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Digital Production Buzz – September 28, 2017

Tonight we have a final report from IBC, along with exciting new products from Lumberjack System, Multicam Systems, DoP Choice and ProMax. Plus, James DeRuvo has a special report from San Francisco on GoPro’s latest cameras.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Terry Hope, James DeRuvo, Philip Hodgetts, Paul Stewart, Stefan Karle, and Jess Hartmann.

  • IBC 2017 – New Storage Products
  • GoPro Announces New Cameras and other industry news
  • New at IBC: Builder
  • Live, Automated Streaming Systems
  • Better Ways to Shape Light on Set
  • Better Shared Storage for Small Groups

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Guests this Week

IBC 2017 – New Products

Terry Hope

Terry Hope, Editor, Pro Moviemaker Magazine, Bright Publishing

Terry Hope, editor of “Pro MovieMaker” magazine concludes his series of reports from IBC 2017 with his perspective on new storage products announced at the show.

GoPro Announces New Cameras and other industry news

James DeRuvo

James DeRuvo, Senior Writer, DoddleNEWS

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

New at IBC: Builder

Philip Hodgetts

Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System

Continuing our look at new products, Philip Hodgetts, president of Lumberjack System, announced “Builder” at IBC 2017. Tonight, he joins us to explain their latest technology and how it simplifies editing complex projects.

Live, Automated Streaming Systems

Paul Stewart

Paul Stewart, Director of Business Development, North America, multiCAM Systems

Founded in 2010, multiCAM Systems creates automated streaming systems for live broadcasts. Tonight we talk with Paul Stewart, Director of Business Development for North America, about what they announced at IBC 2017.

Better Ways to Shape Light on Set

Stefan Karle

Stefan Karle, Founder, DoPchoice

DOP Choice was founded by Stefan Karle in 2008. Stefan was a cinematographer who was unhappy with the lighting tools available for soft lights – so he invented his own. Tonight, he showcases their latest lighting products and announcements.

Better Shared Storage for Small Groups

Jess Hartmann

Jess Hartmann, CEO, ProMAX Systems

ProMAX is known for their shared storage systems but, recognizing that people don’t always need a complete system, they released a new product providing a lower-priced entry into workflow storage. Tonight Jess Hartmann, CEO of ProMAX Systems, explains their newest products.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – September 21, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Terry Hope, Editor, Pro Moviemaker Magazine, Bright Publishing
Laura Williams-Argilla, Director of Project Management for Creative Cloud Video, Adobe
Bryce Button, Director, Product Marketing, AJA Video Systems
Thomas Burns, CTO Media and Entertainment, Dell EMC
Dan May, President, Blackmagic Design, Inc.
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan:  Tonight on the Buzz we take a look at the big news coming out of IBC for 2017.  Adobe, AJA Video, Blackmagic Design and Dell.  We start with two overview reports, the first from Terry Hope of Pro Moviemaker magazine, and the second from James DeRuvo of DoddleNEWS.  Each provides extended highlights from the show.

Larry Jordan:  Then we go in depth starting with Adobe.  Laura Williams-Argilla is the director of product management for Adobe’s Video Tools.  She shares the details of Adobe’s latest product reveal and what they are planning for the future.

Larry Jordan:  AJA Video announced a series of new products at IBC.  Tonight, Bryce Button, director of product marketing for AJA showcases their latest products, discusses the expanding role of HDR and explains where their technology is heading.

Larry Jordan: Dell EMC redefined shared storage with upgrades to their Isilon system.  Changes specifically designed for media creators.  Tonight Thomas Burns, the chief technology officer for Dell EMC discusses the significance of their announcements, along with new trends in data storage.

Larry Jordan:  Blackmagic Design had three big announcements at IBC, Ultimatte 12, DaVinci Resolve 14 and Fusion 9.  Tonight, Dan May the president of Blackmagic Design shares the details behind these new releases.  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.  IBC 2017 wrapped up two days ago, so tonight we’re taking an in depth look at some of the biggest news coming out of the show.  We have detailed interviews with Adobe, AJA Video, Blackmagic Design, and Dell.  Plus, we have two extended reports from our folks in the field, Terry Hope and James DeRuvo.

