Get the Latest BuZZ Each Week

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – June 15, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Tony Cariddi, Product and Solutions Marketing Director, Avid
Sam Mestman, CEO, Lumaforge
Rollo Wenlock, CEO, Founder, Wipster
Jennifer Jesperson, Relationship Manager, Qwire Music
Rory O’Farrell, Founder, Melosity
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz we are talking about collaboration with an emphasis on music.  We start with Tony Cariddi, the product and solutions marketing director for Avid.  Tony explains the challenges that make musical collaboration different from video and how the latest version of Pro Tools is designed to enable collaboration.

Larry Jordan:  Next, Rollo Wenlock, the founder and CEO of Wipster explains how their video review and approval software has expanded to help media teams collaborate.

Larry Jordan:  Music rights management is a murky science, but Qwire has invented a collaborative tool that allows composers, producers, editors and music rights managers to work together in real time to simplify clearing music rights.  Tonight, Jennifer Jesperson, relationship manager for Qwire Music explains how it works.

Larry Jordan:  Rory O’Farrell founded Melosity to enable musicians to collaborate online in real time to create their music with minimal technical hassles.  Tonight Rory describes how their newly released platform works, and his plans for the future.

Larry Jordan:  When it comes to video, collaboration works best when the technology disappears and you’re able to focus on creatively telling your story.  That’s where Lumaforge can help.  Tonight we talk with Sam Mestman, the CEO of Lumaforge about how they enable video teams to collaborate.

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.  The big news this week is Adobe’s releasing a new version of Premiere to fix a critical bug in the software.  I’ll have more details on this in our news segment with James DeRuvo in just a minute.  In other news, we’re continuing to hear reverberations from Apple’s WWDC conference last week. New iMacs, new laptops and new iPads are now shipping, and initial reports are that everything is a bit faster than we expected.

Larry Jordan:  In the Buzz newsletter which releases tomorrow, I’ll have a detailed article on how to configure an iMac for video editing when you don’t have an unlimited budget.  And in thinking about our newsletter, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Every issue, every week, gives you an inside look at the Buzz, quick links to the different segments on the show, and curated articles of special interest to filmmakers.  Best of all, every issue is free and comes out on Friday.

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

James DeRuvo:  Hi Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan:  I am doing great.  You know James, two days ago, Adobe released an update for Premiere Pro CC that fixed a critical bug that was causing data loss for some editors.  What was the problem?

James DeRuvo:  Well not every update is about killer new features.  Sometimes an update is just about housekeeping and making the app perform better.  And in this case, the update addresses a critical bug in the media cache management that could delete media files by mistake.  And I think we all agree that would be a bad thing.  They also had some stability and performance improvements.  Mostly housekeeping issues, better formats in file support, additional effects and a variety of other fixes scattered throughout the program, but it’s also added 10-bit support for the Panasonic GH5, something that was missing.  And we knew it was going to come sooner or later, and I think it’s pretty cool that it came sooner Larry.

Larry Jordan:  That’s very true.  Well in addition to the Premiere update, what other news do we have this week?

James DeRuvo:  GoPro is still testing their new Fusion 360 camera with a killer new feature. The camera’s the third camera they’ve developed and it is a 360 degree camera with two fisheye lenses, juxtaposed like your typical handheld camera, but it captures in 5.7K resolution and it has three microphones for recording audio in the round.  The real killer feature is this new support called OverCapture which allows you to literally pick out or punch out for a flat traditional clip and export it in 1080p which is called reframing.  So if something happens that’s away from your attention you can literally move the camera in post and grab it and record in 360.  It’s a groundbreaking feature which will give editors and directors the freedom to move the camera where they want it in post after the fact.  I think it’s a game changer for any shooter, not just in VR.

Larry Jordan:  That is an amazing feature.  What else we got?

James DeRuvo:  Yes, it’s going to be tremendous.  We’ll probably hear more about it at the end of the summer.  Also at the end of the summer, we are going to be getting Samsung’s latest 49 inch curved computer monitor.  Imagine in HDTV in front of you and it has a 32:9 aspect ratio.  It was designed for immersive video gaming, the monitor is able to display in 4K at 60Hz.  Again, 32:9 aspect ratio, but it has monitor software that allows you to split the screen up to six different ways.  You could do all of it, or you could do a split screen, you could have four way if you’re doing four way gameplay.  You have up to six different options in there and although Samsung is aiming for the gamer community with this monitor, it’s easy to see how it can benefit us in the post production realm.  Since real estate is everything, the 32:9 aspect ratio gives you the ability to split that image into sectors which gives editors, colorists and visual effects artists a beast of a tool to manage the post production workflow.

Larry Jordan:  This emulates the kind of monitors we would see in a television control room or on a trade show floor where the screen itself splits and we’re able to feed different video sources to different parts of the screen, is that what you’re describing here?

