re about to launch it and no-one’s ever seen it before but we want a live audience to experience three times 4K, complete 360 surround of a Justin Lin trailer. How are we going to do that? Can we do that?” Well, it ended up being 32 projectors and… double wide 4K codecs that we hadn’t used before and ultimately it was a huge success, but that’s how we learn and how we push the envelope.
Larry Jordan: One of the challenges you’ve got is to create enough of a spectacle that people want to be wowed, at least at the very beginning, but you’re working with talent who aren’t performers, who are at best geeks. How do you get that whole wow factor when you’ve got limited talent in your talent?
Evan Williams: Some of the time we’re very fortunate to have people who can command an audience and a lot of times, as you say, they’re engineers. We do a lot of rehearsing, whether it’s this particular program or not, we have quite a large facility and we’ve hosted week long rehearsal sessions with mock-ups of something like you saw when you were reviewing that keynote, so that pre-programming can be done, people can run through scripts, make changes, rehearse the demonstrations, which is a big part of an event like that, to try to take any of the guesswork out of it.
Evan Williams: We’re limited with the amount of time – streaming time is expensive, especially 1080p, and so you don’t want to run half an hour over and you have a schedule to hang onto, so we do our best to coach as much as possible.
Larry Jordan: Has technology changed the stage demos, the stage presentation more? Or has technology change the back end, which is the live streaming?
Evan Williams: I think that the ubiquity of handheld devices, whether they’re tablets or phones, is it’s a chicken and egg thing. We wouldn’t have the devices that we have if we didn’t have the efficiency of the streaming and one thing leads to another, I guess, if you will. One of the most challenging components of that conference is dealing with demo devices. We have been fortunate to have had reviews in the past where whatever tech website was attending… never in the history of that developers’ conference done anything but live demos, which is very dangerous with new software.
Evan Williams: But we have as many as 50 live devices in that two hour session, because you have to account for backups, you have to account for different ways of projecting an image if for some reason, for example, one of the devices locks up, and that’s probably one of the biggest technological challenges. The streaming part’s easy.
Larry Jordan: I want to get back to the images that you were projecting at the beginning. Those are 3D images across a vast, wide, non-HD standard video. What software are you using to create those?
Evan Williams: Those individual sequences were created by a number of different people. Typically on the front end, once a space is identified, we will create a pixel map of how many pixels wide by how many pixels tall, that whole thing, and provide typically an After Effects template for the people to create in. In this particular case, it was created at a lower resolution and scaled up for the project and then that’s chopped up into pieces by the playback system to feed 38 or 40 individual stacks of projectors that the system blends together to create that one image.
Larry Jordan: Wow. So your principal development tool or your animation tool is After Effects, or do you use other software?
Evan Williams: We use Cinema 4D, which quite a few people use in… industries, which we like a lot and it’s something we’ve used for a long time. I can’t speak to what a lot of content developers use. Ultimately, their spit out to us is native files or a set of native files that are simply QuickTime ProRes 422 LT files. In the case of that three 4K stream thing, that was four files that were north, south, east, west, each of which were over 10,000 pixels wide and 1080 tall.
Evan Williams: We worked with a company in Northern California that developed the hardware and the software to actually ingest that file as one and spit out separate chunks, all in sync, and then we used four of those synchromesh boxes to feed the projectors in the project I was suggesting. So it’s all about test files and making sure that you can push that many pixels without the hardware and software choking.
Larry Jordan: It’s just a toy store. I’m just listening to all the gear that’s necessary to pull this off. It’s just a toy store.
Mike Horton: What’s the redundancy on something like that, when you have 40 projectors? Normally, if you have one projector you have another one standing by in case one doesn’t work. If you have 40 projectors, do you have five standing by in case one of them doesn’t work?
Evan Williams: Well, as… likes to say – I won’t take credit for this – it’s my general manager who is known to say one is none. If you have a 40 projector blend, or in the case of the surround I was talking about, that was 32, you have what we call a double stack. So you have a redundant backup running all the time.
Larry Jordan: Wow.
Mike Horton: Holy crap.
Larry Jordan: Wow. Wow.
Mike Horton: The budgets must be…
Evan Williams: Technology is such that we have way, way, way less lamp failure and projector confusion than we used to have. In fact, I can’t remember the last time we had a projector go down during a show. But it can happen.
