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Transcript: Digital Production Buzz- February 23, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Dave Colantuoni , Sr. Director of Product Management, Avid Technology
Alec Schreck, Freelance Reporter, www.4-alecschreck.com
Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media
Oliver Peters, Editor, Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Sam Mestman, Workflow Architect, FCPWORKS
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

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Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are talking about workflow which is a repeatable process to get work done efficiently.

Larry Jordan: We start with Michael Kammes, director of technology for Key Code Media, who provides an overview of what a workflow is and why it’s important to anyone doing professional work.

Larry Jordan: David Colantuoni is the senior director of product management for Avid. Tonight he describes how to best configure an Avid Media Composer system. The gear you need, and the gear you don’t.

Larry Jordan: Oliver Peters, creative lead for Oliver Peters Post Production Services describes how to create an effective, reliable workflow for post production.

Larry Jordan: Sam Mestman, workflow architect for FCPWorks explains how he creates custom workflows for clients. What he looks for, and what he avoids.

Larry Jordan: Alec Schreck is a freelance reporter with increasingly tight deadlines. Tonight, he describes how he’s configured his system for maximum reliability and speed.

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: 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.

Larry Jordan: Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. Tonight, we decided to devote the entire show to the process of getting things done, specifically we’re looking at workflow which is the process of getting work done efficiently. As you’ll hear, there are lots of different ways to organize work and gear, but the underlying reason is that, as professionals, we don’t get paid until the work gets done. So the faster we can complete a job the faster we can get paid, and move onto the next task.

Larry Jordan: I’ve always been fascinated by how different people configure their systems. The different ways they track media, and the steps they follow to finish a job. As you’ll discover, there’s no one perfect answer. But there are a lot of different good answers, and it’s my hope that you’ll pick up a technique or two tonight that can simplify your life.

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. Best of all every issue is free and comes out on Friday.

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

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry. How are you?

Larry Jordan: I am talking to you, it’s a highlight of my week. What’s the news?

James DeRuvo: We’re going to be talking about cameras again. A little bad news for poor Nikon. Nikon is the one that actually released the first DSLR camera that had video and ever since then, they’ve been struggling to catch up with Canon and Panasonic and Sony. Last year, they announced they took a $250 million loss, their camera division, and as a result, they’ve laid off a lot of key staff members and cancelled the pocket sized mirrorless DL line, before it even came out. Just cancelled it. So Nikon is having a hard time, and it’s a pity because some of the greatest lenses out there for DSLRs are Nikon lenses. It’s a pity that Nikon hasn’t been able to keep up, even though they’ve tried with their film initiatives, and such.

Larry Jordan: OK, what else we got?

James DeRuvo: On the other hand, Lytro, the light field camera that enables you to change focusing up and down the focal length, and in depth of field. They released their first virtual reality short film this week. It’s called ‘Moon,’ and it lets you watch from a third person perspective, an astronaut walking on the moon. It was filmed with their new Lytro Immerge camera which is not only a spherical 360 degree virtual reality camera, but it also allows you to move within 3D space with parallax. So it’s like being in a real life video game in virtual reality which is really cool. Through that, they’ve been able to raise over $60 million in investment capital, so Lytro could be the future of virtual reality cameras. An amazing camera system.

Larry Jordan: Alright, what else we got?

James DeRuvo: Finally, Fujifilm announced an affordable but fast Fujinon cinema zoom lenses for their Super 35 mm cameras. They were designed for the Super 35 mm and APS-C e-mount cameras that are for Sony, and the two lenses are the MK18-55 and the MK50-135. They’re both super fast with a T rating of 2.9 and they’re designed with similar weight and length stacks, so that you can switch out the lenses and you wouldn’t have to adjust your matte box or your follow up focus. They’ve really thought these lenses out. The 18-55 is going to cost 3,799 and will be out in April, and the price for the 50-135 is to be determined. More lenses are planned to be released later this year and two more in 2018.

Larry Jordan: The nice thing about lenses is that not only can you use them on a single camera, you can move them between cameras, which means that lenses, more than just about any other technology, is a good investment because as your camera needs change, you can still keep using the same lens.

James DeRuvo: Exactly. The thing you need to remember is that your camera is more of a system than it is just a camera and as your camera gets better, you can keep the lenses. There are some Nikon lenses there that were made in the 50s and 60s, that you can put on a DSLR camera today and they will give you some amazing fine quality images. So, if you’re going to spend some money, spend it in the glass.

Larry Jordan: It sounds very cool, and James, where can people go that want more information about what’s happening in the industry?

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

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS and returns every week with a weekly DoddleNEWS update. James, thank you so very much, have yourself a good week, we’ll talk to you next Thursday.

James DeRuvo: OK, see you then.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

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

Michael Kammes: Hi Larry, great to talk to you again.

Larry Jordan: Today we’re focusing on workflow. How would you define what workflow is?

Michael Kammes: Workflow to me would be looking at the process of creating media from conception to distribution, and the steps involved at each point to successfully create and get that media out.

Larry Jordan: Is workflow hardware or is it software, or is it a list of to do points that’s written on the wall?

Michael Kammes: It’s actually even more than that. It’s not only hardware and software, but it’s actually the people who are involved with doing it. Being able to plan out a successful workflow, whether it be production or post production, involves looking at each step of the process and the manpower or person power that you need to complete that task.

Larry Jordan: Why is this so important?

Michael Kammes: I think there’s an inclination, and I think there’s a lot of hardware and software manufacturers that push this, which is “Just use our tool and just create.” I think there’s the immediacy of being able to get results from shooting something or editing something without taking a step back, and saying, “I need to plan everything out, so not only do I have the best product possible, but I do it in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.”

Larry Jordan: I want to stress that point, because I think what happens is, we can get jobs done without ‘a workflow,’ but if we’re charged with getting it done on a deadline, and on a budget, workflow helps us keep it within the budget, and get it done within the timeline. In other words, to be efficient. Is that a true statement from your point of view?

Michael Kammes: I couldn’t like that statement more. What we don’t want to do is step on each other’s toes. We don’t want to retread over the same media we’ve already worked with or steps we’ve already worked with, and we don’t want to have the finger pointing. The more efficient you can be, the more product you can make, and then you can jump onto your next project and continue to make that art, and continue to make that money.

Larry Jordan: Let’s say that we’re setting up or renovating an existing studio. What questions should we be asking that helps us to get answers to this workflow question?

Michael Kammes: It’s a little bit of a cliché term, part of the seven habits, but begin with the end in mind which is where you’re exporting to, where you’re delivering to. Then, once you have that, you can start planning out little nodes, as I call them, nodes of what existing technology you have. Nodes of existing experience or person power to accomplish that, and once you start putting that together, it’s a lot like a puzzle. You can now start filling in the pieces you don’t have that go along with the pieces you do have.

Larry Jordan: One of the concerns that many of us have is technology is changing at such a blinding speed, that we need to make sure that we’re future proofing our decisions. Is it even possible to future proof, and if so, what do we consider to do that?

Michael Kammes: That’s a very tough question because there’s not one single piece of technology that you can buy and say, “Look, in ten years it’s still going to be running as well.” That’s just not rooted in reality. So that’s where consultants come in, folks who see the forest for the trees and also these consultants who are engineers also look at multiple ways to skin the cat. Meaning, if there is a single point of failure in that workflow, is there an engineered way to accomplish that with that workflow having that deficit?

Larry Jordan: So use it like a three year old estimate? If I can get it to last for three years, then consider that the reasonable life of a piece of gear?

Michael Kammes: I mean, if we’re taking a look at the financial aspect of it, most ROI calculations, the return on investment calculations, are usually done over three years. Some stretch to five. But when we’re talking new cameras and new codecs and such, three years is almost an eternity when you’re trying to be bleeding edge with newer formats.

Larry Jordan: You mentioned something I want to come back to, that maybe we need to hire consultants. How do we determine the consultant that we’re hiring actually has a clue what they’re talking about?

Michael Kammes: That’s a real good question. Just like an actor you may hire, or just like a financial person you may hire, you want to see who their client base is. You want to see what they’ve done in the past that can justify. What I love to do is say, “We have a roster of clients we’ve worked with, why don’t you call them, get real world input? Don’t take my marketing BS as gospel. Here are some folks you can call that we’ve helped out, and they’re going to tell you the skinny on that.” I think that’s a very important thing for end clients to do when they’re shopping around looking for intellectual property to hire.

Larry Jordan: Michael, how do you determine what’s a reasonable budget?

Michael Kammes: As I mentioned a few minutes ago, begin with the end in mind. What do you stand to make on the project? I know that’s going to be a very difficult number for some folks to come up with. You know, am I going to sell to distributors? Is it going to go to VOD? But there has to be a, what is the end game in terms of return on the project, and from there you can reverse engineer, but determine how many person hours and man hours it would take to accomplish this, and that whatever’s left over would be for, you know, the technology needed to accomplish this, either buying or renting it.

Larry Jordan: One last question, when should we do this ourselves, and when should we get help?

Michael Kammes: I think before you pick up a pen and write a check for anything, you should be discussing workflow and know what you’re going to do before you even hit record.

Larry Jordan: This all goes back to trying to get good help and people that can give you good advice, which is where Key Code comes in. Where can we go on the web to learn more about the services that Key Code provides?

Michael Kammes: You’ve dropped the name several times, so people can go to keycodemedia.com or check us out on Facebook and Twitter, and we’ll be happy to engage with you.

Larry Jordan: Michael Kammes is the director of technology at Key Code Media. Michael, this has been fun, thank you for your time.

Michael Kammes: Always a pleasure Larry.

Larry Jordan: As the senior director of product management, David Colantuoni is responsible for product vision, strategy and business management for Avid Technologies products, including Media Composer, Pro Tools, Sibelius and Shared Storage. Hello David, welcome back.

David Colantuoni: Hello, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: David, tonight we’re talking about workflow which is the process of getting work done efficiently. So, the question I have for you is, how do we plan and set up an Avid Media Composer system so it works efficiently?

David Colantuoni: I think one of the things about Avid is, we really are a workflow solutions company. We’re not just about Media Composer. So, you start with Media Composer, and that’s a great thing we can talk about. You can start with a very small system, and use it for editorial, and then grow your workload at the same time. That is one of the things that Avid’s really done well over the last 20 years or so. For a Media Composer system, it’s really simple today. It’s no longer the system of yesteryear, and I still can tell you, the number one question we get is, “I can’t afford Media Composer, it’s $50,000. How do I afford it? How do I configure it? “ and those sort of things. That’s no longer the case anymore. It’s $50 a month, and you basically can step in and set up the editorial workflow very simply. It works on the latest Macintosh laptops that just came out, or PC laptops. Just download the software, install it, and you license it directly through Avid over the internet. Some folks like to have a dongle still, we sell those separately. But there’s very little configuration that goes on with a Media Composer set up and system.

Larry Jordan: Let me interrupt for just a second, because for people that haven’t tuned in to Avid recently, I remember the old days of, I had to buy all Avid gear and it all had to be certified, and I couldn’t run it on anything except very specific system configurations. It sounds like a lot of those limitations are gone?

David Colantuoni: Yes, that’s right. The number one thing we get asked, “Do I have to have Avid, Nexis or Storage, or do I have to have Interplay?” The answer’s “No.” We have a set of configurations for computers that you can go off and take a look at. A minimum required set, you know, I need this much RAM and this much CPU power, and then you can go and use available, off the shelf components. You can use a disk drive from any of the various USB drive manufacturers, as long as your media can play back off of it for storage, and grow up to Avid Nexis if you want to. You really can use a very basic configuration and get started on Media Composer these days, so it’s a great question and that’s a great comment. We get asked that all the time.

Larry Jordan: Like Adobe Premiere, Media Composer runs on both Macintosh and Windows systems. Is there a benefit to one platform versus the other?

David Colantuoni: Not really. We do co-development, it’s the same code base, there’s little things that happen with codecs I guess, ProRes … for instance on Windows isn’t available. But for the most part, no. Pretty simple configuration set up, the code is all the same, the editorial features are all the same. So not really much of a difference between the Mac and PC these days.

Larry Jordan: I should mention that the preferred codec for Avid is the DNx codec of which there are multiple flavors similar to ProRes for Final Cut X. Is that a true statement?

David Colantuoni: That’s true, and we have DNxHD which started many years ago and within the last year or two improved the codec so that it can handle up to 4K resolutions with DNxHR, we call it. So yes, it’s the preferred codec for Media Composer, but obviously we work with so many other codecs in the industry.

Larry Jordan: Without question, there’s many codecs that we can use for Ingest, but if we were to transcode, we would want to transcode into a DNx codec correct?

David Colantuoni: Yes, most customers definitely use that workflow for sure.

Larry Jordan: In ProRes, the workhorse format is ProRes 422 which is in the middle of the family. With DNx, which is the workflow format? What do most people tend to use?

David Colantuoni: Most people use DNx 145.

Larry Jordan: DNx 145?

David Colantuoni: Yes. It’s the same kind of middle of the pack workflow enabler, good playback ability, good quality, good resolution, multi dimensional codec like ProRes 422.

Larry Jordan: One of the issues that we have to deal with, especially as we get into fatter, more efficient formats like DNx, or ProRes is storage bandwidth and capacity. How much do we need to pay attention to storage bandwidth, and where can we get advice from Avid in terms of what bandwidth we need for the type of codecs we want to edit?

David Colantuoni: We do have a lot of those configurations on our website. If you are interested in Avid Storage for instance, we publish the amount of streams that you can get with the DNx codec. Some other drive manufacturers will also do that if you’re not using Avid Nexis, you’re using some third party storage that works with Media Composer. A lot of companies will also produce the stream count, I can have this many clients, or this many streams playing back with this DNx resolution. On our website, using Media Composer and Nexis, all that information is available.

Larry Jordan: Another big benefit that Media Composer has over say Premiere or Final Cut, is that we can have multiple editors work on the same project. How do we need to change our configuration if that’s one of our goals?

David Colantuoni: With Media Composer, we’ve been in project sharing which we’ve had for collaboration for many years, you really don’t need to do anything. It’s a feature of the product and basically it allows you to collaborate with other folks, multi user editors, and allows you to access media or not access media, or change the media or destruct media while somebody else is using it. There are software abilities that are built into Media Composer that just enable that.

Larry Jordan: A single Media Composer system, we could work with direct attached storage. On a shared system, wouldn’t we need to have a server and have all the editors accessing the server?

David Colantuoni: It’s all based on projects and media and bins, so we have all that intelligence built into the Media Composer database and software that knows when someone has a bin open, and they’re accessing a piece of media. We’re able to detect if someone else is also working on that and so, that intelligence is built into how we interact with Avid Nexis, but some other storage companies also support that. We have some intelligence that behind the scenes is communicating and saying, “Someone’s using this media file. You can read it, but you can’t write to it and destruct it, because this other person’s using it.” That’s all built into the software.

Larry Jordan: The Nexis then is what? It’s a server?

David Colantuoni: Avid Nexis is actually shared storage. You may be familiar with Avid’s storage through the years, Media Matt, and Unity, and ISIS and now the next generation storage is actually Avid Nexis and that replaced the Avid ISIS storage. It’s media and entertainment software defined storage. It does specific tasks that play back massive amounts of media with a lot of clients connected and so it’s purpose built for media and entertainment, and that intelligence is built into that software so you can do that collaborative workflow that we just talked about.

Larry Jordan: How do the computers attach to the Nexis?

David Colantuoni: It’s network attached storage, so it’s an Ethernet connected storage device. It runs on a regular network and there’s different connections, either one gig, ten gig, 40 gig connections that plug into the back of Nexis depending on your configuration. So if you have a network, you just use your traditional network to use Avid Nexis, and Media Composer together.

Larry Jordan: I think this week I was reading about Avid working with Adobe Premiere. What’s the news there?

David Colantuoni: Yes, this is one of the unsung heroes of Avid Nexis. We’ve been talking for a little bit about Avid Everywhere, and our journey through making a platform that not only enables our workflows but invites other companies to participate into it. What it really means is that when we designed Avid Nexis, we really wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just a product that worked with Media Composer. It needed to work with Adobe, Final Cut or Grass Valley or Blackmagic, with Baselight. So we went and worked with a lot of the engineering teams in the industry to make sure that when customers had multi seat editorial, they had some Adobe seats, they had some Media Composer seats, they had some Blackmagic seats or whatever, that they could Avid Nexis as the central hub that connected to the platform that we created, that allowed them to use Media Composer or Adobe Premiere as seamlessly as they need to. What that all means is that we actually engineered Nexis and worked with Adobe to get Adobe Premiere working on Avid Nexis. You don’t need to do anything, you just plug your Adobe in if you have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, and Avid Nexis will work with it.

David Colantuoni: We actually have some videos on our website we’ve created that show you how to use it, and it’s a pretty simple set up. There’s not much setup, it just talks about some of the features in Adobe, but you don’t need to upgrade your Avid Nexis, it comes along with it, and it’s just part of what we’ve been trying to do here at Avid. I know it sounds weird, I’m the Media Composer product manager. I’m also the Nexis product manager. But it’s important for the industry to understand and folks to understand that we realize that different tools have different applications, and sometimes people want to use Adobe, and they need to and it works with our shared storage. Maybe they have another seat of Media Composer and they’re using it with our shared storage. So it’s just a realization that we have to be open and we’ve been making modest strides, and doing a lot of work to make sure that we can support that.

Larry Jordan: Does Pro Tools work with Nexis as well?

David Colantuoni: It does. There’s some workflows that it supports today, but coming soon you’re going to hear more about that. We support some workflows today, and at NAB we’re going to announce some more stuff around Pro Tools. So it’s coming.

Larry Jordan: David, before I let you go, what are the biggest mistakes editors make when they’re setting up their system?

David Colantuoni: They really need to think about what they’re going to do before they set up their system. The workflow word is so perfect. What is their workflow? How are they going to ingest their media? What media are they shooting with? Are they using a Sony or Panasonic or whomever and are the capabilities that they’ve provisioned out of their laptop, able to play back 4K, multistreams at 4K? Are they going to need to do some DPX processing and things like that? So before you set up your system, buying the right computer is really important dependent on how you want to approach your workflow from a camera purchase, codec purchase and then processing of that, and then how you’re going to output it, because if you can ingest your media, and you can edit it and then you try to play back all your streams and videos but you still can’t play it out because your computer’s not fast enough, it’s not going to do you much good. So having a good core understanding of your workflow from beginning to end on how you put the pieces in the middle together, is really important.

Larry Jordan: David, for people that want more information, where can they go on the web?