James DeRuvo:  Very similar.  It’s on one screen, but because it has that curved design, you get the periphery and if I can talk about gaming for a second, it’s literally going to be able to show sections of the game to gamers that you don’t see on a regular television.  So imagine doing that while you’re editing virtual reality for instance and you’re doing that OverCapture thing with GoPro, and you’re able to see a lot more and be able to make adjustments. It’s just going to make it a lot easier to do your job and I think that’s going to be exciting.  It’s a little expensive, I believe around $3500-4500, but you can bet that’s going to go down in price as time goes on.

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

James DeRuvo:  All these stories and more are at Doddlenews.com.

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

James DeRuvo:  Alright Larry.

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:  Tony Cariddi joined Digidesign which is now part of Avid, in 1996.  Now he’s the product and solutions marketing director focusing on Pro Tools.  As an audio engineer and artist, he’s recorded, mixed, prepped and cued sound for just about everything, including working with such notable artists as Jennifer Lopez, Keith Richards and Joan Jett.  Hello Tony, welcome back.

Tony Cariddi:  Hey Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan:  How would you describe Pro Tools?

Tony Cariddi:  Pro Tools is an application that is in a category that is generally referred to as a digital audio workstation.  In plain terms, it’s software that enables you to record, edit, and mix audio and it’s used for doing that for music, and music creation.  It’s also loaded with a bunch of MIDI and virtual instrument capabilities, so it’s a very powerful music creation tool.  And at the same time it’s used for audio post production for the biggest films in the world, over 70 to 80 percent of what you hear on the radio and what you see in the movies or on television has gone through a Pro Tools system.

Larry Jordan:  You’ve been with Pro Tools for more than 20 years.  What is it that made Pro Tools so dominant?

Tony Cariddi:  I would say there’s a few factors.  One was we were there early on, and we provided a very robust, very stable solution. It was something that was a really great alternative in those days to doing something very simple, like cutting tape.  In its origins, it was a two track system that was used for editing, primarily.  You could do very surgical precise edits visually using a wave form as a guide, compared to the edits that you would do by eye with tape and rolling the reel to reels back and forth and using your ear at getting a sense of where to cut, based on what you were hearing.  There was just no comparison between the accuracy you could get.  Then as it grew in capability to four track, eight track, 16 track, 32 and up to the hundreds of tracks that we offer today, it was something that we were very focused on making sure that the workflows of our target audience were met.  Originally there was plain old editing, and then we were doing more for audio post production and we partnered up with Avid which like you referred to earlier, was a different company at the time to offer the audio tools for their video editor.

Tony Cariddi:  Fast forward, long story short, we really focused on serving the needs of professionals and making sure that the workflows that they were doing in a then analog world that we could facilitate and really accelerate in the digital world, make it much more efficient, more precise, give them better results.  And for the past 20 years, it’s been a constant process of improving that and further innovating in it.

Larry Jordan:  This week we want to talk about collaboration.  That is, multiple musicians working together, either locally or remotely.  How does Pro Tools allow musicians to collaborate?

Tony Cariddi:  Over the past ten, 15 years, all of our worlds have become a lot more connected than ever before.  We all know that through our phones and our watches and laptops and tablets.  So there’s this expectation that you should be able to leverage these tools whether it’s laptops and high speed internet, make it easier to work with someone else.  What happened to us when we got more connected is in some ways we got less connected in the real world.  We got more connected virtually, but we maybe saw each other less.

Tony Cariddi:   So, with the introduction of all of this technology, we’ve seen a lot of studios close down.  We’ve seen what’s been referred to as the cottagisation of the industry, where a lot of professionals have created their own private studios, their home studios, so in a lot of ways there’s a lot less space timer or real face to face interaction.  So there’s this growing need to keep on working efficiently, so people have relied on file sharing sites to send media back and forth, and it works pretty well.  But the whole reason we introduced new collaboration capabilities in Pro Tools is because we’ve really found that those workflows would basically be today’s version of sneaker netting a drive across the hall, is basically Dropbox which is like, “Hey, I’m going to drag these files over to this Dropbox and let you know I put the files up there.  Time for you to take a swing at it, add your part or do the edit or whatever you’re going to do with it.  Let me know when you’re done.”  Then when they’re done, you’ve got to find what they did.  There’s a lot of manual file management going on.

Tony Cariddi:  We thought there’s a great opportunity to make this more fluid than ever before so we introduced something called Avid Cloud Collaboration in Pro Tools.  It operates in a similar way as a Google Docs would, if you’re familiar with that kind of a paradigm where if you and I were working on a written story on Avid let’s say and you’re writing it, and share that piece with me.  Both of us can start writing the document and editing it at the same time which could be chaotic, but in other circumstances it might be really helpful, like a PowerPoint.  So you could be updating certain slides here and I could be updating other slides and we can keep working at the same time and we never have to collate those changes and figure out what goes where.

