Get the Latest BuZZ Each Week

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz- March 30, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Zach Lipovsky, Director, Reel Apps Inc
Linda Tadic, Founder/CEO, Digital Bedrock
Michele Yamazaki, VP Marketing, Toolfarm
Robert Cohen, President & CEO, Future Video Products, Inc.
Damian Allen, VFX Supervisor, Pixerati LLC
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

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Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we have a wide variety of interesting subjects to cover. We start with Zach Lipovsky; he’s the force behind Real Apps Inc and the developer of Shot Lister and Script Speaker. These two software tools help a project stay organized, during the chaos of production.

Larry Jordan: Michele Yamazaki, the VP of Marketing for Toolfarm; reports on the latest plug-ins for adding effects to our editing systems.

Larry Jordan: Robert Cohen is the President and CEO of Future Video; he’s invented V-Station HD; which is both hardware and software, designed for live event, multi-cam video production and post.

Larry Jordan: Damian Allen, Content Development Consultant for Moviola; has developed the ‘Coffee-Break Film School.’ This series of short webisodes is designed to help budding filmmakers better understand the craft of visual storytelling.

Larry Jordan: Linda Tadic is the Founder of Digital Bedrock. This is an archiving company, focused on enabling smaller production companies and work groups to archive and actively manage their media assets. Tonight, she describes how her new system works. All this, plus James DeRuvo with this week’s DoddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.

Male Voiceover: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking. Authoritative: One show serves a worldwide network of media professionals. Current: Uniting industry experts. Production: Filmmakers. Post-Production: And content creators around the planet. Distribution: From the media capital of the world, in Los Angles, California, the Digital Production Buzz goes live now.

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

Larry Jordan: The annual NAB Show is coming and the Buzz will be there. For the tenth year in a row, the Buzz will be live on the tradeshow floor; covering all the news, production announcements and technology that NAB is famous for. This year, we are originating a new show every hour; 27 shows in all; featuring more than 90 interviews with industry leaders, all focused on the filmmaking community. Shows start Monday April 24th at ten am and to see our current guest line-up and the show schedule, visit nabshowbuzz.com. Our shows are being produced by Debbie Price and she has a number of surprises planned for this year. Visit nabshowbuzz.com and mark your calendar, to join us for all the news and excitement live, from the tradeshow floor, starting the first day that NAB opens. That website is nabshowbuzz.com.

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; special links to different segments of the show; and, best of all, it’s free and comes out on Friday. Now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James, welcome back.

James DeRuvo: Hi Larry.

Larry Jordan: It’s good to have you. What’s the top of the news this week?

James DeRuvo: Well, you know, you were talking about tools for budding new filmmakers.

Larry Jordan: I was.

James DeRuvo: You know, when I was a budding new filmmaker, my first short film was cut using Media 100. You remember that? The news came out this week that, thanks to a partnership between software giant Boris and MacVideo Promo, Media 100 is now completely free.

Larry Jordan: Wow. I remember when that was state of the art.

James DeRuvo: Yes, I do too. It includes Boris RED plug-in, 3D titling and visual effects and this update is version, I think 2.1.8 I believe it is. It’ll likely be the last major update for Media 100 aside from this basic housekeeping fixes for the operating system. But, you know, while this likely means the end of ongoing development for this venerable NLE, given to budding filmmakers for free is a great legacy for software, that was one of the first Larry.

Larry Jordan: That is exciting news; it gives us another option for people to discover editing, with a software tool that’s been around for a long time.

James DeRuvo: Yes and it gives you, you know, some limited special effects capabilities, …, 3D; it’s going to be great for, you know, give your kid and let them play with it. It’s going to be exciting.

Larry Jordan: Okay, what else have we got?

James DeRuvo: Well, Sony has created a digital neutral density filter app for their Alpha cameras and this digital filter app is built into the latest firmware for the Sony Alpha model mirrorless cameras. But it will cost about $30 to activate. But I’ve seen some of the pictures of it and it impressively emulates effects of an optical neutral density filter right through the software. It looks like you’re going to apply these changes to the images before processing is actually done and baked into the image itself and then written onto the memory card. But the digital filter app is just one of many that Sony now offers to expand the capabilities of their mirrorless cameras and it makes me wonder. Does this mean the future of cameras is to become smarter, with multiple apps like a phone is? Only time will tell.

Larry Jordan: Very interesting. The whole idea of a camera app is fascinating.

James DeRuvo: Yes, I mean, Samsung came out with a camera that was driven by Android once and you could put a whole bunch of different apps on it. But, to put it on a major mirrorless interchange lens camera or a DSLR, that would be huge; so I can’t wait to see where this goes.

Larry Jordan: Okay, what else have we got?

James DeRuvo: Well, music licensing platforms, Art-List and Music Vine have gotten some major updates. They’ve sought to upgrade and streamline the licensing process. Art-List is an all you can eat subscription service for about $199; whereas Music Vine starts at $31 for 15 seconds. But the new changes will provide over 650 new song, over 120 new albums and, here’s the really cool part, is you’ll also be able to download alternate versions of the same song, which I think would be really cool. Because we’re always looking for fresh tracks to lay down in the background of our videos and these two surfaces look like they really want to be at the tip of the sphere Larry.

Larry Jordan: Very cool. What else happened this last week? Any highlights catch your attention?

James DeRuvo: Well, other stories this week. DJI may be getting into the selfie drone market with a miniaturized version of their Mavic Pro. We’ve got some brand new DIY lighting apps and news that the Apertus AXIOM 4K cinema camera may finally be coming; perhaps later in the summer.

Larry Jordan: Where can people go to get the latest industry news and what’s going on?

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

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the Senior Writer for doddlenews.com; returns every week with a DoddleNEWS update and, James, thanks for joining us today.

James DeRuvo: Thanks. See you next week.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: Enter the new digital ecosystem of media, entertainment and technology; where behavior and business have merged, to re-defined, workflow and revenue streams. It’s the MET effect. A cultural phenomenon fueled by hybrid solutions and boundless connectivity that’s changing the very nature of how we live, work and play. Drawing more than 100,000 attendees from 160 countries, at the NAB Show. Conferences are April 22nd to the 27th and exhibits are April 24th through the 27th, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Let’s drive and I’ll see you there.

Larry Jordan: Zach Lipovsky started in the industry as a child actor; his career expanded into directing and he’s currently the Producer and Director for the successful Disney Mech-X4 television series; now in its second season. In his spare time, he developed Shot Lister, the leading digital shot listing app available for iOS and Android and, most recently for Mac OS. Hello Zach, welcome.

Zach Lipovsky: Thank you. Hello.

Larry Jordan: Let’s start with the most obvious question. What were you a child actor in?

Zach Lipovsky: Well, I was a child actor, because my Mom was a TV Producer and had no money and needed free babysitting; so I grew up on set, acting and stuff.

Larry Jordan: You’ve made a shift out of acting, into directing and ultimately software development. Why did you decide not to stay an actor?

Zach Lipovsky: Making films was always by far the thing that was the most interesting and I was always acting just because it was fun and a good way of being out of school. I very quickly picked up the camera and was more interested in what everyone was doing behind the camera, when I was on set. I’ve been making movies since I was seven or six; doing stop motion and then making movies my whole childhood and being a techie, on that side of stuff. Then I’ve been directing ever since.

Larry Jordan: Which do you enjoy more, the planning part of being a Producer, or the actual onset part, being a Director?

Zach Lipovsky: I mean, being on set is the easy part and it’s also the best part. That’s one of the things I’ve loved about doing this TV show that I’m doing is, I’ve been able to be on set way, way, way more than I could have ever dreamed doing movies. Because, movies take so long to get going and then you’re on set for like 20 days and it takes two years to get it into the theaters. On this TV show, I’ve been able to be on set directing, you know, for weeks and weeks and weeks. It’s been amazing. We just finished shooting for 97 days; so you really get to learn the craft, on that level, way more than you ever could on a movie.

Larry Jordan: You’re talking to somebody that still has very fond memories of being on set directing. It’s an experience that there’s just nothing like; that’s very true.

Zach Lipovsky: Yes, it’s a magical thing when you have a crew that’s really engaged and everyone’s doing their crafts and you’re just collaborating and creating and the time’s ticking down and there’s just kind of this like orchestra that has to play perfectly. That’s an amazing thing to be a part of.

Larry Jordan: It is indeed. However, I must confess that the word directing and the word spare time are not generally used in the same sentence.

Zach Lipovsky: I know, tell me about it.

Larry Jordan: Directing takes about 125% of every available hour each week and now, suddenly, you’re in a corner developing software. What got you interested in development?

Zach Lipovsky: I mean, I’ve always been a tech guy and kind of always involved and always looking for apps and solutions to make my life easier. I very quickly realized, when I was making my first film that, there was no standard … thing and there was no app designed for doing shot lists, like there is for Movie Magic for scheduling or Final Cut Pro for editing; there was just nothing for doing shot lists; which absolutely shocked me, because, they’re such an integral part of keeping the whole thing running. It was right around the time that iOS and the time that the iPad was coming out and you could actually have a computer with you on set that would last all day. At the time I made like a file maker kind of little version of it and everyone around me was like, oh my God, this is amazing, why does this not exist? So then, it just kind of became a tool that I needed, then helped kind of bring into the world.

Larry Jordan: There’s nothing like having a prototype that people fall in love with; but there’s a huge distance between the prototype and getting a finished version done.

Zach Lipovsky: Yes, well it’s never done.

Larry Jordan: How would you describe Shot Lister; tell me what it does.

Zach Lipovsky: The two things it does is basically, it’s the best app for creating a shot list; so that’s probably pretty obvious. It allows you to customize and build a shot list, exactly for your project and do that really easily. But the thing that really makes it a killer app, that people can’t shoot without is that, you can build a shooting schedule, much like you would build a one-liner with all the scenes; but on a shot by shot and minute by minute level. You can assign how long you think it’s going to take to shoot every shot and put them in order and the app does all the math to tell you that’s going to fit or not fit within your day.

Zach Lipovsky: The really amazing thing is, when you’re on set, it goes into what’s called the live mode, where basically, as you’re shooting, it’s telling you, okay you have roughly 20 minutes to get this shot to stay on schedule. Okay, now you are 45 minutes behind; okay, now you’re two hours behind. What it allows you to do is, at the flick of a finger, rearrange your shooting schedule; get rid of shots; merge them together; move things to other days; move to stuff that’s more important, up earlier. It allows you to do all that with just the flicks of a finger, while it’s doing all the math; so while you’re shooting, you can make sure to get the stuff that’s important, within the time that you have, that the Producers have given you, and make sure you get the most important.

Zach Lipovsky: It kind of gives you control over time, because it gives you something to visualize time and how you’re doing in the day, rather than just kind of guessing and making it up as you go along. There’s, kind of, always this sense of fear that you’re going to make your day and that’s because, in the past, there’s been no way of really knowing how much work is left. Because a scene could be one eighth of a page, but it takes four hours; or it could be one eighth of a page and take 20 minutes. You don’t really know, unless you look at how many shots are in that scene and how complete those shots are.

Zach Lipovsky: It really gives the Director and the AD and the Producer and everyone a tool to kind of visualize the work and change it as you’re going; which gives you so much more power on set, to make sure you get the stuff that’s important. The last thing you want to do is be running out of time, at the end of the day, on the stuff that’s the most important, when you spent too much time at the beginning of the day on stuff that wasn’t.

Larry Jordan: Well, is this a tool that you give to the Script Supervisor? Who runs it?

Zach Lipovsky: Every person’s different. Sometimes it’s the AD, sometimes it’s the Director, sometimes it’s the DP. It completely changes by the project. The app allows you to sync anyone else who has the app and who has an internet connection; so it can even be people that are back at the production office. Anyone who has the app can stay up-to-date with how you’re doing; so that can be helpful for even the make-up artist back at the trailer knowing, “Oh, that scene, they’ve changed the order;” and, “Oh, that scene’s coming up sooner than we thought.” Even on the TV show I’m doing, one of the actors had it and he really loved it. He’s a young 13, but he loved having it because he could see how we were doing; you know, he could just stay informed with what’s happening behind the scenes. It’s a great kind of transparent tool to keep the crew informed.

Larry Jordan: So the data is shared on the Cloud and you can have multiple people dialing into it?

Zach Lipovsky: Yes.

Larry Jordan: That’s very cool. Does it require a lot of input, after you’ve finished a shot? In other words, how much work does it take to set this up and what do you do after the day is complete?

Zach Lipovsky: Most of the work’s in preparation; so you build the shot lists beforehand and now we’ve just released Mac OS, which makes that infinitely easier; especially if you’re doing a feature where you have thousands of shots. So you basically build the shot list ahead of time and the schedule ahead of time, just like you would in preparation for all your other work. Then on the day, it’s been designed to be super simple and fast; so that you barely have to even look at it. You can move shots just by holding down a finger and swiping. You can complete shots just by tapping. You’re doing very little work while you’re actually using it and it’s automatically syncing and doing all the math for you, while you’re going. You’re not fighting with the app while you’re going.

Zach Lipovsky: Kind of the cool thing, once you’re done shooting is, it’s keeping track of when you complete the shots; so if you estimated it was going to take half an hour and then it ended up taking 35 minutes or 60 minutes or whatever, you can then look back at the day and see, oh, at the beginning of the day we were really slow, but then we caught up and then we had lunch and then we were really slow again and then, at the end of the day, were going really, really fast; so, when you build your schedule for the next day, you can look back at the other days and kind of see the patterns, because every crew has a pattern that they kind of fall into. It often takes the same amount of time, at the beginning of each day, to get going and so you can start planning for that.

Zach Lipovsky: A lot of Directors that I’ve used have said that it really empowers them; because they can write down their shot list of what they want, put it into the app, put in the estimates of how long they think it’s going to take and realize, well it’s two hours over already and I haven’t even started shooting; I’ve just estimated it. Then they will re-examine how they’re going to block that scene, or re-examine how they’re going to shoot it within the time. It’s already helping them be more efficient and plan ahead, just by kind of going through the exercise of planning it.

Zach Lipovsky: Just by planning per scene doesn’t really give you a lot of information. The AD might think it could take four hours to shoot that, but, are you starting with the crane or are you starting with the Steadicam? Which one has to be built before you get there? That isn’t said in a one-liner and so, once you know which shots are first and which shots are at the end, everyone can be a lot more efficient and it can really help you just get what’s more important.

Larry Jordan: How are you pricing it?

Zach Lipovsky: Pretty reasonable. Basically, iOS and Android are both 14 bucks and that gets you the app and all the updates, forever, for free and then there’s an additional subscription that’s 14 bucks a year, that gets you some of the extra kind of professional features; like syncing and storyboards and the ability to import scripts into it and stuff. That’s an ongoing yearly subscription of 14 bucks, which really is what helps us continue to upgrade it and develop it and keep the servers running and all that kind of stuff. But if you just want to buy it once and use most of the features, it’s just 13 bucks or 14 bucks, depending on where you are. Then the Mac OS version is a bit more expensive because it’s a desktop app and it will take a lot more work to get up and running for that one. I think it’s 39.99.

Larry Jordan: Who do you find using this? Is it just used at the larger studios, or do you find it being used by independents? How do you look at your audience?

Zach Lipovsky: It’s actually more so the smaller crews. I find, not only are they the ones that are more receptive of new technology and new ways of doing stuff. But they often also have less manpower, so they need to be more efficient and a lot of people that use it, like I said, they’re the Director and the First AD; or they’re the DP and First AD; or they’re the Producer and DP, Director, Actor. They don’t have whole departments doing this work for them and they need to be able to do it themselves. I would say, the majority of our audience is actually the smaller productions; like the corporate videos, the music videos and web series and that type of stuff. Recently with the Mac OS, now that’s starting to have a bigger impact into the bigger industry, because they’re used to working on a computer for a month ahead of time; so now you can do that.

Zach Lipovsky: But it really comes down to the actual people. Like it’s changed massively, even over the last five years that we’ve had the app. Five years ago, people were not used to working on an iPad, they thought of it as something you read a book on, but not something you used as a tool. Now, most people have an iPad instead of a production binder and that’s taken about five years to happen; so people are way more used to working on it as an actual serious tool, rather than just a book reader. That’s taken a while to grow and usually production people take a while to kind of use new software; it’s just kind of the nature of our industry.

Larry Jordan: Zach, where can people go to learn more about Shot Lister?

Zach Lipovsky: Well, you can go to our website, which is shotlister.com and you can follow us on Twitter @shotlisterapp.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, shotlister.com and Zach Lipovsky is the developer behind it; as well as the Director of Disney’s Mech-X4 television series. Zach, thanks for joining us today.

Zach Lipovsky: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: Michele Yamazaki is the VP of Marketing for Toolfarm; this is a company that specializes in marketing plug-ins and effects for a wide variety of software. Tonight, Michele joins us to share the latest news on the cool new plug-ins that we need to pay attention to. Hello Michele, welcome.

Michele Yamazaki: Hello, how are you?

Larry Jordan: I’m always glad to be talking to you. What’s the latest news; what have you got?

Michele Yamazaki: Well GenArts Sapphire units are now available and GenArts Sapphire have always been highly coveted plug-ins and one of the problems that a lot of people had is that, it cost so much. Well now they have these units available. The units break down the plug-ins into categories; so they have all lightening effects in one and they have blur and sharpen in another, distortion plug-ins in another; that kind of thing. There are eight new units. This is very similar to what Boris FX has done with Continuum; how they have those in units and that brings the price point down quite a bit; so they’re much more affordable to everybody.

Michele Yamazaki: They’re compatible with After Effects and Premiere, Avid, Nuke, Resolve and some other OFX.

Larry Jordan: Isn’t GenArts owned by Boris FX?

Michele Yamazaki: Yes, they were acquired some time last year and that was huge news; that was really unexpected for us. But we’re really happy that they’re all under the same roof now.

Larry Jordan: They’ve migrated a pricing policy, because I love the idea of Sapphire being available at a lower price, I only need to get the units that I need. This strikes me as a very smart move.

Michele Yamazaki: I think so too. That’s probably the number one question I’m asked; when’s Sapphire going on sale?

Larry Jordan: Alright, so we’ve got new plug-ins from Sapphire; what else we got?

Michele Yamazaki: Well, there are quite a few new FxFactory plug-ins. They’re put out by, we’ll call them fourth party developers and they use the effects factory engine. All of them are for Final Cut Pro X, but some of them also work in After Effects and Premiere and Motion as well. One of them is from Idustrial Revolution, called Viral Video and if you’re ever watching videos on like Facebook and that kind of thing, with all the text that comes up, you know, a lot of political videos are using this kind of thing, it builds that right into the plug-in; so you can easily create those type of effects on your video. It’s made for putting your videos online; with color schemes and text and all that kind of thing; so it’s all built in as a template.

Michele Yamazaki: Ripple, they have a new one called TitleMation. Actually this is a new version of it, they had an old version. Now this is 2.0 and it comes with title templates and you can just build some cool title effects with that. That’s for Final Cut Pro. Cineflare also has a new titling tool for Final Cut Pro X, Zoetrope FOLD, which gives you folding effects, which are pretty cool. I’d highly recommend taking a look at the demo version, you can download FxFactory. If you download their demo version, it’s free to download and it’s not really a demo version, it’s sort of like a light version of their software. You get a bunch of free stuff in it, but you can upgrade to the full version; we sell it at Toolfarm. You can download all of these effects packs or other fourth party effects from all of these different vendors and try them out; because there are literally hundreds of effects. We were talking earlier, how they crank them out so quickly; they really do and they’re quality effects as well. I’d highly recommend checking them out if you’re a Final Cut Pro user.

Larry Jordan: We’ve got a range of stuff from a variety of factories and I love your term, fourth party developer; I’ll put that one on my notebook for the future. For people that want to keep track of all the latest tools and technology, where can they go on the web to learn more?

Michele Yamazaki: Toolfarm.com.

Larry Jordan: Michele Yamazaki is the VP of Marketing for Toolfarm. Michele, it is always fun talking with you. Thanks for sharing your time.

Michele Yamazaki: Oh, my pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Future Video Productions Founder, Robert Cohen, has extensive experience in product development; working principally in audio video control and recording systems. He holds several patents and awards of excellence for his product design and a Master of Science Degree and Systems Engineering from UCLA. Hello Robert, welcome.

Robert Cohen: Hi Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: Robert, you’ve created a product called V-Station HD; how would you describe that?

Robert Cohen: Well V-Station HD, probably in its simplest form, is a multichannel video recording, streaming production system and it comprises of hardware and software that we’ve written and we put it into a box and we sell this as a complete system. However, just aside from the ingest part, we’ve built in several other features that make it much more useful for video production. For example, we have built in Project Management. It keeps track of the projects, the reels, the scenes, the takes, any notes that you may have and generates a shot list, after the event, that you can refer to. It does live editing during the shoot, so it actually creates EDL’s with line cuts. It does live streaming, if you’re got an internet connection available and you don’t need any external streaming boxes to connect up to the device.

Robert Cohen: After the shoot, you can take your line cut and we have a built-in uploader to bring it to an FTP site or a YouTube. It’s somewhat akin to a Swiss Army knife for video projects.

Larry Jordan: Well how would this compare to say a WireCast or TriCaster or Switcher Studio?

Robert Cohen: Good question. We actually try to concentrate more on the aspect of the workflow that’s going to be from the shoot to post. We want to make it easy and quick to go from production to post. The way we do this is with our built in media management system and we way we keep track of projects. At the end of the shoot, you can simply, with almost one click of a button, transfer everything over to your NLE and all the bins sequences, scenes are tagged, notes are marked; everything is synchronized for you. Instead of spending hours trying to figure out how and where the clips came from and trying to rename and build your bins, everything is done automatically with V-Station. That’s one of its most powerful features to get into post and almost ready for delivery.

Larry Jordan: Who would be a typical customer of V-Station HD? Sports, weddings, events, concerts, what?

Robert Cohen: Could be live events for web, webinars, lectures, capture, product demos, clinical and medical studies are done with our system; interviews. A wide variety of different users we find for our system.

Larry Jordan: How are you pricing it?

Robert Cohen: Our lowest cost entry product is priced at 2995, that’s $3,000; which gives you a four channel recording system. It goes up to $8,000 for an eight channel recording system.

Larry Jordan: Why did you decide to create it?

Robert Cohen: I realized how difficult it is; nobody likes to edit; well not in the sense of editing, but in the sense of getting to the editing. It’s all that process of organizing and identifying all this, that takes forever and you really want to get the product out and your production finished as quickly as possible. We found that, too much time is being spent in that process; so, by having a better, more efficient, more unified, more seamless way to get into the edit and to deliver seemed like a better way to approach the problem of video production.

Larry Jordan: Very cool. For people that want more information about V-Station HD, where can they go on the web?

Robert Cohen: They can go to futurevideo.tv, or vstationhd.com; either one of those will get you there.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, futurevideo.tv and Robert Cohen is the Founder of Future Video Productions. Robert, thanks for joining us today.

Robert Cohen: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.

Robert Cohen: Okay, bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: Damian Allen is the VFX Supervisor at Pixerati LLC. He’s also the Content Development Consultant at Moviola. Damian’s well known in the VFX industry as a leading Technique and Pipeline Consultant and has worked as a Visual Effects Supervisor and Compositor on multiple Hollywood features. Damian, it’s wonderful to say hello.

Damian Allen: Hey Larry, it’s good to speak to you.

Larry Jordan: In addition to all the effects work that you do, you’ve created this new training series called ‘Coffee-Break Film School’ and it caught my attention and I wanted to learn more. Tell me about it.

Damian Allen: It’s interesting. I did a lot of work with Paddy … , who was the Head of Training over at Apple and one of the things that I always felt was, we’re in this golden age where everyone has access to this amazing equipment, but very few people have any kind of design sense. Very similar to what happened in the 80s with the desktop publishing explosion. We had these Macs where people could do all kinds of desktop publishing and we ended up with these horrific corporate newsletters with Clipart everywhere.

Larry Jordan: Ransom note typography.

Damian Allen: Exactly. I think we’re in a similar situation with film gear and so, my idea was, if I could make something along the lines of, how to make an independent feature that doesn’t suck; if that was the title. That was the kind of dream behind it and that’s really ‘Coffee-Break Film School,’ which is this thing I’ve been developing with Moviola. The idea is, how do we get people from a clean slate to a professional production aesthetic in as short amount of time as possible? That’s the ‘Coffee-Break Film School’ idea. In a coffee break, how much information could you absorb to understand three point lining, how to operate a boom microphone, how to edit with axial cuts and paying attention to lines of interest; all those kinds of things?

