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Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – December 1, 2016

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Aharon Rabinowitz, Head of Marketing, Red Giant
Travis White, Head of Products, NewBlueFX
Michele Terpstra, VP Marketing, Toolfarm
Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media
Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney, TroyGould & The Hollywood Reporter
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

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Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are looking at plugins, starting with Red Giant. Red Giant began creating plugins in 2002. Over the last 14 years they’ve created a library of essential software tools for video editors and tonight, Aharon Rabinowitz, head of marketing for Red Giant talks about their history, their most popular products and their newest titles.

Larry Jordan: Michele Yamazaki Terpstra is a full time pluginologist, and the VP of marketing for Toolfarm. Tonight she shares her suggestions on essential but obscure plugins that can solve problems during editing.

Larry Jordan: Michael Kammes, director of marketing for Key Code Media got his start as an editor and even today has a soft spot in his heart for cool software, so we asked him to list his favorite plugins and tonight his answer may surprise you.

Larry Jordan: Travis White is the head of products for NewBlueFX. He wraps up our coverage of plugins with an in depth look at Titler Pro 5, a cross platform titling package that can create unique animated titles for the NLE of your choice.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel joins us with an update on all the labor strife in Hollywood, including SAG/AFTRA, the DGA, the Writer’s Guild, and wages that went missing at the Magic Castle.

Larry Jordan: All this, plus James DeRuvo with our weekly DoddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.

Announcer: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking – authoritative – one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals – current – uniting industry experts: production, filmmakers, post production and content creators around the planet – distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.

Larry Jordan: And welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry covering media production, post production and marketing around the world. Hi, my name is Larry Jordan.

Larry Jordan: Tonight’s show looks at plugins that enable us to do more with our editing software than either Adobe or Apple ever expected. Plugins can be fun, for example creating fancy transitions or colorful effects, or serious such as removing echoes from our audio or correcting color problems in our video. But whatever the need, there’s probably a plugin out there somewhere that can help us get our work done faster, better or more creatively. One of the earliest plugin developers for the Mac was Red Giant Software, and they begin our plugin section tonight. One of the latest to join the Mac, though they were on Windows for a long time before that, is NewBlueFX and I thought it would be appropriate to end our show with them. These will be some fun conversations, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.

Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue, every week gives you an inside look at The Buzz, quick links to the different segments on the show and curated articles of special interest to film makers. And best of all, every issue is free, and comes out on Friday.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of every week, it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan: So what’s happening this week? What’s the news?

James DeRuvo: Well 2016 has been a rough year for all of us, but in particular, it’s been tough for GoPro. They started the year with a seven percent labor force reduction. They’ve been dealing with some severe competition from lower price knock offs. They hoped that the KARMA drone would turn things around, coming out just before the holidays, but then they took it on the chin with the drone recall that recalled all 2500 that had been sold. Now, news is coming out that just before the holidays, they’re cutting another 15 percent of their jobs to make the company profitable.

Larry Jordan: Is this across the entire company or has one department been hit…?

James DeRuvo: Across the entire company. A year ago they had 1500 people employed, and now one in five is out of a job.

Larry Jordan: Do we have any good news somewhere?

James DeRuvo: Well it’s not all bad news for GoPro. The sales figures came in for Black Friday and GoPro said they are 45 percent higher than last year.

Larry Jordan: Good.

James DeRuvo: So it’s looking up but they’re also going to have to close their entertainment division and the President of the company is stepping down. Hopefully these steps will right this ship and then they’ll fix the KARMA drone problem and we’ll get back to the salad days with GoPro. But until then, we’re just going to have to weather the storm.

Larry Jordan: Very true. Do we have any other news besides GoPro?

James DeRuvo: It’s fortuitous that you’re doing plugins tonight because there’s a new plugin from a company called Digital Heaven, and it’s called the Speed Scriber and it’s from Apple Final Cut Pro X and what it does is it automatically transcribes your videos with almost zero latency and 99 percent accuracy. Does it in real time and you take your file, and drag and drop it into this folder called SpeedScriber Pending, and then you drop that folder onto the icons for SpeedScriber and within a few minutes, it has transcribed your entire video clip. Pretty exciting.

Larry Jordan: That’s pretty amazing. I’m really curious to see what kind of accuracy levels it has.

James DeRuvo: It says it has between 90 and 99 percent accuracy and when it’s done, it opens it up so you can look and easily find the mistakes, and correct them within a few minutes. So in less than half an hour you’re going to have a completely transcribed version for close captioning, for posting up your show notes and that type of thing. It’s going to be great for video and productions, but it’s also going to be great for podcasters too, because they’ll be able to transcribe their shows. It’s based on a flexible permanent pricing with discounts for large purchases. They’re working on versions for Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro.

Larry Jordan: Have they announced a ship date?

James DeRuvo: It’s in Beta right now, there’s no launch date yet. For now, it’s just OS X, Yosemite, and above only on the Mac. But very exciting.

Larry Jordan: Digital Heaven’s based in London, they’ve been a developer for a long period of time, but they’ve been quiet for the last couple of years. This is very exciting, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next. What else have we got?

James DeRuvo: They’re using their cloud service that they announced at NAB to carry all the heavy lifting. It’s really going to be cool once they get it launched.

Larry Jordan: What else have we got?

James DeRuvo: There’s this French photographer who decided to make his own camera lenses with a 3D printer.

Larry Jordan: He decided to do what?

James DeRuvo: Make his own camera lenses. He has a habit of collecting old and broken camera lenses, and he took all these lenses apart, got all the lens elements out of them, then he mocked up the kind of lens they wanted to make with cardboard, and once he got what he liked, and figured out that his design was going to work and he’d get a sharp image, he then went to a company called Fabulous which is a 3D modeling and printing company and the modeled this 150 millimeter f1.8 monocle lens with a Plaquette diaphragm, and it’s incredibly sharp, and at f1.8 it’s pretty fast. It also has a slot in the design so you can insert custom bokeh filters.

Larry Jordan: That’s pretty amazing.

James DeRuvo: What I think is really cool about it is that with 3D modeling and printing, you do stuff like this, you can take broken lenses and fix them, you could create your own prime lenses and anamorphic lenses. The sky’s the limit if you can get multiple elements in there. It’s amazing what 3D printing can do.

Larry Jordan: That’s pretty amazing, and for people who want more information about what’s happening in our industry, where do they go on the web?

James DeRuvo: All these and other stories can be found at Doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer for Doddlenews.com and joins us every week with the DoddleNEWS update. James, thanks for joining us today.

James DeRuvo: Alright Larry, take care.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

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Larry Jordan: Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant and the Executive Producer of Red Giant Films. An interesting piece of trivia about Aharon is that he began his career as a production intern on Sesame Street, which I have been envious of ever since I first read that. Hello Aharon, welcome back.

Aharon Rabinowitz: Hi, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: Sesame Street really?

Aharon Rabinowitz: Yes. As a kid you grow up watching it, and then the fantasy of going to work there. Honestly, it was a dream come true, and even though I’ve always understood the muppets were human beings, but seeing it in action takes your childhood wonder and turns it into adult wonder, and how they can possibly pull this off. It was a great part of my career, I really miss it.

Larry Jordan: I had the great pleasure of working with Oscar the Grouch for one three week span. It was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had. They’re just an amazing character.

Aharon Rabinowitz: The funny thing is I took my kids to the set recently on Sesame Street, and I had warned them that the muppets were actually people, and not muppets, and they totally got that. But when they took off Big Bird’s costume, my daughter was “What just happened?” I said, “I told you that they were puppets,” and she said, “I know, but not Big Bird.”

Larry Jordan: Illusions. The last couple of years have seen a lot of evolution at Red Giant. How would you describe the company now?

Aharon Rabinowitz: The company started off as a software company that really focused on just a couple of little tools for animators, motion graphic artists, film makers, and over time it’s just grown into this amazing set of tools that artists use. In fact it was that growth that I started to see when I was working as an animator, where I decided I wanted to come and work for them. I was using Track … a lot and I’d just seen Magic Bullet Looks, the first iteration of that, and I thought this is a company that really understands the customer and people who are using this stuff. It would be really cool to work with them. I called them, and they said “No thanks,” but we managed to get there and here eight years now, and the company’s grown up and they’re producing stuff that I just love and I love it because we’re using it on the things that we do, including making our own films. So we grew the company from this place of just making software, to starting to make films that both used our products, and helped us in designing products, because we had to use them for what we’re doing. So the evolution of products would happen in part through the creation of film, just like the customers are doing.

Larry Jordan: I know it was before you joined the company, but you remember what their first product was?

Aharon Rabinowitz: There were two things actually. Knoll Light Factory, although actually back then it might have been called Knoll Light Factory for Editors, or something like that, and then Magic Bullet. But not Magic Bullet Looks. Before Stu Maschwitz created this product that changed the frame rate of your footage from 30 frames per second to 24, people always wanted a film look, but they didn’t know what that meant. In part, a lot of it is devoted to the speed at which the footage moved, not like people moving on screen, but the frame rate. So they couldn’t quite put their finger on it. There was a certain je ne sais quoi, and he figured that out and they created a product that did that and then became a Magic Bullet that was for color correction, but more like film looks and then eventually became the whole Magic Bullet product line.

Larry Jordan: Why the fascination with color and the look of video?

Aharon Rabinowitz: As a kid, I used to watch sitcoms like Cheers and Alf. Those two shows which aired at the same time had two very different looks, and Stu and I were talking about this. There was a very distinct look to film that is very different from video. As a kid I understood that there was a difference, and I tried to point it out to my siblings, and my parents, and they had no idea what I was talking about. But the thing about color and the look of film is there’s a certain emotive quality, a certain emotion that comes with film and certain kinds of colors that you just don’t get if you’re not doing some kind of treatment to the film. So, color is part of storytelling, it’s part of emotion. It helps you identify locations and instantly jump you to a place where you don’t have to be told something. You see it’s yellow, you feel hot, you feel desert, then you don’t have to be told that it’s hot and deserty there, you instantly know it and we react that way mentally to it.

Larry Jordan: Let’s flash forward to the present. I did not realize that one of your first products was Magic Bullet, though it has been around for a while. What are some of your current best sellers? What should people make sure they have in their library?

Aharon Rabinowitz: The best sellers that we have, there’s four things that just jumped into my head. There’s the Trapcode Suite, which is a set of tools for motion graphics and visual effects. Really popular. I haven’t walked into an animation house in New York City that wasn’t using Trapcode for something. I just went to see a show with my kids recently, that was just using Trapcode as part of their projection stuff they were doing. Trapcode is a big part of that. Magic Bullet Suite, which has color correction, finishing and film looks which is really used by film makers everywhere. We’ve got PluralEyes which is a product I love so much because the one thing you can never have back is time, and this saves you that time. It syncs audio and video in seconds and for a lot of people that’s a big part of their job. They shoot a couple of days of stuff and then they have to spend a couple of days just syncing up the audio and video and this does it instantly. Finally, Red Giant Universe which is a set of tools for motion graphics, really focused on the editors. These are our four best sellers by far.

Larry Jordan: Trapcode is focused for motion graphic people?

Aharon Rabinowitz: Yes.

Larry Jordan: And Magic Bullet for colors and Red Giant Universe for editors? Do I have those broad categories correct?

Aharon Rabinowitz: Yes and no. Magic Bullet is really for film makers who aren’t colorists. It has the power of the most professional color correction tools out there, but it really is a very intuitive experience that even someone like me, coming from motion graphics and visual effects who never touched color correction, Magic Bullet is what made me believe I could take control of the color of the things that I was working on. It’s very daunting for somebody who doesn’t come from that side of it. Color correction had always been this sort of magic box that for people who don’t do it, feel very intimidated by, and Magic Bullet Suite puts the power of that while also making it very intuitive for people who want to use the tools and get that same level of quality and effect.

Larry Jordan: While we’ve been talking, I’ve had four researchers whipping around in the background on the web looking all this stuff up, and they tell me that all of these are not new products, which clearly means that Red Giant has been sitting on its hands and not creating anything new. Is that a true statement?

Aharon Rabinowitz: No, Magic Bullet Suite 13 actually just came out about a month and a half ago, maybe a little more. We re-wrote everything. Things are faster, there’s more tools in there. Six tools have been updated, and one has been made from nothing, a brand new tool. Like nothing, it’s magic. I got to say, the team of engineers, I am always amazed. We set our minds to doing certain things. I’m like, “Yes, that’s never going to happen.” Then between Stu Maschwitz who’s the creative director for Magic Bullet, and the engineers that come to work on his vision, it’s really amazing what we accomplish in a small space of time that we do to create something that’s pretty amazing. I honestly thought I had gotten a handle on color correction, and I thought I was its master, and then they added this new thing called Guided Color Correction, which makes it that much easier, and comes straight out of a place that does color correction. It’s this formula that they use, and basically we put that formula into a dialog with seven steps that just very quickly gets you a perfectly balanced shot so that you can then color grade it. Obviously the difference being there’s the color correction of fixing the lights and the darks and making everything balance nicely, and then there’s creating that color grader film look, and that’s a separate part of the process.

Larry Jordan: What’s the new Magic Bullet Suite 13 cost?

Aharon Rabinowitz: It’s 899 if you don’t own it. It’s a 299 upgrade and we also have an educational price which is 50 percent off the full price.

Larry Jordan: Aharon, one of the things I’m getting in my emails is people are having to deal more and more in low light situations where there’s a lot of noise in the video. What have you got that can help us in that situation?

Aharon Rabinowitz: Red Giant, as a part of the Magical Suite 13 release, we released Magic Bullet Denoiser 3. It is the fastest and best video denoiser in existence. Video denoising is a very slow, painful and processor intensive process. We were able to adapt that so you get very fast video denoising. If you shoot in low light or if you’re shooting on a camera that generates a lot of noise, this will almost instantly clean it up.

Larry Jordan: Almost instantly means really fast. Is it really that quick?

Aharon Rabinowitz: It is very fast. If you’re having very bad noise in your video, you shoot in super low light and your ISOs are really high, then it’s going to slow things down. But if you’re using it at its basic settings which are often enough to get the job done, it is almost real time.

Larry Jordan: With the recent release of Mac OS Sierra, when should we upgrade operating systems to avoid having problems with our software, especially plug-ins? And the bigger question behind it is how do we determine if a plugin needs upgrading?

Aharon Rabinowitz: I’m always wary at first when a new operating system, or even a new host application comes out. Even when Adobe bump something from CC 2015 to 2015.3, you never know what’s going to happen. If something’s going to suddenly not work. Often there’s little things that need to be fixed and I always tell people, “Don’t upgrade until you hear from the company.” If you’re using plugins from certain companies, check their blogs, reach out to them. Usually they have the responsibility of reaching out to the customers which at Red Giant we do, but nothing makes me sadder than seeing people say, “I’m in the middle of this big project, and I upgraded to the new OS and now I’m done. I can’t do anything.” I think to myself, “Why would you do that? Don’t do that.“ Wait, find out from the companies if the products that you’re using are ready to go, if they’re certified for that operating system, and then once they are, with reckless abandon move into the future.

Larry Jordan: Reckless abandon. There’s more truth to that than we know.

Aharon Rabinowitz: Yes.

Larry Jordan: How do we determine if a Red Giant plugin needs to be updated?

Aharon Rabinowitz: Well there’s a couple of ways. Obviously in our blog we keep that information where you can check and see that, but if you come to the product page, under compatibility, you can see the different compatibility versions, the software and the compatibility that we have around that. If you see your host application listed there, or your operating system, and it’s not working, then you just have to run a quick update. We have a thing called Red Giant Link that will tell you if there’s an update. You can also download the update from the website and obviously we keep information on the site about versions and what you should use and when you shouldn’t upgrade. So we do our best to communicate, but we hope that users recognize that they want to update responsibly right? They want to know if their software is ready to go, just come check it out on our website and the information’s going to be right there on the product page.

Larry Jordan: For people that just have to have a Red Giant plugin, but are a little tight on cash, is there a way they can save some money?

Aharon Rabinowitz: My favorite event at Red Giant is every year we run a 40 percent off sale and it’s not because of the sale itself, it’s because of how many people we can make happy. During the year, people are strapped for cash. Maybe now they’re getting holiday money, maybe they’ve been holding out to buy. This is the time. Red Giant is running 40 percent off everything on Tuesday December 6th, so for 24 hours, 40 percent off everything in the redgiant.com store, and that includes the all new Magic Bullet Suite, it includes upgrades, even at educational prices, at the academic store which is already 50 percent off. Take 40 percent off of that So we try to make it easy for everyone this time of year to just treat themselves for the holidays, or treat someone else that they love who happens to be a software nerd like me, then it’s a great time to buy. But as a whole, I think that the way we do it is, Red Giant tries to make it easy whenever we can. Upgrades are always easy and if you want to try things before you buy, please come and download a free trial and check out the software.

Larry Jordan: And where can we go on the web to find out more about Red Giant and its products?

Aharon Rabinowitz: Come to redgiant.com.

Larry Jordan: Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant, and Aharon, it’s always fun visiting. Thank you so much for your time.

Aharon Rabinowitz: Again, thanks for having me Larry.

Larry Jordan: Michele Terpstra is the VP of marketing at Toolfarm. She has written or co-written two books on plugins. As well as becoming the go-to person on software and plugins for our editing systems, she is the first pluginologist that I have ever met. Hello Michele, welcome back.

Michele Terpstra: Hello, how are you?

Larry Jordan: I am delighted to be talking to you. Tonight, we’re talking about plugins, so to set the scene, how would you describe Toolfarm?

Michele Terpstra: Well, we are a value added reseller of video plugins, animation software, audio software and all that kind of good stuff. We’re your one stop shop, but beyond that, we know the products really well, so if you have questions about it, we can help you choose the right product for your needs.

Larry Jordan: What plugins have caught your attention recently, especially the lesser known ones?

Michele Terpstra: Today I thought I’d talk about some more unique plugins that do a certain job that no other plugin can do, and do it really well. Rowbyte Plexus is one. It’s been out for quite a while, but it’s a way to visualize your data and you’ve probably seen this used in commercials and anything with a techy look to it, where you have these object meshes, you can take in OBJ files which are 3D files. In the example that they use, they have a bust of a person, their head and shoulders, and they take it through layers and they have really cool effects to it. Now in the latest version you can time it with audio and sound, which I guess are the same thing, and defmaps, so it’s a cool plugin and it’s a lot of fun to play with which is something I really enjoy about plugins. A lot of them are a lot of fun.

Larry Jordan: What’s the name of the one you just talked about?

Michele Terpstra: Plexus. It’s from a company called Rowbyte.

Larry Jordan: OK, what else you got?

Michele Terpstra: Motion Boutique Newton. Newton allows you to animate things with physics, without having to do it all by hand, which can be really painful and time consuming to make sure that your bounces look right, or your springing or your pivots and all that, look natural. It’s really great for animating text like kinetic text animations or if something is bouncing, or you have a mechanical thing you’re trying to demonstrate. It’s used quite a bit in things, and you’ll never even know it. It’s one of those tools that you can use in a thousand different projects and nobody would know you’re using the same tool. It doesn’t have any sort of look to it. But it’s a lot of fun and it makes your stuff look so cool.

Larry Jordan: It’s called?

Michele Terpstra: Motion Boutique Newton.

Larry Jordan: OK what else you got?

Michele Terpstra: Mettle SkyBox which you’re probably aware of if you’re working with 360 VR content, and there’s several different tools that are part of the SkyBox family that will allow you take 360 formats and let you work with them, and after effects, so that you can add other elements to it. You could add animations from Plexus for example, or you can add composite different elements, and you can do all sorts of cool effects inside your VR content. So if you’re creating stuff for Oculus Rift or 360 content for YouTube, it’s a great tool to have. There’s a previewer, and a converter, and an extractor and creator. And that is Mettle SkyBox.

Larry Jordan: OK, what’s next?

Michele Terpstra: RevisionFX ReelSmart Motion Blur. Now this is an older plugin but it’s one that I always go back to. If you’re looking to add motion blur to footage that’s already shot, say you shot it with a fast shutter and your footage is lacking motion blur, or if you shot with a fast shutter because you’re shooting green screen footage, and it’s a lot easier to key, you can naturally add Motion Blur to your footage. If you’re working with 3D footage for example, a lot of times you can add Motion Blur in your 3D package, however it takes a really long time to render and it can be time consuming. But you can take a regular render and apply ReelSmart Motion Blur to it, and it looks just so natural, and it’s such a great plugin, it’s one I use all the time.

Larry Jordan: Called?

Michele Terpstra: RevisionFX ReelSmart Motion Blur.

Larry Jordan: OK, got another one?

Michele Terpstra: The last one here is Trapcode Tao. It is the newest from Trapcode, and I recently did a little video for a program I have called The Lab, and over the years I’ve created a ton of cool effects that I had no use for. So with Tao I was just playing with it, and I came up with so many fun things. It allows you to create these 3D geometries, and after effects, and you can play with the lights and camera and add color maps, and animate and loop things. You can apply it to masks so you could do spirals, or it has all sorts of abstract shapes, so it’s great for doing stuff in backgrounds and for text. It’s great for abstract materials.

Larry Jordan: And called?

Michele Terpstra: Trapcode Tao.

Larry Jordan: For people that want more information, where can they go on the web to learn more?

Michele Terpstra: To Toolfarm.com.

Larry Jordan: The VP of marketing and chief pluginologist at Toolfarm is Michele Terpstra, and Michele, thanks for joining us today.

Michele Terpstra: Thank you for having me on your show.

Larry Jordan: In his current role as director of technology at Key Code Media, Michael Kammes consults on the latest in technology and best practices into the digital media communication space. He’s also, let’s just say, he has a strange love of workflow codecs and process. Hello Michael, welcome back.

Michael Kammes: Larry, great to talk to you.

Larry Jordan: It’s my pleasure. In today’s show we’re talking about plugins. So the question I’ve got for you, is what plugins have you seen that caught your eye?

Michael Kammes: Most people know me as a technology guy, but actually I started out in the creative realm. Audio especially. There’s a couple of audio pug ins that I use on a weekly basis and I think a couple of them you may be familiar with. iZotope for example.

Larry Jordan: Oh yes.

Michael Kammes: Their RX Post Production Suite is fantastic, especially when we’re dealing with dialog where we have to reduce the noise in the background and also their loudness meter. I’m sure you’re aware that when you’re doing mixes for television and broadcast, you have to be compliant to the loudness specifications. It’s not just volume, it’s what’s the compression on the audio? So being able to use a loudness meter in the mix is fantastic.

Larry Jordan: iZotope is on your list of things to consider. What’s another audio plugin?

Michael Kammes: Another one you’ve covered as well, and that’s Unveil by Zynaptiq which is to reduce reverb. It’s not going to remove all your reverb, but sometimes it’s just enough to squeak by. Also, if you’re working with ADR, VocALign Project is fantastic. It allows you align ADR with the scratch dialog from location, and can help immensely during that process.

Larry Jordan: I’ve used all three of these plugins and they’re all excellent, so I agree with your opinion. My question is, what software are you using these plugins in?

Michael Kammes: I’m traditionally in Pro Tools. I’ve been working with Pro Tools for almost 20 years now, and that’s my go-to audio tool.

Larry Jordan: I use these Inside Adobe Auditions so I agree with you. These are outstanding plugins but they’re just audio Michael. What have we got for video?