Tony Cariddi:  With Pro Tools and Avid Cloud Collaboration, we’ve provided a way for you to share your project on a track by track basis, so you have the ability to share the entire project with every single track and every master and every auxiliary, or you can just share specific tracks or stems.  It’s a real time collaborative environment, where if you make a change, whether that could be pulling down a fader, it could be adding automation, it could be changing threshold on a dynamic effects plugin, it could be doing a playlist change or doing an edit.  All that stuff would be marked as a change and would tell me “Hey there’s a change over there.  Do you want to accept that change?”  And it would give me that simple click of a button, “Yes, I want to accept that change.” Music especially is something that is collaborative by nature.

Larry Jordan:  It sounds to be like music collaboration is different from other media collaboration.  How’s this so?

Tony Cariddi:  Well with music maybe compared to video, it’s pretty complex.  There’s a lot of different tracks potentially.  It’s not uncommon for pop music today to have over 100 tracks in it.  Even a basic rock song can have dozens of tracks easily.  Music by its nature is collaborative.  You know, from the very origins of music we were doing it communally with other people, we weren’t doing it completely alone.  Today it’s still the same.  A lot of people are making music in their bedrooms or in their own project studios, but by the same token, most of the stuff is done by more than one person and certainly when you get to the mix process or if you want a producer involved, if you want other players, it becomes collaborative that way.  What we found is, the better we can make the connection closer and more efficient between those people, the better the experience, the better the results and the more efficient it’s going to be.

Larry Jordan:  Later in this show, we’re going to hear from Melosity which is a new company that provides a web based method of recording and collaboration for musicians.  There are a variety of different collaborative tools for the musician.  Why should musicians consider using the collaboration tools in Pro Tools?

Tony Cariddi:  The benefit clearly of doing it in Pro Tools is that it’s already been used in every major studio.  It’s already established as a workstation that can take you not only from that initial creative inspired step when you’re writing the music, but it can take you all the way to the final mix down and master.  It can take it even further when, let’s say you want to sell that song for some video sync so you can make some money on the back end.  They’re all running Avid too, so you’re in an eco system that is widely used all over the world, and it’s great that there’s very lightweight, browser based solutions.  It’s really cool.  But the problem is working with other people, and the core of collaboration is the compatibility component.

Tony Cariddi:  One of the things that we did to get over the big hurdle, giving access to these capabilities, is we announced that in the coming weeks we’re going to be introducing this same cloud collaboration capability into the free version of Pro Tools, called Pro Tools First.  So literally we’re completely wiping out any barrier to entry into this process.  Now anyone can collaborate with anyone else, using cloud collaboration, and they’re doing it on a platform that’s broadly accepted.  If there’s going to be something that you could call an industry standard, it’s Pro Tools.

Larry Jordan:  What’s required to make collaboration work in Pro Tools?  Do we need a special version?  Do we need minimum bandwidth up to the internet?  What’s the criteria?

Tony Cariddi:  Cloud collaboration was introduced in Pro Tools version 12.5.  We’re currently at version 12.7 soon to be 12.8 in the next few weeks, so you need a minimum of that.  If you’re going to use the free version, Pro Tools First, that’ll be version 12.8 that’ll launch in a few weeks.  Bandwidth wise, we haven’t set minimums.  If you have a slow bandwidth, the performance will be slower, uploads and downloads.  What I can tell you is that anticipating that people never want to wait for anything, and fast is never fast enough, we’ve done a lot of work to accelerate uploads and downloads, and we have flat based lost list compression for the uploads and downloads.  That can cut down a bandwidth up to 50 percent.  I’ll tell you, I’ve done it in a hotel room just with the standard free bandwidth and it was not the way I’d like to work every day, but it was definitely usable.

Larry Jordan:  Am I sending audio files up and down, or am I sending track settings, or am I sending Pro Tools projects?  What’s being transferred?

Tony Cariddi:  Yes, yes, and yes.  You’re sending absolutely everything.  So what’s happening is that the master project is actually living in the cloud.  Any changes that you make on your side, it compares it to what is living in the cloud, the master version, and if there’s a difference, it will put a little flag and what you see as a user is you see an indicator on the track that something’s changed, it’s a little orange button, has an arrow that’s pointing upwards, and that indicates that you have a change, and do you want to upload it to the cloud?  That could be audio, it could be a MIDI velocity change, it could be an edit, a plugin change. Any parameter in Pro Tools that you can think of is fair game in the collaboration.

Larry Jordan:   So I could be experimenting with a different track or different settings, and then when I get the feeling that I want, I can then hit the button and send it up to the cloud?

Tony Cariddi:   Absolutely.

Larry Jordan:  How about security?

Tony Cariddi:   Security wise, this is all based currently on Amazon Cloud Services which has the same level of security that your medical and financial information is stored on.  The security that we trust to protect our most valuable data and financial information is what’s being used for this.

Larry Jordan:  Can Avid listen in on these sessions?