David Colantuoni: HYPERLINK “http://www.avid.com” www.avid.com.

Larry Jordan: David Colantuoni is the senior director of product management for Avid. David, as always, thanks for joining us today.

David Colantuoni: Thank you so much, I love coming on. I appreciate it.

Larry Jordan: Oliver Peters is based in central Florida and is the award winning editor and colorist running Oliver Peters Post Production Services, and he’s been doing so for the last 35 years. Hello Oliver, welcome back.

Oliver Peters: Hello.

Larry Jordan: Oliver, tonight we’re talking about workflow. How would you define what workflow is?

Oliver Peters: I guess workflow means different things to different people, but it’s basically the process of getting from the camera over to a final master and all the pieces in between.

Larry Jordan: Why is it important to have an efficient workflow?

Oliver Peters: Well, obviously it helps to have multiple people involved in the process all understand what the objective is. If that means several editors touching the project or an editor, a mixer, a colorist, everybody has to know what’s expected of them and certain rules of the road have to be satisfied, and that makes it easier and fewer mistakes, and ultimately a faster process.

Larry Jordan: How formal does a workflow need to be? Does it need to be written down and documented, or can it be more informal?

Oliver Peters: I think it depends on how big a group we’re talking about. If it’s a small production company, a handful of people, I think it can be hashed out with everybody getting in a room and quickly saying “OK these are the steps we’re going to follow.” If it’s a much bigger process, multiple editors, assistant editors, DIPs whatever, then I think you probably have to document that a little bit more, especially if it’s not a snowflake type of production where it’s something where the actions are repetitive, whether that’s a TV series or some sort of corporate video series where you’re tending to do similar things over and over again.

Larry Jordan: When a customer comes to you asking for help to set up a workflow, what do you need to know to get them started?

Oliver Peters: It helps to know what kind of camera formats they’re shooting with, and whether there are different steps in the process, for example, is it all going to be ingested, edited and finished all within a single application, like Final Cut Pro X or Premiere Pro? Or are you going to have to hand it off to an audio mixer working in Pro Tools, or a colorist working in Resolve? That tends to dictate things like whether or not you should transcode the media before you get started, or if you’re safe to stay within the native structure of that particular file format.

Larry Jordan: What’s the biggest mistake people make when trying to create a workflow?

Oliver Peters: Probably not allowing enough time for all the steps in the process. Everybody these days I think want to go straight from their shoot right away to editing, and sometimes it may take a day or two in between to copy files, and do that sort of thing. So I think trying to rush the process is maybe the biggest mistake people make. Probably the next biggest mistake is, you know, thinking that they can get by with less and then trying to fix the problem at the end of the line.

Larry Jordan: Yes, I have had many of those panic emails where “It’s not working, and now what do I do?” And I said, “Well, you could start over.”

Oliver Peters: Yes. Nobody wants to hear that, but sometimes that’s the sad truth of things.

Larry Jordan: Very quickly, who’s responsible for setting a workflow? Who’s the driving force?

Oliver Peters: In smaller companies, oftentimes it’s the editor most likely, because the editor knows maybe a little bit more about the technical side of things than other people. In a bigger company you may have a post production supervisor or an operations manager or something whose sole job it is to make sure that everything works efficiently …

Larry Jordan: Last question. For people that want to learn more about what you’re doing and more about your company, where can they go on the web?

Oliver Peters: Two places, oliverpeters.com or my blog at digitalfilms.orgpress.com.

Larry Jordan: I’ll pick the short one for right now. That’s oliverpeters.com, and Oliver, thanks for joining us today. It is always fun visiting.

Oliver Peters: Thank you very much.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Oliver Peters: Alright, bye.

Larry Jordan: Sam Mestman has been working with and dealing with workflow for a long time. He’s the workflow architect for FCPWorks, a leading integrator for the Final Cut X platform. He’s also the CEO of We Make Movies, the world’s first community funded production company. Hello Sam.

Sam Mestman: Hey Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: I’m doing great. We’re talking about workflow tonight, and I’ve discovered everybody has a different definition. How would you define workflow?

Sam Mestman: I think workflow at its most simplest form is … and the components with which you need to do to get from acquisition of media to delivery to the audience in whatever form factor may be required of you.

Larry Jordan: What do we need to know to create a workflow? If you’re helping a client put a workflow together, what do they have to tell you?

Sam Mestman: The number one thing that I know I need to know, before I can get anywhere, is what are the needs of each of your departments? What are the links in the chains who have needs that need satisfying? What does your VFX department need? What does your colorist require? What does your editorial department want to cut with, and what is your sound department going to need? From there, you can look at all of those components, and also what camera are you shooting with, what resolution are you shooting with? Then you can assemble the links in the chain to come up with the simplest way to get from point A to point B.

Larry Jordan: Is workflow person A does this, person B does that? Or is workflow, this is the hardware you’re going to use? Or is workflow a list of deliverables, or is workflow the software? I mean, I’m confused now.

Sam Mestman: I think it’s a little bit of all of that, but I think in a perfect world, the workflow is everybody’s on the same page with how they’re going to work together. They’ve assembled in advance what their pipeline is, and everybody has an understanding of the pipeline. What often happens is, everyone is used to working the way that they work, and so workflow ends up getting wedged into these various needs around what people are attempting to do. But I think the ideal workflow is where everybody’s talking to each other. It’s more about communication than anything. Everybody’s talking to each other about how to get the footage essentially through the pipeline.

Larry Jordan: I was just thinking that many editors have their own method of working, and it works great for them, but it may not work great for the group. So the purpose is to make sure everybody in the group is all working in the same direction.

Sam Mestman: Exactly, and the earlier on people talk about what their process is, and what they want to do, the earlier that potential problems and roadblocks don’t snowball and roll downhill and cost producers endless amounts of money at the end, to solve a problem that could have usually been planned for from the very beginning if people had had a discussion.

Larry Jordan: So what products are you recommending as you’re putting this stuff together?

Sam Mestman: That is a wide ranging discussion, but I think the simplest workflow for narrative that I have seen to this point is shooting with an Alexa and cutting with Final Cut Premiere, Avid basically, and then you’re going to pretty much universally deliver at this point with Resolve, and use Resolve to work with your VFX departments and deliver various things. Frankly, Pro Tools or Reaper on the audio side, that would be the basis of what I’d recommend, and a lot of it comes down to what your lead editor prefers. But it’ll be some combination of those, and then Nuke and Fusion is coming up on the VFX side and After Effects for graphics and titles is what the basis of it is. But on the documentary side you may finish everything inside … at this point, your NLE.

Larry Jordan: I’ve got to ask that question differently. When you’re putting a system together, does everything revolve around your storage and you put the money into storage? Or does everything revolve around your computer and you put the money in the computer? They’re both essential, but it seems to me, or does it all revolve around the camera and everything hangs out. What is the central decision you need to make first from which everything else flows?

Sam Mestman: Look at your storage, so for instance, at LumaForge we make the Jellyfish which is shared storage that’s optimized for video editors, and that’s basically your house. You can assemble your house however you want, and probably the main entrance way is going to be your Macs, or series of Macs, or possibly even PCs if you’re cutting in that department. Then based on how your entry room is, and where the doors are, you may assemble applications which would be different rooms of the house and a staircase that’s basically going to be your online editor, or Resolve, that’s going to lead up to some of the finishing aspects of this which could be the other applications. So I would say your computers would basically be rooms, and your applications would be maybe the decorations around some of that. And the house which your fundamental storage, and if you have direct attached storage, you’re probably living in an apartment, and if you’re in a shared environment you’ve got a house, and that could potentially in a large facility be a mansion.

Larry Jordan: I have never heard that analogy before, and number one I’m not letting you anywhere near my house with a hammer. But I like the idea of houses and rooms and furnishings inside the rooms. That’s very cool.

Sam Mestman: Yes, you definitely don’t want to let me anywhere near your house with a hammer.

Larry Jordan: Sam, for people that need more about what you guys offer, where can they go on the web?

Sam Mestman: The best place to go is to go to LumaForge.com if you’re looking for shared storage, FCPWorks.com for workflow, and if you’re an independent filmmaker, go to wemakemovies.org and come see us in a workshop.

Larry Jordan: I’m just going to pick one of those, that’s FCPWorks.com. Sam Mestman is the workflow architect for FCPWorks. Sam, this has been fun, thank you for sharing your time.

Sam Mestman: Thanks so much Larry.

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: Alec Schreck is a freelance reporter and multi-media journalist. As such he’s responsible for reporting, shooting, editing, writing and tracking all of his news stories. Hello Alec, welcome.

Alec Schreck: Hey Larry, thank you for having me. A fan of yours for many years, great work on your website, blog, you’re really a tremendous resource for people like me.

Larry Jordan: Well thank you, it’s very kind words. Before we start talking about workflow, which the whole show is focused on, tell me what first got you involved with news?

Alec Schreck: Originally software and wireless and banking in New York city, and one of the things I found out was when I was trying to get them to sign on the dotted line, I was a terrible salesman. I loved all the stories, the Hasidic Jewish businessmen, I had 300 business accounts in Brooklyn, mobsters, you name it, I had the whole gamut. Through a lengthy process of a lot of volunteer work, I stumbled into it and I started volunteering at a PBS affiliate, in Oregon and actually learned how to do Final Cut at one of the local cable TV stations in Portland.

Larry Jordan: Now, let’s shift to the present day because you’re a freelance news reporter which means that you need to create a system that’s both reliable and fast. As you were assembling your gear, what thoughts were you using to prioritize what you were going to use?

Alec Schreck: I just quit working for an ABC station here in Texas a couple of weeks ago, and we were up in DC doing the inauguration, and it was obviously jam packed. It was crazy, stuff everywhere, nowhere to park, you can’t set up sticks on the national mall for safety reasons. A lot of improvising, which is something I think many of us folks love. This chaotic improvisation and all that. So we had shot some stuff, and the camera that we had was a slightly older P2 and the footage was so so, and we started shooting some stuff with our iPhones. One day in particular, we had to really run and gun, myself and the photographer I was working with and it turned out great. The story turned out great, we got a lot of killer footage. You almost have to be a purist to hear the difference in the audio, and it was such a fantastic tool. That was the first time I really got hit over the head when I thought that this is beyond the future, this is now. So about a week later I went and bought a new iPhone 7 Plus and I really committed to making that shift.

Larry Jordan: Your principle camera right now is an iPhone rather than a video camera?

Alec Schreck: Yes, absolutely. I’m not an Apple pitchman, but I bought the 7 Plus specifically because it has killer video and the audio is pretty good. The stabilizers starting on the 6 Plus, 6 S plus and now the 7 Plus, are phenomenal. As a matter of fact I was working for a CBS affiliate in Florida, and we were flying to Cuba right before they opened, in a little private plane. Same kind of deal, I was shooting some footage and it was shaky and so I grabbed my iPhone and it was beautiful. It was clean, smooth and that’s when I really first started to get the idea that this is a great way to supplement my work, and then at the inauguration, that’s where I realized it needs to be the lead tool.

Larry Jordan: So we’ve got photos and video that we’ve taken on the iPhone. Walk me through the rest of your system. How do you edit it? What software? And then what’s your deliverable?

Alec Schreck: I think a couple of things. Of course they teach you at PPA, wide beam, tight, super tight, never shoot a shot, only shoot sequences. But when you’re out in the field, if you have breaking news at the desk, the producers, they’re going to want a quick one minute deal or something that you shoot out there. Without fail the photographer always freaks out. “Oh my god, they’re asking for this, or asking for that.” You hit yourself in the head, and think this is the same thing we do every day. But with these iPhones, I have to mention the FiLMiC Pro it’s just incredible, so you can shoot something already done, edit it, and send it right back, laser quick. The FiLMiC Pro is really the key I’ve found out. Shortly after the inauguration I shot a bunch of stuff on this brand new 7 Plus over at the House … building, and I was excited about it, and I sat down and put it together and I just got killed with the renders in the edit. That’s when I reached out to you. The following day I had an awe like moment and I’m like, what about that FiLMiC Pro? Threw that in, problem solved. So instead of having that highly compressed stuff to render in Final Cut Pro, I was able to snatch up with FiLMiC Pro, that app, I could change the frame rate, or the format so that it matched what I was shooting, what was going into the iPhone, what was going into my Macbook in the Final Cut Pro. There was no render whatsoever. Absolutely brilliant. I tried several different cases. Right now what I’m using, I took an iOgrapher case and I got a tremble and I cut about a half inch out of the side where the lightning port is, and it’s a Shure MOTIV mike that has a lightning plug, I plug it right into the phone and it’s great. It’s so fast, so light. Another plus of being so compact, if you’re in an airport or somewhere trying to get a quick sound bite or your gear’s stowed away or it typically throws up a red flag, and you get kicked out, you can grab something so fast. It’s a game changer. It’s really a game changer.

Larry Jordan: You’ve shifted from carrying all this gear into carrying an iPhone, editing it on the iPhone with FiLMiC Pro, did I hear that right?

Alec Schreck: FiLMiC Pro, it’s pretty well known with filmmakers. It fixes the render problem. That was the biggest deal for me. I don’t want a rig with a science project on it. I want as few components as possible, less to break. The foreclose king, workflow, I will absolutely take a little bit lower quality to get an easier workflow.

Larry Jordan: The stuff that you’re shooting, are you shooting 720, 1080 or 4K? And what are you feeding back to the station?

Alec Schreck: 720. Every station that I’ve worked at, or not, it’s 720, I think primarily because of storage requirements. So 720. I’ve played around with 720, 1080 and a little bit of 4K, just to keep it simple. Also too, if I want to cut the package real quick and send it through my phone, to be able to throw a 720 package maybe at 150 megabytes through Dropbox, rather than a 4K package in the Dropbox which you know, two gigabytes, whatever it may be, it’s such a huge time difference, sending it. You miss a slot, you’re out of luck. Matter of fact, you may be out of a job.

Larry Jordan: So you and they are trading off quality for speed? For you speed and small file sizes are the most important?

Alec Schreck: Yes, absolutely. Unless you have a technical genius, and I’ve worked with one guy and I don’t know how he did it, but he knew how to get the settings to where you could send these really small file sizes and that was magic. But typically, 720 is what I’ve seen everywhere.

Larry Jordan: Are you shooting complete packages with sound bites? Or are you feeding raw stuff back to the source, and having them edit it?

Alec Schreck: I rarely send back raw because that feed time Larry. I already know they’re going to be clamoring for teasers and promos and they probably want a VO or a … before the package, so what I like to do is shoot to edit all that real simple stuff, … I like to get all that stuff done and sent and it puts the producers at ease because they already got what they need for their teasers, for the promos, for the early show and then we can cut and just focus on the package with very little interruption typically.

Larry Jordan: What are you doing for lighting?

Alec Schreck: I have a little white panel. It’s extraordinary, the difference between when it’s a little dark at night, with the 6S versus the 7 Plus, it’s significant. I also have an older frezzi that I carry around. I have a stand that I can throw up on it. For the duration of my career, one thing that I’ve tried to think through while I’m shooting, for example if there’s an air conditioner I move them away so I don’t have to try to pull out a buzz in post, if they’re backlit or some kind of weird light, I move them away. If something’s blinking I either move them away, or make sure it’s pronounced, because it’s a cool effect. But I think a lot of it is just you really think quickly, think on your feet, learn from your mistakes. That’s basically it.

Larry Jordan: That is amazing. I remember just doing a single camera shoot, took a bread truck and five people, and you’re doing broadcast journalism with an iPhone. Alec, for people that want more information about you and what you’re doing, where can they go on the web?

Alec Schreck: Absolutely Larry. Alecschreck.com, glad to answer any questions. Larry thank you so much for having me, I appreciate it.

Larry Jordan: It’s my pleasure. Alec Schreck is a freelance reporter, multi media journalist, and Alec, thanks for joining us today. Take care.

Alec Schreck: Thank you Larry, bye, bye now.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Well, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that there’s no one single answer to what workflow is, except it’s important for us to think through workflow at the very beginning of a job and make sure everybody is on the same page, and we all understand what we’re using for acquisition and what our deliverables are so that we don’t trip over our own feet as we’re creating the projects. Anything that we can do to get the project done quickly and efficiently, as Alec made abundantly clear, is all to the good.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week, Michael Kammes from Key Code Media, David Colantuoni from Avid, Oliver Peters with Oliver Peters Post Production, Sam Mestman with FCPWorks, Alec Schreck, freelance reporter, and James DeRuvo with DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all on 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 2017 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz- February 23, 2017

A workflow is a consistent, repeatable process for getting work done efficiently. This week, we talk with several experts to learn what a workflow is, how to set one up and how it is used in real-life.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Dave Colantuoni, Michael Kammes, Oliver Peters, Sam Mestman, Alec Schreck, and James DeRuvo.

  • Configure an Avid Media Composer System
  • High-Performance iPhone Workflow
  • The Basics of Creating a Workflow
  • Create a Better Workflow
  • Design a Custom Workflow
  • The 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: Configure an Avid Media Composer System

Dave Colantuoni
Dave Colantuoni, Sr. Director of Product Management, Avid Technology

Part of a good workflow is creating a system of hardware and software that works reliably so you can concentrate on telling stories. Tonight, Dave Colantuoni, Sr. Director of Product Management for Avid Technologies, explains how to configure an Avid Media Composer system to get it performing at its best.

Featured Interview #2: High-Performance iPhone Workflow

Alec Schreck
Alec Schreck, Freelance Reporter, www.alecschreck.com

Alec Schreck is a company of one. He’s a freelance reporter who is responsible for all his gear, software, content, media management, archiving… the works. Tonight, he shares his advice for other small shops on what he’s learned and what works for him.

The Basics of Creating a Workflow

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

This week, we are talking about workflow and why finding one that works is essential to any professional that wants to “get stuff done.” To learn more, we start with Michael Kammes, Director of Technology for KeyCode Media, who explains what a good workflow is and how to set one up..

Create a Better Workflow

Oliver Peters
Oliver Peters, Editor, Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC

Oliver Peters is the creative head of Oliver Peters Post-Production. He is also well-known in the industry for his blogs and insight on the editing process. Tonight, we talk with Oliver about how to create a workflow from your current gear that improves your efficiency.

Design a Custom Workflow

Sam Mestman
Sam Mestman, Workflow Architect, FCPWORKS

Sam Mestman, workflow architect for FCPWorks, is a consultant that specializes in helping companies figure out how all the different pieces fit together. Tonight, he explains how he creates a sustainable workflow, what he looks for, and what he avoids.