Larry Jordan:  Before we start, Apple will be releasing High Sierra next week, the next version of the Mac operating system.  This includes the new Apple file system, called APFS which replaces the venerable HFS Plus.  My recommendation is to hold off upgrading to High Sierra for a few weeks in case there are any problems with the upgrade or the new APFS.  Then when you’re between projects, you can upgrade when you know it’s safe.  Also APFS only applies to SSD boot disks.  It does not affect Fusion drives, internal hard disks or external media.

Larry Jordan:  Now let’s start out coverage of IBC with Terry Hope.  Terry is the editor of Pro Moviemaker magazine which is a quarterly publication that appears in the UK and the US.  He began his career as a professional photographer, then a videographer and now the editor of a key UK media magazine.  As always Terry, welcome back.

Terry Hope:  Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan:  So what’s the big news at IBC from your point of view?

Terry Hope:  I’ve just got back and it was a very interesting show like it always is.  I would say there wasn’t anything stand out spectacularly show stopping.  But collectively there were lots of interesting things and I noticed a few areas in particular there have been lots of developments within.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s focus on production today.  What did you see in monitors?

Terry Hope:  On the monitor front there was quite a lot going on, and I think what is interesting is that technology’s moving on, and the quality of these products are becoming much higher and the price is coming down.  I visited the SmallHD stand.  They had two to show.  Probably I thought the most interesting one was the Focus 5 inch micro HDMI monitor.  This one is daylight viewable, it’s got 800 nits brightness and it comes in at $499.  The idea for this is that it’s the ideal monitor for those shooting run and gun, so it would fit onto a single person operated rig, and it also comes with all the controls you get on the higher end small HD monitors, so you can learn how to do high end editing on the monitor and then when you move up, you’ll know what you’re doing.  The second monitor from SmallHD was the P3X.  That’s the 17 inch one.  That had incredible image quality said to rival OLED.  That’s also daylight visible at 900 nits, and it comes with things like an ultra wide viewing angle, HDR preview function and ten bit color.

Larry Jordan:  That’s monitors.  What in lighting caught your eye?

Terry Hope:  On the lighting front, again I could see quite a lot of developments happening there.  I was very interested in the light panels, Gemini 2 x 1 light fixture, really powerful, but very compact and it’s designed to be used for both stills and filmmaking.  Obviously daylight and tungsten balanced. What I thought was particularly interesting about this was the fact that it was very easy to control the light really precisely with the dials on the back of it.  You could even replicate precise gel colors and store your settings for re-use.

Terry Hope: I also went along to the Rotolight stand, where they were showing their new Aeos light.  Again, very interesting because this is designed to be a crossover product for photographers and filmmakers.  It delivers continuous light but it can also offer flashlight as well.  So you can have it as a product that does both and of course, typical Rotolight comes with all the special effects such as lightning, fire flickering, TVs flickering, police car flashing blue lights, all that kind of thing.  Very well thought through, and a really nice product.

Larry Jordan:  How about tripods?

Terry Hope:  I’m particularly interested in the Flowtech tripod.  It’s interesting because obviously tripods have been around pretty much since photography was invented and you would think they couldn’t really do much with them to make them different, but this one had really been rethought.  The Flowtech 75 is touted as being the world’s fastest tripod legs which basically means you can operate it all from the top of the tripod.  You don’t have to get down and start changing the length of each separate leg.  You can do it all from the top so it makes it very quick and easy, and it even lays down flat on the floor.  Being carbon fiber, it’s really light to carry around so you can pick it up with the camera on top and carry it to the next point on the shoot.  Very easy to use.

Larry Jordan:  We’ve covered lighting, tripods and monitors.  How about audio?

