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Digital Production Buzz- June 1, 2017

Tonight, we look at a variety of ways to do things better. From running your business better, to buying better gear, communicating better, lighting better and making your audio sound better. Tonight, is all about self-improvement.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with John DeBevoise, Paul Rodriguez, Jim Bask, Aasim Saied, Kaur Kallas and James DeRuvo.

  • Better Ways to Run a Business
  • Better Audio from the MPSE
  • Video Guys: A Focus on Customer Service
  • A Phone With Built-in Video Projector
  • Color Tunable Lights Controlled From Your iPhone
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Guests this Week

Better Ways to Run a Business

John DeBevoise

John DeBevoise, Host, Bizness Soup Talk Radio

Media is part art, part craft and all business. Tonight, we talk with John DeBevoise, host of “Bizness Soup Talk Radio,” about his program discussing the challenges of running a small business.

Better Audio from the MPSE

Paul Rodriguez

Paul Rodriguez, Executive Board member, Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE)/RoundAbout

Paul Rodriguez is a member of the Executive Board of MPSE. He’s also the Vice President of Audio Services for RoundAbout, a full-service post-production company. Tonight, he explains what MPSE is and how it benefits students, then highlights the services that RoundAbout provides to filmmakers.

Video Guys: A Focus on Customer Service

Jim Bask

Jim Bask, Marketing Director, Videoguys.com

It seems like technology is sold everywhere. But where do you go if you have questions? Video Guys is a reseller with a focus on customer service. Tonight, we talk with Jim Bask, Marketing Director, about their focus on the customer.

A Phone With Built-in Video Projector

Aasim Saied

Aasim Saied, Chairman and CEO, Akyumen Technologies Corporation

Akyumen has developed an Android-based smartphone with a built-in video projector. Imagine the possibilities! Tonight, Aasim Saied, Chairman and CEO, joins us to explain what they are doing.

Color Tunable Lights Controlled From Your iPhone

Kaur Kallas

Kaur Kallas, CEO, Digital Sputnik

Lighting is what makes film magical. And, getting the lighting right is no easy trick. Tonight, we talk with Kaur Kallas, CEO of Digital Sputnik, who have devised lights that simplify the process of tweaking your look.

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 – May 25, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Laura Loredo, Worldwide Marketing Product Manager, HPE Enterprise Servers Storage & Networking
Carlos Castro, Program Manager, Storage Products for Data Protection, IBM
Terry Cochran, Marketing Communications Manager, Quantum Communications
Tim Jones, President/CTO, TOLIS Group
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System
Phil Storey, Co-founder & CEO, XenData, Inc.
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz we are looking at backups, archiving, LTO tape and media.  Files are exploding in size and quantity, which we need to preserve for increasingly longer periods of time.  Tonight, we figure out how.

Larry Jordan:  We start with Philip Hodgetts, the CEO of Intelligent Assistance who sets the scene by explaining key concepts in how we preserve our media and the increasing importance of metadata and machine learning in helping us to find our files.

Larry Jordan:  LTO tape technology is developed by a consortium of three companies, HPE, IBM and Quantum.  Tonight, we talk with representatives from all three to learn more about what LTO is, what it does, how much it costs and how we can best use it.

Larry Jordan:  Dr Phil Storey is the CEO of XenData.  Just last week they announced Cloud File Gateway.  This new software connects end data archiving software with object oriented cloud storage.  Tonight, Phil explains why this is important, and necessary.

Larry Jordan:  John Tkaczewski is the co-founder and president of File Catalyst.  They specialize in high speed worldwide file transfers for media companies.  This technology is increasingly important as post production and visual effects for a single film are handled by multiple companies around the world.

Larry Jordan:  Tim Jones is the president and chief technical officer of Tolis Group.  They’re a company that specializes in software for backups and archiving to tape.  Tim explains the practical side of archiving from organizing files to issues with LTFS in both Mac and Windows, and what you need to know to backup or achieve your projects successfully.

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

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

Larry Jordan:  Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry, covering media production, post production and marketing around the world.

Larry Jordan:  Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. Today we’re talking about archiving and the media that makes it possible, LTO tape and cloud based systems.  Yesterday I spoke at the Creative Storage Conference on the challenges that media creators face in preserving their assets for the long term.  Unlike major studios or corporations, we don’t have full time IT staff or large ongoing budgets, yet with each project we create tens of thousands of files recording terabytes of storage that we maintain for decades.  It’s an impossible situation.

Larry Jordan:  Tonight we want to look at some of the storage options available to us.  Options that don’t require huge budgets but give us some assurance that our files will last long into the future.  It’s a complex subject, especially as companies push us to migrate our files to the Cloud.  Storage may not be the sexiest part of media creation, but nothing is worse than losing your data.  We’ll be covering this subject regularly in the future.

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

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

James DeRuvo:  Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan:  So what have we got this week?

James DeRuvo:  Well, DJI announced yet another game changing drone.  It’s called the Spark, it’s about the size of a can of 12 ounce soda, so it’ll fit in your backpack or pocketbook.  It can record in 1080p, but the really cool thing about it is that you can completely control it with hand gestures at a distance for ten feet, or you can control it by your mobile phone app at 100 feet or an optional controller at up to a mile.  It has numerous smart modes including orbit, drone selfie, rocket, where it’s pointing down and rises up so you get that feeling like you’re taking off like a rocket, or a special Helix spiral type of orbit.  It has follow me, it’s DJI’s smartest drone yet, and it’s designed to be so easy that if you have no experience whatsoever you can fly it.  At under $500, the Spark is just another game changing drone that will offer capturing that Kodak moment for a bird’s eye view Larry.

Larry Jordan:  The size of a can of soda?  James, I’ll buy you a six pack.  What else you got?

James DeRuvo:  Well at $500 that’s $3,000.  Sling Studio announced today their new wireless TV broadcast studio in the box.  It’s by DISH, it’s called Sling Studio, and for $1,000 you can connect wirelessly to up to ten different cameras, smart phones or tablets through an ad hoc wifi network.  You don’t even need to have internet access and you can stream 1080p, 60p video to either Facebook Live or YouTube with a four hour battery life, and a distance of up to 300 feet.  Using an iPad, you can control titles, transitions, add music, lower thirds, and even do archival copying by an optional USB-C external device.  As we saw at NAB last month, just about everyone is getting into the live streaming video game, so it makes sense that DISH would join the party, but I have a hunch with their enormous back end network, they also mean to lead it Larry.

Larry Jordan:  This is a very interesting development.  So what have we got for number three?

James DeRuvo:  This coming week is Cine Gear at Paramount Studios, June 1st to the 4th, among 100 or so distributors, RED is going to be the main hub, having forsaken NAB for a more local concept, which makes sense because they are literally right across the street from Paramount Studio.  To that end, they’re going to be hosting panels with filmmakers to explore production trends, and hands on demonstrations with all the camera platforms.  Other major exhibitors are going to be there including Sigma that’s going to be showing off their entire arthouse and fine lens line, and of course there’s Cine Gear’s annual film competition and festival.

James DeRuvo:   Jarred Land took to Facebook and explained that with NAB it was basically derailing them for three months out of the year just to go to NAB when they could spend literally a day or two at Cine Gear and talk to everybody they really want to talk to and actually have fun doing it.  So this could be a game changing year for Cine Gear with RED being out there.

Larry Jordan:  I’ve always liked Cine Gear.  It’s human scale, it’s got every possible production toy you would ever want to play with, it’s a wonderful show.  James, for people that want more information about these and other pieces of news, where can they on the web?

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

Larry Jordan:  James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS and returns each week with a DoddleNEWS update, and James next week we’re devoting the entire show to streaming, so it’s going to be a fun show to talk about.  We’ll talk to you soon, and see you next week.

James DeRuvo:  Alright, talk to you.

Larry Jordan: 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:  Philip Hodgetts is a technologist and the CEO of both Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System.  Even better, he’s a regular here on the Buzz.  Hello Philip, welcome back.

Philip Hodgetts:  Hi Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Philip, tonight we’re talking about media archiving and LTO storage, and I couldn’t think of a better person to talk to than yourself, to help us set the scene and explain some of the differences between backups and archiving and define some terms. So what is the difference between backups and archiving?

Philip Hodgetts:  Well, backup, like it implies, is a backup copy of your media.  Usually I think we tend to have that nearby during the production space of a show but having just one copy isn’t a backup, so you have to have two copies or more, or three or four copies, preferably in different geographic locations in order to have any form of backup.  But I do associate that mostly with the production phase.  Whereas archiving is where you would want to keep the work that you’ve done for long term storage. Of course your archive should have a backup.  Generally speaking, backups are on SSD or spinning disks, usually in a RAID configuration.  Archiving could be on a set of drives, or more commonly, it’s on LTO tape which is a linear tape, backup storage.  It’s ironic that we have gone from tape to digital, to tape to backup the digital.

Larry Jordan:  So it sounds like backups need to be almost on the same type of gear that we’re using for our editing?  Whereas archives can be on gear which may take longer to access, true?

Philip Hodgetts:  That’s certainly true.  The demand for backup would be instantaneous. Something … primary storage, you really want to be able to access that backup as quickly as possible so that you can be back up and running and continue production.  Whereas archiving is assumed the main work is finished, it’s maybe a year or two later and you want to revisit something for a new version, a new distribution channel, and so you’ll go to the archive, and certainly LTO tape, while with LCFS the file formatting, it appears as a drive, it is very slow compared with any sort of drive.

Larry Jordan:  I was talking with Sam Bogoch, the CEO of Axle Media Management at the Creative Storage Conference yesterday, and he told me that when Axle was released in 2012, they were delighted that it tracked up to 30,000 assets.  Their newest version, which they released at NAB this year, now supports over two million assets.  How do we manage all the files that a typical media project creates?

Philip Hodgetts:  You might guess my answer would include metadata.  But in fact, that is exactly what an asset management is doing, it’s tracking all the metadata for an asset.  That’s why I said management tools like … Axle and … are all very important because the file system for LTO does give a unique ID to every asset … two assets with the same name, without being asset management level above it to get confused.

Larry Jordan:  Philip, I don’t know about you but I do not want to type metadata for two million assets, so what can we do about this?

Philip Hodgetts:  Hopefully the metadata would flow into the asset management system from the production.  Many metadata that you enter in production should flow into the asset management system and be available, so obviously … metadata but any logging you’ve done, any keywords you’ve applied, UCG information is also valuable metadata.  But the reality is, if you’ve got too many assets … metadata, then up until very recently you would have to send it through mechanical … to small amounts of money, break it down that way.  Certainly … have done that with the Johnny Carson shows and other transcript work that they’ve done adding metadata.  They had their own version of mechanical … but mostly these days we can use machine learning to examine the assets and extract the metadata automatically.  Certainly for large repositories in an asset management system … or large repositories without management data, it’s probably the only way forward.

Larry Jordan:  We’re going to learn a whole lot more about all of these issues on today’s show, but for people that want to keep track of the stuff you’re doing, where can they go on the web?

Philip Hodgetts:  Philiphodgetts.com is my primary playground. I also have intelligentassistance.com, metadataguru.com or lumberjacksystems.com.  I’m everywhere.

Larry Jordan: That’s philiphodgetts.com and Philip, thanks for joining us today.  We’ll talk to you soon.

Philip Hodgetts:  My pleasure, thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  LTO is run by a consortium of three companies, Quantum, IBM and HPE.  These three firms set the strategic direction for this technology which is then manufactured by IBM and HPE.  Today we’re joined by Laura Loredo.  She’s the marketing product manager for worldwide LTO tape marketing, located at the HPE storage development lab in Bristol in the UK.  Laura joined HPE in 1995 and has worked in the R&D engineering group on the development of LTO technology since its conception.  She is now responsible for LTO technology worldwide for HPE.

Larry Jordan:  Joining Laura is Terry Cochran, the marketing communications manager for Quantum Corporation.  Terry has 14 years experience in storage with a broad background in marketing technology across a variety of segments.  Terry is based in Quantum’s Irvine, California office.

Larry Jordan:  Our third guest is Carlos Sandoval Castro, he is the program manager for storage products for IBM.  With more than 20 years of experience in IT, electronics and automotive sectors, Carlos has a manufacturing skill about him, and he’s based in Mexico.

Larry Jordan:  Hello everybody, welcome.  Glad to have you with us.  Terry, I have to ask, it’s the thing that puzzles me the most, why does it take three companies to create LTO technology?

Terry Cochran:   The reason that the LTO consortium was set up is that LTO itself stands for Linear Tape-Open, and the whole intent behind the development of the technology was to really have an open platform.  So in support of that, we felt it was important that having that open technology having three different consortium members would really help to drive that open standard in the market.  Instead of just being a single company, it’s much more effective for an open technology to be managed by a consortium.

Larry Jordan:  Terry, I just want to follow up.  What does open mean to you?

Terry Cochran:  There’s no proprietary technology, the open platform really allows not only the consortium members but all of our licensees to really share the platform and make it widely available across the market.

Larry Jordan:  Laura, to someone that doesn’t really understand what LTO is, how would you describe it?

Laura Loredo:  LTO is made up of HPE, IBM and Quantum.  The three companies make the specifications of the format, and we also publish the future roadmap.  It’s an open format, so anybody can license it and make LTO products.  These then get certified, and we make sure all the companies comply with the format, and so they get branded logo.  This certification means that the products are tested for compatibility between vendors then customers can rely on buying products from any vendor and everything is compatible and will work together.  LTO technology started in 2000 when we launched the first generation and we’re currently in generation seven of the technology.  This doesn’t mean the previous generations are obsolete, there are vendors still manufacturing LTO-6, LTO-5, four, and even three drive today.  In each generation we improve on capacity and transfer rates over the previous generation and go back compatible to generation to read and one generation to write.   For example, for the current generation seven, it has a capacity of six terabytes native per cartridge, a transfer rate of 300 megabytes per second, and an LTO-7 drive can read LTO-6 and five cartridges as well as write LTO-6 cartridges.  Also, with each generation, we have been adding features to the technology.  We added WORM (write once ready many). We also added encryption at power level, and since generation five, we are supporting the linear tape file system, LTFS.  This makes a cartridge self describing and is easier to use with its drag and drop functionality.  Same way as you would use a hard drive or a stick, so it makes tape easier to use than ever before really.

Larry Jordan:  Carlos, I was under the impression that LTO drives were only manufactured by IBM and HPE.  Laura’s describing a system of licensing.  Are the actual drive mechanisms made by more companies?

Carlos Sandoval Castro:  In the latest generation IBM is the only manufacturer on the previous one, six and earlier, we still also that HPE and IBM.

Larry Jordan:  For LTO-7, IBM’s doing the manufacture?

Laura Loredo:  The mechanisms yes, the different generations were made from Quantum, HPE, IBM and then you find integrators, so we’re talking about the drive mechanisms, but these go into libraries as well.

Larry Jordan:  It’s like a hard disk manufacturer where a limited number of companies make the actual hard disk mechanism, but then it gets integrated into a whole lot of different systems from a wide variety of integrators?  Is that similar?

Laura Loredo:  Correct.

Larry Jordan:  Carlos, thinking of it technically, a lot of independent filmmakers, which are the people that are listening to this interview, independent filmmakers are just simply stacking a  hard disk on a shelf and assuming that that’s archiving.  What makes recording to LTO tape superior to archiving on a hard disk?

Carlos Sandoval Castro:  There are several benefits on storing data on a tape.  One is capacity, another aspect is compatibility.  You can use devices from different vendors which is an open platform.  There is also reliability on the information without the storing tape, and can last up to 30 years, when stored in proper conditions.  Also the portability that hard drives initially have moving parts inside that are more sensitive when there is shipping and handling associated with those devices and you don’t have that concern.  The most important benefit is the cost per gigabyte.  According to our service and the data we have, the cost per gigabyte putting data on a tape is below one cent per gigabyte.

Larry Jordan:  Carlos, that’s a true statement, except the LTO drives themselves are multiple times more expensive than a hard disk.  What makes the drives so expensive?

Carlos Sandoval Castro:  The cost of the drive is just because of what technology is associated on the development and the reliability of the mechanism.  It’s not a one to one relationship in terms of a tape drive and a hard drive.  You can use multiple tape drives which can be taken to the reader and writer which is what we call the drives.

Larry Jordan:  In other words, once we’ve invested in the hardware of a single reader and writer, the drive, then the only additional costs are the cost of the tape, as opposed to having to buy hardware each time with a hard disk.  Is that what you’re saying?

Carlos Sandoval Castro:  Correct.

Larry Jordan:   Terry, last week we were talking with a technologist who was recommending against storing data on LTO tape claiming that the technology was too slow, there was a high risk of losing data due to tape damage and drop outs, and instead he was recommending archiving to the Cloud.  How would you respond to him?

Terry Cochran:  LTO technology actually is the safest long term way to store your data.  There are certainly reasons why somebody would want to save their data to the cloud.  There’s certain implementations why that makes sense, but in terms of cost and reliability, really LTO technology is definitely lower in cost and much safer in terms of any damage or errors that can happen to your data over the long term.

Larry Jordan:   Laura, independent filmmakers and smaller production houses don’t have the seemingly unlimited budgets of enterprises and large studios.  What are some of the economical ways to invest in LTO technology to be able to archive our products?

Laura Loredo:   I just want to highlight again the costs of LTO and we have a few TCOs, the total costs of ownership of LTO costed on our website.  One study by ESB and another study by … where it shows the cost benefits of tape vs disk and we are talking about the whole system.   With that really is that LTO is less expensive and also safer way to keep your archives.  LTO is … better reliability than enterprise hard disk drives.  So therefore for filmmakers who archive on LTO make sense, from the cost point of view and because it’s the safer way to keep their archives.

Larry Jordan:  Carlos, because of the roadmap, we know that about every 18 months, LTO technology is going to change.  As Laura explained, the way that it works is the new technology is one version back writeable, and two versions back readable.  Which means that after five or seven years, the format that our tapes are stored on is no longer valid because there’s no longer any tapes in the market.  I’m exaggerating for dramatic effect, but some period of time between five and ten years after we record them, we’re going to have to invest in new LTO technology in terms of the reader and writer, and transfer all that data, which means now we have to take an active approach in managing our archives.  We can’t just simply put the tapes on the shelf and come back to them 30 years later and expect them to work.  That’s the background behind the question, which is what is the best practices that we need to follow to preserve our assets for the long term if we want to be able to access movies 30, 50, 70 years in the future?

Carlos Sandoval Castro:  One of the considerations is, and I think Laura mentioned this earlier, these generations are a point in time product with a specific capacity and performance specifications.  But they are built to last for a long time, so it doesn’t really mean you need to keep migrating your data from one generation to another.

Laura Loredo:  If I can carry on on Carlos’ comments.  We get this question quite often, and one of the things I mentioned earlier, and I want to again say, is that when a new generation comes out, that doesn’t mean that the older generations get obsolete.  So because LTO-7 is out, doesn’t mean that you cannot buy an LTO-6, an LTO-5, even an LTO-4.  So if you have your archives in say LTO-4, if that capacity is working for you, you don’t need to go and buy an LTO-7.  LTO-4, you can still update your hardware by new LTO-4 drive, and cartridges, and you will carry on working.  The difference between an LTO-4 capacity and an LTO-7 capacity is so huge, that people make that move to latest generation because of the savings on managing your data, managing your cartridge.

Larry Jordan:  Laura, Carlos has mentioned on several occasions, the LTO roadmap.  What is the roadmap, and what does the future hold for us?