Damian Allen: All of the essential core elements, none of the history of filmmaking; not that that’s not fantastic stuff and valuable, but just, we’re trying to get stuff done in a short amount of time and, also, fairly platform agnostics; so that we’re not focusing just on editing and Premiere, or FileMaker Pro, whichever tool, but really focusing on the aesthetics of editing or color correction or cinematography.

Larry Jordan: Well, I think I’ve gleaned the answer to this question, but I think it’s an important one, so I want to ask anyone. As you create your training, are you learning toward teaching technology, or teaching storytelling, or learning how to run a creative business?

Damian Allen: You know, that’s a great question. The real intent of this site, moviola.com and the ‘Coffee-Break Film School’ is ultimately to be a resource for the entire process. We’re definitely heavy right now on production, post production and screenwriting; those are the kind of emphases. So, we have some insights on the business aspect, distribution, those kinds of things; that’s an area that will probably get developed a lot more, actually, over the coming year. In terms of the technology, you really can’t divorce the concepts from the technology anymore; because, the technology is changing the way we tell the stories and so, I think it’s kind of naïve to say, well, this is just how we tell a story and it doesn’t matter what tools you use. Well it really does. We give time to both those things, you know, so if we’re covering camera support, we talk about all the latest stabilization systems and how they can be used; using sliders versus using … dollies, versus using jib arms, those kinds of things. But, again, we try to stay away from anything that’s so product specific that, you’re not going to be able to pull off the same techniques with some other tools.

Larry Jordan: Do viewers need to watch the whole series, or can they cherry pick episodes?

Damian Allen: We’ve done a couple of things. We’ve actually broken things out into six kind of terms, called units, and each one covers a different aspect of screenwriting, cinematography, production and grip, editing and color, sound, lighting and visual effects; so we have those seven categories. Each one of those units kind of takes you through to the next level of those. But, at the same time, at the very bottom of the ‘Coffee-Break Film School,’ we have a separate section where everything’s broken out into subjects; so you could just go ahead and watch all of the course and screenwriting from start to finish, if that’s all you wanted to do, or everything on cinematography, etc, etc.

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

Damian Allen: So you just go to moviola.com and we have an amazing deal right now. It’s 35 bucks for an entire year, or just five bucks a month and that’s really, again, just trying to make this stuff accessible to everyone.

Larry Jordan: Damian Allen is the Content Development Consultant at Moviola. Damian, thanks for joining us today.

Larry Jordan: Thank you for letting me share what we’ve got.

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 platform, specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listing provide in-depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.

Larry Jordan: 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 the 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: Linda Tadic is an expert in media and digital preservation and metadata. She has over 25 years’ experience at organizations such as Art Store, HBO and the Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia. She recently founded Digital Bedrock, which is what we want to talk with her about tonight. Hello Linda, welcome.

Linda Tadic: Hey, hi Larry, how you doing?

Larry Jordan: I am talking to you, we are all doing great. What first got you interested in archiving and digital storage?

Linda Tadic: Well, I have been involved in this community for over 25 years. I started out, actually, as a filmmaker and composer, musician; so I know the perspective of the creators, who have digital content they need to preserve, to be able to use in the future and I know the perspective of archives; that organizations have archives that they need to preserve their digital content in the future. As I mentioned, I’ve been involved for a very long time, I also teach at UCLA and I taught in my youth. I’m very familiar with the pain points, because, people lose content and if you lose content, it’s not only your creative work, it can also be history and it can be even your personal history. When you think about your own home movies, that might be on video formats that you can no longer play. That’s a big concern to me and so, as an archivist and librarian by training, this has a great concern. I wanted to build a company that would help organizations and people to preserve their work, so that they would be able to use it in the future.

Larry Jordan: But most people, when you mention the word archiving to them, either fall asleep or run screaming from the room. What is it that captured your attention with the idea of preserving assets for the long-term?

Linda Tadic: You know, I don’t know. I love history, you know, and even my own films that I made in the past use archival footage and so history is important. It’s all information, it’s all information we need to keep, otherwise we forget where we came from and who we are; whether it’s individuals or culture or society.

Larry Jordan: Alright, well let’s shift forward to the present day. You just recently created Digital Bedrock. What does Digital Bedrock do?

Linda Tadic: Digital Bedrock provides managed digital preservation services; so what that means is, we do the work for you, so you can just go on and do your creative work, or go on with your life and know that somebody else is taking care of your content; to make sure that it will be usable in the future. It’s a pretty complex process, which is why I’m happy that we can do it for people.

Larry Jordan: What do the words managed assets mean?

Linda Tadic: Think about all the vulnerabilities to keep digital content alive. You can’t just store it on a shelf and ignore it, you know, you have to keep monitoring it to make sure the bits themselves are okay; you have to be sure that the storage that those files are sitting on is also secure. Hard drives can crash and files can be deleted or destroyed or lost or hacked; so that’s one part. You have to make sure the storage is secure. The digital bits themselves can just degrade; you know, bits can flip, even just sitting there on servers or on hard drives or on tape and become unusable; so you always have to be checking that the digital bits are okay; according to a schedule. Then critically, especially for this community, is you want to be sure that the digital content, the formats themselves are not obsolete; that there is still software that can support that digital object, so you can play it in the future. That’s a really complicated project, that whole aspect of obsolescence and that’s something that we really focus on in our work; all that managed work to monitor when content might become obsolete.

Linda Tadic: Then, of course, there’s all the problems of when you have an increased amount of digital storage and production and that’s where you can start losing things. Because you just have so much digital content you have to manage yourself. You know, how many duplicates do you have, redundancy or are the files healthy? Are they okay? Or obsolescence factors. As you can see, by this list I just gave, it’s a lot more complicated than in the old days, where you just put your film in a box under the bed. You have to really watch these files and make sure they’re okay.

Larry Jordan: Well, let’s talk about a couple of these really core issues. One is security. How do you keep our assets secure? Because we’re counting on you to keep them safe and secure for five, ten, 15, 20 years.

Linda Tadic: Well, it’s interesting. Thinking about it, that’s the technical architecture that we’ve set up. The storage part of it is really old school; that’s in the technology to make sure the files are still alive okay is quite cutting edge. The storage part, the security part is where we, after we do all of the processing that we do on the files, so that we can monitor obsolescence over time, we copy the files off onto LTO-7 tape and it’s only your files that are on those tapes. Then we lock those turtle cases and only we have the keys to those turtle cases. We make three copies, as I mentioned, so that we have geographic dispersal. There’s one copy in our data center downtown, there’s another in a second location and a third 3200 miles away. Because of that storage, nobody can touch them; even the client can’t access their master files, they can only see low res proxies online; so they can’t even accidentally delete or destroy something. Just by keeping it offline and in a very secure environment, so nobody can access those tapes, automatically it’s off the grid; nobody can touch it if it’s off the grid.

Larry Jordan: Well, who would you consider a typical client and the follow up question is going to be, how much does this cost? It sounds like this is designed for the large studio.

Linda Tadic: You might have gathered from my opening, when I’m talking about archiving, that I consider all content to be important and so, if it’s worth for somebody who wants to preserve this to use it in the future, it doesn’t matter if it’s just a document or your own home movie or your production or a studio production, it’s all important and so, I built the company so we can serve everybody. Whether you’re an individual with your home movies, all the way up to a studio or a government agency. In fact, we even have a few law firms that are clients, because they’re very interested in the security aspect, as you can imagine and then we also have producers who are interested in using us and some studios as well; because of the security and because of that managed detailed work that we do for clients.

Larry Jordan: I’ve just finished a project all of my assets are sitting on a ten terabyte drive; pretend. What’s the process of getting that hard drive to be archived by you?

Linda Tadic: Well, basically you can either send us the drive, if you have a back-up of course and we’ll just take care of doing the files. But, also, what we prefer is that the client actually uses a tool that we’ve developed and that’s part of the regular service; you don’t have to pay anything extra for using this tool. This tool helps you to select your files; it’s like a curation tool, as it were. You can select the files that you want to send to us for preservation; because you might not want to send everything that’s on that ten terabyte drive. You might also have duplicate files on that ten terabyte drive and so this tool also then de-dupes the files to identify duplicate files. Even if you have a file where the filename has changed, or it’s in a different folder, it will find it; because, why should you pay for something twice. It shows you the cost, also, as you’re going through this whole process; so it’s a really nifty tool and you can spit out the list of what you’re sending to us; you can do different priority levels, if you think that it’s too much money and you want to just save off some for another time. It helps you to monitor all of that process, as you’re selecting. Then it packages it all up; it creates a checksum and it creates a manifest of all the files that you want to send. Then you basically ship it to us.

Linda Tadic: We don’t take anything off the internet, we only have files that can be sent to us that are on detachable media; so that can be on LTO tape or on hard drives. Once we receive that media, then we start the whole process of ingesting it into our system and you don’t have to do anything else; you’re done. That’s when we extract all the technical metadata off the files, because we need to know exactly how those files were created, in order for us to be able to monitor obsolescence over time. When we ingest it into the system, we create a SHA256 checksum for you geeks out there in the audience and then, when we actually write it off to tape, we create SHA512 checksum and, just to get you even more excited, is that we create frame level checksums if you give us DPX containers. Everything single one of those DPX files has its own checksum. Why that’s important is because, every six months we do … checks. We put those tapes back in our robot, we run the checksums on them, to make sure there’s been no bit loss and, if there’s even a bit loss on one frame in a DPX file, we can go through and replace that file. That’s how detailed we are with the levels of checks and work.

Linda Tadic: That’s just for the bit level health; again, just to preserve the bits themselves. Then the critical thing is monitoring the obsolescence factors over time, which we just do constantly. Because we’re pulling off the header information off the files, again, so, not only can we validate what format it is, but also then to monitor obsolescence over time. Because we might receive something that’s not obsolete; but in ten years it’s no longer supported. We then notify the client, uh-oh, you have these files that you’ve given to us, they’re endangered and these are the steps that you can do, in order to keep your content alive and useable in the future.

Larry Jordan: Linda, one of the things I was impressed, because I had the pleasure of taking a tour of your facilities about two weeks ago, was how reasonably you’ve priced your service. What should I look to spend? Am I spending tens of thousands of dollars or thousands of dollars? What does it cost to get my stuff archived?

Linda Tadic: We’re actually very affordable. We built the software so it’s automated; you know, so once we start ingesting the files, then it goes through the entire process and written off. It depends. But we have the processing costs that we first have to charge coming in and that’s just a one-time cost and you never pay that again. You also then pay for the cost of the LTO-7 tapes and the turtle cases we lock them in and you actually buy those. We were talking to somebody today who’s wondering about the ownership of the content and I said, obviously you own the IP to your content and, also, because you’re purchasing the physical media from us, we’re even charging sales checks on the media. That’s guaranteed legally that you own the media and your files that are on it.

Linda Tadic: That’s a one-time cost and then we have the ongoing annual costs and that cost is by gig. The processing cost is by the gigs and the number of files and that why I’m saying it’s a little bit more complicated. For the pricing structure, the ongoing cost is a price per gig and that’s paying for the three copies geographically dispersed; the six month … checks every six months; access to your portal, so you can of course go online and you can see the data about the files you gave to us; and then we will migrate your files from LTO-7 to LTO-9 in five years and that cost is all amortized in your annual fees, so you won’t get hit with a big fee in five years.

Linda Tadic: I would say, if somebody’s interested in the cost, they can contact me and I’m happy to go through the pricing online. Everybody I’ve shown the pricing to, they all say that, for all the work that we do, they can’t believe how inexpensive it is. We’re cheaper than if you put it up on Amazon; I can say that.

Larry Jordan: I think that’s probably a true statement. You and I ran an example and it’s clearly dependent upon the amount of storage that you’ve got, but it was in the 100s of dollars, not the thousands and I was struck by how affordable you’d made it. Linda, for people that need more information, where can they go on the web?

Linda Tadic: They can go to our website, which is digitalbedrock.com and if you’re going to NAB, please come by our booth, we’ll be there, and say hi.

Larry Jordan: That website is digitalbedrock.com. Linda Tadic is the Founder and CEO and, Linda, thanks for joining us today.

Linda Tadic: Thank you Larry, my pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.

Linda Tadic: Thanks, bye.

Larry Jordan: Normally our shows have a theme; today our theme was just about anything we could put in the show. I love shows that have such a range of information; everything from software that we use in production, to, being able to archive it for the long-term and everything in between. It’s a fascinating group of people we were talking to and I want to say thanks to Zach Lipovsky, the Developer of Shot Lister; Michele Yamazaki, at Toolfarm, talking about effects and plug-ins; Robert Cohen, Future Video Productions, talking about live event multicam work; Damian Allen, the Developer of Coffee-Break Film School; Linda Tadic of Digital Bedrock and, as always, James DeRuvo with 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 all available to you today. 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. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner, with additional music provided by smartsound.com. Text transcripts provided by Take1 Transcription. Visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you. Our Producer is Debbie Price; my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz.

Digital Production Buzz- March 30, 2017

The theme for tonight is “New Products.” A whole range of very interesting, very new products. From production to post to archiving.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Zach Lipovsky, Michele Yamazaki, Robert Cohen, Damian Allen, Linda Tadic, and James DeRuvo.

  • ShotLister: Plan, Schedule, Revise and Shoot
  • To Preserve and Protect…Your Media
  • Latest Plug-ins and Effects Software
  • New Software for Multicam Productions
  • Coffee-Break Film School
  • 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: ShotLister: Plan, Schedule, Revise and Shoot

Zach Lipovsky
Zach Lipovsky, Director, Reel Apps Inc

The biggest challenge in any production is staying organized amidst the chaos of the shoot. Shot Lister can help. Developed by Director Zach Lipovsky, of Reel Apps Inc, it provides a customizable way to plan a production shoot. Learn how tonight.

Featured Interview #2: To Preserve and Protect…Your Media

Linda Tadic
Linda Tadic, Founder/CEO, Digital Bedrock

With over 25 years of digital asset management experience, Linda Tadic is an expert in the field. As sole founder and CEO of Digital Bedrock, she has created a fresh look at archiving media assets, with a focus on smaller productions and companies. Tonight, she explains their new approach.

Latest Plug-ins and Effects Software

Michele Yamazaki
Michele Yamazaki, VP Marketing, Toolfarm

Michele Yamazaki is the VP of Marketing for Toolfarm, a company that specializes in marketing plug-ins and effects for a wide variety of software. Tonight, Michele joins us to share the latest news on what’s cool for our system.

New Software for Multicam Productions

Robert Cohen
Robert Cohen, President & CEO, Future Video Products, Inc.

The process from ingest to a finished product can often be a long and expensive one. Tonight we talk with Robert Cohen, President and CEO of Future Video Products, Inc. who invented V-Station HD, hardware and software that enables content producers to work more like directors and editors.

Coffee-Break Film School

Damian Allen
Damian Allen, VFX Supervisor, Pixerati LLC

Damian Allen, VFX Supervisor at Pixerati LLC, and content development consultant for Moviola, has developed a new series of 30-minute episodes called “Coffee-Break Film School.” Tonight, he tells us what it is and why he created it.

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- March 23, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Sadie Groom, Managing Director, Bubble and Squeak Agency
Eric Trabb, VP Sales, Group Publisher, New Bay Media
Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney & Labor Reporter, TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter
Andy Marken, President, Marken Communications
Scott Page, CEO, Ignited Networks
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are talking about marketing, advertising, and PR. We start with Sadie Groom, she’s the managing director of Bubble and Squeak, a full service agency based out of London. She explains the differences between these three terms and shares her thoughts on how marketing and events are evolving today.

Larry Jordan: Andy Marken heads Marken Communications. This is a PR firm based in the Bay area that he’s run for more than 30 years. Andy specializes in the creative industry and tonight he shares his thoughts on what filmmakers can do to improve their visibility and attract an audience.

Larry Jordan: Next, Scott Page, the CEO of Ignited Networks lives on the cutting edge of technology. Tonight, Scott explains how we’re shifting from the world of social media into a new world of direct messaging and market influencers. This has major implications for all of us launching new products.

Larry Jordan: Eric Trabb is the VP and group publisher for New Bay Media. His magazine titles include Digital Video, Government Video, TV Technology, and Video Edge. Tonight he talks about how marketing is changing, building relationships and what we need to do to stay in front of our audience.

Larry Jordan: Plus, we have an extended news section tonight. James DeRuvo joins us for our weekly DoddleNEWS update, along with Jonathan Handel, with an update on the ongoing Writers Guild negotiations with some surprising statistics on television production.

Larry Jordan: 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. This week we’re talking marketing, public relations and advertising, because if we can’t figure out how to find and attract an audience, all the effort we put into creating our project is wasted. We have a wide range of guests this evening, and by the way, our interview with Sadie Groom was recorded when she was in a hotel room in Dubai, attending a trade show. As far as I can tell, this was our first conversation with someone in Dubai for The Buzz, and we recorded it via Skype.

Larry Jordan: While tonight we’re focusing on the business behind the business, we haven’t forgotten the technology that enables filmmaking to occur. Next week we have a grab bag of new products and, in about four weeks, The Buzz returns to the annual NAB show, and webcasts 24 new shows, one an hour, live from the trade show floor. We’ve posted our guest list to NABshowbuzz.com and I encourage you to take a look. We have an amazing assortment of industry leaders as guests this year.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of news and all the stuff that goes with it, reminds me that it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Happy Thursday Larry.

Larry Jordan: A wonderful Thursday to you as well. What you got that’s news?

James DeRuvo: I’ve got two cool new product announcements, and a really juicy rumor.

Larry Jordan: Let’s start with the products.

James DeRuvo: Have you ever heard of the GNARBOX?

Larry Jordan: No.

James DeRuvo: This is a really interesting device. It’s about the size of an iphone and it lets you edit 4K videos without a computer. It’s basically an overglorified external storage device. It supports SD, micro SD and even compact flash by a USB 3.0 connection. But it also has built into it a wifi connection, and basically all you need to do is you connect to it through the GNARBOX editing app on your smartphone or tablet, and you can edit in 4K, and then output it to 1080p, share it to the web. You also get advanced features like color correction and slow motion. While this won’t replace your editing rig anytime soon, it’s bound to be a valuable tool for action camera gigs looking to get their moves up on YouTube while they’re still on the slips.

Larry Jordan: Is this shipping, or is this an announcement?

James DeRuvo: It’s an announcement. It’s supposed to be shipping by the end of the month. They’ve raised a ton of money on Kickstarter, and it just looks like a really clever device.

Larry Jordan: The company is GNARBOX?

James DeRuvo: GNARBOX. Why they call it the GNARBOX I have no idea.

Larry Jordan: What else we got?

James DeRuvo: It’s a cool device though, it really is, I can’t wait to try it.

Larry Jordan: I’ll take a look. What else we got?

James DeRuvo: We all know about Cinetics, they make these really super cool motion controlled sliders, and they have launched a brand new one called the Lynx, as in the cat. It’s a slider that offers not only motion control, but also multi-axis 360 motion control with imaging. There are three motors per controller, and it’s controlled by your mobile device on ios or android with the ability to set over ten key frames to set way points. Currently available for pre-order on Kickstarter, starting at 499, and then with each individual piece, it adds a little bit more to the price but the base model is around 500 bucks. Thanks to Kickstarter, more professional equipment is being filtered down to independents for big budget production values and I think the Lynx is going to fit right into that.

Larry Jordan: The company is Cinetics.

James DeRuvo: That would be correct.

Larry Jordan: Now it’s time, I’m sitting down, what is the rumor?

James DeRuvo: The big juicy rumor is that by NAB, Canon is going to announce that they’re going to support C-Log or Canon-Log on the 5D Mark IV.

Larry Jordan: So what does the C-Log give us?

James DeRuvo: Just about every camera company has a flavor of log. It’s an uncompressed data code app that enables you to grab as much image data as you can, and then basically when you record it, it’s not going to give you the contrast information or anything like that, it’s just going to record all the other details other than color and contrast. So when you see it uncolor corrected it looks extremely flat. Almost looks like you’re looking through a haze, and then as you color correct, it starts to bring out all these incredible details in the dark shadows and in the bright ambient areas, so it really boosts your dynamic range. The rumor is that Canon is either going to make it available starting after NAB as part of a major firmware update, or you may have to bring your camera in for service to get it enabled. Canon has traditionally reserved these pro great features for the cinema EOS line, but bringing C-Log to the 5D Mark IV could go a long way towards closing that gap with competitors like the Sony A72 or the Panasonic GH5 Larry.

Larry Jordan: Well that’ll be something that we can keep our eyes on as we get closer to NAB, and I suspect that this is only one of the first of many NAB based rumors you’ll be giving us. For people that need more information, where do they go on the web to stay current on the industry?

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 a weekly DoddleNEWS update. James, thank you so much, talk to you soon.

James DeRuvo: See you next week.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye. We have news from the Writers Guild. Jonathan Handel joins us in just a few seconds to bring us up to date on their negotiations.

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, pleasure to be back.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, I was fascinated with an article that you wrote earlier this week with the ongoing Writers Guild negotiations. What’s the issue in terms of money and is there likely to be a strike?

Jonathan Handel: The big issue is the face of television. You’d think with the number of series having more than doubled in the last eight years, that these would be easy negotiations. Lots of TV, lots of work, lots of money for the writers.

Larry Jordan: In fact, we set a new record for the number of series that are in production. It’s a number we’ve never seen before.

Jonathan Handel: It’s astonishing, it’s 455 in the current season. They’re predicting 500. These numbers were around 200, 220 eight years ago. But here’s the thing. We know that a lot of those series are shorter than network series were traditionally. Fewer number of episodes per season. So I put on my hat and said, “I wonder how many episodes are being produced in aggregate per year?” I was able to get data from Professor Darnell Hunt at UCLA covering a period of four years, and what I found was over those four years, although the number of series went up by 50 percent, the number of episodes produced only went up by six percent. The number of writers reporting TV earnings during that period went up by 20 percent.

Larry Jordan: So more people writing, but they’re writing for fewer shows?

Jonathan Handel: They’re writing for fewer episodes. More shows, more series, but fewer episodes. That’s right. It’s a supply and demand mismatch with regard to labor supply and labor demand. Demand went up six percent. Supply went up 20 percent. Although it’s difficult to say what the typical staff writer makes, without having access to internal WTA data, from the data available, and making some assumptions, it looks like those wages have been at best flat over the last really eight or ten years, and perhaps even declining in place and adjusted terms.

Jonathan Handel: These writers are held, year after year, under option because a series might get picked up, you know, for another season. The producer wants the writers available. Same issue with the actors. That means that during that time that they’re held, the writer can’t work on another series. There’s no other work for the writers to do, so they’re being held for shorter seasons, making less money. Meanwhile the separate issue of the health plan, has been running a deficit. Put it all together, you’ve got a lot of pressure on these negotiations.

Larry Jordan: Well, a lot of pressure is one thing, but do you think it’s going to translate into a strike?

Jonathan Handel: Well, I don’t. It’s possible but it seems unlikely. There’s a bit of saber rattling going on, but first of all every strike in these unions in the last 80 years since they were founded, has been about residuals, and the residuals deal that the Directors Guild got which is going to set the pattern for the writers and actors in this round of negotiations, appears to be a good deal and certainly isn’t the focus of discontent. So this will be the first time that you have a strike over something other than residuals, and it’s a difficult move for a union to take. Unions have a difficulty. Their only real leverage is the threat of a strike or an actual strike, but it’s definitely one of those threats that’s quote unquote going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you. Go on strike, you don’t get paid.

Larry Jordan: Well the DGA has set the basic pattern for money, which the writers and the actors are going to follow. The real challenge is the fact that there are more writers in the market. There are more series, but there are fewer episodes, which means that overall, the money that a writer gets is decreasing. This could be a real challenge in the negotiations?

Jonathan Handel: That’s right. Decreasing or flat, we don’t have access to the granular data. But yes, the average length of a series dropped in a period of just three years from 19 episodes to 13 episodes. That’s a major drop and what we saw driving that was not just digital platforms, like Netflix, but also network platforms shortened their series dramatically in response to changing consumption patterns. So the TV world is fractionating and fragmenting just as we see some cable channels are going to struggle to survive because there are a million places to go. The fact that there are a million places to go and a million shows to be done, the number of shows brings in additional writers, and really has to because each show wants its own writers, so you are going to get an increased number of writers, and yet if the series are shorter, that’s less work for them.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan this is something we got to keep our eyes on for the future. For people who want to know what’s happening, where can they go on the web?