Terry Hope:   Yet again there was a lot going on on the audio front.  Obviously Rode as always had things to show.  The videomic pro 2 looks really interesting.  A big step up from the videomic 1 which of course has been around for a few years now.  It’s been pretty much a standard for filmmakers.  The 2 just takes it a bit further, and it looked a very good product.

Terry Hope:  Also, particularly interesting, I visited the Sennheiser stand.  A year or two ago they were showing their VR microphone.  That was on the stand again, but they’ve now followed this up with headphones, Ambeo Smart headset, which is put across as the world’s first intuitive compact and mobile 3D sound recording headset.  Basically what that means is it’s a normal headset so you can hear through it, but it also records.  It’s being introduced as the new tool for bloggers and other content creators and I listened to some audio that had been recorded with it, and it was really impressive.  It was phenomenally good.  If it works as well as the demo, then that’s going to be quite a product.

Larry Jordan:  We’ve been talking this week about production.  What I’d like to do is invite you back next week to talk about post, and also your look into the future with some of the new AI stuff that was being shown at the show.  Would that work for you?

Terry Hope:  That would work very well for me, thank you.

Larry Jordan:  Promoviemaker.net not .com and Terry Hope is the editor if Pro Moviemaker magazine, whose website is www.promoviemaker.net and it’s a quarterly publication that appears in the UK and the US, and Terry’s helping us out with our IBC coverage.  Terry thank you very much.

Terry Hope:  Thank you very much Larry.

Larry Jordan:  IBC is too big a show to cover with a single report, so for our second overview of IBC news, we turn to James DeRuvo the senior writer for DoddleNEWS.  Hello James, welcome back.

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry, yes there is definitely plenty to talk about.  I see Terry has already given you a great cook’s tour for all the gear on the exhibitor’s floor, but there’s so much to see, so I wanted to hone in on cameras and it looks like Sony has showed off four new models that prosumers and corporate video shooters are going to want to take a look at.

Larry Jordan:  What did Sony announce?

James DeRuvo:  Sony announced the new XDCAM PXW-Z90V.  That’s first on their list that offers shooting in 4K of up to 120 frames per second, or you can go up to 960 frames per second at a lower resolution like 2K.  This is largely due to a newly redesigned one inch Exmor RS imaging sensor that Sony has crafted from the ground up.  Color wise, the Z90V offers instant HDR, Fast Hybrid focus and XAVC, a ten bit 422 color.  Price, 2799. 

Larry Jordan:  2799?

James DeRuvo:  2799 and it’s a beautiful camera too.

Larry Jordan:  What else?

James DeRuvo:  Next up is the HXR-NX80 NXCAM camcorder.  This is a palm sized professional camera with XAVC S 4K and many of the same specs as the Z90 but in a small form factor, making it an ideal B camera for those wedding video shoots.  2299.

James DeRuvo:  Going even more compact, because we’re going bigger to smaller, there’s the FDR –AX700 Handycam camcorder.  This is likely going to attract the videophile looking to up his game for every day video, and make it look more broadcast quality.  It sports that same one inch stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor, that’s back illuminated, and a slightly slower Hybrid Autofocus system which reads 273 points and offers wider coverage.  Price $1900.

Larry Jordan:  Pricing has really dropped.  That’s pretty amazing.

James DeRuvo:  I know, it’s a great time to get into the business if you’re a budding shooter.  Finally, there’s the Sony RX10 IV.  This comes with a huge24-600mm SuperZoom.  It’s able to record in S-Log3 at 24 frames per second, and Sony promises it has the fastest autofocus in the world.  It records in 4K at 3840 x 2160 in XAVC S, at up to 100 megabits per second, and Sony says the stacked image design allows for imaging of 1.7x more information than 4K requires and the processor downscales it to a full pixel readout so you don’t have any binning or any of that nonsense.  You get a gorgeous 4K image.  Price is $1700 and it ships next month.

Larry Jordan:  Wow.  Clearly Sony was making a lot of camera news.  Was anything else happening at the show?