Michael Kammes: For video, a popular package is the Sapphire package. I think they’re at version 10 right now. It’s a little pricey, but the transitions I use almost on a daily basis with my series 5 things. The TV distort filter is fantastic. Also Beauty Box by Digital Anarchy is fantastic. When you’re dealing with people whose skin may not be perfect, maybe there are some blemishes or what not, talent always likes being made to look better, and using this gently on your footage helps immensely. Rampant Design, although it’s not a plugin per se, the fact that they have drag and drop, transitions and motion graphics and visual effects, and their distortion in grunge stuff is fantastic to give your footage a little bit of pop. If you use FX Factory, you can buy plugins through their interface, and there’s a couple of ones that are great. Bars is fantastic. Unfortunately I cut a lot of videos that aren’t the most exciting, so if we can add some life to some of those static charts, that’s fantastic. That’s like $40. And lastly, Slide Pop. As a kid I loved View-Master, the thing you held up to your eyes. You can now recreate that effect with Slide Pop to give that View-Master look to some of your footage for transitions.

Larry Jordan: I had this sudden flash as you were talking about Beauty Box, one of the trends in our industry is to get higher and higher resolutions. 4K, 5K, 6K, we’re pushing eight and 16 right now at some of the technological edges of the envelope and yet Beauty Box does the exact opposite. Do we not have a conflict here?

Michael Kammes: I don’t think there’s a conflict. It reminds me of a great story I’ll tell you briefly with Oprah about ten years ago or so. As you may remember, I used to work in Chicago, and they were thinking about … HD, but Oprah saw herself in HD and said, “I don’t want that.” So they continued down the SD road for a few more years.

Larry Jordan: Michael, for people that want to keep track of you on the web, where can they go?

Michael Kammes: Two places. Michaelkammes.com or Fivethingsseries.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, michaelkammes.com and Michael, as always, a delight talking with you. Thanks for joining us today.

Michael Kammes: Thanks again Larry.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel is an entertainment and technology attorney of counsel at Troy Gould in Los Angeles. He’s also the contributing editor of entertainment labor issues for the Hollywood Reporter. And best of all, he’s a regular here on The Buzz. Hello Jonathan, welcome back.

Jonathan Handel: Larry, how are you doing?

Larry Jordan: I am suffering from confusion. Seems like every Guild is either marching or thinking of marching. What is going on?

Jonathan Handel: It is a busy time in the world of work. That is absolutely true. Let’s start with SAG/AFTRA and the video games strike. SAG/AFTRA has been on strike against the nine or so video game companies for about five or six weeks now. They’ve had three picket lines, about three to 400 people each, and a virtual picketing operation at one point. The largest issue is they want a form of residuals, a form of back end compensation, and there’s been some back and forth, no pun intended, between them and the companies, but there has been no agreement on a formula or an approach.

Larry Jordan: Are there ongoing conversations?

Jonathan Handel: As far as I know there are not. The parties reached a point where they were pretty bitter, and pretty dug in and I think there’s probably going to have to be a bit of passage of time before we see real movement here. The companies at some point are going to want to prepare demo versions of new software for trade shows in the spring, for GDC, Game Developers Conference and E3 as well. E3 I think is May, GDC’s a little earlier, and so that may at some point drive them to say, “Look, we want to get SAG/AFTRA talent for these demo games as we have in the past.”

Larry Jordan: Is Christmas in jeopardy in terms of video games?

Jonathan Handel: No, not at all. Those games of course, the production was completed in general some time ago and there’s no indication that this will affect Christmas sales.

Larry Jordan: OK, what’s happening in another Guild?

Jonathan Handel: Let’s stick with SAG/AFTRA for a moment, and this time SAG/AFTRA and the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation. Today is World Aids Day, and last night they put on a panel at SAG/AFTRA with a range of actors and story tellers, show runners, and doctors. Dr Michael Gottlieb who was a pioneering physician for the last 35 years or whatever it’s been now since the early 80s in dealing with the epidemic. And the message they were sending was this, that this epidemic of HIV and AIDS continues. It’s become very heavily though certainly not exclusively a problem in the black community, and very heavily a problem in the southeastern United States where seven out of ten states that have the highest infection rate in this country, and close to half the new cases in this country, are located in the southeast. There is very much a cultural factor at work there in terms of access to health insurance, access to care and compassion and openness for men having sex with men, men who identify as gay, etcetera. It’s a difficult issue.

Jonathan Handel: So that was last night. Sticking with all three of the unions, what happens next this coming Monday? The Directors Guild begins talks for their new TV and theatrical agreements with the Motion Picture Studios, the AMPTP representing the majors and the other signatories to the DGA agreement. That agreement doesn’t expire till the middle of next year. SAG/AFTRA agreement also expires in the middle of next year. Their talks will probably start in February, but have not been announced. The Writers Guild just announced their negotiating committee. They haven’t announced their dates, but that would probably be late March or early April. So all three unions having new contracts.

Larry Jordan: There was something also you wrote that just caught my eye about something disappearing in the Magic Castle?

Jonathan Handel: Well that’s right. This is a law suit, not a union issue, but it is a work issue. It’s a class action on behalf of the restaurant employees and bar employees at the Magic Castle which alleges wage theft. It alleges that their wages disappeared, a very nasty trick if indeed the allegations are true. The Magic Castle of course is LA’s palace of prestidigitation. For those who don’t know, it’s a maze like mansion where you can go and see different magic shows in each room, open only to guests who have been invited by a member or accompanied by a member. Been around for some number of decades. And they are alleging that timesheets were falsified, that they weren’t allowed their breaks for lunch and for rest breaks and things like that. That overtime wasn’t paid. Really a very unfortunate and not necessarily uncommon set of allegations in industries in general of wage theft for lower income workers. We have to emphasize we don’t know whether these allegations are true or not. The Magic Castle had no comment when I requested comment.

Larry Jordan: Well there’s no shortage of stuff to keep track of. For people that want the latest information, Jonathan, where can they go on the web?

Jonathan Handel: Two places. THRlabor.com, the HollywoodReporterLabor.com and my website at Jhandel, Jhandel.com.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel is the entertainment labor issue editor, contributing reporter for the Hollywood Reporter. Jonathan thanks for joining us today.

Jonathan Handel: Thanks Larry.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Jonathan Handel: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: There’s another website I want to introduce you to. Doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals. DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers. From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go. Doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: Travis White began his career as a Hollywood editor, but for the last several years, he’s headed product development at NewBlueFX. They specialize in creating plugins, effects and titling software for a wide variety of windows and Macintosh editing systems. Hello Travis, welcome.

Travis White: Hello Larry, how are you doing?

Larry Jordan: I am talking to you and we are talking plugins. I am doing great. How would you describe NewBlueFX?

Travis White: NewBlueFX do a lot. I would say at the core of it we are post production effects that are realized as plugins throughout every video editor out there, both Windows and Mac. We are also post and live automated graphics so we have graphics packages for doing titles and graphics work in both post production and in live. Then those same video effects can be used in those graphic … as well.

Larry Jordan: Your audio’s fading in and out. You might want to get a little bit closer to your microphone, and while you do that, why did the company decide to get into development effect software?

Travis White: Well we started as a videotech company. The history of it was actually doing audio effects and audio production and we saw the need for a lot of effects that solved problems. A number of effects out there with glorious work that are actually quite complex to use and we saw a place where we could really save the editor billable hours by making solutions that solved the different needs in a much more controlled … with fabulous results.

Larry Jordan: The company began by creating software for Windows. What made you decide to expand a couple of years ago to include the Mac?

Travis White: It wasn’t too far after we began the company that we did Mac as well, and it was very clear that historically a high end production was a Mac appropriate experience. But more and more so, it really is a world that shares both sides and workflows back and forth between Mac and Windows systems are so predominant … that you really have to exist on both platforms so you can maintain the solution as the media’s going back and forth and your productions are going back and forth between the kinds of people that you’re working with.

Larry Jordan: As you look back on it, when the company first started, what was the first product that you guys developed?

Travis White: The first products we developed were actually plugins that were created for OEM originally … Those were in Pinnacle, later on in Avid, and other solutions as well, but we quickly moved into direct available plugins for professional post production. In fact, even right now our titling solution, Titler Pro, is the included titling solution in Avid Media Composer, it’s been included in the Grass Valley editing solutions, and again it’s on every editing platform out there.

Larry Jordan: As you look at it today, what are some of your more popular products?

Travis White: The more popular … just released a new version of Titler … 5 and I would say that’s one of the very popular solutions that we have. It’s gritty, it’s animated, it’s titling graphics and it brings in a lot of things that a 3D modeling program can do except it’s based on the … of a video editor so you don’t have to become a 3D modeling expert. And it also does three dimensional work which is a lion’s share of a lot of the work as well, fantastically. So that is a very popular one. Another one that we just revamped as well is Colorfast Two. So that is a color correction and color grading plugin. Both of these work natively inside the video editing application so it’s not a round trip, we’re not outside the NLE experience, it’s inside the NLE experience.

Larry Jordan: You’re heading of products, so as you’re looking to decide which products to develop, what kind of user feedback is most helpful?

Travis White: Direct. The kind of user feedback that we get, there’s two kinds. One type of user feedback is, “I have a problem, I’m looking for a solution. This is my current workflow, I would like to do it faster. This is my current workflow, I’d like to solve this problem.” That by far is when the user gets into that dialog with us, and we engage them in that conversation, that’s by far the most helpful. When users come back, and say “Can you do that feature like that other product out there?” That’s not nearly as helpful because we can mimic a feature of another solution, but that’s not necessarily helping us or the user solve the problem. So it’s really in that conversation, back and forth, getting to the core of what is … and often on our creative side, we can bring a new approach, or a faster, more efficient approach, than what the user has previously experienced, usually when they have either a point in their workflow that’s slow or daunting, it’s because the current solutions are a bit of a … trying to chain together a series of events and we can see that through the conversation with the customer, and really streamline the solution.

Larry Jordan: You support a wide variety of applications both at the OEM level and at the consumer level. Is there one NLE or a couple of NLEs which tend to sell more plugins than another? In other words, where their customer base is more likely to buy plugins than another?

Travis White: Yes. From the plugin perspective, from the effects perspective, for example, Adobe Premiere, they have a nice set of plugins that they start in, but their user base is really used to a plugin community and they know about that plugin community, and Adobe promotes that plugin community. So there’s a lot of purchase of, and finding new solutions … And then another way to answer that question, Grass Valley, there’s actually not a lot of plugin offerings in the Grass Valley world. We are one of them, one of the few, so then simply being one of the few options offered in that market, the user bases I think … The Avid community, for which we’re included in, it all depends on their … right? If they’re a rough cut editor they tend to not use very many plugins at all. If they’re a finish editor they tend to use a good number of plugins to solve those problems that are in the finished stage. So it kind of depends on who that customer is and the kinds of work that they do.

Larry Jordan: Given all the operating system and application updates recently, how do we determine if our plugins are up to date?

Travis White: You mean plugins from us?

Larry Jordan: Yes.

Travis White: We have a good tool called the NewBlue new effects application manager. It actually is a simple interface, that shows you all the plugins you own which may or may not be installed on their systems … see what is installed, and other plugins that you own that might not be installed and it gives you opportunities for direct update right there when the product has an update available. It gives you opportunities to download an installation if you have not yet installed something you own on this particular machine. It gives you access to tutorials and information on how to utilize the application, so that’s … check your NewBlue application manager, and it will get you up to speed …

Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about Titler Pro 5 or Colorfast 2 or all the different transitions and effects that NewBlueFX has got, where do they go on the web?

Travis White: They go to newbluefx.com.

Larry Jordan: The website for Titler Pro 5 and all the rest of their effects is newbluefx.com, all one word, newbluefx.com and Travis White is the head of products for NewBlueFX. Travis, thanks so very much for taking time to talk to us today.

Travis White: Thank you Larry, appreciate it.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: You know, it’s been an interesting conversation talking about plugins whether we’re talking with developers who’ve been in it for a while or people that are relatively new and just picking your favorite plugin is always fun. Plugins can be quirky or time saving, fun or essential. I want to thank our guests for today, Aharon Rabinowitz with Red Giant, Michele Terpstra with Toolfarm, Michael Kammes with Key Code Media, Jonathan Handel, the Hollywood Reporter, Travis White with NewBlueFX, and James DeRuvo with DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan: There is a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online, and all available to you today. And remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Friday. Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.

Larry Jordan: Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription. Visit Take1.tv to learn how they can help you.
Larry Jordan: Our producer is Debbie Price. My name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2016 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz- December 1, 2016

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Aharon Rabinowitz, Michele Terpstra, Michael Kammes, Travis White, Jonathan Handel, and James DeRuvo.

  • New Plug-ins from Red Giant
  • Titler Pro 5 from NewBlueFX
  • Obscure, But Highly Useful, Plug-ins
  • Michael Kammes’ Favorite Plug-ins
  • SAG/AFTRA and The Magic Castle
  • Our Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

(To download the show, right-click Download and click “Save Link As…”)

Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Featured Interview #1: New Plug-ins from Red Giant

Aharon Rabinowitz
Aharon Rabinowitz, Head of Marketing, Red Giant

Red Giant is a leader development of plug-ins and effects software. Tonight, Aharon Rabinowitz, Head of Marketing for Red Giant, stops by to talk about their latest products and what it takes to create a successful plug-in.

Featured Interview #2: Titler Pro 5 from NewBlueFX

Travis White
Travis White, Head of Products, NewBlueFX

Travis White is the head of products for NewBlueFX. Recently, they released Titler Pro 5 – a stand-alone title generator for both Mac and Windows systems. Tonight, he explains what it is and how it works.

Obscure, But Highly Useful, Plug-ins

Michele Terpstra
Michele Terpstra, VP Marketing, Toolfarm

Michele Terpstra, VP of Marketing for Toolfarm, knows all there is to know about Plug-Ins. In fact, she is an official “pluginologist!” Tonight she tells us about some obscure, but highly-useful, plug-ins.

Michael Kammes’ Favorite Plug-ins

Michael Kammes
Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media

Michael Kammes is the director of technology for Keycode Media. As such, he is always on the lookout for great technology. Tonight, he shares his favorite plug-ins for both audio and video.

SAG/AFTRA and The Magic Castle

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

Jonathan Handel is the entertainment labor correspondent for “The Hollywood Reporter.” This week, he has news on SAG/AFTRA picketing of video game developers and a new labor dispute at the Magic Castle.

DoddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

James DeRuvo, Senior Writer at DoddleNEWS, has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. Covering technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James presents our weekly DoddleNEWS Update.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – November 24, 2016

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Paul Kobelja, Production Technology Specialist, VER
Nick Mattingly, CEO, Co-Founder, Switcher Studio
Terry Curren, Founder/President, Alpha Dogs Inc.
Dylan Higginbotham, Creator, Stupid Raisins
Scott Page, CEO, Ignited Network
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

===

Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we are looking at a variety of new technology. We start with Paul Kobelja, Production Technology Specialist for VER; talking about a new LED based system that can replace green screen technology and provide realistic reflections on both actors and set. Tonight, Paul explains how it works.

Larry Jordan: Next, Terrance Curren, the CEO of Alpha Dogs, just finished effects and color grading work on a 4K feature film, using Avid Symphony. Tonight, Terry shares what worked, what didn’t and what you need to know, before ending a 4K project.

Larry Jordan: Next, Dylan Higginbotham is the Founder of Stupid Raising, a company dedicated to creating plug-ins and effects for Final Cut Pro X. Tonight, Dylan explains why he started a company dedicated to final cut and how he goes about creating effects for it.

Larry Jordan: Next, Scott Page, the CEO of Ignited Networks, is seeing a [sea] change in social media; the world seems to be shifting to messaging, which has significant implications for content creators trying to make money on their project. Tonight, Scott describes what’s going on.

Larry Jordan: Next, Nick Mattingly, the CEO of Switcher Studio, has a new product that streams live video over either YouTube or Facebook and tonight he tells us what it is and how it works; and, as always, James DeRuvo joins us for our weekly Doddle News update. The Buzz starts now.

Voiceover: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking. Authoritative; one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals. Current; uniting industry experts. Production; filmmakers. Post-Production; and content creators around the planet. Distribution; from the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, the digital production buzz goes live now.

Larry Jordan: And welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the created content industry; covering media production, post-production and marketing around the world. We’re celebrating our 17th year of podcasting. Hi, my name is Larry Jordan and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US and a very pleasant Thursday evening to everyone else. For those listening live our show is pre-taped this week to allow our staff to spend time with their families.

Larry Jordan: We have a lot of variety in today’s show, I’m looking forward to sharing it with you and before we start, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue, every week, gives you an inside look at the Buzz; quick links to the different segments of the show; and curated articles of special interest to filmmakers. Best of all, every issue is free and comes out on Friday.

Larry Jordan: Now it’s time for our Doddle News update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry, Happy Thanksgiving.

Larry Jordan: And a Happy Thanksgiving to you too. What’s the news?

James DeRuvo: You know, cord cutting is all the rage now, as people are trying to streamline their bills and not have to have an internet bill and a cable or satellite bill; so they’re looking to cut the cable and get rid of their cable and satellite bills and just stream video on the internet. Well the problem with that is, is that, it’s costing cities millions of dollars in lost tax revenue, because they charge a utility tax on the cable and satellite subscriptions. So, now they want to enact a so-called Netflix tax, ranging from one percent to 11 percent, depending upon what city that you live in. Currently there’s 45 cities in California that are looking to charge a utility tax on streaming video services, like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu and you consider that one in four homes have cancelled their cable subscription in favor of streaming video. You can understand why they’re doing it.

James DeRuvo: But the problem with it is, in my opinion, it’s going to be a logistical nightmare for services to affix hundreds if not thousands of different tax rates, based on what city you live in, what state you live in and it may also be against the internet tax free net. So this is like a Supreme Court decision waiting to happen.

Larry Jordan: Well, I think, as someone who streams content myself, we need to pay attention to this, because it could easily define all streaming content, not just content from entertainment companies like Netflix and Amazon.

James DeRuvo: Absolutely. I mean, when you consider that Larry Jordan teaches people how to edit video on Final Cut Pro and all the other post-productions, if you have to charge a tax, depending upon your clientele and where they live, you’re not going to have time to stream your video; you’re going to be looking up tax rates all day.

Larry Jordan: That’s a huge issue James; we’ll come back and talk about this in the future. Two weeks ago we had a show on drones and last week you had drone news for us. Do you have any new drone news for us this week?

James DeRuvo: This week DJI announced two new drones; they announced the Inspire Two, which is the next generation prosumer drone. It has a 5K camera that offers 11.5 stops of dynamic range; or you can get the optional Micro Four Thirds camera, which can take various lenses and give you 12.8 stops of dynamic range. It can also shoot in CinemaDNG Raw and Apple ProRes and it has an onboard SSD drive system, so that you can store that 5K video image.

James DeRuvo: What I’m excited about is, DJI has finally broken the 30 minute barrier on flight time; they’ve added two batteries instead of one to the system and it is able to not only fly up to an half an hour, but it can achieve a speed of up to 67 miles an hour and a ceiling of five kilometers. I mean, it’s a beast. It’s going to cost about $3,000, or $6,200, if you want the Apple ProRes and CinemaDNG license.

James DeRuvo: They also announced the Phantom Four Pro, which is an upgrade to the existing Phantom Four flying platform. It comes with an improved one inch CMOS sensor, for 11.6 stops of dynamic range; 4K video at 60 frames per second; 30 minutes of flying time and a top speed of 31 miles an hour. They all have that patented DJI obstacle and collision avoidance system and it runs for about $1,500.

Larry Jordan: Before we run out of time I know ARRI made an announcement. What did ARRI talk about?

James DeRuvo: ARRI announced two new lines of lenses for the ARRI Alexa 65. There’s the ARRI Prime S and the ARRI Prime D and A line. In all total, when you toss in the existing 765 S line of lenses, they now have up to 34 different Prime lenses to cover the Alexa 65. The specs from the Prime S lenses include a range of 24-300 millimeters, using high performance objects. They are housed in robust lens barrows, with uniform front diameters, so that you can move your filters from one lens to the other. Extremely smooth focus and operation and the ARRI lens data system for inputting lens metadata.

James DeRuvo: The best part is though, is that, these new lenses give you coverage of the entire Alexa 65 sensor. The Prime DNA specs are seven lenses between 35 and 150 millimeter and all at F2.8 or faster.

Larry Jordan: Where are these available?

James DeRuvo: They’re available for rental now at arri.com.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to know what the latest news is, where can they go on the web?

James DeRuvo: All these and other stories can be found at doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the Senior Writer for doddlenews.com and is back every week with a weekly news update. James, thank you, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

James DeRuvo: You too Larry, happy turkey day.

Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to, doddlenews.com. Doddle News gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource; presenting news, revenue and products for the film and video industry. Doddle News also offers a resource guide and crew management platform, specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in-depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.

Larry Jordan: Doddle News is a part of the Thalo Arts community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking, performing arts, to fine and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go; doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: VER is a rental house providing gear for professional productions. At VER, Paul Kobelja works with cinematographers, effects departments and producers to create technical solutions; specifically on set environments that utilize specially engineered LED screens, projectors and controllers to create a real looking world, rather than a green screen box. Hello Paul, welcome.

Paul Kobelja: Thank you for having me.

Larry Jordan: A Happy Thanksgiving to you Sir.

Paul Kobelja: A Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

Larry Jordan: Your title at VER is Production Technology Specialist. What is it?

Paul Kobelja: Well, I think a Production Technology Specialist is actually somebody, at least in this particular idiom, who is constantly looking at technologies that are designed for, I would say, other entertainment markets and then trying to figure out a way to apply those technologies and processes to the motion picture market.

Larry Jordan: Well, you were in your own company for a long while; why the relationship with VER?

Paul Kobelja: Frankly, I’m here at VER because VER purchased the company that I was with and invited me to be a part of VER; which turned out to actually be a very fortuitous thing. Because, I am not the only person, you know, who works inside this world; I did have competitors, although I didn’t have a lot of competitors. As it turned out, those competitors ended up here at VER, they invited me to join and so, essentially, I was invited to be a part of what is clearly the A team doing this type of work in motion pictures.

Larry Jordan: When I first met you, which was in Cine Gear last Spring, you were showcasing a new technology that allowed us to change backgrounds behind live actors without using green screen technology. How would you describe what this is?

Paul Kobelja: The name that we gave that was enhanced environments; which is, I would say, the best way to describe, you know, the potential of that. But essentially what it is, is it’s adapting technologies that were designed for Broadway, for concert touring, for corporate events; which is, you know, scalable LED walls that can be built, you know, usually in half meter squares, to virtually any size.

Paul Kobelja: The whole idea behind that being that, lighting and environments in our world and our natural world interact us, you know, based on the environment that you’re in. If you’re standing in a forest, it is the environment of the forest that is producing the dappled lighting that’s moving across your face that produces the motion of the leaves, that produces any number of things; as opposed to say a lighting effect that’s trying to recreate that. It just made some sense to me that there are certain environments where our perception of being inside that environment is going to be determined by how the environment is playing across the surface of a person or an object or something like that.

Larry Jordan: Sort of like watching fireworks, where the colors of the fireworks are washing over the faces of your actors?