Laura Loredo:  Well we currently have ten generations in the roadmap showing up to 64 terabytes capacity native for generation ten.  We are currently working on extending this roadmap and we will keep you all informed when this becomes available.  We are also working on the next release of the technology that will be generation eight which according to the roadmap will be 12 terabytes native.

Larry Jordan:  It’s truly impressive how much storage you’re able to fit onto a single tape.  I was looking at the roadmap and some of the numbers are just absolutely mind boggling, so congratulations to you and your team for that growth.  Terry, I’ve got one more question before we wrap up.  Media creators are smaller shops.  They’re individuals, they’re companies with four, five employees.  They could never afford a library.  They can’t afford all the high end bells and whistles behind LTO tape.  They just want a bare bones system and they’re only archiving stuff every couple of weeks because they’re not generating that much new content.  So what advice would you give them as they’re considering adopting an LTO strategy for archiving for both their projects and their work files?  What do they need to consider?

Terry Cochran:  The easiest implementation and the easiest way to start adopting LTO technology, especially for the smaller media and entertainment studios or small companies, is just an LTO tape drive that can be plugged in directly to a personal computer.  Usually through a SAS connector that connects directly to the LTO tape drive itself.  The LTFS, the linear tape file system can just be downloaded as a free download.  Really it’s that simple.  They can just drag and drop files back and forth between the PC and the tape drive, and very easy to get started with.

Larry Jordan:   Just to wrap this up Terry, where can people go on the web to learn more?

Terry Cochran:   We actually have our own website.  It’s lto.org.  It’s a … site, with a lot of information and again, that’s lto.org.

Larry Jordan:   Three letters, lto.org.  Laura Loredo is the marketing product manager for worldwide LTO tape marketing for HPE.  Carlos Sandoval Castro is the program manager for storage products at IBM, and Terry Cochran is the marketing communications manager for Quantum Corporation, and all three of you, thank you so very much for sharing your time.

Larry Jordan:  Dr. Philip Storey is a co-founder of XenData which creates software for tape based archiving solutions for media creators.  Hello Phil, welcome.

Dr. Phil Storey:  Hi there, thank you.

Larry Jordan:  I only saw you yesterday at the Creative Storage Conference, so this is feeling like a continual conversation because today we’re talking about archiving, and it seems that there are two basic choices.  Archiving locally either to hard disk or tape, or archive to the Cloud.  When does it make sense to use the Cloud?

Dr. Phil Storey:  In terms of archiving to hard disk, if you’re someone that’s doing that, and you’ve got hard disks on the shelf, or boxes of hard disks, I’d say the Cloud is a very attractive option because hard disks are basically unreliable.  You can come back five years after you wrote your contents, and you’ll find the hard drive just doesn’t work.  Maybe, maybe it will work.  So for people that are archiving, and they want the convenience of just being able to send it to the Cloud, they don’t have to worry about anything physical that they need to be managing.

Dr. Phil Storey:  Another case is if you’ve got spinning disk storage as opposed to offline disks, and you’re concerned about backup, and actually if you’ve got several terabytes of content, then backing up can be a difficult process, another approach to get the data protection that you need is to just replicate your content to the Cloud, so you have another copy up there, just for data protection purposes.

Larry Jordan:  Well one term I heard a lot yesterday is what’s called object orientated storage.  What’s object oriented mean?

Dr. Phil Storey:  Well in the context of the Cloud, then the lowest cost way, if you’re going for one of the professional Cloud storage suppliers like Amazon Web Services, S3, like Microsoft Azure, then the lowest cost way to use them is to write in objects.  Amazon calls them objects, Microsoft calls them blobs, and it’s not an exact analogy, but it’s equivalent to just the sectors that you write to a spinning disk.  It knows nothing about files.  You need something to convert from files to these objects which are just blocks of data.

Larry Jordan:  That gets me to your newest product which is called Cloud File Gateway.  Where does your product fit in both with your history of tape archiving and the new interest in cloud based archiving?

Dr. Phil Storey:  We announced the Cloud File Gateway just before NAB, showed at NAB, should be shipping fingers crossed by the end of July.  Basically what it does is it’s software that you would install on a Windows machine.  It will take control of a local disk volume, and it will connect to the Azure cloud.  So we’ve got a strategic relationship with Microsoft so we chose them, and basically it just allows you to send content to this Windows machine, just like writing to disk or restoring from disk, but the content will be written to that local disk volume that we took control of, and also Azure.  It’s defined by policies actually as to what’s going to happen to a particular file or content that you put into a particular folder.  It could be called hybrid storage actually because it manages local storage and it manages Cloud.  So for example you could set the system up so that low res proxies are written to that local disk volume and effectively there’s another copy, a data protection copy up in the Cloud, so a kind of backup.  For say high res content, you could store that in the cloud, and you would have a sub-file on the local disk.  So when you’re restoring it, it just looks like its sitting there on disk.  But in reality, in that particular example, low res proxies backed up but they’ve come off local disk, the high res content would come from the Cloud.

Larry Jordan:  Phil, I hate to break it to you but your company got started and built its reputation on tape based archiving.  Why are you supporting the Cloud?

Dr. Phil Storey:  We’ve got a lot of customers that don’t have the internet bandwidth or they just want to keep everything on premise.  They’re very concerned about something going out of their control.  So we have one set of customers that actually aren’t really interested in the Cloud but then we have a growing set of customers that want the convenience of Cloud.  It means that you don’t have to create tapes perhaps replica tapes, one copy you take off site, because it’s just all taken care of with the Cloud.  It allows you to access your content from multiple locations.  So it’s got certain advantages, and as I say, a lot of our customers are saying, “Great, we’re happy with what we’ve got.  We don’t have the bandwidth anyway to manage our content in the Cloud.”  Then we have others that are really interested in the Cloud solution.

Larry Jordan:   For people who want to learn more about both XenData and your new product coming in July, which is the Cloud File Gateway, where can they go on the web?

Dr. Phil Storey:   We’ve got a new website coming in about a weeks time, but its already up on our old website.  It’s at www.xendata.com, and that’s XenData with an X, so it’s xendata.com.

Larry Jordan:  That website again, is xendata and Dr. Philip Storey is the co-founder of XenData and CEO.  Phil, thanks for joining us today.

Dr. Phil Storey:   Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Take care, bye bye.

Dr. Phil Storey:   Bye.

Larry Jordan:   In 2000, John Tkaczewski co-founded Unlimi Tech Software which created File Catalyst.  File Catalyst is used to improve file transfers.  He’s now the president of the company and his products are used by Fortune 500 companies, television broadcasters, and movie studios around the world.  Hello John, welcome.

John Tkaczewski:  Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan:  What first got you interested in file transfer?

John Tkaczewski:  When we first started thinking about file transfer problems, was back in 2000, 2001 era, when we were working in the government, and we were tasked to write some file transfer software for mainframe computers.  We recognized right away that moving large amount of data is going to be a much bigger problem than just moving some payroll information onto a mainframe.

Larry Jordan:  What made it harder to move larger files than smaller files?

John Tkaczewski:  First of all, it’s a long session.  You’re handling a lot of data, which has to go over the network which is never guaranteed that everything’s going to arrive at the right time in the right place.  Then making sure that everything arrives intact, meaning that what we’re actually copying arrives bit by bit, the same way onto the other disk.

Larry Jordan:  Well then what does File Catalyst do?

John Tkaczewski:  We started File Catalyst around 2006.  What we did, we developed our own protocol, it’s based on UDP, so we can actually push as much data as we want through the network.  We don’t have to wait for the TCP or the problems of TCP where as soon as you have latency, or packet loss, TCP will throw it down and slow down your speed.  We can actually push as much data as we possibly can through the network, while keeping all the information intact and in good place.  Meaning that if packets arrive out of order, we will be able to reconstruct the file and give you an intact file but in a lot faster time than TCP can offer.

Larry Jordan:  With transfer speeds varying widely depending upon location, and especially the last mile connection, who can benefit from using File Catalyst?

John Tkaczewski:  Anybody that has a ten megabit connection or higher.  Depends also where you’re sending the data.  If you’re sending the data across town, your benefit is much smaller because you’re just around the corner.  But if you have that ten megabit connection, for example, and you’re going coast to coast transfers, now we’re talking about significant time improvement on those transmissions.

Larry Jordan:  John, this really sounds pretty simple.  I mean, I take a file, I move it from point A, to point B, what other features am I getting with File Catalyst that justify purchasing the software?

John Tkaczewski:  One of the big issues in the media is knowing exactly who got which file, and when.  We’ve built a lot of administration tools to help end users to know that.  So for example you can log into a web portal on File Catalyst, and at a glance see exactly who’s transferring what.  You have also the entire historical data to see who received what and when.  So in post production for example, as soon as your customer or client gets the file, you can see that on the console and you can raise the invoice.

Larry Jordan:  What kind of levels of security do you provide?

John Tkaczewski:  Everything is secured with SSL, AES.  So SSL is used for like the DCP connectivity, and AES is used for UDP.  It’s the same grade of security as you would have with your online banking obligations.

Larry Jordan:  Originally you announced a partnership with XenData.  What’s this provide?

John Tkaczewski:  So XenData is archival and storage.  The idea here is that your archival site is not necessarily always in the same location as your production.  So therefore you’re now going to have several miles or several hundred miles to the archival site, and we can speed up this process, so you can get your archival data really fast.

Larry Jordan:  How is File Catalyst priced?

John Tkaczewski:  The pricing is based on bandwidth and the functionality you want to achieve in our software.  The simplest functionality would be sort of like a FileZilla type of workflow where you have local and remote panes and you can move files from the remote to the local, and vice versa.  To much more sophisticated workflows where there’s automation involved, ability to move growing files.  So it really depends on the functionality you want, and the bandwidth.  To give you a ballpark start figure for perpetual license, where you own it for life, you’d be looking at about $5,000.

Larry Jordan:  A lot of projects just last for a short period of time.  We’re not a studio sending data all the time.  Is there a way to get this for a shorter period of time?

John Tkaczewski:  Yes of course.  We have leased pricing where you can lease a license for three months.  This allows you to have a much smaller cost of point of entry to use the software for specific applications or projects.

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

John Tkaczewski:  They can go to filecatalyst.com.  We do offer a free 30 day trial evaluation of our software.  All they have to do is just go to our website and request a trial.

Larry Jordan: That website is all one word.  Filecatalyst.com, and John Tkaczewski is the co-founder and president of File Catalyst.  John, thanks for joining us today.

 

John Tkaczewski:  Thank you very much Larry.

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

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank this week’s guests and James DeRuvo, senior writer for 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.

Larry Jordan:  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- May 25, 2017

Media files are exploding in size and quantity, which we need to preserve for increasingly longer periods of time. Tonight, we talk with experts on archiving, LTO, storage and media to help you plan how to organize, preserve and restore your assets.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Philip Hodgetts, Laura Loredo, Carlos Sandoval-Castro, Terry Cochran, Phil Storey, John Tkaczewski, Tim Jones, and James DeRuvo.

  • The Basics of Backups
  • LTO: The Heart of Long-term Storage
  • Practical Advice For LTO Archiving and Backup
  • XenData – Archive Gateway to The Cloud
  • Move Media Faster
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

View Show Transcript

Listen to the Full Episode

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

Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

LTO: The Heart of Long-term Storage

Laura Loredo

Laura Loredo, Worldwide Marketing Product Manager, HPE Enterprise Servers Storage & Networking

LTO technology is driven by a three company consortium: HPE, IBM and Quantum. LTO is at the heart of most long-term archiving solutions, so we invited Laura Loredo, from HPE, Carlos Sandoval Castro and Terry Cochran, from Quantum, to explain the technology, where it fits in an archive strategy and share its roadmap for the future.

LTO: The Heart of Long-term Storage

Carlos Castro

Carlos Castro, Program Manager, Storage Products for Data Protection, IBM

LTO technology is driven by a three company consortium: HPE, IBM and Quantum. LTO is at the heart of most long-term archiving solutions, so we invited Laura Loredo, from HPE, Carlos Sandoval Castro and Terry Cochran, from Quantum, to explain the technology, where it fits in an archive strategy and share its roadmap for the future.

LTO: The Heart of Long-term Storage

Terry Cochran

Terry Cochran, Marketing Communications Manager, Quantum Communications

LTO technology is driven by a three company consortium: HPE, IBM and Quantum. LTO is at the heart of most long-term archiving solutions, so we invited Laura Loredo, from HPE, Carlos Sandoval Castro and Terry Cochran, from Quantum, to explain the technology, where it fits in an archive strategy and share its roadmap for the future.

Practical Advice For LTO Archiving and Backup

Tim Jones

Tim Jones, President/CTO, TOLIS Group

Having LTO hardware isn’t enough, you also need software and a plan for organizing your files. Tonight, Tim Jones, President/CTO of TOLIS Group, explains the practical side of archiving – from organizing files, to issues with LTFS in both Mac and Windows, and what you need to know to archive your projects successfully.

The Basics of Backups

Philip Hodgetts

Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System

Tonight’s show looks at media, archiving and LTO storage. To set the scene, we talk with Philip Hodgetts, CEO of Intelligent Assistance, about the differences between backups and archiving; and the importance of tracking metadata in a digital age.

XenData – Archive Gateway to The Cloud

Phil Storey

Phil Storey, Co-founder & CEO, XenData, Inc.

Archive technology continues to evolve, but always consists of two parts: hardware and software. Tonight we talk with Dr. Phil Storey, Founder and CEO of Xendata, about their newest product – “Cloud File Gateway” – which connects their archiving software with object-oriented Cloud storage.

Move Media Faster

John Tkaczewski

John Tkaczewski, Co-Founder and President, FileCatalyst

Media files are huge and moving them from one facility to another is not fast; and, sometimes, not even secure. Tonight John Tkacezewski, Co-Founder and President of File Catalyst tells us how he can help with fast, reliable and secure file transfer that’s affordable even for small shops.

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 – May 18, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Paul Babb, President/CEO, MAXON US
Louis Hernandez, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Avid
Carey Dissmore, Founder, IMUG, MediaMotion Ball
George Hall, President, Video Streaming Services
Norman Hollyn, Teacher, Editor, Writer & Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz we are looking for reasons for hope.  Working in media, it’s easy to become cynical and depressed, constant change, decreasing budgets and increasing competition make it hard to stay cheerful.  So tonight we talk with industry thought leaders to get their view on how we can move forward, hopefully.

Larry Jordan:  We start with Paul Babb, the CEO of Maxon US.  No part of our industry is under more stress today than visual effects.  So tonight Paul shares his thoughts on ways we can respond without getting crushed.

Larry Jordan:  Carey Dissmore, freelance editor and IMUG co-chair, explains why he’s still excited to get to work every day, along with what each of needs to do to recapture our enthusiasm.

Larry Jordan:  George Hall began his career with super computers, back when those were a thing.  Now he’s the president of Video Streaming Services.  He’s seen the downs and ups of our industry and tonight reflects on how to stand out from the crowd, get noticed and enjoy your work.

Larry Jordan:  Norman Hollyn is an editor, writer and professor at USC.  He’s deeply involved in enabling the students of today to succeed in the job world of tomorrow.  Tonight he explains how lifelong learning is the key to staying competitive.

Larry Jordan:  Finally, Louis Hernandez Jr. is the chairman and CEO of Avid.  He’s also the author of The Storytellers Dilemma.  This book is an in-depth look at why the people who create content are making less money than ever and the stress this puts on the entire creative process.  His interview is a fascinating analysis of how we got here, and what it will take to get back out.

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

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

Larry Jordan:  Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry, covering media production, post production and marketing around the world.

Larry Jordan:  Hi, my name is Larry Jordan.  Well, it’s been a heck of a week.  Ransomware paralyzed companies around the world, even held films for ransom, as you’ll learn in a few minutes from James DeRuvo.  Tens of thousands of college kids are graduating and hitting the job market, and discovering that getting a job in media after college wasn’t as easy as they expected.  For the rest of us, we face the daily challenges of too few jobs, too much competition and budgets that continually redefine not enough.  Plus a technology industry that releases gear with an obsolescence life span of about 18 months.  It’s enough to make even the most cheerful person feel a tad depressed.

Larry Jordan:   About a month ago I wrote a blog asking industry leaders to share their reasons for hope.  The answers I received ranged from encouraging to deeply moving, and the comments from readers were so positive, that we decided to continue this conversation in tonight’s show.  By the way, I’ll include a link to my original blog in the weekly Buzz newsletter that goes out tomorrow.

Larry Jordan:   Thinking of that, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Every issue gives you an inside look at The Buzz, quick links to the different segments on the show, and curated articles of interest to filmmakers.  Best of all, every issue is free.

Larry Jordan:  Now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update, which actually needs reverb, with James DeRuvo.  Hello, James.

James DeRuvo:  Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan:  I want to put reverb on my voice for DoddleNEWS update to make it sound even more dramatic.  What you got?

James DeRuvo:  DoddleNEWS update.  Well, this week Red Giant launched their new Universe 2.1 bringing along a new GPL accelerated plugin pack with new text effects similar to those that were very popular in the 80s like the old retro look of the titles from ‘Ghostbusters,’ the look of VHS.  Man, that was almost 40 years ago now Larry.  How can it be that long?

Larry Jordan:  I know, let’s not go there.  Let’s just keep talking about all the cool stuff from Red Giant.  What else?

James DeRuvo: The new post production tools include the ability to create holographic inserts like Princess Leah saying “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi” in ‘Star Wars.’ It can also add text straight into the start and end points of the timeline.  With these cool new tools available in Universe, old is new again.  But seriously, who really wants to degrade their footage to make it look like an old VHS tape?  I honestly thought those days were dead and buried.

Larry Jordan:  You know, it drives me nuts.  I spend all the time making the lighting perfect, the focus perfect, the shot perfect, and then we degrade it to make it look like it was shot 30 years ago.  Drives me nuts.  What else we got?

James DeRuvo:  Well you were talking about kids graduating from college, and this kind of has a little bit of a link to that.  Film Florida is working to convince the Florida legislature to bring back filmmaking to the sunshine state after disastrous legislative changes.  In our two part story, we talk about a perfect storm that happened with the housing bubble bursting in about 2008, that brought Florida and the country’s economy into a deep recession.  To make matters worse, the Florida legislature then voted to scuttle their popular tax incentive that gave filmmakers up to a 30 percent discount for filming in the sunshine state.  After that crushing blow, Florida went from being the number three most popular state to film in, to plummeting almost out of the top ten, with producers choosing to go to neighboring Atlanta, Texas and Louisiana who give similar tax breaks to what Florida used to enjoy.  On top of that, there’s a huge brain drain as students are taking their film education from Florida schools like Florida State University, and Full Sail University, and simply going where the work is.  Without that tax incentive, I don’t know that even the most modest attempts at luring the business back will work, since it’s far cheaper to film in neighboring states.

Larry Jordan:  Well you know, I was just thinking because you guys at Doddle were talking about the fact that film credits have been disappearing in a number of states.  So I’m looking forward to reading the rest of your articles.  What else we got?