Jonathan Handel: THRlabor.com, The Hollywood Reporter Labor, and my own website, jhandel.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s jhandel.com and Jonathan Handel is the contributing editor for entertainment labor for the Hollywood Reporter. Jonathan, thanks for joining us today.

Jonathan Handel: Thanks very much Larry.

Larry Jordan: Enter the new digital eco system of media, entertainment, and technology, where behavior and business have merged to redefine content, workflow and revenue streams. It’s the M.E.T Effect, a cultural phenomenon fuelled by hybrid solutions and boundless connectivity that’s changing the very nature of how we live, work and play.

Larry Jordan: Join more than 100,000 attendees from 160 countries at the NAB show. Conferences are April 22nd to the 27th and exhibits are April 24th through the 27th, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Let’s thrive and I’ll see you there.

Larry Jordan: Sadie Groom is the managing director of Bubble & Squeak, a global PR marketing and events agency based in London. With 20 years marketing experience in the business to business market, Sadie is the driving force behind the agency working with all its clients on their campaigns and business goals. Hello Sadie, welcome.

Sadie Groom: Hi Larry.

Larry Jordan: This week we’re talking about marketing. How would you define the difference between PR, marketing and advertising?

Sadie Groom: I always like to think of it that PR and media relations is about getting coverage in the magazines, so that’s really about the online and print publications and writing press releases and features and white papers and things like that. I think that’s part of the marketing mix, and I think marketing is defined by PR, events, advertising and can also obviously include digital and email and social media as well. And then events are where you do that handshake thing with people, and meet and greet.

Larry Jordan: Where does advertising fit into that?

Sadie Groom: Advertising fits in as part of that, and I really encourage all of our clients to do advertising and to do a bit of everything. Use the whole of the marketing mix and not just do one thing.

Larry Jordan: Magazines as we know have been in trouble for years. They’re dying quickly. Is magazines even a force in our industry right now?

Sadie Groom: I think it is, and I think the good magazines will survive. I think the ones that have the good editorial, they’re seeking out the news and they have interesting features, will survive, and I think they should. I love paper and I love magazines, so I personally read them. But there is too much that’s digital in a way. We get bombarded too much digitally now, and actually if you look at someone like a cameraman who isn’t going to be sat in an office all day, he’s going to be out and actually having a paper publication works for quite a lot of the people in our industry.

Larry Jordan: Given the definitions you’ve just done of PR and marketing and events and advertising, where does Bubble & Squeak fit into this mix?

Sadie Groom: We do a bit of everything. I’m very lucky that my background and our team’s background is doing the whole of the marketing bit. We’ve all had marketing manager and director titles. We do all three, and for some of our clients we will say, “Actually you don’t need to do PR, you need to do something else instead.” So we really recommend what’s right for our clients, and that’s based on what their business goals are, not just what their marketing goals are. I think that’s really important.

Larry Jordan: How do business goals change what you do?

Sadie Groom: I think that they give us a wider appreciation of what our clients are trying to achieve. At the end of the day, in our market, everybody needs to be making money. If they can sell better and they can sell more, then they have more money to spend on marketing, and I think just knowing what their business goals really helps, and being very involved in what they’re doing. So we have some clients that will come to us when they’re heading for an acquisition or they want to be acquired. That’s a business goal, that’s not a marketing goal and I think we have close enough relationships with our clients for them to be able to share and trust those business goals with us.

Larry Jordan: One of the things that I’ve noticed over the last decade is just how much the marketing industry has changed from being predominantly advertising focused, into much more measurability focused and other trends. What have you seen from your perspective, because you’re much more deeply involved in it than I am in terms of the changes in marketing over the last ten years?

Sadie Groom: If you go back even 20 years when I first started in PR, then a press release was just written as a press release to get coverage and now it’s written for the whole world to see, and whether that’s your competition or it’s your investors or your staff. So I think that’s really changed. Obviously digital is great. It means we can measure things so much more easily, and we can really see what’s working and we can do split testing and things like that. So that’s massively changed. But one of the things that hasn’t changed is the need to see people face to face, so I think how you go about your marketing and communicating why somebody should meet you face to face at a trade show or at an event. It’s just about how you communicate. But although I will say that, I think people are being bombarded a bit too much by email these days.

Larry Jordan: I had a chance to visit your website and take a look and you’ve got some amazing clients. It’s a tribute to you and your team, the people that you’re representing.

Sadie Groom: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: Our audience is principally filmmakers and media creators rather than people who make products. How do their marketing needs differ from someone that’s trying to sell products through distribution?

Sadie Groom: I think it’s the same. I think it’s about having your personal brand. So if you’re a cinematographer, you need to build your own brand up to get more attention. I will always say, “How are people going to hear about you if they don’t have a crystal ball?” Either a small company or you’re selling a service, you still need to have your website and you still need to do social media. You can still just phone up a journalist if you want to, you don’t necessarily need an agency like that, but you could phone up a journalist and say “Look, I’ve just worked on this great project.” You can use all of the same tools, but you don’t maybe need to spend as much money.

Larry Jordan: Which is a really good question. For a filmmaker, clearly there are $100 million films that are made, but they’re made by studios who have the resources to pull this off. Most independent filmmakers are dealing with much smaller budgets. How do they budget for marketing, and where do they spend their dollars if they don’t have unlimited money?

Sadie Groom: I think that’s about doing the things that you can virtually for free which is social media. You can really do that very cheaply and having an opinion and commenting on things and you can really get your personal brand out there. I think you can do that for not a lot of money. If you do have a small pot of money then definitely doing it on your website, which is your shop window. But just things like making sure you’ve got interesting and nice business cards, spending a bit more money on those, so if people get given a business card will go, “OK, that’s a nice card, that’s interesting,” and people remember. Even if you only have say ten or 15 clients that are production companies or whoever they are, make sure you’re sending them a Christmas card and a Christmas gift and an Easter egg, or remembering their birthdays. So actually there is a lot you can do, for not a lot of money.

Larry Jordan: Which tactics were big in the past that no longer work now and I’m going to ask you the flip side question, which tactics work better now that we need to emphasize? You’ve already mentioned social media. What stuff doesn’t work? Where should we not spend time?

Sadie Groom: Oh that’s an interesting question. I think people really need to look at the moment, about what they’re doing through email. I think we’re very bombarded these days, and so even though it’s great, I think some of the email campaigns, so many people now have these apps that they use on their phone, and then their emails are diverted to another folder, so you’re not even getting seen. So I think you have to be really careful with that. Obviously people used to print 40 page brochures, and I don’t think people need to do that these days. However, I will say that actually sending something to somebody in the post these days will get a lot more attention sometimes than an email.

Larry Jordan: What are your views on the usefulness of trade shows?

Sadie Groom: Bearing in mind I’m currently at my sixth trade show of the year, and it’s only the middle of March. People buy off people, and you only get into a relationship with people when you meet them face to face. I really believe that we’re in an industry that if you wanted to buy a $50,000 camera, you need to touch it and see it, and see who else is using it as well. So I think that’s where they’re valuable. From a networking perspective, they’re fantastic, you can meet the press and see what your competition are doing. You can go to conferences and learn, and it’s good for team morale as well quite often. I absolutely think they’re worth doing and I think our industry does seem to love a trade show quite a lot.

Larry Jordan: How do we determine what a marketing PR budget should be? And again, I’m wearing a filmmaker’s hat. How do you figure out how to budget for that?

Sadie Groom: The industry statistics are that it’s between five and eight percent of your overall turnover. So that’s sort of a line that probably the manufacturers would use, but you need to think about a percentage, and whether that’s say five percent of your turnover, but really think about how you’re spending that money. If you’re spending £500 on an advert, would you be better off spending £500 by taking five people for dinner, or to a concert and some hospitality? So there is an industry rate of what it should be, but obviously if you’ve got a big product launch or you’ve got a big project that you’ve worked on as a filmmaker and you really want to get that message out there, then it might be a case of putting more into that because you need to get that news out there that you’ve done it.

Larry Jordan: When do we do the work ourselves, and when do we work with an agency such as you?

Sadie Groom: That’s an interesting question. I think there is so much you can do yourself and I think we go into clients where either they don’t have a marketing person either because they don’t have the budget for someone that’s got the level of experience and industry knowledge that we would have, then we can go in and support them on that and they don’t have to pay all the tax and employers responsibilities. Then I think there’s obviously bigger companies that need that support, that they can’t get in house, and obviously having an agency it means that we’re looking into the industry so much more, and there’ll be opportunities for example with the press where they just come to us and say, “Hi, which of your clients can fill in this feature and questionnaire for us?” So there, the press are able to come to us and they get seven or eight responses straight away rather than having to individually phone up all of those businesses.

Larry Jordan: I could talk about marketing for hours, it’s a subject that I love learning more about, but seeing as we don’t have hours, for people that want more information about you and your company, where can they go on the web?

Sadie Groom: So you can go to our website which is HYPERLINK “http://www.bubblesqueak.agency” www.bubblesqueak.agency or just put us into Google and you’ll be able to find us.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, bubblesqueak.agency, not .com, and Sadie Groom is the managing director of Bubble & Squeak, and Sadie, thanks for joining us today.

Sadie Groom: Thank you very much Larry.

Larry Jordan: Andy Marken is the president of Marken Communications, a PR firm based in the Bay area. For the last ten years, Andy has focused on media, entertainment and storage as well as OTT streaming. Hello Andy, welcome.

Andy Marken: Larry, it’s great to be on this side of the mike with you.

Larry Jordan: Many times you have sat watching clients be on the mike. It’s good to hear your voice. Andy, you’ve been in marketing and PR for almost 30 years. What shifts in marketing today stand out most to you?

Andy Marken: Well it’s broadened into anything and everything, and yet it’s narrowed because there’s a gazillion opportunities out there but they’re very focused and it’s much easier to reach people more quickly. And it’s more fun.

Larry Jordan: How would you define the difference between PR and marketing?

Andy Marken: PR is working with the media and placing stories and articles. Marketing is really the aspect of positioning, promoting and newsletters, primarily advertising. The two go almost hand in hand for people.

Larry Jordan: We just heard from Sadie talking about marketing in general. What I want to do is chat with you about more specifically what filmmakers and other creative individuals can do to promote their projects and promote their films. What would you advise them as the best way to reach an audience?

Andy Marken: Let me give you a little background. I was totally depressed with the onslaught of activity on YouTube because I saw a lot of youngsters coming into … a film, because I’ve got an iPhone or what have you. All we were getting was a bunch of dumb tricks and cat and dog stuff, but they were also depressing the marketplace for filmmakers. Incidentally, I work with some very good, nice companies that allow me to work very closely with filmmakers, so they’re a concern to me, and today everybody in the industry is an independent filmmaker. Then I started looking at growth of content that’s being distributed over the net, OTT type of thing. There are a tremendous number of new opportunities for filmmakers to do their work and to place them. Facebook is doing a better job and will do a better job of taking on good content. Amazon is in 20 countries, and will be in 200 countries. I’m not working with them. They’re saying, “Hey, put your stuff here and we’ll get you exposure.”

Larry Jordan: OK, hold it a minute. I understand there’s more market opportunity but how do filmmakers promote their film? What do they need to do? Wear your marketing hat. What advice would you give them?

Andy Marken: Once you’ve got on, the trouble is it’s like doing an app for a phone, most of them don’t go anywhere. Let’s use Amazon as an example, yes you’re there, and you may be one of the top ten, but you have to keep it there, and that means encouraging friends and others to post on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook to “Take a look, here’s a screen grab I had, it’s really a cool film.” Let them tell ten more people or 100 more people and that’s the way it spreads. I encourage filmmakers to also be out in front of strange audiences like the May Film Creative Storage Conference that’s coming up, or Flash Memory Summit that’s at the end of the year. Being able to tell their stories of what they did and how they did it, and that does broaden the interest base. But advertising per se is not effective for a filmmaker and I think they can do it themselves. We’re getting a greater number of new programmatic tools that are going to help the filmmakers in my estimation, and I’m talking of the short filmmakers that says, “Hey, if you like this, you’re probably going to like these three others,” and that will be of substantial help to the filmmakers.

Larry Jordan: Andy, for people that need more information about what you’re up to, or get your advice, where can they go on the web to get in touch with you?

Andy Marken: They can go to HYPERLINK “http://www.markencom.com” www.markencom.com. They can see me at NAB in the lower level at 8905, or they ask me to get on my weekly content insider.

Larry Jordan: That website is all one word, markencom.com and Andy Marken is the president of Marken Communications. Andy thanks for taking time to share your evening with us.

Andy Marken: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Scott Page is a musician, technologist and serial entrepreneur. He currently serves as the CEO of Ignited Networks, a mobile broadcast network focused on content creators and he’s widely toured as a professional musician. Welcome back Scott, good to hear your voice.

Scott Page: How you doing Larry? Glad to be back buddy.

Larry Jordan: Tonight Scott we’re talking about marketing. Tell us what changes you’re seeing in marketing for creative individuals.

Scott Page: We’re actually going through a major shift right now because we’re going from what we call public networks to private networks. This year, 2017, the trends are showing that mobile messaging applications will be taking over social. In other words, apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, are now moving towards being the preferred method of communications for folks right now. That basically starts to create a whole different set of rules for marketing, because how do you get your marketing messages into private communications?

Larry Jordan: Before we get too in depth on this, could you define what private messaging is because I’m not yet seeing the picture?

Scott Page: When you’re talking about a two way kind of communication like through WhatsApp or WeChat, or those type of things, it’s not the same thing as where you’re just putting up a post, maybe running an ad. Now we’re going back and forth. Our communication is between you and me across these apps and it’s not necessarily across a public situation where everybody can see that, so it creates a challenge for folks to get into the conversation, and when you’re talking about real time conversations, it’s not just a one post thing. You’ve got to go back and forth. So it makes it difficult again for marketers to get their messages into these communications. Does that make sense?

Larry Jordan: It does, it makes perfect sense, except I see a huge problem. In order for you and I to have a conversation, I need to know that you exist. If I’m marketing, and trying to reach a new audience, they don’t yet know that I exist. How do I reach them through private messaging?

Scott Page: These are some of the challenges. This isn’t to say that the public networks are going away, but definitely some major challenges that are starting to come on board for marketers, and marketers being able to interject themselves into the communications through influence marketing. So those folks that are part of those communities, the influencers now will be the ones that will be more important. Also what will happen is Facebook likes and follows and all that are going to be a lot less important. It’s really going to be about the word of mouth of the community. Now instead of all these big giant public networks, we’re now moving to what they call hives. Smaller, direct, niche kind of communities and if you want to survive in this game moving forward, you’re going to have to figure out how to be part of a hive and create that hive mind of folks with like mindedness and communications around products and around things need now be more conversational where everything that comes out has to have a conversation around it because that’s what’s happening with the whole idea of real time.

Larry Jordan: Scott, where did chatbots fit into this conversation?

Scott Page: First of all, what are chatbots? Chatbot is really artificial intelligence. AI, they’re great for help systems and for keeping people up to date. Chatbots are now taking over like crazy, especially on Facebook and Twitter, all of them. Facebook has made a big initiative to really focus on chatbots and bringing them into the system, because they really do help in the communications and delivering information to people that you normally might not be able to get, because how do I scale myself in a conversation to give them information all the time? So chatbots are very helpful in that way. Unfortunately, this is going to have a major impact on jobs and so we’re going to have to figure out new ways to keep people in the game, because I read an article not too long ago that said 47 percent of all jobs are susceptible to these robots. So there’s pros and cons to all of this, but we’re definitely moving into a world where chatbots are going to be much more prevalent in everything we do every day.

Larry Jordan: Put your creative hat on for a second Scott. If you’ve only got a limited amount of time, and a limited budget, and given the vast new areas that marketing’s exploded into, where do we invest our time?

Scott Page: You’re better off, number one, to focus on one or two networks and not try to focus on lots of networks, because it’s very difficult to keep up with the pace of having to post and deal with all these different networks when in reality you’re trying to create relationships. We’re moving into this area where the relationships are word of mouth. The real time communications is really going to be the most important part of the communications you have with your customers. Right now I believe that Twitter still is a very big opportunity for folks because you do have this direct messaging, but what’s happening is that communications and that real growth in marketing is happening in the DMs, not so much in the actual streams of the content. These days, the money is in the relationship, especially for content creators that are trying to get their content stuff out there. You need to start building those relationships and focus on the super fans, because that’s where the real dollars are.

Larry Jordan: Scott, for people that want to keep track of what you’re thinking, where can they go on the web, to learn more?

Scott Page: My Twitter handle is @Iamscottpage, that’s my communication tool of choice, and you can also find me at iamscottpage.com.

Larry Jordan: That website is iamscottpage.com, and the Scott Page himself has been chatting with us. Scott thanks for joining us today.

Scott Page: Thanks Larry. Talk to you later.

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: Eric Trabb is the VP and group publisher at New Bay Media’s broadcast and video group. He oversees some of the industry’s leading brands in the professional video marketplace, including TV Technology, Digital Video, Video Edge and Government Video. Eric’s been in the industry for nearly 30 years, and I am delighted to say, hello Eric, welcome.

Eric Trabb: Hi Larry, thank you for having me today.

Larry Jordan: Eric, I was reflecting, just before we began this interview, that the first time we met was about 12 years ago at DV Expo. The industry has certainly changed a lot over the last decade hasn’t it?

Eric Trabb: It has indeed.

Larry Jordan: As you look at the last decade, what’s been the biggest change, from your perspective?

Eric Trabb: The biggest change that we’ve seen is the transformation of the way the business community has embraced or transformed their marketing efforts. I think you see that from every size organization, from a big diversified company to small entrepreneurial companies, everybody is trying to analyze how they can better market their products to this industry, and try frankly to do more with less. That mantra has cut across every fabric of our business, our readers are trying to do more with less with the tools that they have, and our customers, our sponsors, our advertisers, are trying to do more with less to sell their product. You know, New Bay Media provides a conduit of information to those customers. We try to build partnerships between advertisers or marketers and the end user. Our relationships today are a lot more collaborative perhaps than they were maybe ten or 12 years ago.

Larry Jordan: Well in tonight’s show we’re talking about marketing specifically marketing films and creative projects. How would you define the difference between advertising and marketing?

Eric Trabb: That’s a good question. I think that it’s going to require a few different points here. One is I think that most marketers now look at their short and long term business objectives. It’s no longer just advertising and marketing. The marketplace is a lot more sophisticated. They’re looking at larger integrated marketing program Larry, and inside that program there’s a couple of tenets. There’s owned media, there’s earned media, there’s paid media, and then there’s shared media. Then on top of all this are other ways to reach the audience. There’s events, so let me give you an example. Inside of owned media are owned elements. You know a company for instance might have to figure out their branding strategy. They have a website that they have to publish. They need sales tools to give to their sales people. They need collateral, they need to develop a booth for a trade show. They need other content, they need videos. All of this is part of owned elements. That’s all underneath this marketing umbrella, and years ago, a lot of these things you didn’t even have. So the bucket of marketing has gotten a lot bigger.

Eric Trabb: Then, if I may, you also have things like earned elements, and that’s anywhere from press releases to articles that we publish, that companies give us that we publish. And thought leadership articles and user reports and case studies and then they have press events at shows and they do interviews and there’s all of this that goes into this entire big marketing story. For example, we have coming up for NAB this year, New Bay Media does the NAB best of show awards, so a good marketer is going to say, “Hey, getting an award at NAB is a feather in my cap, and I want the ability to promote that.” So they need to enter as many things as they can to help elevate their brand, for instance, entering an award program is one way to do that. So those are a couple of different ways that marketing has changed quite a bit.

Larry Jordan: Well one of the terms you used earlier that I want to pick up on is the word relationships which is something we never heard ten years ago. Why are relationships so important?

Eric Trabb: Every business is built on relationships with customers right? So, I think it’s important that when you meet with a customer, whether it’s us, New Bay Media talking to our advertisers and sponsors, or a video production house, a creative producer, the first thing that they have to do is understand the customer and what the customer’s trying to accomplish. If you look at marketing you want to ask very simply a couple of easy questions. Who are you trying to reach with your marketing? Have you reached them before, and how did you go about doing that? I think understanding the customer and building that relationship is what it takes in today’s environment. You can’t just go in and say “Hey, do you want to buy this?” I think today our partners are much more sophisticated and they want us to help them understand how to go about understanding their customer and how we’re going to measure success along the way. We help them do that. We help them understand the customer, and then, whatever program we work together with them on, how they’re going to measure their own success, because at the end of the day, you have to be accountable for this. I think that’s how we build good relationships and that’s how our customers then build good relationships with their customers.

Larry Jordan: When I was reading your intro, one of the words I used was the word professional. You oversee your brands in the professional video market place. It seems to me that the word professional is defining people differently today than it was a few years ago. How are you defining professionals?

Eric Trabb: You’re absolutely right. With the amount of content that’s being generated and distributed through all the different platforms that we see in the world today, I think that professional line has got quite a bit blurry. Across the tools, to help quote unquote professionals deliver that content has come down which I think has made that professional line more accessible for more people. But in general, our rule had always been that if you made money producing and delivering content, then you became a professional. But I think there are people who don’t make money doing this anymore, that are producing very good content.

Larry Jordan: Which means it’s even blurrier than usual.

Eric Trabb: It is, and just do a quick search on Google or YouTube and you’ll see how many videos there are.

Larry Jordan: Shift your focus for just a second, away from your magazines and to the people who read your magazines. The professional video person, however we’re defining them. If they’re trying to get the word out about their film or their project, what marketing is available to them? What would you recommend they focus on?

Eric Trabb: Funny you say get the word out. That notion of getting the word out is what people used to say a few years ago to us when we would have that kind of introductory conversation and I’d say, “What are you trying to accomplish?” and they’d say, “I just want to get the word out.” Today, I would encourage my customers to think beyond just getting the word out. I would take that “Hey we want to get the word out,” and I would say, “What specifically do you want to achieve with this message?” I’d say “Do you want to create brand awareness? Do you want to create thought leadership? Do you want to generate leads for your product? Do you want to drive traffic to your site? What is it specifically that you are trying to achieve with your investment?” because that’s important.

Eric Trabb: Beyond magazines Larry, we have a lot of different triggers we can pull to help our partners and to help small independent video production companies. I think this applies to them as well. There’s a lot of different mechanisms you can engage in to get a different result, and if you want to build awareness you would do one thing. If you want to generate leads you would do something else. It’s very important for us to be able to understand what their goals are beyond just getting the word out. So if a company wants to generate leads, we would typically tell them that a way to do that would be to create some really good content and create some kind of program around that content, and then help them ignite that content to generate leads. So, the industry is very much peer to peer, and people respect other people’s opinions, and so creating good content and then igniting and promoting that content is one way that companies are generating leads. So we would want to be sure that we are matching up the need of that customer with the right option, and that’s part of the whole customer experience I was talking about.

Larry Jordan: One of the pet peeves that I’ve got is that when I visit a new company on their website, the website itself is using language that is unintelligible or filled with jargon or as hard as I try, I cannot figure out what the company does. How do you advise your clients when it comes to writing about themselves?

Eric Trabb: I would say if a company can’t say very quickly what they do and how they do it, and how it’s going to benefit from the customer, that’s a problem. I think you can spend all the money in the world to drive traffic back to your site, but when they get back to the site if there’s a disconnect on your unique selling proposition and how you separate yourself from your competitor, that’s a fundamental problem. But I think that keeping it simple and helping them understand how your product or service makes a difference in their life, how it helps them solve a problem, and just going back to those basics. How using your product or service is going to help make my job, my life, what I have to do every day, easier or better or more efficient. I think if you can just go back to those basics as a marketer and try to articulate that on your site, then you have a good starting point to engage the traffic that comes to your site.

Larry Jordan: I will confess that if I read the words ‘world class customer focus and customer driven’ one more time in a first paragraph of a company I’m going to throw up.

Eric Trabb: Everybody’s world class at something. I agree that world class and leading are a bit overused, and they don’t do enough to separate one company over the next, but I think that marketers are very fond of using adjectives, and trying to embellish a little bit on their products or services. But you know what? It’s part of the buyers opportunity to wade through that a little bit, and make informed decisions. It’s just a little bit of marketing.

Larry Jordan: I think a marketer has never met an adjective that they don’t like.

Eric Trabb: Right.

Larry Jordan: Which gets to my next question. How long shall we allow for a marketing scheme, whether it’s building relationships or getting the word out, or focusing on a particular audience, how much time should we allow? Does it happen instantly, or takes two years, or what?