Paul Kobelja: Right, or one of the very earliest uses of this, actually, on a very small scale, was in a movie called Angels and Demons. I think that that set-up was that the basement of the Vatican was on fire, or something; the actors had to be appearing in the scenes surrounding by fire. Rather than using flame sticks or something like that to create fire effects on their faces, what we did was we actually set up an LED screen and we fed, you know, an image of fire into that LED screen; which then produced a lighting effect that looked exactly like fire.

Larry Jordan: All of us are familiar with green screen technology. What’s the principle benefit of this new enhanced environment technology over green screens?

Paul Kobelja: I would say that there are several. If you look at the history of motion pictures and you look at the history of how these environmental effects have developed over time, people have used black screen technology, they’ve used early blue screen technology, you know, later blue screen technology and then green screen technology; you know, as well as rear projection and a number of things. I would say, probably creatively, the biggest benefit of doing this, actually, is that you are capturing everything in camera. Your Cinematographer, your Director, your Production Designer, every bit that they have developed is appearing on your set and you’re capturing everything in the lens and in the camera.

Paul Kobelja: To a lot of filmmakers, you know, that is a much more natural way to work. There is very strong belief that that’s the better way to do things. Which isn’t to somehow claim that it is a natural progression away from green screen or blue screen technology; I mean, we have to acknowledge that there are clearly advantages to green screen and blue screen in certain environments. But what’s happened over the last three or four decades is, green screen and blue screen environments have become much more commonplace in motion picture and television, to do things that don’t necessarily benefit from blue screen and green screen. I can give you an example actually.

Paul Kobelja: If you go to any of a number of television show and you’ve got characters, whether it’s a comedy or it’s a one hour drama, and they’re inside of a car and they’re having a conversation. What has become very commonplace is that you set up a green screen behind a [buck] or a car and do some lighting effects on those people and shoot the scene against the green screen and then you bring in your plates later. It looks acceptable on television, it certainly looks acceptable in motion pictures that way; but the realism of that car driving through that environment isn’t captured particularly well with that green screen because, the reflections that you would expect to see moving across that car, as it travels through an environment, aren’t there. Those reflections are noticeably absent; and so it’s actually better and it looks better to take that car through an environment, so you can actually see those details moving across the car. Normally you would do that with a process trailer or something like that, but process trailers can be expensive; and so, what we were able to do with this is actually construct a system that will reproduce that environment that moves across the car; without you having to put the car in a process trailer; thus allowing you, in a stage situation, to truly make it look like your car is driving through, you know, any city in the world or any environment that you can think of.

Larry Jordan: If we take a look at green screen, one of the big benefits of green screen is it’s relatively inexpensive. Your technology sounds more expensive than renting a green screen stage; so, where’s the breakeven? Where does this technology make sense from the point of view of the budget?

Paul Kobelja: Surprisingly, when you run the numbers, that’s not entirely true. To do a green screen situation, yes, to rent a green screen and light a green screen on set is relatively inexpensive; you know, where the cost comes in, actually, is in post-production. When you’re having to build the environment that’s going to go into that green screen, you know; or you’re having to bring in your [comp], you know, into that green screen; and if there’s any bleed from that green screen into objects or characters inside your shot, then you also have to go through an additional process in post, of digitally removing that green bleed that’s getting into your set.

Paul Kobelja: You know, as long as you’re dealing with a set that doesn’t have highly reflective surfaces, it’s not much of a problem; but this is the 21st Century and there is a trend, in production design, to be building sets that are more reflective of our modern world, which is, highly reflective specular surfaces; you know, marble and glass and steal and so on. So, to surround something like that with a green screen, you’re not just bringing a plate in later, you’re also doing a lot of digital cleanup to get rid of whatever bleed might be coming into your set.

Paul Kobelja: Secondly, say for example with an automobile or a process trailer, you know, when you’re doing that with an LED setup on a stage, your rate of production increases dramatically; if you’re driving around on a process trailer, you know, you’re actually driving around on streets, you know, in a wagon train consisting of police and vehicles and this, that and the other; that as you’re shooting your scene going through the neighborhood and your actors perform their scene and you get to the end of that and the Director decides he needs another one and that entire wagon train has to go all the way around the block and all the back to number one and then start all over again. That reset to number one, when you’re dealing with this system on a set, is the touch of a button; it’s instantaneous. More importantly, you can go from shooting day scene to shooting night scenes, you know, in the same work day. Again, the touch of a button you can go from one location to the next.

Larry Jordan: Paul, I’ve been continually fascinated by what this can do, since I saw it at [Cine Gear]. Do you have any examples of how you’re using it today?

Paul Kobelja: I do. We are actually getting into a project right now that’s going to be a big step forward for us. Up to now, the majority of the films that have been interested in this type of technology have largely been high concept adventure and science fiction pictures; things like Star Trek, Iron Man Two, Race to Witch Mountain, Oblivion, Tomorrowland, Guardians of the Galaxy, Passengers and don’t miss Star Wars Rogue One, because we did quite a bit on that picture. But we’re actually going into what is going to be the largest LED installation for a motion picture in history, up to now. What’s very interesting about this is, it does not fit into the category of science fiction or high concept adventure at all, it is actually a 19th Century period drama, that’s using this technology. It’s a big step forward for us because, this is truly a fully immersive enhanced environment; basically, we are providing the world that is surrounding the set pieces for this movie and it’s not the kind of thing that you would normally associate with this type of technology. We’re very excited about it, because we feel that, if you we can prove that this type of thing works in a period piece like that, it opens many, many more doors for other filmmakers who aren’t particularly attracted to making movies about superheroes.

Larry Jordan: Let’s say that I’ve got a project that I want to have you produce. What’s the biggest challenge for you, when dealing with a new customer or a project?

Paul Kobelja: I would say probably the biggest challenge is getting people to understand at what point in the creative process we should be involved. There’s a rule that vendors aren’t invited to be a part of creative discussions; generally what happens is, filmmakers sit down and, you know, they go from script, to storyboard, to shot list, to production, making all of their decisions, as well they should, with their department heads, inside of production meetings. But, when you’re trying to apply a new technology or a new concept, rather than calling us on the phone or deciding, hey look, we think that this might be a really good way to approach this particular problem inside of our script; rather than calling us, I guess, two or three weeks before you need it done, it’s usually better to have that conversation with us much earlier in the process; so that we can be involved in helping filmmakers who are using this for the first time, to understand the latitude of, I guess, creative possibility that’s available to them.

Larry Jordan: It is a fascinating technology and I can see exactly why so many production companies would be interested in learning more. For people that would like to see demos or talk with you further, where can they go on the web to learn more?

Paul Kobelja: Well they should probably head to our website, HYPERLINK “http://www.ver.com” www.ver.com; you can dive in right there. We’ve done quite a bit of work on that website and they can begin to research the various possibilities of the work that we’re doing over here at VER.

Larry Jordan: That’s ver.com and Paul Kobelja is a Production Technology Specialist for VER. Paul, this has been a fascinating conversation, thanks for joining us today.

Paul Kobelja: Thank you so much for having me.

Larry Jordan: Terrance Curren is the Founder and President of Alpha Dogs, a Burbank based post-production facility founded in 2002. He’s also the host of the Editor’s Lounge, a regular gathering of post-production professions interested in improving the craft. Hello Terry, welcome back.

Terrance Curren: Hi Larry, it’s good to hear your voice.

Larry Jordan: By the way, Happy Thanksgiving.

Terrance Curren: Well, same to you. I wanted to say that, you know, when I say it’s good to hear your voice, it’s because, there’s a lot of us in the community that really appreciate all you do for the community and I don’t know if you get thanked enough; so, let me just thank you on Thanksgiving.

Larry Jordan: Oh, well thank you, that’s very kind. Thinking of giving back to the community, you and the work you do at Editor’s Lounge is also worthy of a pat on the back.

Terrance Curren: Oh, well thank you.

Larry Jordan: Now that we’re done congratulating each other, Alpha Dogs just finished working on the post-production for a musical thriller called Danger Diva. What did you guys do?

Terrance Curren: We did the 4K color correction and finish; all the effects etc. This one is kind of unique because, most 4K finishing that we do we do in DaVinci Resolve; or I guess you call it Blackmagic Resolve now. Just because it’s an easier pipeline. But this particular project, the Offline Editor had built tons and tons of complicated effects in the Avid timeline and to try to rebuild all that and go through Resolve, etc., would have been a nightmare; so I made the decision to do the color correct in Sympathy, in 4K and it turned out to be quite a challenge.

Larry Jordan: What were the challenges?

Terrance Curren: Well the big challenge is storage, of course, and bandwidth. I mean, you’re talking basically four times the storage and four times the bandwidth to move stuff around. You’re not going to be doing that off of the typical drive you were using in the past; so, we used Facilis’ TerraBlock, which is spanned across 24 drives per unit; so, they can distribute a lot of that bandwidth and we were coming over eight gigabit fiber, so, we can handle the bandwidth going to the systems. But even still, it’s a lot of data to be storing and moving about.

Terrance Curren: This one hour and 40 minute feature ended up being about a terrabyte and a half of storage; just that alone. Then, if you go and make a 4K DPX at the end for delivery, that’s really huge. All of this stuff takes time because it’s technically four times the processing; you’re working on four times as much frame size etc., so it’s going to take theoretically four times as long to render, etc., etc. It doesn’t actually work out that way, but that would theoretically be where you’d end up.

Larry Jordan: Resolution is more than just simply the number of pixels, the codec makes a great difference. What codec were you using for all this material?

Terrance Curren: Well this was shot on the RED camera; so, initially Avid does allow you to use the RED SDK now to mount the raw files and then, you could theoretically work with those but it would just be nearly impossible in the Media Composer Symphony. Unlike Resolve, which handles it much better. What I did was, once I had conformed everything to the raw RED files and had adjusted some of the interpretation of the raw file, because you have a lot of latitude there to change things; once I got all that locked in, then I actually converted everything to Avid’s DNX HR. It’s a pretty hefty bandwidth and it’s a pretty hefty use of storage, but at least it made it more manageable, as far as running it through the computer and processing and all that.

Larry Jordan: For Editors that are considering working in 4K, what should they consider before they start to edit their project?

Terrance Curren: Well, depending on the software you’re using to edit with, you’re probably going to want to convert to proxies, to work with, because it’s just too much to try to handle the raw media for offline editing. What’s really important is, making sure you have a pipeline in place where you can easily conform back to the original raw file. Whichever system you’re using, there’s different ways of dealing with that, but it’s really important to do all the work before you start editing; when you’re bringing stuff in, to make sure you can get back to the original media without a problem.

Larry Jordan: You started laughing when I asked the question, what made it funny?

Terrance Curren: Well, it’s just that it’s kind of funny that people would even want to work in 4K right now, because it’s just such a pain and it doesn’t really gain you anything; especially in the offline stage. I would recommend to people just to work in HD and, as long as they can conform back to the 4K easily, then, when you go do the finish, you deal with 4K. But, what do you really need 4K in offline resolution for, you’re not really going to see it.

Terrance Curren: One of the things that I ran into was that, I couldn’t play and work on the timeline in full resolution, it was just too laggy, because of the demands; so, when I was doing color correction, I would have to be in the lower resolution in the timeline, sort of a proxy resolution and then switch to the full res when I was doing more detailed effects work. It was kind of cumbersome to deal with that. As opposed to Resolve, where we normally finish 4K, because it uses the GPUs and you can add more GPUs to get more power, we don’t have those kind of issues.

Larry Jordan: Terry, for people that have decided that they want to use you for their next project, where can they go on the web to learn more about Alpha Dogs?

Terrance Curren: They can go to alphadogs.tv and for Editor’s Lounge, it’s editorslounge.com.

Larry Jordan: Those are two websites, alphadogs.tv and editorslounge.com and Terrance Curren is the Founder and President of Alpha Dogs. Terry, it’s been great chatting with you; thanks for your time.

Terrance Curren: Thank you and a Happy Thanksgiving.

Larry Jordan: Dylan Higginbotham is the Founder of Stupid Raisins; they make very interesting plug-ins for Final Cut Pro X, which is why we wanted to talk with him today. Hello Dylan, welcome back.

Dylan Higginbotham: Thanks Larry. Hi, how are you doing?

Larry Jordan: I am doing great and a Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Dylan Higginbotham: Yes indeed, Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

Larry Jordan: Tell us about your newest release. It’s got a long title; it’s 100 Final Cut Pro X Animated Shapes and Elements. What is it?

Dylan Higginbotham: Yes, that’s called Crackle Pop and it’s a collection of arrows and shapes and squares and circles and pops and bursts and explosions and basically, what you can do with all those different animated elements is, create cool looking titles; you can use it to reveal logos; you can use it to spice up video, maybe add some action to a clip, things like that. It’s real popular right now; you’ll see it in a lot of videos where things kind of burst and pop onto the screen. These shapes just make it really easy for a Video Editor to have that look without having to animate it themselves.

Larry Jordan: Well, what prompted you to create the plug in?

Dylan Higginbotham: Just seeing in lots of video everywhere else. I would see some cool motion graphics videos; I love to watch motion graphic videos and I would see people doing it and I thought, oh, that is really cool looking; I like the style and so, I’m going to try and recreate it myself and see what I can come up with when I make it.

Larry Jordan: How much does it cost and how do we get it?

Dylan Higginbotham: $49 and you can get it right in FX Factory; if you have that installed. You just go and hit the download trial button and then, once the trial’s downloaded you can buy it or you can test it out first with a watermark and it’s fully functional. You can also go to stupidraisins.com and buy it from there.

Larry Jordan: Well you’ve been focused on the Final Cut Pro X plug-in market for a while; exclusively, if I remember correctly. Why did you decide to focus on just one platform?

Dylan Higginbotham: When I first started playing with Final Cut Pro, when they did the newer version back in 2011, it made so much sense to me. I thought, this is how video editing should be. I had tried other programs and they were good but it just didn’t click with me and Final Cut Pro did. I thought, this is the future; this is cheap software, $300, that’s affordable, and cameras are starting to get amazing technology and cameras and they’re affordable; so lots of people are going to make movies and I have a feeling lots of people are going to make them on Final Cut Pro. With all of those reasons, I decided to just focus on Final Cut Pro X.

Larry Jordan: You sort of bet the ranch on two things, one is Final Cut and the second, that people want to buy plug-ins. Is there a market?

Dylan Higginbotham: Oh yes. When I first started this, I made a plug-in and I sold it to another company that sells plug-ins and I thought, I would just make them and sell it to that company. But, I saw that I could make a living doing that and so, my Wife and I, we talked about it for about a year, we bounced it back and forth, and finally we decided to do it. I quit my day job and focused on this and I’ve been able to make a living; so there’s definitely a market for it. It’s kind of an interesting and cool market. One particular part of the market, that I find interesting is, the YouTube market. There are so many people making YouTube videos and a lot of them use Final Cut Pro; and so it’s fun to watch what they’re creating with it and it’s fun to figure out things I can create and build for them, that would help them make better videos.

Larry Jordan: Well that gets me to the $64 question, how do you determine which effects to create?

Dylan Higginbotham: I get a lot of requests and so I’ll keep track of the requests. If I see a trend in the requests I’ll start making something like that. A lot of times it’s something that will catch my eye. Then I also keep an eye on other market places. Sometimes I’ll take a look at that and I’ll see what’s doing well there and then I’ll say, you know what? I could make that in motion and it would probably do well for Final Cut users too.

Larry Jordan: Dylan, I’ve always enjoyed working with your products and I wish you great success. For people that want to learn more about the products you have available, where can they go on the web?

Dylan Higginbotham: Stupidraisins.com

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, stupidraisins and the Founder of Stupid Raisins is Dylan Higginbotham. Dylan, thanks for joining us today and have yourself a great Thanksgiving.

Dylan Higginbotham: You’re welcome, thanks Larry. Happy Thanksgiving.

Larry Jordan: Scott Page currently serves as the CEO of Ignited Networks, which is a startup music accelerator; focused on teaching artists how to think like a startup; and he’s widely toured as a professional musician. Hello Scott, welcome back.

Scott Page: Hi Larry, how are you doing? I’m happy to be back buddy; I love your show.

Larry Jordan: Thank you and a Happy Thanksgiving to you Sir.

Scott Page: Back at you my friend.

Larry Jordan: In the show so far, we’ve been talking about new technology; but the ways that we promote and talk about technology is changing; especially in social media. What’s the latest?

Scott Page: Well, actually the world’s changing big time in kind of the social media world. We’re seeing a decline in traditional social media and what’s happening is, it’s all moving into the messaging infrastructure. So you’re going to see by the end of 2017, all these messaging platforms such as WeChat, Whatsapp, Facebook, Messengers, overtake the traditional big social networks. That changes everything for a lot of people, especially the content creators that are out there and also the advertisers and things. They’re going to have to figure out, well how do I get into these private networks? What’s going on, it’s kind of opening social networks and people posting, but in reality, you’re basically connecting to only handfuls of people on a daily basis, that you’re having conversations and stuff with. You know, this is a big reason why Facebook saw this writing on the wall and they ended up buying Whatsapp for, I think it was $19 billion; because they realized that it’s all going into real time. Everything about real time messaging.

Scott Page: What’s happening is, each piece of content that gets put into these networks now become a conversation and into these private networks. So what does this mean for all of the content creators out there. First, they need to get educated on where the market’s going; it’s moving so quickly in so many ways that it’s really important for all the content creators out there to spend some time focusing on learning what’s happening in these new messaging areas. An example is, I have a friend that is on Twitter, only posts once a day, but all of the activity is happening in the Twitter DM space; so in that sort of real time communicative space, but that area is where all the growth and everything is going on. It’s really going to a point where it’s relationships and that’s where the new dollars are; focusing on smaller groups of people which we call hives. That’s really where the world is going right now.

Larry Jordan: Well, what I’m hearing is that, the one too many of social media is being replaced with the one to one with messaging and the messaging is going real time, which means that we already didn’t have enough time in our lives to be able to do what needs to be done and now we’re going to be feeding our audience 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It strikes me that this is just sucking up more time, not less, from the point of view of promotion. Or, am I reading it wrong?

Scott Page: Yes and no. If you think about right now, all the content creators are so overwhelmed trying to manage all these networks; like they’re posting on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, Snapchat and they’re printing all this content is; but the problem is, most of these people aren’t making any money. How do I make money? For me it’s all about, how do I deliver somebody into a paying customer? Because otherwise it’s a hobby right? What happens is, the money is based on the relationships now; so that’s where the real dollars are. I see a concentration of where you are finding and targeting the right audience, because now we have the ability to actually find my target audience and put my stuff right into that group of people, which is a much better rate to conversation. Because we know that it’s so important to know your customer and, because we now have access to data, we can know that customer, we can find that customer and we can put that offering right in front of them.

Scott Page: Yes, I would say we have all this other time, but I think what’s going to happen is, it’s going to be concentrated around smaller groups of people that will pay the funds. That’s the new model.

Larry Jordan: Scott, this is a huge subject and we need to talk more about it. What we’ll do is, we’ll get back with you in a couple of weeks and spend more time as we start to learn how the world is switching from social to messaging; what the implications are and, more importantly, how we can manage it without destroying what’s left of our lives. For people that want to learn more, where can they go on the web?

Scott Page: You can go to ignited.network.

Larry Jordan: That’s ignited.network and Scott Page is the CEO of Ignited Networks. Scott, thanks for joining us. Have yourself a great holiday and we’ll talk to you soon.

Scott Page: Thanks Larry and happy holidays everybody out there.

Larry Jordan: I want to introduce you to a new website, thalo.com. Thalo.com is an artist community and networking site, for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. Thalo.com features content from around the world, with a global perspective on all things creative. Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works. Thalo is a part of the Thalo Arts community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers. From photography, to filmmaking; performing arts, to fine arts and everything in between. Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Visit thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed. That’s thalo.com

Larry Jordan: Nick Mattingly is the CEO and Co-Founder of Switcher Studio, which is an iOS app that enables anyone with an iOS device to capture and deliver multi cam events to online audiences. Recently they added Director mode, which records broadcast quality HD content and now he’s got something even cooler. Hello Nick, welcome.

Nick Mattingly: Hey, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: Tell me, how would you describe Switcher Studio?

Nick Mattingly: First off, making videos hard; it’s expensive; it takes a lot of gear to get started and we’re trying to solve those problems. If you look at the way people create content on the spectrum, from pulling out your phone, to point and shoot; to the nightly news or in [ESP] and production. We bring about 80% of the production value at the top, without any need for special hardware; so using iPhones, iPads, our Cloud services and that’s how it pools. You can start making really great video.

Larry Jordan: Why?

Nick Mattingly: I mean, there is so much content online, it’s so noisy and it’s hard to stand out; especially with the shift in live video over the past few years, where we went from news stream and [Live Trim] as the giant, to now we have Twitter and Periscope and Facebook Live. You know, as a viewer, we want that television expensive and, as someone that creates content, getting there can be really hard. With Switcher, we’re making that creation process easier and more affordable.

Larry Jordan: Where are you seeing the greatest use of Switcher Studio? Who’s picking up on it?

Nick Mattingly: It’s really been all across the board. With Switcher Studio, because of the multi camera experience, or being able to bring in your computer for a Skype call or a presentation, a lot of the use cases are still event driven. It’s a concert or a workshop; a speaking engagement, a business meeting. We have customers who are doing puppet shows on Facebook; so there are some weird ones in there. What we’ve seen is that, there’s a new kind of live video that is more spontaneous and less planned and kind of filmed first.

Nick Mattingly: That’s part of what we’re talking about today, is the new product that we’re launching called Switcher Go, that takes that more off the cuff production and enhances the quality of video that people can make and we are very, very soon to launch on Switcher Go.

Larry Jordan: I want to talk specifically about the product in one second, but one more question about Switcher. How do I use it? How does it work? Not technically in terms of how it talks to the web, but from an end user point of view. I’ve got three iPhones, what do I do next?

Nick Mattingly: Right, so to get started, you would go to our website at switcherstudio.com and create an account; email address and password. Once you’ve created that account you would go to the app store on your iPhone or iPad and download Switcher Studio. When you first launch the app you’ll have two options; it’ll say use as camera or use as switcher and if you select use as switcher, you’ll log in with those same credentials that you made on the website and now that device, that’s where the magic happens. That’s where you can be the Director and start to connect other devices, add graphics, tell it where to stream. That’s where the whole production takes place.

Nick Mattingly: Now, if you want another camera, you would launch Switch Studio on another iPhone or iPad and, as long as they’re on the same Wi-Fi network or hotspot, they’ll all be able to communicate with one another and you can start making edits on the fly.

Larry Jordan: If I wanted to use three iPhones to cover an event, whether it’s a Flash Mob or a performance or something, I would then need four cell devices, three to act as camera and one to act as the Director?

Nick Mattingly: That’s correct. Now you could do just the three devices, that main device. You can use the built-in camera; so that can serve as a source and the controller. If you want to use Director mode, it will disable the camera on that device, so that it’s just a video switcher; so that’s where you can kind of expand it to having one kind of core switchboard and then four additional sources.

Larry Jordan: And all of them need to download Switcher Studio. Is there a cost for the download or is the cost for the service on the website?

Nick Mattingly: The download is free for Switcher Studio. You would sign up for the Switcher Studio service through the website. It’s $25 a month or 299 a year and that includes access to the video mixing app, desktop tools, Cloud service and support.

Larry Jordan: Now we’ve got this new thing called Switcher Go. Tell me about that.