James DeRuvo:  You mentioned that Disney is being held hostage by hackers, and that story is really interesting because it’s actually the second chapter in an ongoing saga of hackers breaking into Hollywood film production servers and stealing intellectual properties and holding them for ransom.  The first, Netflix was being held hostage for the first ten episodes of the new season of ‘Orange Is the New Black.’  Now hackers are threatening to release ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Don’t Tell Tales,’ in 20 minute increments, online, unless Disney pays an unspecified amount in Bitcoin to the hackers.  Disney CEO Robert Iger says that Disney is working with the FBI to track down the culprit, and has told investors that the Mouse House will not cooperate and pay the ransom.  There was a rumor that the film the hackers actually purloined was ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi,’ but that rumor was quickly dispelled, but nevertheless, Disney is engaged in a billion dollar gamble as Pirates 5 is already $70 million over budget and will need every dollar it can earn at the box office to turn a profit.  The FBI is up against the clock on this Larry, because the hackers list includes ABC, National Geographic and Fox and summer’s bound to get worse before it gets better.

Larry Jordan:  Well we’ve been very struck by the ransomware that’s swept the industry this last week, so we’ve scheduled a special show for the 29th of June, specifically to talk about security in the film industry, so I’m looking forward to sharing more of that as we get closer.  What other headlines are you watching?

James DeRuvo:  We’re also watching stories about the latest rumored refresh of new MacBook Pros, coming next month to Apple’s Worldwide Development Conference in June. It’s probably not going to be an iMac though.  Atomos Shogun got a firmware update this week for Quad Link SDI support, and the deadline is fast approaching for Rhodes’ half million dollar My Rhode Reel short film competition.  So if you’re planning on entering that competition, you got to get your entries in before June 30th.  That’s it for this week Larry.

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

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

Larry Jordan:  James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS at doddlenews.com.  James, as always, thanks for joining us, we’ll talk with you next week.

James DeRuvo: See you next week 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:  Paul Babb is the president and CEO of Maxon US, as well as a graphic software technology expert with more than a decade of experience in 3D animation, visual effects and motion graphics.  Hello Paul, welcome back.

Paul Babb:  Hey Larry, thanks for having me on.

Larry Jordan:  It’s always a pleasure, you are always a fun guest, and I love chatting with you.

Paul Babb:  Ditto.

Larry Jordan:  So tonight we’re looking for reasons for hope for those of us working in the media.  What’s your take?

Paul Babb:  Oh boy, I think this is probably one of the best times for people to be working in media.  Software is more accessible than it’s ever been.  Hardware is faster than it’s ever been.  There’s more work for artists out there.  I think there’s a lot of reasons to be positive.

Larry Jordan:  Well just a couple of years ago, it didn’t look like any visual effects house was going to survive.  What turned things around?

Paul Babb:  Well I’m not talking about visual effects houses, I’m talking about individual artists.  I’m talking about the opportunity for an artist to express themselves, to do what they would like to do.  I agree with you, I think there is some struggle in the visual effects industry, still defining itself, still trying to find ways to compensate the artists and recognize those artists.  But for those individuals who want to get into the industry, I think there’s a tremendous amount of work.  We’re seeing a lot of artists breaking off and starting up small shops, medium size shops and I think it’s more about the individual artist than the bigger studios at this point.

Larry Jordan:  I agree with you that there’s probably greater opportunity for artists and tools like Cinema 4D and others are more affordable and more powerful than ever, but can we make a living?

Paul Babb:  Absolutely.  When you and I were growing up, there were three TV stations.  Maybe a couple on the UHF if you spun the little dial, you could tune into the local channel.  Nowadays you’ve got thousands of TV stations.  You’ve got websites that are turning into broadcast channels.  So you’re talking about thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of outlets for artists to be creating station IDs, bumpers, interstitials, lower thirds, everything.  TV show openings, films, whatever they want.

Larry Jordan:  I’m just waiting for the period really.  I was just waiting for the sentence to end.  Whether you’re in a mid career and trying to figure out how to refocus yourself, or a college kid coming out with hopes of getting a job in the industry, what skills do we need in order to make a living creating visual effects?

Paul Babb:  I think that the calling card for the artist these days is a good demo reel, and I think that the skills that you can build by putting together a nice demo reel will get you there.  Certainly they have to understand how to build assets, utilize assets, composites, edit, the Adobe Suite, Cinema 4D, After Effects, all the tools that are expected to be used out there.  But I think a good demo reel is the first thing an artist really needs to work on, and you get there by putting together some projects.  What turns you on, looking on television, looking online, trying to recreate or build your own pieces from the ones that have inspired you online or on film or on TV.

Larry Jordan:  You work for a software company that develops the tools that people need to be able to create these effects.  But are there skills that we need that aren’t tool related that can enable us to succeed in the industry today?

Paul Babb:  Of course and that goes back to the skills you need to work with clients.  You need communication skills, business skills, the ability to be out there in the world and communicate properly or learn how to help focus a client to understand what they want, and be able to deliver that.

Larry Jordan:   One of the things a little bit later in the show is a conversation with Carey Dissmore, who is going to stress the importance of relationships.  But it sounds like you think the same thing is important?  It’s not only building a network, but having people skills, true?

Paul Babb:  Absolutely.  Carey’s a fine example.  I’ve known Carey for over 20 years.  He is the king of building the community.  He build the IMUG community online, he brought that community together every year at NAB with the Media Motion Ball.  Very admirable.  I’m telling you that having that group of people around you, your support group who can give you feedback on the work you’re doing, point you in the direction of good plugins, just be there when you’re having trouble finding clients, or when you need a shoulder to cry on, or some advice, absolutely.

Larry Jordan:  One of the things I’ve noticed is that there’s more and more women emerging both in visual effects and as leaders within the industry.  What’s brought about this change?

Paul Babb:  Oh I think it’s inevitable.  I think some of the best artists we’ve seen out there are women.  We’ve been doing a tremendous amount, making a lot of effort to get female artists to come demo in our booth.  We have put it out online, we’ve made introductions, told them to get out there.  But I think it’s opening up.  I think the technology barrier is no longer a barrier for women any more.  I think there’s a lot of great women artists out there, and they’re starting to make themselves known.  I think as we see more of these great women make themselves known, it will inspire other women to come into the industry, but certainly we’ve seen a huge change over the last five, six years.

Larry Jordan:  One of the things I enjoy as I teach at the school that I teach at, is watching the kids get ready for graduation and partly because it’s my class, and partly because kids today are interested in visual media, a lot of them look to get involved with media in some form, whether that’s visual effects or other parts of the production post industry.  What advice would you have for someone who is older, and finds themselves competing against all these new kids?  How do we overcome all this competition?

Paul Babb:  Boy that’s a great question.  I think you have to go back to what you’re good at.  I think you have to go back and look at the industry, and see where maybe you’ve fallen behind a little bit, maybe you’ve got to go out and look at some of the new tools and retrain in some of those newer tools.  I think experience can pay off a lot, especially in some of these newer industries in VR and AR which are just emerging industries, and people who know how to accomplish production, know how to maintain good business relationships and make those relationships successful for both sides.  I think you just have to get yourself involved.

Larry Jordan:  Get yourself involved.  That’s very easy to say, and sometimes really hard to do.

Paul Babb:  Yes it is.

Larry Jordan:  What gets you excited about coming into work every day?

Paul Babb:  The work that artists do with our tool. That really is it for me.  It’s so funny because it’s not really a part of my job that I have to do on a daily basis, but what I get inspired by is what artists are doing with Cinema 4D.  When a new project comes across our desk that we know that we’d like to promote.  When we hear about projects that they’re working on.  When we see people breaking into new areas, like VR and AR and see the work they’re doing.  The art inspires me and I think inspires others as well.  The work is what it’s all about.

Larry Jordan:   One of the questions I wrestle with is, when students ask what they should do as they graduate, whether they should work for free as an intern or whether they should get paid and whether they should look for making a good living, or just work for anything that pays money?  That’s a really hard question to balance when you’re getting started.  Any job that gets you experience is good, but at some point you’ve got to earn a living.  How do you make that transition and what do you advise new students, or students coming out of school, new people in the industry in terms of balancing creating art versus getting paid for creating art?

Paul Babb:  I can tell you I’ve been doing this for nearly 25 years, and I’ve been at Maxon for about 18.  We hire a lot of young tech support people.  We bring people in, they’re the young up and comers, those are the ones that we can afford to have in tech support, and I’ve seen a lot of them move onto studios.  The ones that have been successful did the job, earned the money that they could earn in the job that they could get, and put the extra hours in to improving their skill set in the areas where they were most passionate.  We’ve got people who have ended up in Disney, Universal, everything.  But those guys that did that were the ones that put the extra hours in, after hours, to work on their own personal projects.  The ones that they had a passion for.  When they could put together something to sell themselves, a demo reel that shows off the kind of work they’re passionate about, that’s where they get the work from.  That’s where they’re going to get that attention, when they start putting that work out there.

Larry Jordan:  So it starts with a demo reel, discovering what you really care to do, and then putting that passion into your demo reel and leveraging that into a job?

Paul Babb:  Yes. Absolutely.

Larry Jordan:  I had a really good question to follow that with, so hang on, let me just see if I can come back to it.  It’s gone.  This old age part just kicks in.  Tell me, what were the artists highlighting at your NAB booth?  What were they showcasing?

Paul Babb:  We had everything, across the board.  We had visual effects, motion graphics, FUI, fictional user interface creators.  We had medical animation.  We’ve been editing these videos and so it’s kind of interesting.  Station IDs, we had a guy who just did a station ID for us for Cineversity, our training site.  He broke it down how he created that.  Across the board, artists are using the tool in a multitude of ways, and in a multitude of skill levels.  We had people at the very basic level, 2D artists, who were showing how they’re incorporating 3D into their workflow and how to make that transition.  All the way up to people doing visual effects for film and television, at the top of their game.

Larry Jordan:  So it sounds to me, as I reflect back on our conversation, that we’ve got lots of opportunities for people, but it’s up to us to drive our own career.  It’s not going to land in our lap.  We’ve got to really drive, how we perceive the market, how the market perceives us, and what we do with the opportunities that are available, true?

Paul Babb:  Absolutely.  I don’t think I know of an industry where that’s not true.  Hard work always pays off, passion always pays off.  You tell me the industry where I can lay back in the job, and the money just comes to me, and I’ll head that direction.  I’ve never in my entire life found a job where it was easy and it came easy.  That’s the best part of working on something that you’re passionate about.  If you’re going to put the extra time in, I hope it’s something that you’re really passionate about, because that extra time will pay off on something that you really enjoy.

Larry Jordan:  For people that are passionate about visual effects, where can they go on the web to learn more?

Paul Babb:  They can go to maxon.net to find out all about Cinema 4D.

Larry Jordan:  If they want to learn how to use Cinema 4D?

Paul Babb:  They can go to cineversity.com.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, cineversity.com and Paul Babb is the president and CEO of Maxon US.  Paul it is always fun visiting with you.  Thanks for taking the time.

Paul Babb:  I agree, thanks Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  Carey Dissmore is a full time professional editor.  Well, that and MoGraph artist and colorist, as well as a well respected industry maven and the co-chair of IMUG.  Hello Carey, thanks for joining us.

Carey Dissmore:  Hi Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Carey, tonight we’re talking about reasons for hope in the industry.  Given all the challenges that we face from budgets to competition to fractured audiences, is there reason for media creators to be hopeful?

Carey Dissmore:  I think so.  I think that it’s really easy to slip into this sea of despair, whenever there’s change, particularly disruptive change in this industry.  But I only have to look back to my own career about 20 years ago during the non-linear edit revolution, where computers really took over the business of post production, as a very disruptive change in our industry that was incredibly beneficial to me personally.

Larry Jordan:  Yes, but Carey, that was 20 years ago.

Carey Dissmore:  OK fine.

Larry Jordan:  So now we’re 20 years farther forward we should get depressed and slash our wrists?

Carey Dissmore:  The shoe is on the other foot.  No, seriously I think that whenever our industry faces things like we’ve faced the last ten years in particular.  Downward price pressure, shrinking budgets, a rush of new talent into the industry which is both good and bad, but it certainly impacts the market rates for things, and market forces are kind of the thing we all have to negotiate around, but don’t necessarily have the ability to control in and of ourselves.  You know, the bottom line is, the cream will always rise to the top and the way that happens is by figuring out what’s next and positioning yourself, your business, your skill base on what that is and where the market’s going to find value.

Larry Jordan:  It seems to me that not everybody can be the best of the best.  Many of us are average, and yet we still have to earn a living.  How do we compete in an environment like that where suddenly competition is global?

Carey Dissmore:  It’s an interesting challenge, particularly the global angle.  The bottom line is, I think this is a business built on relationships.  For 20 years of the Media Motion Ball, we’ve focused on building relationships.  I think it’s really hard to have the kind of intimate working relationships with an outsourced agency.  That might work for really big studios, but the 80 20 rule applies in production.  I would guess that 80 percent of all finished production minutes produced out there, of all kinds of video, are probably done by small and independent type agencies and in house video, and corporate and that sort of thing.  That’s certainly the market I work in.  That’s a market that’s built on people and relationships and personalities and getting along in the edit suite, getting along on set.  I think that’s still really key.  That’s how you leverage success is built on relationships, not just skills, not just technology.

Larry Jordan:  It’s become obvious to me that working in media is a lifelong exercise of learning new stuff.  We never really rest on our laurels.  But how do we balance learning what we need to know with making money based upon what we know now?

Carey Dissmore: This is always the difficult thing.  I always joke that as an independent production person, who has remained fiercely independent for a long time now, that I can’t get by working 40 hours a week in production.  I figure it averages out to about 30 percent extra time for what I would deem broadly as continuing education.  Now that’s not just a third of my time extra, for tutorials.  You know, I love Larry Jordan tutorials, but I would say broadly that’s participating in forums, the conversation between professionals in our industry online, reading about our industry, keeping up with technology, keeping up with skills, keeping an eye on design trends, and figuring out how we’re going to pick and choose the uniquely derivative of where the market is going, where fashions are going.  I think that’s all sort of in that broad big category of continuing education in this industry, and if you’re not doing that, you’re not growing, you’re not maintaining and the other part of that is exercising your creativity and stoking those creative passions, because this industry will force you towards cynicism if you allow it to.

Larry Jordan:  I’ve never known that to be true.

Carey Dissmore:  The bottom line is if you’re not stoking the fire in your belly that got you into this industry continually, you will absolutely die a cynic.  I don’t want to go there, I don’t want to be that guy.  I want to be the guy who’s as excited to get up and go to work in the edit suite on Monday morning as I was when I was 20 something, when I entered this industry.

Larry Jordan:  So what do you say to the 20 year olds that are entering the industry now?  If you were to summarize advice, what would it be?

Carey Dissmore:  I see them starting to get the fact that even if they’re a staffer, they have to sort of be entrepreneurial when it comes to guiding their career.  The hope is that you can find a sustainable career in this business. One that would support a family, and allow you to remain in this business to retirement.  That’s the goal, because if we have this massive exodus of our best talent because they haven’t found a way to make a go of it by eight to ten years into their career, that’s a loss for the industry as a whole.  Nobody’s going to do it for you, you’ve got to drive it yourself.  You’ve got to want it, you’ve got to have passion.  I think we touched on all this.

Larry Jordan: Carey, what’s the best way on the web to find you?

Carey Dissmore:  I’m most active on the IMUG list which can be subscribed to via email at media-motion.tv.  That’s the community that founded the Media Motion Ball.

Larry Jordan: That website is media-motion.tv and Carey Dissmore is a full time professional editor and MoGraph artist, and colorist and always good to talk to.  Carey, thanks for your time.

Carey Dissmore:  Thanks Larry.

Larry Jordan:  George Hall is the president of Video Streaming Services.  They’re an internet video broadcaster providing multi camera live switch broadcast for a large variety of events.  Hello George, welcome.

George Hall:  Good evening Larry and thank you for having me on.

Larry Jordan:  Oh it’s a pleasure, I’m looking forward to our conversation.  Normally, I’d start talking with you about Video Streaming Services, however, we’re devoting our entire June 8th show to streaming, and I know that you’re coming back then, so I’m going to sidestep that entire discussion for a couple of weeks.  Instead, you got your start back when mainframes and super computers ruled the roost, and since then you’ve seen a ton of change in our industry.  Given what we’re in today, what gives you reasons for hope?

George Hall:  Well, the industry that we’re in has a tremendous number of creative and talented people in many ways.  The problem is that the cost of technology is flattening out and lowering the cost of entry for many people that think they want to get into the business, with a handycam for instance.  There is a wide gulf between people with a handycam and the professionals that we associate with in the television and broadcast business.  So the way to survive is to differentiate, specialize, maybe even merging a couple of skills that you might have.  Maybe you’re a really good editor and maybe you need to try your hand at sound or other sorts of capabilities and merge them together.

George Hall:  The other thing that you can do is to specialize.  So for instance, let’s say you’re a really great cameraman and you’ve got all the appropriate skills to produce whatever it is, PSAs, what have you.  Why don’t you go after architects?  Go meet some architectural firms, get involved in their groups and start specializing.  That’s a very good way to differentiate yourself from the guy on the street that simply has a handycam.

George Hall:  One of the other problems of course is that there are an awful lot of consumers of our services, video production in particular, that really don’t understand the difference between somebody that can produce a real, knock it out of the park quality video advertisement, or a PSA or what have you, and as a result by differentiation, you can get in there, get to know these people, get to understand their business and talk their language.  By specializing in that sort of fashion, you stand a much better chance of coming out ahead when they start looking for people to produce a particular work for them.

Larry Jordan:  What do you tell someone who’s feeling discouraged?  How do you get them to focus, refocus and move forward?

George Hall:  Well, change is inevitable.  In our business, the rate of change is particularly high.  It’s even higher I would say than it was in the computer business.  Don’t be discouraged by that, embrace it.  Embrace the change, and run with it.  Figure out ways that you can differentiate your skills and your capabilities from anybody else, that either wants to get into our business or is already in the business.  I think those things and a good positive outlook on what your skills can bring to the table for your clients, is a good way to go.

Larry Jordan:  So if you were to advise a student just graduating from college and tackling the workforce for the first time, what would you advise them to do?  What are the top two, three priorities?

George Hall:  The first thing is find somebody that’s been doing it for ten or 20 years and latch onto them.  You’re going to learn more from somebody that’s been in this business for ten or 15 years than you will trying to carve out a niche for yourself right out of the gate.  Get a mentor.  That’s probably the best piece of advice I could give anybody.  These guys know all the stuff that’s not written down in the help me guides and that’s what you really need.

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

George Hall:  Well on our website at www.videossc.com they can find out all about us.

Larry Jordan:  George Hall is the president of Video Streaming Services at videossc.com.  George, thanks for joining us today.

George Hall: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  Norman Hollyn is a teacher, editor, writer and full professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  Norman and I also co-host the popular website called Two Reel Guys.  Hello Norman, welcome back.

Norman Hollyn:  Hey, good to see you Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Norman, these are challenging times in our industry, especially for someone trying to start a career.  What do you see as reasons to be hopeful?

Norman Hollyn:  I feel that we’re in such a fantastic period of change.  The amount of media is just growing tremendously out there and if people who are beginning to get into whatever the industry is, I’m going to put those air quotes around it, if people can move with it as opposed to stay stuck in old media, then I think they’re going to have fantastic careers and really be able to learn new things, use new things, and profit from it.

Larry Jordan:  There’s no doubt that methods of distribution have exploded.  There’s no doubt that gear has gotten cheaper, but budgets have fallen to the floor, and people are starving to death.  How do we deal with the issue and the fact that the creative can’t make any money these days?