James DeRuvo:  One of my favorite pieces of gear from this week on the floor was from ARRI and it’s the Skypanel skyline base station.  This is a wireless base station which enables you to hook up these wireless receivers to the ARRI Skypanel and you can basically adjust all of your Skypanels wirelessly by a wifi from a remote base station.  The system comes in 3-receiver and 10-receiver kits, but you can also buy each station a la carte, and it looks to be the kind of tool that’s going to save hours down the road in production time while lighting gets adjusted for each individual scene.  They also announce the ARRI S60-C Skypanel, that sports an anamorphic ultrawide 19mm-36mm lens, and it’s the largest LED light that they’ve ever made.  So it’s easy to see that ARRI has had a hell of a show.

Larry Jordan:  What’s happening on the software side?

James DeRuvo:  On the software side, I know you’ll be talking to my friend Dan May at Blackmagic later in the show, and I’m eager to hear more details about the software and hardware improvements that they’ve been showing off in Amsterdam, including expanded features for that new kid on the block, Ultimatte 12.  Ultimatte also gets some augmented reality tools, and this is fun, that enables on air talent to not only interact with the computer generated images and data, but also walk around them as if they were actually in the way.

Larry Jordan:  What else from Blackmagic caught your eye?

James DeRuvo:  DaVinci Resolve 14 is out of a very successful beta test program.  It has several new features that includes incorporation of the new Fairlight audio technology and since Apple has finally killed support for Final Cut Pro 7 in an upcoming launch of Mac OS High Sierra, users who are looking for a familiar alternative will find an easy to use import of Final Cut Pro timelines into DaVinci’s workflow.  There’s similar keyboard shortcuts and interface design that’ll give users the ability to transition to DaVinci in minutes.

Larry Jordan: I think it’s important to note that if you are using Final Cut 7 it won’t work in High Sierra, so thank you for mentioning that.  The new Resolve update is very interesting, as you mentioned we’ll talk to Dan May about this and Fusion 9 and Ultimatte 12 a little later in the show.  For listeners that want to follow all the latest news 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 James, as always, thanks for joining us this week.  We’ll talk to you next week.

James DeRuvo:  See you next Thursday.

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:  Laura Williams-Argilla is the director of product management for the Creative Cloud video tools at Adobe.  In her role she, and her team, evolved Adobe’s powerful editing tool set for the needs of today’s video creators.  Hello Laura, welcome.

Laura Williams-Argilla:  Thank you hello Larry, how are you doing?

Larry Jordan:  What does evolving Adobe’s powerful editing tool set for the needs of today’s video creators mean?  What are you doing at Adobe?

Laura Williams-Argilla:  At Adobe we work closely to understand how people are using video to communicate and how video influences culture in general.  So we’re looking at how customers who want to communicate with video need those tools to address new ways of communicating with video.  Things like emerging platforms, the involvement with the increasing needs and demands for social video, and just looking at how we can make sure our tools are right in line and keep ahead of the curve in letting them make the best possible content.

Larry Jordan:  Do you view yourself as being part of the engineering team, or part of the marketing team or where?

Laura Williams-Argilla:  I’m part of the product management organization which works with both of those teams very closely.  My organization is made up of the product managers responsible for each of the core product teams, and with those incredibly smart people I’m working with, we work directly with the engineering team to find out what kind of needs our customers have, and the engineering team collaborate with us to find the best possible way to address those needs.

Larry Jordan:  Thinking of addressing those needs, you have announced a flock of new things at IBC.  What’s the new announcements?

Laura Williams-Argilla:  We are doing a reveal of the next set of features for the Creative Cloud video tools, and it’s a wide set of features.  We’re really excited to be announcing themes around helping people to do more in less time, be more creative, make more content, and get the maximum creativity out of the tools that we’re providing.

Larry Jordan:  What are some of the highlights?

Laura Williams-Argilla:  Some of my favorites, we’ve just put a new push in around VR content creation.  Many people are aware that we’ve brought on Metal SkyBox into the Premiere fold, and into After Effects as well.  Those features are now being natively supported in the applications, and accelerated at the same time, so people can have more tools for making immersive content that correctly understands how that immersive content works just right in the tools that they’re using already.