Nick Mattingly: Switcher Go is a very, very easy way to record video, but you can also sync with your YouTube account or Facebook account; so it’s a really easy way to do live video on YouTube and Facebook Live. But we’re going beyond just the built in camera; so yes, you can use your phone and you can stream video directly from it, but, with a lot of these native apps, the experience can be somewhat limiting. It’s just what you point your camera at. With Switcher Go, we have sliders for exposure, ISO, shutter speed. We have a slider for easing in and out when you zoom; so rather than the traditional pinch to zoom, you can get a much smoother effect that’s easier for viewers. We also have a slider for depth of field; so you can shift the focus. We do that in a way that it works across iOS devices. It’s not an iPhone 7 specific feature. Just by starting to tweak some of the camera settings, you can really improve the video quality; even if it’s just the zoom and the depth of field slider.

Nick Mattingly: Then we can take that a step further, where you can also add photos and pre-recorded video; so at Switcher Go you could use the built-in camera, but you can also add up to four photos or videos from your camera roll, that you can cut to or share with your viewers, while you’re recording or streaming.

Larry Jordan: As a former live television Director, I don’t know if I’m supposed to be really depressed by this or really excited and I think I’m both. This is an amazing tool to be able to get small cameras into the field, to cover an event of any sort and get it up to the web live, so people can see what’s going on. It’s amazing. Is Switcher Go a standalone application or does it integrate with Switcher Studio?

Nick Mattingly: It’s a great question. Switcher Go is kind of a phone first experience; we have made this free product that we really want to encourage people to look at, for making mobile video, in general; whether it’s recorded or whether it’s live. We have an easy button integration with the YouTube and Facebook live, so that you can broadcast to those channels. But, the really cool part is that, Switcher Studio users, if you create an account on our website or you’re doing more of the event type productions, can actually tap into Switcher Go users; so you can crowd source video and start to use these two products in tandem. We’re also experimenting with some new features and architectural changers in Switcher Go, that we’re going to be able to use to enhance Switcher Studio.

Nick Mattingly: We’ve built this ecosystem where these pieces work together and Switcher Studio is kind of at the top of the list and this is where everything comes together; from the Cloud services to the desktop tools, to the new Switcher Go app; it’s all under this one umbrella. Not everybody needs multi camera, that is one of the really cool things about Switcher Studio; but, you know, Switcher Go is kind of that entry point, it allows you to start creating content, to start creating better content and it allows people that are using the core Switcher Studio product to kind of bring those two worlds together.

Larry Jordan: And you’re going to tell me it actually works huh?

Nick Mattingly: It works. It works really well. We also looked at how people are creating video on mobile and what some of the limitations or frustrations are with that. Some things that are really important for video, regardless of what you’re doing, is the battery, the storage and the volume. We have introduced a notification bar within the software that’s always on screen; that shows you your battery, your storage and a VU meter. So you can see if it’s too loud or it needs to be quieter. Also what we’ve noticed with live video is that, users will sometimes start a broadcast, maybe five, ten, 15 minutes before the event actually starts; so we have the ability to mute the microphones; so you don’t have to worry about your conversations being overheard or you could run photos or videos leading up to the actual production. Not just have the room sound or whatever your phone is picking up going out there for the world to hear.

Larry Jordan: This brings up a really important point. It’s wonderful to have multiple points of video and the quality of the cameras in iOS devices are really good. But how do we get good quality audio? Because, far too often, audio is sacrificed and an interesting program becomes unwatchable?

Nick Mattingly: By default with any iOS app, it’s going to use the built-in microphone. But with Switcher Studio, we have support for Bluetooth audio; so, if you have a Bluetooth headset you can get a wireless microphone, without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a special wireless system, with a transmitter and receiver. You can also bring in external sources; so using an audio adapter like the iRig Pre. You could bring in an XLR connection to the headphone port on your mobile device. Or there are digital audio adapters that will connect to the lighting port on your iPhone or iPad. You can also use the Apple camera kit converter, to go from the lighting to a USB port, where you can bring in more traditional audio interfaces. There’s a lot of flexibility for getting better audio and that’s a really good first step toward getting better video.

Larry Jordan: An example. We’ve got an audio mixer, generates an analog sound with an XLR connector stereo. How do I get that into an iPhone?

Nick Mattingly: Right; so if you had a panel discussion or you had a couple of microphones where you’re running sound from your computer and you have a microphone on yourself, you could run that through a traditional audio mixer and take the line out; just the master feed out, via XLR or whatever connection you have available. Then use an audio adapter like the iRig Pre. It’s a $30-40 adapter that will take that XLR connection and convert it to the TRRS; the headphone port for your mobile device. There’s other variations that work with the lighting as well. We have more information available on the website for some of the gadgets that are out there, that help with those workflows.

Larry Jordan: Nick, for people that want to learn more, where can they go on the web?

Nick Mattingly: Switcherstudio.com.

Larry Jordan: Nick Mattingly is the CEO and Co-Founder of Switcher Studio and Nick, this has been a fun visit. Thanks for taking the time.

Nick Mattingly: Thank you. I’ve had a lot of help. We’ve got a great team, so, it’s not just me; but it’s been a blast and thanks for having us.

Larry Jordan: This has been a wide-ranging program, with all kinds of things to listen to and think about. I want to thank our guests this week. Paul Kobelja with VER; Terry Curren with Alpha Dogs; Dylan Higginbotham with Studio Raisins; Scott Page with Ignited Networks; Nick Mattingly with Switcher Studio; and James DeRuvo with Doddle News. There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today. Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Friday.

Larry Jordan: Talk with us on Twitter at dpbuzz and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner; with additional music provided by smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription; visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you. Our producer is Debbie Price; my name is Larry Jordan. Have yourself a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2016 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz – November 24, 2016

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Paul Kobelja, Nick Mattingly, Terry Curren, Dylan Higginbotham, Scott Page, and James DeRuvo.

  • Change Backgrounds Without Green Screen
  • Stream Live Video on YouTube With Your iPhone
  • Challenges to Finishing in 4K
  • Developing Plug-ins For Final Cut Pro X
  • Improve Your Social Media Promotion Techniques
  • Our Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

(To download the show, right-click Download and click “Save Link As…”)

Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Featured Interview #1: Change Backgrounds Without Green Screen

Paul Kobelja
Paul Kobelja, Production Technology Specialist, VER

VER is expanding from rentals into new technology. One of these is a wall of LEDs that replaces traditional green screen keying. Tonight, Paul Kobelja, production technology specialist at VER, tells us about a new way create backgrounds that’s in use in some very big films.

Featured Interview #2: Stream Live Video on YouTube With Your iPhone

Nick Mattingly
Nick Mattingly, CEO, Co-Founder, Switcher Studio

Nick Mattingly, CEO and co-founder of Switcher Studio, developed a way to stream live multicam camera video using iPhones. Tonight, he tells us about his latest technology that allows streaming via YouTube Live.

Challenges to Finishing in 4K

Terry Curren
Terry Curren, Founder/President, Alpha Dogs Inc.

Terrance Curren is the founder and president of Alpha Dogs, an LA-based post-production house. He’s also the head of Editor’s Lounge, a gathering place for professional editors. Tonight, he discusses the challenges in editing, color grading and outputting 4K media, based on his experiences with their latest feature film project.

Developing Plug-ins For Final Cut Pro X

Dylan Higginbotham
Dylan Higginbotham, Creator, Stupid Raisins

Dylan Higginbotham, the founder of Stupid Raisins, is a full-time plug-in developer for Final Cut Pro X. Tonight, he talks about what its like to develop plug-ins, what plug-ins are popular and what he’s watching for the future.

Improve Your Social Media Promotion Techniques

Scott Page
Scott Page, CEO, Ignited Networks

The world of technology changes on a daily basis, as does how we need to get the word out about our projects. Tonight, we welcome back Scott Page, CEO of Ignited Networks, who tells us about the latest evolution in social media, how to get up to speed in the messaging world and what exactly is a HIVE!

DoddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

James DeRuvo, Senior Writer at DoddleNEWS, has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. Covering technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James presents our weekly DoddleNEWS Update.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – November 17, 2016

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Cirina Catania, Founder and Lead Creative, The Catania Group
Per Larsson, Director of Photography, Perlarssondp.com
Justin Thomson, Founder, Ashridge Films
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System
Chris Bross, Chief Technology Officer, DriveSavers Data Recovery
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

===

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are looking at shooting under extreme conditions, from above the Arctic Circle to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, to the uncharted jungles of the Amazon. We start with Cirina Catania, a filmmaker who’s traveled to the remote corners of the world shooting for National Geographic and other network channels. Tonight, Cirina shares her thoughts on picking the right gear for an extreme shoot.

Larry Jordan: Next is Philip Hodgetts who designed a media and network system for a sailing ship creating a series of shows on the Pacific Ocean. Tonight, he explains his media management and communication systems.

Larry Jordan: Justin Thomson is another filmmaker who just returned from a shoot inside the Arctic Circle. Tonight he shares what gear worked, and what didn’t and what he learned during his shoot.

Larry Jordan: Chris Bross is the chief technology officer for DriveSavers Data Recovery. Tonight Chris shares his thoughts on what to do when you suddenly discover all your data is gone.

Larry Jordan: Per Larsson was nominated for six Emmy’s and won two for his cinematography on The Amazing Race for CBS. For ten years he was in some of the most remote places on earth. Tonight he tells us how he brought back all those stunning images of The Amazing Race.

Larry Jordan: All this, plus James DeRuvo with our weekly DoddleNEWS update The Buzz starts now.

Announcer: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking – authoritative – one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals – current – uniting industry experts: production, filmmakers, post production and content creators around the planet – distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.

Larry Jordan: And welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry covering media production, post production and marketing around the world. We’re celebrating our 17th year of podcasting.

Larry Jordan: Hi, my name is Larry Jordan and tonight we’re looking at shooting outside on the road in extreme conditions. We’ll look at how to pick the gear, how to manage your media and two examples of extreme shooting, one from above the Arctic Circle, and the other covering ‘The Amazing Race.’ For those of you that haven’t seen it, ‘The Amazing Race’ is a reality television show where teams of people race around the world competing with other teams. They use airplanes, hot air balloons, helicopters, trucks, bicycles, taxis, cars, trains, buses, boats, and even foot. In other words, shooting these episodes is a major challenge, and by the way, ‘The Amazing Race’ has won 13 prime time Emmys for outstanding reality competition program. We’ll learn more about that talking with our last guest today.

Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue, every week gives you an inside look at The Buzz, quick links to the different segments on the show and curated articles of special interest to filmmakers. And best of all, every issue is free, and comes out on Friday.

Larry Jordan: Now it’s time for our DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan: So what’s shaking? What’s the news?

James DeRuvo: Earlier this month Adobe had their annual Adobe MAX Conference and one of the most popular sessions that they hold is called the ‘Adobe Previews,’ which is basically where they show all the things that they’re working on that are over the horizon that aren’t ready to be released yet but they want to show them off. At this one, they came out with a new thing called ‘Project Clover VR’ which is a virtual reality editing interface. It works with the Oculus Rift headset and the touch controls, and what they found is that editors who are editing virtual reality will edit what they do, then they’ll render it, put the headset on, take a look at it, realize that there’s one frame too many or “I don’t like that cut” and then they take off the headset, and go and lather, rinse, repeat. They’ve created this new interface which puts the editing timeline right inside of virtual space. You literally wear the Oculus Rift headset all the time, with the controllers, and you edit inside the virtual space. So you’re in this spherical editing timeline which is pretty crazy.

James DeRuvo: They have this thing called the rotational alignment tool which enables you to align all the cameras so that you can determine where the story is taking it from the shots that are available from the virtual reality camera. That enables you to keep the audience’s interest where you want it to be in the timeline rather than just looking around. Imagine if you watching ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and right where Darth Vader said, “I am your father,” the audience is looking at Luke. So that’s what the rotational alignment tool is going to enable editors to do. It’s just a really cool, bleeding edge editing interface that enables you to edit in virtual reality. It’s not going to be in ‘Creative Cloud’ any time soon, but I’m betting that the way things are going with virtual reality, we’re going to see it a lot sooner than later.

Larry Jordan: What else have we got?

James DeRuvo: I was perusing Indiegogo this week and I came across this really cool product called the ‘GearEye Gear Management System.’

Larry Jordan: I’ve heard about that. Go ahead.

James DeRuvo: The idea behind it is to be able to determine, when you’re on location, it will allow you at a glance to take inventory of all of your gear to make sure you have it all. Then if you don’t, it helps you to go find it. It uses these little small RFID tags that you stick to all of your gear, cameras, lenses, flashes, lights, whatever it is and it can keep track of up to 80 items at a time. It’s got customizable inventory lists, so if you have a special gear list for weddings, and a special gear list for interviews, and a special gear list for documentary, you can actually use those to put together all the gear that you’re going to carry, and then when you’re there you’re not carrying gear that you’re never going to use. You’re always going to just have the gear that you use for those particular shoots. Then this little dongle which you keep in your camera bag or attaches to your phone, will basically query all the RFID tags and then the app on your phone will do a head count to make sure you have everything. Then if you don’t, it helps you go find it. There’s these little arrows, they’ll tell you, “Oh it’s over there” and then you go find your gear. So it’s going to help you keep track of gear so you don’t lose it, you’ll be able to put these tags on the gear and keep track of up to 80 items at a time and it’s really cool, they’ve really thought this out. It’s going to be a really great way for small film crews, or even large film crews, to keep track of all their gear. I really like it. ‘GearEye Gear Management System.’

Larry Jordan: The thing I like about it is RFID tags don’t require batteries, they pull power out of the air. So, as we’re talking about extreme shooting today, you can take these things in the wild, and not have to worry about running out of batteries.

James DeRuvo: Yes, they don’t die which is a really crazy thing. The thing I like about it is that you can customize all the inventory lists.

Larry Jordan: Very true.

James DeRuvo: So that way you’re not carrying gear you don’t need. How many times do we carry gear that we never use? You don’t need it. Gear you don’t need, you can leave at home.

Larry Jordan: James, for people that want to keep track of the latest news, where can they go on the web?

James DeRuvo: All these stories and more can be found at Doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS, and James, we’ll chat with you next week. Thanks so very much.

James DeRuvo: Have a great weekend.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: I want to introduce you to a new website, Thalo.com. Thalo.com is an artist community and networking site for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. Thalo.com features content from around the world with a global perspective on all things creative. Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works. Thalo is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers, and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Visit Thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed. That’s Thalo.com.

Larry Jordan: Cirina Catania is a successful writer, director, journalist and tech evangelist. She’s a former senior marketing executive at MGM UA and United Artists, and one of the original co-founders of the ‘Sundance Film Festival’ and best of all, she’s a good friend of The Buzz. Hello Cirina, welcome back.

Cirina Catania: Well hi Larry.

Larry Jordan: It is wonderful to hear your voice, I have missed you all these many weeks.

Cirina Catania: I’ve missed you too.

Larry Jordan: I was thinking as I was getting ready for this segment, I still remember the stories you told of shooting in the heart of the Amazon River and all the crazy trips you took for all the documentaries you were putting together. If you were going on an extreme shoot today, what gear would you take?

Cirina Catania: You know, first of all, check the weather. I know that sounds silly but check the weather, and prepare for heat, prepare for cold, prepare for extreme cold, or prepare for a lot of moisture, like in the Amazon it was 97 percent humidity when it wasn’t actually raining. So we had to prep all the equipment and make sure that everything stayed dry. That was the hardest part. So lots of dry bags.

Larry Jordan: Would you change your gear if you were going cold versus hot? I mean, does the gear change based on the weather?

Cirina Catania: The gear doesn’t necessarily change. Some cameras are more susceptible to cold and heat than others are, so you do have to watch out for the gear. I actually had a Sony recording device melt on the set of ‘Stargate’, it was so hot, 120 degrees in the shade, and there was no shade, and it literally started to melt. So you have to be careful. You have to bring protection for your gear. If things are cold you have to have maybe a ski warmer for your batteries, or you have to have a place in your jacket that you know you’re going to keep your batteries so they stay warm because a battery that would normally last for 45 minutes or an hour or longer on some cameras, will probably only last ten minutes. In Prague, it’s below zero and snowing. You have to think about that.

Larry Jordan: Let’s tackle this in two chunks. Let’s say that we’re going to the Amazon and we’ve got a whole bunch of heat and humidity to work with. If the gear doesn’t change, what are you doing to protect it?

Cirina Catania: In that case, I had to bring cameras that were actually underwater cameras. Cameras that could sustain the high moisture for long periods of time. So I took some of the old Sony’s with me for that. I used the pocket camera with a special cover on certain occasions, but everything was in dry bags. All the peripherals were in dry bags and at night everything went into the dry bag.

Larry Jordan: What is a dry bag?

Cirina Catania: There’s different kinds of dry bags. I go on Sportsman’s Guide and I actually buy some of the dry bags that hunters use when they go out into extreme weather, because we were in kayaks in the middle of the Amazon River, so things were just getting wet. But they would be tied to the side of the kayak. You can go to stores like A16 in Los Angeles and you can buy hiking dry bags, dry bags that cater for fishermen, hikers that kind of thing.

Cirina Catania: For the audio equipment, what I did was I took underwater cases for your iPhone, and I put the H1N audio recorders in those and ran the wires out of the dry bags and up the people’s waterproof clothing and the lav was tucked underneath some of the clothes so we could still hear them. That was a little bit tough. I know there are sound engineers out there that are probably better at that than I am but it was wet. Oh my gosh, it was just hot and wet.

Larry Jordan: We’re going to talk with Philip Hodgetts in a few minutes about his approach to media management, but from your point of view, would you change the codecs that you shoot based upon being in the field and the media that you record on? Or what would you use for maximum security?

Cirina Catania: No. I think the underlying technology is the thing. But the way you manage it might be different. We didn’t have any power in the Amazon so I was running off solar power, and it’s very hard to manage media when you don’t have a lot of power to keep your laptop running. I brought a laptop, but I was very rarely able to use it. I relied mostly on Nexto DIs which are these wonderful SSD drives that can import your media and make digital copies of them for you running off batteries. So that’s what I did in the Amazon.

Larry Jordan: What was something you thought was essential that you needed to take on your trip that you never used?

Cirina Catania: I didn’t need as many changes of clothing as I took. I think what you have to do when you prepare for an extreme shoot is you have to think about every, what I call departments. You have to think about grip, about electrics, about how you’re going to light, about how you’re going to shoot. You have to think about DIT and then with each of those departments, pick the thing that you need the most, and figure out whether or not it’s going to work in the environment you’re going to be in, and start taking out anything you don’t need. Now I did take some extra things that I was going to use in Lima in the city that I left in the city when we went to sleep in our tree hammocks in the Amazon. That’s stuff I left behind, extra things that you love to have when you’re shooting that you don’t have when you’re carrying the backpack on your back. You need your camera, you need some lighting equipment and you need good audio. And that’s about it.

Larry Jordan: Has your remote kit gotten bigger or smaller over time?

Cirina Catania: Thank heavens the technology’s gotten smaller. I used to shoot these kinds of things using the Zoom, the 4N, and now I use Zoom H1N. I’m in New York right now at ‘The Equus Film Festival,’ and I know that’s not an extreme shoot, but I was limited on the amount of gear I could take because I have another shoot right after this and I can’t take all the gear with me. So I’m shooting this event with literally one small carry on and a backpack with my equipment in it.

Larry Jordan: I do remember the time when we took a bread truck around just to be able to get a single camera to work.

Cirina Catania: I know, can you believe it? It’s changed so much. It’s really changed so much. While I’m doing this interview, I’ve got the Nexto doing a check sum on a 64 gig card that got full.

Larry Jordan: It sounds like you would pick your gear, the camera, the microphones, the audio recorder, as though you’re doing a standard studio shoot, because you want to get the best quality you can. It’s the surrounding stuff, what you put the gear in and how you protect it that changes. Am I getting that correct?

Cirina Catania: Partly but for example I can’t go to the Amazon with my 4K Blackmagic cinema camera or the big URSA. I have to take the pocket camera with the Redrock micro retroflex rig on it that has an electronic shutter. So that is very small, it’s very lightweight but the thing is I need to bring extra batteries, but even those are small. So you do have to adjust the cameras as well.

Larry Jordan: What advice do you have for a filmmaker that’s about to start their first big outside project? What questions do they need to ask themselves?

Cirina Catania: They need to find out what the end use is for what they’re shooting. They need to not over pack. You don’t need a huge fancy rig just to look fancy. Keep it minimum. I call it naked shooting. I shoot with as little equipment as possible. I bring the camera, I bring a great lens and I bring whatever I need to protect the camera, but I don’t need to bring big shoots, matte boxes, rods and shoulder rigs when I can do without them.

Larry Jordan: How do you keep your gear safe when you’re traveling?

Cirina Catania: That’s a scary one. Unfortunately, when you travel things always go missing, for me at least, and that’s normally at the airport. I got to South Africa a few years ago and I had packed all my extra batteries, before you were unable to pack lithium batteries in your suitcase, and all my batteries were taken. So one of the things I do is take one of the big dry bags I have and put it in my suitcase with all the small stuff in it. I turn it upside down so it’s harder to unzip and then I put stuff on top of it. That has actually saved people from quickly reaching in and stealing some of the small really valuable stuff.

Larry Jordan: As you look at it, between shooting in Prague in the winter and the Amazon in the middle of whatever passes for dry season, what are some of the challenges you have of shooting remotely? Aside from trying to figure out what the story is and get your people on camera.

Cirina Catania: I was shooting with the crew this time for National Geographic, and we’re shooting ‘Chasing Lightning.’ We actually had quite a few cameras on that shoot but one of the Phantom cameras that was our key camera, had a technical problem and in order to fix that we had to send one of our crew members a good 12 hours away there, and another 12 hours back to get a replacement camera. So I think it’s accessibility to health, if you have a problem that’s why you really need to think ahead about what could possibly happen, and redundancy. I’ll tell you a story if I have time.

Larry Jordan: Go ahead.

Cirina Catania: I was shooting in Oregon up in the mountains. First day and I had a Rode Go Mic Pro on top of my camera and sometimes those things come loose. I was walking around with the camera, and it was kind of dangling from the chord, and unbeknownst to me, it went missing and I looked at the person that I was shooting, and I said, “What happened? My microphone’s gone.” We looked across the yard, and the dog had it. It must have thought it was some kind of animal and he was shaking it and growling with the microphone which of course wasn’t good for the mike. But luckily, I had two H1N’s so I made it through the shoot OK.

Larry Jordan: Plan on having extra gear just in case the dog decides to eat the microphone?

Cirina Catania: You’ve heard of the dog ate my homework, well this time the dog ate my microphone.

Larry Jordan: Cirina, for people that want to keep track of what you’re up to, what website can they go to?

Cirina Catania: Go to thecataniagroup.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, thecataniagroup.com and Cirina Catania is the founder and principal creative artists for The Catania Group. Cirina, thanks so very much, have a great shoot in New York and travel safely.

Cirina Catania: OK thank you Larry. Bye.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Philip Hodgetts is a technologist and the CEO of Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System. Even better, he’s the technology expert for The Buzz. Hello Philip, welcome back.

Philip Hodgetts: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Philip, tonight we’re talking about shooting in extreme conditions, and I was just thinking, here we are, carrying all our irreplaceable dailies on our back in some very difficult conditions. It makes sense to get these sent safely to Dropbox or a server on the web, but how do we do it? How do we access the web from the middle of nowhere?