Tony Cariddi:   No.  All of that stuff is anonymous data.  We can’t listen in, you know, it’s not something that we access, unless with the customer’s consent, we need to troubleshoot something.  So you’ll find in the terms and conditions that there’s some legal verbiage in there that says that we can access this stuff if we need to troubleshoot with the customer.  It’s definitely not something that we can listen in on.

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

Tony Cariddi:   They can always go to avid.com/protools.  And for more information on Pro Tools First, you can go to avid.com/ptfirst.

Larry Jordan:  That website is avid.com/protools to learn more about Pro Tools, and avid.com/ptfirst, to learn about Pro Tools First.  Tony Cariddi is the product and solutions marketing director for Pro Tools, and Tony thanks for joining us today.

Tony Cariddi: Thanks, always a pleasure, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan:  Rollo Wenlock is the CEO and founder of Wipster.  He’s also an entrepreneur and a filmmaker.  Hello Rollo, welcome.

Rollo Wenlock:  Hey, good morning, good to hear your voice.

Larry Jordan:   It’s wonderful to chat with you.  The last time we visited was about a year ago, and I want to get brought up to speed on what’s new since then.  So let’s start by describing Wipster.  What is it?

Rollo Wenlock:  Wipster is how we see brands, media companies, freelancers, production companies doing the feedback and sign up process on creative work.  We started with video and we’re expanding it out to all creative assets.

Larry Jordan:  What do the words feedback and collaboration mean to you? Aren’t they the same thing?

Rollo Wenlock:  It’s interesting because there’s this movement in software to make everything collaborative.  In the simplest term it means that more than one person can log into the same thing.  I think in the past it was very difficult to do that.  So now, collaboration really means we can be in the same space, so you can create a working environment say in the cloud or on your computer.  The difference between collaboration and specifically feedback and sign off is that feedback and sign off is a process that all productions go through which is very specific.  It’s that piece where you’ve done some work, you need some notes from some people, and then when you’re at the final stages, you need them to sign it off before it goes out the door.  I think collaboration is the greater umbrella and within that, feedback and sign off lives within it.

Larry Jordan:  How does Wipster enable collaboration?

Rollo Wenlock:  Wipster enables collaboration by creating a collaborative work environment.  We have some teams, we’ve got Time Inc for instance that has a team of over 100 who work in the same environment.  We have big brands, who again have these very large teams who are creating a collaborative work environment in the cloud where they can upload and share work in progress content while it’s being produced.  Then at the end point where it needs sign off, those people can come in, all at the same time or over a period of hours, and sign it off one by one which is really important for a lot of companies.  The feedback is where you make sure that the piece is on brand and then the sign off is really compliance, because if it hasn’t been signed off by the right people and it gets published, you can have quite a lot of big issues that come up.  So it’s a pretty serious piece of the project, and we’re seeing many more companies jump on it because it speeds them up.  Who wants to be hanging around doing all this with email?

Larry Jordan:  Give me a more specific example.  I understand I think in broad strokes, but let’s say we’ve got a team of five to ten people, small not big.  When would they use Wipster, and what would they use it for?

Rollo Wenlock:  I’ll use Shimano as an example.  Shimano is a bike company, they produce bicycles.  They’re trying to turn themselves into a media company which is a theme that I’m seeing.  So they have this small team of video producers, they work in America and Japan.  When they’re producing a video, the editor will upload it into Wipster, through the Adobe panel.  So they use Adobe Premiere, they’re editing, they click one button and it uploads the timeline into the cloud and it automatically invites the stakeholders within Shimano.  So there’s six people that get invited, all the way from somebody who’s looking at the brand, somebody who’s looking at the story, and then somebody who owns the product that the video is about.  They come in, they watch this early edit in the cloud, and as they’re playing this video either on a computer, on a phone, they can pause it anywhere, click on the video specifically and start making comments about that piece of the video.  They can point at a logo and say, “Hey this isn’t the right logo.”  They can point at color grade and say “It could be brighter, or it could be darker.”  They can point at the music track and say, “This music seems a bit dull.  Let’s make this a bit more vibrant.”

Rollo Wenlock:   All these different people can come in at the same time.  They can see each other’s comments in real time, and start having these conversations directly on the video, pointing at things, asking for changes, coming up with ideas.  But what you find is that before Shimano was using Wipster they had a review cycle that went for 14 weeks for one video.  So 14 weeks would pass before they could get to the next edit or even just getting it signed off and then published.  Now this all happens in less than a week, and what it’s allowing companies like Shimano and tens of thousands of other brands to do, is to start thinking like a media company because as you know, if you want to win with concept marketing, you need to win with video.   So now that they have this workflow that’s really efficient, very fast, gets everyone involved, they can now produce a lot more video, pretty much on the same budget as well.

Larry Jordan:  What do you think the future of collaboration looks like?  You’ve mentioned already that many apps are adding collaboration features, what are we going to be doing in a year or two?