Mike Horton: I’ve produced a lot of shows in the last 15 years and we don’t have the budget for redundancy, so we rely on that one projector and we’ve never had it fail, thank God.
Larry Jordan: Evan’s website is riverview.com. Evan Williams is the CEO and Co-founder of the Riverview Systems Group. Evan, this has been a delightful conversation and we want to look at your toy store some time when it’s all parked in the garage.
Mike Horton: Oh boy, yes, I’d love to see it.
Larry Jordan: Thanks for joining us today.
Evan Williams: Come on and visit. Thank you very much for having me.
Larry Jordan: We’ll be there. Take care. Bye bye.
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Larry Jordan: Los Angeles based filmmaker Ryan Postas considers himself a jack of all trades, as he’s a cinematographer, editor, producer and director. Hello, Ryan, welcome back.
Ryan Neil Postas: Hey. Thank you for having me again.
Mike Horton: Hi Ryan.
Larry Jordan: You know, the last time we spoke was in January of this year and you were up to your eyebrows doing music videos. What have you been working on since?
Ryan Neil Postas: A big change. I was actually in Switzerland.
Mike Horton: Oh, nice.
Ryan Neil Postas: Yes, it was a really intense experience out there, working on a sizzle, basically a proof of concept pitch.
Larry Jordan: That’s very cool.
Mike Horton: A proof of concept pitch that you had to go to Switzerland for?
Ryan Neil Postas: Correct.
Larry Jordan: Give us more than just a one word answer. Give us a clue as to what’s going on. What are you proof of concepting? Is it a video or what?
Ryan Neil Postas: It would be a full series for Red Bull Media House and we were out there spending time with basically the most elite helicopter rescue team in the world at… Zermatt in the south of Switzerland.
Mike Horton: Ah, where the Matterhorn is, yes.
Ryan Neil Postas: Correct, yes, and we were right in the middle of it. We were jumping in helicopters, we were getting dropped off on mountain sides, we were right there in the heart of what was going on and these guys were just amazing with allowing us to tag along with our gear and everything. They had GoPros all over them.
Larry Jordan: Boy, that’s hard duty. I feel really sad that you had to do that. That must have been just really painful.
Mike Horton: Well, as long as the rescues were successful and nobody got hurt.
Ryan Neil Postas: They got hurt but these guys got there in time to save them and make sure that they got the help they needed.
Mike Horton: Then I would watch that show as long as nobody died and nobody got hurt, and lots of drama.
Ryan Neil Postas: Yes, it was intense. It was an incredible experience.
Larry Jordan: By the way, if you haven’t gone to Ryan’s website, be sure to visit. It’s ryanpostas.com. He’s got a whole collection of stuff, from short films to music videos and commercials. Ryan, I was watching the Chris Brown music video on your website, along with some of your short films and commercials, and each one of these is highly stylized, which is your trademark. When you’re planning a project, do you start thinking about how you want it to look at the very beginning, or does that evolve as you start to put the script together?
Ryan Neil Postas: Usually for narrative work, you start to think ahead with what you want to do in terms of the visuals and the style. That way, you can do a better job of planning going into it, but I actually have a great deal of experience at improvising and going with the flow, just adapting the light that I have or accentuating natural light with a couple of practical’s or maybe just a couple of LEDs or something, so it definitely goes both ways. I’m comfortable either way as well.
Larry Jordan: If you can think back to the Chris Brown music video, what was the thinking going on to the look? How did you come up with that?
Ryan Neil Postas: If you’re referring to one of the most recent ones, I was doing the second unit work and there’s a guy that I work with a lot, his name’s Jo Labisi, he’s probably one of the top cinematographers in the music video business and I actually owe him a great deal of gratitude for the opportunities he’s given me. He trusted me to basically go off with his vision. He had already established a style for what they were doing and it was my responsibility to match that the best that I could for all the second unit work.
Mike Horton: Given that, was there a budget there or did you still have to use just a couple of practicals where, if there was a budget, you could have used a lot of practicals?
Ryan Neil Postas: In this case, these guys were good budgets and anything that I needed they put aside for me from the Genie truck. Those guys were just as big a help as they could be and we were able to run around with one of the producers and the camera and we just got what we needed.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of the camera gets me to the key question I wanted to figure out the answer to. You’ve been playing a lot with the Canon EOS 5DS camera. Tell me what it’s like and, from a filmmaker’s point of view, tell me about the camera.