Philip Hodgetts: Unfortunately, the accessing of the web from the middle of nowhere and using the web or the cloud for uploading media, are slightly incompatible goals. Dammit. Effectively, if we’re going to have the internet wherever we go, and the particular example I’m thinking about was a boat trip, the only really practical way to do that is to have some sort of cellular data service, or preferably more than one. That way you can have data when you’re moving, but as we all know, they are not high traffic connections. They’re not too slow, but you’ll have serious restrictions on the bandwidth. So I split that problem into two separate problems for when I tried to deal with it back in 2012.

Larry Jordan: How did you deal with it back in 2012?

Philip Hodgetts: The simplest part of it was to decide that we were probably going to shoot either eight or 16 gigabytes per day. In hindsight, I should have said 16 and 32, we more commonly shot 12 to 24, so I underestimated on that badly. But the idea was that we simply bought up a lot of USB memory sticks, and on location we duplicated everything onto two copies, posted them independently so they went two different paths through the postal system, back to a central base, so we would have a back up as well as onboard the boat, we kept a duplicate copy of the raid every day doing an rsync on it to make sure that everything that we’d captured and worked on during the day was backed up onto a RAID. Because we were in a marine environment, a high salt environment largely, so the likelihood of having a mechanical RAID fail is highly likely.

Larry Jordan: Philip, if we have to upload 16 gigabytes of data over our internet connection, it isn’t going to happen. Does that mean that we should just ignore the internet totally when we’re on the road?

Philip Hodgetts: I think the internet has become such an invaluable tool that we can’t ignore the internet. Really in our project we had two different networks on two different ipads, plus two mi-fi like base stations again on two different networks so that we had the best possibility of getting coverage wherever we were.

Larry Jordan: So we should probably not use the web for media, but use it for staying connected?

Philip Hodgetts: Absolutely. That’s where it still has the highest value for us right now. Uploading media? Maybe that’s something for the future, but it’s certainly not something we can do now.

Larry Jordan: If that’s true, and I believe that in the middle of the Pacific Ocean it would be difficult to get high bandwidth, then how do we protect our media? What do we have to do, especially in hostile environments like high salt or high humidity or all the other stuff we deal with when we’re not in a big city?

Philip Hodgetts: By providing as much redundancy as we possibly can. The only way we can hope to make sure our media is going to be protected is using multiple copies. As I said, we had a duplicate G-Tech RAID onboard. Didn’t spin all the time, it spun up only at the end of the day and we did a copy to make sure that everything that we had captured during the day was copied onto at least one duplication, and then each day’s shooting was also put onto two memory sticks, and every second day we sent those two memory sticks by mail from wherever we were, if we could actually get to a postal service every second day, and posted them. That was the only way. We had onboard and then we had dual backup off board. So the only way is this redundancy, redundancy, and for another step, redundancy. Probably if I was doing it now I’d probably built an LTO into the budget.

Larry Jordan: Before we talk LTO, would you copy stuff to an SSD RAID, or would you do it to spinning media? Which do you think is a better option, again when you’re outside civilization?

Philip Hodgetts: I would choose SSD if budget was not an overriding issue. It generally is unfortunately. But certainly an SSD is going to be a lot more immune to environmental factors than spinning disks. Even though they’re sealed, the environment is still going to take its wear and tear on connectors and other parts of the spinning disk environment. So I would definitely prefer SSD in challenging environments over spinning disks simply because they don’t have spinning components, they’re not so mechanical.

Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, temperature and humidity, does that make a big difference to an SSD system?

Philip Hodgetts: Nowhere near as much as it does to a spinning disk system. I’m not aware of any humidity limits, I’m sure there are temperature limits but I have the feeling that the temperature limits for the person operating the RAID are probably going to be more tolerable than the temperature limits of the SSD. So if you’re comfortable, it’s comfortable. If you’re not comfortable, the electronic device is probably not comfortable either. It’s always been my rule of thumb.

Larry Jordan: if you wanted to future proof yourself, what codec would you shoot?

Philip Hodgetts: Again, if budget’s not a consideration I would say let’s go with ProRes or DNxHD, and more gear shoots ProRes than DNxHD simply because it’s overall a more archive friendly codec, even though it’s larger.

Larry Jordan: Interesting thoughts. Philip for people who want to keep track of what your current thinking is, where can they go on the web?

Philip Hodgetts: Philiphodgetts.com and be prepared to get some artificial intelligence thoughts there.

Larry Jordan: The Philip Hodgetts himself is the technologist that we’re talking to, CEO of Intelligence Assistance and Lumberjack System. Philip, as always, thank you, this is fun.

Philip Hodgetts: My pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Justin Thomson is an actor, a filmmaker, and the founder of Ashridge Films. He just recently returned from a film shoot above the Arctic Circle. Now that has got to create some stories. Hello Justin, welcome back.

Justin Thomson: Greetings, it’s good to be back.

Larry Jordan: So, I have to ask, what were you doing inside the Arctic Circle?

Justin Thomson: We were shooting a feature film, a docudrama with a little bit of science fiction in it if you can have that possibility, about a deep sea diver who has an encounter with the ocean. And the ocean wants to explore the human world.

Larry Jordan: Why did you decide to shoot above the Arctic Circle? We’ve got oceans down here in LA or Florida which are a whole lot warmer.

Justin Thomson: Sure, we were definitely thinking about that while we were sitting on a small Zodiac in the middle of the freezing ocean. But there’s a certain authenticity that, when you’re in the location where we were. It also makes our job very easy because you literally just put down the tripod and focus your lenses and you’re going to get some pretty amazing footage.

Larry Jordan: You were shooting both on the ice, and in the water. How did you cope with the extreme environments?

Justin Thomson: A lot of tea. As far as equipment goes we were pretty fortunate. We had some pretty intense underwater housings for the equipment. The time of year that we were shooting which was just last month, it wasn’t quite that cold yet, so we could shoot underwater with the equipment for about 45 minutes before we needed to get out and actually start heating things up again, including the divers. It didn’t come without its problems in the cold. We did lose one drone, so it’s now a gift to Zeus.

Larry Jordan: Many items of equipment don’t work well in extreme cold, not to mention batteries which die almost immediately. How did you get around these problems?

Justin Thomson: Probably the old fashioned technique, which was just stick it under your armpit and try to keep it as warm as possible under all your thermals.

Larry Jordan: People walking round looking like chickens.

Justin Thomson: Exactly. And just hope you don’t sweat too much so you don’t electrocute yourself. But we also had some thermal bags in order to try and keep equipment as warm as possible, and then we’d make sure that anything that we were filming, we would assume that we would get 50 percent or less battery life. So with the drone, we usually kept it to very short flights, but despite our calculations, we still lost one, but that’s OK because the footage we got despite it was fantastic.

Larry Jordan: Did you have more problems with your gear or your data?

Justin Thomson: Actually we were pretty OK on everything. Data, obviously you have to be very diligent because you’re in such a remote location. It’s not easy to go back and get a pick up, so we had everything backed up in quadruplet on hard drives, and we’d go through and your DIT has to be really diligent to make sure everything is there. Equipment wise, everything worked really well. The only issue that we had was we were using RED DRAGON with Russian anamorphic lenses from the 70s so that just caused a lot of weight and strain and a little bit of bending because it’s such extreme wide angles with the anamorphic. But in the end we were able to get everything that we needed to and it looks really beautiful.

Larry Jordan: Shooting in extreme environments is nothing like shooting in the city. What advice would you give to someone to prepare for their first shoot where it’s that cold?

Justin Thomson: Well I would say it’s not just a matter of where it’s cold, but anytime you’re going to a remote location, make sure you don’t just have backups but you have two or three backups behind that, because like I said it’s not easy to just get something from a store down the road. And always try to have a lot of equipment which allows you flexibility because sometimes if you get too specific with things, you miss out on opportunities because you never know, once you get there, things change so you have to be adaptable.

Larry Jordan: And for people that want more information, where can they go on the web to learn about you and your film?

Justin Thomson: The film website is aquatilis.tv, and they can follow me on Instagram at bejustincredible.

Larry Jordan: Justin Thomson is the voice you were just listening to. Justin, thanks for chatting with us today.

Justin Thomson: Always a pleasure. Great to hear your voice.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Chris Bross is the chief technology officer at ‘DriveSavers Data Recovery.’ He’s responsible for strategic partnerships, academic collaborations, as well as facilitating discussions with leading storage designers, manufacturers and industry groups. He currently guides DriveSavers’ R&D team on solid state drive technologies and tools. Hello Chris, how are you?

Chris Bross: Hello Larry. I am doing just fine thank you.

Larry Jordan: Chris, we are out in the middle of nowhere and suddenly discover that some of our media has gone missing. We can’t go back and reshoot. Besides screaming and yelling which is the very first thing we’re going to do, what should we do after that?

Chris Bross: Well, I assume when you say gone missing, you mean that physically you still have it in your possession, but you can’t read the data that’s on it?

Larry Jordan: Let’s say yes, as opposed to somebody stealing the chips which would just be terrible. But we’ve got the chips and we can’t find our media.

Chris Bross: Understood. Well, it’s a common problem on all kinds of media. Today of course most of the stuff in the field that most of these listeners are using is going to be flash based. But these devices fail in the field, so if you haven’t already experienced it, you will experience the inability to read a card with very valuable data or a drive full of something you’ve just shot, and had not yet replicated. When you’re in the field, there’s not a lot you can do typically to resolve a failure on one of these devices, but the good news is that a laboratory service like ours can typically revive that device once we get it into the laboratory and pull your valuable data off of it.

Larry Jordan: What should we do in the field to keep our data safe? Should we write it to spinning media, old hard disks, or should we write it to flash media? And if we’re dealing with extremes of temperature as we’ve been talking about in this show, or humidity, is one recording mechanism better than another?

Chris Bross: Great questions. Today solid state storage is really the way to go in environmentally extreme conditions or where ruggedized solutions make sense. Yes there are ruggedized versions of spinning drives, but today in the field, you want speed, reliability, availability and solid state storage is more tolerant to environment conditions and to shock. But, in some cases, you need additional storage in the field and sometimes you need the capacity of disk. When you do, there are ruggedized small RAID solutions that are waterproof and fireproof that can go with you, and lastly, replicate as soon as possible. I know that’s an obvious given, but in extreme conditions, make sure you get a secondary copy of that raw footage as quickly as you can.

Larry Jordan: Well how safe is the data that’s stored on a camera card? How likely is it to fail? Yes it can fail, but exactly how paranoid do I need to be?

Chris Bross: It’s amazing the extremes that, for example, most SD card media can handle today. Some manufacturers, I think like SanDisk might even post on their website the extreme ranges of submersion, underwater or pressure or temperature that these cards can sustain. The reality is that when failure occurs, or when something happens to your media like it’s underwater or it’s frozen or something, once in a controlled environment, data can be pulled off that device, but don’t ever give up hope in the field. Secure it into a plastic bag, hold it, and if it’s something really valuable we can deal with back in the lab.

Larry Jordan: What advice do you have for filmmakers shooting in extreme environments? What are the things they must keep in mind?

Chris Bross: A couple of things we just addressed, like primary storage should be solid state if possible. Replicating stuff in remote environments is sometimes a challenge, but of course, you need to do that. We had a case where we worked on a recording rig at 120,000 feet on a weather balloon that crashed. They were not replicating in real time, but they were sending part of the data back to earth, while the rest of it was on the storage. Luckily, even that was ultimately recoverable.

Larry Jordan: Chris, for people that want to learn more about what ‘DriveSavers’ can do to save their data, where can they go on the web?

Chris Bross: You can find us at Drivesavers.com, we’re always open and always available to help.

Larry Jordan: Chris Bross is the chief technology officer for ‘DriveSavers Data Recovery.’ Chris, thanks for joining us today.

Chris Bross: Thank you Larry, it’s always a pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. Doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals. DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go. Doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: Per Larsson is a cinematographer. Born in Sweden, he’s best known for his international work on CBS’ ‘The Amazing Race’ where he was the director of photography for ten years. He’s been nominated for six Emmys, he’s won two, and it is an honor to say welcome Per, good to chat with you.

Per Larsson: Thank you very much, I’m happy to be here.

Larry Jordan: What first got you interested in cinematography?

Per Larsson: My background is actually photojournalism. It started in Sweden and then I moved to Los Angeles in 1989 and ended up working for CNN here in Los Angeles for about five years. Then moved on from there.

Larry Jordan: How did you get involved with ‘The Amazing Race?’

Per Larsson: I did a TV show called ‘Cops,’ which is one of the longest running shows I think on television up to date. On that show was another person called Bertram van Munster who is the executive producer for ‘The Amazing Race.’ So we met and a few years later on he started ‘The Amazing Race’ and then I was one of his people on his list.

Larry Jordan: If I remember correctly, you worked for ‘The Amazing Race’ for ten years which was filming all over the world. How many people did you have on your team?

Per Larsson: There are 11 teams competing on ‘The Amazing Race,’ and therefore we had 11 cameras. There’s one camera dedicated to one team. There’s only a camera and a sound person. There are no producers with us, so the camera crew are basically producing themselves, and do all the interviews as we run and go and sit in the taxis, the train stations and airports. So that’s how that show has been made.

Larry Jordan: How did you get a consistent look if you’ve got 11 teams scattered all over creation and back? It’s impossible to get shots to match or even think of the same style. How did you pull it all together?

Per Larsson: It’s a very good question. I’ve been asked that before, and I said that’s one of the most difficult things to make it seamless, to make the show look as even and good looking as possible throughout every episode and with 11 different camera operators, being at 11 different locations, shooting different things. So, that’s why you teach them. You have to teach them to understand that this is a multi-camera TV show. It’s not a single camera TV show. So, when you shoot and tell a story, you have to somewhat frame similar all the time. Medium wide tight, medium wide tight. So you know when you go into it tight, everybody else is framing somewhat similar.

Larry Jordan: What sort of gear did you standardize on, and I know over the life of the show the gear changed, but as you were working on it more recently, did you standardize so all crews had the same gear?

Per Larsson: Yes. Well actually when ‘The Amazing Race’ started in 2001, we started with the Beta SP camera and we did that for about five seasons. Then I proposed to switch to another format which is called IMX. It’s also a DigiBeta format. The difference for us is that it is DigiBeta and it’s a 16 minute tape load versus a 30 minute tape load with the older version. We also have four XLR audio inputs so now for the first time, we could actually have camera mic working when the wireless microphones for example, if the battery shuts down, you have no audio whatsoever. So the camera mic is always a back up for a number of minutes, until the sound man is able to swap out the batteries.

Larry Jordan: Did I hear correctly that you shot the first five seasons in standard def and you were still shooting in standard def after that?

Per Larsson: Yes we did. We didn’t switch cameras until I think season 16 or 17. So they actually switched to the XDCAM, the Sony XDCAM which are disk, but up till that point we shot on the DigiBeta tape IMX camera for a very long time.

Larry Jordan: An editorial comment here, one can win Emmys while still shooting standard def. I just want to make that point.

Per Larsson: There you go. True. Exactly. It was I guess a little bit before all the hype with the 1080, you know, I think 1080 was just coming around at that time, and 16:9, while we were still shooting 4:3. So it’s kind of funny that way. But regarding the earlier question about keeping the look, I also paint the camera, meaning that I basically color the camera on the inside. I sit with an engineer and have him painting the camera for me. I have a specific image in my head to make it work for ‘The Amazing Race,’ because we have to shoot in so many natural situations where we have fluorescent lights and there’s a different color on all tubes around the world. So in order for us to ever have a white balance, we don’t have time to white balance, it’s all pre-setting colors, in the camera. So I have to paint the camera in such a way that it will be looking good whatever they do, whatever decision they make.

Larry Jordan: How much time did you and your crews have to prepare for a location?

Per Larsson: I sit prior to the show, just me being the DP, I sit with what we call the country producers at the office, and then go through every episode. But once we start shooting, the other camera crews really don’t know anything and that’s the excitement too. It also makes the person drive themself not knowing, so you’ll be hungry for telling a story. If you know too much ahead of time you may be relaxed too much, and that’s part of how we think, how we want to shoot the show as well. Because we want the camera crew to be excited.

Larry Jordan: How did you manage media? You’ve had 11 crews all over. Are they keeping the media and how are you keeping it safe and preventing losing critical shots?

Per Larsson: We all carry backpacks. That’s our livelihood. We have a backpack which fits one pair of zip off pants, two pair of socks, two pair of underwear, two shirts and then ten tapes, and the batteries, and the battery charger. They’re all self providing, everything by yourself. So back in the day, one episode can take one to two days. It’s a little different today in 2016, but this was their early years of the Race before they made it more simple, more formatted in an easier way. So we had ten tapes and at the end of every episode, what we call the pit stop, we drop off the shot tapes which is usually ten tapes. Then we reload. So then the production will take the tapes and ship the tapes back to Los Angeles. When we run, we also have to sleep overnight. We don’t stay at hotels very often, we sleep wherever the contestants sleep which can be on the sidewalk or in the forest or near the actual location where the competition’s going to take place the next morning.

Larry Jordan: It’s one thing to be a contestant for a single season, but you worked it for ten seasons. Did you end up hating the show or loving the show?

Per Larsson: Ten years. We do two seasons a year.

Larry Jordan: Oh, of course.

Per Larsson: I was there for 14, 15 seasons altogether.

Larry Jordan: So did you end up loving the show or hating it, because it’s got to be grueling?

Per Larsson: There’s a hate love relationship. You love it, but when you are tired and not having had food, haven’t slept for 24 hours, then you’re asking yourself what are you doing and why are you doing it? But having the photojournalistic instinct, it’s part of the passion too. You love to tell a story and it is exciting and working on ‘The Amazing Race,’ you will do things and go to places you probably will never ever go by yourself or not working. You go to these rural areas that you would never think about. So that is part of the excitement why everybody comes back. All camera crews, when I was there, they all came back. They all stayed with me. I also hired most of the camera crews, and they all stayed with me until I ended up leaving. Which was fantastic.

Larry Jordan: For filmmakers that are getting ready to plan their first outside shoot, an extreme shoot, what should they keep in mind?

Per Larsson: A lot of planning. Our show is different, but lots of planning and I think that you should always bring more than you need. You always say, “I only need this” but something always happens, so I think one of the key things is to bring more than you need because something will break or you may need something that you did not expect prior to leaving. But our show is very different. It’s all hand held, it’s just a camera, and the batteries and tapes. That’s all we have. We run and follow these people and tell a story.

Larry Jordan: Per, for people that want to keep track of what you’re doing and the kind of work you’re working on today, where can they go on the web?

Per Larsson: They can go on my website, perlarssondp.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, perlarssondp, perlarssondp.com. And Per Larsson is the cinematographer, and worked on ‘The Amazing Race’ for what seems like forever. Per thanks for joining us today.

Per Larsson: Thank you very much, I’m glad to be here. Thank you much.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Per Larsson: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: It’s an amazing environment working in extreme shooting from picking gear and making sure that you’ve got something to take its place when it breaks, to working with a very small team of people and being able to think on your feet. It’s been a fascinating conversation today looking at how to choose the gear, and how to manage our media, and how to deal with very extreme environments of humidity and water and cold and just never knowing where you’re going to go next.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week starting with Cirina Catania, and Philip Hodgetts, Justin Thomson, Chris Bross, Per Larsson and James DeRuvo.

Larry Jordan: There is a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online, and all available to you today. And remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Friday. Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.

Larry Jordan: Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription. Visit Take1.tv to learn how they can help you, and if you haven’t read one of our transcripts, it’s a fun way to search through and find the interesting stuff in the show.
Larry Jordan: Our producer is Debbie Price. My name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2016 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz – November 17, 2016

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Cirina Catania, Per Larsson, Justin Thomson, Philip Hodgetts, Chris Bross, and James DeRuvo.

  • Picking the Right Gear for A Shoot
  • Shooting CBS’ “The Amazing Race”
  • Shooting Films in the Arctic Circle
  • Connect to the Web from the Road
  • Protect and Recover Your Precious Media
  • Our Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

View Show Transcript

Listen to the Full Episode

(To download the show, right-click Download and click “Save Link As…”)

Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Featured Interview #1: Picking the Right Gear for A Shoot

Cirina Catania
Cirina Catania, Founder and Lead Creative, The Catania Group

Cirina Catania is a documentary filmmaker who is no stranger to filming in difficult environments. Her work has appeared on the National Geographic Channel, among many others. Tonight we talk with her about picking the right equipment to bring on a shoot, how to minimize the amount of gear you need, and how to determine if something is really necessary.

Featured Interview #2: Shooting CBS’ “The Amazing Race”

Per Larsson
Per Larsson, Director of Photography, Perlarssondp.com

For ten years, Per Larsson was the cinematographer for CBS’ “The Amazing Race.” This network show required shooting under extraordinary circumstances. Tonight, Per tells us what gear he used, how he kept his media safe and how he kept it all together while travels across the globe.

Shooting Films in the Arctic Circle

Justin Thomson
Justin Thomson, Founder, Ashridge Films

Tonight we welcome back Justin Thomson, Founder of Ashridge Films, to our show. Justin recently conducted a shoot in the Arctic Circle and shares what he learned, what worked and what didn’t.

Connect to the Web from the Road

Philip Hodgetts
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System

Tonight, our show is talking abut shooting in extreme conditions. It isn’t safe to carry all your precious dailies around on your back. But how do you connect to the Internet when you are in the middle of nowhere? Philip Hodgetts, CEO of Lumberjack System, has some advice for us.

Protect and Recover Your Precious Media

Chris Bross
Chris Bross, Chief Technology Officer, DriveSavers Data Recovery

Even worse than missing that “perfect shot,” is discovering that ALL your shots are gone due to bad media or other calamity. Chris Bross, chief technology officer for DriveSavers, has advice for us on what we can do to keep our data safe, or recover it when calamity strikes.

DoddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

James DeRuvo, Senior Writer at DoddleNEWS, has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. Covering technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James presents our weekly DoddleNEWS Update.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – November 10, 2016

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Alex Keller, Pilot, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office
Nicolia Wiles, Director of Digital, GDU
Zach Bloom, Cinematographer, Creative Planet, Ned Soltz Inc.
Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Tech Attorney & Labor Reporter
TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter, jhandel.com
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

===

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are talking about drones. Flying them, building them, and keeping people safe around them. We start with Alex Keller, who’s a helicopter pilot for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, and has firsthand experience with flying and drones. He shares his perspective on the challenges in sharing the air space during emergencies.

Larry Jordan: Zach Bloom is a filmmaker and licensed drone pilot. He shares his thoughts on which drones are good to fly and what filmmakers must know before flying a drone.

Larry Jordan: Ned Soltz was at the NAB trade show in New York City, and returns with highlights of new cameras and drones, including an interesting keynote from the folks at DJI.

Larry Jordan: Nicolia Wiles is the director of digital for drone manufacturer, GDU. He also helped launch DJI just a few years ago. Tonight he shares his thoughts on what drone manufacturers can do to keep the air space safe as well as describe the newest flying platform from GDU.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel returns with an update on the SAG after strike of video game developers and a recent contract agreement between animators and Nickelodeon.

Larry Jordan: All this, plus James DeRuvo, senior writer for DoddleNEWS with our weekly DoddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.

Announcer: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking – authoritative – one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals – current – uniting industry experts: production, filmmakers, post production and content creators around the planet – distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.