Rollo Wenlock:  What I see coming up in the future is instead of viewing collaboration as the be all and end all, collaboration is a means to an end.  What I see coming up in the future is tying very much to what I’m seeing in the market.  I speak to so many brands, so many big companies every day, and what they’re all trying to do is pretty straightforward.  They’re all trying to become media companies.  So if you sell soap, you want to become a media company to sell your soap.  And what I mean by that is that they’re all trying to create lots of short videos put them out on social, put them out wherever the audience is, and we know the audience is not on TV any more.  It’s all social.  It all has to be out on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram.  That’s where it’s all at.  So these companies are going, “How do I figure out what video to make?  How do I get that video produced at high speed, at a high enough quality and then how do I get it out there and analyze whether it worked or not?”  So they’re really trying to invest in video to be their go to market.

Rollo Wenlock:  Collaboration ties into that perfectly because if you create a really succinct, collaborative work environment where you can be producing video at high speed, you can get the creatives you need, whether they’re in your team or not, you can get the stakeholders involved at high speed whether they’re on the phone or not, you can create an ideation to creation to publication workflow that is super high speed.  You’ll be able to win at content and become a media company as well.  So that’s where I think collaboration’s going to tie in.  It’s going to be a means to an end for all the tens of thousands of brands out there to become media companies.

Larry Jordan:  How do we get Wipster?

Rollo Wenlock:  You go to wipster.io and you can sign up or you can talk to a sales person.

Larry Jordan:  How much does it cost?

Tony Cariddi:  It starts at $25 a month for five videos and at enterprise it starts at $1500 a month and you get a customer success rep.

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

Rollo Wenlock:  They go to wipster.io.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, wipster.io, not .com.  Rollo Wenlock is the CEO and founder of Wipster, and Rollo, thanks for joining us today.

Rollo Wenlock:  Thanks Larry, it’s been a lot of fun.

Larry Jordan:  Jennifer Jesperson is the relationship manager for Qwire Music, handling music clearances.  She has more than 25 years of experience in the clearance business, along with helping the company find new business and keep in touch with users.  Hello Jennifer, welcome.

Jennifer Jesperson:  Hello Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan:  It’s my pleasure.  Tell us about Qwire.  What does the company do?

Jennifer Jesperson:  Qwire is basically a software program that helps everyone involved with putting music to picture work better together.  It’s a collaborative tool that is built for music editors, music supervisors, picture editors and clearers, which is what I do.

Larry Jordan:  Why is it even necessary?

Jennifer Jesperson:  If you’ve been involved with any kind of music and post production, there are a lot of things that can happen.

Larry Jordan:  Give me an example.

Jennifer Jesperson:  I was working on a television show and we cleared 30 seconds of a very popular song.  Throughout the week I’d been trying to get information from the music editor and the music supervisor about the specific timing because I wanted to let the artist know.  And I never heard back from them, and when the show aired, I was watching it as it aired for the first time, and they ended up using a minute and 30 seconds.  They didn’t tell me.  So the owner of the song thought that they could charge me three times as much money and I had to negotiate with them to try to keep the fees down, even though we used way more than we should have.  So with Qwire, that doesn’t happen because when the music editor makes a change, the music supervisor or the clearance person sees that change instantly, so you’re collaborating together in real time.

Larry Jordan:   Who are typical customers for Qwire?

Jennifer Jesperson:   It was created by two composers, John Ehrlich and Leigh Roberts.  As it started out, it was just a tool for composers to help them keep better track of the work that they do.  Then as they started showing it around to some friends, some people would say, “Well jeez if you add this feature, then you could get a music editor to use it, and then we could collaborate together.”  And then it grew from there.

Larry Jordan:  Is this a downloaded app, a plugin for editing software, or web base or what?

Jennifer Jesperson:  We have two versions.  We’ve got a file maker version which we call Qwire Music and that is where we have the composers, editors, music supervisors all working together.  But we have also just created a new product for Warner Brothers studios, and it is mainly a clearance product for production studios to use.  It couples the studio’s music clearance tools to a very robust music rights database, and they are our first customer.

Larry Jordan:  Well congratulations.  What does music clearance, and for editors, why should they care?

Jennifer Jesperson:  Music clearance people are the ones who get your approvals.  If you want to put a song in a television show, you need to have it approved.  So what I do is, give me a song title, I do the research, find out who owns it, and there’s a publisher and a record company involved mostly.  And I have to go to each one of those parties and get their approvals and negotiate the fees.  So when I get that done, when I get my approvals, then the music editor knows that they’re safe to put that song in the program.

Larry Jordan:  What if they don’t get clearance?

Jennifer Jesperson:   Then they could get sued, so you don’t want to do that.  But it’s a long, involved process.  If you’ve got a, let’s say, a Bruno Mars song, there could be seven, eight, nine, ten writers on that song with maybe 11 to 13 different publishers.  So you need to make sure that that is approved before it goes to air.

Larry Jordan:   How much does Qwire cost?

Jennifer Jesperson:  Right now we are offering it free to individual users.  All they have to do is pay for a file maker license.