Eric Trabb: Again, I think that depends on the individual objective. I think the biggest thing that most marketers fall short of is their lack of commitment to stay the course, and I think it’s important with almost any marketing program, to be consistent and to continue it often. And that’s just about with anything that you decide you want to do, whether it’s paid elements, shared elements, earned elements or anything throughout the entire journey that a buyer might take, it’s important to be consistent and to do it frequently.

Larry Jordan: Eric, for people in companies that want to take a look at the tools and resources that New Bay provides, where can they go on the web?

Eric Trabb: The best bet is to go to newbaymedia.com and there you’ll find all of our editorial calendars, and that will give you an idea of the magazines and websites and events that we publish. I’d also invite other listeners who are end users to subscribe to our newsletters. I think most are familiar with our brands of Digital Video and Creative Planet Network, and so please take the time, if you’re not subscribers, to subscribe to our newsletters. We feel there’s some valuable tools and tips and tricks in there to help you stay abreast of the latest techniques and products to help you get through your day. And of course, manufacturers, we’re eager to help you and tell your story to this market.

Larry Jordan: That website is all one word newbaymedia, and Eric Trabb is the VP and group publisher at New Bay Media’s broadcast and video group. Eric, thanks for joining me today.

Eric Trabb: Larry, as always, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: Marketing is a complex issue, compounded by the fact that all of us are getting hit with far more messages than we can deal with. So just as our audience, we tend to tune things out. This makes it increasingly challenging for us to capture the attention of an audience, yet it’s more vital than ever that we reach out and connect with them in order for our projects to be successful. It is a never ending puzzle.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week, Sadie Groom of Bubble & Squeak, Andy Marken of Marken Communications, Scott Page with Ignited Networks, Eric Trabb with New Bay Media, along with Jonathan Handel from the Hollywood Reporter and James DeRuvo with 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 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, that’s 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- March 23, 2017

The media, entertainment and technology world is changing fast. What worked in the past to enable audiences to discover new products doesn’t work any more. Tonight, we talk to Marketing and PR professionals about new marketing and PR techniques – and what old habits we need to break.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Sadie Groom, Jonathan Handel, Andy Marken, Scott Page, Eric Trabb, and James DeRuvo.

  • Discover the New Marketing
  • The Evolving Face of Traditional Media
  • Update: Writers Guild Negotiations
  • Make Your PR Work Better For You
  • Successful New Marketing Techniques
  • 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: Discover the New Marketing

Sadie Groom
Sadie Groom, Managing Director, Bubble and Squeak Agency

Tonight, we are talking about marketing, public relations (PR), and advertising. To start, the Bubble and Squeak Agency is a full-service PR and marketing agency. Based in London, but with a global reach, they focus on media and technology companies. Tonight, Managing Director Sadie Groom talks about the changing face of marketing, how it has evolved over the last ten years and what filmmakers need to know to gain maximum visibility for their projects.

Featured Interview #2: The Evolving Face of Traditional Media

Eric Trabb
Eric Trabb, VP Sales, Group Publisher, New Bay Media

Eric Trabb is the VP of Sales and Group Publisher for New Bay Media. Within his group is Digital Video, Government Video and TV Technology magazines. Tonight, Eric talks about how marketing and advertising is changing, and why building relationships is critical; along with tips and techniques we can use to improve the visibility of our projects.

Update: Writers Guild Negotiations

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

The Writers Guild of America is in the news this week with complications regarding their contract negotiations. Jonathan Handel reports that the declining number of episodes produced, combined with increasingly lengthy option periods, is straining the budgets of many writers.

Make Your PR Work Better For You

Andy Marken
Andy Marken, President, Marken Communications

Andy Marken, President of Marken Communications, has handled PR for more than 30 years. Tonight he shares his thoughts on what works and what doesn’t when trying to bring your project to the attention of the press.

Successful New Marketing Techniques

Scott Page
Scott Page, CEO, Ignited Networks

Marketing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are rarely used in the same sentence but it is obvious that the marketing world is changing. Tonight Scott Page returns to talk with us about the changing face of social media, chatbots, AI, and the changes we are seeing in marketing for creative individuals.

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- March 16, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Maxim Jago, Director, maximjago.com
Max Votolato, Director / Producer / Editor / Researcher, Freeway City Films
Richard Wright, Photographer, Winter Quarters Production
Griffin Hammond, Documentary Filmmaker, www.hey.film
Chris Sobchack, Co-head, Wraptastic Productions
Michael Horton, Co-Producer, Supermeet
Dan Berube, Co-Producer, Supermeet
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are talking financing, distribution and making money on your film. We start with Maxim Jago, a producer director who is currently financing two films. Tonight, he shares his experiences on how to get the money to enable production to start.

Larry Jordan: Griffin Hammond is a documentary filmmaker who completed his film three years ago. Today it is still turning a profit and he explains why he decided to self distribute his film and what he did that worked.

Larry Jordan: Richard Wright and his partner create short historical documentaries. He explains how he’s making money on his projects, and his plans for distribution.

Larry Jordan: Chris Sobchack and his wife created Please Tell Me I’m Adopted, a short form comedy series designed for the web. Chris also decided to self distribute, but took a different path than Griffin. Chris explains what he did, and how it worked.

Larry Jordan: Max Votolato is the producer director of Freeway City, a film which he completed a couple of years ago. Unlike other guests, Max decided to release his film for free. Tonight, we find out why he did it and whether he got the results he expected.

Larry Jordan: All this, plus Mike Horton and Dan Berube with a preview on the upcoming SuperMeet at NAB in April and 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. This week, as you’ll hear shortly from James DeRuvo, we’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of Adobe Premiere Pro, the program first released in 1992. Back in 1992 we were still deeply involved in shooting standard definition images, and recording them on video tape. Technical specs for HD were still two years away from being finalized. All our video was interlaced, and the industry leading camera was Sony’s Digi Betacam which created uncompressed video at 30 megabytes a second.

Larry Jordan: Most hard disks in those days were FireWire 400, which wasn’t fast enough to support Digi Betacam playback and for those of us with money, we started experimenting with RAIDS. Storage was expensive, and measured in gigabytes. I personally remember spending $15,000 for 20 gigabytes of storage, spread across four five gigabyte drives, attached via FireWire 800. That formed the core network storage for a 20 person production company.

Larry Jordan: When it came to computers, Apple had not yet made the switch to Intel processors. Most of us were working with either Macintosh Quadras or Performas, with CPUs that maxed out at 33 megahertz running on a Motorola 68030 chip. 1992 also saw the first release of Macintosh System 7 and Windows 3.1.

Larry Jordan: Times, technology and media have all changed, and so has Premiere. Adobe is celebrating with a brand new contest called Make the Cut, and here with the details of Adobe’s contest, along with a wrap up of industry news, is James DeRuvo with our weekly DoddleNEWS update. Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Hi Larry.

Larry Jordan: So what have we got that’s news this week?

James DeRuvo: FiLMiC Pro is about to release their new version 6. It’s completely redesigned with an interface that includes these really cool arc sliders that come in from either side, you just slide in. It’s very intuitive, and it gives you minute control over zoom, focus, shutter and exposure. You also have control over focus peaking, Zebras, and false color control, and you’ll be able to shoot in log in 4K. So FiLMiC Pro is already the standard for mobile filmmaking, but this latest update, I think it ensures it stays at the top of the pyramid for some time to come.

Larry Jordan: James, what’s FiLMiC Pro?

James DeRuvo: FiLMiC Pro is an app designed specifically for the iPhone, but recently they also relaunched it for the Android platform, and it gives you access to all those manual controls that you have on a cinema camera, but only for the mobile platform.

Larry Jordan: What else we got?

James DeRuvo: Vimeo has finally joined the 360 and virtual reality party with Vimeo 360. It will enable you to upload 360 video at up to 8K resolution with 4K streaming options, two pass transcoding and monoscopic and stereoscopic support. They’re going to have a curated special channel which will have staff pics and open global market place with which to sell your downloads, and for those just beginning in shooting 360 video, they are going to have a 360 film school which will have tips and tricks. They’ll review all the latest 360 degree cameras and just help you to make a better film in the round. With its coming late to the party, there’s no denying that Vimeo is the filmmaker’s streaming site, but if you’re serious about shooting 360 video and you’re not really interested in just getting something up there to get the views, Vimeo 360 may be the best professional choice.

Larry Jordan: This early in the career of VR, I’m not sure late to the party actually applies. I’m curious to see what Vimeo comes up with.

James DeRuvo: I’ve always considered Vimeo to be that niche marketed streaming service where you put your very best video quality because they tend to have a better streaming video than YouTube, even though YouTube gets most of the eyeballs. It’s going to be interesting to see what they bring. Right now, I really like what they’re doing.

Larry Jordan: I understand we’re celebrating a party?

James DeRuvo: Yes, we’re celebrating Adobe Premiere Pro’s 25th anniversary. Can you believe it’s been 25 years that we’ve been cutting on Adobe?

Larry Jordan: Oh my goodness.

James DeRuvo: It was launched in 1994, the groundbreaking non-linear editor was the first offer broadcast quality video editing on a personal computer. And by 1996, they were actually editing 4K film frame sizes. Crazy. The early 2000s though found Premiere to be a bit bloated and difficult to use and it was crashing a lot. But by 2009, Adobe had completely rebuilt the app and relaunched it as Adobe Premiere Pro and now with Adobe Premiere Creative Cloud, it really has become the gold standard for PC editing.

James DeRuvo: Adobe is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Premiere Pro by launching a $25,000 video editing contest called Make the Cut. Working in partnership with the rock band Imagine Dragons, budding editors will be able to download unedited footage and cut together their own music video, and they have a chance to win a part of that $25,000 prize, year long subscriptions to Adobe Creative Cloud and a host of other really great prizes.

James DeRuvo: It’s hard to believe we’ve been cutting on Premiere for 25 years Larry, but with Creative Cloud’s groundbreaking features driving the industry now, I can’t wait to see what the next 25 years is going to have in store.

Larry Jordan: James, where can we go to keep up with the latest in the industry?

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

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

James DeRuvo: OK Larry, thanks.

Larry Jordan: Thinking about making news, Mike Horton and Dan Berube are co-producers of the legendary SuperMeet at the NAB show in Las Vegas. This is their 16th year producing this event, and I want to learn more about what they’re planning. Hello Dan, Hello Mike.

Dan Berube: Hello Larry.

Mike Horton: Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan: So Dan, when and where is the event?

Dan Berube: The event is once again at the Rio Hotel on Tuesday April 25th, inside the wonderful Pavilion Ballroom.

Larry Jordan: Michael, what you got on tap?

Mike Horton: So far this year, we have Blackmagic Design who has been with us for all of 16 years by the way, and we can’t do these things without them. Then of course Adobe will be there. We have OWC, and for the first time, we have Final Cut Pro X Works, FCP Works, HP and NVIDIA is also going to be there, and we’re working on a keynote. We won’t be able to announce that for a little but until that’s cemented, but we’re going to have a real good diverse group of companies. Of course, they’ll be user driven and it won’t be so much about the tools, but about using the tools.

Larry Jordan: So Dan, what’s got you most excited about this year’s event?

Dan Berube: Larry, the fact that we are doing this once again, it takes an incredible amount of energy, passion, community oriented resources and that we’re doing it in our 16th year, still in Vegas, and still having a great time bringing people together, that’s what excites me most about this.

Larry Jordan: Mike, same question.

Mike Horton: Yes, it is. Dan put it really well, it does bring people together, and that’s our home mission ever since the beginning is to first and foremost make this a networking event. That’s what it is, especially that part before the show actually starts, and during the break. That’s when everybody comes together and those people who have the courage to come up and meet some stranger and shake their hands, and say, “Hi, my name is…” you never know as we always say, if that person might change your life. But you got to have the courage to shake their hands.

Larry Jordan: Mike, getting back to you, when are you going to have the courage to release the agenda?

Mike Horton: It’s always a difficult thing to put together and it’s also a difficult thing to get the people that we have signed on to send us a paragraph so we can put it on the website and tell everybody. So that’s one of the reasons, but as always it’s going to be a great show, and more importantly it’s that chance to get together with other like minded people who can hopefully solve any problems that you might have.

Dan Berube: I got to say Larry that I wouldn’t want to be doing it with anyone else but Michael. Michael, you’re the best. I know we’ve been through a lot over these 16 years, but we’re going to make this happen.

Mike Horton: We’ll make this happen, that’s for sure.

Larry Jordan: Dan, where can people go on the web to learn more?

Dan Berube: The best place to go is at supermeet.com.

Larry Jordan: How much is a ticket?

Dan Berube: Right now, we have our early bird tickets on through March 27th. $10 for general admission, and $7 for students and teachers.

Mike Horton: It behooves you to get your tickets now.

Larry Jordan: Well I have already got my ticket because I would not think of missing the SuperMeet. Dan Berube, and Mike Horton, co-producers of the SuperMeet, gentlemen, thanks for joining us.

Dan Berube: Thanks for having us on Larry.

Mike Horton: Thank you so much Larry.

Larry Jordan: Enter the new digital eco system of media, entertainment, and technology, where behavior and business have merged to redefine content, workflow and revenue streams. It’s the M.E.T Effect, a cultural phenomenon fuelled by hybrid solutions and boundless connectivity that’s changing the very nature of how we live, work and play.

Larry Jordan: Join more than 100,000 attendees from 160 countries at the NAB show. Conferences are April 22nd to the 27th and exhibits are April 24th through the 27th, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Let’s thrive and I’ll see you there.

Larry Jordan: Maxim Jago is a film director, a screenwriter, an author who splits his time between filmmaking and speaking as a futurist, especially at events celebrating creativity. He’s also the chief innovation officer at filmdoo.com and a mentor for new filmmakers. Hello Maxim, welcome.

Maxim Jago: Hi there Larry. It’s great to speak to you.

Larry Jordan: It is wonderful to have you back with us. I just realized the last time we spoke was September last year. So at that point you were working on two films, what’s the status of them?

Maxim Jago: Well it’s been fascinating. We’re developing a project in direction, so we’ve actually got three films and a short now and some technology projects. What we’re finding is that the distribution landscape has pretty much finished changing now, but we’ve been talking about it changing for a long time, and talking about the way it’s been watered down, that we’ve got all these metrics now, we’ve got all these modes of tracking audience behaviors. But you’ve still got this fundamental problem of how do you convince the public that they want to engage with a story? What we’re finding is that actually it really comes down to cast, and that’s very much our focus at the moment.

Larry Jordan: It really comes down to what?

Maxim Jago: Casting.

Larry Jordan: Really?

Maxim Jago: The names, the international names. If you are part of the studio system, where you’ve got a reasonable budget for a film, and that incorporates a budget for your talent, for your casting, then it’s no problem. But if you’re working on projects, then really who is in the project is absolutely critical.

Larry Jordan: So if casting is the most important, how can you cast without knowing what your budget is?

Maxim Jago: Well you do have a budget. It’s one of those funny things about production. You could make it for nothing or you could make it for whatever it is now, a million dollars. But, ultimately, you’re going to name a number and you’re going to come up with a budget for that number, within which you know you can produce the film. But of course, it’s critical that you have casting in place, or at least some aspirations for casting, because without that you can’t estimate your revenues, and without the revenues you can’t estimate how much you can get to make the film. So it’s a sort of a chicken and egg thing.

Larry Jordan: I would say absolutely. Well let’s pretend, just for the conversation, that we have a film and you’ve cast it. How are you going to finance it? Where does the money come from today?

Maxim Jago: Well, I’m speaking very much as an independent film director here, but the route would be to begin discussions with sales agent, distributors. These are the people that can look at your approximate budget, the genre for the film, the territories that they’re looking at distributing in, and importantly, the names that you have attached to the project. Based on that information, they can forecast some revenues, and that’s really the next stage. Once you’ve got those from somebody credible, you can go to potential sources of finance and show them that you think you’re going to make tons of money.

Maxim Jago: But I think that there’s an ethical dilemma for filmmakers, because if you were producing the equivalent to this, which would be a business plan for a new company, you’d have very simple metrics to use to look at how you’re going to make money for the investors of the company. How long investment needs to be in the company, whatever it is. But with a film, there are just so many variables, and as far as I can tell now, if you produce your reasonable budget, in a reasonable time scale, and you distribute worldwide in all media, it’s very likely indeed that you will double your original investors money. If the music sounds OK and the story is alright, you’ll make back the investors’ money. Of course, if you do have a famous name in the film, you’ll have some better metrics. People will be more attracted to the film, you’ll get a better distribution, and you’ll probably make more money.

Maxim Jago: But you do have this challenge if you don’t have names to convince people to see the film. And I’m reliably told that if you … investor that you will just double their money, but you’re confident you’ll do that, and you have the potential to make ten, 20, 30, 40 times their investment, it … good enough. Investors in high risk investments, generally want to know that they’re going to get five or ten times their investment back, or it’s not worth it. So you have another Catch 22 trying to raise the finance for your film.

Maxim Jago: Ultimately, I think the solution is, if you’ve got a cause that people care about, if you have people that care about you that want to invest in your career as a filmmaker, that can help. But the alternative is that you begin to estimate revenues based on the cast you hope you will get if you get the money, so that you can then have a deal memo with your investors. For example, let’s say I’m trying to get Johnny Depp for a film. You never know, it could happen. I can say to investors, “If we cast Johnny Depp, you’ll commit the money, and here’s the revenues that we’re expecting.” With that deal memo in place, you can probably begin to have discussions with agents.

Larry Jordan: Well where does Kickstarter and Indiegogo factor into this, because you’ve been talking with traditional funding sources, not crowdsourcing?

Maxim Jago: That’s right and I looked into things like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, in fact we really researched and explored running a Kickstarter for one of the projects I’m working on. What I found is that ultimately, what’s going to get people engaged with a crowdfunding campaign, is a prior commitment, a prior connection to something to do with the project. Now an obvious one is going to be, once again, having a star involved. That means that there’s a significant number of people who have a prior connection with one of the characters or one of the cast. Another connection would be, again, a serious issue. There are some big social issues that we need to raise awareness of, and if you have a social issue and a new way of approaching it, then you may find that you can get a big commitment from people for your crowdfunding campaign.

Maxim Jago: Another option is if there’s a story or a narrative, a book adaption for example, that many people have read. One of the projects I’m working on now and developing, is Illusions, the book Illusions by the American author Richard Bach, and we’re looking to try to put together a film project based on that book. 40 million copies of this book were sold, and it’s a real life changing story for many people, so we’re optimistic that there’s an audience, and certainly a new generation waiting for the story.

Maxim Jago: Now if you’re on a funding campaign and you can show that prior commitment, you can get that connection and you can get a lot of people to contribute to it. But at the risk of sounding a bit depressing and on a downer about this, I think that if you have no stars, no social issues, no book adaption that people are already passionate about, then from what I can see, and I’ve spoken to quite a few people working projects in the same way, although you will get the outliers, like the … film for example was an amazing example of an outlier. No significant names in it but it was just an awesome project that did incredibly well. If you remove those outliers from your assessment, realistically, you’re probably going to raise somewhere between five and … that you can use to produce your film. Now you can step the process, so some people will raise finance for development, then for pre-production, then production, then for post production, and then for distribution. And each one of those is a separate crowdfunding campaign. But if you wanted to raise $100,000 or $200,000, I don’t think that’s completely realistic without that prior connection …

Larry Jordan: Let’s shift gears, because this show is talking both about financing and distribution, do you need to worry about distribution this early in your process? And if so, what questions are you wrestling with?

Maxim Jago: That’s a fantastic question. I think that most of life works better if you plan backwards and so absolutely. You want to be basing it on your distribution, and there’s some great news in this territory. We’ve now seen really good adoption of what people call OTT, let’s say multiple mediums for distribution for films and television and episodic content.

Larry Jordan: OTT, which stands for ‘Over The Top’ would be Amazon or Netflix or Hulu or something of that sort?

Maxim Jago: Right. I never liked the name, it just means a box next to your TV I suppose, but people don’t care if they’re watching a film now on a laptop, on an iPad, on a phone, on a TV or a projector. It doesn’t matter. This is great for indies, because the big challenge of course traditionally is if your distribution outlet was broadcast, TV, cable or theatres, you’ve got a problem because those distribution mediums are very carefully controlled by large organizations who have a flow of content that they are in control of. But now we’re starting to see a much more open landscape for distribution where the key challenge of course … you’ve still got to have people discover you, but the discoverability is improving.

Maxim Jago: At FilmDoo for example, we’re getting three or 400,000 visitors … We’ve focused on particular … but we’ve got a great search system. iTunes of course, people used to search, and it’s easier now than it was historically for you to get a film onto iTunes, and they’ve got 800 million plus users. Vimeo Pro … content. There’s YouTube where in some situations you can charge for content, and we’re beginning to see this opening up of the online landscape. Not just in terms of filmmakers being able to put their content out there, which is great, but also in audience acceptance.

Maxim Jago: I think this is very interesting for the smaller budget productions where you put together something that you’re passionate about, you want to create, and you want to monetize that so that you can move at least towards what a friend of mine, Kevin Flowers is an experienced filmmaker. He describes sustainable filmmaking. You don’t need millions of dollars, you just need to earn enough money to make the next one and to pay the rent, so it becomes a reasonable replacement to your day job.

Larry Jordan: So to sum up, for someone that’s just getting started with their project, assuming they have a good story, assuming they have the technical skills to pull this off, what advice do you have for them to make money on their project? What are the top three things they need to keep in mind?

Maxim Jago: Oh my goodness. First of all, remember that this is a visual medium, and so begin with getting drawings, getting art work. If you possibly can, shoot a scene, make sure there’s something that conveys the mood and the atmosphere of the project, because that will convince people more than anything else. Secondly, I would say, it’s critical that you get represented by somebody reputable in the industry. The bottom line is it’s not cool for you to tell people that you’re cool, but it is cool for somebody to say it and so you need someone who can big you up and who is respected, to make those introductions and get you those opportunities. Ask around, ask your mentors for recommendations.

Maxim Jago: I suppose the third thing I would say is that realism is beautiful, and it’s great to have imagination and dreams and aspirations. Try to couch those aspirations in a meaningful road map from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow, and just begin crossing those stepping stones. If you don’t have a reputation, you can build a reputation for free, by getting your friends together and producing low budget content that’s high quality. The tools are so accessible now, you can do it. And once you’ve built those smaller pieces, and built up your reputation, you can begin to cover the ground and to work on bigger projects.

Larry Jordan: Maxim, for people that want to keep track of the ground that you’re covering, where can they go on the web?

Maxim Jago: Well I have a strange name of course, so just Google Maxim Jago, or my website is maximjago.com. I’m always happy to answer questions and …

Larry Jordan: That website is maximjago.com and Maxim Jago himself is the voice you’ve been listening to. Maxim, thanks for joining us today. This has been fascinating, thank you very much.

Maxim Jago: Such a pleasure Larry, and looking forward to the next one.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Griffin Hammond is a documentary filmmaker based in New York City who’s known for producing do-it-yourself filmmaking tutorials for indie filmmakers and his award winning documentary, ‘Sriracha.’ He’s worked for Bloomberg TV and MSNBC and is the brand ambassador for the new Panasonic GH5 camera. Hello Griffin, and welcome.

Griffin Hammond: Hello Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: You know, we are talking about marketing and distribution in today’s show and you’ve written a lot about this. But before we jump into that, tell me what ‘Sriracha’ is about.

Griffin Hammond: It’s a film about the hot sauce that is very popular in the US. I love sriracha and so I decided to make a film about where it comes from and the story behind it.

Larry Jordan: Sorry my mind just exploded. A film about hot sauce? Alright. Cool. How did you decide, once it was done, to market it?

Griffin Hammond: I was making it to go to film festivals, that was the point, but it became pretty clear that I had an audience for this film, and so it just seemed silly not to try to release it on my own. So I self distributed it, and just tried to see how many people I could get the film to.

Larry Jordan: Now what does self distribution mean?

Griffin Hammond: There are several platforms where you can publish the film yourself and receive revenue directly from consumers like Vimeo and iTunes and Amazon. You can publish through a middle man, called an aggregator. So really, I’m just putting my film on these commerce platforms, and they each have different revenue shares. Vimeo is the best one, they give you 90 percent to the filmmaker. So I just have the film on several of these places and people can buy the film and I get most of the money.

Larry Jordan: So rather than looking to put it in theatres, or sell it as a DVD, you’re posting it online at these three sites? With Amazon and iTunes and Vimeo?