Larry Jordan: Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry covering media production, post production and marketing around the world. We are celebrating our 17th year of podcasting. Hi, my name is Larry Jordan, and it has been an interesting week in the world, and the world of high tech. As the proverb states, we are living in interesting times.

Larry Jordan: Tonight, we’re going to look at drones, how to make them, how to fly them, and how to keep them out of trouble. I first discovered drones in a webinar last year which was where I first met Zach Bloom, one of our guests this evening. Zach introduced me to what drones could do, but more importantly, to make sure that they don’t interfere with other air operations. Over the last 18 months, a variety of regulations at both the state and federal levels, seek to balance the creative freedom of drones while still protecting public safety. Manufacturers are joining in this discussion to make sure that these regulations don’t shut down their industry before it can take off.

Larry Jordan: Tonight we have a variety of guests to help us explore this very topic, starting with a pilot for the Ventura County California Sheriff’s Department. By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue, every week gives you an inside look at The Buzz, quick links to all the different segments on the show, and curated articles of special interest to filmmakers. And best of all, every issue is free and comes out on Friday.

Larry Jordan: Now it’s time for the world famous DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo of DoddleNEWS. Hello James, welcome.

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: I am doing great mostly. What’s happening in the news?

James DeRuvo: Well you know, it’s all about timing and just a couple of weeks ago we were talking about how the timing of GoPro launching the Karma drone, the timing was perfect, because it was on the verge of the holidays. GoPro needed a shot in the arm because of their sales, and Karma was going to give it. It came out this week, and they’re going to have to recall every single drone they’ve sold.

Larry Jordan: Oh no, what happened?

James DeRuvo: There’s some sort of power issue. Several of the Karmas have crashed, it just lost power and fell out of the sky and so they decided rather than try and stretch this out through the holidays, they’ve only sold 2500 Karma drones so far, so they may as well just recall them all. So anybody who has bought a Karma drone from GoPro or Best Buy or any retailer, is encouraged to return it. Even if you can’t find the receipt, go ahead and return it and you’ll get a full refund, no questions asked.

Larry Jordan: At least they’re handling it well if they’re saying “Let’s get this out of the air right now.”

James DeRuvo: They’re getting out in front of it which is a very smart thing to do, but the downside is, is that it’s right before the holiday season. This is the biggest shopping season in the world. They call it Black Friday for a reason because that’s the day that retailers go into the black and so if GoPro has to eat the sale of 2500 plus drones at $800 apiece, and then they’re also encouraging anybody that bought the bundle with the GoPro Hero 5, and the gimbal grip that they have, they have to return the whole kit and caboodle. They’re not going to be able to sell any more until after the first of the year. That’s going to be a bitter pill. That’s a toughie.

Larry Jordan: Do we have any non drone news?

James DeRuvo: Yes we do. Frame.io which is known for their cloud-based real time collaboration software is announcing that they’ve integrated with After Effects. A couple of months ago they brought us integration with Premiere, now they’re doing After Effects, and you’ll be able to directly share compositions with version control right from the After Effects panel. You’ll be able to display all verbal comments and visual annotations in the guide layer, and import those comments and annotations right into your comp as life shape layers. It’s a really cool new feature that Frame.io is offering, and it’s going to make post production where you have members of your team all over the world, a lot easier to do your work.

Larry Jordan: How about any news on hardware?

James DeRuvo: BizonBOX has come out with their first Thunderbolt 3 GPU expander for the MacBook. It’s a chassis that uses Thunderbolt 3 and provides up to 40 gigabytes per second of bandwidth. It’ll support the new MacBook Pro that Apple just announced a couple of weeks ago, and it can accommodate full length, full height and double width graphics cards up to 12 and a half inches in length, and five and a half inches in height. You can also purchase NVIDIA cards directly from Bizon, but the chassis will also support AMD if you want. $650. Not a bad deal for a Thunderbolt 3 GPU expander.

Larry Jordan: Not at all, and James, where can people go on the web to keep track of all the news?

James DeRuvo: Barring breaking news of course, you can go to doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: And James DeRuvo is the senior writer for doddlenews.com. James, thanks for joining us today, we’ll talk to you again next week.

James DeRuvo: See you next week Larry.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: I want to introduce you to a new website, Thalo.com. Thalo.com is an artist community and networking site for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. Thalo.com features content from around the world with a global perspective on all things creative. Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works. Thalo is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers, and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Visit Thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed. That’s Thalo.com.

Larry Jordan: Alex Keller is a pilot for the Ventura County, California Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office has a fleet of five Bell helicopters that in 2015 flew approximately 900 missions, and transported 164 people and performed 37 hoist rescues. Hi Alex, welcome.

Alex Keller: Hi, good morning.

Larry Jordan: That’s a lot of work. Tell me about what the Sheriff’s helicopter fleet does. Are you guys in the air all the time, or just sitting around waiting for calls?

Alex Keller: We’re sitting around waiting for calls, and we also are in the air as well. It really depends on whether we’re out on patrols or we’re out doing searches or fires or training as well.

Larry Jordan: So what got you interested in flying helicopters in the first place?

Alex Keller: I started out as a cadet for the Ventura County Fire Department, and then from there I actually got involved with the Forest Service as a firefighter, and got hired on a helicopter crew, and that was the first time I ever flew in a helicopter. So from that point forward, I was pretty excited to go to flight school and I went to flight school here locally in Camarillo, and from there worked all over the country until I had enough experience to put in for the job here, out of Ventura.

Larry Jordan: It’s interesting that it wasn’t a military background that got you into helicopters?

Alex Keller: No, it wasn’t. There’s still a lot of military guys out there flying, but nowadays there’s a lot of private folks as well putting themselves through school.

Larry Jordan: We’re talking about drones today and I will get to that point, but tell me about a typical day for you.

Alex Keller: A typical day for us, we’ll come in in the morning and we’ll pre-flight the aircraft, make sure whatever aircraft we might be flying for the day are airworthy and good to go. From there we usually have a morning meeting to brief on what’s going on as far as the schedule. If there’s any scheduled flights or special events. From there we keep ourselves busy throughout the day washing aircraft and doing whatever we can do until we get a call.

Larry Jordan: I have always seen firefighters polishing their fire trucks. I’d never considered a helicopter pilot polishing a helicopter.

Alex Keller: We pretty much do the same thing. We’ve got to keep them clean. Clean helicopters are happy helicopters.

Larry Jordan: As I said, on today’s program we’re looking at drones. How did drones impact your operations?

Alex Keller: You know, drones are something that’s come up over the last few years, and every day there’s more and more of them out there, and it’s something that as an industry, we’re still working on ways to figure out how we’re going to be able to operate in and around drones safely. In the fire environment, when we’re on fires, in the last couple of years there’s been a number of incidences. Just this year, between May and October, 29 documented incidents that have impeded fires, and what happens unfortunately, once a drone gets spotted in the area of a fire, because it’s obviously an aerial hazard for helicopters as well as airplanes, the fire aviation side basically gets shut down. We’ve got to go back to helibase, land, and wait until we can confirm the drone has exited the area.

Larry Jordan: Wait a minute. Your helicopter is about 800 million times bigger than a drone. Why does it make a difference?

Alex Keller: I’m glad you asked that. The smallest drones made today are around two pounds, and maybe the size of a basketball let’s say. We’re flying around, airplanes, helicopters, maybe the maximum speed you’ll see on a fire, 120 or 130 miles an hour, and you got a basketball weighing two pounds coming through the window, that’s not a good thing. You can definitely incapacitate a pilot and potentially cause a fatal accident, so it’s a really big deal. With helicopters, our rotor blades are airfoils, that’s how we produce our lift, and whenever you hit anything as small as a rock with a rotor blade it can cause severe damage and cause an issue with the aircraft.

Larry Jordan: So it really is a big deal?

Alex Keller: It is. It’s a safety issue, and you know, drones I think are great machines, they’re very interesting. A lot of people are really into them, and I think they’ve really expanded what we can see from the air, but there’s definitely a time and a place to be using them, and whenever there’s an emergency going on, whether it be law enforcement or firefighting efforts, it’s really not the time to be flying them, because in the air we’ve got a lot of stuff going on as it is, looking for other aircraft, looking for power lines. In fire environment there’s an ever changing fire front, there’s a lot of stuff going on, and to add a moving target that isn’t on radio communication that you’ve got to look for is just really unacceptable.

Larry Jordan: How big a problem is it? Given the 900 missions you flew, and you had 29 reported instances, are they specifically to emergency operations or fires?

Alex Keller: No, those 29 documented incidents I’m referring to are within the fire environment in the entire country. So between May and October, the US Forest Service has documented 29 incidents where drones have impeded on firefighting operations specifically. Within our 899 total flights that we performed last year, we might have seen drones a handful of times, five or six times in the area that we were flying. Not necessarily on fires, but close to landing pads where we’re coming in to land, or in the area where we might be doing some training. Folks that are operating drones in general are curious about what they can see, which is why they have the drones, which is great. But they just got to remember when they hear aircraft in the area, they really have to get out of the way. Particularly with helicopters, we operate fairly low in general because that’s why we’re there. We’re there to perform a job, a mission, something or another, and it’s typically low level. So drones are allowed, I believe to fly up to 500 feet or so. That’s about the cap unless they can get a waiver or some sort of special permission from the FAA. So, they’re really operating right in and around the area that we’re operating. As of now, there’s not necessarily anything out there stopping them from doing that. Now in the fire environment there is, there’s stuff that’s been put out for them to basically understand that, if there’s an emergency going on you really shouldn’t be in that area, but there’s really no way to track or regulate that as of yet.

Alex Keller: I did a little bit of research on drones recently and I understand that some of the newer drones are coming out with technology to where as long as the owner signs up for it, if it’s got cell phone connectivity, it’ll automatically download temporary flight restrictions, fire traffic areas, and it’ll tell the operator “Hey, you don’t want to be in the area.” Which is great, and that’s probably what these drone manufacturers are going to end up doing so they can keep their businesses going.

Larry Jordan: Recently regulations have been passed by both the state and federal government regarding flying drones. Have you seen any impact these regulations have had?

Alex Keller: Yes, the impact that you’re going to see, at least with all the documented incidents that I’m aware of, is the drone operators are now liable and can get in trouble, whether it be getting their drone confiscated, or getting a fine for impeding on an emergency situation. Just recently, in California, they actually passed something that public safety personnel can actually take action against a drone if it’s impeding in any sort of event they’re taking part in, with regards to emergency services.

Larry Jordan: For search and rescue operations, has your department considered or used drones as part of the initial search?

Alex Keller: Absolutely. We’ve got a separate department that’s in charge of our drone division in itself, and they are Sheriff’s Department employees, employed by the Sheriff’s Department, and they’re actually licensed pilots to a private pilot standard. Depending on the call, drones absolutely are our first choice of operations. They’re cheaper to operate. They’re safer, there aren’t people involved being inside of them like helicopters, but it really depends on the particular call. Whether it be a lost hiker that is not injured, and there’s no, I guess you could say, urgency in the call. We’re just trying to find someone that’s uninjured and lost. Drones can be used for law enforcement operations, if it’s something where they need to take a look at a particular target and it’s no sense of urgency. Absolutely, because these deputies have the drones in the back of their vehicles and they’ve got to drive to the scene just the same as we do, except we fly. But if there’s any sort of urgency where there’s an injured person or they need help right away, obviously the helicopters are going to be the go to option for that.

Larry Jordan: Let’s say that I’m flying my drone over some scrubland and I see somebody in danger or looking lost. What should I do?

Alex Keller: The best thing you can do, most drones have GPS technology of course, so if you can note the coordinates over the individual that’s hurt and or lost, save those coordinates, bring the drone back to a safe area, land it, call 911 and tell them what you saw, and the coordinates that you saw them at. That’s really the best thing you can do, and then when the helicopters get on scene, or whatever help gets on scene, you can assist in showing them maybe where you’ve seen the person. But definitely, if there’s any aircraft in the area, you wouldn’t want to relaunch that drone in the path of that aircraft.

Larry Jordan: What advice would you give to new drone owners?

Alex Keller: The best advice that I would give to new drone owners is really to just look up and around when you’re flying the drone. Make sure there’s no aircraft in the area. And it doesn’t even have to be emergency aircraft, you could be flying your drone somewhere where there’s a training area for helicopters, or airplanes. You really have to understand that aircraft that have people in them are much more important than drones so you don’t want to impede any aviation traffic. Understand your local rules and regulations regarding what elevations you can fly at. Do a little bit of research and understand how to look up where temporary flight restrictions are, because as a drone pilot you still have to adhere to all temporary flight restrictions. First and foremost, drones in the area of any sort of emergency or wild fire really do put responders and the public in danger, so ground the drone at that point in time, and just use your regular camera like the old days.

Larry Jordan: Alex, where can drone pilots go on the web to learn more about safely flying their drone?

Alex Keller: The FAA has a website. It’s HYPERLINK “http://www.faa.gov/uas/” www.faa.gov/uas/ and if you go there they’ve got all the latest and greatest on regulatory items coming out for drones, and how to safely operate your drone, and they’ve got some videos involved with that as well.

Larry Jordan: Alex Keller is a pilot for the Ventura County, California Sheriff’s Department. Alex, this has been fascinating, thank you very much.

Alex Keller: You bet, have a great day.

Larry Jordan: Zach Bloom is a freelance camera operator and licensed drone pilot. He’s been working in Los Angeles for five years, including several feature documentaries, music videos for A list celebrities, and the hit TV show ‘Chicago PD.’ Hello Zach, welcome.

Zach Bloom: Hi, thanks for having me on Larry.

Larry Jordan: Zach, the first time we met which is about a year and a half ago, drones were just taking off. What have you been doing since?

Zach Bloom: Well I’ve still been freelancing. It took a while for me to figure out how to get my license. The regulations were changed fairly recently which made it way easier for somebody to become a commercial drone pilot, so I was kind of laying low for a while but now I’ve got my license I’m back in the full swing as a freelancer.

Larry Jordan: Why did you become licensed?

Zach Bloom: If you want to do any commercial work you have to become licensed to the FAA. It only costs $150 and it’s a test that is not easy, but is doable for someone who is not a pilot. That’s really it, it just comes down to if you want to do anything that you’re going to make money off of, or that the business you’re doing it for is going to make money off of, you have to be a licensed pilot.

Larry Jordan: So what drones do you like flying and why?

Zach Bloom: I like using the DJI Inspire. I find that it’s the best of both worlds for a production that doesn’t require putting a red or other cinema camera in the air. It’s a little bit larger, it has a little bit more power behind it, little bit steadier than the regular Phantom lines or the Yuneec Typhoon or anything like that. It’s a great machine, it’s been very reliable for me and it looks really impressive. It does not look like a toy, like a lot of the smaller ones do, it’s a very professional look.

Larry Jordan: When should a filmmaker hire a professional drone pilot as opposed to doing it themselves?

Zach Bloom: It really depends on what you’re doing it for, to be honest. If you’re still a student and you have a drone and you want to do some stuff with it, that’s awesome. If you’re going to do anything that you’re planning to make money off of in any way, shape, or form, it’s really just a safer route to hire somebody who knows what they’re doing, who’s been trained, who’s been certified because if something happens on a set and you have an uncertified pilot and somebody gets hurt or injured, one, your insurance won’t cover it if they’re not certified, and two, you can actually get in a lot of trouble. You can get fined about $10,000 from the FAA.

Larry Jordan: What kind of insurance do you carry when you’re flying your drone?

Zach Bloom: It’s just standard. I need to check my policy, but I believe it’s a million dollars of liability insurance, and two million for people, or something like that.

Larry Jordan: Do you fly with a team, or do you fly by yourself?

Zach Bloom: I do fly always with a second person. I am what’s called the PIC, the pilot in command and then I have a second person who’s a spotter. And if there’s a third person that’s on set and available, normally a PA or something like that, I have them also just observing the area, to make sure that there’s nothing unusual going on.

Larry Jordan: What advice do you have for somebody that wants to start flying a drone?

Zach Bloom: A lot of people try to start out with an old drone or something used they found on Craig’s List or something. My suggestion would be, if you’re planning on practicing to do it professionally, would be at least to get a Phantom 3 or a Phantom 4 even if you can afford it, because to be honest, the older drones are a little out of date. They’re not as safe to operate and they’re not as easy to operate either. The newer technology makes things so much easier to fly. And also to start studying for your test.

Larry Jordan: Zach, for people that decide they need to hire you to fly the drone on their next film, where can they go on the web?

Zach Bloom: You can always look at either my Instagram which Zach Films or at my website which is just Zachbloom.com.

Larry Jordan: All one word. Zach Bloom is a filmmaker and Zach, thanks for joining us today.

Zach Bloom: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Ned Soltz is an author, an editor, an educator, and consultant on all things related to digital video. He’s also a contributing editor for Creative Planet, and Red Shark News and best of all, he’s a regular here on The Buzz. Hello Ned, welcome back

Ned Soltz: Good to be back Larry, and hello to all of listeners today.

Larry Jordan: You were recently at NAB in New York City. What’s the news?

Ned Soltz: The news is the Sony FS7 II, just introduced at NAB in New York, which improves on Sony’s wonderful FS7 camera. I own one so I’m a big fan of it. Adding variable ND, like you have in the FS5, a lever locking E-mount, which basically is a PL mount for your E-mount lenses. So absolutely secure. Ergonomics on the camera, the handle, the viewfinder and the microphone holder are all improved. The XQD cards protrude a little further out so they’re easier to remove. It’s about $1500 more than the existing FS7 which remains in the line, so you basically have the FS7 and then for another $1500, you have this advanced model with these three extra features to them.

Larry Jordan: Are you kicking your FS7 to the curb and getting the new one?

Ned Soltz: Not yet. The FS7 continues to make money, it’s doing what it can do, and I would suspect that this is a camera more for new buyers than for people that are going to kick their FS7s to the curb and upgrade. Although the main reason to upgrade would be that electronic ND filtration system which really can revolutionize the way you expose a shot.

Larry Jordan: What do you see happening in terms of the number of new cameras introduced? Are things slowing down, are they continuing to introduce new cameras at a rapid pace?

Ned Soltz: I think new camera introductions are slowing down, rather concentrating more on firmware updates for existing cameras.

Larry Jordan: So now we’re able to start to make money from our investment, rather than having it get trashed every 12 months?

Ned Soltz: Exactly.

Larry Jordan: One of the things we’re talking about on this show is drones. What did you see or hear about drones at the show?

Ned Soltz: I went to one of the keynote presentations about drones, and it was particularly interesting. It was given in part by the chief pilot at DJI, as well as a few other presenters, and some interesting perspectives on this, which is if you’re a content producer you might want to consider bringing in a professional drone company, to be able to do your shot for you because of A, all of the FAA licensing, even though that’s easier for the individual. And just the general experience that such professional drone operators might have in terms of the creativity of a shot, safety concerns and everything else. But the other aspect of this though is it just gives you so much creative possibility and creative latitude, that if you’re just an individual drone operator, and on a job for a client, you might want to tell your client, “Give me ten or 15 minutes before this shot, just to experiment with a couple of creative options, and we’ll take a look at what we’ve got, and see if this improves on the original vision that you had as a producer.” I think this allows for so much creativity that it’s really very much unbounded right now. I’m very enthusiastic about the use of drones in production.

Larry Jordan: It’s interesting that the chief pilot would talk about safety issues, because Alex Keller was talking about that earlier on the show.

Ned Soltz: Yes, you know, as an example, what they did was, this was just in a commercial, and they showed a drone shot rising from a crowd that had been seated, and the way they did that was the crowd was seated, it may have been a wedding, I’m not exactly sure. But you saw the crowd move forward then the drone come up and get the aerial shot. So effectively people were out of the way so no drone was flying over people. You really have to be very careful about drones flying over people. The obstacle issue of course is another thing. Now with the FAA certification and requirement, being very cognizant of the airspace that you’re in and the FAA category of airspace.

Larry Jordan: Especially in huge media cities like New York and LA which are already crowded airspaces, it only gets worse.

Ned Soltz: Of course with all of the restrictions in New York and LA and surrounding areas. I’m across the river in Bergen County, New Jersey where they say you can’t fly a drone anywhere under any conditions.

Larry Jordan: Ned, there’s so many things going on right now. Where can we go on the web to keep up with what you’re discovering?

Ned Soltz: Well you can look mostly right now at HYPERLINK “http://www.redsharknews.com” www.redsharknews.com as well as creativeplanetsnetwork.com and tvtechnology.com.

Larry Jordan: Ned Soltz is a contributing editor for Creative Planet and Red Shark News. Ned, thanks for joining us today.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel is an entertainment and technology attorney of counsel at Troy Gould in Los Angeles. He’s also the contributing editor on entertainment labor issues for the Hollywood Reporter and best of all, he’s a regular on The Buzz. Hello Jonathan. There’s all kinds of news happening, what’s going on?

Jonathan Handel: There certainly is. Let’s start with the union news, a couple of union items specifically, and then talk more broadly. Most recently the Animation Guild ratified a renewal agreement with Nickelodeon. They’ve been unionized at that shop since 2002. They strongly ratified the agreement though they didn’t release the numbers. It’s a three percent wage increase is sort of the key takeaway on that one.

Larry Jordan: That agreement happened pretty quickly and everybody seemed to be happy on both sides. There wasn’t too much acrimony there.

Jonathan Handel: No there wasn’t, and that stands in contrast with the next piece we want to look at where there’s quite a bit of acrimony and no deal. And that is that SAG-AFTRA continues to be on strike against somewhere between nine and 11 of the video game companies, and most recently about 350 members and supporters picketed at the WB Games, Warner Brothers Games.

Larry Jordan: I saw your coverage in the Hollywood Reporter on that, and the photograph showed the typical waving of placards and raising of fists, but is there movement going on here or is it all posturing at the moment?

Jonathan Handel: I don’t think it’s posturing, but there is no movement. It’s the third alternative unfortunately which is that really both sides are dug in. The issue is once again residuals or secondary compensation they’re calling it in this context. Basically some form of back end bonus or payment, depending on how the particular game does. The union is willing to agree that the companies could buy out the residual in advance, so they’d never have to pay a residual, but the companies don’t want the entire concept of residuals in the arena as a camel’s nose under the tent.

Larry Jordan: You mentioned at the very beginning of your report that there were the two specific issues. The Animation Guild which is an example of things going right, and the game developer, a thing where it falls apart. But there’s a broader issue here. What were you alluding to?

Jonathan Handel: The broader issue of course is the election. The status of unions and the power of unions and any economic negotiation between workers and management is affected by the political climate, and in two months this country is going to become essentially an authoritarian single party state. That is going to have an effect on the unions, and without getting into too broad a discussion at this juncture, perhaps for a later show, with regard to the video games strike, I would think that the companies simply aren’t going to compromise and that this is going to continue for quite some time.

Larry Jordan: It sounds like you’re seeing a lot more pressure coming down on unions to be anti-union, is that what I’m hearing?

Jonathan Handel: Trump is anti-union, unions in the external economy, the non-Hollywood economy has cratered since the former Screen Actors Guild president, Ronald Reagan became US President and broke the Air Traffic Controllers Union in 1980 as sort of the beginning of a long anti-union campaign. Of course the Republicans around Trump, the Republicans in Congress are very strongly anti-union and in addition, the unions are one of the few power centers for the Democratic party and the Republicans aren’t unmindful of that and that if they can disempower unions, they reduce the chance the Democratic party ever stages a resurgence.