Norman Hollyn:  Well I know plenty of creatives, in fact recently graduated students of mine, who are making money.  I think that the expectation that “We’ll move into big, giant media, and make a bazillion dollars” is what’s unfortunately driving a number of people.  So I think it has to do with expectations.  It has to do with making sure that you keep your expenses low and also it’s doing multiple projects, constantly, as opposed to “I’m on this, I can’t do anything else.”  So, I know students who are making decent money off 360 video for real estate videos, at the same time also doing webisodes on non-fictional’s fictional pieces, as well as, as well as.  So I think it has to do with really making sure that your expectations are real at each stage in your career.

Larry Jordan:  One of the other challenges we have is the rise of artificial intelligence.  AI have started to edit projects as well as help us figure out what we’re doing.  What do you see as the impact that artificial intelligence is having on the industry?

Norman Hollyn:  As you obviously know from NAB just several weeks ago, cloud based and machine learning are basically the buzz words for this year.  I think that machine learning is really going to take over in a lot of ways, and really help us produce things.  The editor at this point, I don’t see the editor as replaceable in that way.  I think the editor’s job will change, as more metadata and different kinds of machine learning comes in.  It’s the assistant editor who I think needs to be super malleable, super nimble and flexible in terms of learning this new technology.  I particularly like Philip’s …, I think it’s a start of a discussion, not the discussion, which is where he says that anything that takes fewer than, what is it, three days to teach is going to be automated.  I think that that’s an interesting perspective.  I don’t fully believe it because we hire assistants mostly to prevent future problems rather than to deal with present problems, but on the other hand, machine learning has probably more experience than any assistant editor out there.  So I do think it’s a great place to start that discussion when you have more time.

Larry Jordan:  So it sounds like you’re a firm believer in constant learning to stay current?

Norman Hollyn:  I think a good 25 percent, if not more, of what an editor’s job is, or a filmmaker’s job is, is keeping current.  Those are not billable hours, but they end up with a higher rate later on.  So I think that the learning part is super important if you’re starting in the business, and we’re always starting in the business.  Whether you’re in the middle of your career, or even if you’re at the later stage where you’ve got a good, solid income, you still have to keep current otherwise you’ll be like all the editors years ago who said, “This digital editing stuff, I just can’t do it, I don’t want to.”

Larry Jordan:  Carey Dissmore makes a point in his segment when he was saying that the industry is built on relationships.  So you’re saying that a large part of this is not technology and not storytelling, it’s staying current, and Carey is saying a large part is not technology and not storytelling but relationships.  It sounds to me like a lot of the success in the industry is stuff that doesn’t relate to editing at all?

Norman Hollyn:  That is absolutely true.  I always say that more than 50 percent of what we do as editors has nothing to do with us being able to make the actual edits.  It has to do with everyone around us trusting us to make the right decisions, and being able to work with us in a very stressful profession. So yes, I think that the combination of knowing how to solve problems, which is part technical I think and also part brain power, combined with the comfort level that as a human being hopefully you make sure that these people have with you, is unbeatable, and it’s going to differentiate you from lots of people who might even be better at the technology than you are but don’t have those other aspects.

Larry Jordan: Norman, for people who want to keep track of your thinking, where can they go on the web?

Norman Hollyn:  I think that they should go to Twitter and that’s Schnittman.

Larry Jordan:  The voice you’re listening to is Norman Hollyn, teacher, editor, writer and professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  Norman, thanks for joining us today.

Norman Hollyn:  Thanks a lot, good to see you, keep up.

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

Larry Jordan:  Louis Hernandez Junior is the chairman and CEO of Avid, a company that needs no introduction, but he’s also an author who just released a new book, The Storyteller’s Dilemma, which is a fascinating look at the business of creating media.  Hello Louis, welcome.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  Thank you Larry.  Happy to be here.

Larry Jordan:  What is The Storyteller’s Dilemma?

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  Well it’s pretty straightforward.  In the age of digitization where storytelling has been a part of our social fabric since before the written word, and there were cave drawings and there was music to connect us all.  As we move forward to today, as things are all digitizing and the connection between the storyteller and the consumer can be much more powerful, much more immediate, much more engaging, the economics of the industry I think, have put in jeopardy the very thing that we work so hard to create.  Fantastic stories that connect with audiences in a meaningful way.  When you look at the change of the digitization of the industry, of course there’s a lot of positives, more people can tell their story, you can reach more people faster through more channels.  But as with most industries that get disrupted, there’s some unintended consequences.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  The unintended consequences here at its simplest is the artist.  The very person that we want to help tell these wonderful stories is at risk economically, and if we don’t do something about it, I’m worried that we won’t continue to carry forward with this wonderful industry of storytelling.

Larry Jordan:  It could be argued that you have enough on your plate already.  Why did you decide to write the book?

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  Well as you mentioned Avid operates in 160 countries, and I’m just really inspired by the incredible work that those people in the media industry do.  The storytellers, the people who connect audiences, and everyone in between.  And it’s a fascinating industry because it’s so important to so many of us, and it touches really all of our lives.  As a person who’s also studied economics and finance as well as a technologist, of course I love the fact that technology has had a major impact on the direction of this industry, but as a person who is familiar with finance and economics I can see that there’s some signs of the things we should be worried about.  I thought it should be shared with everyone, because everyone cares about storytelling, it’s a part of all of our lives.  So that’s why I decided to start writing down the things I was observing.  The opinions I was developing, and my views on how we can make this industry better.

Larry Jordan:  There’s always been a dilemma between getting our story out and making money out of it.  What’s the conflict?

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  The conflict is really twofold.  First, if you’re in the business of media, what has happened with digitization which is complex, but I’m going to try to simplify it as much as possible, I think on the one hand, you have this explosion of storytelling which is great.  We have more choices.  But if you need to sustain a living doing it, raising above the fray and being heard, being listened to, being appreciated has come harder and harder.  Digitization has allowed you to reach more people, but the economics behind reaching that wider audience has become a lot more difficult.  It’s either unknown or less attractive.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  That’s on the business side.  So what has happened is, large media companies have begun to spend more money on monetizing assets and reaching greater audiences, and the net result is that because of the economics of the business, is that the creative side of the budgets are declining.  That’s on the business side.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  Let’s talk about a consumer now, the person enjoying these wonderful stories.  They just want to get the best stories, any time they can, at as reasonable or as low a price as possible, sometimes free, which isn’t always in their best interest.  What they probably don’t realize is the yield curve, meaning with all this explosion of content, the actual content that we consume, the concentration of that content has actually gotten worse not better with digitization.  So as we demanded more choice and higher quality, we’re actually concentrating our viewership and listeningship to fewer assets and that means that fewer people are actually making money, contrary to what a lot of us thought would happen in the 90s, when we digitized all our media.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  If you have, on the one hand, fewer artists making it, then people in the business of creating content want to go with proven winners.  At the same time the budgets within large media companies are focused less on content and more on distribution and on monetizing those assets.  So those two forces combined, shrinking budgets on the creative sides with large media, concentration of whatever wealth is on the artist side, makes it harder for new artists to break in.  And that is the dilemma. That’s the Storyteller’s Dilemma.  So if you’re in the business, or you’re a person who just loves to tell stories for the benefit of the community, you’re good at it, you’re engaging, you tell enriching stories, it’s part of your craft, and you’re the consumer, that’s what you want, we’re actually in jeopardy of undermining the whole thesis behind the industry because we’re making it harder for new artists to break in, and if you’re an established artist, we’re making it harder for you to make money.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  That’s really the challenge that this industry faces, and so many people are interested in how the media industry works.  We have worked with every award winning Grammy artist, we do many of the major shows, sporting events etcetera.  So many of the community are really interested in hearing and seeing more about their stars, and the people they really admire.  They don’t often see what’s happening behind the scenes, and the economics of the business, and the behavior that’s creating.  I think if consumers saw that their behavior is creating a disequilibrium for the very people they want to ascend, and in the business side, if we keep spending less on the creative side, then the quality of those stories that you’re fighting to be heard, is going to go down as well.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  That’s really the dilemma we have.  How to create an industry that fulfill its promise, great stories that inspire, that educate, that inform a community in an economically sustainable way, that’s the dilemma we’re facing today.

Larry Jordan:  I know you make a recommendation in your book on what we can do to solve the problem.  But I want to reflect back on a couple of things.  First, my favorite chapter in the book is chapter ten, which you titled ‘The Tale of Unintended Consequences.’  It could be argued that tools such as Media Composer and Pro Tools, as they become cheaper and available to more people, have contributed to the problem.  Would you agree?

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  They have absolutely allowed more people to tell their story, and I’ll go one further.  Not just Pro Tools, but Pro Tools sits on Avid Media Central which now allows you to collaborate with anybody via the cloud, anywhere in the world, so Larry if you have a great idea for a song, and you like the way somebody sings in China, and the way somebody plays guitar in Brazil and drums in New York, you can connect via a single session in Pro Tools all those amazing artists.  So it’s really allowing you to work with the best anywhere.  So I think, like you said, on the positive it’s allowed more people to tell their stories because instead of tens of thousands of dollars a year to do this, it’s literally the price of a haircut every month.  So absolutely right, it has changed the economic equilibrium.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:   But if you take music, since you brought up Pro Tools as an example of the unintended consequence, last year music revenues finally eclipsed what it was in 1999, in total.  We’re talking all forms.  Of course, what it was in 1999 has started a slow and steady decline, and now when it eclipsed it around seven billion in 2016, and finally got back to where it started, of course the composition of that revenue has changed significantly.  People make a lot less on records of course, or even downloads, or streaming, and a lot more on live venues and alternative forms of gaining income, like promotional experiences, live venues, concerts etcetera.  If you look at what happened to the three people involved in the music eco system, the distributors, the people who connect you to the audience themselves, their income primarily driven by streaming and other digital sources, is up fairly significantly, in the hundreds of percentage points.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  If you look at the people who connect the artist to those distributors, they have fought all the way back and basically are about where they were from a profitability perspective, in 1999.  So it’s been a long windy road just to get back to where they started.  If you look at the big loser in this equation, it’s the artist.  The average artist’s income is down 40 percent on average.  Now the concentration as I talked about is also not a great story, because one percent of the artist make a majority of all the revenue.  They make it differently than they did before, and 15 years ago that one percent would have earned around 20 to 30 percent, depending on the source document that you would have reviewed.  The concentration’s gotten a lot tighter, there’s a lot more artists that you’re competing with as you mentioned, because tools like ours have made it simpler.  But the disequilibrium is mainly weighted towards the artists.  So the point is it’s as strong an industry as it was before, but the digitization has caused the disequilibrium and what I’d like people to do is think about, “How do we make it so that it’s a fair allocation of resources and wealth distribution, so that we can continue to enjoy these wonderful storytellers, in this case music songwriters, artists etcetera?”

Larry Jordan:  The people that are distributing all this creative content are making money, and the people who are creating the content, are not making as much money as they used to?  Is that a summary?

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  That’s correct.

Larry Jordan:  How do we fix it?

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  I think everybody has a role in fixing it.  First of all, if you talk about most of the media segments, legislators have a role, they have to make sure it’s not OK to steal from artists since we are talking about music, or anyone else.  Just because it’s in the media industry doesn’t make it OK just because you enjoy it, and it’s a community based asset that you shouldn’t have to pay a fair amount for it.  That’s number one.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:   Number two, I think if the consumers realize that their push for more choice, lower prices, anywhere and anytime has been delivered largely, but there’s a way to share common tools to reallocate wealth back to the artist and still get the low cost, very high quality stories that they’re looking for, in any way that they can.  I think if large media companies who often have very proprietary tools, between each of these large media companies, I think they can share more of the tools, cut 25 to 50 percent of their cost, and those dollars can go back into feeding the up and coming and next generation artists.  I’m sure you’ve heard the statistic that on iTunes for instance last year, there were more downloads from artists that were around when I grew up, than the new up and coming artists.  That didn’t use to be the case.  Everybody wanted to hear the latest and greatest storytellers.  But because of the disequilibrium happening today and the way the economics are falling out, new artists have a tougher time making it, and when they do make it, it’s very short lived.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  Digitization has some wonderful attributes for all of us, allows more people to tell stories and reach more people.  But it also has some unintended consequences.  But like any community, if we focus on these issues, I think we can get back to this wonderful industry that has touched so many of us in so many different ways, and you asked me at the beginning why did I want to write it?  That wasn’t part of the reason.  The people who work in this industry are so dedicated, and everywhere I go it touches so many lives.  It’s such a joyous industry to be a part of, when you see something that you think you can help or fix, you want to jump in and do what you can.

Larry Jordan:  How did what you learnt writing the book, change your strategy at Avid?

Louis Hernandez, Jr:   Avid, like a lot of the industry, was going through some fairly fundamental changes.  The industry is changing rapidly.  Avid I think was there at the very beginning, a lot of people give us credit for the early phases of digitizing storytelling.  Since then the entire workflow has become digitized, and just like many of our clients who are the artists and also large media companies are having to change and adapt in many of the ways that I just suggested, we had to do the same thing.  We had to change almost everything about our company.  The type of people we had, the technology we had, the way we priced and delivered services, the way we deployed our services.  We had to also make very fundamental changes.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  The book was not only a reflection of what I was hearing in the industry, it was a reflection of those people who had been a part of the community and supplying the community with tools and technologies, and we just like our clients, have had to make major changes to position us to make sure we can succeed in helping this industry move forward.

Larry Jordan:  I found your book to be fascinating, and thought provoking, and depressing and hopeful all at the same time.  For people that need to know this, and people that want to learn more, where can they go on the web to get it?

Louis Hernandez, Jr:    If you want to know more, just go to www.avid.com/storytellers-dilemma.  That’s www.avid.com/storytellers-dilemma.  I hope you will let me know what you think about the book.

Larry Jordan:  I will be happy to.  That website is avid.com/storytellers-dilemma, and Louis Hernandez Junior is the chairman and CEO of Avid as well as the author of The Storytellers Dilemma.  Louis, thank you very much for your time.  This has been fun.

Louis Hernandez, Jr:  Thank you Larry, I appreciate it.

Larry Jordan:  When I created my blog on reasons for hope, Mike Horton, a former co-host to The Buzz wrote, “Creative people will never have it easy.  But we know that.  Yet we keep on going.  Why?  Because it’s what we do.  Change and challenge are a part of life, it’s my belief that creativity is at its best when it struggles against barriers.  Focus on what makes each of us unique, continue building on our strengths and working on our weaknesses.  Network to build stronger relationships, leverage new technology and don’t be afraid to learn something new every day.”  As you heard from our guests today, take charge of your career and work hard to achieve it.

Larry Jordan:  There are huge opportunities in front of us, the key is to realize that they are not the same opportunities of the past.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank this week’s guests, Paul Babb, the CEO of Maxon US, Carey Dissmore, the co-chair of IMUG, George Hall, CEO of Video Streaming Solutions, Norman Hollyn, professor at the USC Film School, Louis Hernandez Jr, the chairman and CEO of Avid, and James DeRuvo, senior writer for 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.

Larry Jordan:  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- May 18, 2017

Working in media, it is easy to become cynical and depressed. Constant change, decreasing budgets and increasing competition make it hard to stay cheerful. So, tonight, we talk with industry thought-leaders to get their view on how we move forward. Hopefully.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Paul Babb, Carey Dissmore, George Hall, Norman Hollyn, Louis Hernandez, Jr. and James DeRuvo.

  • Reasons for Hope: Visual Effects
  • “The Storytellers Dilemma”
  • Reasons for Hope: Post-production
  • Reasons for Hope: Get Noticed
  • Reasons for Hope: Education
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

View Show Transcript

Listen to the Full Episode

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

Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Reasons for Hope: Visual Effects

Paul Babb

Paul Babb, President/CEO, MAXON US

Paul Babb, is the President/CEO of Maxon US. No part of our industry is under more stress today than visual effects, so tonight Paul shares his thoughts on ways we can respond without getting crushed.

“The Storytellers Dilemma”

Louis Hernandez, Jr.

Louis Hernandez, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Avid

Louis Hernandez, Jr., is the Chairman and CEO of Avid. He’s also the author of “The Storytellers Dilemma.” This book is an in-depth look at why the people who create content are making less money than ever – and the stress this puts on the entire creative process. His interview is a fascinating analysis of how we got here and what it will take to get back out.

Reasons for Hope: Post-production

Carey Dissmore

Carey Dissmore, Founder, IMUG, MediaMotion Ball

Carey Dissmore is legendary in the industry as the co-chair of IMUG. But he’s also a full-time professional editor and colorist. Tonight, he explains why he’s still excited to get to work every day, along with what each of us needs to do to recapture our enthusiasm.

Reasons for Hope: Get Noticed

George Hall

George Hall, President, Video Streaming Services

George Hall, President of Video Streaming Services, began his career with Supercomputers, back when those were a “thing.” He’s seen the downs and ups of our industry and tonight, reflects on how to stand out from the crowd, get noticed, and enjoy your work.

Reasons for Hope: Education

Norman Hollyn

Norman Hollyn, Teacher, Editor, Writer & Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts

Norman Hollyn is an editor, writer and professor at USC. He’s deeply involved in enabling the students of today to succeed in the job world of tomorrow. Tonight, he explains how life-long learning is the key to staying competitive.

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 – May 11, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor, Red Shark News, Ned Soltz Inc.
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System
Michele Yamazaki, VP Marketing, Toolfarm
Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media
Gary Watson, Co-Founder and VP of Technical Engagement, Nexsan
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz we talk with our regulars to determine the meaning of this year’s NAB show.  We start with Ned Soltz, contributing editor to Red Shark News.  Ned is legendary for his encyclopedic knowledge of production technology, so he gets to go first as we ask, “What were the highlights and what were the trends for you at this year’s NAB?”

Larry Jordan:   We talk with Michele Yamazaki, the VP of marketing for ToolFarm.  She’s an expert in plug-ins for post production.  She has an entirely different opinion on this year’s NAB which she shares with us tonight.

Larry Jordan:  Michael Kammes, the director of technology for Key Code Media disagrees with both Michele and Ned as you’ll discover tonight.

Larry Jordan:  We shift gears to cover a new storage product from Nexsan.  Gary Watson, co-founder and VP of technical engagement joins us to explain how their shared storage systems are changing.

Larry Jordan:  Philip Hodgetts, the CEO of Intelligent Assistance and well known technologist, thinks, well Philip thinks the key to NAB wasn’t media, but services as he explains tonight.

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

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

Larry Jordan:  Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry, covering media production, post production and marketing around the world.

Larry Jordan:  Hi, my name is Larry Jordan.  For the last few weeks, we’ve been covering many of the new announcements made during or around the annual NAB show.  Tonight, we want to do something different, we want to figure out what they all mean.  Now clearly, every company wants to announce something new to generate excitement for both its current users as well as hopefully create new ones.  But at the same time, NAB serves as an excellent spotting system for trends in our industry, trends that will reverberate over the next 12 months.  What were the hot topics this year?  Is momentum building behind a particular technology, or is interest fragmenting?  Most importantly, what technologies do we, as media creators, need to pay attention to, and potentially purchase?  Tonight our crew of experts is going to read the tea leaves and help us make sense of the media industry in 2017.

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

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

James DeRuvo:  Hello Larry, happy Thursday.

Larry Jordan:  And a very happy Thursday to you too, and not only that, tomorrow is Friday.

James DeRuvo:  Yes, the end the week.

Larry Jordan:  I don’t know how that happens.  It happens every week just like that.

James DeRuvo:  Isn’t it annoying?