Griffin Hammond: Yes. It did play in a few theatres and film festivals and I did sell some DVDs and blu-rays, but the majority of my audience for this film, it looks like it’s been around 700,000 people so far have watched the film, it’s almost entirely online in these self distribution systems.

Larry Jordan: So what did you learn doing self distribution? What worked, what didn’t?

Griffin Hammond: Well I made one mistake that turned out to be really good. Because of my limitation as my own distributor and marketer, I could only release on one platform at a time. It was too much bandwidth to try to release it everywhere. But it turned out that was really smart. That’s a strategy called windowing, where you release it on one platform, you have a big premiere there, and then a little while later you release it somewhere else, and it gets more excitement around that premiere as well. So I released on Vimeo first, then I think eight months later, I put it on iTunes and Amazon and it got new press, and a new audience when that happened. Even sales on Vimeo went up when I released it on another platform. All the platforms benefit from a new release on another platform.

Larry Jordan: Is it possible to make money on a documentary? I mean, traditionally documentaries are labors of love that nobody ever makes their money back, but can you make money on a doc?

Griffin Hammond: I did and I wasn’t expecting to and maybe I only did because I was never planning to make money. I mean I feel like indie documentaries are not supposed to make money, and I was doing it as a passion project. I just wanted this film to exist. But somehow I found an audience for it, and I was able to sell it through these platforms, and it’s actually made a pretty significant amount.

Larry Jordan: I know you’ve shared both expense and revenue numbers on your website. Can you share them here?

Griffin Hammond: Yes. So the film cost me about $12,000 to make, and that was mostly travel expenses. In the end, after three years since the film was released, it’s earned about $136,000 in revenue, and around $30,000 of that I’ve never seen. That’s money that goes straight to the platforms that I’m selling it on. But in the end after my expenses and the cut that they take, the profit for the film has been $78,000 in three years.

Larry Jordan: That’s pretty incredible when you think about it?

Griffin Hammond: Yes, I definitely was not expecting this, and it’s been nice. I can’t believe that people are still buying it three years later and it’s still making a little bit of revenue every month.

Larry Jordan: If you were to do self distribution again, what would you do differently?

Griffin Hammond: Maybe I would do more of the self distribution myself. I have two distributors. One has done a great job, and one of the things they did is they put it on Hulu which turns out is a platform I could have put it onto. So, I guess if I had spent more of my own time and energy I could have distributed it there myself, and I wouldn’t be losing a cut for that distributor. And then I have another distributor that actually has kept money from me. So, maybe self distribution would be the way to go entirely.

Larry Jordan: Which gets me to my last question. For somebody that’s thinking about distribution for the first time, what should they consider?

Griffin Hammond: That your job on this film doesn’t end when the film is over. You still have a lot of work to do, and it’s still a full time job just marketing your own film and figuring out all these different platforms. And just staying with the film, you have to maintain it and be customer service for it. So, either find someone or just recognize that you’re going to have to put in a lot of hours yourself.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to keep track of you and your films, and upcoming projects, where can they go on the web?

Griffin Hammond: If people go to griffinhammond.com they’ll find the film ‘Srirarcha,’ they’ll find this blog post where I share all the revenue numbers, and they’ll also find my podcast which is about filmmaking.

Larry Jordan: Griffin Hammond is the voice you’re listening to, documentary filmmaker and the producer of do-it-yourself filmmaking tutorials for indie filmmakers. Griffin, thanks for joining us today.

Griffin Hammond: Thank you so much Larry.

Larry Jordan: Richard Wright is both a still photographer and a filmmaker. On the film side, Richard creates short films about the North American Gold Rush and the people who came together in that social, cultural cauldron. It’s called the Bonepicker Project. Hello Richard, welcome.

Richard Wright: Hello Larry, how are you doing?

Larry Jordan: I am delighted to be chatting with you. I’ve heard about the Bonepicker Project. Tell me a little bit more about it.

Richard Wright: Well you summed it up quite nicely actually, you did a nice little log line. But we look at it as picking at the bones of history, trying to uncover those stories and the links between people from for instance our area in British Columbia, down to Arizona and even Mexico, California, that kind of thing. And trying to show that a lot of them actually knew each other. They might have known each other up here in Barkerville, and then they ran into each other down in Tombstone or previously in California. What the films try and do is show the importance of place in the stories. I’ve been telling those stories in print for quite a few years but print doesn’t really give you a sense of place the way film does.

Larry Jordan: How many shows are you planning for the series?

Richard Wright: That’s a good question. We figured there was probably six to ten, and we’ve already got eight out, and I’ve a database of stories and people, and I just did a search the other day and saw that I had tagged 375 peoples with stories. There’s no shortage, and once we hit the road, we find more stories as we go which is the fascinating part of it for us.

Larry Jordan: Well having a potential 275 part series is going to require some level of funding. How are you financing this?

Richard Wright: That’s a really good point. Well we were fortunate in that right off the bat, a local historical society kicked in a sizeable amount. They saw that this was helping to fulfill their mandate, that’s the Friends of Barkerville Historical Society, and then we did an Indiegogo campaign and got a bunch of private individuals who think the same thing. And just this last fall, Barkerville Historic Town, it’s a historic site, they decided to come on board as well. So that’s paying the expenses. It’s not paying the time, as we so often find in this business.

Larry Jordan: We’ve got it financed, at least enough to get you started. How are you distributing it? How’s the audience going to see this?

Richard Wright: The main way is through Vimeo and through physical showings of it. In other words, they can click onto the Bonepicker Channel on Vimeo and watch them there, but we also show them in the historic town and we’re now getting some interest to travel with the films to places where we’ve made them, and show the films there. We have a pretty good Facebook following, not nearly as many as we would like, the same old problem. But that’s the main way at this point. There is a little bit of interest from some broadcasters, and that may come to fruition, but I’m not counting on it.

Larry Jordan: Do you have someone helping you with marketing or distribution, or are you doing the whole thing?

Richard Wright: I’m doing the whole thing. My partner gives me as much help as she can, but she’s also a full time actress, so it doesn’t always work out. I’m just the push behind it.

Larry Jordan: Richard, for people that either want to contribute or learn more, where can they go on the web?

Richard Wright: The best place to go is HYPERLINK “http://www.bonepicker.ca” www.bonepicker.ca. We have a Vimeo channel, Bonepicker, and on Facebook Gold Rush Backstories is where you can find us.

Larry Jordan: That’s bonepicker.ca, not .com and Richard Wright is the filmmaker behind the Bonepicker Project. Richard, thanks for joining us today.

Richard Wright: Thanks for talking to me Larry.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Chris Sobchack is the co-founder and executive producer of Wraptastic Productions, the studio that created the web series Please Tell Me I’m Adopted. Hello Chris, welcome.

Chris Sobchack: Hi Larry, it’s great to be here with you today.

Larry Jordan: Chris, we’re talking about distribution today, but before we talk about distribution, describe ‘Please Tell Me I’m Adopted.’ What’s it about?

Chris Sobchack: ‘Please Tell Me I’m Adopted’ is about two sisters, one of whom has her life together and is married to an architect. And her sister, played by my wife, Nicole Sobchack, who is basically that loveable innocent hot mess on fire. We all know that person. She loses her job, her place to live and her boyfriend all in one day, and moves in with her sister, and chaos and comedy ensue.

Larry Jordan: I can just begin to imagine. So, once you’ve got the series complete, what criteria went into deciding how to distribute the series?

Chris Sobchack: Truthfully Larry, we really obviously wanted to make sure we were on a proper streaming service rather than just throwing it up on YouTube, and the fact the quality was what it was, everyone said “You’ve got something here, you can’t just toss it up on the web. No-one will notice.”

Larry Jordan: Well there’s a number of options. Why did you decide to pick Amazon?

Chris Sobchack: Initially we sort of had our eye set on Hulu, but Hulu decided they wanted to change their business model to be a licensing system, similar to Netflix, and in fact they went offline. They were not accepting new content for something like three and a half months. And in that period of time we realized that Amazon was making huge strides. They’ve got Oscar winning movies, the new ‘Grand Tour,’ and their intent is to be in over 200 countries by the end of this year I believe.

Larry Jordan: Did you do this on your own, or did you work with an aggregator?

Chris Sobchack: We actually did use an aggregator, and obviously there’s two business models for that as well, and I think there’s positives to both. We used Kinonation and one of the things with Kinonation that’s really spectacular is, you pay nothing up front. They do take a percentage of your profits, but for me personally, they become a trusted team member. Because of that, we felt much more comfortable that they were going to work hard to get us placed and help us navigate, making sure that our German version and our Japanese version were correct.

Larry Jordan: How much of a percentage were you giving up, both to your aggregator and to Amazon?

Chris Sobchack: Amazon actually give you a flat rate for Prime viewers, based on the number of hours viewed. And then you split the revenue for anybody who just buys the series, like a non-Amazon person can go on and purchase an episode or series. You split the net revenue, and then obviously, the aggregator will take 20 percent, which 20 percent of nothing is nothing as my wife loves to say.

Larry Jordan: If you were to do this again, would you work with an aggregator? Or would you do it yourself?

Chris Sobchack: With everything that we went through, I would go with an aggregator again.

Larry Jordan: Why?

Chris Sobchack: They really helped us and facilitated, making sure that all of the contents for filming, which we did ourselves, was spot on. We knew we didn’t have to worry about QC at Amazon tripping us up. They walked us through every step of the way.

Larry Jordan: Would you work with Amazon again?

Chris Sobchack: Yes. I really think their business model is brilliant heading forward.

Larry Jordan: What are your current plans for distributing the show, are you going to stay with Amazon or move to other distribution outlets or what?

Chris Sobchack: I think at the moment we’re going to stick with Amazon for the moment. Ideally we want to see how we go, and then in theory of course, we’ve already gotten some lovely comments and reviews saying, “Oh my gosh I want more” and “I wish this were a 30 minute episode.” At a certain point, if I can get some financial backing, that may be the way to go. At which point, it really does open up more avenues or even potentially network.

Larry Jordan: So are you personally focusing on distributing this show? Or are you focusing on putting a new project together?

Chris Sobchack: We actually are doing all of it at once. My wife is an amazing screenwriter so we have a paranormal thriller that she is just putting the final touches on, called ‘Lore Harbour.’ We also just optioned a screenplay called ‘Fall Out.’ If done right, it could be a real Oscar winning type of film. It’s basically a cross between ‘Silkwood’ and ‘Erin Brockovich.’

Larry Jordan: Cool stuff. For people that want to keep track of the work that you’re doing, where can they go on the web?

Chris Sobchack: Obviously the easiest thing to do is to go to Amazon and actually watch the show. Type in ‘Please Tell Me I’m Adopted,’ it’ll pop right up. You can Google search us. We have an amazing Facebook page that has all kinds of extra content and we’re like a rash on the web right now. If you just search ‘Please Tell Me I’m Adopted,’ you’ll find all kinds of nuggets.

Larry Jordan: The series is called ‘Please Tell Me I’m Adopted’ and Chris Sobchack and his wife are the co-founders and executive producers of the show. Chris, thanks for joining us today.

Chris Sobchack: Absolutely Larry, it’s been a huge pleasure.

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: Filmmaker Max Votolato has lived in Los Angeles for 14 years with staff jobs at a number of major media companies around town. His latest film, Freeway City, is the story of Gardena, California, the onetime poker capital of the world. Hello Max, welcome.

Max Votolato: Hi Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: I am talking to you, I’m doing great. You know, I was just thinking, the last time we spoke was December 2015, just after you completed ‘Freeway City,’ so bring us up to speed. What’s the movie about?

Max Votolato: ‘Freeway City’ is the story of Gardena, California, the 85 year history of the town which is very multifaceted and the constituencies of the city that it deals with. One of the themes that’s strongest in the film is the story that Gardena had poker clubs and still does to this day. Almost 80 years of poker clubs and all of the challenges that that’s posed for the city, and benefits too.

Larry Jordan: How did you finance the film? Where did the first money come from?

Max Votolato: I self financed the film. Kind of on a pay as you go basis I would say, and I also raised some money for the film early on after I’d finished shooting it, and I was beginning post production. This was back in 2009 so it pre-dated the Gofundme, Kickstarter era. I set up a GoDaddy website to receive donations online, and I contacted the local news. I wrote to first a newspaper in South Bay called the Daily Breeze, a major Los Angeles newspaper and they were very taken by the fact that someone was doing a story on Gardena because nobody had ever done a film on Gardena before. They interviewed me and lo and behold, it was the front page story one Sunday morning. A big color photo and I was blown away and it really inspired me with their reaction, so I wrote to local NBC TV news affiliate, KNBC and got in touch with a reporter named Cary Berglund and he came down to Gardena and did an interview with me and Brian O’Neal who did the music for the film and talked about our fundraising efforts for the film. And it was on the six o’clock news on Memorial Day 2009. Couldn’t believe it. So that gave us a bit of a jump start but even all of that publicity only garnered a few thousand dollars in the end, so it took a long time, another six years to see the film through to completion in 2015.

Larry Jordan: If you were to do another film, would you self finance again? Or how would you do your financing differently today?

Max Votolato: It’s tricky. I think I would try to raise money again. I have an idea for another film and just like this film, it’s a film that’s attainable, it’s a local Los Angeles subject. I don’t have to travel to do this, I have my own studio and equipment so I can go and find these subjects, and interview them. But there are always costs, and that has a lot to do with why I chose to release Freeway City for free online in the end. I definitely would want to raise money to pay for some of those hidden costs at the end.

Larry Jordan: Let’s flip to the end. The film is done, it’s edited, it’s complete, and now it’s time to distribute. You decided to distribute it for free, rather than try to make any money on it. Why that?

Max Votolato: Yes, it was a tough decision but I took a chance. By the end of my post production process, I still had a number of outstanding expenses, and those were mainly to do with clearances for photo and stock archival footage. This is a documentary film so there were many of those. I was looking into an errors and omissions insurance policy to satisfy distribution requirements for a lot of the distribution avenues I was looking at, and then even the cost of creating a DCP master for festivals was another cost. I stacked all that up and it still seemed to me at the time so out of reach, and without a real guarantee of a return on the project, it prompted me to decide that it was more important to have people see this film than to try to go after at least an immediate return on the film. That was a bold move but I was looking at the DVD market at the time which was really not what it was when I started making the film back in 2007.

Max Votolato: So looking at the landscape of films being put out on the internet and of particular at the time there was another filmmaker named Al Profit who had put his documentary about the history of Detroit out on YouTube and he created a real strong following. I was looking at how he was using multi platforms, YouTube and VHX to market that film and others that he had in his catalog. So I decided rather than try to chase more money to come up with these finishing costs, I’d put a fair use disclaimer on the end of credits of my film to spirit the clearance issue, and I’m putting it out for free, so nothing from nothing is nothing. And I just took a chance and I put it out on Vimeo and through my own website. But that’s where the next story begins, because then I have to distribute it.

Larry Jordan: Well before we move to the next story, was the reason for doing free simply to avoid final expenses, or because you wanted more visibility for yourself or you wanted to just get it out to the audience? There must have been a hidden motive there somewhere.

Max Votolato: Honestly, I had a fear that this film could sit on the shelf for a very long time while I tried to get to the point where I could actually release it, and there was no guarantee that a distributor was going to come along and take it. I had been putting my toe in the water and I’d had a lot of success getting press … but not an immediate bite. There was nobody waiting for the film, I didn’t have anybody lined up. So it was looking like it could … wait, and I just said, “I’ve put so much into this, it’s so important for me to have this seen, that if I can get this out in the way that I’m seeing other filmmakers put their work out online and promote it, that I can get eyeballs on this and really create an audience and it’ll be a calling card for me. Maybe it’ll pay off in some other way.

Larry Jordan: Well let’s talk distribution. How would you distribute it today if you were to do it again?

Max Votolato: The same way.

Larry Jordan: Really?

Max Votolato: Yes, and I’ll tell you why that is. I basically came up with a very grass roots strategy that I devised myself which was to build on the publicity angles that I had during the making of the film. I would write to different magazines online and basically constituencies that related to the topics of my film. For instance I found this website, Poker News, the biggest poker website in the world and I was able to tell them about the film, get them interested in it and they did a big story. When they publish a story like that on a big website, all of the other smaller bloggers and websites around the globe translate that story. They rip it off and rewrite it, and so it generates a lot of news.

Max Votolato: At the time I had a release date. I was out 15 weeks before my release, so they were plugging a release date for this online release. Now this is a Vimeo film going up on a website, so I was starting to build some anticipation. Facebook was a really powerful tool as well. I created a series of Facebook accounts surrounding the film on my own personal account, and started to join different user groups that related to the film like the user groups for Los Angeles and Gardena and surrounding cities and California history. All sorts of subjects, and started to post content that I had from my vault , which is photographs, archival materials, trailers for my film, articles about my film. I’d make little shorts, anything to promote the film and that release date and I started to grow followers and correspond with this audience that was out there. People remembered it from 2009 and said “Oh, we wondered what had happened because we heard a lot of news about it and then it died out. There was nothing out there for a while, so we’re really happy that you’re finally putting the film out.” So it created a lot of excitement and it continued after the online release of the film. In fact it got into LA Magazine and Curb Mag, Curbed LA did a story on it and The Digital Production Buzz had me on, so it all helped and contributed to the promotion effort for the project.

Larry Jordan: So to help with the promotion, where can people go on the web to learn more about the film?

Max Votolato: Freewaycity.org is my website, and I think there’s another piece of this which is that I’ve got a book deal out of all of my promoting of the film, and I have a book coming out on June 19th which is Gardena Poker Clubs: A High Stakes History available at Barnes & Nobles and through the website Historypress.com.

Larry Jordan: Very cool. Max Votolato’s website is freewaycity.org. Max is the filmmaker behind Freeway City and Max, thanks for joining us today.

Max Votolato: Thank you Larry, pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Take care, and great success. Bye bye.

Max Votolato: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: What’s fascinating to me is the variety of ways that we have all found to fund and distribute our projects, and our guests today have illustrated some of that variety. I want to thank our guests today. Filmmakers Maxim Jago, Griffin Hammond, Richard Wright, Chris Sobchack and Max Votaloto who have covered the range of getting money to start production to figuring out ways to distribute it in a variety of different sources and different destinations.

Larry Jordan: I also want to thank Mike Horton and Dan Berube, co-producers of the SuperMeet, and as always, James DeRuvo with 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 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- March 16, 2017

So, you’ve got a great idea for a film, but… How do you get it financed, marketed and distributed? Tonight, our guests focus on the business-side of the business. They tell us about the choices they made and what they did to get their film in front of an audience.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Maxim Jago, Richard Wright, Griffin Hammond, Chris Sobchak, Max Votolato, and James DeRuvo.

  • Financing Your Next Film
  • The Distribution Choice: Free or Paid?
  • Financing the Historical Documentary
  • The Perils and Pluses of Self-Distribution
  • Pick the Right Distribution
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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

Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Featured Interview #1: Financing Your Next Film

Maxim Jago
Maxim Jago, Director, maximjago.com

Tonight, we are talking about financing and distributing our projects. Simply having a great project does not mean you will get any money for it. Tonight we talk with Producer/Director Maxim Jago about his secrets to getting a film project funded and, ultimately, distributed.

Featured Interview #2: The Distribution Choice: Free or Paid?

Max Votolato
Max Votolato, Director / Producer / Editor / Researcher, Freeway City Films

It’s a big decision: release your film for free to build your reputation, or distribute it for money so you can recover your production costs? Tonight, Max Votolato, Producer/Director of “Freeway City” explains his decision to release his film for free.

Financing the Historical Documentary

Richard Wright
Richard Wright, Photographer, Winter Quarters Production

When you have a project about a subject you love, its hard to stop “creating,” finish the editing and start selling. Tonight, Richard Wright talks about his series of short films on the California Gold Rush and how he decided to monetize and distribute it.

The Perils and Pluses of Self-Distribution

Griffin Hammond
Griffin Hammond, Documentary Filmmaker, www.hey.film

Griffin Hammond created “Sriracha” three years ago. Today, it is still making money. In fact, it’s making a profit. Tonight, Griffin explains why he self-distributed it, what he learned, what he’d change and what the numbers look like.

Pick the Right Distribution

Chris Sobchack
Chris Sobchack, Co-head, IMDB

Chris Sobchack created a short-form comedy series: “Please Tell Me I’m Adopted.” Then, it was time to figure out how to distribute it. Tonight, Chris tells us the story of how his film ended up on Amazon.

Preview of the 2017 NAB SuperMeet

Michael Horton
Michael Horton, Co-producer, Supermeet
Dan Berube
Dan Berube, Co-producer, Supermeet

Michael Horton and Dan Berube are co-producers of the 16th Annual SuperMeet at the NAB Show. Tonight, they share a preview of what’s to come.

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- March 9, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Marc Batschkus, Business Development Manager, Archiware
Clement Barberis, Product Marketing Manager, LaCie Brand
Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media
James Tucci, Chief Technology Officer, Archion Technologies
Larry O’Connor, President & Founder, Other World Computing
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are talking about storage, backups and archiving. We start with Doctor Marc Batschkus, business development manager for Archiware, a company that specializes in archiving. Marc explains the difference between storage, backups and archiving, and what we need to know to successfully archive our projects.

Larry Jordan: Michael Kammes, the director of technology for Key Code Media, discusses the impact archiving has on our workflow. He looks at what we need to do to successfully prep our projects for the long term.

Larry Jordan: James Tucci is the chief technology officer for Archion, a company that makes ultra high speed storage for large workgroups and enterprises working with media. He shares his thoughts on how to balance performance with accessibility.

Larry Jordan: Larry O’Connor, the CEO of Other World Computing looks at the future of storage. Is it spinning media, SSD, tape or something entirely different? As each project generates more media and more files, safely storing it all is getting harder and more expensive.

Larry Jordan: Clement Barberis is the product marketing manager for LaCie. Tonight he talks about the gear list he makes that is designed for creative professionals, the role of SSD versus spinning media, and what he’s watching for the future.

Larry Jordan: All this, plus James DeRuvo with this week’s 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. Two interesting pieces of news to start with this week. Recently, Jonathan Handel reported on negotiations between Telemundo and SAG-AFTRA, up to allow Telemundo actors to be represented by SAG. This morning, the Los Angeles Times reported that “81 percent of the actors at the Spanish language TV network, Telemundo, have overwhelmingly voted to unionize with SAG-AFTRA, bringing to a close a protracted dispute between Hollywood’s largest union and NBCUniversal which owns the network.” Continuing, the article said, “Miami based Telemundo which was acquired by NBCUniversal in 2001, is the largest employer of Spanish language performers in the United States.” Jonathan will return to the Buzz in the near future to discuss the implications of this vote in more detail.

Larry Jordan: Another interesting piece of news today is from the Consumer Technology Association who reports that the percentage of free, or paid streaming video subscribers in the US, 68 percent, has caught up to the number of paid TV subscribers at 67 percent. The research also showed that the time consumers spend watching video on TV which was at 51 percent in 2016, down 11 points since 2012, is now essentially equaled by time spent watching video content on all other consumer technology devices, including laptops, tablets and smart phones.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of the news reminds me that now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan: So hey, what’s happening in the world this week?

James DeRuvo: Well as a little anecdote to your last story, my son told me last night when we were trying to get him to learn how to use the Roku because we had cut the cord ourselves, and he said to me, “Dad, I’ll probably never watch another TV program again. I get all my stuff from YouTube.” That’s pretty close to what you said, so.

James DeRuvo: News this week, well actually today. In a investors meeting, Apple CEO Tim Cook assured investors that the professional market is still important to Apple. Even though the Mac Pro hasn’t been updated in over a year, as a matter of fact the Mac Pro was introduced in 2013 and there hasn’t been a new one since, the iMac hasn’t been updated, and the Mac mini is all but lost. He says they’re working on new things, but I think his words seek to reassure investors that the pro market is still viable, but they’re still focusing completely on consumer products, and I think it’s going to lead some to think that Cook wants to funnel pros through existing consumer lines, rather than service their professional needs.

Larry Jordan: I think that part of the problem is a lack of chips, and I do believe that to be the case. Part of it is now we have to see does he live up to the talk? And this year is going to be the time when we’re going to find out whether they’re going to ship product or if it’s all going to be consumer devices.

James DeRuvo: I just hope that if we do get a professional offering this year, it’s not a short sighted offering like the trash can Mac Pro was because people are either calling it an absolute failure, or kind of a bad joke and it’s too bad because it’s super pretty, but sometimes function has to trump form.

Larry Jordan: We will just have to watch and see. Remember also the Worldwide Developer Conference is coming up in a couple of months, and things will change between now and then.