Laura Williams-Argilla:  As part of that, we’ve created the Adobe Immersive Environment which is a really exciting way to visualize your timeline in your headset.  So you can do things that relate directly to your timeline while immersed in the head mounted display.  We’re finding that this is important as people are creating immersive content, the ability to relate while in that immersive environment, to things like trimming our points in their timeline without having to take that head mounted display off.

Laura Williams-Argilla:   We have added the ability to open multiple projects, at the same time.  Something we’ve been getting requests for for a long time.  It’s really powerful, and allows you to copy and paste or move objects between two or more open projects, and they just show up right there in a really easy to address way.  We’ve added more ways to collaborate in Premiere Pro and After Effects.  a lot of people are aware of Team Projects which has continued to add new ways to allow cloud based collaboration with shared assets, so we’re now showing more indications of asset status, we’ve allowed people not only to refer to versions of a project that they’ve shared, we’re also letting customers pull auto saves which was another feature people had been asking for.  So any time that project has been saved is now accessible in a more easily found environment.

Laura Williams-Argilla:  We’ve added an additional way to collaborate because cloud based collaboration is not possible for everybody.  Some environments require you to be offline and not have access to the internet.  We’ve added project locking, which allows people to access a shared project with permissions, so while one person’s editing, another person is out, but they understand who is editing, who’s locked that project.  It’s more a serial collaboration, which is a preferred method for some people.  What we’re trying to do is address the way people work together.

Larry Jordan:  These collaboration tools require Adobe Premiere for Teams correct?

Laura Williams-Argilla:  Team projects does.  Shared projects does not.  That’s part of the regular Premiere Pro application.

Larry Jordan:  You’ve mentioned a lot of collaboration with Premiere, but there are other applications like After Effects and Audition.  What’s the news with those?

Laura Williams-Argilla:  After Effects has a really exciting release this time too.  In our NAB release we provided a new way of sharing graphics from After Effects creatives, so we introduced motion graphics templates which has taken off dramatically.  Every knows that After Effects creates really beautiful, powerful motion graphics but it can be difficult to use and collaborate with.  People can now create motion graphics templates in After Effects, share those to Premiere where only the parameters that are editable are presented, and presented in a way that an editor who doesn’t have After Effects knowledge can really easily access them.

Laura Williams-Argilla:  We’re adding the motion graphics template format to stock, so even if you don’t know a motion graphics creator, you now have access to a collection of really well designed motion graphics templates by some of the best motion graphics artists in the world.  We have increased the functionality of motion graphics templates, adding more types of parameters, and in addition to the motion graphics templates changes in After Effects, we are adding the ability to use data as a footage file.  That sounds difficult to understand, I think a lot of people would not be sure why they’d want to do that.  But if you’re using data to drive animation, you can use data that’s either from static sets or stats that change over time, to drive parameters of your assets.  Imagine being able to connect a template in After Effects to a data set that represents weather around the world.  And by changing the city have it automatically update with the connected information drive the graphic changes that are necessary for that change as well, instead of having to reset each of the parameters manually.  We don’t believe that anybody goes to art school to become a motion graphics specialist to do data entry, and so this frees a lot more time for creativity and polishing that initial template.  We’re creating more graphics across the board.

Larry Jordan:  What’s happening with Audition?

Laura Williams-Argilla:  Actually Audition just won an award from Red Shark Media for Best Audio Product, so we’re pretty excited about that.  We’ve added auto docking to Audition, being one of the big features this cycle.  Auto docking allows you to just quickly have the audio bed dip when voices are over it in the voice track.  So instead of having to do all that manually, it just works really beautifully through an algorithm of machine learning.  You can make fine changes after, but it gets you done or near done in seconds, instead of the manual time of polish.

Larry Jordan: To me, this speaks to one of the sleeper announcements at IBC which is Adobe Sensei, which is the AI based foundation for both Premiere and other applications.  To me this is actually a huge deal.  Can you tell me more about it?