The Weekly 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- February 16, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Bob Caniglia, Senior Regional Manager, Eastern North America, Blackmagic Design
Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor, Red Shark News, Ned Soltz Inc.
Yvonne Russo, Producer/Director, vivaverdithefilm.com
Tama Berkeljon, Managing Director, Outsight
Jourdan Aldredge, Creative Content Coordinator, Premium Beat
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are looking at lights, cameras and action. We start with Bob Caniglia, a regional manager with Blackmagic Design, talking about their latest cameras and how to pick the right camera for your next project.

Larry Jordan: Producer/director Yvonne Russo takes us behind the scenes of her documentary Viva Verdi, and explains the pre-production work that went into her shoot in Milan, Italy.

Larry Jordan: Tama Berkeljon is the managing director of Outsight, an LED lighting manufacturer. Tom explains how they into LED lighting, and how to choose the right lights for your next project.

Larry Jordan: Jourdan Aldredge, creative content coordinator for Premiumbeat, has a series of production tips for shooting your next film that will improve quality without breaking your budget.

Larry Jordan: Ned Soltz, contributing editor for Red Shark News, has specific suggestions on what to consider when choosing your next camera, including whether to rent or to buy.

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: 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.

Larry Jordan: Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. I’m on the road this week so we recorded tonight’s show this last Monday. We decided to focus on production this week. We’re calling the show ‘Lights, Cameras, and Action.’ It’s the process of turning an idea into a video, and some of the gear we need to make that happen. We’ll be talking with guests from Australia to Italy, and lots of points in between. It’s a fun subject with lots of stories along the way.

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. Best of all every issue is free and comes out on Friday.

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

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan: So what’s the news?

James DeRuvo: The news this week is all about virtual reality again. It just never seems to want to settle down. We’ve got two new software applications out that’ll make your virtual reality post production workflow a lot easier to manage. The first one comes out from a company called Mettle, and they’ve got a new plug in called Skybox 360 VR Transitions 2 which offers a set of drag and drop transitions that can link up clips within your Premiere Pro timeline so you don’t need to use a separate 360 VR app so you can do all your 360 VR editing within Premiere Pro. It has fully customizable support from mono 2:1, stereo 1:1,over/under and equirectangular formats, and it joins other tools in the Skybox Studio suite including Skybox Post Effects, which is the After Effects for virtual reality, Skybox Studio V2 which creates VR content within After Effects, and Skybox VR 360 Tools which can add text, logos, 2D footage and the like right directly into your 360 workflow.

Larry Jordan: Very cool. What else we got?

James DeRuvo: Boris FX is releasing their own virtual reality set of tools. They claim to be the first plug in to bring native 360 motion tracking, masking, object removal and horizon stabilization tools to your non-linear editor like Adobe Premiere Creative Cloud, After Effects, Avid Media Composer and even Blackmagic Fusion. It offers efficient time saving post stitch workflow for editors and compositors, and can fix problems like removing the camera from the image, and stabilizing aerial footage.

James DeRuvo: So we’ve got a lot of VR stuff going on in the news today, as well as this weekend was the Science and Technical Awards for the Oscars. ARRI, RED and Sony were all honored for their work in pushing the digital revolution. ARRI got an honor for engineering the Super 35 format for the ARRI ALEXA digital camera system. RED got something of a lifetime achievement nod for their pioneering design of the RED digital camera lines, and for how they manufacture the process that pushed the digital revolution. So they got honored for their line of cameras, and how they actually went about building them and how it’s completely changed the way they make cameras these days. Sony was awarded for the F65 CineAlta camera, and its pioneering high res imaging sensor, as well as being honored, along with Panavision, for the development of the Genesis digital motion picture camera. And there were plenty of other artists who were honored for their contributions to the technical realm this year, and it looks like the future is bright technically, as far as the digital revolution goes.

Larry Jordan: They picked some good camera companies with ARRI and RED and Sony. All of those awards I think are fully justified.

James DeRuvo: Absolutely. RED are trailblazers, and they’re proud of it. While everybody’s just starting to get into 6K and 5K, RED is already into 8K. So they’re really pushing the edge of the envelope, and so this Oscar is well deserved.

Larry Jordan: James, I should mention that we’re recording this session on Monday, and the industry refuses to stop creating news, so for people that want the latest information on the industry, 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 returns every week with our DoddleNEWS update. James, thanks for joining us today.

James DeRuvo: OK Larry, have a good week.

Larry Jordan: I want to introduce you to a new website, Thalo.com. Thalo 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, 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 the 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: Bob Caniglia began working in the film and television industry in 1985 as a part time cameraman and editor. Then he was an editor for the Disney Channel, and 525 Post Production working on music videos for Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson. Then Bob came to Blackmagic Design when the company purchased DaVinci in 2009 where he is now the senior regional manager for eastern North America and I’m delighted to say, hello Bob. Welcome back.

Bob Caniglia: Hello Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: Last week, Dan May told us about the new streaming products from Blackmagic Design. This week, I want to talk with you about the latest Blackmagic cameras. Now obviously a camera is crucial in a shoot, but what makes the Blackmagic cameras worth considering?

Bob Caniglia: At this point, Blackmagic has quite a range of cameras from very small, micro cinema, micro studio cameras, all the way up to the new URSA mini. The other thing that we’ve tried to do is enter into price points that currently don’t offer the same sort of feature set as our cameras, so getting into things with 15 stops of dynamic range, and with the URSA mini we can use either as a field camera for shooting film style, or with a B4 mount, turn it into an ENG style camera, or add the studio viewfinder and hook it to an ATEM and now you’re using it as a studio camera. So that flexibility to be able to turn some of the models into multiple use, really gives somebody a good bang for their buck.

Larry Jordan: One of the questions that I get asked a lot is, “I’m in the market for a new camera, what’s the best camera?” How do you answer that question?

Bob Caniglia: Well, it’s funny because oftentimes we’ll get that at a show. Someone comes and says, “So what camera should I buy?” Most of the time I’ll say, “Well what is it that you’re trying to do?” Sometimes they’ll say, “Well, I want to do everything.” I say, “Well that’s ambiguous.” But I try to narrow it down to “Are you looking to shoot commercials? Are you looking for a more film cinematic camera, or are you looking for something to shoot ENG style or live or studio cameras?” Things like that. A lot of schools will ask, “What can we buy that we can get the most use out of?” meaning, “Can we buy a camera that we could use in the studio but also go out and shoot in the field?” So, when I can get a little bit better detail on what their intended use is, then we can start to narrow it down. Of course price comes into play often, but for the most part, with our range, we can usually get somebody into an area. One of the things that I find most interesting is that many people who have bought some of our cameras over time, tend to have more than one which is a great asset if you can purchase more than one. Obviously the ability to shoot with more than one camera on location is always beneficial, but one of the things that people do like about our range of cameras is that we’re able to, with DaVinci Resolve in the workflow, you’re able to match those two cameras, regardless of which ones they are, which obviously makes a big deal in post.

Larry Jordan: Let’s come back to the idea of, what’s the best camera? You clearly answered, and I totally agree with the answer, which is, it depends. But what are the most important questions people need to ask? What do they need to know before they go camera shopping? What’s the top three questions that can really narrow in on a camera?

Bob Caniglia: I think you need to figure out functionally what you’re looking for. Do you need it to be so portable that it’s small and has to fit inside a car and things like that, that really can push you into one direction. Whether or not you intend to shoot hand held, often, because then that can turn you into a different direction. So, that intended use really means something because, if I think back on when I first started, ENG style cameras on our shoulders all the time, so those parfocal lenses that ENG style lenses were the only way you could go. Today people, especially those that got into this in the DSLR boom, are used to using, even if they’re photo lenses which are basically just a series of prime lenses, are not really that great at doing ENG style work. You try and hone in where they’re looking to go, and then dynamic range comes into play especially if you’re talking about doing cinematic work, but oftentimes, depending on the type of work they’re doing, that may not be quite as important as the portability of it.

Larry Jordan: You bring up a really good point. HDR is incredibly hot right now. High dynamic range, and being able to shoot a broader latitude in brightness than we get with standard HD Rec 709 images. What does Blackmagic offer that supports HDR quality video?

Bob Caniglia: The URSA Mini 4.6K has 15 stops of dynamic range. So that’s really going to give you the broadest latitude. When you shoot raw at 4.6K RAW, you get 15 stops of dynamic range, and that’s a full 15 stops. I think at that point you’re really into an area where you’re going to get the complete range. We’ve done some shoot outs where we’ve gone into a conference room and shot people in the conference room, and then shot through the window, and we’re able to get images in both locations in a blink of an eye and that really shows the range that you’re getting in real life as opposed to just on paper.

Larry Jordan: Another thing Dan talked about last week was the rising interest in live streaming and the products that Blackmagic offer to support it. Why is live streaming so hot right now?

Bob Caniglia: What we’re seeing now is that so many people are doing live broadcasts, whether they’re podcasts, or just interviews. Whether it’s Facebook Live or YouTube, it’s amazing because those avenues are there, and some of them are free, more and more people are broadcasting and it’s interesting that the traditional broadcasting sense is not really the same as it used to be where you’d need a studio and whatever. Now you need a cell phone and an internet connection. But like anything, the better quality you can get into those then the more interested people are in watching them. I listen to a lot of satellite radio and oftentimes now they’re trying to simulcast over the internet at the same time, and so we’re seeing a lot more of that.

Larry Jordan: Is a camera for live streaming different from other cameras?

Bob Caniglia: A camera for live streaming isn’t necessarily that different. It’s more studio based. It’s more about how you set it up in terms of putting a Rec 709 look on it. Many of these live streams are using multiple cameras, so running it through a switcher, and then getting it out to the web, that’s where some of the products we introduced last week fit very nicely in that where we can plug in cameras through a switcher, and then ultimately to the web so that you’re not just getting one camera out, you’re getting multiple cameras, but it looks like a single camera to the portal, to the online. For instance, today, we’re talking over Skype and because I have the new box, I plugged in one of the URSA Minis as my Skype cam as opposed to what’s on the laptop.

Larry Jordan: You are just a technical maven, really. That’s just amazing. How are studio cameras different from cinema cameras?

Bob Caniglia: Studio cameras, generally you shoot for the US 59,94 mostly. They’re set up, not with a film look, you don’t want to shoot them flat, you want to put a Rec 709 usually on them right away. Do a little camera shading. In the case of our studio cameras, none of them have internal recording because they’re not designed to be recorded in the field. They’re just designed to have output. So, when we talk about even in the micro, we have micro cinema, and a micro studio camera, people often ask what the difference is between them. One records and one doesn’t. That’s at a basic level. So, those cameras are just designed differently. They’re set up to look good straight out of the output rather than doing any real high end post production later.

Larry Jordan: I’ve had a number of problems with Blackmagic studio cameras, especially regarding sensitivity. They take a ton of light. How have they been improved over the last few years?

Bob Caniglia: One of the big problems that we’ve had that is being addressed as we speak, is that the settings in the ATEM versus the settings on the camera, aren’t quite in the right relation. What I mean by that is, when you fire it up and you put it at zero gain, it’s not really zero. It should on the 4K cameras, they should be at at least plus six. Now most people think you’re adding gain but it’s really just the scale is not quite right. So what happens is, people often say, “Well I got to go to plus six or plus 12 to get it to look good.” I say, “Yes, but that’s actually where you’re only really at 400 to 800 ISO which is about where the peak of the camera is.” We’ve discussed this over the years that we really need to adjust that scale. In my days, we used to have plus and minus gain basically which you could go down and up over zero. So we need to change that scale, because I think that leads to a lot of confusion. People thinking gain, back in the analog days, where if you increase it you’re just increasing noise, but that’s not true with these cameras.

Larry Jordan: With the wealth of media that’s available today, I look at YouTube and Vimeo and Facebook and Instagram, and Pinterest, how does a person make their media stand out?

Bob Caniglia: Well content is king I suppose. You want to make it look good so it doesn’t look like you’re shooting it from your basement, but at the same time it’s got to be content that somebody wants to actually watch. People ask all the time, “Which camera should I get?” Or, “What should I do here?” and technically, and all these things, and I say, “At the end of the day, if you tell a better story, that’s probably going to do the most good for you.” People spend lots of money on visual effects and whatever, but sometimes the best story is actually what’s going to win, not the fanciest looking. In the old days, when I started, you either shot film or you shot it on video, and if you shot it on video everyone knew it, and they wouldn’t even look at your program. Today you can buy a camera for $1,000 and if you shoot it correctly, it’s going to look just as good as things that are shot on much more expensive cameras. So then you’re going to be judged for your story and not necessarily what products are used. And I think that’s exciting.

Larry Jordan: I think when it comes to products you’re right, Blackmagic has a huge range of products available, and it’s impossible for me to keep them all in my mind at one time. Where can we go on the web to learn more about the products that Blackmagic offers?

Bob Caniglia: You can visit us at blackmagicdesign.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, blackmagicdesign.com and Bob Coniglia is the senior regional manager for eastern North America and Bob, as always, this has been fun, thank you for your time.

Bob Caniglia: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: Yvonne Russo is an award winning producer, director and writer who’s currently working on a documentary named Viva Verdi, a documentary about life inside the retirement home that Guiseppe Verdi built in Milan, Italy in 1896 for musicians. Hello Yvonne, welcome back.

Yvonne Russo: Hi Larry, thank you.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was looking up in my records and realized the last time we chatted was 2014. Where do we stand with the documentary now?

Yvonne Russo: Oh my gosh, 2014. Well, after that, we had another phase of production which actually took place in late December of 2014. We had raised money from Indiegogo and also through a private investor, to shoot in Milan for about ten days. While we were there we were conducting key interviews with some of the legendary talent at Casa Verdi and we were able to hire a local associate producer and sound man and B camera unit in Milan. Then, in July 2016, that was our third and final stage of production. We were able to travel back to Milan to shoot for 11 days, and we completed the project then on the ground. So it was really an amazing process, and now fast forward to now, we’re raising funding for post.

Larry Jordan: On today’s show, we’re talking about lights, camera and action, so I want to have you cast your mind back to pre-production. What did it take to get ready to film in Milan?

Yvonne Russo: When we first started in 2013 development, I was really going for the first time to observe and be a fly on the wall, watching as the house functions and observing the guests that were there. Since then, we’ve established these relationships with various artists who’ve grown to trust us and open up their personal lives to us, sharing their unique history about being opera singers and composers and dancers during their time. So when it was time to shoot in 2016, I had to follow the progression of those residents to see where their lives are now, what has happened over the last couple of years, and look at the story arcs in terms of how they’ve changed. In some cases, some of the residents became ill, others have gotten married in their old age, some are performing all over again and travelling the world. I mean, there’s just various things. So we have to see where they are in their current stage, and then just follow them accordingly.

Larry Jordan: Is the story the facility, because it was built by Verdi? Or is the story the people in the facility?

Yvonne Russo: It’s three aspects. The house itself is a character, so audiences are going to learn about the house itself, the way Giuseppe Verdi built it. Just the characteristics about it with itself as a character. Secondly, you have the residents. The residents are extremely different, they’re international residents from all over the world so we’re following their lives. We have Claudio [GIONBI] who’s a 79 year old baritone, and a voice energy teacher, who is actually teaching how to transmit energy to younger students. We have Leonello Bionda who’s 79, who’s a jazz drummer and used to play with Chet Baker and he still performs all the time in concerts all around Italy. We have Chitose Matsumoto who’s a pianist, and she’s from Japan and tells a story of leaving Japan during a time when opera was banned there. So we learn about these histories of these residents and basically follow their lives now at the home. It’s very interesting, so we’re threading all of this together.

Larry Jordan: How much of your film did you discover during production, and how much were you able to plan ahead of time?

Yvonne Russo: You discover it all during production, because what you think is going to happen when you get out there and you’re producing and directing a documentary, it all changes on the fly. So I thought originally we were going to shoot the story about the house, and about some of the residents, because there was one gentleman who worked on ‘The Godfather,’ and he helped compose one of the famous opera scenes. One of his dreams was to have one last opera, so we thought it would be really great to follow him as he produced this final opera and worked with all of the residents within the house, and we thought how fascinating to watch that all unfold. But he had Parkinson’s Disease and it just really accelerated, and so he couldn’t do that. So that storyline was out. You just always have to be ready for change, I’ll just say that.

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

Yvonne Russo: They can go to vivaverdithefilm.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, vivaverdithefilm.com. Yvonne Russo is the producer and director for Viva Verdi, and Yvonne, thanks for joining us today.

Yvonne Russo: Thank you very much Larry.

Larry Jordan: Tama Berkeljon wanted to build robots. Instead, he got involved in feature films working on ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Happy Feet,’ ‘Fury Road,’ and many others. Now he’s the managing director of Outsight, an Australian company that makes LED lighting gear. Hello Tama, and welcome.

Tama Berkeljon: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: What first got you interested in creating lighting gear?

Tama Berkeljon: Initially it was the technology that drove me because I saw that there was new technology which wasn’t being applied in the film industry, and I started to ask the question as to why?

Larry Jordan: There are lots of lighting companies in the world. What is it that Outsight does that’s unique?

Tama Berkeljon: We have a unique design philosophy. We don’t come from a place of being gaffers or cinematographers that have decided to build something that fills a need. We’ve come at it more from the perspective of engineers and designers.

Larry Jordan: From the outside looking in, a light is a light is a light. Give me an example of what you mean.

Tama Berkeljon: When I started thinking about building the Sky, which is our most recent product launch, I began to hear in the industry a lot of people talking about the requirement for an LED space light, or a sack light, and not knowing any better, I started asking more questions about what it would need to be. From our perspective it was build really from this market feedback and seeing the way people apply these kind of tools.

Larry Jordan: LEDs are notorious for poor color quality. What are you doing to make sure that your instruments are color accurate?

Tama Berkeljon: One of the things that we’ve been challenged with ever since I built these rigs, first in 2003, and when I built this big rig of LEDs for ‘Happy Feet,’ back at that time for the motion capture stage, for motion capture it didn’t matter because we’re just capturing dots. But I remember there were some gaffers who came through and looked up at the lights, and commented on just how, how very … From that moment, I started researching what it was that made all the LEDs so very different, and how to firstly seek LEDs that were of the same color and nature and then secondly, we started researching different ways to mix them and blend them so that we could get more precise control and then calibrate them across a range of different fixtures to get calibrated color between units. So we did very careful color binning and voltage binning, and then after that, we’d load the LEDs onto the boards, and then we’d calibrate them.