James DeRuvo: Here’s hoping.

Larry Jordan: What else we got?

James DeRuvo: Switcher Studio 3 was launched this week with an extended iphone support. Switcher Studio is that app which enables you to broadcast and stream live to Facebook Live using your iphone. They have a mobile version called Switcher Go which is free, that enables you to do it on a single iphone, or you can manage multiple iphones, and use a central mobile device as your broadcast studio for lack of a better term. Up until Switcher 3, you had to use an ipad to do that. Now you can use an iphone, so you no longer have to have an additional device to operate Switcher Studio 3. It also comes with the ability to add pre-recorded B roll and graphic overlays and Switcher Go can insert up to four videos in the streams. So it’s a really good update, and a future update will include expanded Windows Desktop support, so you’ll be able to go from Windows Desktop to the iphone, over to an ipad, back over to a Mac OS10. You could do some really fun live video streaming for Facebook Live and I believe even YouTube Live, using the new Switcher Studio 3. And it’s only 300 bucks a year.

Larry Jordan: That’s pretty amazing. What else we got before we run out of time?

James DeRuvo: Lastly, we were promised that Panasonic’s GH5 was going to have an improved noise reduction, and while it does have improved noise reduction, it really is only evident in the 8-bit format. When you get into shooting in 10-bit, the noise really doesn’t get any better. That’s leading some people to think that “Maybe I’ll hang on.” The footage is good, but when you put it up against the GH4, honestly at 10-bit I prefer the GH4’s color gamut. So if I had the choice, I’d stick up an extra light or two and go with the GH4. What do you think?

Larry Jordan: Interesting indeed. Well, we’ll just have to see what happens because noise reduction can be fixed in software with an update. It may be that that’s coming on the way.

James DeRuvo: We’ll see, but meanwhile, that’s what we got.

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

James DeRuvo: As always, all these stories and more can be found at Doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer for Doddlenews.com and returns every week with a weekly DoddleNEWS update. James, take care, we’ll talk to you next week.

James DeRuvo: See you then Larry.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Enter the new digital eco system of media, entertainment, and technology, where behavior and business have merged to redefine content, workflow and revenue streams. It’s the M.E.T Effect, a cultural phenomenon fuelled by hybrid solutions and boundless connectivity that’s changing the very nature of how we live, work and play.

Larry Jordan: Join more than 100,000 attendees from 160 countries at the NAB show. Conferences are April 22nd to the 27th and exhibits are April 24th through the 27th, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Let’s thrive and I’ll see you there.

Larry Jordan: Doctor Marc Batschkus is the business development manager for Archiware, which is a Munich based manufacturer of data management software for backup, synchronization and archiving. Marc’s background includes archiving media informatics and data management. Hello Marc. Welcome back.

Dr Marc Batschkus: Hello Larry, thank you for having me again.

Larry Jordan: On tonight’s show, we’re talking about archiving, storage and backup. To put this in perspective, before we get carried away with archiving itself, describe what Archiware itself does.

Dr Marc Batschkus: We at Archiware produce a software suite called Archiware P5 and this contains four modules. P5 Archive, for archiving, P5 Backup for backup, P5 Backup2Go for work station backup, and P5 Synchronize for cloning data or doing data transport or data distribution. That’s what we do. It runs on all platforms, Mac, Windows, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD and is used heavily in media and entertainment industry since many years.

Larry Jordan: How would you define archiving and what makes it different from backup?

Dr Marc Batschkus: There’s a very simple explanation. You can think of backup as being the spare tire in the trunk of your car, so you always want to have it with you. It replaces something in case a piece gets lost, which in this case is a tire, in our case it’s more files. Whereas the archive is more like the winter tires in your garage. You want to keep them, but you don’t want to keep them with you all the time, and it’s no big problem if it takes several hours to put them on. So, this is similar to the real archive which should only contain files that are no longer needed for daily production, and you migrate them, not in your garage, but in your archive storage.

Larry Jordan: It seems to me from your definition that backups are what we rely on on a day to day basis in case we stupidly erase a file. But archive is preserving our assets for the longer term. Would that be a fair distinction?

Dr Marc Batschkus: Yes, that’s true, but in recent times there are additions to this picture like an ingest archive where people don’t have enough storage to hold everything that they ingest every day, so they archive at the beginning, work with proxies and then restore at the end, because they have no online storage that’s big enough to hold all their 4K, 6K, 8K files. So that’s an addition to the picture, otherwise you’re completely right.

Larry Jordan: Here’s the problem that I’m running into. The first one is, what do we archive on? And more importantly, if we view archiving as longer term, as opposed to ingest archiving, how do we configure our files so we know we’re going to be able to read them in five or ten years? Technology changes unbelievably quickly, and I can imagine archiving and the files are perfect, but unreadable.

Dr Marc Batschkus: Unfortunately, that is true. And we have to take into account that things might change, especially codecs and technologies might come and go, might be more and less popular in a number of years from now, or there might be new ones showing up that have more advantages so that people jump on them. First of all, we are not archiving right now and keeping it 30 years and not touching it. So, an archive also has to involve some level of migration of technology. Every five, six, seven years. After that, we have a clearer picture of the contents that we archived a number of years ago and what needs to be taken care of to be able to read it. So that might be keeping a machine, it might be keeping specific software that might be adding license information or tools to the archive, whatever that is. But in five years, we will have a clearer picture of how universally reusable and readable our files are that we archive today.

Larry Jordan: It sounds like archive is not copy it to tape, put it on the shelf and forget about it. Archive requires active management?

Dr Marc Batschkus: Yes, that’s true. Actually, the tape itself guarantees for 30 years shelf life, which is very nice and gives us a nice reserve time here. But since tape generations change every two to three years, and they have a backwards compatibility, of two generations backwards for reading, and one generation backward for reading and writing. So right now, the LTO 7 that you can buy today, reads and writes LTO 6 but only reads LTO 5. It makes sense to migrate every other generation, so every six years, from one technology to the other. And of course you regain a lot of space in your archive because the density basically doubles or sometimes even more than that, which means you only need half of the media that you used before. By the way, there are automatic processors to do that, so you don’t have to do that manually, and like in P5, that’s integrated as a migration tool.

Larry Jordan: We have to not only manage the archives in terms of figuring out what’s there, we’ve got to manage the hardware because the hardware evolves about every two and a half to three years, and the software codecs evolve. What kind of person do we want to help manage this material? But what skill set?

Dr Marc Batschkus: That is a good question, because the skill set is very broad and what I wanted to also bring into the view here is that to build a good and stable metadata schemer, you need kind of a librarian person that has this point of view of searching, of retrieving, of key words, of all those technologies that librarians have developed over time, and you need to also put this in the archive to be able to retrieve the stuff that you have put in the archive, and that you don’t remember any specifics of in five, six, seven or ten years. So that’s another broadening of this spectrum so to speak. Otherwise, we need a person that is reasonably well acquainted with the production itself, the workflow, codecs and tools, to be able to decide what to put in, what to document, what kind of settings or other things to add to an archive to make sense and to allow it to be not only reusable, but maybe reproducible so that people can say, “This was a specific look. How did we achieve that, and can we build on the experiences that we had a number of years ago, and what tools did we use then?”

Larry Jordan: I have two examples of this from personal experience. One is, it’s very hard for editors to get their brains wrapped around archiving. I remember when I was trying to archive the assets of our video studio, I had two editors working with me, and all three of us, and I blame myself as well, none of us were interested in archiving. We wanted to concentrate on editing, so it sounds like we need someone that’s more of a librarian in terms of temperament and training than someone that’s more of an editor. So that’s the first statement.

Larry Jordan: The second statement is, I’m in the process of media managing the assets that I have here, and I discovered I’ve got 1.47 million assets, and I’m just a small shop. It’s impossible for me at the moment to find anything because there’s so much that I just have to look at it by folder structure. So I want to emphasize the importance of metadata, because if we don’t enter metadata descriptions of what it is that we’re working with, unless we remember the file name, we’ll never find it again. What are your thoughts?

Dr Marc Batschkus: Yes, this is true. The temperament that you mention is really more of a librarian type of person. Though we do paint a picture right now of, let’s say, a very perfectionist archive. What most people actually would be very happy with, is that they have a consistent archive which means everything that they completed, everything that they handed over to their clients, gets archived in a way that it’s technically stable and can be read in a number of years, which means on LTO tape. And there are ways of course to make use of technical metadata, like for instance P5 can important technical metadata from the file header, so everything that’s in there already, camera type, resolution, color space, and lots of other things that might be there in the file header, can be imported automatically and searched for later. So this is already a basic structure that you can build on.

Dr Marc Batschkus: Of course it would be nice to have descriptions that you put in and say, “OK, we talked about this and that, and there was this and that person, and it was at this and that location,” and stuff like that. This is nice to have, but building on technical metadata and automatic processes that you can use, makes it a lot easier and might not be the 100 percent archive, but maybe the 95 percent archive, which is a lot more than most people have.

Larry Jordan: Marc, as I reflect on our conversation, there’s so many things we need to keep in mind. We’ve got to worry about the hardware, and the hardware going out of date. The codecs, and the codecs going out of date, and keeping track of all these files. Shouldn’t we just leave it on a hard disc and forget about it?

Dr Marc Batschkus: No, definitely not. As I said, we paint a picture here of a 100 percent accurate perfectionist archive. Most people will not achieve this in a reasonable amount of time, and investment. But a lot of people would be very happy to have a 90 to 95 percent archive, which holds at least all of their files and has a search capability and lets them retrieve them, in most cases, maybe not in every case but most cases and allows them to browse and go through their files. To have a central reference point, and to have a memory of the company and to have this protection that a professional long term storage media gives you, like LTO tape, and a disc on a shelf doesn’t give you any protection. Basically it’s gambling with your files.

Larry Jordan: Where does the Cloud fit into this? Should we even consider Cloud based archiving?

Dr Marc Batschkus: That’s a good question, and of course there are benefits here that are undeniable. So for instance you can have an offsite copy of your archive without having a second location. You can have an archive without any hardware investment in storage. It scales immediately, we know that from Cloud services, and there’s no initial investment. And that’s a reason why we put this on our road map and recently released an Amazon S3 compatibility with our P5 archive, so you can use that now as either a secondary storage or your main storage for archive, and Glacier coming soon. So every, everyone has to wait for his personal or production situation, if those benefits are crucial to him or if it’s just of less importance and they would like to keep the things local and have all the other benefits or burdens to take, so like a local installation and investment cost, to having to handle hardware. But otherwise, it’s not really free, and it’s not really cheap to archive to the Cloud but for a lot of people, either as an offsite copy or saving investment, it’s definitely worthwhile to have a look at.

Larry Jordan: Provided your files are not too large, and you’ve got sufficient bandwidth to upload to the web?

Dr Marc Batschkus: Definitely yes.

Larry Jordan: With every project, file sizes seem to get bigger and there’s more of them. What does this constant growth in media hold for the future of archiving?

Dr Marc Batschkus: This is a good question. Just returning from BVE in London, the Broadcast Video Expo, I talked to several people who are also involved in R&D and storage and there’s some agreement that it might well be that in a number of years we only have two choices. We will have some kind of flash storage that will also evolve and become very powerful, a lot cheaper and a lot bigger in capacity. And tape, believe it or not. Because there is nothing out there right now, not even in R&D, that can replace tape for at least the next decade. So as amazing as it may sound, tape is here to stay at least for the next decade, and will improve in capacity and price point. Yes, tape is definitely here to stay. Flash will become ubiquitous and disc will probably go away.

Larry Jordan: I think we’re going to be wrestling with issues of too many files and not enough capacity probably for the rest of our lives.

Dr Marc Batschkus: Yes.

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

Dr Marc Batschkus: Just go to archiware.com.

Larry Jordan: Dr Marc Batschkus is the business development manager for Archiware, and Marc, this is always fascinating. Thanks for joining us today.

Dr Marc Batschkus: Thank you so much Larry.

Larry Jordan: In his current role as director of technology at Key Code Media, Michael Kammes consults on the latest in technology and best practices in digital media communications. Hello Michael, welcome.

Michael Kammes: Hello Larry, good to hear your voice again.

Larry Jordan: So Michael, you know that we’re talking about archiving and storage. What do we need to do at the beginning of a project that will simplify archiving later?

Michael Kammes: Well not to follow Marc, that’s what you have to do because Marc just said everything I was going to say. That man knows a ton of stuff. But what we have to do at the beginning of a project to make it easier later is, first of all, make sure it’s archiving and not backup. I think a lot of folks confuse those terms, and archiving is you’re not going to get it anytime soon. It’s a failsafe. So A, make the determination between backup and archive, and second of all as Marc mentioned, a library system, an organizational methodology so you can actually find it and retrieve it later on.

Larry Jordan: What technology should we use if we’re creating a backup or creating an archive? And I know they’re different, so do we need different technology?

Michael Kammes: There’s a couple of different ones. I prefer the all in one methodology, what I like to call the one … choke scenario. If you get technology that writes to a tape, that’s great. But if that company also doesn’t make the library system, you’re now dealing with technologies that may not be working in parallel. So I’m a big fan of companies that say, “Look, we’re going to organize everything for you, index it, and then we’re also going to write to this hardware medium, like an all in one solution.” That’s what companies like StorageDNA, who have DNA Evolution. That’s a great solution. We look at companies like Imagine Products which has PreRoll Post which is a little bit at the lower end, but that allows you to write to LTO and they have a way to tag media so you can find it later.

Larry Jordan: Where do hard disks, SSDs and tape drives fit into this equation?

Michael Kammes: It’s funny because you just listed on what the viability is in terms of pricing. SSDs are usually the more expensive per terabyte. Then you have hard drives, and then you have tape. Tape as much as LTO is fantastic, I think it’s almost an intermediary at this point. As Marc pointed out, flash memory is going to become more ubiquitous. It’s going to gain in size, and cost is going to go down and that’s going to be the new standard. Once we get better to put to the Cloud, we no longer will need the LTO backup that we have local now, because things will be in the Cloud, a little faster connections, and we’ll use that as our failsafe. So tape will eventually go away. I think flash is probably the standard we’re going to be looking at years down the road.

Larry Jordan: I’m reading more about something called a hybrid storage technology. The combination of flash drives, high speed hard disks and high capacity hard disks. Does this ring a bell to you, and where does it fit into the equation?

Michael Kammes: It does, in fact if you’ve purchased any Mac recently in the past couple of years, they’re actually using hybrid technology which is putting flash memory or SSD components onto either another SSD or spinning disk. So you’re getting all the benefits of that flash memory or SSD caching that frequently use data, but putting the stuff that you don’t use all the time on the slower portions, in this case the spinning disk. So you’re getting the benefits of both technologies without the cost of paying for that expensive flash, or expensive SSD.

Larry Jordan: It sounds like we need to build planning for archiving into the very beginning of our project, to think about what assets we want to keep for the long term, and where we’re going to store them. True?

Michael Kammes: True. There has to be a methodology behind it, and I don’t just mean a folder structure. There has to be a methodology, so if everyone gets hit by a bus, someone else can find that media and know what to do with it.

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

Michael Kammes: A couple of different places. My tech web series at fivethingsseries.com, or my namesake, michaelkammes.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, michaelkammes.com, and Michael Kammes himself is a director of technology over at Key Code Media. Michael thanks for joining us today.

Michael Kammes: Always a pleasure Larry, thank you.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Archion Technologies makes ultra high performance and scalable shared media storage. James Tucci is their chief technology officer and the perfect person to talk with to learn more about storage technology for media. Hello James, welcome.

James Tucci: Hello Larry, how you doing?

Larry Jordan: James, how would you describe your products?

James Tucci: They are high speed machines that you can connect up to anything, and specifically content creation such as Avid and Adobe and whoever, and sit down and work the way you want to work.

Larry Jordan: Why the focus on high performance?

James Tucci: That high performance is what gives you the capacity to do the workflows and to do the workflows that you want to do. For instance, we have one of our clients, they’ll sit there and edit on an Avid, and right in the middle they’ll say, “Wait a minute, there’s something wrong with this shot.” In the edit, there’s like a big blob in it or something like that and they’ll go to a Resolve and then do a DPX to the Resolve. Take those Avid files, covert them into DPX and then do all the corrections, and then bring them back out. This saves them time, money and energy and it has an immediacy. You need to have high bandwidth to be able to do what you want to do when you want to do it.

Larry Jordan: Would your products be designed for individuals or workgroups or enterprises?

James Tucci: Our products are designed to run an entire post production facility. With just two systems, we can produce 8,000 megabytes a second to run a facility, so having that capacity of throughput gives you that edge.

Larry Jordan: Eight gigabytes a second? Wow, how are you doing that besides magic?

James Tucci: Close to magic, but essentially there are seven patents that we have and that intellectual property is part and parcel of what we do. There’s a lot of virtualization going on inside this system. That’s how we produce that much bandwidth.

Larry Jordan: Is this a flash based system which means it doesn’t hold a lot? Or are you using lots and lots and lots of spinning media?

James Tucci: Well, we’re using spinning media. They’re fairly robust and we have a 24 bay and we have a 16 bay type chassis, and the 16 does 2500 out of the box, and the 24 does 4,000 out of the box. It all comes with 40 gig or ten gig and we now just put in 100 gig.

Larry Jordan: The gig refers to an Ethernet connection, so you’re attaching to a central switch with 40 gig connectors or 100 gig or ten gig connectors? Am I hearing that right?

James Tucci: You’re hearing that quite correct. It is a multi protocol box. We do standards based, so it can connect to anything without having drivers or any kind of methods that you would want to connect. It’s very straightforward. We also have Avid project sharing, we work well with Adobe and they’re project sharing in the Cloud as well as any other type of system that you can do for content creation. We wanted to have something that you could literally go from camera to a finished product in the same box.

Larry Jordan: Our first guest was talking about the future of storage, and says that from his perspective, the future of storage is a combination of flash and tape, and that flash will gradually expand in capacity and tape will continue to grow and it’s long term storage, and spinning media will gradually diminish. He’s not saying disappear, but he’s saying diminish. Would you agree or disagree?

James Tucci: Well I would agree to a certain point. They just put out 12 terabyte drives and spinning media. We are on the flash edge of things. The problem right now is that actually writing to a flash you have to be very careful that you put the right combination. During those writes it will actually overwrite stuff if you don’t have the proper amount of cache. There’s a limit to the number of writes and you have to be careful with that.

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

James Tucci: HYPERLINK “http://www.archion.com” www.archion.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s archion.com. James Tucci is the chief technology officer. James, thanks for joining us today.

James Tucci: My pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Larry O’Connor founded Other World Computing in 1988. Their website which you may know better as Macsales.com and OWC is both a reseller and a developer supporting all things Mac for more than 25 years. Welcome back Larry, it’s good to have you with us.

Larry O’Connor: Hey thanks for having me again Larry, appreciate it.

Larry Jordan: Larry, tonight’s show’s about storage and archiving, and you guys have been making storage gear for a long time. Can we use the same technology for archiving as we do for storage?

Larry O’Connor: That sort of depends on what storage you’re talking about, but in terms of using drives for storage, the answer is yes. What I suggest is these for archiving and not so much from a cost perspective also just from an unproven state in terms of longevity of data and an unenergized flash device.

Larry Jordan: One of the things we’ve heard from a couple of the guests tonight, is that over the long term, the future of storage is probably going to shift to flash and tape, and spinning media is going to be end of life. Would you agree with that?

Larry O’Connor: All things eventually come to an end, but I would say speaking of the death of spinning media is a bit soon. The straight answer for the near to relevant and that’s the next five, ten years and potentially beyond, I think spinning media has a lot of life ahead of it as well as flash and tape. They all have their place but certainly I don’t see, not from the current flash technology, spinning media being replaced significantly, maybe not in the next few years.

Larry Jordan: One of the things we’ve talked about is tape which is a generic word for specific technology which is LTO. Why are LTO drives so expensive? And the reason I ask is a lot of independent filmmakers don’t have large budgets, and these units are not inexpensive.

Larry O’Connor: The people who need and demand LTO, especially the higher end of production studios, the … they already have the budgets and it’s a lot more convenient . And we’ve got into the habit of shipping hard drives around with our media on it, and in terms of the practicality of that for some of these larger operations is not there, but in terms of the demand for LTO, it’s still a relatively niche market. In fact there’s only one major producer of LTO tapes out there, I believe it’s Fuji. LTO’s not my background, but LTO is very high performance and that’s a requirement that makes it expensive. It’s tape, it’s physical, it’s a removable tape product. For all purposes, it’s relatively speaking a niche and complex solution. It’s a great solution for those that need that kind of … it’s high density, it has longevity, but it’s not anywhere near as mainstream in anywhere near the volume. Plus you have standards and patents. There’s a lot that goes into the cost. But there’s more complexity involved than a hard drive that’s been pre-mastered.

Larry Jordan: You guys sell a lot of storage. Why doesn’t OWC sell LTO drives?

Larry O’Connor: You know, we will soon offer LTO drives, in fact we’re working on ways that gives us option on both the media side and the server side to try and make the costs a little more reasonable. The main reason we haven’t jumped into it sooner really comes down to the cost, and we’ve always sought to have a value solution and when I say a value solution, try to bring high technology, enterprise type solutions, enterprise level solutions into the market at a price that makes sense and for the most part our audience hasn’t had a big need for LTO, and there’s other LTO products out there that we do support and offer to a customer that absolutely has to have LTO. And we’ve focused on where our strengths are, which has been with flash and spinning media.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of flash, what is it that’s holding back higher capacity SSD drives?

Larry O’Connor: It really comes down to shrinking the … and moving the architecture forward, and right now, 3D MOC in general is the big new thing and the transition from dual layer, multi MLC products into the 3D world has been fraught with some unexpected challenges. I mean, we’re currently going through that right now, and it’s one of the reasons we’ve seen flash costs jump up. You’re packing more and more on a magnetic or putting tracks closer together. With flash media … actually everything is electrical I suppose. I try to differentiate the two, but it’s a little bit more involved now that they are solid state versus a physical media solution. And if you look at it, not to keep jumping around, but flash has become, if you look at where we started a few years ago with 128 gigabytes of storage was a lot, and now we’re doing two terabyte solutions and a four terabyte solution. Flash has actually come a long ways, and four terabyte drive this year, even with the increases in flash costs due to short term supply challenges and manufacturing challenges, the transition that’s going on out there from one architecture to another as well as the giant demand jump, from the mobile space. Mobile is really a huge part of the reason we have short term flash costs going up. But to the point, a four terabyte drive this year is still about what a 480 gigabyte SSD costs six years ago. So call it eight, nine times the storage for the same price. I would say flash is moving at a very accelerated trajectory if you consider how long it took hard drives to get to where they are. A big drive a few years ago was four terabytes, now we’re up to 12 terabytes. Flash is definitely growing in increasing capacity quicker than other storage technologies. LTO is moving up a couple of terabytes or several terabytes a year if I’m not mistaken.

Larry Jordan: Well thinking of interesting challenges, what are you expecting at NAB?

Larry O’Connor: NAB is going to be a big Thunderbolt fest. Thunderbolt 3 is really going to change the landscape. It’s going to be interesting to see what Apple does in terms of external GPU and support. We’re going to move into a word where there’s storage or computer technology, the kinds of things that drive the creative process. They’re going to become a lot faster and a lot more flexible. External GPUs are going to have the potential to change everything. It’s definitely not the processor that ends up being your whole back, it’s the GPU and the ability to connect external GPUs to systems to give them a big processing boost for the 3D rendering, for the special effects, for any of the post edit processing that certainly threatens, in a good way, to change the prior status quo. So, it’s going to be very exciting in general with what Thunderbolt 3’s going to bring us, but it already is starting to bring us.

Larry Jordan: I am looking forward to seeing it, and because OWC creates exciting products on its own, where can people go on the web to learn what you guys are up to?

Larry O’Connor: You can check out all of our latest and greatest at owcdigital.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s a new website isn’t it?

Larry O’Connor: Yes, that’s our branded website, and now, just so the audience is aware, we don’t just design these things, we have a full engineering team in Austin, Texas and we actually have a full manufacturing. We’re actually the only company mass producing Thunderbolt solutions, actually manufacturing the bores, the whole SMT process, right here in North America.

Larry Jordan: Very cool. Larry O’Connor is the CEO of OWC, Larry thanks for joining us today.