Larry Jordan:  So where does Qwire make its money?

Jennifer Jesperson:   From the studios and the productions.

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

Jennifer Jesperson:   They can go to qwire.com and that is qwire.com.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, qwire.com and Jennifer Jesperson is the relationship manager for Qwire Music, and Jennifer, thanks for joining us today.

Jennifer Jesperson:  Thank you Larry, it was a pleasure to talk with you.

Larry Jordan:   Rory O’Farrell is the founder and CEO of Melosity.  This is a website that allows musicians to collaborate when creating music.  Rory’s background is in marketing until he was struck by the Melosity idea.  Hello Rory, welcome.

Rory O’Farrell:    Hey Larry.

Larry Jordan:  What is Melosity?

Rory O’Farrell:  So it’s an online platform that allows musicians to collaborate together on the same track from anywhere in the world.  So it eliminates the need to have to send files over and back, and cuts out all the time wasting that currently takes place.  We built it from the point of view that we’re all getting busier, musicians included, and we want to build a platform that will allow them to fit their musical passion in the more limited hours that they have every day.

Larry Jordan:  But we can already share audio tracks in Pro Tools.  Why do we need Melosity?

Rory O’Farrell:  Melosity actually allows you to work live as if in the same room.  So if for example, I’m based in Dublin right now and you’re in California.  If we wanted to work together on Melosity, I can record my part and it will appear immediately on the end with you.  You can then record over it, and it appears on my side.  Unlike Pro Tools or something like that, you have to record your part, and then you’d have to send it to me by the likes of Dropbox.  With Melosity, essentially it’s real time.  So it’s as if we’re recording in the same room and cuts out all that file sharing.

Larry Jordan:  It’s not really real time because we’ve got way too much latency with the web.  What does real time mean to you?

Rory O’Farrell:  Real time for me is when I record on my side, once I finish recording it’ll appear on your side.  So rather than have to, like I said, Dropbox or we transfer and send it to you, it cuts out all of that part.  So once I finish my recording it goes to the server, and it goes into the platform, and then you see it on your side immediately, and you don’t have to wait for it, you can just play over it and it’ll appear back in my side.  It also has chat built in, so it has a messenger where we can actually chat to each other, and then we can add comments, right within the project.  So you can add comments anywhere within the project where I can say “Should we add some effects in here or should we maybe tone this down a little bit here?  Or should we add a high hat in here?”  So it allows musicians to get more in depth into the project as if sitting beside each other.

Larry Jordan:  Am I recording in Melosity so I’m not using Pro Tools or not using Audition as a recording function?  I’m recording on your application itself?

Rory O’Farrell:  Good question.  Yeah, you can do both.  We actually have a complete mixture of people that use it.  So we have some musicians that find the other softwares, the Pro Tools and the Cubase’s too complicated, that use our platform just to record, upload and do all the basics.  But then we’ve also got musicians using it alongside their Pro Tools where they’ll use that part to get all the good quality and then they’ll use our platform purely for the collaborative part, I suppose like a sketch pad in order to get their ideas down.

Larry Jordan:  What kind of connection do we need to have with the internet to use Melosity?

Rory O’Farrell:  Our objective was always that we have to make it work for a musician with a really bad laptop in an area with really bad internet connection.  That was always the user that we were building the product for, that if we can get it work for that person then everything else would fall into place. So we’ve not had many issues.  We’ve obviously released it and worked on that quite heavily.

Larry Jordan:  Does Melosity link musicians, that is can it help me find people?  Or can you only work with your existing contacts, for instance if I’m looking for a drummer, can you help?

Rory O’Farrell:  Right now we can’t.  Right now it’s a collaborative tool to work with people you already know but that’s because it’s just version one.  So we only released it a few months back. We’re currently working on a social network that we’re going to build around it.  Version one was always, let’s get a platform where you can collaborate easily with people you know, and then version two has always been, let’s build a social network around it, kind of like a Linked In for musicians where then you’ll be able to find people around the world.

Larry Jordan: How much does Melosity cost?

Rory O’Farrell:  Currently free, and again that’s partially due to the fact that it’s brand new.  Our long term plan is to always keep it free to do all the basic stuff.  Musicians love to collaborate.  How I’ve always seen it is even a solo artist has a backing band.  Musicians in a band are technically collaborating with each other in the band.  So we want to have a platform that really adds value to musicians so the objective is to always have it free, but we’re going to add in some more advanced features for people that want to upgrade.  But to be honest, our objective is that somewhere between five and ten percent will upgrade, and that 90 to 95 percent of people will always remain on the free platform.

Larry Jordan:  Free does not pay the rent.  How is Melosity funded?

Rory O’Farrell:   According to the maps that we’ve worked off, we’d be able to charge, and this is early days, but we’re looking to charge about $10 a month to people that want to upgrade.  And if we get between five and ten percent of people upgrading, we will be able to grow on that.  We have other concept ideas that we’re working off, but for now that’ll be the front runner.  Then the plan will be to add in more monetization ways as we go.