Larry Jordan: With all the lights on the market, and all the different types of lights, what should a customer keep in mind when they’re deciding what instrument to buy and what criteria should they use that makes your instruments preferable?

Tama Berkeljon: When you’re seeking to buy a new fixture or upgrade your existing fixtures, first look at your need. What is it you’re trying to achieve with a fixture? Are you trying to have a fixture which is going to do many things? Do you need it for interview work? Do you need to mix at other sources? That will tell you how closely you need to look at color quality. You need to consider how much abuse your fixture’s going to get. CRI for example is a very popular term that gets bandied around, but CRI can be misleading because it doesn’t necessarily tell you about gaps in the spectrum, so there’s not really a single metric that you can use to determine the color quality of a fixture. It’s best if you can test the kind of fixtures that you’re looking at, and get an understanding of how they’re going to respond with the particular camera that you’re using. Ultimately, no matter how good the bells and whistles are, how well the product is finished, at the end it’s all about producing light.

Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about your products, where can they go on the web?

Tama Berkeljon: You can visit us at HYPERLINK “http://www.outsight.com.au” www.outsight.com.au.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, outsight.com.au. Tama Berkeljon is the managing director of Outsight, and Tama, thank you for joining us today.

Tama Berkeljon: Thank you so much Larry. It’s been a real pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Jourdan Aldredge is a filmmaker and writer for Premiumbeat.com. He’s worked professionally with clients such as AT&T, Pepsi, and Beats by Dre as well as being a video journalist with the Dallas Observer. Hello Jourdan, welcome.

Jourdan Aldredge: Hi Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: I am doing great. Recently, you wrote an article entitled The Lazy Filmmaker’s Guide to Efficient Video Production. What do you mean by lazy? I haven’t been on a film set yet where lazy actually applies.

Jourdan Aldredge: It’s meant to be a little tongue in cheek. Lazy isn’t meant to imply not bringing the effort. It’s meant to mean putting in the effort in the right places, and maybe change the opinion of some people that cutting corners isn’t always the wrong thing if you’re trying to do it with a practical outcome in mind.

Larry Jordan: You had eight tips in your article. Let’s talk about some of them. What’s one of the key tips to keep in mind?

Jourdan Aldredge: These are all examples, just from my career. I come from a journalism background, so a lot of the video production I’ve been put into, there’s quick turnarounds, small budget, very run and gun. You have a camera, you have a microphone, you need to get interviews, B roll, get it quick and efficiently, and you need to turn it around before your competitors do. One off the bat is the Zoom H1 being probably, I think the greatest invention in the art of video recording out there. Are you familiar with it?

Larry Jordan: Oh yes, very much so.

Jourdan Aldredge: Most people are probably more familiar with the Zoom H4 which is the full industry standard body of recording option. The H1’s a little bit smaller and it’s built for the smaller gigs, but I love it because unlike the H4, it has the auto leveling feature which allows you, if you’re done one man band shooting, you can turn it onto auto level. You can get your over the counter, best buy lapel mike, mike someone up, and you can put it on auto and you can put it on your subject, and they can put it in their pocket, and then they’re miked for at least 90 minutes. I’ll back it up if I’m shooting on a DSLR, or a small mirrorless camera, I’ll put in an external shotgun mike on my camera so you have a backup, but especially if you’re just doing web videos and stuff that’s going to be downgraded and retrograded on social or Facebook or something. I’ll put it dollars to donuts it sounds pretty much almost the same as if you did a real wireless lapel mike through an H4.

Larry Jordan: Cool. What’s another tip?

Jourdan Aldredge: Let’s try using your iphone for slow motion for smaller budget projects when you’re using your own gear, and you’re not looking to pass along a lot of cost to your client. An example is a shoot I was doing with some buddies on a beer festival. I was shooting on a Canon 7B so I could do 60 frames per second at most. He had the idea of getting some cool slow motion shots of the taps when it pours out, and it would look really cool in slow motion. He said, “I just got this new iphone 7, I love the slow mo on it. I’m just going to go around and shoot it and see what I get.” I took it back to edit and it looks amazing, and even the client, they asked “How did you get these?”

Larry Jordan: We’ve talked about audio, and slow mo, what about lighting?

Jourdan Aldredge: I don’t want to ever discourage the importance of three point lighting and understanding how it works, but when you’re doing those quick shoots and you need to get someone lit, a lot of times people either do all of it or none of it. I think if you’re intentional with understanding of your setup and where you’re at, if you have a small set up, you can move the subjects to a spot where you know you have a little control and minimal use of reflectors and just understanding how light bounces off of white walls, and ceilings. That’s just a huge step in lazy filmmaking, but also just intentional filmmaking and being efficient.

Larry Jordan: Well the article is the Lazy Filmmaker’s Guide to Efficient Video Production, and you can find it on Premiumbeat.com. Jourdan, where can we go to keep track of what you’re writing and what you’re doing?

Jourdan Aldredge: You can keep track of everything I write as well as the other contributors, and writers, at our blog, premiumbeat.com/blog and it’s called The Beat.

Larry Jordan: The Beat. Jourdan Aldredge, filmmaker and writer for Premiumbeat.com, thanks for joining us today.

Jourdan Aldredge: Thanks for having me Larry.

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: Ned Soltz is an author, editor, 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: Hi Larry, it’s great to be back tonight.

Larry Jordan: Ned, most of the time, when we talk, we’re looking at specific features in specific cameras. But this time, I want to take a step back and look at the process of selecting a camera. It reminds me several years ago I made this exact same phone call to you asking “What camera should I buy?” What criteria should we use in picking a camera?

Ned Soltz: I’d say the criteria are pretty much the same, but the choices are far more difficult right now.

Larry Jordan: How so?

Ned Soltz: First of all, what not to do which is just listen to hype and go along with whatever trend you think might be the trend. Or go along with, “Well, if I get this camera, I’ll be able to do this particular business, I’ll be able to get new clients” and that often is the wrong approach. I think the proper approach is first of all, an honest assessment of what is the purpose of this camera? What are you requiring? What are you shooting? What might you want to go into, and what direction might you want to go, and will this particular device allow you to go in that direction should your professional artistic creative or business situations allow you to go in that direction? So you really have to look very carefully at “What is this for?” If you are really shooting for the web only, that may be very different than if you’re saying, “Well I want something that will shoot for the web, and that will be able to shoot feature films, and my budget is $999.”

Ned Soltz: Which brings me to the next question which is, “Within the constraints of what you want to achieve with a camera, how much money do you have to spend?” Here again, budget becomes not just the camera, and that’s a big mistake people make. Particularly now because with so many cameras, and so many rigging options, and so many add on options, you have to look at the total package of what it’s going to cost you and what that workflow is going to cost you. A case in point, you may find a very wonderful camera which seems to be at a very reasonable price point, and then you discover it requires a CFast 2.0 media. All of a sudden you’re blindsided that, as an example, SanDisk 256 gig, CFast 2.0 media can set you back $600 a card and you thought you were having such a bargain in a camera. Then there’s support, then glass, so you have to look at a total budget of what it is that you want to spend relative to what benefits you’re going to derive to achieve that purpose.

Ned Soltz: In that line you then have to decide what camera works for you. What kind of form factor? We’ve had a lot of discussions about DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, versus more conventional video cameras, and for many people and many scenarios, that DSLR mirrorless form factor can work very well. I was just looking at some Super Bowl footage the other day and just looking at people shooting everything from huge ENG cameras, to smaller form factor cameras, to DSLRs, all gathered around the players on the field after the game. So it just depends on what form factor you like and how much rigging you want to put into it.

Ned Soltz: Another factor is often prior experience with a camera or a brand. If you’ve been loyal to a particular brand, and used a particular brand and want a new camera, and that camera does what you need it to do, you’re going to be more familiar with it at the outset in terms of its shooting capacities, of its menu structure, of that kind of familiarity. So you have to look at that prior experience. Or if you want to go in a totally different way, then you really have to assess what kind of learning curve you might have with that new device. And in that regard, you’re going to look at a couple of things. You’re going to look at other people’s experiences and unfortunately, the web is full of advice. A lot of it’s good, and a lot of it isn’t good and it’s very hard to vet. Even those of us who spend our lives trying to give advice, sometimes make mistakes. I admit to a certain amount of fallibility. Or I’m looking at something from a very different way than somebody else might be looking at it. So you have to look at user experience and get an overall of it.

Ned Soltz: But I think the best thing is, try to get hands on with that camera. If you’re dealing with a reputable camera dealer, they’re going to have cameras that you can play with and test. You may be able to rent that camera for a bit, and really put it through its paces in a similar kind of shooting scenario. So when you put all of that together, that’s all the decision matrix, but the good news on this is it’s probably very difficult to make a bad decision because virtually everything you see out there in the professional world is good. And it works. Some have relative strengths, some have relative weaknesses, and the other thing is that cameras aren’t forever. You can sell them, you can trade it, you can put it out for rent and buy something else. You may take a bit of a loss, but hopefully if you’ve been making money on that camera, and then depreciating it and you find it’s not exactly what you want, get rid of it and get something else. So these aren’t permanent decisions, but they’re significant investments and it’s the basic tool of your trade if you’re a shooter.

Ned Soltz: So to summarize, I talked about your purpose, your overall total budget, camera, accessories and workflow. The form factor that works for you, and prior experience with a particular brand or manufacturer. The experiences of others, and finally your first hand experience that you’re able to get before you actually plonk down the credit card for that camera.

Larry Jordan: Ned, I just want to reinforce that it’s really helpful to rent a camera and play with it in real life before you spend the money to buy it because there’s nothing that beats personal experience and deciding if that camera works the way that you want it to work.

Ned Soltz: I would agree, and particularly if you’re both a shooter and an editor. You want to take that footage all the way through the process. Or even if you’re not a shooter and an editor, but you have a regular editor and or colorist you work with, you may want to rent that camera, and then turn some of that footage over to your editor colorist, and see what they think of it as well and what suggestions they might make based on the footage that they’ve seen you shoot with that rental camera. I think it’s a very important point.

Larry Jordan: Ned, these are some extremely helpful points. Thank you so very much. For people that want to keep track of what you’re writing, where can they go on the web?

Ned Soltz: Well the best place these days is redsharknews.com as well as creativeplanetnetworks.com. Both of those will have little snippets of things that I write and do, and from those links, you can always send me a message and I am more than glad to email back and forth with folks.

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

Ned Soltz: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we were looking at lights, cameras and action. The process of creating our projects. As always, there was plenty to talk about.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank my guests this week, Bob Caniglia of Blackmagic Design, Yvonne Russo, the producer director of Viva Verdi, Tama Berkeljon of Outsight, Jourdan Aldredge of Premiumbeat, Ned Soltz and James DeRuvo of DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online, and 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 2017 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz- February 16, 2017

Those three words form the backbone of every shoot. This week, our guests talk about the lights we use, the cameras we choose, and the techniques we adopt to bring a script to life.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Bob Caniglia, Yvonne Russo, Ned Soltz, Jourdan Aldredge, Tama Berkeljon, and James DeRuvo.

  • The Latest Blackmagic Design Cameras
  • How To Pick the Right Camera For You
  • An Inside Look at Planning a Documentary
  • A Better Way to Create LED Lights
  • Creative Tips for Better Filmmaking
  • The 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: The Latest Blackmagic Design Cameras

Bob Caniglia
Bob Caniglia, Senior Regional Manager, Eastern North America, Blackmagic Design

Cameras are everywhere but which one is right for you? Bob Caniglia, senior regional manager for eastern North America at Blackmagic Design. joins us tonight to talk about their latest camera gear and how to pick the best camera for your next project.

Featured Interview #2: How To Pick the Right Camera For You

Ned Soltz
Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor, Red Shark News, Ned Soltz Inc.

What questions should you ask, and what features should you consider, when deciding what camera to buy? Ned Soltz, contributing editor to Red Shark News, provides us with specific advice tonight.

An Inside Look at Planning a Documentary

Yvonne Russo
Yvonne Russo, Producer/Director, vivaverdithefilm.com

So the Director calls: “ACTION” but what did it take to get ready to shoot? Tonight, we talk with producer/director Yvonne Russo about her documentary “Viva Verdi,” and the pre-production work it took to get to get ready to film.

A Better Way to Create LED Lights

Tama Berkeljon
Tama Berkeljon, Managing Director, Outsight

Lighting technology changes quickly, as the industry rapidly converts to LED-based lighting. Tama Berkeljon, managing director for Outsight, talks about how his company creates LED instruments with an incredibly smooth light.

Creative Tips for Better Filmmaking

Jourdan Aldredge
Jourdan Aldredge, Creative Content Coordinator, Premium Beat

You don’t need to spend a ton of money to create powerful films. Tonight, Jourdan Aldredge, creative content coordinator at PremiumBeat, shares several tips that can improve your films without breaking the bank.

The Weekly 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- February 9, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Cirina Catania,, Founder & Lead Creative, The Catania Group
Andrew David James, Actor/Fight Choreographer, andrewdavidjames.com
Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney & Labor Reporter, TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter, jhandel.com
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System
Anne Toole, Writer, The Write Toole
Dan May, President, Blackmagic Design, Inc.
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we’re talking about writing because every story starts with a single word. We start with filmmaker Cirina Catania. She has made a career creating non scripted programming, except even non scripted shows have a script, as Cirina explains tonight.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel covers the media industry as the entertainment labor reporter for the Hollywood Reporter. Tonight he tells us how he made the transition from computer scientist to lawyer to journalist, a process that was totally accidental.

Larry Jordan: Philip Hodgetts, the CEO of Lumberjack System explains how new technology is automating transcriptions and the creation of scripts for editing.

Larry Jordan: Anne Toole is a WGA nominated writer of webisodes and video games. Tonight, she explains what it takes to create a successful script for a video game.

Larry Jordan: Andrew David James is a fight coordinator by day, but a playwright and children’s book author by night. Tonight he explains the challenges of writing for children.

Larry Jordan: All this, plus the latest news from James DeRuvo and DoddleNEWS, plus Dan May, the president of Blackmagic Design shares breaking news on brand new products from Blackmagic Design. 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. Hi, my name is Larry Jordan.

Larry Jordan: Last week, the FAA held its second Drone Advisory Committee meeting in Reno, Nevada to discuss integrating drones into the National Airspace System. The Committee is chaired by the CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich, and has three goals. First, to determine resolutions regarding the efficiency and safety of integrating drones into the National Air Space. Second, to determine who is responsible for what at the Federal, State and Local level, and third, determine how to fund the full complement of activities and services required by both the government and industry to safely integrate these drone operations into the National Air Space over the long term.

Larry Jordan: The Committee hopes to provide interim recommendations this May with a final report in October. The next meeting is scheduled for May 3rd in Washington D.C.

Larry Jordan: By the way, to stay current in our industry, 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. Best of all every issue is free and comes out on Friday.

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

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.

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

James DeRuvo: Well you may be wanting to talk about writing, but I’m talking about cameras.

Larry Jordan: Alright, talk.

James DeRuvo: Remember when we talked about the Panasonic GH5 during CES?

Larry Jordan: Yes.

James DeRuvo: They’ve gotten rid of the 4K crop factor so now you get this beautiful end to end 4K image which is probably a 6K image that has been downscaled to 4K and it’s got that five axis dual image stabilization. They announced that the shipping date is going to be from March 28th, however there are so many pre-orders for the Panasonic GH5, that it’s on back order and they’re struggling to catch up.

Larry Jordan: Before it even ships. That’s good news.

James DeRuvo: So those who have pre-ordered, may not get their cameras on time. But they’re working really hard to play catch up.

Larry Jordan: OK, what else we got?

James DeRuvo: The pre-orders will be fulfilled in the order they were received, so if you buy one now, it’s going to be a while. Speaking of other cameras, GoPro had their earnings call this week with their investors, and they did reveal $116 million loss due to the Karma drone recall, but now that the Karma drone has been released, they’re probably going to recoup a lot of that. They also announced that they will be introducing a GoPro Hero 6, and Hero 6 Session later this year, and there’s talk that they may launch a special stereoscopic Hero action camera. They already have the Omni which is a six camera rig where you put six GoPro Hero 4s in the rig and you can create a 360 degree spherical image. But it looks like they might be taking advantage of the new attachments for the iPhone that turns your iPhone into a 360 degree camera. So the scuttlebutt is that that’s what GoPro’s really working on.

Larry Jordan: Interesting. What else we got?

James DeRuvo: Finally, Rokinon has added a 20 millimeter Prime to their XEEN series of lenses. It’s the eighth in the series, it’s a 20mm T1.9 designed exclusively for 4K Ultra high definition video, 11 blade iris, 200 degree focus rotation. Supports every sensor from full frame to APS-C down to Super 35, and mounts including the Panavision, Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E, Micro 4/3 and it’s available now for pre-order at around 2500 bucks.

Larry Jordan: Not only has Rokinon announced some new lenses, but also Cooke Optics announced some brand new Primes, that are available coming in rental shops, which is at the exact opposite. Rokinon is toward the lower end.

James DeRuvo: I think they’re pretty fast, if I remember correctly, F1.8 and a pretty nice buttery lens. Really big like around 114 millimeters or something like that.

Larry Jordan: Yes, and what other good news do we have this week? I need you to tease what’s coming up.

James DeRuvo: Well Blackmagic announced this week a trio of new products aimed directly at streaming broadcast video.

Larry Jordan: To show you how quickly we respond, we’ve got the President of Blackmagic US, Dan May, who’ll be coming on in just a few seconds to explain exactly what those streaming broadcast products are.

Larry Jordan: James, for people that need more information, where can they go on the web?

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

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS and he returns every week with a new DoddleNEWS update. James, thanks so much, we’ll talk to you next week.

James DeRuvo: OK, take care.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Dan May is the President of Blackmagic Design and has been with the company since 2006. He oversees their north and south American operations and as always, it’s fun to say hello Dan, welcome back.

Dan May: Hello Larry, always good to be with you.

Larry Jordan: A bunch of new announcements from Blackmagic. What’s the news?

Dan May: We have our new ATEM Television Studio HD, which is a new version of our nice 995 priced HD live production switcher. Nice compact body, lots of great features, but you just are struck by the design of this product. A really nice product that people who have been looking at us as a live production company know that we continue to advance our game on these lines of products.

Larry Jordan: OK, we’ve got the ATEM switcher. What else?