Larry Jordan: It’s a long ongoing discussion and we will bring you back to discuss it. Jonathan, for people that want to keep track of your thinking, where can they go on the web?

Jonathan Handel: Two places. THRlabor.com, The Hollywood Reporter Labor, and jhandel.com, my personal website.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel is the entertainment labor reporter for the Hollywood Reporter. Jonathan, thanks for joining us today.

Jonathan Handel: Thanks very much Larry.

Larry Jordan: Take care.

Jonathan Handel: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. Doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals. DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and story tellers. From photography to filmmaking, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go. Doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: Nicolia Wiles has been marketing drones to the United States since he helped launch DJI in January of 2013. Since then, he’s worked with state agencies, the FAA and regulatory bodies to help create a safe and user friendly industry. He’s now the director of digital for GDU, assisting them in marketing and their digital services to highlight the company’s universal flying platform. Hello Nicolia, welcome.

Nicolia Wiles: Yes sir, thank you very much.

Larry Jordan: Tell us about GDU, what do they make?

Nicolia Wiles: GDU is another consumer drone manufacturer, very similar to all the very famous ones that people are used to, DJI and Yuneec. However, we are one of the only manufacturers in the world that handles all three different major problems that are faced by drone users today. That’s the aspects of portability, power, and modularity. GDU was the first drone to come out on the market that had a folding design and we’re the only one that has powered the whole of a five pound payload as well as interchangeable gimbals. So that would be the biggest difference between us and the rest of the market.

Larry Jordan: One of the things in your bio is what’s described as the GDU universal flying platform. What’s that?

Nicolia Wiles: The universal flying platform features the idea of future proofing a single drone. As we’re very familiar with the business models of something like Apple, where you have to buy the newest device every year, or two years, drone manufacturers since 2013 have always come out with several different devices per year, wanting you to buy all of them because different cameras and different camera technologies are utilized on the different drone models that they put out to market. At GDU the universal flying platform idea is that we use one drone, that is interchangeable with multiple different gimbals, and multiple different camera configurations as well as not just the ones that you could purchase from GDU, but going farther than that, offering a universal gimbal where you could use one of your favorite DSLRs, or maybe even the Blackmagic Micro to actually have the greatest possible videography from an aerial perspective.

Larry Jordan: You have a title of director of digital. What does that mean in real life?

Nicolia Wiles: It means I wear a bunch of hats. That means that we’re responsible for making sure that everybody has a brand awareness perspective of GDU, as well as working with state agencies and the FAA, creating a community of users across the United States, North America and Europe as well as just working with GDU to do the PR and marketing efforts here from the United States.

Larry Jordan: We heard earlier on the program from Alex Keller, who’s a pilot for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, on problems that they have with drones interfering with emergency and fire operations. What can drone manufacturers do to minimize this conflict?

Nicolia Wiles: That’s a great question because one of the biggest issues that we do see is users who are not utilizing the drones in the proper way, and one of the biggest things that can go wrong is if people want to try and get great video of a fire or a rescue or something where the only drones that should be in the air are being used by search and rescue or first responders. We work directly with a lot of these, for example J Anderson out of Denton, Texas with the Civil Air Patrol is one of the guys that is a Lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol that we work with, to really try to disseminate as much information as possible through different communities, forums and groups to let people know that while they might want to be curious and get their drone up in the air, we really want them to understand the problems that that creates with search and rescue helicopters or first responders that are attempting to do their job. But it really comes down to information and that’s what we really want everybody to get out, not just GDU, but everyone to get that kind of information out.

Larry Jordan: But that seems to push the responsibility onto the drone pilot. Why can’t manufacturers implement geo fencing and paying attention to where restricted air space is?

Nicolia Wiles: We absolutely do have in a lot of the software, not just with GDU, but DJI and Yuneec and several of the other major manufacturers do have different levels of geo fencing. With GDU we make sure that we’ve got geo fencing around obviously Washington DC but as well as all of the major US airports. Now when it comes to different things like a specific search and rescue operation, it becomes very difficult to geo fence around that kind of very unique and specialized area. But we do make sure that the different aspects of like the three to five miles around an airport or government buildings are geo fenced automatically.

Larry Jordan: One thing that Alex mentioned, but he wasn’t totally sure, so I’m going to ask you, is do users have to subscribe to this service, or have cell phone connectivity? Or is the geo fencing built into the firmware of the bird?

Nicolia Wiles: It is built into the firmware of the bird. Now, I will say that while it is initially built into the firmware, that does not stop someone from going into the firmware and erasing that. So there are different aspects that we do want to make sure that pilots, through our forums and communities, are utilizing the technology in the right way. We do not want anyone to utilize this technology in a nefarious manner and there’s a lot of people who worry about that, and I’d bring up the aspect of the smart phone, when it first came out, everybody thought that a smart phone with a camera was going to be used in nefarious ways. But we’ve obviously found them to be very mainstream, and nobody worries about a camera phone any more. But there is an aspect of making sure that the pilots themselves are responsible, and this goes into the new regulations that the FAA has passed making sure that everyone passes a test to utilize this technology from a commercial perspective.

Larry Jordan: I want to shift back to your drones for a moment. You said that you’re creating a folding drone. Why is a folding drone important?

Nicolia Wiles: Excellent. One of the biggest problems that we saw early on when we brought DJI into North America with the Phantom, individuals loved the technology, they thought it was amazing to get that aerial, that bird’s eye view that was never possible before, because helicopter pilots wouldn’t be able to fly that low and it was really the first time that people could get that perspective. They initially purchased these products, they loved it, they used it a couple of times, but over say a year span, that drone would sit in the garage for the majority of that year because it was so difficult to take with them on any kind of adventure or a family outing. The aspect of having it foldable meant that it could be put into a purse, could be put into a backpack, and very easily taken with you anywhere you wanted to go. And that portability aspect became the biggest thing for people to use a drone on an almost day to day or week to week basis compared to two or three times a year.

Larry Jordan: Well foldability and portability’s a good thing but how do you get around the problem of fragility? Because now you don’t have a big structure anymore.

Nicolia Wiles: As far as being able to make sure that it is going to withstand wind and other aspects, is that the question?

Larry Jordan: And ruggedness in general that I can’t just fold it up and it flies twice, and then something breaks.

Nicolia Wiles: Obviously the product needs to be made to military specs and has extremely rugged build. But you will find that a static arm if you will, that runs into a tree or runs into a wall because of multiple different reasons, usually pilot error, that static arm has a very good chance of breaking whether it hits a wall or if it falls to the ground and then hits the ground. If that arm is able to bend slightly, or shift slightly because it folds in on itself, you have a significantly reduced aspect of any kind of breakability. So not only is the folding design better for portability, it is significantly better almost on a three to four X level, for ruggedness.

Larry Jordan: We were just talking at the beginning of the show that GoPro is recalling all of its Karma drones. When we’re making a decision on purchasing a drone, how do we make sure the drone is going to be safe to fly?

Nicolia Wiles: One of the biggest aspects that you really need to take a look at is what kind of additional technologies are built into the drone? Especially when we’re looking at a GoPro compatible drone, and as of now, after the recall, the GDU advanced bird is the only GoPro compatible folding drone on the marketplace for the holiday season. But not only that, you need to look at different aspects on the bottom of the drone. Does it have sonar, and does it have a downward facing camera? Now these are extremely important when it comes to safety because the sonar allows it to know how far it is above the ground, or is there an object below it that it needs to rise up above as well as if it’s indoors, as some people want to fly inside a big warehouse or something. They need to have that downward facing camera so that it can see how far the ground is below it. At that point, without the GPS connection, it makes that drone safe to fly in an indoor environment as well as just the outdoor environment.

Larry Jordan: It is a fascinating collection of questions. It’s an industry which affects society and legal issues and creative issues. It’s like unpeeling a flower, or an onion. Every time you go in there’s a new layer to discover. Nicolia, where can people go on the web to learn more about your products?

Nicolia Wiles: For anyone interested in the GDU bird, all they have to do is go to HYPERLINK “http://www.gdu-tech.com” www.gdu-tech.com.

Larry Jordan: Nicolia Wiles is the director of digital for GDU and Nicolia, thanks so very much for joining us today.

Nicolia Wiles: Absolutely, my pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Nicolia Wiles: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: It is a fascinating subject, drones, whether we’re looking at it from a police helicopter perspective or a pilot’s perspective, or a manufacturer’s perspective. There’s all kinds of stuff to consider, and the legislation, regulations and the issues of the industry continue to evolve over time. It’s been an interesting session today talking to all these different perspectives and seeing what’s happening at multiple different levels of the industry.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week, Alex Keller, pilot for Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. Nicolia Wiles, the director of digital for GDU. Zach Bloom, filmmaker and drone pilot. Ned Soltz, writer and editor for just about every website that’s out there. Jonathan Handel, contributing editor for the Hollywood Reporter, and James DeRuvo the senior writer for DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan: There is a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online, and all available to you today. And remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Friday. Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.

Larry Jordan: Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription. Visit Take1.tv to learn how they can help you.
Larry Jordan: Our producer is Debbie Price. My name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2016 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz – November 10, 2016

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Alex Keller, Nicolia Wiles, Zach Bloom, Ned Soltz, Jonathan Handel, and James DeRuvo.

  • Emergency Services vs. Drones
  • New Drones from GDU
  • Operator’s Perspective: Flying a Drone
  • Drones and New Tech at NAB in NYC
  • SAG/AFTRA Extends Their Strike of Video Game Developers
  • Our Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Guests this Week

Featured Interview #1: Emergency Services vs. Drones

Alex Keller
Alex Keller, Pilot, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

Flying a drone can be fun and produce amazing footage but what about the safety aspects. Tonight we talk to Alex Keller, a helicopter pilot for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office about the impact drones have on law enforcement and emergency services.

Featured Interview #2: New Drones from GDU

Nicolia L Wiles
Nicolia L Wiles, Director of Digital, GDU

GDU recently introduced their new Advanced Byrd Drone and tonight we talk to Nicolia Wiles, Director of Digital for GDU about their latest drone units and the technology behind it.

Operator’s Perspective: Flying a Drone

Zach Bloom
Zach Bloom, Cinematographer, zachbloom.com

We first met Zach Bloom, freelance cinematographer, last year, as he shared the basics of flying a drone. Tonight, we check back with him for the latest from a drone operator’s perspective as the drone industry continues to evolve and the rules of drone flying change.

Drones and New Tech at NAB in NYC

Ned Soltz
Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor, Creative Planet, Ned Soltz Inc.

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

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DoddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

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Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – November 3, 2016

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Jim Tierney, President & Chief Executive Anarchist, Digital Anarchy
Greg Fornero, Vice President of Distribution, Postworks Digital
Laura Blum, Blogger, Freelance (@uglymcgregor)
Sean Devereaux, Co-Founder, VFX Supervisor, Zero VFX
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

===

Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we are looking at visual effects. We start with Greg Fornero, the VP of Distribution for Post Work, specializes in creating DCP packages to enable films to be shown digitally in theaters. Tonight Greg explains what these are, how they are made, and what you need to know to bring your film to the big screen.

Larry Jordan: Next Lewis McGregor, inspired by Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, creates practical visual effects in his kitchen. Tonight Lewis describes, what he does and how it works. Next Sean Deveraux, is the Visual Effects Supervisor, for Zero VFX. They specialize in creating invisible effects, wait until you hear Sean describe what these are.

Larry Jordan: Next Jim Tierney, Chief Anarchist at Digital Anarchy, they have just released a new tool called Samurai Sharpen, which can help bring fuzzy images to life. Tonight Jim explains the magic which makes it work. Next Laura Blum has a preview of Doc NYC, the largest film festival dedicated to documentary films. Along with one film that is already destined to be a highlight.

Larry Jordan: As always James DeRuvo is here with our weekly Doddle News update. The Buzz starts now.

Male Voiceover: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking: Authoritative; one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals. Current; uniting industry experts. Production; filmmakers. Post-production, and content creators around the planet. Distribution; from the media capital of the world, in Los Angeles, California, the Digital Production Buzz goes live now.

Larry Jordan: Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry, covering media production, post production and marketing around the world. This year marks our 17th year of podcasting. Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. Adobe Max opened yesterday, with an exciting key note, and some very interesting news, James DeRuvo will be along with news on Adobe, and Panasonic in just a minute. In the mean time I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue, every week, gives you an inside look at the Buzz quick links to the different segments on the show, and curated articles of special interest to film makers. Best of all, every issue is free and comes out on Friday. Now it is time for a Doddle News update with the ever handsome Mr James DeRuvo, hello James.

James DeRuvo: Hi Larry, how are you doing?

Larry Jordan: I am talking to you and I am really curious what happened at Adobe Max yesterday. What is the news?

James DeRuvo: Oh boy there is a lot going on at Adobe Max in San Diego this week. First up they announced this new hosting service for team projects, which would enable you to, if your company is a subscriber, an enterprise subscriber, or team projects subscriber, you can actually put all of your assets on their hosting service for free. Then what you can do is use the lower resolution proxys and make all your changes, then all your team mates can go from the same source material, and they can do it with conflict resolution, burgeoning, and that way everyone is using the same footage. You can then put it all together, and you can be all over the world. So it is another one of those in the cloud kind of solutions, which enables people to be able to work via the internet, to create their movie, and cinema and video projects.

Larry Jordan: Now is this just Photo Shop or is it Adobe Premiere as well?

James DeRuvo: No, it is Premiere Pro, After Effects, their entire line of creative cloud, they have expanded it to the whole kit and caboodle. In addition, they have also made some improvements to the lumetri color panel that new color editing system that is roughly based on Adobe Light Room. But they have made it for video, and it offers some new pre-sets, new cinema pre-sets, that enable you to apply and preview in a non-destructive fashion to see if you like whatever these pre-sets, which are kind of like look up tables, to color correct on the fly for your project. This is my favorite feature, it is called HSL secondary’s, and what HSL Secondary’s allows you to do is, say you have some footage that you really like, but you cannot shoot it again and you realize that the sky was just a little too washed out. Well you can just highlight the sky, and it color corrects just the sky, using HSL secondary’s, and bring back that beautiful blue sky, for your color corrected image. It is really a cool new feature. On top of that they also added support for HDR 10, the high dynamic range, open source high dynamic range, color standard so that you can output for the latest ultra HDL premium TV sets that are coming out.

Larry Jordan: Very very cool.

James DeRuvo: Virtual reality is 3D wise, Adobe has added, a new feature which automatically reads the kind of virtual reality camera that you use. So whether you are using a mono scopic camera aray, like the GoPro Odyssey for instance, or you are using a stereo scopic camera ray, like the Samsung Galaxy VR. Adobe will read the file and then convert it into the proper VR presentation, so you can look at it in a regular version. Then do all your editing to it, and when you are ready to output it, onto Facebook or YouTube, the virtual reality application will automatically tag it. So you do not have to do anything, you just input your footage, and it will automatically convert it, and then add the metadata and tag it, so that Facebook and YouTube can actually read it, and show it in virtual reality.

Larry Jordan: James, before we run out of time, I want to hear about Panasonic’s challenge to Red. What did they announce in Poland?

James DeRuvo: It is Panavision, not Panasonic. They didn’t challenge Red, they developed a new camera with Red, called the Millennium DXL, 8K cinema camera. It has a 16 bit, 35.5 megapixel cmos sensor, 18 stops of dynamic range, shoots 8K raw with an additional 4K proxy, simultaneously, and uses the light iron color science. They are showing it off at Photo Image this weekend in Poland, and they are going to start renting it in early 2017.

Larry Jordan: Very cool. How about Magic Lantern, what have you got?

James DeRuvo: Magic Lantern, they have turned their attention towards the Canon 5D mark iv. They just took the very first steps by getting the display test to work, so with Magic Lantern, it is like dog gnawing on a bone, you have got to take every little inch that you can find, and you are in it for the long haul, it is a marathon. They have just took those very first steps, to bring Magic Lantern to the 5D mark iv platform. So that is very exciting news.

Larry Jordan: That is very exciting, and James, for people who want to stay in touch with what is going on, where do they go on the web?

James DeRuvo: All these and other stories can be found at Doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer for Doddlenews.com. James we will talk to you next week.

James DeRuvo: All right Larry, take care.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: I want to introduce you to a new website, thalo.com. Thalo.com is an artist community and networking site, for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. Thalo.com features content from around the world, with a global perspective on all things creative. Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works. Thalo is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers. From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts and everything in between. Thalo is filled with resources that you need to succeed. Visit thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed. That is thalo.com.

Larry Jordan: Greg Fornero, is the Vice President of Distribution of Post Works Digital. This is a New York based post house. Greg has been involved in digital theater, specifically creating DCP packages for film makers for more than 11 years. Hello Greg, welcome.

Greg Fornero: Hi Larry, thanks.

Larry Jordan: You know, I have read your bio, and it seems like you have worked for every post house in New York City. What are you doing now?

Greg Fornero: At the moment I work for Post Works, primarily focused on digital cinema mastering, and distribution for independent and small clients, that are just starting to get involved in digital cinema and might need a little bit of extra help.

Larry Jordan: Give us some background. What is a digital cinema package?

Greg Fornero: So a digital cinema package is a collection of files that since the major studios and industry players, about 10 to 15 years ago got together, and decided what the different file formats would be. They settled on DCP, a collection of audio, and image files, that plays in the technology specifically set up for theatrical display, and that kind of thing. It is a very specific file format that theaters play, that is different to what you get anywhere else.

Larry Jordan: Why is that necessary, why not just send them a Quick Time movie?

Greg Fornero: One of the big things is security, there are a lot of inherent security measures, baked into the digital cinema architecture. The DCP’s generally are encrypted, the transmissions between the player, that actually plays the file, and the projector that plays the file, those links are encrypted, and there are various different security mechanisms. In addition, it actually uses slightly different color space, called XYZ, that from my understanding is generally superior to most other color spaces, because it is the same color space that, I think, human eyes use. So there is a lot more flexibility on what it can do.

Larry Jordan: We were reading with the recent announcements from final cut, from Apple, with the support of the display P3 space, which is what DCP packages support. Is that it is moving us towards the world of HDR, so why is a company like Post Works necessary? Why can’t film makers create their own DCP package?

Greg Fornero: That is one of those things where, if you are not doing it every day, there are some very specific rules that you are supposed to follow, to make sure that the digitals in the package that you create are universally accepted everywhere. Also, there are some technical challenges that you may run into, that if you do not have an extensive background in trying to sort out, you essentially might get stuck, trying to figure out why something doesn’t work the way you are expecting it to work.

Larry Jordan: I can envision multiple ways that could happen. Why did Post Works decide to form a group, specifically to focus on this?

Greg Fornero: Well, Post Works has been in the digital cinema mastering the arena for a few years now. The venture that I am championing right now, the distribution entity is one of the things that we felt, was that the little guy, wasn’t necessarily getting as much care and attention and they could be, from the larger distribution companies that are out there. We wanted to put something together that was more focused on their needs. When you are a major studio, and you are churning out two or three hundred versions of a DCP for two or three hundred different countries, in a week or two. That is a completely different thing, than when you are getting your DCP created for the first time, and trying to get itself around the differences around the U.S. So the friendly line process doesn’t necessarily work as well, when you are making your first DCP, you are trying to get it to this festival that plays your movie, then you want to get it to the next one. It is just a much different environment, and tends to require more agility, more patience, especially when it is someone’s first time. It is a little bit different than anything else out there. So you can talk people through things, and help people feel comfortable. Because in the end, you are working with what is their creative love.

Larry Jordan: We have a number of film makers that listen to this show, and I want to come to the bigger question of what do they need to know? But one of them is listening on a live chat, and Eric is asking, is there a certain gamma setting, a mid tone gray, that I should use on Quick Time output, to get a good DCP translation? Or, does any movie look good?

Greg Fornero: The standard Quick Time gamma setting, that I typically see, is either two four or two six. I believe two six is the standard, I mean, if you had to pick one, I think two six is probably the standard. Two four, being probably a close second. Those are the ones that I see come up most commonly. Those probably work the best, but the key thing when it comes to gamma settings, in Quick Time, and this trips a lot of new people up. Is whenever the Quick Time is being made, one of the settings that you cannot get after the fact, to my knowledge, is the gamma that was used to create the Quick Time. You want to make sure that Quick Time captures what gamma they create it at, and gives the people that are making a DCT, because without that, it is going to be hard to make it look exactly the way you intended it to.

Larry Jordan: In other words, if you do not know the specs with which the movie was created, you cannot translate it properly.

Greg Fornero: Yes, there is a big risk that it may not come out, exactly the way you envisioned it.

Larry Jordan: Well it gets to a bigger question. What answers do film makers need to have to work with you, so you can create a good looking DCP? What are common mistakes and how do we fix them?

Greg Fornero: Honestly, gamma is probably one of the bigger ones. You want to make sure that you know what color space the source file is in for the DCP, generally it is going to be Rec 709 or P3, but that is not always the case. Bit depth, is it 8bit, 10bit, 12bit, the range, whether it is full or legal. Then the gamma, and the frame rate, is probably the other one. Frame rate has actually come up a lot recently. One of the things to keep in mind for digital cinema, is that it is very specifically, at least in a 2D space, 24.0 frames per second. Converting your standard Quick Time of 23 98 to 24, isn’t a big deal. But when you start dealing with 25 frames per second, and 30 frames per second content, you start having to deal with drop frames. And that can have a larger impact on the visual of your movie than you might like. So it is one of those things to try and make sure, if you cannot do a true 24 Quick Time, doing a 23 98 Quick Time is probably your best bet.

Larry Jordan: I am really surprised thought, that for a digital format, that frame rate is even necessary. Why do we care? Because it is digital, we are not working with films and sprockets any more.

Greg Fornero: My understanding, is that the technology was actually designed to help the human eye as much as possible. Along with the way the DCP is constructed, it actually kind of is an electronic digital version of a film reel. Each frame of the movie is actually a stand alone image, and they are played in sequence. So when you start tampering with having to convert from 30 to 24, where you are having to pull out 20% of your frames, and it is starting to convert that to 24, it can start having an issue when you are doing panning scenes, or fast action. I think that was done mostly for the human eye but also to enable editing, i’m not 100% sure on that.

Larry Jordan: So what you are saying is that the DCP package is not actually a movie, it is an image sequence, and we are playing individual frames rather than playing them strung together in a Quick Time movie.

Greg Fornero: At its most base level, yes. Your standard feature DCP is actually going to be made up in reels, they are reel files. Generally speaking they are approximately 20 minute chunks, just like they were in film. Those reels are actually packaged in what is called an MXF wrapper, essentially it is like a zip file, except there is no compression taking place, it is just kind of a wrapper for all of the individual JPEG frames. When each frame is played, it is actually single frame at a time. For 2D and 3D, the standard frame rate is 48 and you get one frame left eye, one frame right eye, one frame left eye, one frame right eye.

Larry Jordan: I can understand why it is a complex format, there is a lot buried below the surface. How do you charge for your services?

Greg Fornero: Generally speaking we sit down, take the equipment necessary to make all the material, and man hours necessary, and you see what the market is out there in L.A. and New York. You do not want to go too high, because the cost is then prohibitive, but you do not want to go too low because you have got to keep up your investment. So, you try and keep it as low as you can, while still paying for everything. Making it accessible to everyone so they can get the services made, so that anybody can get their movie on screen at a theater.

Larry Jordan: What is a price range, are we talking $50,000 to convert, or $2,000?