Larry O’Connor: Hey, always a pleasure 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: Clement Barberis joined LaCie in 2010 and he’s responsible for product and brand positioning, product marketing at LaCie, and LaCie focuses on the creative pro market. He also works on co-marketing efforts with other industry leaders. Clement, it’s good to have you with us. Thanks for joining us today.

Clement Barberis: Thank you Larry I’m glad to be with you today.

Larry Jordan: What first got you interested in storage?

Clement Barberis: My job. The LaCie story is very interesting, the brand has been out there for about 25 years and the credit professional market is very interesting because you talk to people who are passionate. When you talk with people who are passionate it makes you want to be equally passionate, and get to know more about them and their work. So the more time you spend with them, the more you want to know about them.

Larry Jordan: Tonight on the show we’re talking about archiving, storage and backup. How would you describe the differences between those three terms?

Clement Barberis: These are very specific terms. Storage is just a location for your data. This is the broader term out of the three. It’s when you create content and the storage is where you’re going to keep them. Now, backup is how to keep them safe. The way to keep data safe is to replicate them in multiple locations. So a backup is a copy of original data that I kept somewhere else. So you just make a new copy to a new storage solution. Finally, archive is how to keep data somewhere and be able to access it at any point of time in the future. You might not access your archive regularly, not even daily, not weekly, sometimes you might not use it within three or five years, but a good archive solution is the one that gives you the peace of mind that five or ten years from now, you’ll be able to access your data and the storage solution will function.

Larry Jordan: Of these three terms, archiving, backup and storage, where does LaCie spend the bulk of its time?

Clement Barberis: Storage and backup. That’s really the heart of what we do and where we are the best.

Larry Jordan: LaCie is best known for its variety of hard disks, spinning media, as opposed to flash drives. There’s been concern for a while that traditional hard disks are going to max out in the near term, either for speed or for capacity. What are your thoughts on this? Is there a long term future for spinning media?

Clement Barberis: Yes, and I think we can look in the past to try to have a hint to the future. If you look at LTO technology, it looks like an archaic technology. It was the old way to keep …media and the actual business is still out there. People have been forecasting the end of that technology for years, and it’s still out there. The technology transitioning is something that takes longer sometimes, doesn’t fully happen, and when you look at alternative technology to spinning media, I see them as complementary but not replacing because the new technology has definite benefits that we do not yet offer, but there are also big downsides and big tradeoffs to it. So I still see spinning media as being out there for a bit.

Larry Jordan: LaCie, if I remember correctly, is part of the Seagate family. How important is the parent company in choosing which hard drives to buy?

Clement Barberis: First of all, because I’ve been on both sides, I see at LaCie where we used to source hard drive to multiple vendors, and then I went through the whole acquisition. In between there’s been a floating in Thailand, and when those things happened for instance, and you’re just sourcing hard drive, and sometimes it’s hard to actually get access to drive. You don’t have much leverage for negotiation to have the good hard drive at good prices, so when you have a good relationship like we do with our parent company, Seagate, we have access to the whole portfolio. We can really pick and choose the right hard drive, and really qualify the best fit for our customers, and for the best price for the best value and also having inventory is never an issue, so from that perspective it’s all positive.

Larry Jordan: LaCie offers a wide range of products from single hard drives up through multi drive RAIDs. We’re looking at a RAID. There’s two ways that a RAID can be controlled. Software based RAIDs and hardware based RAIDs. Which of the two is LaCie using and what’s the benefit of that choice?

Clement Barberis: Today all the RAID solution of … are hardware based. We have always been advocating for hardware RAID technologies. The first and the main reason for using hardware RAID technology over software, is the RAID is embedded in the product so you are not depending on the operating system of your computer to be able to work on your RAID solution. That means it’s actually transparent for your computer whether you work on the Mac or a PC, you can connect to any computer, and it’s going to recognize it. It will actually see as a normal storage.

Clement Barberis: The other benefits of hardware RAID over software RAID is because it’s hardware and it’s all managed inside the actual storage solution, it releases resources from your computer, so it’s going to go faster and your computer’s going to go faster as well. So the only downside of hardware RAID actually is it’s more expensive, because it’s hardware. This is software. But compared to what you gain instead, it’s an obvious solution for us to go for.

Larry Jordan: We’ve seen over the last several years a lot of growth in Thunderbolt technology, from Thunderbolt 1 to 2 and now Thunderbolt 3. From a storage point of view, is there a significant benefit to Thunderbolt 3 versus Thunderbolt 2 because, although the speed is phenomenal, it takes a bajillion, and maybe two bajillion disks to be able to fill that pipe? Or should we not get obsessed about the speed and bandwidth of Thunderbolt compared to say USB 3 gen 2?

Clement Barberis: It’s all about what you do Larry. If your general use of your hard drive is just watching blue rays and DVDs, no, the performance is not a big issue. If you are a creative professional, particularly in the video industry, and you’re shooting videos at higher and higher resolution, and we are talking about 4K, 6K or 8K, performance is a benefit at every point of time of the workflow. First of all those people they spend a humongous time to just transfer files because they deal with a lot of data. So the faster you can transfer those files, the more time you save, and all the creative professionals will tell you that “If I can spend less time transferring files, I can spend more time actually editing and producing my videos.”

Clement Barberis: And on top of that, when you start to look at very high resolution, like 4K, 6K or 8K, the video professionals prefer to work with raw files and work off the higher resolution because they have much more information on the video they work on, which gives them more flexibility in the post production part, and it’s a guarantee of delivering the best quality of work. From that perspective, performance is crucial.

Larry Jordan: Flash drives seem to be increasing in capacity. But will flash drives ever be a reasonable alternative to spinning media? Can we look forward to a day where spinning media goes away and it’s replaced with flash?

Clement Barberis: People tend to make flash drive and spinning media as competing solutions. The way I see it is those two are complementary. There’s definite benefits you can get from flash solution, but also trade off that spinning media can offer. So you can definitely see workflow when both solutions work together, and not necessarily replacing each other. If I give you like a general example, flash drives are constantly increasing. What does that mean for end users? That means for instance your mobile phone is going to have a bigger space and soon you’re going to have mobile phones with 256 gigabyte or even like1,000 gigabyte storage or more. That means more content to be created for multiple devices, because people have more than one device. And then that’s where the spinning drive based solution will be able to concentrate all this content created in a single, and cheaper solution for like large storage.

Larry Jordan: Does LaCie have any flash products today?

Clement Barberis: We have a couple of hard drives which are SSD based, and the record has a couple of models, 1,000 gigabyte and one terabyte. And also the fastest hard drive in our portfolio, the LaCie Bolt3 which manages to max out the Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth, is based off PCIE SSD.

Larry Jordan: How would you advise someone looking to purchase a drive? How do we make a decision that we’re getting the right drive for our project?

Clement Barberis: Capacity is usually the first one, like how much drive do you need? And then we need to look at how you are planning to use your storage. What do you want to do with it? But usually the first criteria is storage capacity, what interface you have on your computer, like compatibility, or if you are planning to upgrade your computer. Usually those are very good ways to limit the scope of solutions you want to look at. And then there are some variations, depending if you are looking for performance or for a safe storage solution, or mobility and other factors that come into consideration to be the right solution.

Larry Jordan: Clement, for people that want more information about LaCie and its products, where can they go on the web?

Clement Barberis: Everything about LaCie is HYPERLINK “http://www.lacie.com” www.lacie.com and I would also invite all the audience to come and visit us at NAB in Las Vegas starting at April 22nd. We’ll have some exciting announcement there, and a demonstration about capture edit and deliver as part of your workflow.

Larry Jordan: I am looking forward to the new toys coming at NAB. The website is lacie.com and Clement Barberis is the product marketing manager for LaCie, and Clement, this has been a fun chat. Thanks for joining us today.

Clement Barberis: Thank you very much Larry. I had a really good time talking to you.

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we were looking at storage, backup and archiving. Each of these needs to be carefully considered in all of our projects, storage so we have room for all of our files, backup so we guard against accidental erasures, and archiving so we can find our files years into the future.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank my guests this week, Doctor Marc Batschkus from Archiware, Michael Kammes from Key Code Media, James Tucci from Archion, Larry O’Connor from OWC, Clement Barberis from LaCie, and as always, James DeRuvo from 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 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- March 9, 2017

The world of storage and archiving is scrambling to keep up with ever-expanding media files and workflow. Tonight we look at what “archive”, “backup” and “storage” mean, how to use them and what to plan for the future.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Marc Batschkus, Clement Barberis, Michael Kammes, James Tucci, Larry O’Connor, and James DeRuvo.

  • Understanding Storage, Backup and Archiving
  • LaCie Plans for the Future
  • Storage and Archiving Drives Workflow
  • Creating Ultra-High-Performance Storage
  • Planning the Future of Storage
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Guests this Week

Featured Interview #1: Understanding Storage, Backup and Archiving

Marc Batschkus
Marc Batschkus, Business Development Manager, Archiware

Media files are getting larger with every project. Managing them during production and editing is one thing, but what do you do with them when the project is over? That is what archiving is all about. Tonight, Dr. Marc Batschkus, Business Development Manager for Archiware, joins us to talk about storage, backups and archiving, which is what is company specializes in.

Featured Interview #2: LaCie Plans for the Future

Clement Barberis
Clement Barberis, Product Marketing Manager, LaCie Brand

Clement Barberis is the product marketing manager for LaCie, a company that specializes in affordable storage for media professionals. Tonight, we talk with Clement about their hardware, traditional hard disks vs. SSD drives and the trends he’s watching for the future.

Storage and Archiving Drives Workflow

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

Michael Kammes is the Director of Technology for KeyCode Media, as well as an expert in workflow. Tonight, we talk with Michael about the future of storage and how to factor archiving into your post-production workflow.

Creating Ultra-High-Performance Storage

James Tucci
James Tucci, Chief Technology Officer, Archion Technologies

James Tucci is the Chief Technology Officer for Archion, a company that specialize in ultra-high-performance storage for media workgroups and enterprises. Tonight we talk with him about balancing performance with capacity, picking the right storage, and how to plan for the future.

Planning the Future of Storage

Larry O'Connor
Larry O’Connor, President & Founder, Other World Computing

Larry O’Connor, CEO of Other World Computing, is a technologist who splits his time between building gear and figuring out what gear needs to be built in the future. Tonight, we talk with him about the future of storage.

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- March 2, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Andy Cochrane, Director, The AV Club
Nick Bicanic, Founder, RVLVR Labs
Brian Glasscock, User Experience Researcher, Member of the VR Mic Development Team, Sennheiser
Duncan Shepherd, Editor/Creative Director, Duncan Shepherd Films
Chris Bobotis, CEO and Co-Founder, Mettle
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are talking virtual reality and 360 degree video. We start with Andy Cochrane, he’s a director working in interactive and immersive media like virtual and augmented reality. Tonight, Andy sets the scene for us by explaining what VR is, what it takes to make it successful, and how existing production techniques need to change to make VR work right.

Larry Jordan: Nick Bicanic is the founder of Revolver, a company that specializes in creating VR movies. Recently he wrote about best practices for creating 360 degree video and tonight he explains what’s possible, and what isn’t.

Larry Jordan: Brian Glasscock is a member of the VR Microphone Team at Sennheiser. Recently, they released a new mic specifically for Ambisonics and tonight Brian tells us about this new technology that not only provides 360 degree audio, but allows us to hear exactly where a sound is coming from.

Larry Jordan: Duncan Shepherd specializes in editing immersive VR experiences and shares his thoughts on the challenges in editing VR material.

Larry Jordan: Chris Bobotis is the CEO and co-founder of Mettle who make plugins for 3D and VR video, and tonight Chris explains what they are, and how they work.

Larry Jordan: All this, plus James DeRuvo on our 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: This week, we’re talking about 360 degree video, and its cousin, virtual reality. Now I will confess that I’ve been a skeptic on this format until I talked with our first guest, Andy Cochrane. He helped me see VR in an entirely new perspective, which makes me better understand where it fits in today’s media landscape and I know you’ll enjoy his comments as well.

Larry Jordan: Also, there is a new form of audio called ambisonic. We’re all familiar with mono, stereo and surround audio. Ambisonic audio is sound that surrounds you, but unlike surround sound, an ambisonic mix changes in real time as you move your head and body. You not only hear the audio, you also hear where it’s coming from. Sennheiser just released a new ambisonic microphone and Brian Glasscock joins us tonight to explain this new technology and how it works.

Larry Jordan: We have a fascinating collection of guests this evening, because when we shoot or edit VR, all the traditional rules of production change. Our goal tonight is to help you understand this evolving landscape and provide some tips on how to make the most of it.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of making the most of the latest technology, it’s time now for our DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan: So what have we got that’s news this week?

James DeRuvo: Well, Blackmagic did a streaming presentation today and announced a brand new video camera, the URSA Mini Pro which they say is a cinema film, broadcast and studio camera all rolled into one, and it also is able to have easily swappable lens mounts, so you can switch from EF to PL to B4 and in the summer, they’re going to have a Nikon F mount with a special mechanical aperture ring and you can just swap in between them whenever you need to which seems to be a thing now. I’m noticing a lot of camera companies are starting to release cameras where you can hot swap out the lens mounts which is pretty cool.

Larry Jordan: Very much so.

James DeRuvo: It’ll record in SD or in C-Fast 2 cards, or you can use an optional SSD drive which will attach to the back. DaVinci Resolve also got two new color panel controllers and they start at 995 and Resolve also now supports Linux. So if they’re going to make this announcement a month before NAB, you can only imagine what’s going to be coming on the first day when they make their big annual press announcement.

Larry Jordan: I remember talking to Dan May, the President of Blackmagic US, and he said they’re starting to space out announcements so that they don’t all occur at a trade show, because they tend to get lost. Whereas, like now, the URSA Mini Pro is able to get its own moment in the sun without getting blown away by all the trade show noise.

James DeRuvo: It’ll let the other products have their own shining moment when they do get announced at the trade shows too.

Larry Jordan: So what else we got?

James DeRuvo: Sigma has added three new lenses to their Art lens line. You can get two primes, a 14mm F1.8 and a 135mm F1.8 and a 24-70 F2.8 HSM zoom. They have super fast auto focus with a manual override, nine blade apertures and a rounded diaphragm. Like I said before, the mounts for these lenses can go from EF to Nikon F mount, and Sigma, and you’ll be able to convert the mounts when needed. Pricing and availability is to be determined, but in the neighborhood of the other Art lens I imagine, so it’s probably going to be between $1,000-1300 and with these kind of lenses, indie filmmakers will be able to up their game considerably.

Larry Jordan: I like the idea of switchable lens mounts because I got myself stuck one time where I had a camera of one mount, and lenses with another, and the only way to fix it was like a $3,000 adaptor. So this is a really good trend. I encourage this. What else we got?

James DeRuvo: It looks like it’s also really easy to change them. When they did the Blackmagic presentation, it took them about 30 seconds to change the mount, it was incredibly easy.

Larry Jordan: Very cool. What else?

James DeRuvo: The last story that I have is the My RODE Reel short film contest is back with a half a million dollars in prizes. Biggest short film competition in their history. To give you a few details of the competition, you submit two videos. The first one is an up to three minute short film and then a three minute behind the scenes video that prominently features the RODE gear you used in filming the short film. Genres include drama, horror, comedy, all the usual ones. Plus new categories including blog, virtual reality, and they want people to try and make a TV commercial about a RODE product.

Larry Jordan: Very cool.

James DeRuvo: The contest is going on till midnight, June 30th, Australian Eastern Standard time, which is June 29th in the US and it’s a fantastic competition and a great excuse to buy yourself some new RODE gear. Back to you.

Larry Jordan: James, for people that want information about the RODE contest, or all the rest of our news, where do they go on the web?

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

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

James DeRuvo: OK Larry, take care.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Enter the new digital eco system of media, entertainment, and technology, where behavior and business have merged to redefine content, workflow and revenue streams. It’s the M.E.T Effect, a cultural phenomenon fuelled by hybrid solutions and boundless connectivity that’s changing the very nature of how we live, work and play.

Larry Jordan: Join more than 100,000 attendees from 160 countries at the NAB show. Conferences are April 22nd to the 27th and exhibits are April 24th through the 27th, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Let’s thrive and I’ll see you there.

Larry Jordan: Andy Cochrane is a director working in interactive and immersive media. Some of his recent credits include directing a VR tour of Google’s retail program, the intro for Google’s Jump 360 video platform, and a commercial for the Barco Escape theater system featuring M&Ms. Hello Andy, welcome.

Andy Cochrane: Nice to be on the show. Thank you for having me.

Larry Jordan: What first got you interested in VR?

Andy Cochrane: Honestly, it was love at first sight. As a teenager growing up in San Jose, in the Bay area, I got to use some of the early VR systems, and always thought it was cool but it was like arcade cabinet cool. Big, impractical, really fun cool stuff. But in 2013 I was working at a company called Mirada doing a lot of digital and interactive stuff, installations and apps, and the first Oculus Rift’s developers kit came out and I’m not kidding, I put it on, tried the Tuscany demo which takes ten seconds to understand and you’ve pretty much done the whole thing in a minute, and by the time I took the headset off, I was already asking, “How do we shoot, how do we edit, how do we do the effects?” Trying to figure it out immediately. It was so clear that this is a big thing.

Larry Jordan: I accept that VR has captured your attention. What is it about VR that has caught the attention of audiences?

Andy Cochrane: VR has an enormous stumbling block which is it doesn’t do any justice to the medium to explain it. I can explain the power of VR and it’ll sound a bit lame and silly. It’ll sound like a kids toy, but a lot of the questions that people ask like “How is this not stereo TV? How is this not a fad?” are answered by simply putting it on and trying it. That’s a terrible answer because it means every single person has to try it to know why they should use it. It really is that transformative and immersive and exciting, even in its really rough early stages like we have now.

Larry Jordan: That gets to a really core point. Is VR best used for telling stories? Or best used for providing experiences?

Andy Cochrane: That’s actually one of my big scream from the mountaintop crusades. The word ‘storytelling’ does not apply in virtual reality because you’re not telling an audience anything. It’s not passive entertainment, it’s not theater or film or TV that you watch or listen to. Even if it’s 360 video and there’s no interactivity, the very fact that you are fully immersed in that video and the fact you can look anywhere and you have freedom to not look at the actor, you can look at the floor if you want, takes it out of the realm of storytelling where we’re crafting stories, and takes it into a realm of pure experience. That’s not to say that narrative doesn’t belong. There’s absolutely story happening but often the story is the experience. So if you ask somebody what that new movie is about, they’ll say there’s a character and he does this, and that and then falls in love with a girl. If you ask somebody about a virtual reality experience, they’ll say it’s really cool, you’re teleported to another planet and you do this and that. It’s all first person and experience based, and the story is your story. It’s your experience. That’s my big crusade. People who craft stories are absolutely welcome in the medium, but if they expect to be telling a story, they’re going to really burn themselves out.

Larry Jordan: I watched several of the movies on your website which were very nicely done by the way.

Andy Cochrane: Thank you very much.

Larry Jordan: But I noticed that from a production point of view, shots are wider, pacing is slower, camera movement is almost nonexistent. How do we need to change our production techniques when we’re shooting VR scenes?

Andy Cochrane: There’s different types of VR. On one end of the spectrum is 360 video which looks a lot like movies and TV shows and music videos. At the other end of the spectrum is fully immersive, fully interactive, game engine driven, real time rendered virtual reality. On the more familiar end of the spectrum, the 360 video side of things, you can storyboard, you have a script, you have a screenwriter, you have actors and sets and lights. But the audience experience is not the same experience as cinema, in the same way that if you’re going to be shooting something for TV versus IMAX, your framing and your pacing is going to be slightly different. If your audience is viewing what you’ve filmed in an IMAX dome for instance, you have to be very careful about camera movement because you can make the audience sick and because it’s such a large image, that the audience is looking around. So you don’t want to cut too quickly because you’ll confuse them.

Andy Cochrane: 360 video has similar restrictions from the standpoint of the audience is not in a theater watching it, they are standing, as far as they’re concerned, where the camera is and so traditional concepts like framing and camera movement, are not framing or camera movement. It’s audience placement and audience movement. If you move a camera, if you dolly in, in cinema, that is a move that has a certain language and a certain meaning, emotionally and narratively, that people associate with it, and that we’re used to. We understand a dolly in means getting closer and more intimate and depending on the scene and the music, we understand that as a push in. If you move the camera in VR, you’re putting the audience on a conveyor belt or a tractor beam and their response to that is not going to be intellectual, it’s going to be physical, and so you can absolutely use camera movement, but it’s not done to get a better shot or to get a better angle. It’s done with the understanding that you are going to be physically moving and affecting the audience. So in a horror environment, slowly creeping the camera forward, the audience is basically on a slow conveyor belt moving towards things they don’t want to move towards. So it’s not a dolly, it’s actually an anxiety inducing tractor beam sucking the audience towards the scary stuff. We have a lot of the same tools and a lot of the same capabilities and technologies, but the way that the audience experiences them is much more physical, much less based on their understanding of the history of film. You have to rethink everything. Even though a dolly is a dolly, a dolly move is not a dolly move when you get into 360.

Larry Jordan: Andy, I could talk with you for probably the next hour and a half and learn something during the entire conversation. For people that want to know what you’re doing and what you’re thinking, where can they go on the web?

Andy Cochrane: My own website is Andrew-cochrane.com and I use the name AVclubvids pretty much everywhere, Twitter, Instagram. If you can find an AVclubvids, that’s me.

Larry Jordan: That website is all one word, Andrew-cochrane.com and the Andrew Cochrane himself is the voice you’ve been listening to. Andy, thank you so much, this has been fascinating.

Andy Cochrane: Absolutely, it’s been my pleasure, thank you so much.

Larry Jordan: Nick Bicanic is an award winning film director and software entrepreneur. He’s also the founder of RVLVR Labs, a virtual and augmented reality storytelling company. He’s currently working to figure out how to make virtual reality storytelling compelling for audiences. Hello Nick, welcome.

Nick Bicanic: Hey, thank you very much for having me.

Larry Jordan: Let’s jump right into the heart of it. What projects are you working on right now that involve either VR or 360 video?

Nick Bicanic: We’re working on a couple of different projects, but my primary focus has actually been on the 360 video side to pick up from what you were talking about with Andy earlier. I’m focusing on scripted narratives and specifically trying to figure out how to take audiences on an emotional journey, giving them a little bit of control, because such is the nature of the medium. But obviously within the constraints of physical production, as you have to when you’re making an experience that allows the viewer to look in any direction they choose.

Larry Jordan: Andy would say that we can’t do storytelling in VR, but we can provide experiences. It sounds like you disagree with that?

Nick Bicanic: It’s multiple ways to skin a cat. At the end of the day, storytelling the way I see it, is about making people feel certain emotions. You know, when we watch, for the sake of argument, Ygritte die in an episode of ‘Game of Thrones,’ and I hope I haven’t spoiled that for anybody who is still watching it, then we’re feeling an emotion and the way we feel that emotion is a combination of mise en scene and montage, actor performance, music. Those kinds of tools are storytelling tools and at the end of the day, those tools are available to us to use in 360 video as well as virtual reality. They’re used in different ways but ultimately if we bore the audience or if we confuse the audience, if we don’t make them feel a compelling emotion, we lose. We lose just as much in a book or in a piece of printed media, or in a theater play as we do in 360 video. So I think Andy would agree that emotion is absolutely possible. Quite how you get there of course, remains to be determined.

Larry Jordan: Well that I think is a core point. Many of the production techniques that we’re used to, whether it’s fast cutting or moving the camera, don’t work in 360 video. So what does?

Nick Bicanic: I actually think they work more than you would think. They’re just tough to understand how to use. I’ll give you an example. So, it’s quite common for the producers that are trying to do 360 video, to think, “Well I have this tool so I might as well use it.” Many things that you might try and watch online, you’ll see that they put a dancer in front of you and a performer to the left, and another performer to the right, and something else is happening behind you. Not only is that not a realistic depiction of normal life, because in normal life, there’s an area of interest, unless you walk into the middle of a cave of wonders, you tend to have something happening directly in front of you. But on top of it not being a depiction of real life, it’s also an incredibly confusing thing for somebody to try and experience because they don’t know what direction to look in. The way I view this is that our human eyes can only see about 170 degrees but our ears can hear 360, so while it is quite important to consider the space, I view 360 degrees of something that’s about context. Whereas content can sit far more squarely within about 170 or 150 degrees and that has significant implications for how you produce things, and how you construct the story. It’s also worth pointing out that while if you go to a film festival or a demo of virtual reality equipment, everybody is sitting in spinning chairs and everybody’s wearing fancy headsets. The fact is today, and it will stay that way for at least a year, 18 months, the vast majority of 360 video experiences are not consumed in spinning chairs, but sitting on the sofa, watching a mobile phone. When you do that, guess what? Our necks and shoulders are not really well constructed to be able to turn around comfortably 360 degrees which is another reason why, without damaging the experience, I believe that we can creatively constrain activity and storytelling points to something that’s far lesser than 360 degrees.