Dan May: We also wanted to put out the web presenter. One of the things that our other ATEM Television Studio was able to do was to do some H.264 encoding which was great for being able to do some amounts of streaming, but we realized that not everyone that had ATEMs needed to do that, so we decided to actually split this out into its own new product, and this is a great way for people that want to have a high broadcast quality. You know, internet broadcasting is this big wave of the future and more people want to get online, more people want to distribute this content. This is a great way for people to take their professional cameras that we all have, know and love, interchangeable lenses and great image quality, and be able to use those as a web camera. So having this small device which is able to go into Twitch or Facebook Live or Periscope, any of these applications that people have become familiar with streaming, this is a way for them to up their game, be able to have this great 720 broadcast, where the compression is being done in the box, and have the great optics of their professional cameras for their web streaming. So it’s definitely a new direction for us, but really great in conjunction with the ATEM Television Studio HD, but also as a standalone product for those looking to do that kind of web streaming broadcast that really is a big wave of the future.

Larry Jordan: There was a third box announced. What was that?

Dan May: We also wanted to go out with our new Hyperdeck Studio Mini. We’ve been known for our various Hyperdeck and video recorder boxes for recording in playback devices. Hyperdeck Studio Mini adds a blend of both of those products together. Obviously a very small form factor in this 1/3 of our 1RU size box and I see two places where this really fits in where some of our other products aren’t able to be in the same spot is, when you start doing multiple camera live production, and you see the need to record eight, ten or 16 cameras at a time, and being able to manage that footprint for “How am I going to record all of those cameras?” This small box allows you to have that ability to have many inputs being recorded simultaneously. The other thing that’s really interesting on this unit is the ability to load video via FTP, so if I’m running, say a chain of stores where I want to have video being played back in these stores every day, I can back from my HQ, load up via FTP these video files to the Hyperdeck Studio Mini, and have these be played back. I don’t have to worry about the store manager or the store staff uploading video to make these things play the video I want. So there’s some really cool digital signage areas I can see these products working in but also just in the normal places we see ISO recording or people trying to do playback and recording like we do on our Hyperdecks and video assist products.

Larry Jordan: Why the emphasis on live streaming?

Dan May: Well it seems like there’s a big push for people to get out there and get their messages across, and to distribute video in ways that are what we call maybe non traditional, it seems like we’ve had so many customers that have come to us over the years and said, “We really want to do this in a very easy but high quality way, and how can you help that?” We’ve had products that fit into this mix before, but this is really the first product we can truly say, “This is a great way for someone, whether you’re an educator, or someone that’s looking to do this for the first time, have a very simple, and easy to use box that gives great high quality and be able to get your videos out there onto the internet.”

Larry Jordan: The other thing that impressed me is that you made this announcement, but not at a trade show, just as a standalone event. This is unusual for Blackmagic.

Dan May: We’ve seen in the past where we’ve gone out and made large announcements across multiple different product lines at a big trade show like NAB, but at the same time we also understand that it’s a lot to digest for people. So we’ve taken on this new mantra of “Let’s work on products and we can announce them when they’re ready to be announced,” and this is what we’re seeing now with some of these products that are coming out because now they’re ready, we can get them out, we can let NAB and IBC and these other big shows, be what they are. Meanwhile, let’s make other product announcements throughout the course of the year, when those products are done, ready to ship and get into the hands of customers quickly.

Larry Jordan: Dan, for people that want more information about the new products, where can they go on the web?

Dan May: They should definitely come and visit us at HYPERLINK “http://www.blackmagicdesign.com” www.blackmagicdesign.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word,blackmagicdesign.com and Dan May is the President of Blackmagic Design for north and south America. Dan, thanks for joining us today.

Dan May: Thanks Larry for having me.

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 the 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, tech evangelist and filmmaker. She’s also a former senior marketing executive at MGM UA, and United Artists, and is one of the original co-founders of the Sundance Film Festival. She also produced The Buzz for almost nine years. Hello Cirina, welcome back.

Cirina Catania: Hi Larry, you forgot to say I’m a mom and a grandma.

Larry Jordan: Well yes, but I try not to bring in all of everybody’s personal life here.

Cirina Catania: It’s a huge laundry list isn’t it? I’m getting old.

Larry Jordan: Cirina, put your filmmaker hat on for a bit. How would you define a non scripted show?

Cirina Catania: In terms of the writing, how you write for it?

Larry Jordan: Yes, because we’re talking about writers, so yes.

Cirina Catania: Well first of all, non scripted really is scripted in the non scripted world. You start very early on, as early as your pitch deck to the network, and then when the network agrees to do the show, or when you’re hired to write for the show, you work with the producers at the network to develop the anticipated story beats, so when you go on the set on location or in the studio, you have your story beats on your shot list and you have to anticipate what you have to get. In other words, the beginning, middle and end, how you set up each scene and you have to have eyes in the back of your head because the story changes. So I would say the main difference when I’m writing a feature script or if I’m writing a script for a non scripted, is I can’t always anticipate where the story’s going to go. So it lives in one incarnation during production, and then in post production when you have all your media, that’s when you actually start writing your final script.

Larry Jordan: You mentioned a term that I want to have you define. You used the phrase story beats. What’s that?

Cirina Catania: For example, I’m in an Uber, I’m on my phone to Hollywood. If I’m going to do a segment for a reality show about a person that’s being interviewed on the air, I would anticipate the shots that I need. Walking out of my apartment, getting into the Uber, sitting in the Uber, we would have to light the car, we would do the long shots, the medium shots, the close ups, and then I’d get out of the car, and I would enter the presentation that I’m going to and we would have to cover it there. So the beginning would be the arrival. The middle of it would be the actual presentation, and the end would be the resolution of what happens. Does that answer the question?

Larry Jordan: I’m having a hard time telling, from your description, the difference between story beats and a shot list.

Cirina Catania: The shot list anticipates your story beat. So before you even go on location, you make a list of the shots you think you’re going to need based on the story that you’re anticipating you’re going to get. That’s where you as a director in the field or a story producer, have to be flexible because the story beats change. So, for example, god forbid we get into an accident, and I don’t make it to my presentation, but we still have to deliver a segment to the network about what happens this day on the reality show. That means a whole different story. So the story beats would change.

Larry Jordan: So it sounds like, while you don’t have a script, you’ve got a pretty good idea of the story that you want to tell before you start shooting, so that there is some level of organization before the shooting begins?

Cirina Catania: Absolutely. There’s a lot of organization, so you know you’re going to be interviewing, or who you’re going to be interacting with. You know the basic situations that you’re anticipating are going to occur during that shoot day, and you try to capture all of that to bring back to the network, and then you work with your editor, and that’s when the story producer comes online and takes everything that you’ve shot, looks at your shot list and your anticipated story and your pitch deck, and then they revise the script based on what actually happened.

Larry Jordan: I was just thinking it sounds like it would be easier not having a script when you’re beginning to shoot, but it sounds like not having a script actually makes the process harder?

Cirina Catania: Yes, it would be mayhem. If you go onto a set and you don’t have an anticipated shot list, you don’t know how to anticipate where you’re going to go, what kind of crew you’re going to need, what kind of equipment you’ll need, you can’t book your people ahead of time. So you really do have to know the story you’re trying to get, and then just be flexible. Non scripted for me is more difficult to direct and write than scripted because once you get your feature script done, or your television scripted script done, then you just shoot to that. Reality and non scripted, I think, is more difficult. And I love both.

Larry Jordan: Just as a guess, how much of your work is non scripted versus scripted? Half? Two thirds? What?

Cirina Catania: For the last ten years it was mostly non scripted until about two years ago, and then I started writing on assignment feature scripts again. So I moved from working a lot in television non scripted back to doing feature scripts, and then got involved in my own documentary so I’m living this now as a writer, director for my own documentary, which in some ways is a little bit easier than working for the network because I can decide what I want to do and not do. But I still have to have a script. Every time I go out for example to shoot ‘The Wounded Warrior’ I’m doing the documentary about, I know that we’re going to go to Tempe, Arizona and it’s the first time since he’s been ill that he’s back running again, so there are story beats attached to that that I have to get, interviews I have to do with him to say, “OK, where are we? What’s happening here today? What are you anticipating? Are there any hurdles you want to overcome?” And depending on how he does, we do interviews afterwards, and you can’t anticipate things for those interviews, like when we were in Minneapolis, he pulled a hamstring, so I had to quickly get things organized and do an interview with him that had not been previously anticipated, about what had happened to him.

Larry Jordan: Who’s responsible for the story and the script in a non scripted show? Is it the producer, or the director?

Cirina Catania: Well the producers work directly with the networks. The supervising producers and the executive producers and all of the production team, works directly with the network to get everything approved, and then they hire the field director to go out and shoot per what has been previously anticipated they’re going to need. So, if I’m producing, I’m working directly with the network. If I’m field directing, I’m working directly with the producers who say, “OK, we’re going to send you out to the Peruvian Amazon and we want you to be able to teach us how to catch a crocodile.” I get to the Amazon and we build the traps and we never catch a crocodile so I have to think of something else to do. Then I get in touch with the production and I say, “Well the pink dolphins are nowhere to be seen, and we haven’t caught a crocodile, but there’s some really lethal caterpillars on the trees we can feature.” You just have to wing it Larry.

Larry Jordan: What process do you use to keep track of all the media and your content? Because with a non scripted show the volumes are just overwhelming.

Cirina Catania: Yes they are. I know on one TV series I directed, ‘Southern Steel,’ years ago, we had four cameras going all day every day, six days a week for six months. That was a lot of media, and what I did at the time, this was years ago, I did a paper log every day and I would write down what had happened during the day, and an approximation of what I believed we could get that then the story editors who were working in LA could use to develop the story for that particular day. At Nat Geo when we were chasing lightning, I kept little notes. I have a little book that sits in my pocket, and I pull it out every time there’s an important story beat that happens during a day. But I found that those written notes weren’t getting to the editors, and I think Philip’s going to talk about Lumberjack, so now I have the ability on my phone to actually keep track of all of what’s happening during the shoot during the day and I can add additional story beats or I can do the person, place, location during the shoot day and that helps the editors keep track when they get all the footage. If you don’t organize your footage, you’re really stuck.

Larry Jordan: We are going to talk to Philip Hodgetts in about five minutes talking about a new software system called Lumberjack, so we’ll save that for Philip. How do you determine when you’ve shot enough?

Cirina Catania: That’s where my creativity comes in. That’s what I love. I guess the beginning, the middle and the end of each piece I get the establishing shot, the medium shot, the close ups, the cut aways, the action shots which you’ve talked about a lot in your classes. The action shots are really important. But I try not to over shoot, and when I have that “Aha” moment, when I get that shot and I know that it looks great, and it’s exactly what I need, then I move on. I don’t cover it a lot. I get it and I move on. I guess that takes a bit of courage. It takes a bit of experience, knowing what the editor’s going to need and what the producers are going to want, but that’s how I work. I try not to over shoot.

Larry Jordan: I know that feeling. There’s a point where you’re doing an interview, and you say “Yes, I’ve got it. That’s my beginning, that’s my ending.” And I try to describe it to somebody else, and all I can say is, it just feels right in my gut which is not a really teachable moment.

Cirina Catania: Right, it’s that golden moment. It is in your gut. Something happens in your heart, and you go, “Wow, that was a great quote. That’s going to be the ending of that piece.” Or, “That was a great quote, that’s going to take us directly into the next act.” So it’s great. One thing I do want to tell people, if you’re writing for television, make sure that you know what the clock is at each of your networks, because they’re different at each network. The producer should give you the clock so that you know how many acts you’re going to have to write to, and what you need to get, and anticipate that during the shoot.

Larry Jordan: Well the last thing I want to cover is, I know you’re a member of the Writers Guild of America. Why did you decide to join?

Cirina Catania: I love the Guild. I’m very pro Guild. Michael Horton and I probably have a disagreement about that. I’m very pro Guild. I know that when I have the Guild behind me, I have a legal department that can help me if I get in a jam. I know exactly what the minimums are for whatever I’m writing and I can gear my talks to my clients and I can just say, “Hey, go on the Writers Guild site, and it’ll tell you what the minimum is.” I normally don’t work for the minimum, but it gives us something to talk about. Then the Writers Guild makes sure that my checks come in time. I love that, because as a creative person, or as creative people I should say, many of us are uncomfortable with the money side of things and if you don’t have an agent to handle all of that for you, the Guilds are there for you, and they back you up. It’s wonderful.

Larry Jordan: So in the few seconds that we’ve got left, what advice would you give to other writers who are starting out in the industry?

Cirina Catania: Trust yourself. Write something and apply for jobs for the type of creative atmosphere that you’re going to be happy in. If you’re happy as a creative person, you’re going to do really good work and I think that’s the most important thing. I’ve turned jobs down because I’ve said to myself, “I don’t want to live with that subject matter for the next six months.” So find something you love and write to that.

Larry Jordan: For people who want to know what you’re in love with at the moment Cirina, where can we go on the web?

Cirina Catania: They can go to thecataniagroup.com or my blog is USTimes.biz.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, thecataniagroup.com and Cirina Catania’s the lead creative and film maker for The Catania Group. Cirina, always fun talking with you. You take care and travel safely.

Cirina Catania: Thanks Larry, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

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 here on The Buzz. Hello Jonathan, welcome back.

Jonathan Handel: Larry, it’s a pleasure as always.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, tonight’s show is talking with writers about writing, and we often talk with you a lot about the articles that you’ve written, but not the process of writing them. What was it that got you interested in news magazine writing in the first place?

Jonathan Handel: I kind of fell into it. I refer to myself as the accidental journalist. In the run up to the writers’ strike, and then during the writers’ strike and SAG stalemate, so that’s the 2007 to 2009 period, I started blogging, and was very quickly asked by the Huffington Post to blog on their platform and at the same time started making media appearances. One guy wrote to me and said, “Thank you for your balanced and fair coverage.” I’m looking at this, like, coverage? I’m not a journalist, I’m a lawyer who’s blogging. Meanwhile, I was getting encouragement, there was a New York Times reporter who said, “We’re going to be working at the same place one day.” I’m like, “What are you talking about?” An LA Times guy stopped quoting me because he said I was a competitor now. I wasn’t seeing it, but a year after all that labor stuff had quieted down, I got a call in 2010 out of the blue from the Hollywood Reporter offering me a job on the phone. They said, “We hear that the Teamsters might strike now. Do you know anything about it?” I’m like, “Do I know anything about it? That’s a weird interview question.” So I said, “Well no.” “Well would you like to look into it, and write about it for us?” At this point I’m staring at my phone because in 2010, the economic recession and the internet had caused reporters to get laid off across the country, and here’s this guy offering me a job. So I said, “Does it pay?” and he said, “Yes, not as well as being a lawyer, but yes.” He himself is actually a former lawyer, and I of course continue to practice as a lawyer, and work as a journalist. So I said “Yes,” and I wrote about five stories on the Teamsters who ultimately did not strike, then I wrote some more stories, and then they offered me masthead and said “Do you want to be our labor person?” So since then, I’ve written about 900 stories or so, mostly on entertainment labor issues, but a significant number on other legal issues, LGBT, general business, occasional general assignment, the whole range. It’s extremely satisfying, and among other things, unlike print journalists, we get to write our own headlines, and I love the wit and compactness of that form.

Larry Jordan: How do you determine which stories to cover?

Jonathan Handel: A small minority, my editor will ask me to cover something. The largest number is probably driven by outside information, notifications, either a press release, or a tip from a source. And then a certain percentage are completely self generated where I’ll look at some situation and see something, and say, “You know, this needs to be written about.”

Larry Jordan: The Hollywood Reporter as you mentioned, is transitioning to a new editor in chief. What’s your opinion on the change?

Jonathan Handel: Janice did an amazing job of pivoting from a five day a week trade publication that was very significant as a trade publication, but was somewhat in Variety’s shadow, to turning this into a weekly magazine, coupled with a website, and doing it in a way that’s brought a lot of traffic, a lot of awareness. A great looking magazine, solid content, great content online, so it’ll be tough in that way to see her go. She’s been promoted into the parent company, but Matt has been an amazing editor. He really is a smart guy, he’s personable, he knows both business and the creative aspects, and I think it’ll be fine. I think it’ll be great.

Larry Jordan: What do you find is the biggest challenge in being a journalist, which is different than being a writer?

Jonathan Handel: I can’t touch type. I’m very clumsy physically, and so the tight deadlines for many stories is the biggest challenge for me. What I usually don’t have a problem with is formulating what I’m going to write. You know, people talk about writer’s block and stuff like that, not really a luxury that a journalist can afford. Some stories are difficult. When you cover a panel, you know, the Produced By Conference or something like that, and four different people talking about different aspects of entertainment finance. You can’t write a story, he said this, and she said that, so you have to sit there and figure out what the story is here, what just happened? What’s the through line, or the common aspect to what I just heard? Framing the story, figuring out the angle sometimes is easy, but other times you sit there for a minute, but it’s a fun process.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan where can we go on the web to learn more about what you’re writing?

Jonathan Handel: Jhandel.com and thrlabor, the Hollywood Reporter Labor, thrlabor.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, thrlabor.com. Jonathan Handel is an entertainment and technology attorney, and the contributing editor on entertainment labor issues for the Hollywood Reporter. Jonathan, thanks for joining us today.

Jonathan Handel: Larry it is a pleasure and a privilege in fact.

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: Hi Larry, nice to be back.

Larry Jordan: My unofficial research tells me that there are more unscripted videos shot than scripted ones. This means that we need to have a system of remembering who said what on which piece of media. Cirina mentioned that you’ve created something that can help in this process. What have you guys invented?

Philip Hodgetts: Well, we’ve mentioned Lumberjack System before, and of course where this fits into the writing is that you cannot write about things that you do not know that you have. If you don’t know what’s been shot, if you don’t know the content of interviews, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to write a viable script without any of that basic information, and that’s where Lumberjack comes in. In two ways it affects writers particularly, one is that it’s a logging tool so real time logging at the shoot and then when you come back into Final Cut Pro X and I should point out this is Final Cut Pro X only. When you come back into Final Cut Pro X all the media is already logged for you, so instead of having a long period going back over everything that was shot, you immediately have everything organized and you can find what you’ve got and really … topic that you’ve logged during the shoot so you have a timeline that puts together all of the quotes relevant to a particular topic across all of your shoot. That’s really exciting for a writer to sit down and work with those. Or for an editor to take that starting point and to, in our technical term, ‘polish that turd.’ The other way that Lumberjack fits into the writer’s world is that we align transcripts with multi-pamphlets or with synchronized clips or regular clips within final Cut Pro X. So it has transcripts from any source from … and they make a very specific Lumberjack compatible version for it and then you can rely on that with your media. That means that when the editor gets the script back from the writer, there is a ready way to find where each quote is simply by searching within Final Cut Pro X for the particular quote that the author has used which is probably faster than finding it by time code versions.