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

Rory O’Farrell:  The best place is to go to melosity.com, so it’s melosity.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, melosity.com and Rory O’Farrell is the founder and CEO of Melosity and Rory, thanks for joining us today.

Rory O’Farrell:  Thanks for having me 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:  Sam Mestman is the CEO of Lumaforge, a company that makes server based hardware that is optimized for media editing.  He’s also the founder of We Make Movies, a Los Angeles based independent film community.  Hello Sam, welcome.

Sam Mestman:  Hey Larry, how you doing?

Larry Jordan:  I am doing great and looking forward to talking to you.  How would you describe Lumaforge?

Sam Mestman:  Basically what we do, at its essence, is we simplify video content for professionals.  That’s our only goal.  And the biggest problem we could tackle at first was to build a shared storage server that’s optimized for video editing, that’s also easy and approachable for editors to set up maintain and basically get some work done on it.

Larry Jordan:  Now I could without really making much effort, throw a rock around and hit about five other vendors who say they make video servers or servers optimized for video editing.  And there’s another million storage vendors.  Why did Lumaforge even enter this market?

Sam Mestman:   Without naming any names, the main reason that we did it was because we used to integrate some of the other vendors, and found that they were not simple and easy to use, and really designed from a video editor’s perspective.  So when it came time to designing our own product, we approached it from the idea of what do post professionals want to do and how do they get as close to a plug and play experience with collaborative editing, as humanly possible, so they’re maybe not a prisoner of the IT department.

Larry Jordan: How do you define collaboration?

Sam Mestman:  Collaboration, in any given project that you might have, you have multiple people that are part of a team that are working together.  When you talk about collaboration specifically for post production, there’s usually multiple departments at play so you have a graphics person, an editor, a colorist, a sound designer, and all of these people need to work together in some fashion.  So when you’re collaborating effectively you are saving time getting from person to person and theoretically making the project and the client significantly happier along the way and spending more time on your story.

Larry Jordan:  How does Lumaforge’s products help editors collaborate?  It’s a server, we log into the server, we get the file that we need, and we log back out again.

Sam Mestman:  No, you should never need to log back out, and you shouldn’t really have to log in.  It should all just kind of happen for you, but really the key is it needs to be optimized for video.  Video is very different than PDF files, and emails and Word documents.  Video has fundamentally different requirements in order to work effectively from a network, and when you’re managing traffic to and from multiple editors, you will find without naming any names, and a lot of solutions, that some of these things break down, especially once you start to hit 4K video.  We have designed a system that is designed for no other purpose than to work with video in an extremely efficient, fast and cost effective way for teams.

Larry Jordan:  So it sounds like what you’re doing is rather than optimizing for small file transfers, you’re optimizing to have enough bandwidth to support media playback off the server to multiple editors which means we’ve got to have both a fast network and fast switches, and a fast server, would that be correct?

Sam Mestman:  Well we actually optimize for both because part of this thing, for instance we designed this to really crack the problem of collaborative editing of Final Cut Pro X, which I have a big background with.  What we found was that for a variety of reasons, Final Cut X libraries could not work very well with it, and the reason for that was because Final Cut X requires lots of small files that are passing to and from and lots of these tiny little interactions with the server, or shared storage, and it also is pulling massive files on video.  So it needs to both things, and that is the thing that we cracked, was that it allows you to deal with these tiny little metadata files which are going constantly to and from the Final Cut library and cache, and it allows you to big pipe for like you can do 16 streams of 4K ProRes directly off the new MacPro on Final Cut X with our server.  And you can do that across multiple machines all at the same time.  This is sort of the deal which is delivering the bandwidth that people need to work, while also allowing the libraries and the projects to work at the speed that they need to work with, and feel like you’re connected to an SSD, because unfortunately most servers feel like you’re connected to the old three and a half inch start up drive that used to be in your old MacPro.  Whereas, we’re now all very used to an SSD, that allows us to edit at the speed of thought.  And what we do is try and do that in a collaborative environment, and build a server experience like that.

Larry Jordan:  Well Final Cut X does not allow two editors to be in the same library at the same time.  Are you saying you’ve found a way around that?

Sam Mestman:  Well, what we do is we allow people to keep their media separate from their libraries, and the best thing to do is duplicate a library so that it’s lightweight.  So it’s kind of the old Final Cut 7 quite honestly, and if the media is separate from the library, and you separate your cache on the server as well, getting someone’s work is as simple as duplicating that library on the network.

Larry Jordan:  Got it, so what we’re doing is, we’re keeping small libraries which makes it easy to create copies, as opposed to cracking Apple’s secret code and being able to have multiple editors editing inside the same library at once?