Larry Jordan: What have you got for us?

James DeRuvo:  Well not only is it happy Thursday but RED was celebrating yesterday a decade with the Mysterium RED ONE sensor.

Larry Jordan:  Hard to believe.

James DeRuvo:  Jarred Land took to Facebook yesterday and talked about how they had taken a whole bunch of Mysterium sensors and they stuck them in a time box for ten years, and what they did was they pulled them out and they created these really super cool plaques for every single employee who has been around since the original Mysterium sensor.  The Mysterium sensor was really groundbreaking because it offered 4K in 2017 when nobody else was doing it, and not only that, people could record at 60 frames per second, and then it went up from there with the Mysterium X that came on right after that, then we went to the EPIC, the DRAGON and now we’re at the WEAPON shooting 8K and the rest is history.  The very first film to use the Mysterium X sensor was Peter Jackson’s World War One short film, ‘Crossing the Line’ and it was so popular that directors like Steven Soderbergh went to digital and never looked back.

Larry Jordan:  That’s pretty amazing.

James DeRuvo:  Land also hinted that we may hear of a new sensor later this year.  He intimated later this year we will be reminded how important the sensor is to the camera.  So my question is, what is RED planning?  We have no idea, but you know what?  They live over the horizon so it could be anybody’s guess.

Larry Jordan:  Well, RED has always and consistently surprised us through the years, so I’m looking forward to seeing what their new announcements are.  What other news do we have this week?

James DeRuvo:  Speaking of new announcements, we may actually get a couple of new Canon cameras this summer, maybe even at Cine Gear. First off, there’s a rumor that Canon may introduce a 4K Canon 6D Mark II in July.  Possibly at Cine Gear which will likely sport Canon’s DIGIC 7 sensor for shooting in 4K, and C-Log may also be in the mix.  Then later this year, Canon may also replace the entry level Cinema C100 Mark II with a C200 which will record in 4K and up to 60 frames per second.  Or it may just record 1080p at up to 120 frames per second.  It’s kind of hard to tell reading the tea leaves with Canon because they’re very conservative and the steps that they take on the upgrade path, so it’s likely it’ll be an incremental update that doesn’t impact the higher level models.  But, Canon’s been rumored to be developing the C200 since 2014, so this is a rumor that refuses to die Larry.

Larry Jordan:  So let me make sure I got the numbers right.  We’ve got 4K on the 6K Mark II, in the seventh month right?

James DeRuvo:  Yes.  4K on the 6D Mark II, in the seventh month.  Then later this year, the rumor is a Cinema EOS E200 which will record in 4K.

Larry Jordan:  I’ve got it all now.  So before we run out of time, because we’re talking NAB this year, what were the highlights of the show for you?

James DeRuvo:  What’s interesting about NAB is that trends over the last few years have been kind of all over the place.  2015 was very drone centric.  Last year, everybody was talking about virtual reality.  This year it was all about live streaming via Facebook and YouTube.  So no one category has ever dominated NAB for long.  But the interesting thing about live streaming is that it can use elements from all three, from VR to live broadcasting via drone, to just being able to periscope on a single mobile device.  Live streaming is all the rage, and it’s here to stay Larry.

Larry Jordan:  For people that want more information, not only about live streaming which, by the way, we’re covering on our June 8th show, where can they can go on the web?

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

Larry Jordan:  James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS and joins us every week with the DoddleNEWS update.  James, thank you so much.

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

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

Ned Soltz:  Hello Larry, and good to be back and good evening to all of our listeners.

Larry Jordan:  We are delighted to be able to start out show covering NAB with you because if anybody has seen every single booth in every single hall, and talked to every single engineer, it would be you.

Ned Soltz:  It wasn’t quite every single hall, but I did discover that the health app on your iPhone logs paces even when the application isn’t launched, and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, the first three days of NAB, I logged 17,500 steps each day, which per the GPS is about six miles per day, and didn’t even get to all of NAB, so yes, I’ve covered a few halls this trip.

Larry Jordan:  Now that you’ve covered six miles every day over the four shows of NAB, what were the highlights, and what were the trends for you at this year’s show?

Ned Soltz:  The highlight of course these days of any NAB show is what Blackmagic Design is going to introduce.  This year they circumvented things a bit by having some major product announcements and product shipping before NAB, so we were wondering what they would do to spice up NAB and they led right off with DaVinci Resolve 14.  Skipping DaVinci Resolve 13 you would expect that we are so high tech, and so beyond any kind of superstition, but no, somebody did not want there to be a DaVinci Resolve 13 so we’re right to 14, and the public beta of that even available the same day as NAB.

Ned Soltz:   There are some remarkable inclusions in that, particularly the inclusion of Fairlight.  Blackmagic had just bought Fairlight, a major audio workstation developer some six months before, and within six months they’ve managed to integrate Fairlight audio technology into Resolve.  So this becomes more and more an editor, an audio workshop and of course, a color corrector.  It was really pretty amazing, and I’ve been playing with the beta and I think it’s going to go a long way to being that all in one solution that many of us have been looking for for years.

Larry Jordan:  One of the questions that I talked about with Dan May when we interviewed him at the Buzz at NAB, was whether or not they were putting so many features in DaVinci Resolve that it’s becoming like a kitchen sink application.  His comment was, that each one of the modules is essentially stand alone.  It’s integrated in the application, but when you’re not in the color module or the editing module, it’s turned off and you don’t see any of the interface.  So it sounds like they’re very sensitive to that kitchen sink.

Ned Soltz:  They’re very sensitive to that because I asked Dan the same question in a private interview at NAB, phrasing it as my concerns over application bloat.  He said the same thing, they’re very sensitive to that, and the fact is that the audio module is turned off when you’re in editing or color, and the same thing applies when you’re in color, those other modules are turned off.  So you’re not hogging resources and quite the contrary.  They’ve actually sped up the application so it’s running significantly faster.  There’s some very interesting coding going on under the dash.

Larry Jordan:  What’s your take on HDR, what’s happening there?

Ned Soltz:   HDR is on the way.  We have all of these competing standards and we have a tremendous lack of knowledge about what it actually is.  In reality, we’ve been shooting a higher dynamic range ever since we’ve had this new generation of large sensor cameras where we’re shooting 12 stops or 14 stops or 15 stops or whatever the manufacturer’s specification is.  Now that’s just being translated into delivery and display technology and this HDR incorporates not just the dynamic range of a camera, but an extremely bright picture of 1,000 nit minimum and a broader color space than your typical traditional Rec. 709 color space.  So we’re in broader color spaces, meaning that we’re going to be shooting for that.  Now delivery is going to be another matter because we’ve got competing standards, Dolby Vision which is proprietary on a chip, HDR10 which is what most of the HDR sets are right now that we’re seeing on the market, because that’s an open source platform.  Then finally, hybrid log gamma, HLG, which we’re seeing now integrated into the Sony FS5 and C150 cameras are going to have that output.

Ned Soltz:  The way we can start monitoring it, at least for acquisition purposes, is through Atomos, the Atomos Inferno, with its HDR capabilities, and Atomos was showing the Atomos Sumo which really is a sumo wrestler type dimension with a 19 inch sealed monitor recorder.  I mean try mounting that on top of your GH5.  But that really is going to serve as a director’s monitor, and also back in the studio, a guide for editing.  Effectively what they’re doing is putting a high dynamic range LUT on that image and you’ll be able to see an approximation of high dynamic range.  Delivery is going to be yet another matter.

Larry Jordan:  Ned, it seems that we’re sort of at a crossroads here, because we have to have standards to get any kind of interoperability between hardware and software, so standards themselves are a good thing.   But ten different standards for HDR strikes me it’s going to hold us back, not move us forward?  What do you think?

Ned Soltz:  I think it’s going to hold us back until something shakes out.  Right now, in terms of marketing of consumer sets, HDR10 has the advantage because it is open source.  There’s no royalties that anybody’s paying to Dolby and as a result, that’s keeping the price point down a bit, but I certainly wouldn’t count Dolby out.  HLG is where we’re going and this hybrid log gamma is where we’re going in terms of our acquisition devices.  So we’re still going to be needing devices that are going to output in that respective gamma range and conversion devices such as what AJA were showing a prototype of, their new conversion device.  AJA by the way, also announced support for Kona cards, for HDR outputs, and just so everybody knows, in the Blackmagic world, the only Blackmagic devices right now that are going to be able to deal with HDR are the Ultra Studio Extreme 4K extreme external boxes.  None of your decklink cards at the moment are going to be able to deal with HDR.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s shift gears and look at a whole bunch of other topics that have come up.  Last year the news was all VR.  We would all be wearing goggles this year, and wandering around in a 3D haze.  How real is VR and augmented reality?

Ned Soltz:  It exists, and there certainly are uses for it, and we were hearing ever since last year’s NAB that we would see scripted production in virtual reality, and I don’t think we’re really seeing anything significant in terms of scripted production.  For gaming, for specialized areas, travel scenarios, I’ve seen it actually used in nursing homes as travel entertainment for residents.  So it’s there and virtual reality’s there, the augmented reality is there.  But I still think it’s for the moment a niche player.

Larry Jordan: How about trends in hardware?

Ned Soltz:  Trends in hardware, IP.  Now again, you may say I’m an individual editor, or I’m a small shop with only a few systems, but ultimately I think we’re going to be looking to be linking our devices over IP rather than traditional SDI coax cable because of the abilities that an IP workflow will have actually to be able to be in California and control your devices on the East Coast.  So I think that whole infrastructure of IP is something that we need to be looking at whether we are small, several unit, several bay shops, all the way up to the Enterprise level.

Larry Jordan:  How about lenses?

Ned Soltz:   We were talking about lenses before NAB, this whole generation of let’s say five to $15,000 lenses.  With the Zeiss, I took a look at the Sigmas and they’re pretty impressive.  So we’ve got lenses that are a level above DSLR lenses.  Lenses that are a level below, in price and somewhat in quality as well.  Traditional cine PL lenses available in E bounce and ES bounce and in some cases micro four-thirds.  So this really takes us to the next level.  I mean, I shouldn’t ignore the Fujinons either, they’re pretty impressive lenses in that price range.

Larry Jordan:  You’ve written that we’re talking to each other differently today.  What does that mean?

Ned Soltz:  Well I think we’re no longer talking to each other in terms of “What camera did you use to shoot this?”  “What NLE did you use to post this?”  I think we’re much more sophisticated now in terms of trying to talk about what is the kind of look that we are seeking to create, and how are we taking these tools and not being religious about our tools if you will, but rather saying that what tools can we employ in order to achieve this result?  So I think the dialogue has switched from specific hardware to specific production needs and production workflows, trends and technologies.

Larry Jordan:  Thinking of workflows we’re going to be talking with Michael Kammes in just another couple of segments, and if anybody loves new workflows it’s got to be Michael.

Ned Soltz:  Oh yes.

Larry Jordan:  So we will just let that rest quietly until we chat with him in a couple of minutes.  In the very few minutes we’ve got left, what new technology caught your eye?  It may not yet be a full product.

Ned Soltz:  Well what’s catching my eye actually are products from Digital Anarchy and CoreMelt that we’ll be seeing in the next few months which are going to be able to take your timeline, in the case of Digital Anarchy this is working in Premiere, with CoreMelt of course Roger works in Final Cut Pro X, and we’re going to be able then to upload our timelines to the virtual transcription services, and within a few minutes get a transcription back at 95 percent accuracy or thereabouts. Be able to use that for titling, you’ll actually be able to use that for editing too, to click on a phrase, and go exactly to that phrase within the timeline.  I think that’s going to be particularly important in interview and documentary work.

Larry Jordan:  Ned, for people that want more information about what you’re writing, where do they go?

Ned Soltz:  They can look at Creativeplanetnetworks.com or www.redsharknews.com and there you will find my writings ad infinitum.

Larry Jordan:  Ned Soltz is the contributing editor for Red Shark News.  Ned, thanks for joining us.  We’ll talk to you soon.

Ned Soltz:  Thank you Larry, take care.

Larry Jordan:  Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:   Michele Yamazaki is the VP of marketing at ToolFarm, a company that specializes in plug-ins and effects for video editors.  Hello Michele, welcome back.

Michele Yamazaki:  Thank you for having me.

Larry Jordan:  Today we’re looking back at NAB to see what trends stand out.  So, what caught your eye at the show?

Michele Yamazaki:  I will be honest that nothing caught my eye.  But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just seems like there wasn’t really anything groundbreaking that I saw, and I should note that I was mainly looking at video post production software, and not much else, because you know that’s our niche.  But it seems like maybe the industry has grown up and we’re leveling off and now they’re refining the existing software and making the features that they already have better.

Larry Jordan:  Was NAB a bust?

Michele Yamazaki:  I don’t think it was a bust.  For us, NAB is always such a great place to connect with all of those people that you talk with online all year, and it’s sort of like a big reunion every year.  For that reason alone it’s so worth going.

Larry Jordan:  Is revising existing technology bad?  Do we have to always reinvent the industry?

Michele Yamazaki:  No, I think it’s actually a good thing because they’re making improvements and making things better, and that’s always a good thing.

Larry Jordan:  What are your thoughts about the new cloud based speech to text plug-ins?

Michele Yamazaki: There are a couple, and it’s kind of surprising that this is happening now.  This is technology that’s been around for a while and we sell stuff from other vendors as well, and I’m sure you’re talking about the Digital Anarchy and the CoreMelt tools that have just been announced.  I haven’t tried them so I don’t know how they work better than older technologies.  They may be really great.  I think it’s something that a lot of people can really use, especially if they’re doing documentary work and they’re dealing with tons and tons and tons of footage.  It’s going to be interesting to see where it all goes.

Larry Jordan:  What are your thoughts about upgrades to both Premiere and DaVinci?

Michele Yamazaki:   The Premiere Pro and the whole motion graphics template looks awesome.  I saw in on a couple of sessions at the Adobe booth.  They talked about that with After Effects and Jason Levine.  It was fantastic and I can’t wait to use it.  I actually have a little project but I’m holding off on starting it, but I can’t wait to use that feature.  The Resolve announcement, that’s going to be a big one with the Fairlight audio engine.  Seems like a great improvement.  I wonder why they skipped version 13 though?  We’re wondering if they were superstitious?

Larry Jordan:   There’s two numbers that seem not to work in the industry.  Microsoft discovered this too.  Anything numbered eight doesn’t work, and anything numbered 13 tends to be a problem. So, no-one will admit to superstition, but I have a feeling it’s there.

Michele Yamazaki:   Right.

Larry Jordan:  How important are trade shows today to launching new products?

Michele Yamazaki: I don’t think they’re all that important anymore because everything is on the internet, and so the announcements this year seem like they came early.  The Adobe releases were early, pre NAB and it seems like people or companies are trying to move ahead of the glut of information that comes out around NAB to set their products apart, which makes a lot of sense.  Things are subscription based, so they’re being updated all the time, so companies aren’t waiting for the big event to release their upgrades.  So I don’t think they’re all that important any more.

Larry Jordan:  I can appreciate that.  I was on the media list for NAB and the three days, Saturday, Sunday and Monday before NAB, I was getting 200 press releases a day.  You just can’t keep track of that stuff.

Michele Yamazaki:  No you can’t, so it’s nice that they’re spacing it all around.  I know with our company, NAB is always just huge, and it’s now more for sales than news.

Larry Jordan:   Does this shift in emphasis, there’s nothing new at the show, and we’re not launching new products, does that mean we should stop attending trade shows?

Michele Yamazaki:  I don’t think so because of the social value of it.  For example, the Media Motion Ball had its 20th anniversary this year, and that’s always such an amazing event.  We all keep in touch all year online and then we get to see them, so that’s great.  Then you have events like the supermeet where you can meet with people from the companies.  So that’s still an important aspect of it.

Larry Jordan:  If you were to summarize NAB 2017 in a sentence, what would you say?

Michele Yamazaki:  That’s a tough one, I’ll have to think about that.  Nothing groundbreaking but a lot of fun.

Larry Jordan:  Michele, for people that want to keep track of what you and ToolFarm are up to, where can they go on the web?

Michele Yamazaki:  To toolfarm.com.

Larry Jordan:  That’s toolfarm.com and Michele Yamazaki is the VP of marketing for ToolFarm.  Michele, thanks for joining us today.

Michele Yamazaki:  Thank you so much.

Larry Jordan:  In his current role as the director of technology at Key Code Media, Michael Kammes consults on the latest in technology, and best practices with digital media.  He’s also, well he has this strange love of workflows which we forgive him for.  Hello Michael, how are you?

Michael Kammes:   I’m great.  It’s fantastic to hear the smooth dulcet sounds of Larry Jordan.

Larry Jordan:   Yes, well it’s nice that the smooth dulcet tones of Larry Jordan don’t have a cold.  I thought I was going to die at NAB and I managed to survive because now, I get to talk to you.  What were the highlights of the show?

Michael Kammes:  Cloud this, cloud that.  Everything was cloud in south hall, lower and upper.  Everyone was interopping with Microsoft, everyone was interopping with Amazon, and leveraging the AI, the intelligence that these cloud providers have to bolster the feature set of the solutions that the manufacturers in south hall lower and upper were pushing.

Larry Jordan:  What do you mean by AI?

Michael Kammes:  A good question.  So machine learning, artificial intelligence, and I’m not talking Skynet, not talking anything like that, but we’re talking computers who can pick out patterns, and those patterns whether they be speech to text, facial recognition, noticing brand logos and names and we saw a ton of asset management companies taking advantage of this on the back end, saying “Look, you can use our asset management spun up in the cloud, and then leverage these tools within these cloud providers to add more metadata,” as I’m sure Philip will talk about, “to your assets.”

Larry Jordan:  Well one of the things Ned mentioned is that he didn’t see a whole lot of hardware announcements, but did see a lot of workflow, and much more attention being paid to what we’re using the hardware to create.  You notice anything?

Michael Kammes:  Completely.  I think, for years it’s been moving away from custom hardware to generic hardware with custom software.  But one thing Ned did mention that I think we’re a little farther along than he may have made it seem, would be video over IP.  If we look at Grass Valley, at Ross, at NewTec, they’re all developing, or have developed, standards of transmitting video over IP instead of traditional SDI cables.  So we’re a lot farther along than just starting to look at it.

Larry Jordan:  Have they unified around the single standard, or do we have the NewTec standard and a Grass Valley standard?

Michael Kammes:  There’s a lot of different standards, just like HDR and unfortunately SMPTE haven’t finalized their recommendations, and then you have companies like NewTec pushing their own.  So there really isn’t one standard right now unfortunately.

Larry Jordan:  Last year, I almost bought a helicopter.

Michael Kammes:  Really?

Larry Jordan:  Yeah, well I didn’t have the money and I have no place to park it, but it had my name on it.  So what did you see that caught your eye at the show?

Michael Kammes: Well speaking of automobiles, actually I saw one off the show floor.  Lucas Wilson of Supersphere Productions has a partnership with a 2D production broadcast truck.  All outfitted with Blackmagic gear, but what they also do, is shoot 360 and in that 360 broadcast, they superimpose the 2D images.  So if you’re watching a sporting event or a concert, you can have a heads up display almost with stats or facts or other camera angles without taking you out of the 360 experience.

Larry Jordan:  Alright, I’ll get my helicopter, you get your 360 production truck.  Did you sense an overall theme at the show?