Larry Jordan: What do we need for hardware to run this system?

Philip Hodgetts: Any iOS device in the field. If you’re working with an android device, you can work with the web logger, but we strongly recommend the iOS app for logging in the field, either on an ipad or an iPhone. And a Macintosh for the desktop app which you probably have because you’re running Final Cut Pro X. But in fact there are a couple of desktop apps. There is the main Lumberyard app which merges the real time logs with your media and Final Cut Pro via XML. There’s also a note logging app for taking more detailed notes, and there’s an app for logging material that was shot before Lumberjack was created. You really only need an iOS device and a subscription to Lumberjack.

Larry Jordan: I have to ask, why did you call it Lumberjack?

Philip Hodgetts: It was one of those things that seemed really obvious to me at the time, almost to the point of being a little over the top but Lumberjack is a logger. It’s nowhere near as obvious as I thought it was going to be, and I find myself explaining it more often than I thought I should, but so Lumberjack is a logger. I guess they call them timber workers now, but in my day, a lumberjack was a logger, and logging is a skill that we’re losing. People are not spending the time in the field logging the material the way that they should, and people are not spending the time in the edit bay logging the material the way that they should, and so until we get this all done automatically, as we talked about before, artificial intelligence, the better solution is to make it easy and early in the process that we get the logging.

Larry Jordan: Can this be used by a team, or is it just for one person?

Philip Hodgetts: Absolutely, teams are fully supported. You can have multiple people logging the same event, and we will merge all of those logs into continuous ranges where they overlap. You can have different people logging different events at the same time, so if you had different cameras on the same event, and different logs, and they would be separated by events inside Final Cut Pro X, and any combination of that that you want to run. So it’s absolutely a team system. You can run as many concurrent events as you want through the system for one subscription.

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

Philip Hodgetts: Lumberjacksystem.com is where you’ll find everything and I just spent a little time making the help a little bit clearer.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, lumberjacksystem.com, Philip Hodgetts is the CEO of Lumberjack System. Philip, thanks for joining us today.

Philip Hodgetts: Nice to be back, thanks Larry.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Anne Toole writes video games, web series, television comics, stories with a light tone and a dark underbelly. Most recently she created a web series for MDR Funk in Germany. In addition, she earned a Writers Guild nomination for her work on ‘The Witcher,’ and wrote for the Emmy winning web series, ‘The Lizzie Bennett Diaries.’ Hello Anne, welcome.

Anne Toole: Hello.

Larry Jordan: What got you interested in writing scripts?

Anne Toole: The alternative would have been writing something really boring like web copy. I’d always wanted to work in entertainments, and when I started exploring the options it seemed like nothing could really get started unless there was a script involved, so that’s how I chose writing.

Larry Jordan: I was intrigued with your script for the German internet series, which I would pronounce, except I would totally mutilate the name. Are you bilingual?

Anne Toole: No, I don’t speak German. I created the show and outlined all hundred episodes in English, and then we passed it onto a German writer.

Larry Jordan: Interesting. So what happens if they don’t follow your plot lines?

Anne Toole: Well they have to because if they go too far afield they’ll get lost. We also had the issue of a very short production time which is part of the reason why we didn’t have any read in English and then have it translated, for example. There just wasn’t time. So we were greenlit, and then we started production maybe two months later. We didn’t have a lot of time, and they were still writing scripts while they were in production, so I wrote the outlines with the idea that they would be helpful to the writer, and hopefully not make them feel straitjacketed and it seems, when I watch it, I definitely see moments that were ones that I created in the outline. So I think they’re on target.

Larry Jordan: You’ve also written for computer games. How is writing for computer games different from writing, say for a web series?

Anne Toole: First of all a web series is much more linear. Oftentimes in games you want to have a more open feeling, so that the player has the illusion of choice, if not actual choice because if you force the player to do something they don’t want to do, then they’re not going to like your game. So, you have to be more hands off in the story telling, and you have to be willing to let go a lot more.

Larry Jordan: What do you mean by hands off?

Anne Toole: Ideally, like for a quest or something, you give a player a goal, but you have to let them go about solving it in their own way. So, you can’t force the character to shoot somebody they don’t want to shoot for example, although that does happen in games. You usually want to use those moments thoughtfully, and realize that you may alienate players when you force them to do something they don’t want to do, and so ideally, you want to step back and let the player lead or give them the illusion that they’re leading the story, rather than kind of dragging them along by their nose.

Larry Jordan: Your website is Writing is Writing. But it sounds like writing is not writing, writing for a video game is different than writing for a web series, is different than writing for say television, is that a true statement?

Anne Toole: There’s a lot of differences, there’s nuances for each one. But at the end of the day, as I said, writing is writing. You still have to have good motivation, you have to have good logic, you have to have an emotional heart to every story, and if you are missing any of that, it doesn’t matter what medium you’re writing in, it’s not going to be a good story.

Larry Jordan: Do you find yourself more interested in the plotting, or the actual words?

Anne Toole: I feel almost that that’s a false choice, because you can tell a story without words. There’s this one Batman comic where it was all pictures, and there was no dialog the entire script, except for one line which was “Get out” basically. You can tell a story without writing. That’s one of the critiques in video games for example, the feeling that, “Oh, we don’t have any dialog in this, there’s no story.” Of course there’s a story. There’s a story in everything. So, that’s somewhat of, like I said, a false dichotomy because you can tell a story without putting words on the page. That’s why it’s important for video games, for writers to be involved as much as possible to help tell the story without relying on words, because a lot of the time when you’re playing a video game, you don’t want to read stuff. You don’t want to sit here and watch a scene, you just want to go out and find the thing, you know, save the princess, do whatever you want to do. You want to go out there and do something, you don’t want to just sit there and listen to words or read words. So it’s important to tell the story, to create an environment, to communicate character without relying on words.

Larry Jordan: I was reading the About page on your website, and I noticed that not only do you have a Harvard degree, but you have a Harvard degree in archaeology. How has that helped you with your writing?

Anne Toole: When I went to college, before I went, I went out to Hollywood because I wanted to get involved in entertainment, and they said, “Major in whatever you want, you’re going to learn everything you need to know your six months out here in Hollywood.” I did that, I was very interested in archaeology, I liked the fact that I could study lots of different things and it still counted towards my major. I liked the idea that I could study abroad in Egypt where I focused on Egyptology when I was there. And it has helped me a great deal, especially since I write a lot of science fiction and fantasy, a lot of that involves being inspired by ancient cultures or different cultures, and certainly the desire to research is helpful whenever I’m working on something that is maybe outside my experience.

Larry Jordan: What advice would you have for someone starting out who wants to be a writer?

Anne Toole: What helps me is, I started working in TV and I worked in the writer’s office. So I learned how scripts evolved over time, the kind of notes they were getting from studios and executives, and I learned from working writers how to write a script, how to communicate a story, how to work with actors. And I think that was really invaluable and might have been more useful than taking a screenwriting class, although obviously I took those as well.

Larry Jordan: Where can we go on the web to learn more about you and your work?

Anne Toole: I have a website which is called writingiswriting.wordpress.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, writingiswriting.wordpress.com. Anne Toole is the writer behind the website, and Anne, thanks for joining us today.

Anne Toole: Thank you so much.

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: Andrew David James is an actor, an entertainer, and a fight choreographer. He’s toured throughout America and Europe working in theater and film but he’s also a writer of children’s books and a playwright. Hello Andrew, welcome back.

Andrew David James: Hi Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: So, what got you into writing?

Andrew David James: Well actually I ended up going to college to get a degree in literature and composition and that’s what I had decided to do there.

Larry Jordan: That certainly is a great way to earn a living as many English majors have discovered. What’s your preferred genre to write about?

Andrew David James: Oh that’s a good question. If I had to pick, I think that human drama is the thing that interests me the most. So real stories of real families is the thing that I’ve always been personally attracted to on stage and in novel form. But I’ve enjoyed all forms of writing, and I think each of them take different creative muscles, so I like to use all different genres when I can.

Larry Jordan: You’ve done two different things that I want to focus on. First, you’ve written a children’s book, and second, you’ve written plays, and I want to start with the children’s book, which is called A Thicket of Tales. How is writing for children different from writing for adults?

Andrew David James: Believe it or not, children seem to be much smarter than adults in a lot of ways. They’re very particular about what they like. It was interesting for me in that I didn’t really have to change my writing style, but the stories that I told were just more child friendly. You of course use a little bit different words, although I’m a believer that if you teach kids to use larger vocabulary, then they’ll use that longer in their life and they’ll benefit from it. So I didn’t dumb down the language at all, in fact there’s words in there that my kids run up and ask me what they mean all the time. But I do think that you have to focus on stories that really are applicable to their life and so I do tend to leave out a lot of complexity and things like that that we love so much in adult literature. I simplify it a little bit for kids to get to the point of the story.

Larry Jordan: You’ve managed to pick two careers that are marketing intensive. Acting and writing. How do you market your writing?

Andrew David James: Well I’m still waiting. If you find anybody who’s really good at that, you can send them my name and tell them I’ll pay them lots of money. To be honest, it’s been a lot of work in finding good people that you can work with, over and over again, who believe in your writing style and what you do. I was very fortunate in that I picked up a publisher very early on, for both of my projects, that I initially came out of school with, and it led to other things, and those strong relationships have helped with cross marketing, and then of course, using social media as that came along was very helpful as well.

Larry Jordan: You’ve done, as I said, one children’s book, but you’ve done a number of plays. How many plays have you had published?

Andrew David James: I’ve had five plays published. I’ve written 17 plays and submitted about ten of those for publication, of which five have been published.

Larry Jordan: First, congratulations, and second, are they similar in style? Are they wildly different? And are they plays for theater, or film or television?

Andrew David James: Well much like my personality, they’re all wildly different depending on the day and time I wrote them Larry. I got to tell you, it was interesting when I started writing. The first project that I wrote was a project that I was hired to write, and it was a rock musical. I was hired to write the script by an alumni of my college, and he just kind of believed in me and said, “Hey, give it a shot.” I wrote the book and the lyrics with another friend of mine, a writing partner at the time, and it turned out great and it led to other things. But there’s also a comedy that I had published, an adaptation of a classic novel, lots of different things.

Larry Jordan: Do you have a process when you’re approaching a project? Who provides the initial idea? And how do you structure the writing process?

Andrew David James: There tend to be three types of writing that I think most writers do in this town. You’re either writing your own project from scratch, and you control it all, or you’re writing somebody else’s project that you put your twist on, or you’re editing or in some way manufacturing something that somebody else wants created without your own creative content. You’re just making it look good and punching it up a little bit. For me, the ones that you obviously love the most are the ones that are all yours, but unfortunately those don’t come around all that often. Very often you’re commissioned to write something or you’re helping somebody write a book or you’re editing a script. So for me, I think my process is dictated almost solely by what will most benefit the project at the time. When I’m writing my own stuff, I sit down and I basically write non-stop until it’s finished. I don’t take many breaks and I don’t step away from it very much, it’s just get in there and muddle through and keep trains of thoughts going and juggle everything in your head and form characters and get to know them. When I’m writing somebody else’s work, I tend to kind of wade in and try to define that relationship to see what they want for their project, and get to know them as quickly as possible. Then I dig in a little bit faster, but that’s a much more methodical process. You go back and forth with a lot of exchanges and you try to learn the other person and what they want.

Larry Jordan: Are you picturing a specific audience or a specific person when you write, or are you just writing to a generic them?

Andrew David James: I always write to me. I always write something that I would be interested in, something that I would care about and then I hope and pray desperately that somebody else on the planet happens to like the same things I do.
[
Larry Jordan: Hopefully more than just one person. Thinking of your plays, how do you cope when a producer or director wants to make changes to your script that you’ve been working on for months and they’re just saying, “Here, change this?”

Andrew David James: When I get a play published, I very often don’t ever see it produced. For instance, a couple of the plays I did were done in England and overseas, and one in South Carolina. Things that I never got to see, so it makes it much easier that way to let the director and the producer take artistic license within the legalities of it to make it their own. Occasionally you’ll see something that really wasn’t what you wanted, or what you envisioned. But even then, it’s almost as if you’re so grateful that the work was being received by someone, that you don’t mind somebody else taking a little bit of liberty with it, and trying to make it their own. That’s what we ask actors to do all the time is take this character, and add your influence to it, and that’s what makes it so beautiful, that’s one of the great things about it.

Larry Jordan: It’s both one of the wonderful things and frustrating things of watching a kid grow up. You know what you want them to do, and then what they end up doing is not necessarily the same thing.

Andrew David James: That’s absolutely true.

Larry Jordan: I just realized, you’ve written some of your stuff under a pseudonym. Why are you hiding from the publicity of being you?

Andrew David James: I found very early on that people who, like me, who are very scattered and have lots of different interests, come off as unfocused if they don’t appear as completely dedicated to their craft, their one single part of the craft. I suppose there’s the occasional Matt Damon or Ben Affleck who gets out there, does all their own stuff, but for me I found it easier to divide those two parts of my life. Writing’s a very solitary activity, so I write under the name A.D. Hasselbring, and I’ve been focused on that since college. It allowed me, as much as anybody else, to keep it separate from the other stuff that goes on in the acting and the fight choreography world.

Larry Jordan: That gets me to a bigger question. Are you shifting out of acting and fight choreography into writing, or do you view them in balance or how do you balance between those three things?

Andrew David James: Well Larry I don’t know if you remember the last time we saw each other, but my knees were creaking so loud it was distracting from some of your camera ops. So, I’m pretty sure that my body won’t let me do fight choreography for another ten years, and I would love to write full time. I think we all have that dream of finding a cabin and being able to drop our scripts in the mail with a stamp on and be able to go back home and live in our cabin and write and be with our family. That’s usually not the way it is, so I would like to keep everything going as much as I can, but I’m definitely shifting out of the fight choreography and into the acting and the writing as much as I can.

Larry Jordan: Living in a cabin is wonderful as long as when you mail the scripts out, checks come back.

Andrew David James: Very true. I mail them to my mom and dad’s house. They don’t send me any checks though.

Larry Jordan: Are you a member of a guild or a union that’s helping you with your writing?

Andrew David James: I have been, I’ve been a member of the Mystery Writers of America, as well as the Writers Guild and of course all my scripts are registered through the Writers Guild, so even if you’re not a member, you’re still intimately involved with them for classes and workshops and for registrations and that sort of thing.

Larry Jordan: You began writing when you were in college and so you used college as the impetus to get your craft figured out. For people that haven’t had the luxury of studying writing in college, what advice would you give to a writer that wants to get started?

Andrew David James: Read, read, read. I fell in love with writing when I was probably six years old, reading western novels, adventure stories, and then as I got older I fell in love with Sir Thomas Malory, the Le Mort de Arthur and Shakespeare, and of course Arthur Miller and great playwrights who I fell in love with in high school and college. So, I think the idea of reading what somebody else writes almost forms your own voice in your head. I think that there’s a great quote that says, “Good writers borrow from other people and great writers flat out steal from them.” So I think in my life I’ve taken Mallory themes, and Osborne themes, and recrafted them and used them in my own work.

Larry Jordan: What project are you working on now?

Andrew David James: A good question. I’m actually editing two screenplays right now which have been going on for a considerable amount of time, and that takes up a lot of my year. But the one I’m most excited about, is a new work, it’s called Silence The Foe, and it’s a novel, and it’s had some good response from the first 40 pages, and it’s a psychological thriller that basically resets a gentleman who’s Jack the Ripper, in America, only he’s not Jack the Ripper, he’s just been convinced to think that he is.

Larry Jordan: One of the things I’ve learned is it’s really easy to start a book. It’s really hard to finish a book, so I wish you all the success, and for people that want more information where can they go on the web?

Andrew David James: Easiest thing to do is to go to my website, adhasselbring.com or you can see my plays at heartlandplays.com.

Larry Jordan: Heartlandplays.com. Andrew David James is the playwright and an actor. Andrew, thanks for joining us today.

Andrew David James: Thank you Larry, I appreciate it.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: One of the things I find so fascinating is that writing is not just for a particular genre. There’s so many different ways that we put words on paper, whether we start before the play is even produced with Andrew, or we’re finding the words after the play is done as Cirina is doing, or looking for ways to use technology with programs like Lumberjack or trying to figure out what’s going in the world and explain it to the rest of us, which is what Jonathan Handel is doing.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week, Dan May with Blackmagic Design, Cirina Catania, film maker, Jonathan Handel with the Hollywood Reporter, and too as a writer. Philip Hodgetts with Lumberjack System, Andrew David James, author and actor, 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 available to you today. And remember to check out 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. We’ll see you next week.
Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2017 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz- February 9, 2017

Our industry is based on a story. Which means we wouldn’t be anywhere without writers. Tonight we talk with writers from several media genres about the challenges they face in creating their words and stories.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Cirina Catania, Jonathan Handel, Philip Hodgetts, Anne Toole, Andrew David James, and James DeRuvo.

  • Even Non-scripted Shows have Scripts
  • Writing Stories for Children
  • The Accidental Journalist
  • Automating the Scripting Process
  • Writing for Webisodes and Video Games
  • Blackmagic Design Announces New Products
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Featured Interview #1: Even Non-scripted Shows have Scripts

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

Cirina Catania is an independent filmmaker specializing in non-scripted shows. But, even non-scripted shows have scripts; plus a whole lot of planning and organization to turn a series of clips into a story.

Featured Interview #2: Writing Stories for Children

Andrew David James
Andrew David James, Actor/Fight Choreographer, andrewdavidjames.com

By day, he choreographs fights. By night, though, Andrew David James writes children’s books. Discover how the creative process of acting infuses his stories with remarkable insight and warmth; and how writing for children is different from writing for adults.

The Accidental Journalist

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

He calls himself the “accidental journalist.” But, when a strange sequence of events offered Jonathan Handel the opportunity to write for “The Hollywood Reporter,” he said: “Yes!” And 900 stories later, he’s still going strong.

Automating the Scripting Process

Philip Hodgetts
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System

Writing is hard, but transcribing is harder still. Now, new technology is automating the process of transcribing audio into text, then linking that text back to the source media for editing. Tonight, Philip Hodgetts, CEO of Lumberjack System, explains how this process works.