Larry Jordan: I had an interesting insight, at least to me, while you were talking. It sounds like the best way to approach 360 VR is a radio play, because the audio surrounds us 360 and then once we’ve caught somebody’s attention with an audio cue off to one side, we can then bring the video over to that side for them to see it. Would an audio focus at the beginning of planning make a difference?

Nick Bicanic: Audio is very important and somewhat underdeveloped. There are a lot of tools that are out there but many people are not using them, and it’s sort of considered after the fact in the mix. So I absolutely think that it’s important. Perhaps not necessarily for the exact analogy you made with a radio play, but I do think it’s an important part of storytelling. It also illustrates something very interesting. In much the same way as when 3D filmmaking started looking like it was happening, and it demanded a massive amount of technological understanding from not just directors but also screenwriters and cinematographers, something very similar is happening here. In order to be able to try and conceive of a story, whether in pre-production or whether you’re just writing a concept, you have to understand a lot more about experiences than people used to have to up to this point. Sometimes I ask people, “What do you consider the phrase UX to mean?” If I get the answer, which I frequently do, “It’s the buttons and the menus that you have to wade through to get to the content,” I realize that they’re missing the point. Because in 360 and in VR, the UX is the content. The way in which our audiences are consuming this stuff, whether they are turning around or whether they are using a trackable headset and handset, for example the Oculus Touch or the HTC Vive controllers, or the new Samsung Gear VR with a controller, all of these things are a significant aspect of the way in which people consume this new medium, be it an experience or a story or a 360 video, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t take that into consideration when you’re making them, you’re going to make stuff that can look unfortunately quite lackluster and that’s something both Andy and I, I think, are fighting against.

Larry Jordan: Nick, I could talk with you about this a whole lot longer, and we will invite you back, but for people that want more information about where you are and what you’re working on, where can they go on the web?

Nick Bicanic: Like many other companies, we’re in flux right now, and the final website is not yet finished. But I’ve had a lot of interesting things published on a medium site, so the link I’m going to give you is towards that, lots of information on there. It’s Bitly/RVLVR2.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, bitly/RVLVR2, and Nick Bicanic is the founder of RVLVR Labs. Nick thanks for joining us today.

Nick Bicanic: Thank you very much for having me.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Brian Glasscock is a user experience researcher for Sennheiser, and he’s a member of the VR Mic Development Team. He is part of the team that develop their 360 degree VR microphone called the Ambeo VR Mic which we want to learn more about tonight. Hello Brian, welcome.

Brian Glasscock: Hey Larry, how’s it going?

Larry Jordan: I am really curious what is a user experience researcher?

Brian Glasscock: I work in the part of Sennheiser that looks about three to five years out into the future, and we look for technology trends as well as user needs, and we bring new prototypes out and experiment with them. So my main role as a user experience researcher is determining what user needs are by talking to users and working with users, as well as taking prototypes out into the field and field testing them.

Larry Jordan: Brian, I hate to break it to you, but we’ve had microphones for the better part of 100 years. What new stuff do we need to discover?

Brian Glasscock: There’s all different kinds of things and as we look to more immersive mediums that are being created these days, whether it’s virtual reality or 3D sound for sports broadcast, there will be new needs and new microphone techniques that’ll be necessary for those kinds of things.

Larry Jordan: I was just looking at the website and I do want to talk about your VR mic in just a minute, but we’ve had omnidirectional mics for decades. Why do we need something for 360 VR?

Brian Glasscock: The difference here between an omnidirectional mic is that a 360 mic actually gives you spatial information. So an omnidirectional mic will pick up sound regardless of what direction it comes from. But you don’t have any information about where that sound is coming from. So in a 360 degree setting, it’s crucial that you have information about where a sound is coming from so that, at playback, you can render that soundscape if you will, appropriately for the user.

Larry Jordan: Give me an example of what you mean.

Brian Glasscock: Say you’re taking a 360 video at a beach somewhere and you want to be able to have your user look around and look at the beach or up at the shore, but be able to explore that experience immersively. If you were using an omnidirectional microphone, as the user turned their head and got a different visual experience, they wouldn’t be able to get any kind of different audio experience. But if you’re using a 360 degree microphone, like the Ambeo VR Mic, what that allows you to do is at playback, render different audio perspectives as the user turns their head. So they get the appropriate audio experience for whatever direction they’re looking in their 3D experience.

Larry Jordan: So the sound of the waves would be in front of them if they’re looking at the water, and behind them if they were looking at the shore behind the water?

Brian Glasscock: That’s exactly correct, yes.

Larry Jordan: Tell us about this new mic you’ve developed called the Ambeo VR Mic. What is it?

Brian Glasscock: The Ambeo VR Mic is a first order ambisonics mic that allows you to capture a fully spherical sound field that at time of playback, like we just mentioned, can be rendered in 3D. So it’s a perfect complement to 360 video capture that allows you to give a matching audio experience to your high quality 360 video experiences.

Larry Jordan: You’ve used a term I’ve never heard used in audio before, which is render. I know what rendering is with video, but a mic is a mic and an audio stream is an audio stream. What does render do in audio?

Brian Glasscock: This microphone has four capsules on it. But these four capsules can’t be plugged or piped into a speaker like a normal microphone. Each of these capsules are used in a process that’s called ambisonics, which is a way of representing a sound field that is a certain sound perspective, or a certain place in sound, that has to be rendered at playback. So, rendering takes information about which way the viewer is looking, which way their head is tilted, whether it’s up, down, to the side, and then uses that information to generate an appropriate binaural render of what that soundscape sounds like. So as you turn your head, there are some calculations and some math that, based upon this principal called head related transfer functions, or HRTFs, gives lifelike, realistic sound from every direction.

Larry Jordan: So in the background you’re holding all four of these channels ready to go, and then as the person turns their head, you’re determining which of the channels to play back to give the illusion that the audio is changing in space?

Brian Glasscock: Yes, it’s a little more complicated than that, but you’re correct about the end result.

Larry Jordan: It’s always more technical than it seems at first.

Brian Glasscock: Yes, absolutely.

Larry Jordan: Is the mic shipping, and what is the cost?

Brian Glasscock: Yes, the mic is shipping. In the United States it’s $1,650.

Larry Jordan: I can see how putting a microphone in an environment, and your beach is a wonderful example, that we’re able to pick up sound vertically, up and down, and left and right, and back and forth, so we’re getting that spherical sound that you’re talking about. But most of the VR that we’re working with is game related where they’re putting a whole mix together. There, the microphone isn’t particularly useful because we have to take all these different sound elements and put them together in a traditional mix. What would be a good application of using this mic where putting it in a single location’s going to pick up all the sound that we need?

Brian Glasscock: There are certain situations where having just the mic is fine, and that would be in a quiet environment where the subjects that you’d like to pick up are close to the mic, and the ambient mix if you will, already sounds pretty good. But in most situations, we see users using the mic as kind of an ambient bed, and using lavaliers or other spot microphones for sound effects, mixed in on top of it. So you can use post production tools that work in ambisonics to spatialize other sounds whether that be from a lavalier, or from foley, so that they also sound spatialized and are coming from an appropriate place in the sound field.

Larry Jordan: So ambisonic means this spherical pick up where we have a sense of direction as well as simply hearing the sound? We can mix ambisonic sound in things like Pro Tools?

Brian Glasscock: Yes, you can mix it in Pro Tools. We see a lot of people using Reaper these days because of the high channel count. First order ambisonics like the VR mic is just a four channel signal, but you need a set of special post production plugins that allow you to both render, so you can preview while you’re mixing, as well as take mono or stereo sources and pan them into ambisonics.

Larry Jordan: Does Sennheiser provide those software tools?

Brian Glasscock: We don’t provide those software tools. There are a number of partners that provide them, from anywhere from free for a simple set of tools, such as the Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation, up to more expensive tools that run around $1,000 such as the Blue Ripple Sound tool set, which includes some additional features such as spatial compression or spatial AQ.

Larry Jordan: I was looking at the picture on the website. There’s a single XLR connector at the bottom of the mic, yet four capsules at the other end. What kind of gear do we have to record this signal on, and what are we recording?

Brian Glasscock: Out of the bottom of the mic, you actually get what’s called a din 12 connector, which is a 12 pin connector, and we provide a 1.5 meter extension for that, as well as a break out cable. So the break out cable takes that din 12 and converts it to four balanced XLRs. Now for recording equipment, you simply need a recorder that will provide phantom power, and has the capability of recording four channels at once. We have a couple of recommendations. Because ambisonics requires specific differences between capsules, so where a sound is coming from depends on what signals are received at each capsule, you’re going to want to use a recorder that has digital gain, so you don’t apply any external influence on that, as well as one where you can link together the channels. So you can turn them up and down altogether.

Larry Jordan: What would be some recommended recording gear?

Brian Glasscock: Most of the Sound Devices recorders will allow you to do that. We also see a lot of people using the Zoom F4 and F8 as well as some Tascam DR680s.

Larry Jordan: When you’re doing 360 recording, where are you putting the mic? Is it suspended above the set, or buried on the floor? What’s the position?

Brian Glasscock: Just as in a 360 video, where you place the camera defines the visual perspective for the end user, the same is true with the ambisonics mic. You’re going to want to place the microphone wherever you’d like the listener to have their perspective from. Now in most cases, that’s coaxial with the camera or located in the same axis as the camera and as close as possible to the camera itself.

Larry Jordan: So we should consider this mic basically as our ambience mic? Of picking up the whole environment? And then supplement it with additional mics which are clipped to the actor if it’s an acted type piece, to get the tight sound that we need to get the clean audio and clarity that we would want? Am I hearing this correctly?

Brian Glasscock: That’s exactly correct.

Larry Jordan: What kind of training does Sennheiser provide for this mic?

Brian Glasscock: We provide some basic training on our website. If you go to our sennheiser.com and look at our Ambeo blueprints, we provide a bunch of different tool sets and different instructions about how to mix for 3D audio and how to produce 3D audio. We also plan on producing a series of webinars for users to understand not only how to record with the mic, but also how to work with the signal afterwards. More information about those webinars will be coming soon if you follow us on Facebook, or sign up for our Ambeo newsletter.

Larry Jordan: Brian, where can people go on the web to learn more about this microphone?

Brian Glasscock: If you just go to sennheiser.com, you should be able to find out everything you need to know.

Larry Jordan: Brian Glasscock is the user experience researcher for Sennheiser, and a member of their VR mic development team. The website is sennheiser.com, and Brian, thanks for joining us today.

Brian Glasscock: Thanks Larry.

Larry Jordan: Duncan Shepherd is an old, bold video editor from the land of music videos and commercials. Last year he discovered VR and was so taken with it, he’s just devoted his time to developing post production techniques for both VR and 360 video. Hello Duncan, welcome.

Duncan Shepherd: Good evening Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: So what makes editing VR or 360 degree video different from editing normal HD?

Duncan Shepherd: I think that the experience of viewing the content is different. So the way I always approach a lot of my editing was thinking about what you wanted at the end. Whether you’re selling something, or you’re trying to get an emotional, empathic experience. Because of that, the way you approach everything in VR is slightly different. If you want an empathic experience you can allow the viewer to have much longer shots that would be traditionally allowable in normal HD video because you can settle yourself in the scene a lot more fully. Especially with high quality audio and sophisticated sound design, you can allow the viewer to have a much more engaging experience as an experience. Whereas, if you’re trying to sell something in narrative, that’s a different set of problems altogether because you have no real ability to direct the viewer’s attention apart from with audio. You can’t really tell where people are looking.

Larry Jordan: Well Nick was saying earlier in the show that audio was an essential part of 360 video, and what I just realized listening to you is that we’re used to thinking about moving the camera, to get to the actor. In 360 video, we need to move the actor to get to the camera, is that a true statement?

Duncan Shepherd: I think broadly speaking that’s true. It’s much more theatrical really. In the sense that a theater director will probably be better able to really rehearse a set of performances and just leave a set of actors to run without any more interaction if he’s done lots of workshops or things like that. Although, actually, because we’re still at the very beginning of this whole technology and this art form, people have started off with static cameras, and they’ve started to move the cameras a lot more now, and there are limitations to do with making the audience feel nauseous or being confused or overdoing things a little bit. But, as people get more experienced in the ways of picking up an idea and then shooting it, and then seeing how that works in post production, people are also getting more adventurous with the way they’re using movement with the cameras.

Larry Jordan: What editing techniques do we need to avoid?

Duncan Shepherd: Principally moving the horizon around too much. That’s the first thing that will make somebody feel ill. From my point of view, I think that’s really one of the only things to really worry about. If the viewer is feeling some sense of nausea and it’s just taking them out of the enjoyment of the thing. Other than that, I think you can use all sorts of editorial techniques that we’ve been developing and have been developed for the last 100 years. The thing I always think with editorial is just try it and if it works then it’s working. There’s no real set of rules. There never was a rule book with editing anyway. You can always experiment, see if it works, and if you like it, then go with it. I think that’s the key, not be held back by too many dogmatic bits of rules, apart from the obvious things, like I say, where somebody’s actually feeling ill.

Larry Jordan: What software do you like to use for your edits?

Duncan Shepherd: I cut in Final Cut X, but I’ve been doing that for several years now just because I think it’s a really powerful tool for editorial. As it happens, the good tools for cutting in VR are spread between Final Cut and the Adobe Ecosystem, so all of my VR projects now, I have to bounce between Final Cut X and After Effects, and Premiere, just to make sure that I’m covering all the bases because there’s no real one solution that fixes everything for me. I think everything you need is probably in Adobe, apart from the things that I know that I love about Final Cut X which are more to do with the creative side of editing, rather than the nuts and bolts technology of doing effects.

Larry Jordan: Duncan, this has been a fun visit. I want to thank you so much for your time. Duncan Shepherd is the creative director of Duncan Shepherd Films, and we’ll touch base in a year or a little less and see how VR is continuing to improve.

Duncan Shepherd: Look forward to it Larry.

Larry Jordan: Thank you Duncan, bye bye.

Duncan Shepherd: Thank you very much, 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: Chris Bobotis is the CEO and co-founder of Mettle, and the chief architect behind Mettle SkyBox Cinematic 360 VR software for Adobe After Effects, and Premiere Pro. We’ve talked about how to shoot VR, how to have audio for VR, how to edit VR, but now let’s take a look at some of the effects that are available to us. Hello Chris, welcome.

Chris Bobotis: Hey Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: What was it that got you to start Mettle in the first place?

Chris Bobotis: I started in advertising originally and I was fast tracked, so what that means is you become a creative director and you don’t get to do much creative. You get to do a lot of hand holding in the industry and keeping clients calm and cool and collected. I met Nancy my partner at Mettle, and we were like minded. We started Mettle as a facilitator for advertising agencies basically, so we got them to desk top early on and Mettle started off as a creative and production facility.

Larry Jordan: It started that way, but what’s it doing now?

Chris Bobotis: In 96 we created proprietary tools for ourselves because we adopted the Adobe suite of products right from way back when, from After Effects through to Photoshop and Premiere Pro, we’ve used every version one pretty much.

Larry Jordan: Amazing there was even electricity back that far ago.

Chris Bobotis: Desk top solutions were amazing but there were certainly holes and we started to create tools in 96. One of the Adobe evangelists caught wind of this, and said “There’s a marketplace for this kind of stuff,” and we said, “Wonderful, let’s put it out into the wild, and see what happens.” So we did, and fast forward to about 2008, Adobe approached us and asked if we would bundle one of our products with After Effects, so we did that for a couple of years. It was very encouraging because you get this incredible validation and exposure to a space in the marketplace that we couldn’t possibly afford to do on our own. That encouraged us, and we created a couple more 3D plugins that went into the GPU, so they’re fast and pretty cool. But even those didn’t get our undivided attention. We were running a pretty lucrative but very demanding service business and we were always looking for a way to move over from the service company into a product company, so about 16 months ago, one of our agency customers turned to us and said “Can you help us up with some 360 work that we have to do?” We had no experience with 360 but we’ve done pretty much every workflow that’s come our way, from IMAX to web to print, you name it. So you analyze the objective and challenges, and devise a process or workflow to just meet the criteria, creatively as well as technically. This is around the Oculus Rift DK2 era that I speak of right now. So the Oculus Rift had not quite launched yet, and YouTube 360 was not in play at the time. We were creating this project under the impression that the delivery was going to go to the Oculus Rift on its launch but the customer divulged to us near the end of the project that YouTube was simply going to be supporting 360 and that we were deploying there, so the specifications are pretty much the same from one to the other. So now we had always been looking for a way to transition between a service company and a product company, and I turned to Nancy my partner, and said “This is the opportunity. This is it. If YouTube is supporting 360, this means it’s going to go mass market, so we need to take this gnarly mess of a process, that I concocted to deliver on one project, and make a product out of it.” And that’s what we did Larry.

Larry Jordan: Your website says that your technology uses what’s called 3DNAE. Is that what you were developing, and what is it?

Chris Bobotis: 3DNAE is basically a foundation, so when you look at some of our earlier products like Freeform Pro and Shape Shifter, they take on the guise of a plug in, but to build that kind of functionality, you really have to build a whole 3D rendering pipeline underneath that. So well known products like Element 3D for example, are doing exactly the same thing. They’re actually a full 3D rendering system, but only what is necessary is exposed to the user. So that was born from production pipeline issues as well. For example, we had a lot of very talented 3D artists, and then very talented 2D artists. At different points in our progression, we would inundate the 3D artists with what we thought were mundane tasks, that you really didn’t need to be launching Maya or a Houdini or a 3D Max, could be doing some of the simpler things. Freeform Pro was born from that, in other words, you can empower your 2D artists to do some pretty neat things in 3D as long as you didn’t expose the whole of the Maya feature set to them. If you limited what you exposed, then you can get a 2D artist working in 3D very quickly, especially if you expose it in such a way that it makes sense to them. So you’re presenting a lot of 3D notions in a 2D UX paradigm. They’re born out of necessity if you follow. To answer your question, 3DNAE is a lot more than we present. We present things as necessary, so when we were creating the 360 VR products, we tapped into a whole 3D rendering system that we had pre built for the other products.

Larry Jordan: Now what level of knowledge is necessary to run your plugins?

Chris Bobotis: What we try hard, and we’ve always done this from the get go, is to really not introduce any new UX or new UI unless there’s a compelling reason to do so. It’s always felt like our products have been part of After Effects for example. We used the exact UI paradigms that After Effects are using as best as possible. So we don’t introduce new windows, we don’t introduce new notions, we just try to stick to what you know and love about After effects. It’s very much the same thing with the 360 VR products. We present things as if you’re working in flat cinema and we take care of all that 360 madness in the background for you. With Premiere Pro, if you can cut and do transitions and do post effects and stuff like that, I don’t think we’re introducing anything new, UX wise. We’re just resolving a lot of the dilemma.

Larry Jordan: I can understand the technical dilemmas, but there’s also creative dilemmas in terms of what you need to keep in mind that’s different in 360 VR versus standard 2D video. What are the key things people need to keep in mind?

Chris Bobotis: There was tremendous opportunity, as we were moving along and talking to more content creators, to create new tool sets that not only resolved technical issues, but also helped narrative. So a very good example of that is, because you’re in a frameless environment, meaning that the storyteller has to relinquish the notion that you can frame any more. The viewer can look pretty much anywhere they want in this 360 space, so when you’re trying to do a cut, or trying to do a transition, if the viewer’s not looking in the right place, the transition does not resolve properly, nor does the cut resolve properly. So when we were building our transitions for example, we were solving technical issues which are basically pinching and seam issues that are caused because filters are not built to address this in spherical space. Filters that ship with After Effects and Premiere Pro, and other NLE animation packages, are built for flat cinema, they’re not built for seamless environments. As a result, when you apply them, they cause seams. But transitions do the same thing. So, since we’re addressing these technical issues, we saw an opportunity to also help influence gaze, which means I can have a point of interest control in my transition that animates that transition and influences the viewer to look where I want them to look so I can resolve that transition properly.

Larry Jordan: Duncan, in the segment just before yours, made a really good point. He said “360 VR is much more like live theater in how it’s staged, than it is traditional film and video.” Would you agree with that?

Chris Bobotis: Very much so. Even actors find themselves coming up with new acting techniques that are more of a hybrid cinema meets theater, because you don’t have as many takes as you used to have before. You can’t sit there and do 50 takes with 360 as we did with flat cinema. Theater performances, because the cameras are limited in scope right now, you can’t be as close to some cameras as you would with regular DSLRs or film cameras. So you have to project a little bit more, but not too much. So, a lot of what we knew in acting techniques, and post production, it’s amazing because when we first started working in 360, I quickly realized that I know nothing. Even though I’ve been at it for over two decades, and this was exciting. This was incredible.

Larry Jordan: There’s so much to talk about. Chris, for people that want more information about the products that you make, where can they go on the web?

Chris Bobotis: That’s HYPERLINK “http://www.mettle.com” www.mettle.com. If you can, take a look at the blog. Great customer success stories there.

Larry Jordan: That website is mettle.com. Chris Bobotis is the CEO and co-founder of Mettle, and Chris, I guarantee we’ll bring you back. Thank you so much for your time.

Chris Bobotis: Thank you sir.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Chris Bobotis: Bye.

Larry Jordan: This has been a fascinating conversation for me, because there’s so many insights that our guests have shared. I love the focus on the audio being 360 but the video doesn’t have to be. The focus on moving actors not cameras, and more of a theatrical experience, and the fact that we’re really doing experiences and not overt storytelling. It’s been a fascinating discussion for me, and I’ve learned a lot and I hope it’s brought some insights to you as well.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week, Andy Cochrane, the director, Nick Bicanic from RVLVR Labs, Brian Glasscock from Sennheiser, Duncan Shepherd is a freelance editor, Chris Bobotis, the co-founder of Mettle, and James DeRuvo with 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 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 and a special thanks to Kevin Burke of Burke PR for his help in finding guests for this week’s show. 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- March 2, 2017

Tonight we explore the rapidly growing world of 360 and VR video. We talk with experts in the field who outline for us the direction that the industry is heading and the equipment we should be looking at.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Brian Glasscock, Nick Bicanic, Andy Cochrane, Duncan Shepherd, Chris Bobotis, and James DeRuvo.

  • Explaining the Basics of VR
  • VR Production Techniques
  • Ambisonic Mics for 360° VR Sound
  • VR Editing Techniques
  • 3D and VR Plug-ins
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Guests this Week

Featured Interview #1: Explaining the Basics of VR

Andy Cochrane
Andy Cochrane, Director, The AV Club

VR and 360-degree video are such new technologies that we are still figuring out the best ways to use them to tell stories. Accepted production techniques don’t work, while new techniques are still being discovered. Tonight, Andy Cochrane, director of The AV Club, shares his thoughts on how he creates 360-degree movies; what works and what doesn’t.

Featured Interview #2: VR Production Techniques

Nick Bicanic
Nick Bicanic, Founder, RVLVR Labs

Nick Bicanic is the founder of RVLVR, a company that specializes in creating VR movies. Recently, he wrote about best practices for creating 360-degree video: what’s possible, what isn’t and what you need to know to tell a successful story.

Ambisonic Mics for 360° VR Sound

Brian Glasscock
Brian Glasscock, User Experience Researcher, Member of the VR Mic Development Team, Sennheiser

360-degree cameras create spherical images where the viewer in in the center of the image. Ambisonic mics create audio that tracks with the video. Sennheiser just released a new 360-degree mic specifically designed for VR, as Brian Glasscock, user experience researcher for Sennheiser, explains.

VR Editing Techniques

Duncan Shepherd
Duncan Shepherd, Editor/Creative Director, Duncan Shepherd Films

Getting up to speed with VR/360 is a challenge. Tonight we talk with Duncan Shepherd, an editor who immersed himself in the world of VR to discover editing techniques that can help us work with this new format successfully.

3D and VR Plug-ins

Chris Bobotis
Chris Bobotis, CEO and Co-Founder, Mettle

Many of us have been working in the 2D media for a long time but how do you get comfortable in the 3D arena? This is where Chris Bobotis, CEO and Co-founder of Mettle, can help. They make plug-ins for 3D and VR video.

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.