Ryan Neil Postas: I’m a member of Canon Professional Services and the 5DS R is one of their newest cameras that’s out. I’ve actually been shooting a lot of my still photography with the 5D Mark III, which I love, but I’ve actually been thinking about jumping up to a medium format camera and so the 5 DS R has a 51 megapixel sensor, so the resolution on this camera’s just incredible. I actually had to send it back to Canon today, unfortunately.
Mike Horton: Can you say that again? Was that 50, five 0?
Ryan Neil Postas: Yes.
Mike Horton: Wow! Holy criminy.
Larry Jordan: What are you doing with all those pixels?
Mike Horton: Yes, what do you do with all those pixels? Turn a few of them loose.
Ryan Neil Postas: Making some insanely sharp images.
Larry Jordan: Have you been using the camera just for stills or for video as well?
Ryan Neil Postas: Just for stills, actually. I do quite a bit of photography, that’s how I got my start as a cinematographer, and the photography side of my work has actually picked up a great deal. I think the last time we spoke, I was probably mainly just using Canons and other cameras just for video, but the stills side of my portfolio has really expanded and I’ve been getting a lot of work that way, so that’s why I’ve been thinking of which camera to upgrade to.
Ryan Neil Postas: Digital cinema cameras are really expensive and they change so fast that for me it’s not worth it to invest that much money into something that’s going to change so quickly. But on the stills end, you can get something that’s going to last you five years if it’s a 51 megapixel camera or shoots RAW, those types of things. Canon sent me the camera and I had it for a little bit and the images that are coming out of this camera are just insane. They just pop right out of the camera. You can tell the difference.
Mike Horton: Does this shoot 4K?
Ryan Neil Postas: It does not. The video is high def but it’s higher quality than the 5D Mark III.
Mike Horton: And it’s a full frame sensor, right?
Ryan Neil Postas: Correct, full frame, yes. The downside is you have to trade off. If you want the high resolution, the high megapixel count, you lose low light sensitivity, but this camera actually only goes up to 6400 ISO. That’s where it tops out, so the Mark III has it beat there kind of by a landslide. But side by side, you can tell, the images from the 5DS R just pop and the Mark III starts to look a little soft and murky and the color science isn’t as good and the contrast isn’t there.
Mike Horton: Is it the Sony that shoots bats in a dark cave?
Ryan Neil Postas: I get a lot of guys that ask me about the Sony on Instagram – I have a big Instagram following –and this is one camera that I haven’t really had a chance to play around with a lot and I actually just had somebody volunteer to give me theirs for a little while to play with it, so that might be something I look into next.
Mike Horton: That’s, what, the FS7? Is that what it is?
Ryan Neil Postas: The one that these guys were talking about is the Sony A7R2.
Mike Horton: Yes, that one, A7. It’s got a 7 in it.
Ryan Neil Postas: Yes, exactly. Yes, you were close. So that might be something I might have in my hands pretty soon as well to check out.
Larry Jordan: Do you have an issue focusing the camera when you’ve got that kind of resolution? You’ve got to be tack sharp or the whole thing looks like it’s just gone way soft.
Ryan Neil Postas: Right, absolutely. You can have a guy’s nose, sharp in his eyes or soft if you’re not just nailing it, so I’m very picky with my focus. Sometimes I even jump into manual focus if it’s just not feeling organic enough for me, but the auto focus on these things is just insane. It’s so fast. I’m used to jumping around my focus point, I do it manually and I just use one of the 61 squares that they give you and pop it in and try to nail it.
Larry Jordan: But you’re looking at a very small viewfinder that can’t begin to show you the full resolution of the image. How are you determining whether the shots are working or not? Are you looking at an external monitor?
Ryan Neil Postas: No. In terms of the stills, it’s just the framing and composition as I see right through the viewfinder. These viewfinders are really sharp, you can definitely get a gauge, but first and foremost to me is the framing, my composition and then hoping I catch focus in the right place.
Mike Horton: Hopefully?
Larry Jordan: Hoping, I heard that word. What’s the cost of the camera?
Ryan Neil Postas: I believe that it’s around 3600 now.
Mike Horton: Yes, 3600 for the body only.
Ryan Neil Postas: Yes. I saw a couple of price drops and the Mark III is already down to 1800 in some places for the body only, which is pretty crazy.
Mike Horton: But it also looks like it weighs a ton.