Writing for Webisodes and Video Games

Anne Toole
Anne Toole, Writer, The Write Toole

It began with a degree in Archeology. From there, it expanded into writing science fiction and fantasy. From there, it grew into writing webisodes, video games and television. The writing career of Anne Toole followed an unusual path – but one that was driven by characters, stories and scripts.

Blackmagic Design Announces New Products

Dan May
Dan May, President, Blackmagic Design, Inc.

Dan May, President of Blackmagic Design for the Americas, announces new products specifically designed for live video streaming.

The Weekly 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 – February 2, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Phil Galler, Co-Founder, Lux Machine Consulting
Dan Page, Brand Manager, DiGiGrid
Heath McKnight, Editor-in-Chief, Editor-in-Chief
Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media
Allison O’Keefe, EVP, Managing Director of Research and Strategy, Open Mind Strategy
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

===

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we’ve got a little bit of everything. We start with Philip Galler, the co-founder of Lux Machina. They are the creative minds behind some of the most innovative video walls, projection systems and interactive lighting for on-set productions. Their work appeared in ‘Rogue One,’ and ‘Oblivion’, as well as dozens of award shows, and tonight Philip explains their secrets.
Larry Jordan: Heath McKnight is the editor in chief of DoddleNEWS. Each week we hear news reports from Doddle but the company is much bigger than audio news, as Heath explains this evening.

Larry Jordan: Michael Kammes, the director of technology for Key Code Media takes us behind the scenes of the annual Editors’ Retreat and explains what happened this year.

Larry Jordan: Allison O’Keefe researches consumers each year looking for trends in media. This year’s report contains surprises that you need to know if you plan to sell your projects on the open market.

Larry Jordan: Dan Page is the brand manager for DiGiGrid. They make audio gear which can be networked. Not only does this make collaboration easy, it also simplifies the process of upgrading your audio hardware when a project suddenly expands.
Larry Jordan: All this, plus James DeRuvo with the 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. Hi, my name is Larry Jordan.

Larry Jordan: Today, the FCC announced that later this month it will consider a notice of proposed rulemaking that would authorize television broadcasters to deploy on a voluntary basis the next generation IP based, TV broadcasting technology. This new standard, which is called ATSC 3.0 was greeted warmly by many broadcasters. This new ATSC 3.0 next generation TV standard is expected to be a transformative technology for broadcasters, similar to the conversion from SD to HD. It will allow television stations to deliver Ultra HD TV and HDR signals, enhanced audio, hybrid broadband and linear TV experiences, improve emergency alerting, and accessibility features, send video on demand content and even enhanced advertisement targeting to reach specific segments of viewers. The FCC hopes to release this notice later this month. In other words, the new ATSC 3.0 specs allow broadcasters to deliver services similar to existing OTT networks like Amazon and Netflix.

Larry Jordan: Speaking of the news, it’s time for our DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.
Larry Jordan: I’ve got a bit of a cold this week which you’ve probably already gathered, so I’m going to let you do most of the talking. What have we got that’s new?
James DeRuvo: You know the old adage, it’s always better to beg forgiveness than ask permission?

Larry Jordan: Yes.

James DeRuvo: Oculus Rift lost their virtual reality patent infringement case today. The jury awarded ZeniMax Software $500 million including $200 million which must be paid by Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey, and CEO Brendan Iribe. The jury found that Oculus was guilty of copyright infringement and false designation, but Oculus managed to avoid the more serious charge of stealing trade secrets. What it means is they’ll be able to continue to sell the Oculus Rift and game sets support the software, but it’s going to cost them to do it.

James DeRuvo: GoPro has officially relaunched their Karma drone. You may remember that they had to recall the drone because of power loss issues.

Larry Jordan: What was the problem?

James DeRuvo: They tracked the problem down to a defective battery latch that would cause the battery to slip out and lose power. So they’re redesigned the latch and now it’s ready to hit the market again, and it’s available right now in three bundles. You can get the all up, everything bundle including a Hero 5 camera for 1099, all the way down to the flight kit for those who already own the Karma Grip for 599.

James DeRuvo: Finally, Screen Gems which is an independent production company whom you may remember from the movies we used to watch in school. They’re actually now starting to shoot all of their features using the Sony A7S mirrorless camera and they got the idea because they were shooting on a horror film in London’s Underground, and they discovered that the A7S has incredible low light performance and can maintain a nimble, yet small footprint and the workflow is very similar to the Sony F55. So they’re going to go all in on mirrorless cameras to make their movies.
Larry Jordan: James, I know you follow a lot of different technology but what is a mirrorless camera?

James DeRuvo: A mirrorless camera doesn’t have a shutter. It basically sends the images light directly, it bounces off a mirror and blasts right onto the sensor. So there is no shutter that opens up and closes to expose the light. It’s all done electronically.

Larry Jordan: So it’s more like a television camera in this regard, because the sensor is always on.

James DeRuvo: Yes.

Larry Jordan: Interesting. What’s your take on the Oculus Rift business? Is this good news, bad news or just news?

James DeRuvo: It’s just news. I mean this is nothing new for Mark Zuckerberg, you know the founder of Facebook who now owns Oculus Rift. He became infamous because he did something very similar when he created Facebook. He got busted for stealing somebody else’s idea and he managed to skirt that by just paying them a lot of money. So it’s a very similar issue and it’s really kind of nothing new. Ideas get copied all the time. You remember the nasty lawsuit that Samsung and Apple went through?
Larry Jordan: Multiple times.

James DeRuvo: Exactly. So ZeniMax which owns ID Software gets $500 million and I’m guessing they’re probably going to get some royalties from every game that gets sold, and Oculus gets to continue on. As far as how good the Rift is, honestly, I think it’s overpriced and I’m not impressed with the resolution. So I think there’s better options out there.

Larry Jordan: Well for people who want more options in finding out what the latest news is, where can they go on the web?

James DeRuvo: All these stories and others, including my review of the GoPro Karma Grip, can be found at Doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS, and James, we’re going to be talking to your boss in just a few minutes in this show. I look forward to talking to Heath later, and you next week. You take care.

James DeRuvo: OK, tell him I said “Hi.”

Larry Jordan: I will do that, take care, bye bye.

James DeRuvo: 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: Philip Galler is a principal in, and co-owner of, Lux Machina, a consulting firm that blends technology and art to connect artists and audiences. They specialize in video playback and lighting for major media projects such as ‘Rogue One,’ ‘Oblivion,’ American Music, Golden Globes, Emmy and Critics Choice Awards. Amazing shows with amazing lights and sets. Hello Philip, welcome.

Philip Galler: Hi, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: I was just reflecting, Lux Machina is not yet a household name, so how would you describe what you guys do?

Philip Galler: At Lux, we’re a small team of consultancy work to bring cutting edge technology to a large broad audience of entertainment applications, so sometimes this means using LED wall and projection in film in a way that hasn’t been done before, and making it accessible to visual effects artists and producers. Sometimes it means bringing new playback technologies into the live broadcast market and emerging systems that hadn’t been used together before into new solutions that allow our clients, creatives, cinematographers, production designers, new tools, and new ways of solving problems that they didn’t have before.

Larry Jordan: I’ve listened to that, and I still don’t understand what you do, so give me a more specific example.

Philip Galler: We design technically designed systems, so we’re technical creatives, so I would never organically design the art of a set. But I might design how we’re going to integrate video elements into that set be it LED or projection or how we might integrate lighting elements into the set. Or, I’ll give you a good example, we do some theme park work, and in the theme park work we integrate video playback and LED into a storytelling through the use of this new technology. So we’ll take and we’ll pixel map hundreds of universes of LED lights, so that we can animate certain elements on a theme ride. So it’s bringing some very advanced and sort of black magic tools into the general public’s knowledge, and into our creatives’ knowledge so they can utilize those tools as resources where they weren’t able to use them before. Specifically, we mostly focus on video playback, projection and LED integration, lighting integration.

Larry Jordan: Who hires you? Are you hired by the lighting designer, or the show producer, or the set designer? Who’s your client?

Philip Galler: That’s a great question. We work in a wide range of verticals, and I think it varies by vertical who hires us, but oftentimes it’s lighting design, production designer, in the broadcast world. And then sometimes show runners or executive producers. In the film world it’s cinematographers, production designers and more often than not, we are working with visual effects artists because that’s often where the work that we do, meets in their computer world. They do some CGI work that they have to give to us, and we end up doing some work that we have to give to them. So it covers a broad spectrum. We find that we get approached by any number of types of clients in any number of different ways, and we try to adapt to the individual circumstance, and unfortunately there’s no boilerplate answer for who comes to talk to us.
Larry Jordan: You did work for both ‘Rogue One’ and ‘Oblivion.’ Could you describe what you did on either of those films?

Philip Galler: On ‘Oblivion,’ my business partner and I were tasked with developing a projection system so that we could work with this highly complex set which was chrome and all glass. By using projection we were able to envelop the entire surrounding of the set in what appeared to be a very realistic version of a cloud scape. The challenge for us there was, how do you surround what ended up being a 400-foot screen, and how do you design a screen system that will allow you to work within the constraints of, and complexities of, filming a large motion picture? So for ‘Oblivion’ we designed a system that used 20 something projectors to create a completely seamless imagery that we could change at the push of a button.

Philip Galler: For ‘Rogue One,’ we were working on the re-shoots, and brought in the ‘Rogue One’ re-shoots because we do some other work with Lucasfilm and part of the work that we do helps look at how do you utilize LED. So we were brought into the ‘Rogue One’ re-shoots when the original team wasn’t available to develop an LED solution for interactive lighting, which is another thing that we’ve helped push along in the industry along with a handful of other companies, which is utilizing LED as a interactive lighting source for our clients. What that means is, we put an actor, in a ship or on a set, we surround them with a series of lighting fixtures, whether or not they’re LED walls or projectors, and we play back content that makes it appear as if they are actually in a certain location. This creates a much more realistic lighting effect on their face, as well as giving us realistic reflections and more powerful story telling because the actor can respond in the environment when things happen.

Philip Galler: Same with ‘Oblivion.’ I mean, really the sell is that it provides such an immersive environment for the actor that you get such a better performance out of them, in addition to cutting visual effects costs and looking great.
Larry Jordan: So what you’ve done is essentially removed the green screen with actual video projection?

Philip Galler: Correct. We like to say that we’re in camera special effects. It’s in camera visual special effects, and a lot of it is, how do you remove the green screen? You know, as we get into this world where we use CGI to do so much of the work that we do, we were encountering films where there was a lot of green screen fatigue, and even with the best performing actor, their ability to respond to something that wasn’t there is significantly diminished. By restoring some of those elements into the scenes, we’re really able to get a better performance and ultimately, a better looking result. You know, sometimes we do work with a green screen, interactive lighting, there’s blue and green screen around the actor, but because they have this lighting element to respond to that can demonstrate explosions or vehicular crashes or laser blasts, you’re able to extrapolate the world around them in a much more succinct way.
Larry Jordan: Technology and entertainment are constantly evolving. How do you keep up with the latest technology and then modify it so it works with entertainment?

Philip Galler: That’s a really good question. It’s part of our biggest challenge, is how do we keep up? I like to think that partly because of where we are in the industry, in the niche that we’re in, we get access and knowledge of things, ahead of the general public. I think that gives us an edge. People know that we like to use cutting edge stuff, and because of that they tend to share the cutting edge stuff with us. So, more often than not we get to play with a lot of toys. In the last two months we’ve been playing with laser projectors and some small light arc systems for scanning 3D objects. Things that are just becoming prosumer grade or business grade right now, we’ve been playing with for a little while now. But honestly, it’s a lot of research, it’s a lot of exploration of our own. When new things come out, let’s spend some money and get one of them, and play with it and figure out how it worked and how we can incorporate it. And the other part of it is, talking to engineers that we work with to figure out how we can adapt this new stuff into a system that will automatically work with what they’re doing on television and film sets.

Larry Jordan: How do you decide what’s achievable and what’s just not quite ready for prime time yet when you’re dealing so far out on a project?

Philip Galler: That’s interesting. We’re often asked to look at solutions that we think are impossible. Part of the job and part of the thing that we’ve taken on is that we’re going to sort of go to the ends of the earth and look at all the options to see what is possible before we turn back and we say, “Hey, we don’t this is possible.” So I think it becomes a journey of failures in many ways. Not necessarily in a negative sense, but I think we try something and if it doesn’t work, we try something else. You keep trying things in the right vein until you find the one that works, and sometimes you don’t find the one that works because it doesn’t exist yet. But every time you find something that doesn’t work, you found a solution possibly for another project.

Philip Galler: There are times where we have to turn back and tell our clients that, you know, “What you want to do isn’t possible.” We’re working on a project recently where someone wanted to do a cylindrical hologram. The reality is that that technology doesn’t exist yet and the laws of physics cannot be broken in such a way that allowed them to do what they wanted to do and part of dealing with that, and how we’ve addressed it with our clients is that we actually will bring them into wherever we’re demoing or doing the technology and the research, and we will show them why and how it doesn’t work, and what their options are. That’s how we stay ahead of what’s possible, is by trying everything, failing a whole bunch and then hopefully finding a solution. If we don’t find a solution, bringing our client in to discuss with them what their options are.

Larry Jordan: You work with major high budget projects. Are you affordable by independent filmmakers or just major studios?

Philip Galler: We definitely cover the gamut. We’ve worked on a handful of smaller films over the course of the years. In fact, I would say that more often than not, we find that the work that we do suits smaller films better because their visual effects budgets aren’t as large as the larger films. Larger films tend to do this, “We’re going to do really big projection gags because it’s cool.” The smaller films benefit more from interactive lighting gags where maybe they want to do a high end space chase scene. They don’t have the money to bring two gimbals out into Iceland, so they want to simulate what the light might be in Iceland. Well it’s a lot easier to bring LED walls into the studio in Atlanta, than it is to fly anybody anywhere. especially internationally. So we definitely cover the gamut when it goes from independent studios to major motion pictures, even sometimes small one man shops. So it just depends on what the exact job is, but yes, we cover everything.

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

Philip Galler: They can go to our website, which is HYPERLINK “http://www.luxmc.com” www.luxmc.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word luxmc.com. Philip Galler is a principal in, and co-owner of Lux Machina. Philip, thanks for joining us today.

Philip Galler: Thank you very much, it was a pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Heath McKnight is the editor in chief of DoddleNEWS. Heath has a long history as an independent filmmaker, a producer, an editor and a teacher. He has produced and or directed over 100 feature and short films, and is also the President of the Palm Beach Film Society. Hello Heath, welcome.

Heath McKnight: Hi Larry.

Larry Jordan: We hear James DeRuvo cover the news on a weekly basis but Doddle is much more than just audio news. How did the company get started?

Heath McKnight: It started many years ago with our original founder. He is a video and film producer, and he would have to go to different locations and he would end up with two or three different directories from the local county or city or even state film office. He said, “There’s got to be an app for that.” You know that old saying? And he discovered there’s not. He said, “Well maybe this is what we need.” We need something that people can pull up where they can search for crew. They can search for equipment or a studio to rent. They can find somebody, a filmmaker, makeup artist, somebody who has a studio, you name it, related to film and video production, they can create a listing. You can contact film offices. If you need to pull permits or if you need help finding locations. For instance, I’m in Florida, but if you hired me to shoot something in North Carolina, I would use the directory to locate crew, etcetera. Plus the app and the directory service also allows producers and directors to create an interactive call sheet which is pretty cool too, so you’re not fumbling and using multiple applications on top of it. It’s really a great way to stay within one area.

Larry Jordan: So when did you branch out into news?

Heath McKnight: They started doing news in about 2011, and they hired me early April 2012, so I’m coming up on five years now. I had a lot of experience writing for different magazines and websites such as Moviemaker, Videomaker, even MacWorld and Digital Media Online Inc. I had also been writing tech reviews for Toptenreviews.com and it was a great fit because I had the filmmaking background, plus being a writer and an editor, pulling together not only the writers we already had, but new writers. We are a little unique, kind of like IndieWire, that we don’t just cover filmmaking news and reviews for camera equipment, but we also even do just movie news, like the geeky stuff. Because a lot of us are just geeks and we love to go to the different sites and see what the new ‘Superman’ movie or the next ‘Avengers’ movie. So we even cover that as well.

Larry Jordan: So where did the name Doddle come from?

Heath McKnight: Well it’s British slang for, if I’m not mistaken, “It’s easy.” I’m sure there’s a little bit more to it, but the goal is that they want to make it as easy as possible to not only find your crew, create your call sheets, locations, and so on, but also get your daily news and reviews. It’s simple, it’s a doddle.

Larry Jordan: What news sources do you use to get your stories?

Heath McKnight: We get a lot of stuff from the major companies, and even the little ones will send us out press releases. We keep our eye on the wires, and specifically on events such as NAB, Comic-Con. If suddenly Apple says, “Hey, we’re having an event,” the iPhone may be techie and it may be more consumer, but people are using those obviously with our app and other apps, plus they’re using them to film, mobile filmmaking with the FiLMiC Pro app. So if there’s even just events, we like to try to get our reporters on it. Other websites that we like to read, major movie news sites like Variety and so on.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to be able to follow what Doddle is doing, where can they go on the web?

Heath McKnight: They can go to doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: Heath McKnight is the editor in chief of DoddleNEWS. Heath, thanks for joining us today.

Heath McKnight: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: In his current role as the 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 also has a habit of attending interesting events and trade shows. Hello Michael, welcome.

Michael Kammes: Hello Larry, I love the sound of your sultry voice tonight.

Larry Jordan: I tell you, if it gets any deeper I’m going to have to rediscover my socks. Oh my goodness.

Michael Kammes: I think we need to get you a saxophone, you can do a little bit of jazz for us.

Larry Jordan: Probably. Don’t make me laugh because I’m going to start to cough. You recently attended the annual Editors Retreat. Tell us about it.

Michael Kammes: Well the Retreat, I think it’s in its 14th or 15th year, and it was held in Nashville, Tennessee this year. Every year it hops around to different places around the US. It’s a gathering of 60 to 70 higher end editors all around the country, and we get together and we not only do peer presentations on technology or editing tips, but we also get to hear from some of the leaders in the industry. This year we were lucky enough to have Dan Lebental who cut ‘Elf,’ and ‘Iron Man 1 and 2,’ and ‘Thor: The Dark World’ and ‘Chips’ which is coming out in theatres and also Steve Audette, who’s been cutting ‘Frontline’ and ‘Nova’ for many years. So we hear from them on different editing tips and the projects they’re working on.

Larry Jordan: Who runs the event? Who’s the host?