Michael Kammes: No, I found that more people, as has been mentioned before, wanted to get news out ahead of time because they realized that they’ll get lost in the white noise.  So I saw a lot of people pushing to get their word out prior to try and garner that kind of press before NAB.

Larry Jordan:  So, what was your feeling, big show or sort of an off year show?

Michael Kammes:  The statistics I read said that we had 103,000 people I think, and 1900 exhibitors.  But the key word that I saw was registered.  It didn’t say how many actually showed up.  So, it seemed a little bit lighter this year, but the numbers say registered were more.

Larry Jordan:  NAB was saying 106,000 the last day of the show.  That was the number they published, so that’s the number that I take away with.  Michael, for people that want more information, where can they go on the web?

Michael Kammes:  Two places, you can go to michaelkammes.com and my web series on technology fivethingsseries.com.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, michaelkammes.com and Michael himself is the voice you’re listening to.  Michael thanks so much for your time.

Michael Kammes:  My pleasure Larry, thank you.

Larry Jordan:  Gary Watson is currently the vice president of technical engagement and the co-founder of Nexsan.  Previously he was the chief technical officer of Nexsan for 13 years.  Hello Gary, welcome.

Gary Watson:  Hello Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan:  It’s my pleasure.  How would you describe Nexsan?

Gary Watson:  Nexsan is an 18 year old manufacturer of storage hardware.  We’ were one of the pioneers of high density, high capacity storage.  So we’ve been making storage for the media world since about the year 2000.

Larry Jordan:  There’s a lot of storage companies out there.  Why should someone consider using Nexsan?

Gary Watson:  We tend to win on people who are either long term Nexsan customers and are happy with our delivered liability, or they’re new to us and they like our feature set, very differentiated high capacity, very affordable storage.  The media people care a lot about simplicity of use, and they want something that has a high sequential bandwidth.  Is designed to be in a closet as opposed to the data center.

Larry Jordan:  I was spending some time before this interview reading your website, and you stress over and over that your files are designed for the IT professional and yet most small and medium size media companies don’t even have an IT department.  Should they even consider your products, or are they too complex to use?

Gary Watson:  We’ve had success with people at all ends of the spectrum.  Our products are very simple to use, there’s a lot of wizards that help you through the routine configuration process.  We also are a local American company for people to just call us and ask us for advice.  We have a lot of small customers.  We have plenty of customers that are just a single person who needs a few hundred terabytes of data.  We tend to skew to the high capacity point so our customers typically are let’s say 100 terabytes and up. Our biggest customer is somewhere around 100 petabytes.  We certainly have all kinds of different configurations for people from pretty small to pretty gigantic.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of configurations, I want to congratulate you on your new product announcement a couple of days ago.  What did you announce?

Gary Watson:  We announced a major hardware refresh to our Unity platform.  Unity is a system that allows you to scale up.  A single system can go to five petabytes.  It has enormous amounts of collaboration technology built into it and mobile access technology, so you can store your media content in there on the local LAN using the traditional SIS/SNB Nash protocols, or NFS.  So that means your Unix and Mac and Windows people are covered.  But we also have technology which allows you to access files remotely.  If you want people to be able to do that, they could use their IOS, Android, Mac and PC devices to securely access assets from wherever they are in the world, as well as a technology which allows data to be efficiently replicated to other Unity systems in your organization.  Let’s say you had a production house in Los Angeles, a production house in New York.  You could designate file systems that are to be replicated from one to the other, and it will continuously keep them synchronized for you, and it does it in a very WAN efficient way without the use of WAN accelerators or manage file transfer appliances.  Very simple, straightforward.  You just click a few boxes in the UI and it just happens.

Gary Watson:  What’s happening, there’s a transition in the media world where Flash is becoming inexpensive enough to be used for ordinary applications, and so we wanted to make sure we had a full product line available for people who wanted to scale up to petabytes of Flash.

Larry Jordan:  What’s an entry price point?

Gary Watson:  I think we have configurations as low as $30,000 and you can spend millions if you want to.

Larry Jordan:  What do you see as the future of storage?  Where are we headed?

Gary Watson:  It looks like spinning disk is going to be the leader on cost per terabyte for a few more years at least, so we’re currently shipping ten terabyte hard drives, and we’re testing 12 terabyte hard drives.  Bigger ones are coming.  The media cost is about ten times cheaper than Flash.  However, just like with your laptop, sometimes Flash is cheap enough, and it has a lot of advantages that you don’t have to think about, you know, having drop frames because you have too many different people hitting the archive at the same time, you don’t have those issues with Flash.

Gary Watson:  At Nexsan, we don’t take sides in that argument.  We offer both.  And in fact you can even have it mixed.  You can have some pools that are available with Flash, some pools that are available with spinning hard drives in the same system.

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

Gary Watson:  It’s just Nexsan.com.

Larry Jordan:  And that website is nexsan.com and Gary Watson is the vice president of technical engagement and the co-founder of Nexsan.  Gary thanks for joining us today.

Gary Watson:  Thank you very much Larry.

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

Larry Jordan:  Philip Hodgetts is a technologist and the CEO of Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System.  Even better, he is a regular here on the Buzz to discuss technology.  Hello Philip, welcome back.

Philip Hodgetts:  Hi Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan:  It is always a pleasure.  What were the highlights and what were the trends for you at this year’s NAB?

Philip Hodgetts:  Well the highlight I think probably everyone points to is Resolve 14.  I’m not sure whether that’s because they’re very excited about Resolve 14, or because it was a relatively quiet show and there was nothing else to be excited about.  One or the other.  I think it’s a very excellent step forward, I’m not meaning to dismiss Resolve 14 in any way, shape or form.  I think it’s a very smart move by Blackmagic and deserves to be watched very closely.  But I think the things that really impressed me at the show was the stuff that I didn’t get to see, because I wasn’t expecting it to be at the show.  That is Microsoft, Google and Amazon and IBM Watson were all there, showing their cognitive services technologies, and that’s a term that is an umbrella for off the shelf kind of artificial intelligence machine learning tools.  You could go to the trouble of hooking up a learning machine and programming it, well training it yourself, or for those common things that we want to look at like speech detects, key word extraction, sentiment extraction, emotion extraction, visual identification, these very common tasks have already been programmed and trained ready for any one of us to just pick up and use in our application.

Philip Hodgetts:  I heard a rumor that I wasn’t able to confirm and I still can’t track it down, but that Adobe was showing searching in Premiere Pro bins based on visual search technology from IBM Watson.  Now that’s the direction that we’re going to be going into.  This idea that instead of having to put in metadata, key words and all of that, that we will be able to derive this stuff automatically.  So we’ll be able to search for boats in an ocean throughout an entire pool.  Oh and Axle, the digital asset management system incorporated the same technology in their latest version, so you can search through your Axle database before it even gets indexed, searching for the image that you’re looking for, rather than for metadata that you would have to have entered or derived previously.

Larry Jordan:  Michael Kammes mentioned in his segment that it would take you about a minute and a half to mention metadata, and you beat him by five seconds.

Philip Hodgetts:  Yay.  I guess it’s unpredictable in that respect.

Larry Jordan:  One of the things that Michael thought was very interesting, and Ned Soltz mentioned it as well, is the shift away from looking at specific software, and much more looking at cloud based services.  But there’s no standard yet for how this works and both Michael, Ned and Michele for that matter, made mention of the fact that we’re still suffering from a plethora of standards which means that we’re stuck in the water.  What do you think?

Philip Hodgetts:  That’s what I’ve always said about standards.  It’s nice that we have so many of them, and they’re all incompatible, and all unique.  Yes, that is going to be a problem.  Depending on the service that you’re trying to put into the cloud, most of these services tend to be self contained, review and approval, or there are asset management systems in the cloud.  The problem still comes down to actually getting your media into the cloud to do any shared collaborative workflow on the bandwidth that we have in most instances, most locations.

Larry Jordan:  One of the things that I noticed, and you just touched on it, I want to emphasize is, we’re starting to see a greater emphasis on collaboration at the lower cost systems, that the price points are moving down so that they become affordable to smaller and smaller work groups.  Did you notice the same thing?

Philip Hodgetts:  I didn’t per se notice the same thing, but I certainly agree that that’s a trend that’s been going on for my entire career from the fact that when I was starting out, Resolve with less than half the capabilities of the current Resolve was, with hardware, a half million dollar investment.  That that is substantially available for free is absolutely indicative of this trend.  The cameras, I started paying 30, $40,000 AUS for a professional level camera when I first started out.  Some $5,000 cameras now produce images that are eight or ten times the size, 16 times the size, and of much better quality.  This trend is not new. It’s just that as we hit new price points and new performance points, it opens it up to more people, people who would never have been able to afford.  Take transcription.  At transcription at $8 a minute as it was not that long ago, is now down to 50 cents a minute, or $2 a minute at Take 1.  These are services that are a quarter of the cost as they come down, and we see not only more automated services, but services coming on line, we’re down to 25 cents or 20 cents a minute.  The wholesale cost is around two cents a minute, so inevitably the cost of transcription will come down under 20 cents a minute for the raw transcription.  And raw transcription will get better all the time.

Larry Jordan:  What were some of the other trends that caught your attention?  One I remember we were talking about last year is drones.

Philip Hodgetts:  Well, I mean drones were everywhere, and they had their own separate program within the conference itself.  There was a drone group out by that rather wonderful colorful rock stack that’s just outside of Las Vegas.  A great place to do drones.  So yes, drones are everywhere and of course they’re getting smarter.  The software for them makes the ability to create great images from a drone that much more accessible to more people because the software is getting smarter.  I first encountered drones … in 2012 and it was an incredibly manual process to fly one.  Having to change mental space as you turn the drone, suddenly forward is now left, and back is now right because they don’t auto correct.  Modern drones auto correct.  If you want it to go forward, it doesn’t matter which way the drone is pointing, it goes in that same direction.  Software is getting smarter.  You can just spin around and the common things, all in software without having to upscale.  An overall trend that we’re seeing is that more and more people can do more and more things themselves with less of the specialized training that was necessary when we all started in the business.

Larry Jordan:  What else caught your eye?

Philip Hodgetts:  Well as I said, when we did the interview from the show floor, I didn’t spend an enormous amount of time on the show floor.  And so I didn’t see a lot of what was going on there, and frankly I almost think I’m happier to have stayed away from NAB at NAB.  I was locked away, it was a hard life in a 59th floor EMO suite with LumaForge who, as Bob Zellen said in his review of NAB, had come out of nowhere to be a front runner in the shared storage space for Final Cut Pro X and Premiere particularly.  I guess I hung around with that guy so I got their picture …

Larry Jordan:  One of the things that Michael felt and Michele both felt, is that there wasn’t the theme that we’re still struggling to figure out what the next technology was.  It was drones two years ago.  It was virtual reality last year.  Maybe it’s HDR this year.  That there’s a lot of searching to figure out where we’re headed.  Would you agree, disagree or have your own opinion?

Philip Hodgetts:  Well it’s almost the wrong question to ask, because these things are not mutually exclusive.  They might be hot and new one year, and there was certainly a lot of focus on VR still around at NAB this year.  But these things are all happening in parallel.  We’ve gone away from a monolith industry into one that is more like a multi-headed hydra.  We have all sorts of types of production that are valid, all sorts of levels of production that are valid, all sorts of ways of producing material that is valid.  These days of one thing, like M2 or DVCPRO, there’s a technology that takes everybody’s imagination I think are probably gone, because there are just so many technologies to specialize in or to take your imagination.

Larry Jordan:  So now that you’ve told us that you were locked in a hotel suite and speaking to no-one for days at NAB, how would you project the future?  What’s going to be happening over the next six months?  Any takeaways from your point of view that we should pay attention to?

Philip Hodgetts:  Absolutely we will see the cognitive services that I started out in conversation with, starting to appear in products.  Not only my own products, but other people’s products.  When you can have visual search for an API that you don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting, when you have speech detects without having to do any of the heavy lifting, without even having to have a PhD on …, although fortunately we do, then these things become more available to more sorts of applications.  Like having direct visual search in your asset management tool.  I think that these cognitive services although they didn’t get a big play because they’re behind the scenes technology, are going to start appearing all over the place in the next six months and through into the next year.

Larry Jordan:  Philip for people who want to keep track of what you’re thinking and what you’re writing, where can they go on the web?

Philip Hodgetts:  The best place is philiphodgetts.com, that’s my personal blog.  Also professionally, it’s intelligentassistance.com or at lumberjacksystem.com.

Larry Jordan:  Can’t you find a single website and just standardize on that?

Philip Hodgetts:  Well you could go to metadata.guru as well.  If you really want to talk about metadata.  Each of these sites serves their own purposes.  I like to keep them individual and focused.

Larry Jordan:  Philip Hodgetts has never met a website that he doesn’t like.  You can find him at intelligentassistance.com and Philip, I hope you feel better soon, having gone through that myself.  That’s intelligentassistance.com.  Philip Hodgetts is the CEO and Philip, thanks for joining us today.

Philip Hodgetts:  My pleasure Larry, thank you.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  NAB redefines the media industry every year.  As Philip mentioned, I too am struck by how quickly trends are changing.  And I suspect this is because our industry doesn’t quite know what to focus on next.  There seems to be a lot of throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks.  If technology’s not immediately successful, it gets dropped for the next big thing, and this kind of thinking drives us all nuts, because it makes us want to sit on our wallets while we wait for the industry to sort itself out, especially when it comes to standards.

Larry Jordan:  I’m also struck by the divergence of opinions from our guests this evening.  No two people agreed on what was important.  It may not have been an off year at NAB but it certainly was a confusing one.  I want to thank our guests this week, Ned Soltz from Red Shark News, Michele Yamazaki from ToolFarm, Michael Kammes from Key Code Media, Gary Watson at Nexsan, and Philip Hodgetts of Intelligent Assistance, and as always, James DeRuvo with DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan:  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.tv which is Take 1 Transcription.  Visit Take1.tv to learn how they can help you.

Larry Jordan:   Our producer’s 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- May 11, 2017

Now that the dust from another NAB has settled, it’s time to look back at what was important and what was just hype. Tonight, our team of reporters and analysts share their thoughts on the significant trends and news from the show. Oh, and Nexsan makes an exciting new product announcement!

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Ned Soltz, Michele Yamazaki, Michael Kammes, Gary Watson, Philip Hodgetts and James DeRuvo.

  • Ned Soltz: Trends from NAB 2017
  • Philip Hodgetts: Highlights from NAB 2017
  • Michele Yamazaki: Was NAB 2017 a Bust?
  • Michael Kammes: Highlights of 2017 NAB
  • Customized Storage, Designed for Media
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Ned Soltz: Trends from NAB 2017

Ned Soltz

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

Ned Soltz, contributing editor to Red Shark News, has been attending NAB for more years than he cares to remember. Tonight he shares his insights about the emerging trends from the 2017 NAB Show.

Philip Hodgetts: Highlights from NAB 2017

Philip Hodgetts

Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System

Philip Hodgetts, founder and CEO of Lumberjack System, exhibited at NAB. But he’s also a technologist and shares his thoughts on what he saw as highlights at the show.

Michele Yamazaki: Was NAB 2017 a Bust?

Michele Yamazaki

Michele Yamazaki, VP Marketing, Toolfarm

Michele Yamazaki is the VP of Marketing at ToolFarm. She joins us tonight to talk about why NAB wasn’t as exciting this year as in year’s past. Is NAB past its prime?

Michael Kammes: Highlights of 2017 NAB

Michael Kammes

Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media

Michael Kammes is a regular on our show but has been attending NAB for years. Tonight he joins us to talk about what he saw at this year’s NAB.

Customized Storage, Designed for Media

Gary Watson

Gary Watson, Co-Founder and VP of Technical Engagement, Nexsan

There are a LOT of storage companies, but only a few provide storage that is customizable to your needs. Tonight we talk with Gary Watson, Co-Founder and VP of Technical Engagement of Nexsan, about their storage designed for media and archiving.

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 – May 4, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney & Labor Reporter, TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter
Harry Ostaffe, Director, Product Marketing, Control Room solutions, Black Box
Erik Weaver, Luminary of the Future of M & E Storage, HGST, a Western Digital Brand
Alx Klive, Founder/CEO, 360 Designs
Nigel Booth, EVP Business Development and Marketing, IPV
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz we are looking at companies and products that we weren’t able to talk to at NAB.  We start though with breaking news from Hollywood.  In late night negotiations, more reminiscent of a TV movie than real life, the Writers Guild of America and studios agreed upon new contract terms.  Tonight, Jonathan Handel brings us up to date on the agreement and what it means for the industry.

Larry Jordan:  Erik Weaver is a futurist at HGST, which is a part of Western Digital. Tonight, we have a wide ranging conversation on the future of storage, the cloud and the impact shooting 4K and HDR media is having on storage and asset management.

Larry Jordan:  Alx Klive is the CEO of 360 Designs.  They create cameras for 360 video capture.  Tonight, we look at the future of 360 video and the differences in production between VR and traditional video shoots.

Larry Jordan:  Nigel Booth is the executive vice president for IPV.  They make mid range media asset management systems. Tonight, he describes what makes his system different from the competition and explains the need for better ways to find your media after it’s been shot.

Larry Jordan:  Harry Ostaffe is the director of product marketing for Black Box.  As more and more productions move towards live streaming and collaboration, we thought it would be interesting to talk with a company that enables collaboration, communication and control.

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

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

Larry Jordan:  Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry, covering media production, post production and marketing around the world.

Larry Jordan:  Hi, my name is Larry Jordan.  Last week was pretty amazing.  We presented 27 hours of live interviews direct from the NAB trade show floor.  We spoke with almost 100 guests and posted all the stories and interviews to our special show page at NABshowbuzz.com.  It was a great effort on the part of our entire team.  If you haven’t had the time to visit, make a point to listen to some of the interviews.  I found all of them interesting because so many of our guests were explaining the leading edge of technology which they were introducing for the first time at NAB.  If your time is short just listen to the five highlight shows that we created.  These feature the best interviews from our entire time at the show.  That website again is NABshowbuzz.com and thanks to everyone that helped put these shows together.  It was a tremendous team effort.

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

Larry Jordan:  Now with NAB ending, it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with a soon to be well rested James DeRuvo.  Hello James.

James DeRuvo:  Hello Larry, my feet are so sore.  20 miles I put on my feet this year.

Larry Jordan:  I tell you, it was an exhausting show.  Wonderful, but exhausting.

James DeRuvo:  It’s so vast.

Larry Jordan:  What were your favorite things from the show?

James DeRuvo:  I saw hundreds if not thousands of booths, and putting 20 miles on my feet, and by far, my favorite device at NAB this year was the Sennheiser MK2 waterproof microphone for GoPro.

Larry Jordan:  The Sennheiser MK2 waterproof mic for GoPro.  I remember you showing me.  It was about the size of a raw almond and it was covered in fur.

James DeRuvo:  Covered in this kind of polymer plastic fur that had a similar density of the fur on a sea otter.  It’s really super dense, really tightly packed, and that tightly packed cover for the microphone is what repels a great deal of the water.  Then the microphone itself is based on the technology used for the head mounted microphones on the Broadway stage.  It’s just got a rubber membrane over it and those two things, coupled with the attachment to the back of waterproof case, enables it to record underwater, at up to one meter, for up to 30 minutes.  But the Sennheiser rep assured me that if you know anything about German engineering, that means that it’s over engineered, which means it could probably last a lot longer.  I can’t wait to test it.