Ryan Neil Postas: I didn’t notice any weight difference. I do add a battery grip to both cameras when I use them and they felt about the same. The 5DS R feels really great in my hands. I think it’s a… as opposed to magnesium, which is what the Mark III is, but they did a great job with all the new menus – I think they’re really clean and easy to see. I actually wish they would do a firmware upgrade for the Mark III and get… menus. I think they look great.
Larry Jordan: Just to confirm, Ryan, this is the Canon 5DS R.
Ryan Neil Postas: Correct.
Larry Jordan: Ok, and for people who want to see what your work looks like, what website can they go to?
Ryan Neil Postas: Ryanpostas.com has all of my work and then Instagram, @RyanPostas also has a lot of my recent stills.
Larry Jordan: And Ryan Postas himself is the voice you’ve been listening to. Ryan, thanks for joining us today. It’s always a pleasure talking with you. We look forward to having you come back again.
Mike Horton: Yes, good luck.
Ryan Neil Postas: Thanks so much.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Ryan Neil Postas: Bye.
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Larry Jordan: Welcome to Tech Talk, sponsored by Keycode Media.
Michael Kammes: Dealing with camera codecs is routinely problematic. Whether it’s your computer stuttering on playback or your editing software not understanding the clips, headaches can and certainly will ensue. Over the past few years, several companies have come out with devices meant to bridge the gap between production and post. One of my favorite devices is a Cinedeck line of digital video recorders, and encoding is only one of the cool features of their devices.
Michael Kammes: At its heart, every Cinedeck records Baseband Video, like SDI, into a digital file. I know that’s not entirely unique, but what is unique is that Cinedeck can also create a proxy of this high res media, giving you instant media access for an offline/online workflow. Also unique is the ability to do this with multiple concurrent streams deposited on your SAN and in some scenarios allow you to edit while the file is still being recorded.
Michael Kammes: But I’m really getting ahead of myself here. Let’s start with the recording options of the Cinedeck units. Your major codecs are supported during recording, including ProRes, DNxHD, MXF wrapped files, DPX, CineForm, uncompressed and even several others. H.264 and even older Avid SD offline codecs are also supported for offline versions among, again, several others.
Michael Kammes: As far as quality, internally Cinedeck units utilize Bluefish Supernova cards, so you’re getting very high quality IO from the get-go. The processing and encoding also includes either 422 or 444 color sub-sampling, dependant on the codec’s ability, as well as eight and ten bit color depths and the ability to selectively bake in LUTs to your files. Oh yes, and some models even support UHD and 4K input as well.
Michael Kammes: Cinedecks are particularly useful in multi camera environments. If you recall the TV show Anger Management on FX, six live camera feeds were fed into three dual channel Cinedeck RX’s from the stage for editing. The 1080p 23.98 footage from set was recorded to an Avid ISIS into DNX 175X and then the 264 proxy files were fed to a Light Iron server for on-set review and approval.
Michael Kammes: All the Cinedeck models, the RX, MX and ZX, support two to four channels of live video and can be jam synched together. This also includes multiple independent channels of audio, so instead of having multiple Atomos units, key pros or even converted design recorders, you can have a much smaller number of Cinedeck units, which means less chance for error since only one unit is creating all of the files.
Michael Kammes: When it comes to more facility grade features, Cinedeck has those too. Cinedeck has interplay check-in via web services, so folks in an Avid environment can quickly access the media and begin cutting. However, more interesting to me is the new insert editing function. Those of you who’ve worked with tape know how convenient it was to simply replace a shot or a graphic by doing a digital cut to tape as opposed to laying off the entire product again.
Michael Kammes: Cinedeck has brought this linear feature to the digital world, so you could do an insert edit into an existing QuickTime or MXF wrapped file. Yes, you heard me right. You can simply replace a section of the video into an already rendered and outputted file.
Michael Kammes: Here we have the MX model by Cinedeck. As you can see, here’s the touchscreen. Multiple hard controls. A jog shuttle wheel, as well as multiple card readers on the chassis. Speaking of tape, several models of Cinedeck have a touchscreen and hard buttons on the front, so those of us with experience working with tape machines can easily adjust to the interface.
Michael Kammes: The touchscreen is very responsive, which is good, as the more inputs you have going at one time, the smaller the text gets. Not to fear, however, you can always hook up a keyboard and mouse for finer control. The main interface screen gives the user a summary of all the video inputs plus preview screens. I can go into the set-up of each input to further burrow into the controls. For example, in our first channel set-up, I can view this summary for only this channel, which is what the input signals are and what I want them to be cross-converted to if needed. I’m also able to examine how I want the master and proxy file to be recorded – the wrapper, the codec, audio channels among a whole host of other options.