Michael Kammes: It’s a good question. FMC you may be familiar with, Future Media Concepts. Ben, the owner there, has put this on for over a decade, and the MC of everything is the legendary Jeff Greenberg.

Larry Jordan: Very true. Jeff I know. What is the purpose of this? Is it to learn technology? Is it to learn the craft? Is it to network? What’s the thrust do you think?

Michael Kammes: It’s mainly on the craft. That’s why Dan and Steve actually looked at cuts that almost everyone did and gave critical feedback. You could have done this better, you could have done this differently, you could have emphasized this point more. You could have waited more on this beat, you know, to punctuate that joke. But it was also how to be a faster creative editor, whether it’s ten different ways to do multicam inside Premiere. Scott Simmons did a lot of stuff on Premiere. We also had Gary Adcock who as you know is very technical, and did a presentation on Aces which isn’t as creative as much as it is finding the right path and the right workflow for the mathematical complications that is color. My favorite one though was Misha Tenenbaum. I think you know who Misha is and he did something called the signal and the noise which was a way of critically looking at film and television to a lesser extent, and being able to not grade the film, but analyze it based on length of shots, color palettes, and have a kind of metrics on how good a film is depending on how many J cuts or how many L cuts and then comparing that to other films done by the same editor or the same director.

Larry Jordan: What was the benefit of the analysis?

Michael Kammes: It could see what worked for directors or for producers or editors. Did more successful films have more J cuts? Did more successful films have more L cuts? Was there more action in the third act? Did that do better in terms of critical acclaim? So, I don’t think the idea was completely fleshed out, but it gave us another way of analyzing films without just calling it art, and it being a day.
Larry Jordan: You’re being a little modest, because you yourself presented at the session. What did you talk about?

Michael Kammes: I did an hour long session on what was called ‘The Tens’ and it was the top ten things you need to upgrade your professional edit bay. Some of those would be a Whisper Rack for example, putting all your loud gear in a Whisper Rack so when the producer and the director come in, you’re not drowning them in white noise from the computer. Things like different human interface units, like Tangent panels. So just things that I’ve found over the past year or so that professional edit base can use to take that next step up.

Larry Jordan: Top ten cool toys is really what it was.

Michael Kammes: Yes, boy toys, yes.

Larry Jordan: Michael, for people that want more about what you’re doing, where can they go on the web?

Michael Kammes: A couple of different places. They can check me out at fivethingsseries.com, Michaelkammes.com or you can check out Editors Retreat online at editorsretreat.com.

Larry Jordan: Michael Kammes himself is the voice you’re listening to. Director of technology at Key Code Media and other places. Michael, thanks for joining us today.

Michael Kammes: Get better Larry.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Allison O’Keefe is a researcher and strategist specializing in media and consumer culture for open mind strategy. Allison consults for major brands on positioning, product development, target definition and marketing. She’s received global recognition for her expertise in the millennial market. Hello Allison, welcome.

Allison O’Keefe: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: What is open minds strategy?

Allison O’Keefe: Open mind strategy is a qualitative and quantitative research and brand strategy company. We work with an array of brands, everybody from packaged goods to retailers, to media, but media is really sort of our accidental sweet spot and we really enjoy talking to consumers about that.

Larry Jordan: Recently you published a paper looking at the top TV trends for 2017. What were some of your key observations?

Allison O’Keefe: One of the things that we’ve noticed lately is how much we’re seeing the past as an antidote to the present coming through in the content they watch. What I mean by that is, if you look at the array of shows that have really been striking a chord with people lately, they’re often set in a different time, whether it’s ‘Stranger Things’ being set in the 80s, or ‘The Americans,’ ‘Red Oaks,’ ‘Westworld,’ across the array of television options both streaming and broadcast. What we’re finding is that part of the connection to this content that’s set in the past is really that we’re living in pretty difficult times at the moment, and people are looking for an escape from the today that they’re living in, and they’re using their content to get that.

Allison O’Keefe: More interestingly, there are some reasons behind that. One of them is that there are a lot of issues on the table today that people are at odds with one another on, and that can be really difficult and upsetting. But when you watch a show that’s set in the 80s, there’s almost a bit of a ‘they didn’t know any better then’ justification that people give to the characters. So if somebody’s trying to figure out an issue, even though the setting might not be that far in the past, it’s just far enough that people give that character license to work it out a little bit more. That’s one of the reasons.

Allison O’Keefe: Another thing is just seeing characters set in a different way from what they’re used to today. So particularly when we talk to millennials, that’s people between the ages of roughly 19 and 35 now, when they were growing up the media around them was very much focused on girls. Millennials were definitely a power girl generation. So guys fell behind, not just in society, and we could do a whole conversation just about that, but even in the media they watched. For guys it was very much about a ‘Jackass’ generation, and kids who just didn’t try very hard and who weren’t supposed to try very hard but still expected to succeed, having fun. Girls in that generation were very driven, and being told “You’re not just as good as boys, you’re probably better.” The media around them was very focused on that, so you saw these power girl images. Whether it was somebody like a Hannah Montana or Katniss Everdeen, and interestingly in this trend of past as an antidote to present you see these shows set in the 80s, it’s OK for the guys to be heroes because in the 80s, the guys were the heroes. So there’s this interesting two trends emerging there. The interest in the past, but also an interest in the resurgence of strong male characters.

Larry Jordan: Every filmmaker wants to feel that their project will be picked up by the networks or a studio. What would your advice be to help a filmmaker develop characters that resonate with audiences today?

Allison O’Keefe: Certainly when things are guided towards the youth generation, they are looking for more about balance in the gender play. They definitely want to see both guys and girls that are hero characters. But here is actually an interesting territory. One of the other themes that we’re seeing this year is really just a need for heroes, and for quite a long time, we were seeing the anti-hero as extremely appealing. Whether that was in a show like ‘Breaking Bad,’ which would be the best example of that. The reason so many of those anti-hero shows were connecting is because times weren’t great, and TV wasn’t a very optimistic place about ten years ago and people were just sick of that. They thought, “This isn’t what it really looks like. Give me some of the dark, some of the seedy.” And the anti-hero really became appealing.

Allison O’Keefe: What we’re seeing now is, while there is still some interest in the anti-heroes, people are really Jonesing for a real hero again. That’s actually because the people that are supposed to be our real heroes in the real world are really letting everybody down. One thing that I think is a really interesting trend that we’ll see emerge is just a desperate need for a true hero character. I think something like that is something that we’re constantly hearing people want, and they want that person they can look up to that can be both relatable and aspirational. We’re short of that in our lives right now and in our media.

Larry Jordan: For people that want more information and want to follow what Open Minds is doing, where can they go on the web to learn more?

Allison O’Keefe: Our website is openmindstrategy.com and you can also follow us on Twitter at openmindnyc.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, openmindstrategy.com and Allison O’Keefe is the executive VP of research and strategy for Open Mind Strategy. Allison, thanks for joining us today.

Allison O’Keefe: Thank you.

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: Dan Page has more than 20 years experience working in the studio and live audio industry, graduating from the University of Surrey, which is in the UK, with a prestigious Tonmeister degree. He’s spent his career designing and building studios, recording systems, and live touring rigs. Currently he’s the brand manager for DiGiGrid and responsible for its network audio products and solutions. Hello Dan, welcome.

Dan Page: Thank you Larry, good afternoon.

Larry Jordan: Dan, what first got you interested in audio?

Dan Page: I was brought up playing, my mum was very keen on being a bit of a musician, so I’m a classically trained flautist and pianist and I guess I wasn’t quite ready to be a performer myself, so as is the case with lots of people in this industry, we are ex-performers or amateur performers, and it was a way of keeping the involvement with music and audio without actually being the wrong side of the microphone as it were.

Larry Jordan: As long as we’re talking about your early background, what is the Tonmeister degree?

Dan Page: It actually originated in Germany and moved over to the UK some years later, but it is a combination of classical music which is where my playing came from really, and the study of sound. So unlike other courses where they maybe teach you how to use a mixing desk and teach you how the equipment works, we studied electronics and maths and acoustics, all the theory behind what we do as professionals now, and we were left to our own devices to figure out the practical nature of applying that knowledge. So it really was a grounding in everything audio and a Tonmeister is master of sound if you like.

Larry Jordan: Let’s fast forward about 20, 25 years, and now suddenly you’re at DiGiGrid.

Dan Page: I am yes.

Larry Jordan: Except I don’t know what DiGiGrid does. What is DiGiGrid?

Dan Page: We are a little manufacturer making networked audio products. Audio interfaces that connect instead of via USB or via Thunderbolt, we use the Ethernet, the land port on your computer. And we make DSP products that again are network connected. We’re a little brand but striving to do big things.

Larry Jordan: I was looking around the office and audio and audio interfaces are one of the loves of my life, though I do not have your level of technical skill. I’m looking, and I’ve got gear from Alesis and Focusrite and Presonus and Digidesign and Avid and Adderall and Steinberg. Why should I even think about doing DiGiGrid?

Dan Page: It comes down to a couple of things. Our level of interfacing we like to think is high quality. The background of the interface actually comes from DiGiCo, so DiGiCo are the big digital live mixing company and that’s like my parent company. So all the hardware designs, the mike amps, the converters are all drawn from high end touring systems, so the quality is one thing that we really make quite a big play on. But actually the flexibility that audio networking provides, you know, many people in this small interface market have never really thought about expansion or what they’re going to do next beyond their initial requirement of a two by two or a four by four interface. The audio networking side of it, while we’re not trying to be an installation network, on a small eco system level, audio networking provides a whole bunch of functionality which users, we think will find useful.

Larry Jordan: Can I get decent audio quality over Ethernet? Is there the bandwidth to support it?

Dan Page: Absolutely. On our network, similar to Dante and others, it gives us about 500 channels at 48K bandwidth, which we’ve doubled the sample rate, we’ve halved the channel counts, so 250 odd channels at 96K. So there’s always actually a bit of a myth that maybe the Ethernet isn’t as quick as Thunderbolt or other formats available, but the reality is, that audio networking gives us a huge potential channel count.

Larry Jordan: Is audio network the same thing as Dante?

Dan Page: Yes. They’re all different flavors of the same thing and it’s becoming a real popular topic at the moment. We have Motu putting AVB on their interfaces, Dante’s obviously very popular, AES67, Ravenna and SoundGrid being our format. They’re all essentially flavors of the same basic structure, an IP based audio network.

Larry Jordan: As I think about this, if it’s IP based, that means that I could take this and run this into a switch, and I could have essentially distributed audio gear across a network. True?

Dan Page: Absolutely yes. There are some minimum requirements on the switches and some things to consider about bandwidth, but essentially it is using standard off the shelf networking hardware, absolutely.

Larry Jordan: You mentioned before that DiGiCo is your parent company but I also understand Waves was involved. How did this whole merger come about, and what did each company contribute?

Dan Page: Before DiGiGrid’s existence, one of the things that we at DiGiCo acknowledged was the need for plug-in processing, or the implementation of plug-ins on our live mixing consoles. Waves were the obvious partner for two reason. One, they had probably the biggest single library of plug-in choice of any plug-in developer, that’s probably true. But they’d also been working on their own DSP platform, which is where the whole SoundGrid technology came from. They developed this real time DSP engine based on Intel CPUs that gave us real time low latency plug-in processing that was capable of processing hundreds of plug-ins in a very cost effective way. We integrated that into our live mixing platform. Having done that, we all sat around and “Well, actually Waves has this amazing studio base of users. We make great hardware. Maybe there’s some further mileage in developing this relationship.” That’s where this whole DiGiGrid thing really came from. So DiGiCo make the hardware, our mike amps and A to D converters and our boxes, and Waves provide all the network based infrastructure code and the plug-ins and this DSP engine that together make this DiGiGrid platform.
Larry Jordan: When did DiGiGrid first release?

Dan Page: I think we’re now into our third year. So 2014, a few NAMMs ago was when it all kicked off. So we’re three, four years old I suppose.

Larry Jordan: We’ve mentioned the fact that one of the big benefits of IP based audio, the networking that you provide, is that basically gear can be located just about anywhere and accessed over a network. But when should someone consider using a networked interface versus the traditional USB which we all know and love from a variety of vendors?

Dan Page: There’s nothing wrong with the USB model. You could buy a small interface and it has two, four, or eight inputs, eight outputs. If you want to expand it, most of them these days have an ADAC connection so you can buy an ADAC enabled mike pre, eight channels that give you more inputs. But really, for most people, that’s as far as you could ever expand it. The other issue you have is that if you want to start locating gear within a space, whether a studio or a small production facility or a home even, you’re into running lots of analog cabling and unfriendly infrastructure really for a lot of people. You can achieve exactly the same thing, same results and same quality. In our sense, a better quality, but the same quality using standard off the shelf cheap network cabling. So you start with your standard base interface, of our choice, and when you want to expand it, instead of using ADAC you’re going to use off the shelf network hardware, switches and cabling to add interfaces to it. And instead of being limited to adding one extra box through ADAC, actually we have a scalable solution that allows you to add multiple boxes up to 16 in some cases, which allows you to say, “Well look, I need two inputs over in this room for a little vocal booth, or I need some outputs for headphone fees on the studio floor.” It just makes the whole thing easy, convenient to configure, throw together and change actually if you need to change it.
Larry Jordan: As I was looking at your website, it looked like your introductory product, probably the lowest cost, was the headphone amp. The next one up is a two by two or a two by four simple interface. What’s the entry level price to get started with your gear?

Dan Page: The entry level of the Q or the M which are our headphone or little two by two boxes, are around the $450 price upwards, so that’s really the entry point.

Larry Jordan: 450 US?

Dan Page: US yes.

Larry Jordan: They work?

Dan Page: Absolutely. They’re great sounding boxes. If I’m honest about it, they are a premium product. If you look at other two by two interfaces or four by fours or even some of the headphone amps, these are on the upper end of it, and they are premium products. But you get what you pay for. I always make the analogy between cars. You could buy half a dozen cars that get you from A to B, and depending on how you feel about the product, your brand loyalty, your expectation of quality, you will make a purchasing decision based on what you can afford and what you think you’re going to get out of it. And it’s the same here. If you aspire to quality, you can buy a small interface that is great sounding. Our little Ms and Ds, sub $1,000 boxes, sound like $3,000 boxes, because it’s the same pre-amps and the same converters, just scaled down to a smaller level.

Larry Jordan: The average musician, if they compare you with an Adderall or an Alesis, or a Digidesign, if they plug-into each one of these, are they going to be able to hear a difference or is the principal reason for getting your stuff the interconnectivity?

Dan Page: I think it’s a bit of both. I would like to think that people will appreciate the quality and hear the difference. Of course, I have to be a realist and accept that’s maybe not always the case. People don’t have golden ears. But measurably it’s different, and we think the quality sounds great. But more importantly, it opens you up into this expandability, scalability, modularity of the system where you’re not investing in a piece of kit and then when you want something bigger and better, you’re replacing it. Actually what we say is you start with one bit and you can supplement it with something else which is going to expand your system without ruining your initial investment.

Larry Jordan: So where can people go on the web to learn more about you and your products?

Dan Page: The best place is our website which is HYPERLINK “http://www.digigrid.net” www.digigrid.net. All the information’s on there, there are videos, pictures, contact details, where to buy. It’s all there for you see.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, digigrid.net, not .com. Digigrid.net. Dan Page is the brand manager for DiGiGrid. Dan, thanks for joining us today.

Dan Page: Thanks for having me Larry, it’s been a pleasure.
Larry Jordan: We began this evening taking a look at interactive lighting and replacement of green screen with lights that are 400 feet wide, and multiple projectors and wrapped up with interactive audio networked audio and lots of different stuff in between. I love these wide ranging shows to really explore the depth of our industry. And thinking of exploring the industry next week, we’re going to be looking at writers. Nothing happens until we have a script. So we’re going to be talking to writers who write scripts for a wide variety of different genres.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests for this week, Philip Galler from Lux Machina, Heath McKnight from DoddleNEWS, Michael Kammes, Key Code Media, Allison O’Keefe, Open Mind Strategy, Dan Page, DiGiGrid, and of course 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 available to you today. And remember to check out 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 2017 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz- February 2, 2017

Today we talk with a company who specializes in on-set visual effects, a company who can improve audio collaboration through networking, discuss media trends for 2017, learn more about DoddleNEWS and go behind-the scenes of the Editors Retreat.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Phil Galler, Heath McKnight, Allison O’Keefe, Michael Kammes, Dan Page, and James DeRuvo.

  • Stunning Visuals on a Massive Scale
  • DiGiGrid: Networked Audio Interfaces
  • Behind-the-scenes at DoddleNEWS
  • A Look Back at the 2017 Editors Retreat
  • Open Mind Strategy: Media Trends for 2017
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Guests this Week

Featured Interview #1: Stunning Visuals on a Massive Scale

Phil Galler
Phil Galler, Co-Founder, Lux Machine Consulting

When you need really stunning visuals for a major project, who do you turn to? The team at Lux Machina. Tonight we talk with Phil Galler, Co-Founder of Lux Machina Consulting about how they turned “Rogue One,” “Oblivion,” the “Emmy’s,” Golden Globes,” and many more, into works of art.

Featured Interview #2: DiGiGrid: Networked Audio Interfaces

Dan Page
Dan Page, Brand Manager, DiGiGrid

DiGiGrid provides high-quality audio interfaces that can be networked for both small and large projects. Tonight, Dan Page, Brand Manager for DiGiGrid, talks with us about their products, and where they fit into both live and studio audio production.

Behind-the-scenes at DoddleNEWS

Heath McKnight
Heath McKnight, Editor-in-Chief, Doddleme.com

You’ve heard us refer to DoddleNEWS on the Buzz for the last year. In fact, James DeRuvo is part of the DoddleNEWS team. But what is Doddle? Who is Doddle? And how did they get such a strange name? Tonight, we talk with Heath McKnight, editor-in-chief, about DoddleNEWS.

A Look Back at the 2017 Editors Retreat

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

The annual Editors Retreat just wrapped. But this was no ordinary camping trip. Tonight, Michael Kammes, Director of Technology for Key Code Media, explains what the Retreat is, how it started and what happened this year.

Open Mind Strategy: Media Trends for 2017

Allison O'Keefe
Allison O’Keefe, EVP, Managing Director of Research and Strategy, Open Mind Strategy

It’s often difficult to figure out where the media industry is going or what it is looking for. Open Minds Strategy helps answer those questions by providing research to help solve these problems. Tonight we talk with Allison O’Keefe, EVP and Managing Director of Research and Strategy who talks about the top TV and media trends for 2017.

The Weekly 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.