Greg Fornero: Depending on the run time of your feature, I would say that a fair price for a feature DCP is probably somewhere between, $1,500 to $2,500. There are places that do charge more, but that is probably the most fair market price.

Larry Jordan: Well that strikes me as a reasonable amount, as opposed to $50,000 or $60,000. How long does it take to convert, assuming no problems, which you and I both know never happens?

Greg Fornero: Typically the file conversion process has a lot to do with the machinery that is handling it. If you could do this on your laptop at home, then it might take a really long time. But when you have the professional grade equipment that we use, that will generally take anywhere from, real time ish, to double real time. The actual process of the encoding is not super time consuming. Generally speaking the larger issue is when you are scheduling these in a queue. So if you are going through 30 of them, and somebody needs their DCP right away, the bigger challenge is you have to bump everyone else back. They have been waiting to get their content made, so it is a challenge, and it usually comes into the scheduling, and sometimes keeping people on over time to rush things through the system.

Larry Jordan: It is an amazing process. Greg, for people who want to get more information where can they go on the web?

Greg Fornero: Postworks.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word. Postworks, and Greg Fornero is the Vice President of Distribution for Post Works Digital. Greg this has been a fun visit, thank you so much for sharing your time.

Greg Fornero: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Laura Blum is a film and events curator, as well as a Thalo.com contributing writer, filmfestivals.com blogger and former film and television development executive with Sony BMG. Hello Laura, welcome back.

Laura Blum: Great to be back.

Larry Jordan: You know, we have got lots to talk about, there is this brand new festival, or at least brand new to me. Called, Doc NYC. What is it?

Laura Blum: It is actually not so brand new, it is in its 7th year, and it starts up again on November 10th. It is America’s biggest documentary film festival. So this year they are showing 250 films and events, and among them there is a hundred feature length docs. So this is no small potatoes. It has got a real old New York community feel to it, its beating heart is Greenwich Village, because it started and grew out of a series called, Stranger than Fiction, that is at the IFC Center, in Greenwich Village. Even though it has expanded to some of the Chelsea cinemas, the whole thing feels very Greenwich Village, sort of down townie, and you could walk around the places, and folks come out. This is also a student endeavour, New York University was a founding partner, and now you have got a lot of other film schools that are joining. So it is sort of a celebration of emerging, or aspiring film makers, and you know, the folks that are much more established.

Larry Jordan: What are some of the stand outs at the festival this year?

Laura Blum: I am always looking out for films with disability themes. One of them that really talked for me this year, is Borderline. It really may be the first film to profile a borderline personality disorder, in the way that it does. We are really in the film with the subject. We are watching her as she is going about her daily life, and we are seeing what sets her off, and how she responds, that subject is Regina, she is a 45 year old, diagnosed with BPD. As I was first watching this film, I thought, ah an aggressive take no crap New Yorker. You know, just like so many I meet. But something much deeper is at work here, she has really intense and stormy relationships, and she gets fired from job after job. She has very self-defeating behaviour that she wants to change, and we are there with her as she is struggling to do so. Really also, distinguishing about this film, is that the film maker herself, that is Rebbie Ratner, she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was reflecting about a month ago, you were talking about how the media was dealing with actors with disabilities, and it strikes me now that there is an opportunity for media to do something about depression. What do you see happening?

Laura Blum: I am seeing more and more, that people are taking advantage of technology, and the way in which it has ushered in a new age of transparency and empowerment. Most recently we have seen, Kid Cudi, the rapper, who checked himself into rehab for depression, and suicidal urges. He wrote on his Facebook page, “I am not at peace.” And he really talked about it, he really got the conversation going. More recently, the Chris Gethard, the comedian, launched his one man show, Career Suicide, in which he talks about this experiences with depression. It is just much more open out there, the idea to sort of bust up the old taboos and to surmount the stigmas.

Larry Jordan: Laura, where can we go on the web to keep track of what you are seeing and what you are thinking?

Laura Blum: I write for thalo.com, and I have a blog at filmfestivals.com.

Larry Jordan: Laura as always, thanks for joining us this week.

Laura Blum: Thank you so much.

Larry Jordan: Lewis McGregor is a film maker, from Wales. In addition to making films, Lewis also writes about them for premiumbeat.com, and indietips.com. But what really caught our attention was that he makes his own special effects, in his kitchen. Hello Lewis, welcome.

Lewis McGregor: Hi, how you doing?

Larry Jordan: I’m doing great. What got you interested in special effects?

Lewis McGregor: I think the practicality of being able to do them with any old item really.

Larry Jordan: I had a change to go to your YouTube video, which has had tens of thousands of views by the way, congratulations.

Lewis McGregor: Thank you, it gets pirated a lot.

Larry Jordan: What was the effect you were trying to achieve?

Lewis McGregor: I had watched The Tree of Life, the film by Terrence Malick. There is a fantastic big bang sequence which goes on for at least ten minutes or so. I thought it was all done completely digitally, until I read that I think the Visual Effects Supervisor, Douglas Trumball, I believe, they said that a good portion of that was actually done practically, in large water tanks using dye and oil, and everything that I could buy as well. Obviously their tanks were going to be a lot larger, and a lot more efficient than a small fish tank that I was using, but the fact that these guys had created this wonderful sequence, which was enhanced, with digital effects. But they had done it practically, and it really inspired to try and do the same thing, or at least use their methods, and create something new. It was a case of using coconut oil, food dye, flour, basically anything that you could buy from your convenience store. I had no idea what I was doing, I had no idea what it was going to look like, all I knew is that there was the foundation, of using these ingredients at a fast frame rate, to then slow down and then create something abstract. Hopefully to create something cosmic. So it was kind of just a case of really pouring everything and anything into this fish tank, in order to try and simulate something similar to The Tree of Life. It was very much like a science experiment.

Larry Jordan: One of the things that intrigued me as I was watching it, is your video would switch from normal to extreme slow motion. How did you achieve that effect, without renting a phantom camera?

Lewis McGregor: Well, I was shooting on a Red One, which was, I think we could get up to about 120 frames per second. So it is not as slow as a Phantom could go, but because the water was quite oily, when I would pour milk in, it was falling to the bottom quite slowly anyway. So then, when it would be wrapped back up into normal speed, it looked like it was travelling a lot faster than it usually was.

Larry Jordan: For film makers who are intrigued with the idea of creating their own effects, what have you learned from this that you could share with them?

Lewis McGregor: I think a lot of new film makers especially, they kind of think that you need expensive material, and expensive products, to sort of achieve these sort of effects. If I could give any advice, it would be to try anything and everything. You never know what is going to work, and what isn’t going to work. I have been on professional production sets, where the things that they are using, are the things that I could also buy myself. Such as, if someone is walking through the door of an old house, and the prop master has just gone and placed some talcum powder on top the door, so when he pushes it open, with the lighting behind it, it gets a nice beam of dust falling down. That is what you can buy in your own supermarket, so don’t be afraid to just use anything and everything that you have at your disposal. It does not require bundles of cash.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to keep track of what you are writing and the work you are working on. Where can they go on the web?

Lewis McGregor: I have my YouTube channel, which is directed towards new and starting out film makers, which is YouTube.com/uglymcgregor for more intermediate users, and those starting it the industry, you can check out premiumbeat.com where I have articles which are published throughout the month.

Larry Jordan: Lewis McGregor is a film maker from Wales, a writer for Premium Beat and has his own YouTube channel, at Ugly McGregor. Lewis thanks for joining us today.

Lewis McGregor: No problem, it was an honor.

Larry Jordan: Sean Deveraux is a Co-founder and Lead Visual Effects Supervisor of Zero VFX. His work has appeared in over 30 feature films, including American Hustle, Transformers, and Cinderella Man. Hello Sean, welcome.

Sean Deveraux: Hi Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: So I’m puzzled, what exactly does a Lead Visual Effects Supervisor do?

Sean Deveraux: That is a good question. A Lead Visual Effects Supervisor, is very similar to a regular Visual Effects Supervisor, where my job is really to achieve the Director’s vision for the story we are trying to tell, and help enhance that vision.

Larry Jordan: Well it sounds that you are the lead customer facing contact, the Director talks to you and then you talk to the team.

Sean Deveraux: That’s a very good way to say it, yes.

Larry Jordan: So what first got you interested in creating visual effects?

Sean Deveraux: I was actually three years old, and I was hiding behind my couch in my parents living room, as the Wicked Witch of the West popped up from the yellow brick road, and scared me so badly that I realized that I wanted to do that to other people too.

Larry Jordan: In other words, there is a cruel streak in your nature.

Sean Deveraux: A little bit, which I didn’t notice really, but it is true. I like the manipulation of what stories can do and where they transport you, and visual effects is my way of sharing stories.

Larry Jordan: You have got a huge team behind you, which probably means that Zero specializes in some kind of effects. What do you guys specialize in?

Sean Deveraux: Well really we specialize in, and the reason for our name Zero, is that we want people to look at our work and not see it. There is some visual effects, so in like Transformers, which I had the pleasure of working on, where there is a big robot in the scene, and everyone knows that’s not real, so it is clear that the shot in this question was about the robot. The kind of stuff we do at Zero, what I really love to do, is that the shot is not about our visual effects, we enhance it, we help it be possible to tell, but we are not saying look at this shot, it is about visual effects. It is about the story, about the characters, it is about the journey they are on. So really what the name for that is, is invisible visual effects, so we enhance and we tell the story, but we don’t do so in a way that makes you look at us.

Larry Jordan: In invisible effect sounds like it’s very hard to impress Mom, saying look what I did when she cannot see it.

Sean Deveraux: Well that is true, but before and after, so we often do with a before and after is, we can show you the work the way it was photographed and then we can show the work after we did our work, and that blows people’s minds. Because often we manipulate as much of the frame as someone that is say, putting a robot into a shot, if not more so. But because you cannot tell, when you actually see the trick and the man behind the curtain, it is actually quite awe inspiring and most people are blown away by it.

Larry Jordan: Give me an example. I know you worked on Magnificent Seven, is there something there that is an invisible effect?

Sean Deveraux: Yes, there is about 900 invisible visual effects in that film. Really a lot of that was bio enhancement overall, so there is big explosions, and horses are in the explosions and cowboys and henchmen and stars of the film, and all of that. We cannot really put horses in harms way, or even the main actors in harms way, so we had to add the actual pyrotechnics around it, in post-production with our invisible effects. Also the town itself, we shot it in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where there are no mountains, so we had to enhance the environment for hundreds of shots to put mountains and even the parts of the town in, digitally speaking. So, the entire film is filled with invisible visual effects, which hopefully you will never notice.

Larry Jordan: This brings me to an important question, how important are visual effects to enhancing a script?

Sean Deveraux: Really they are important nowadays because we are so crunched on time, and budgets. So that really in this day and age, even the big budget films, there is so much to be done that you really have to understand where to spend your resources, and schedules of actors is difficult. With Magnificent Seven, as an example, did the script actually envision effects, not if we were able to shoot the whole thing in Santa Fe, but that would not have worked with the schedule of the actors, getting all seven of those guys in one place together, for a long period of time was very difficult. A lot of it comes down to the requirements of the film, preferably we would have shot in Santa Fe, the entire time, and I would have done very little, as far as the mountains go. A lot of the what the need is today, is how do we make it look as if it was shot in Santa Fe, do not take anything away from the film, because we didn’t. Make sure that we are still achieving that vision, and letting the audience feel the scale and scope of Santa Fe, even though we shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Larry Jordan: It sounds like a balancing act.

Sean Deveraux: It is, and it is on every project. Every project has its own unique challenge, which one of the fun parts of being in the film industry, every story I get to tell is different. One summer I might be in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The next summer I might be getting to shoot in my home town of Boston, and another might be somewhere in Las Vegas. So, we are telling different stories every time, and each story requires different things. It really keeps it fresh and as an artist, the best part is the constant change in what we do.

Larry Jordan: For Producers that feel as they have to have invisible effects, and want to hire Zero to do it. Where can we go on the web to learn more about you and your company?

Sean Deveraux: Our web address is HYPERLINK “http://www.zerovfx.com” www.zerovfx.com, you will see before and afters of our work, you will see our show reels, and a lot of our fun things, and also ways to contact us.

Larry Jordan: Sean Deveraux, is the Co-founder, and Lead Visuals Effects Supervisor for Zero VFX, Sean thanks for joining us today.

Sean Deveraux: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: There is another website I want to introduce you to, doddlenews.com. Doddle News gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It is a leading online resources, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. Doddle News also offers a resources guide, and crew management platforms specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings provide in depth organizational tools, for busy production professionals. Doddle News is a part of the Thalo Arts community, a worldwide community with artists, film makers and story tellers. From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals, or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there is only one place to go. Doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: Jim Tierney founded Digital Anarchy in 2001, specifically to develop plug ins to simplify creating visual effects. This week he has a brand new one. Hello Jim it is fun to talk to the Chief Executive Anarchist of any company.

Jim Tierney: Thanks Larry, how are you doing?

Larry Jordan: I am talking to you and I am really excited to learn more about this product. But before we talk about the product, which is called, Samurai Sharpen, I want to understand some basic concepts first. What is Sharpening?

Jim Tierney: Sharpening is a contrast adjustment, around edges. So it is essentially making one side of the edge a little bit darker, and one side a little bit lighter. That gives you a perception that something is sharper.

Larry Jordan: What we are really doing with sharpening is, we are trying to make the edges appear in focus, so that the stuff between the edges may not, we don’t care.

Jim Tierney: Right, exactly. It does kind of give you this overall perception of things being a little bit more in focus, and the tricky thing with video, is that there are various things you have to worry about, so you want the sharpening to be there, but you also want to be very careful about over sharpening.

Larry Jordan: I want to talk about that for a second, but let’s take one step back. Why does video need sharpening in the first place?

Jim Tierney: Well if you look at most video, anything that is going through a lens, unless it is a super high end lens, is going to have some amounts off, versus the original shot, or original scene. Most video can benefit from at least a little bit of sharpening, and in some cases can benefit quite a bit.

Larry Jordan: I remember when I was first playing with sharpening back in final cut five, which I will grant was a year or two ago, I would add some sharpening and all of a sudden, these vibrating black and white edges just showed up everywhere. Ugly does not begin to describe it. I told people be very cautious about sharpening because it looks terrible. What is going wrong?

Jim Tierney: The sharpening built into SVP is pretty crude, in terms of it is not a very sophisticated sharpening algorithm. It is just basically the same sharpening that you see in Photo Shop or whatever, for ages. It is really easy to just crank that up and suddenly have this high contrast around every single edge. That is not really what you want to do.

Larry Jordan: What do you have to do to prevent an image from looking over enhanced?

Jim Tierney: The thing about Samurai Sharpening is you do not want to sharpen things like noise, low contrast edges often do not need to be sharpened. More often than not, it is noise or artefacts or some other things that doesn’t want to be sharpened. What you want to do is just kind of dial in the very significant edges, and just sharpen those edges. You do not need the entire video to be sharpened, you really just want things, for example if you have a portrait of something, if you just sharpen the eyes, that is usually enough to convey sharpening for the person doing it.

Larry Jordan: I just had a brainstorm, it’s late in coming, but it is a great brainstorm. This strikes me as the exact opposite of Beauty Box. In Beauty Box you are softening everything, and here you are sharpening. It is like, can’t you make up your mind?

Jim Tierney: Well you know, you want different things. With skin you don’t want to sharpen the skin. We already have tons of detail in the skin with 4K and HD and all that, it is really the opposite of Beauty Box, slight different algorithm but it is kind of the same thing. So you don’t want to sharpen skin, but you do want to sharpen things like eyes, and teeth and that is what is going to give the perception of a sharp image. You do not want to turn somebodies skin into lizard skin either.

Larry Jordan: That would be considered bad, and most actors would kill you.

Jim Tierney: Exactly, so it is very important to have ways to masking out areas you don’t want to sharpen, whilst being able to select significant edges and really enhance the details you want to enhance in the image, without sharpening the whole thing.

Larry Jordan: You have already mentioned the fact that we want to sharpen eyes, because if the eyes are in focus we believe the picture is in focus. Do we worry about things like hair or clothing? How do we select what to sharpen?

Jim Tierney: There is various ways to do it, again if you are looking at significant edges, that is one way. Samurai is a very smart edge aware sharpening plug in. So we are trying to find the most significant edges, and just sharpen those. There are also things that allow you to mask off darker areas, and highlight areas. Often you have noise, noise is much more pronounced in the dark areas than elsewhere, with the mid tones and highlights, and with the highlights you do not really want to blow the highlights out. So there is masking capabilities within Samurai to protect the shallow areas, and protect the highlight areas. Really just sharpen the mid tones.

Larry Jordan: One of the things I enjoy about Beauty Box is that the defaults are pretty good, I can get reasonably close without having to tweak a whole lot of nobs, but this strikes me as being a little bit more complex, figuring out what to sharpen. Do we trust the defaults or do we need to pay attention to the fine details?

Jim Tierney: You want to pay attention to the masking, I think the defaults are pretty good. You can play around with the amount a bit, but you know, really the masking you are going to have to adjust a little bit depending on how dark the shadow areas are in your image. There are some nice tools, for seeing what the mask looks like, being able to sharpen it, seeing what edges want sharpening. There is a lot of control in there to help you visualize exactly what is going on as opposed to endless cranking a slider up and going well that’s over sharpened. You can actually see what edges are sharpening, and you can also take a look at the mask visually while you are making these adjustments.

Larry Jordan: What kind of images can we use this for? Where does it work the best? For instance, can I fix a blurry image?

Jim Tierney: A little bit, if it is really out of focus, the information is out there, so you can’t really create information out of nothing. If it is just a tiny bit out of focus, it can definitely help with that. It tends to help images that are of a little bit lower frequency, which means just like trees waving in the wind, with lots of leaves and stuff like that, it tends not work as well on talking heads, and that type of imagery.

Larry Jordan: How do we know if an image needs sharpening?

Jim Tierney: You can apply sharpening, and see if it looks better. That’s one way.

Larry Jordan: That’s a pretty cheap answer.

Jim Tierney: Usually you can look at it and go like, it’s a little bit soft, and apply the sharpening filter, and go, well that looks a little bit better.

Larry Jordan: Is it a case of, if it looks good it is good, or are we looking at some underlying technical specs that we have to watch out that we don’t run onto the rocks with?

Jim Tierney: I think if it looks good, you are pretty much good to go, you really want to pay attention to what is happening around the edge, so one side is getting darker, and one side is getting lighter. If you make those too pronounced, they turn into what we call halos. You really do not want those to be visible. It should just look sharper, without you going, oh there is a black edge there. Usually after a little bit of playing around with it, you should be able to identify by eye, whether it is going to look better or not. It also helps to actually play it back on your final output, so a 70 inch screen or an ipad or something.

Larry Jordan: One of the things you are doing is you are increasing the contrast on an edge. Do we need to worry about crushing blacks below zero, or whites exceeding 100% or are you clamping them so they don’t?

Jim Tierney: We are not clamping them, and that is probably something that we should be doing. Again, if you are getting into that range of things, you are probably pushing it too far. Usually what you are doing is trying to sharpen the mid tones, and you are not going to push the sharpening so far that you are starting to crush black and stuff like that.

Larry Jordan: So it is like a spice, a little goes a long way. We add a little bit we do not add a lot.

Jim Tierney: Yes, exactly. Especially with video, with photos you can kind of push sharpening a little bit further, and actually with photos, especially if you are printing them out, sometimes you want to over sharpen them. Because the print media, with ink or whatever, it softens a little bit. So if you over sharpen it that’s fine, with video, you definitely do not want to do that.

Larry Jordan: The name of the product is?

Jim Tierney: Samurai Sharpen.

Larry Jordan: And the price?

Jim Tierney: It is $129. And it is on sale until November 15th, for $99.

Larry Jordan: Where can people go to get it?

Jim Tierney: Digitalanarchy.com

Larry Jordan: That is all one word, digitalanarchy.com and Jim Tierney is the Chief Executive Anarchist for Digital Anarchy. Jim thanks for explaining this, I have always wondered about sharpening, and now I have a much better handle on it. Thank you very much.

Jim Tierney: No problem Larry.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: It is an interesting time, as we look at effects whether it is something really big from Adobe at the Adobe Max conference, or something as a single filter that is coming from Digital Anarchy. The range of effects that we are dealing at the high end, mid-range and low end, and even if you are just sitting in your kitchen surrounded by fish tanks and talcum powder. We can create some fascinating effects. I was watching Lewis McGregor’s website and the video he was creating was very mesmerising and some very interesting stuff. I want to thank our guests this week. Greg Fornero from Post Works, and Jim Tierney from Digital Anarchy. Sean Deveraux at Zero VFX, and Lewis McGregor a film maker and kitchen effects wizard. Laura Blum with Thalo.com and James DeRuvo of Doddle News.

Larry Jordan: There is a lot of history in our industry and it is all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you will find thousands of interviews all online and all available to you today. And remember to sign up for our free weekly newsletter which comes out every Friday. Talk with us on Twitter @dpbuzz and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dukey Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com. Text transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription, visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you. Our Producer is Debbie Price, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz is copy write, 2016 by Thalo, LLC.

Digital Production Buzz – November 3, 2016

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Jim Tierney, Greg Fornero, Laura Blum, Lewis McGregor, Sean Deveraux, and James DeRuvo.

  • Sharpen Images Without Getting Edgy
  • New DCP Service for Independent Filmmakers
  • DOC NYC Preview
  • Creating Practical Visual Effects in Your Kitchen
  • Bringing Invisible Effects to Life
  • Our Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

Check back after the show on November 3 for the full audio!
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Guests this Week

Featured Interview #1: Sharpen Images Without Getting Edgy

Jim Tierney
Jim Tierney, President & Chief Executive Anarchist, Digital Anarchy

Digital Anarchy just released a new video sharpening tool – Samurai Sharpen – that improves apparent image focus (sharpness) without making the picture look over-enhanced. CEO Jim Tierney joins us tonight to explain how it works.

Featured Interview #2: New DCP Service for Independent Filmmakers

Greg Fornero
Greg Fornero, Vice President of Distribution, Postworks Digital

Greg Fornero is the Vice President of Distribution at Postworks. Earlier this year the company formed a Digital Cinema Unit to serve filmmakers creating DCP packages for theatrical distribution. Tonight we talk to Greg about what they do and what we need to know to bring our films to life in the theater.

DOC NYC Preview

Laura Blum
Laura Blum, Blogger, FilmFestivals.com

Blogger and film curator Laura Blum returns with a preview on the upcoming DOC NYC documentary film festival, along with a look at how documentaries are presenting issues surrounding depression.

Creating Practical Visual Effects in Your Kitchen

Lewis McGregor
Lewis McGregor, Filmmaker & Online Content Creator, Freelance (@uglymcgregor)

Lewis McGregor, is a filmmaker and blogger based in Wales. But, in his spare time, he creates practical visual effects in his kitchen. Tonight he shares his secrets – which revolve around a magical fish tank.

Bringing Invisible Effects to Life

Sean Devereaux
Sean Devereaux, Co-Founder, VFX Supervisor, Zero VFX

ZeroVFX is an Award company that specializes in creating “invisible effects” for major motion pictures. Tonight we talk to Sean Devereaux, Co-Founder and VFX Supervisor artist who explains EXACTLY what an invisible effect is and how the rest of us are supposed to see it.

DoddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

James DeRuvo, senior writer for DoddleNEWS, presents the latest industry news.