Michael Kammes: A majority of the models – the MX and various flavors of the ZX – are best when rack mounted in your facility or on a shooting stage. The larger models are slightly bulky to take on a run and gun shoot. However, the RX model is about ten pounds and it comes with a stylish handle to carry it. If you’re taking it on set, the RX – as well as some of the other models – also has a waveform monitor, vectorscopes, histograms and even focus assist.
Michael Kammes: If you do decide to throw some digital media at it as well, you’re all good. There is support for SxS, P2 and CF cards and the MX models, like the one here, even have the card readers built into the chassis.
Michael Kammes: Cinedeck models start out at $19,000 for the two channel RX model and scale up to $35,000 or so for a four channel model ZX with all the bells and whistles. If your facility is looking to breach the chasm between tape and digital or needs to expedite production and post production schedules or perhaps just needs some extra encoding power, I think the Cinedeck would be a welcome addition to your arsenal.
Michael Kammes: So does the Cinedeck have a place in your next project or do you have other solutions that fit the bill? Please let us know. I’m Michael Kammas of Keycode Media.
Larry Jordan: It’s time for a Buzz Flashback. Five years ago today…
Patrick Inhofer (archive): I was asked to do a color grading presentation and someone said, “Well, can you tell me why I should go into Apple’s color? Why should I even bother leaving Final Cut and the three way color corrector?” and I’m like, “You’re getting to the… of it, right to the essence of it,” and to me the… was about stepping away and looking at things the way they are and that’s what I thought he was asking. From that presentation, I named it the Power of Color Grading.
Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.
Larry Jordan: Michael, I was just reflecting on 40 projectors, with backups, for the Google/iO developer conference.
Mike Horton: Wouldn’t that look awesome at a Supermeet?
Larry Jordan: Supermeet has got to be in that same league, right?
Mike Horton: That was one of the questions I wanted to ask that guy – would you do a user group? But then you start thinking, “What are the budgets on these kinds of things?” You were talking about the Google one. What do you think the budget on that was? It’s got to be seven figures.
Larry Jordan: At least, because 40 projectors with 20 projectors for backup, that’s 60 projectors.
Mike Horton: You’ve got a crew of at least, what, 50 people?
Larry Jordan: At least.
Mike Horton: Just running the show, not putting it together, just backstage.
Larry Jordan: And streaming four separate streams.
Mike Horton: And streaming, oh my gosh. Everybody knows how hard streaming is. You know how hard streaming is, we tried to stream this live, and you could be the biggest expert in the world but you still rely on somebody else to do what is supposed to be done and things go wrong. These guys have to deal with the same people, and why is it they always do it right? Even Apple sometimes gets screwed up on the streaming. You’ve got the brightest minds in the world. Streaming is hard and doing live shows is hard.
Larry Jordan: So we’re not going to see a 270 degree wraparound screening for Supermeet?
Mike Horton: I don’t think so, not unless you can talk to his guy and see if you can get a deal. You know him.
Larry Jordan: I’ll put in a good word.
Mike Horton: Can we get a deal? Wouldn’t that be awesome. This will be the 15th year that we’re doing Supermeet, we should do something like this.
Larry Jordan: We’ve been talking with Evan Williams, the CEO of Riverview Systems Group, that’s our event guy, and Ryan Postas, the filmmaker, talking about the new Canon camera.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website…
Mike Horton: By the way, you could tell this guy, we do have a budget of $4,000 we can give you. Think about it.
Larry Jordan: …at digitalproductionbuzz.com. It’s all free, it’s available to you online today; and don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter.
Mike Horton: I hear the telephone ringing. I wonder if that’s him.
Larry Jordan: No, it’s somebody wanting to talk with us on Twitter, @DPBuZZ, or Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Theme music is composed by Nathan Doogie Turner; text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription – visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you.
Larry Jordan: Our producer is Cirina Catania; production team led by Megan Paulos, Ed Golya, Lindsay Luebbert and Brianna Murphy. On behalf of the guy on the other side of the table, Mike Horton, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for joining us for The Digital Production Buzz.
Mike Horton: Here’s to a bigger budget. Ok.
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