James DeRuvo:  But you don’t necessarily have to be a water action geek to use it because the MK2 also can take wind noise up to 70 miles an hour and not have it sound like there’s any wind at all.  A great device. I can’t wait to play with it.

Larry Jordan:  I’m looking forward to the results.  What else did you find that you like?

James DeRuvo:  There was plenty of other ones, like the SmallHD Fusion HDR Field Monitor.  Ultra bright HDR quality with over a billion colors and SmallHD was so confident of this monitor, that they put their booth this year outside in between the central and the south halls, facing into the sun.  And you could still see all the colors, you could still see the dynamic range, and you didn’t need a lens hood.  It is amazing.

Larry Jordan:  What else?

James DeRuvo:  Then there was the BoxCast.  BoxCast is for live streaming on a shoestring budget.  For under $1,000 you can plug in four 4K cameras into this system.  It’s about the size of a paperback book, and you can stream at 60 frames per second, and you don’t have to rely on Facebook or YouTube, you just get an embed code, stick it on your website or in your social media, you let BoxCast handle all the back end, and you’ve got live streaming in 4K for under $1,000 at $200 a month.  I think this is going to be the way to go for independent filmmakers who want to do live streaming.

Larry Jordan:  So if you were to highlight honorable mentions in a short period of time, what would you come up with?

James DeRuvo:  SLR Magic has announced a low cost, anamorphic lens adaptor.  It’s 1.33×40 anamorphic squeeze creates 2.35:1 aspect ratio when shooting on 16×9 sensors.  It was exclusively designed for the 25mm Cine-3 lens or the 50mm Cine lens, using F2.8.  Here’s the best part, $499.  When you consider that anamorphic lenses are either extremely expensive or difficult to find, a low cost anamorphot adaptor for filmmakers is just what the doctor ordered.

Larry Jordan:  What other stories are you following this week?

James DeRuvo:  Other stories we’re following this week include Sony saying that 8K is a challenge to create in the micro four-thirds platform. DJI puts a Hasselblad medium format camera on a drone, and NASA launches its third annual short film competition.

Larry Jordan:  James, for people that want more information about what’s happening in our industry, where can they go on the web?

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

Larry Jordan:  James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS and joins us every week with a DoddleNEWS update.  James, get some rest and thank you so very much.

James DeRuvo:  Alright Larry.

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

Larry Jordan:  Jonathan Handel is an entertainment and technology attorney of counsel at TroyGould in Los Angeles.  He’s also the contributing editor on entertainment labor issues for the Hollywood Reporter, and best of all, he’s a regular here on The Buzz.  Jonathan, you have been busy this week.

Jonathan Handel:  Busy the last four, five or six weeks in fact.

Larry Jordan:  It keeps you off the streets and out of trouble.

Jonathan Handel:  At least off the street.

Larry Jordan:  Jonathan, the recent Writers Guild negotiations had the entire industry on edge.  It was like a pot boiler.  What’s the story?

Jonathan Handel:  Well it was a pot boiler.  Your last guest mentioned NASA.  I think they were seeing the city boiling from their satellites.  Let’s step back a second.  As I think we discussed a couple of months ago, the Directors Guild agreement expires June 30th, and they did their deal with a minimum of public notice, months ago.  They tend to pre-negotiate their deals and then go into the bargaining session and hammer out the final details.  A lot of data and analysts and the whole nine yards.

Jonathan Handel:   The Writers Guild does it a little differently.  They certainly do analysis, but their feeling is that taking things down to the wire and bringing people to the point where they’ve bitten off their fingernails, is sometimes the most effective way of getting what you want and need.  That’s the method they chose.  Unlike ten years ago where a strike was telegraphed several years in advance, no-one really saw this coming until about six weeks ago or so when suddenly the pot began to boil as you’d say.

Larry Jordan:  It seems like nobody was prepared for a strike. Is that true?  Everybody was walking round looking shell shocked.

Jonathan Handel:  I think it is a true statement.  In fact, even the concept of being prepared for a strike has a limited meaning.  The studios ten years ago stockpiled motion picture scripts.  There was an uptick in motion picture writing before the strike, and then a downtick afterwards as the backlog was worked off.  But you don’t want to make a movie without a writer on tap in real time to make changes, so the idea of stockpiling scripts isn’t as useful.  For television, stockpiling reality shows, and doing deals with reality producers, producers in foreign countries using Canadian product, that’s an area where people can insulate themselves a little bit.  But the Writers Guild held it close to the vest so that people didn’t see the potential labor disturbance coming and had less opportunity to make that sort of preparation.

Jonathan Handel:  I don’t remember exactly when the talks started, about four to six weeks ago, broke off a couple of times.  The Writers Guild then went out and got what’s called a strike authorization vote from their membership, and that wasn’t a vote to strike, but it was a vote to authorize the leaders to call a strike in their discretion, if the contract expiration happened, which was Monday night, Tuesday morning early this week, if expiration happened without a new deal in place.  They got that authorization with a vote of 96 percent of those voting, and two thirds of the members participated in the vote.  Those are high numbers.  The strike ten years ago got a 90 percent authorization so they actually had more backing and more solidarity incrementally than that.  If you want, we can talk about the issues that were in play and why this was so difficult.

Larry Jordan:  Well I think the issues are important because they’re going to be reflected in upcoming negotiations, so summarize the issues.

Jonathan Handel:  There were two big issues.  One of them is easy to summarize which is that the health plan has been running deficits for the last several years and was predicted to run jaw dropping deficits over the next few years.  So the writers wanted an infusion of money into the plan.  The next issue is more paradoxical, so that’s a bread a butter issue.  But the next issue is that in this era of peak TV, of the number of scripted series having more than doubled in the last six or eight years or so, writers oddly enough were making less.  Their incomes had declined in many cases as much as an average of 25 percent according to the Guild.  Why is that?  Well I asked the question, we know there’s a lot of new series, there’s data and charts on that.  But we also know that a lot of these series are shorter than previous network series.  Six, eight, ten episodes instead of 22, so I asked “How many episodes get produced in a year?”  No-one had asked the question, I managed to find some data and it turns out that the number of series over four years had gone up 50 percent.  The number of writers working in television by 20 percent.  But the amount of work for them, the number of episodes produced, only went up six percent.  So writers get hired by the series, but they get paid by the episode, and that’s the source of that mismatch.

Jonathan Handel:   In addition, with shorter series, writers were taking more time to work on each script, so even though they were getting a per episode fee, their compensation on a time basis was being driven down.  Then, even with a short series, you’ve got a lot more of the rest of the year that’s vacant.  Those writers get held on ice, idle and uncompensated under exclusivity provisions which are okay if you had 22 episodes and you worked maybe 30 odd weeks.  You know, there’s less of the year left after 35 weeks or so when you look at vacations and such.   But when you work on an eight episode series, and then get held on ice, that’s a real problem.

Jonathan Handel:  Those were issues, there were a variety of other issues.  Screenwriters’ incomes are down.  There are residuals issues.  So what did the writers get?  They got three percent basic wage increases, same as the Directors Guild.  They got increases in residuals for streaming video on demand like Netflix and ad support video on demand, like ad support Hulu.  Again, following the Directors Guild deal we understand.  On the issue of the health plan they did get an infusion of some extra money, in return for agreeing to some cost saving measures, and on the issue of the short seasons, you’ve got two parts to the issue.  They’re getting paid for fewer episodes and they’re getting held for longer periods.  They got some relief on both halves of that equation.  The screenwriters, their income is down, they did not get relief on that other than the three percent increase in basic wage minimums.  So they didn’t score there, and also did not get what they call script parity which would be the idea that no matter what medium and what budget you write a script for, you get paid the same.  A one hour script on network, same payment for a one hour script on basic cable.  The studios resisted that because it doesn’t fit with the budgetary model.

Larry Jordan:  How do you see this playing out as audiences continue to fragment for television, and we’re seeing more and more over the top services like Netflix come in?  Are we setting ourselves up for more problems in the future, or are they starting to address this?

Jonathan Handel:   Hopefully the structure that they put in place this round, and on the number of episode payments and the structure they put in place three years ago and then extended this round on the hold fees, the idle time, hopefully those mechanisms will be robust enough that as viewing patterns change and series get shorter and so forth, that they will be able to adapt them in the next round and not have as much of a cliffhanger to this.  But there’s no doubt that this is an industry where both the upfront compensation models and the residuals models which most strikes by the way have been about residuals, so this one if there had been one, wouldn’t be.  But both of those get stressed by technological change, because it changes the budget models, sales models, revenue models, the whole nine yards.  The fact of the matter is, as you said, audiences are atomizing, they’re fragmenting.  If there had been a strike it would have accelerated that trend, you would have had re-runs and reality and sports and news on the linear channels.  That would have driven people off of broadcasting cable and onto digital platforms even further, like Netflix which the sell was really easy.  Netflix would say, “Well you never caught Breaking Bad, great series, we have it, why don’t you come watch that instead of re-runs?”   So the difficulty’s not going to end, and the business changes on a three to six to nine month basis, but the contracts only get renegotiated every three years.

Jonathan Handel:  Up next, the Screen Actors Guild, SAG-AFTRA is negotiating their contract in about ten days.  They have some issues with holds and exclusivity themselves.  Their pension plan needs an infusion of money.  It’s not expected to be nearly as contentious or nerve wracking as the Writers process was.

Larry Jordan:  What’s your takeaway from all of this?  It seems to me that the Writers Guild surprised everybody with the strength of their position and the virulence with which they advocated it.  Are you seeing that this is a harbinger of the future, or was this sort of an outlier?

Jonathan Handel:  It’s an interesting thing.  The strongest tools a union has are data number one.  Number two, the threat of a strike, and number three, an actual strike.  But the threat of a strike only works if you occasionally actually do strike, if it’s a credible threat.  This is one of those, will this tactic work again three years from now?  I don’t know.  If they felt it was necessary.  I don’t think so because it’s a “Fool me once, fool me twice situation.  You made me think you were going to strike last time but you didn’t. I don’t think you’re going to strike this time.”  How do you play that?  You’re shifting from poker to chess perhaps.

Jonathan Handel:  The broader takeaway is that in a country that is overall very anti-union, there are fewer than six percent of private sector jobs are unionized, Hollywood is an outlier in that respect in that Hollywood is, not exclusively but very much a union town.  It’s a difficult process, the negotiation process and dealing with these contracts are six, 700 pages each.  They’re stuffed with language that’s completely outdated along with language that’s up to the minute when the negotiations happen.  But even that language goes stale three years out and needs to be modified.  So, to give you a sense of it, the modification documents that say, “Revise paragraph 54A” and this that and the other, those themselves are 50 page, eight and a half by 11 sheets of paper.  So it’s an enormous amount of adjustment that has to go on.

Larry Jordan:  I can’t think of a better person to watch it than yourself Jonathan.  I’ve very much appreciated reading all the articles you’ve written on it.  For people that want more information, where can they go on the web to get more details or get the current state of your thinking?

Jonathan Handel:  Two places.  Thrlabor.com which stands for The Hollywood Reporter labor, and for more about who’s writing this stuff, my website is jhandel.com.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, jhandel.com and Jonathan Handel is the entertainment labor reporter for The Hollywood Reporter.  Jonathan, the only person that can make sense of all this is you, and I’m very grateful for you taking the time to share with us an update on what’s happening with the guilds, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that SAG-AFTRA is not too traumatic.

Jonathan Handel:  Thank you.

Larry Jordan: You take care bye bye.

Jonathan Handel: You too, bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  Erik Weaver is a specialist, focusing on the intersection of the cloud and the media and entertainment industry.  He’s currently running strategy for HGST which is a Western Digital company, and he is a luminary of the future, the first one of these I have ever interviewed.  Hello Erik, welcome.

Erik Weaver:  Larry, thank you so much, appreciate your time today.

Larry Jordan: What is a luminary of the future?  I have to ask.

Erik Weaver:  We have some wonderful creative titles, both at G-Tech, another sub-company.  They actually get to be like Chief Guardians of the Galaxy and stuff like that.  It’s just somebody who gets to go out there and see what actually is going to change the media and entertainment industry, and how that will affect everybody in the normal world.

Larry Jordan:  Erik, I hate to break it to you, but HGST is focused on storage.  Why are you thinking about the cloud?

Erik Weaver:  That’s a good question.  What you’re going to see is almost everybody is moving towards cloud based solutions.  Why we care about that is because there’s really two different solutions there.  There’s cloud and there’s hybrid cloud.  Most people who kind of dove head first in the cloud realize that there’s actually a benefit between both worlds, and finding that balance.  So, all of these things that we’re building right now, large scale object storage systems, are all S3 compliant and S3’s really the language of the cloud.  Then as you begin to need to scale up and out, every cloud that you know will also be an Object storage, which is some of the solutions which we’re building right now.

Larry Jordan:  What’s the benefit of Object storage versus how we’ve been storing stuff to hard disks all our life?

Erik Weaver:  Your … other tier one style systems typically have a footprint that can only grow so large.  Whereas object storage, some of the systems we build, can start at even half a petabyte and grow up to 50 or 100 petabytes.  So as you get into these workflows that begin to grow in size and complexity, 4K, 8K, UHD, these new workflows that have all this data that just keeps growing, you’re going to need to be able to cost efficiently store more things.  That’s really what Object is about being able to scale up very easily as opposed to a complex brittle infrastructure that will not go beyond a certain point.

Larry Jordan:  I think you’re using storage in a very broad context, because you’ve used high speed storage which we would use say for online editing.  There’s Nearline storage which I’m not completely clear the definition of, and you’ve also used archiving.  All three of those would be considered storage, but not all three of those have the same technical specs.

Erik Weaver:  I think you’ve got to be able to get a very good understanding of what are the different tiers of storage we’d need, and what you’re going to best them for.  Again, you might have different needs for editing, whereas you’ll have a whole other need for storing or archiving that, or distributing that content.  Each one of these has a different flavor or need to it within the pipeline.

Larry Jordan:  Why should people be interested in cloud storage when our files as you say are so big and the speed of the last mile, our connection into the internet, is often so extremely slow?

Erik Weaver:  Again, I think this goes back to hybrid workflows.  Yes, there are some challenges to building purely cloud based workflows.  You just absolutely have to figure out how and what works where and when.  If you’re dealing with some editing storage, there’s only a couple of programs out there that will allow you to do things like Avid editing in the cloud, whereas, you might want to keep some of those aspects on site, and then simply use a proxy or use storage in the cloud.  One structure we’ve seen really work well is something called IOA, interconnected oriented architectures where you centralize your storage at a colocation facility like an Equinix or a One Wilshire and then simply work off the proxy files.

Erik Weaver:  I think what you’re going to see a proliferation of is software defined storage.  So what you might need when you’re editing, might need really fast nearline or very fast local storage, but as it goes into archive tiers or other tiers, you might need a whole different set of solutions which you’re not quite as willing to spend as much money on.  So sometimes when you get into archives, that’s more for a long term, and you want to be able to begin to also figure out what is the metadata associated with the files?  How can you retreat and properly find the files themselves?  I actually remember a story of one of the major studios in which they had taken a 30 second clip from a helicopter of an action scene.  When they went to put it into the film, they couldn’t find it.  They had so much content and so many takes and pieces of data, that they couldn’t even find that piece.  So they had to file an insurance claim and reshoot the entire scene at a tune of about $130,000.

Larry Jordan:  So where does HGST fit into all of this?

Erik Weaver:  HGST actually is the world’s largest storage vendor, sorry, Western Digital who owns HGST, as well as G-Tech and SanDisk.  So we can pretty much play anywhere in this pipeline.  We can do everything from devices that drive themselves and other pieces or components there around storage, platforms where we deliver huge numbers of either flash or spinning disk, and then finally, what we’re really getting to get into and focus on, are systems in which you basically can simply roll in something that has 500 terabytes and moves up to 50 petabytes.

Larry Jordan:  NAB just finished.  Did you show anything new at NAB we need to pay attention to?

Erik Weaver:  The X100 was a wonderful release for us.  It’s basically an inner box object storage that you could roll into your facility that represents about 2.4 petabytes starting, and goes up over 50 petabytes.

Larry Jordan:  Erik, you did say petabytes.  That is a ridiculous amount of storage.

Erik Weaver:  What’s really funny about this and people don’t understand is that Hollywood has no choice but go towards HDR or UHD because they can now all shoot it, and the directors and TVs all play it.  So now that the directors see it, they’re like “Wow, this is so much more beautiful.”  But these files are insanely large.  The other thing is figuring out what you keep and what you don’t keep.  Eventually, this becomes a real challenge as well because you can’t just package everything up and try and keep it forever.  It has a burden that just keeps carrying on.  Unlike somewhere you can store it in a thing, and it’s a nice flat rate, it’s easy to understand.  Because you have to constantly migrate this data because you have what’s called the digital dilemma, and that says that both the format in which it’s saved goes bad, and also you get bit rot on the device you saved it on.  So tape goes bad after about five years, and that’s what people have traditionally done.  That’s not going to work anymore.

Erik Weaver:  Actually Hollywood last year did something like 16 exobytes of data altogether, and that number is growing greatly.  So it is going to continue to skyrocket.

Larry Jordan:  Sounds like your job is secure?

Erik Weaver:  As long as we’re supplying the cloud, it certainly is.

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

Erik Weaver:  Head onto HGST.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s four letters, HGST.com.  Erik Weaver is a specialist who focuses on the intersection of the cloud with the media and entertainment industry.  Erik, thanks for joining us today.

Erik Weaver:  Thank you so much for your time.

Larry Jordan:  Alx Klive is the founder and CEO of live VR capture company, 360 Designs.  The company has made waves with its innovative 360 camera designs, live VR workflow solutions, and live VR production credits.  Hi Alx, welcome.

Alx Klive:  Hi Larry, thanks for having me on.

Larry Jordan:  It’s my pleasure.  How would you describe 360 Designs?

Alx Klive:  Well we do three things.  We are a live VR production company, I think first and foremost.  That certainly was the genesis for the company and why I started the business because of my belief in live VR and its future.  And along the way we found that there were no camera solutions for doing live VR that really met our needs and standards, so we developed some cameras and that’s what we’ve become most known for actually, is for our mini EYE professional 360 cameras.  Third thing we do, we’ve started producing some content, so we’re working with director Adam Cosco, on very excellent narrative content, and that’s an area we’re interested in too.

Larry Jordan:  What makes a 360 camera different from a regular camera?

Alx Klive:  Well it provides a fully immersive experience.  This is the move from a 60 degree field of views to a 360 view.  Fully spherical as well.  So that’s the key difference.

Larry Jordan:  How is planning a 360 degree shoot different from planning a regular video shoot, or are they essentially the same?

Alx Klive:  In many ways actually, we feel they are the same, certainly in terms of framing.  In very much the same way as a traditional shoot we can only look in one direction at any one time.  There’s this tendency sometimes with 360 video to have things going on in all directions, but to keep looking around is frankly a pain in the neck, so we think very carefully about this center line if that’s what you want to call it.  When you’re cutting between angles, between cameras, we always give that a lot of consideration.  From a production perspective, there’s quite a lot that’s different in terms of the obvious thing, where do you hide the crew?  Where do you hide the lights if you have those, and other equipment?  So this is something you certainly have to pan around.  Less of an issue with a live VR shoot, but certainly for other kinds of content it can be a challenge.

Larry Jordan:  If we’re spending all this time worrying about framing, and we’re not taking advantage of the full 360, why are we in 360 VR in the first place?