Sam Mestman:   Yes, and I think that’s what we would all like to see, but to be quite honest this is perfectly functional and usable.  And you can also use the copy and move events commands to move projects and events, and you can match frame back to the same clip from another library if you use the copy and move events command and you have a similar event structure.  That’s some of the stuff that we work with our customers on too which is best practices, not just for Final Cut X but also quite honestly for Resolve and Premiere, and even Avid, in terms of educating them how to collaborate with each other.  We’re not just a shared storage vendor that has support that starts and stops with whether your server turns off.

Larry Jordan:   That’s an important point.  So you support both DaVinci Resolve and Avid and Adobe and Final Cut? Can I run all these on the same server?

Sam Mestman:   You absolutely can.  It’s also Mac, Windows and Linux compatible so you can have all of these working in a cross platform environment.  For instance, you could have a Final Cut editor sharing with a DaVinci Resolve colorist, who is working with someone who’s working in After Effects and that Resolve colorist could be on Linux, that After Effects artist can be in PC, and with our server they can all work seamlessly together.

Larry Jordan:  There’s been a lot of talk recently and in fact next week I think we’re talking with a vendor that provides cloud based collaboration, and Adobe has made an attempt with this with its cloud based offering.   What’s your opinion on cloud versus local storage based collaboration?

Sam Mestman: Well eventually we’ll get there.  That’s where it’s going to be.  The main issue at the moment is the speed of the US’s internet.  And that’s really the bottleneck.  They’re going to have to lay an entirely new network of cabling and internet speeds to even think about dealing with 4K video.

Larry Jordan:  So it’s not going to happen next week?

Sam Mestman:  No, but I do think you’ll be able to do remote editing proxy form in some of that stuff to be able to work offline remotely and have team members living remotely. I think probably the best case scenario is you have a centralized video network for people working in house.  Your remote collaborators would be able to work through proxy or even have your server work as a watch folder with one of these services, and be able to pass renders to and from in varying ways.  A lot of different ways to use it, but having your media in one place, and being able to collaborate remotely with that media and have it be offline and online and all that, and the dream is the completely tied up at the moment due to the cost of cloud storage as well as the fundamental speed that the internet provides.

Larry Jordan:   Let’s shift back to collaboration for just a minute.  Assuming that we’re working off a local network, and we’re not worried about security in terms of the vast hackers that are out there, but how do we keep media and libraries safe when multiple people within the collaborative group, can access them?  What’s the best practice to keep somebody from accidentally erasing somebody else’s media?

Sam Mestman:  The best way to go about it is to do one of two things, which is to either create users and groups directly within your server, or create separate shares where certain things live that are protected or not protected.  Then if you want to get a little bit more complicated, but also a little bit more secure, you can integrate something like Open or Active Directory to do basically user level on a network level, that not combined to your server, and you can have custom user.  So large facilities tend to do that, smaller facilities tend to make just separate shares that have people’s stuff that they can do.  Getting involved on file level permissions is usually more trouble than it’s worth, we’ve found.

Larry Jordan:  It sounds like your hardware software combination’s going to require an IT person to run, is that true?

Sam Mestman:  No. Actually that was the big thing, it had to be someone that somebody like me could use.  And I have no background in that.  In fact I know more than I ever wanted to know, and I want to know less.  We designed something where you can literally plugin, figure out what number port you are, plug that number into our software, it’s going to configure everything in your mount, there’s no switch required. Some of our products are quiet and can live in the room with you.  We have some rack based solutions as well, but it does not require that whatsoever, and so really our idea is not to get rid of the IT department, the idea is to turn the IT department from the gatekeeper into enabling more workflows for their people where they can instead go and start figuring out how to do things better as opposed to keeping users from getting things done.

Larry Jordan:  Sam, for people that want more information about Lumaforge, where do they go on the web?

Sam Mestman:  They go to lumaforge.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, lumaforge.com and Sam Mestman is the CEO of Lumaforge.  Sam, thanks for joining us today.

Sam Mestman:  Larry, thanks so much for having me.

Larry Jordan:  Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  As we’ve heard tonight, collaboration means different things to different people.  But in all cases it means helping creative teams work together more efficiently.  I agree with a comment that Rollo Wenlock made which is that collaboration is at the heart of most creative projects.  And soon all the apps we use will support it in some fashion.  The challenge will be in allowing teams to access the same project while keeping it secure from everyone else.  Collaboration may be extremely helpful to the creative team, but it is extremely difficult for developers to create, and it’ll be interesting to watch this process evolve.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank my guests this week, Tony Cariddi, the product and solutions manager at Avid, Rollo Wenlock, the founder and CEO of Wipster, Jennifer Jesperson, relationship manager for Qwire, Rory O’Farrell, the founder of Melosity, Sam Mestman the CEO of Lumaforge and James DeRuvo for DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan:   There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Make a point to visit today and 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.

TAGS:    •  

Share the Episode

BuZZ Flashback

Five Years Ago Today on The Buzz...


We interviewed Jim Robertson and Rich Kwiat, the co-founders of DoddleMe.com, about their new software to simplify media production.