Alx Klive:  That’s a great question.  I think it’s an immersive experience, so the idea that you can look around if you want to, and certainly we see in terms of how people view the content, it’s pretty common that each time you change a shot, people will look around them, but then they’ll focus on the act on the stage in front of them again, which is much like real life.  You’re not going to be constantly looking at the crowd behind you.

Larry Jordan: So it sounds like the experiences that seem to work the best are performance related?  I’m going to say music concert, but it could be theater or other stuff as well?

Alx Klive:  I think there’s a lot of different types of content that work really well.  We’re very much focused on the live VR side.  In that realm I think sports content is huge.  It’s going to become huger.  And as you said, music and entertainment type content, wherever you have fans of a band, fans of a football team, that’s where you’re going to see certainly a big take up initially.

Larry Jordan:  We were talking with another guest earlier on the show about a new form of VR called volumetric, where instead of the camera’s pointing out, they’re all pointing in.  What’s your take on this style?

Alx Klive:  Volumentary video, the concept has been around for a while.  You can move around within a space.  There’s different ways of capturing, it doesn’t have to be outside looking in. But the idea that you have complete six degrees of freedom within a space that’s video, and to move around, this is what it’s referring to. I wonder what the interface for that is going to be.  I think history shows that interactive video content, whether it’s you choose the camera angle or possibly having the ability to move anywhere, move yourself as the camera angle, hasn’t generally worked in the past.  My own views on that, I think it’s too much work for the viewer.  Generally speaking, the reason that television and films have been successful, is it is a passive experience.  You sit back, you let it wash over you, you watch television to relax.  It’ll be interesting to see how it develops.  There’s a lot of great work going into it at the moment.  I struggle with whether people are ultimately are going to want it.

Larry Jordan:  It is an interesting discussion.  In the 360 form, we’re just sort of passive participants in an event, and in the shooting in the volumetric form, it’s like Star Trek’s holodeck where we have to be active participants.  Would that be a fair characterization?

Alx Klive:  How active you need to be, whether you become part of the content experience, or whether you’re like a ghost, just observing it, I think is very interesting.

Larry Jordan:  What did you show at NAB?

Alx Klive:  We had a big announcement around our live streaming VR drone which we’ve developed.  We’ve been developing for a year.  It’s called Flying EYE and it’s a large drone that can stream live, near uncompressed broadcast quality video up to 6K wirelessly to the ground and from there it can go to YouTube or Facebook or a headset near you.  We’ve had a fantastic response to it.

Larry Jordan:  A 6K live streaming drone?  I would say you’d have a fantastic response to that.

Alx Klive:  Thank you.

Larry Jordan:  In your opinion, and I know that you are on the side that firmly believes in it, what do you see the future of VR and more importantly, 360 VR being?  Is it going to be relegated principally to games?

Alx Klive:  I think that’s the clear two sides to VR.  On the one side you have CG generated VR for want of a better description, and that really encompasses all of games.  On the other side you’ve got video based VR, that’s the area we’re involved in.  I think that the two are quite different things.  I think the game side is pretty clearly going to be huge. On the flip side, I think that certainly live VR as far as video is concerned, is going to be an enormous market.  We have predictions of a trillion dollar market in ten years time and this is really based on this idea that live VR, once the quality improves and we’re really at the AM radio stage right now with this, once the quality improves to a level where essentially you don’t see the pixels any more, the quality of the image is stunning and a lot of this comes down to the headset which is the weak link in the chain right now, it becomes like teleportation.  When you can bounce around the world to any event or concert or happening of any interest, live at the tap of a headset, I think that’s going to be very compelling, it’s going to be very popular, and I think it’s kind of a given.

Larry Jordan:  Alx, where can people go on the web to learn more about you and your company?

Alx Klive:  The company name is 360 Designs, you could search for that in your favorite search engine.  Our web address is 360designs.io for input, output.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word.  The numbers 360designs.io, not .com, and Alx Klive is the founder and CEO of 360 Designs.  Alx, thanks for joining us today.

Alx Klive:  Thanks for having us Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Media asset management is important in any project but often it’s misunderstood or not used.  Tonight, we talk with Nigel Booth, executive vice president of business development and marketing for IPV and IPV makes Curator, which is an all in one media management system.  Hello Nigel, welcome.

Nigel Booth:  Hey Larry, great to meet you.

Larry Jordan:  It’s my pleasure because I’m really looking forward to learning more about Curator.  How would you describe this product?

Nigel Booth:  Curator is a media asset management solution that’s focused primarily around the video content production side of the business, and very much finds its sweet spot in sports, the creative services side and more increasingly, unscripted and reality TV production.  And of course, the mainstay of our business, which has historically been broadcast.

Larry Jordan:  There’s lots of companies that are offering some form of media asset management, from Axle at the low end to Dalet at the high end.  Where in this range does Curator fit?

Nigel Booth:  Our main competition would not be at the low, low end, but we would be at the mid end.  We often say that part of the beauty of Curator is it’s an extremely flexible solution but of course part of the problem is, it’s an extremely flexible solution.  So more recently, we’ve been packaging those same software core services to meet the low to mid end, and the mid to high end, and of course it’s the same services and same software that can scale right the way up to the Enterprise.

Larry Jordan:  You’ve talked about a couple of different people that could use it, whether that’s sports or broadcast news.  But give me a sense of who a typical customer is and how they use the software.

Nigel Booth:  A typical customer for us in the news space would be anybody that’s doing logging and tagging of content.  We’ve put a huge emphasis on the tagging of content and we try as much as we can to control or steer the vocabulary that people use because ultimately people need to search for content and find it, and if you can’t search for it and can’t find it, you might as well not own it, and present the user with content that was valid at the time that it was shot.  As I say, that plays right the way through to the production space as well.

Larry Jordan:  Well one of the things you mentioned also was moving into reality television which is known for its ridiculous shooting ratios.  How do you help here?

Nigel Booth:  We put a lot of emphasis on the creation of the proxy, and it has to be something that represents the high resolution media in every which way, right the way down to the frame level.  Our solutions are very much focused around that proxy workflow so we reduce the amount of high risk storage that people require.  We’re able to, even in the context of Premiere, we’re able to stream these live proxies in and out of Premiere, and make those decisions based on the proxy and you can drive two workflows from there.  You can either say, “Yes this is good enough, it’s content I’m going to push directly to social media.”  So I’m going to take those decisions you’ve made against the proxy and apply them to the high res, which could be located anywhere in the world in the case of some of the cloud deployments, and render in the background those effects that you’ve made against the proxy.  This is a fairly unique offering to IPV in terms of the way the integration with Premiere is.  So people can work on the proxy, make those decisions, either this is a late breaking story in the context of news, or it’s something I’m just going to push up to social media.  I’m going to render that directly without ever having to touch the high res in that instance.  Or it’s a high value production and I might want to do some color correction itself.  You’ve rough cut these projects together on the proxy, you can then move to a high res suite if that’s available to you and do your work essentially.  And then publish directly from within the Premiere UI in this instance.

Larry Jordan:  Are you server based or cloud based?

Nigel Booth:  We can either offer a hosted service, a SASS, a subscription, an on prem or an off prem model.  But more typically what we see today is a hybrid approach.  So we might see the proxies that are living in the cloud, and the high res is managed locally.  So in the context of clients that we have such as Hurst, which I appreciate is a large production environment, they’re registering content through their 32 different locations throughout the US, the proxies are being created locally and are then able to be shared right the way across the enterprise.  So if somebody sees the requirement to use a piece of high res content, we will move it in the background seamlessly.  So what they’re not having to do is to send out 32 copies of the high res to every location, filling up their expensive high res storage just in case they might need it.  So it brings some real efficiencies there.

Larry Jordan:  How is your system priced?

Nigel Booth:  In general terms it depends on the number of services, the number of users that need to hook into the system, but we would typically be in and around the 40 to $50,000 mark, as an entry point.  But the system does actually scale up to the Enterprise, so typically those projects could be north of a million.  As I said, importantly, it’s those same software services that are used for small systems right the way through to the large deployed systems as well.

Larry Jordan:  What did you announce at NAB?

Nigel Booth:  We announced a number of improved workflows in and around the creative services side.  I think uniquely as I just mentioned, we’re able to stream these proxies in and out of tools like Premiere.  We showed a deeper integration with Adobe, but in and around the production task and sequence management side of the business, we showed an update to our Premiere integration where we’re able to manage projects and sequences to lock content in and out.  So almost think of it as Interplay Lite if you like, but for Premiere.

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

Nigel Booth:  They need to look us up at www.ipv.com.

Larry Jordan:  That’s ipv.com and Nigel Booth is the executive vice president of business development and marketing for IPV and Nigel, thanks for joining us today.

Nigel Booth:  Thank you very much Larry, I’ve enjoyed talking with you.

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

Larry Jordan:  Harry Ostaffe is the director of product marketing for Black Box, a company that helps customers build, manage, optimize and secure their IT infrastructure.  As more and more productions move toward live streaming and collaboration, we thought it would be interesting to talk with a company that enables collaboration, communication and control.  Hello Harry, welcome.

Harry Ostaffe:  Hi, thank you.

Larry Jordan:  How would you describe Black Box as a company?

Harry Ostaffe:  Black Box is a broad range supplier of products and services for technology, communications industry, collaboration and IT infrastructure.

Larry Jordan:  One of the categories, and I went on your website, you guys cover a huge amount of territory, but one of the areas you work in is media and entertainment, and specifically control rooms.  What does control rooms mean to you?

Harry Ostaffe:  Controls can be a broad segment across multiple industries, but in particular for us, the type of technology that we provide in the control room are things like video wall processing, and KVM technology, video extension and other types of video processing, multi viewing, desktop optimization technologies for control room operators, as well as remote collaboration and sharing.

Larry Jordan:  Now that we’re narrowing it down even further, how would you narrow down your products that relate to media?

Harry Ostaffe:  Our primary offering in that space is high performance KVM, and that’s both KVM switching and KVM extension.  Our focus is on both live production and post production environments.

Larry Jordan:  You use two different terms.  KVM switching and KVM extensions.  What’s the difference?

Harry Ostaffe:  The term KVM stands for keyboard video and mouse, and KVM technology is needed if a user wants to separate the user station from the CPU by more than, say, five meters or so just because there’s inherent distance limitations of video and USB signals.  So, if the CPU is put in a secured area, then some sort of extension technology is needed to get from the user to the server.  And that extension technology is KVM extension.  When you have multiple users, and multiple servers, we can put a switch in the middle so any one of the users can access any one of the servers, and that would be a KVM switching.

Larry Jordan: What kind of distances are you able to achieve with KVM extensions or KVM switching?  How far apart can the computers and the monitors be?

Harry Ostaffe:  Over calix it could be about 1,000 feet, and over fiber it could be six miles.

Larry Jordan:  Oh my goodness.  Let’s just take a really simple example.  I’ve got a post production edit suite where we want to have very large storage devices and computers which are noisy, controlled from a distance.  What do we need to put into the edit suite and what do we need to put in next to the computer?  What kind of gear is necessary?

Harry Ostaffe:  At each end point, there would be a KVM transmitter at the server, and a KVM receiver at the user station.  Typically there would be one receiver per monitor, or there could potentially be a dual head configuration where one receiver would drive two monitors.  But sometimes the user stations are multi monitor desktops.  There could be three or four monitors, so there might be several receivers at the user station.

Larry Jordan:  What is the receiver or the transmitter actually doing?  Where does it connect in to the computer, or where do the keyboards connect?  Walk me through the hooking up process.

Harry Ostaffe:  In the case of a physical server, and we also do connectivity with virtualized servers as well, but for physical servers, the keyboard video and mouse ports that come out the back of the server would connect into the KVM transmitter, and then from there the transmitter would encode the signal, and put it out onto a different type of a medium.  So it could be calix cable, it could be fiber cable or it could be Ethernet, depending on which technology is selected.  And then the signal would go across the wire, and at the receiver’s station, the receiver would convert it back from either calix, fiber or IP converted back to the keyboard, video and mouse signals.  Then those would plug in locally to the keyboard, to the monitor, and to the mouse.

Larry Jordan:  I remember KVM units being clunky switches, with only short run cables.  How has the technology changed?

Harry Ostaffe:  The big change that’s occurred over the years is KVM has changed from analog type circuitry, to digital circuitry.  With digital KVM there’s significant advantages, including the much greater distance capabilities, much better signal clarity, and much greater scalability in terms of building out an Enterprise class system.  So we’ve worked on projects where there are literally 1,000 end points between the number of servers and users.

Larry Jordan:  1,000 end points?  What would be an example of something that’s that big?

Harry Ostaffe:  There’s different types of industries where that would be in play.  One of the industries is military, and another one is broadcast.  There are some very large broadcast operations in the market, and as they build Enterprise level scalability, those broadcasters do connect in a significant number of servers and users.

Larry Jordan:  Does your gear work with Macintosh software?

Harry Ostaffe:  Our gear is independent of any type of operating system, because you’re connecting it to physical layer, so whether it’s Windows or Apple or Linux or any other type of operating system, since the connectivity is at the port level, it’s independent of the OS.

Larry Jordan:  Does this technology make a difference if we’re doing something unusual like color grading or in a color suite where we’ve got different kind of interfaces to work with?

Harry Ostaffe:  Absolutely.  In fact at NAB we demonstrated KVM extension with a FilmLight color grading station, and color grading can be a much more demanding application when it comes to KVM because there’s typically multiple signals versus the standard keyboard and mouse.  So with the demonstration that we had at NAB, there were three USB signals, and three video signals all coming from one server that we were … KVM extension with, and that’s just a little bit more advanced than a typical end user station.  So when you do something like that, that colorization station could be connected to one type of software.  Today let’s say it could be connected to one server today, or for one project today, and then it could be switched over and connected to a different server for another project tomorrow.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of NAB reminds me that NAB just wrapped up.  What were you showing at NAB and tell us more about it?

Harry Ostaffe:  We showed several different things at NAB. One of the primary things we demonstrated was high performance KVM where we showed an authentic looking user station that would be used in a live production environment, or in an OBV type of a vehicle where we have a user station with multiple monitors.  That user, at that station, could switch to any number of servers that were accessible to them.  We also showed, as a variation of that, a KVM over IP platform which we call InvisaPC which not only supports virtual servers, but one thing we do unique in the market, is also we provide access to both physical and virtualized servers.  So whereas somebody previously would have had to have KVM for the physical servers, and let’s say zero client type of a solution for the virtualized servers, through one platform we can access both types of infrastructure.

Larry Jordan:  How do you deal with high resolution images say 4K or greater?

Harry Ostaffe:  4K images can be switched and extended through our KVM platforms with no problem.

Larry Jordan:  You’ve got some amazing gear.  I remember when KVM was much more limited than this.  You guys have been doing some good work.  By the way, I saw a product called Freedom.  What is Freedom?

Harry Ostaffe:  Freedom is a type of KVM product.  It’s more of a desktop product that provides keyboard and mouse switching for a multi monitor desktop.  So for example, if you had four monitors on your desktop and wanted one keyboard and mouse, the Freedom switch provides switching capability that as you move your mouse from monitor to monitor, it’s instantaneously switching control from whatever monitor the mouse is showing on, it’s instantly switching to that server that’s attached to that monitor.  So it’s a way to build a multi-OS extended desktop where you can have different types of operating systems.  But it has the feel, from the user standpoint, as one contiguous system.

Larry Jordan:  Are your products scaled and priced for both small production houses as well as Enterprises?  Or are you really just targeting the Enterprise market?

Harry Ostaffe:  We have a range of different types of KVM platforms. In fact, when it comes to KVM switching systems, we have four different types of platforms and two different types of technology.  The different types of technologies are either what’s called direct connect where there’s a centralized switching chassis, but then there’s also IP based.  So we have the two platforms of the direct connect, and two platforms that are IP based and within those platforms, we offer a range of scalability from a small work team of up to ten end points, up to unlimited where you can have thousands of end points on one system.

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

Harry Ostaffe:  To learn more information, you can go to blackbox.com/broadcast.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, blackbox.com/broadcast, and Harry Ostaffe is the director of product marketing for their control room operations for Black Box.  Harry, thanks for joining us today.

Harry Ostaffe:  Thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan:  NAB is such a huge show, it’s impossible to cover all of it.  That’s why I’m glad that we could present these interviews tonight.  Also a reminder.  Be sure to listen to our NAB coverage, or listen to individual interviews of companies that you’re interested in, by visiting NABshowbuzz.com.  That’s NABshowbuzz.com.  We’ll leave these interviews up for a long time to come, but there’s some really interesting and timely information that I think you would find interesting to listen to, and I encourage you to visit NABshowbuzz.com.

Larry Jordan:   I want to thank tonight’s guests, Jonathan Handel, the entertainment labor reporter for the Hollywood Reporter, Erik Weaver, luminary of the future for HGST, Alx Klive, the CEO of 360 Designs, Nigel Booth, executive vice president for business development for IPV, Harry Ostaffe, the director of product marketing for Black Box.  And as always, James DeRuvo, the senior writer for 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.  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 and text transcripts by Take1 Transcription.

Larry Jordan: Debbie Price is our producer, my name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening.

Larry Jordan:  The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2017 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz- May 4, 2017

With more than 1,700 exhibitors at NAB, it’s impossible to cover them all during our dedicated NAB webcasts. Tonight on The Buzz, we talk with exhibitors that we missed during the NAB Show itself.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Jonathan Handel, Erik Weaver, Alx Klive, Nigel Booth, Harry Ostaffe and James DeRuvo.

  • Writers Guild and Studios Agree to Terms
  • The Challenges of Cloud Storage
  • Live VR Capture for 360-Video
  • All-in-One Media Asset Management
  • Collaboration, Communication and Control
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Guests this Week

Writers Guild and Studios Agree to Terms

Jonathan Handel

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

It was a nail-biter that could have affected production throughout the industry. At the last possible minute, the Writers Guild of America agreed to contract terms with the studios. Jonathan Handel, entertainment labor reporter for “The Hollywood Reporter” shares all the details, tonight.

Collaboration, Communication and Control

Harry Ostaffe

Harry Ostaffe, Director, Product Marketing, Control Room solutions, Black Box

Harry Ostaffe is the director of product marketing for Black Box, a company that helps customers build, manage, optimize, and secure their IT infrastructure. As more and more productions move toward live streaming and collaboration, we thought it would be interesting to talk with a company that enables collaboration, communication and control.

The Challenges of Cloud Storage

Erik Weaver

Erik Weaver, Luminary of the Future of M & E Storage, HGST, a Western Digital Brand

Erik Weaver, Luminary of the Future with HGST, joins us tonight to talk about the challenges of Cloud storage, how to manage vast amounts of media, and how Western Digital, Hitachi and G-Technology are now working together.

Live VR Capture for 360-Video

Alx Klive

Alx Klive, Founder/CEO, 360 Designs

Alx Klive is the Founder/CEO of live VR capture company 360 Designs. The company has made waves with its innovative 360 camera designs, live VR workflow solutions, and live VR production credits, that include the Oscars, SXSW and a VR concert for Sony Music. Tonight, we look at the process of live VR capture.

All-in-One Media Asset Management

Nigel Booth

Nigel Booth, EVP Business Development and Marketing, IPV

Media Asset Management is important in any project – but is often misunderstood or not used. Tonight, we talk with Nigel Booth, EVP Business Development and Marketing for IPV. IPV makes “Curator,” an all-in-one media management system. Welcome, Nigel!

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.