Laura Williams-Argilla:  We’re making a big push to help people get more performance, more information and more visibility into their content by using artificial intelligence and machine learning.  Now I mentioned the auto decking and you’re right, that’s a Sensei feature.  Another feature you’ll see in our reveal that is powered by Sensei is better lip sync control in Character Animator.  We’ve had computers watching cartoons to better understand the relationship between mouth shape and sound so we get that very natural predictable feel that you get when you’re watching 2D animation instead of what was a little bit more accurate, but felt a bit too accurate for animation.  So we’re looking at ways to give you this really beautiful mouth shape to sound performance through machine learning as well.

Larry Jordan:  There was talk at NAB about standardizing the audio engine in Premiere to match that of Audition.  What’s happening in that regard?

Laura Williams-Argilla:  We have been working very hard to put the power of all of the tools behind all of the other tools, so After Effects, Premiere, Audition, they all work on a shared code base.  One of the things that we started seeing at NAB was the essential sound panel.  What that does is simplify some of the most common tasks an editor has to do around audio without requiring them to go to an audio editing application.  We are going to continue to add more and more workflows to that feature within the application.  The goal is really to let people work where they’re most comfortable, in a way that’s the most easy to learn for them.

Larry Jordan: Where does Prelude fit into all this?  Is this going to be incorporated into Premiere?

Laura Williams-Argilla: We have been incorporating parts of the Prelude workflow into Premiere as we take customer feedback.  You’ll see the ingest portion of Prelude has actually shown up in the … workflow as you do some of the transcode functionality.  We’re not announcing any major changes to Prelude right now, but it is an important part of the workflow for many of our customers.

Larry Jordan:  So when are the updates released?

Laura Williams-Argilla:  The updates are released soon.  I can’t give a more fine date than that.

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

Laura Williams-Argilla:  You can always find more information about the video and audio apps in Adobe at adobe.com.

Larry Jordan:  That’s adobe.com, and Laura Williams-Argilla is the director of product management for the Creative Cloud video tools at Adobe, and Laura thanks for joining us today.

Laura Williams-Argilla:  Thank you, have a good night.

Larry Jordan:  Bryce Button is the product marketing manager for AJA Video Systems.  He’s been working in post production since the mid 1980s and joined AJA from Autodesk.  At AJA, Bryce shapes product marketing messaging and initiatives for AJA’s entire product line.  Hello Bryce, welcome.

Bryce Button:  Thank you Larry, great to be here.

Larry Jordan:  Bryce, you’re still in Amsterdam at IBC so let’s get right to the news.  What did AJA announce?

Bryce Button: Our biggest announcement at IBC 2017 was the AJA IO 4K plus, and the IO 4K plus is an IO capture and playback device that you attach to your computer because you’re capturing to the computer, through Thunderbolt 3.  So Thunderbolt 3 connectivity which is what everyone wants with their new Macs and the new iMac Pro to come, and HP and Lenovo machines as well.  That device allows you to connect to other devices like cameras, video decks, digital recorders and players across two key connection items, and that’s 12G SDI and HDMI 2.0.  So it allows you to bring in SDI signals and HDMI signals and play those back out and through the Thunderbolt 3 connection, the video that is captured or played out simply goes across that Thunderbolt 3 cord, which is essential with the new era of Macs, including the iMac Pro that is coming later this year.

Larry Jordan:  What would be a use case?  Who would use the IO 4K?

Bryce Button:  The IO 4K plus is designed to work with all the major non-linear editing systems with its 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 support.  So that of course means that Media Composer, Premiere, Final Cut Pro X, it’ll work with color software, it will also work with streaming software like Wirecast from Telestream.

Larry Jordan:  That’s the IO 4K plus which is a digital recorder.  What other new products did you announce?

Bryce Button:  We also announced 12G support for our fiber converters.  We announced HDMI 2.0 playback on the Key Pro Ultra plus which is our digital recorder and player that handles 4K and HD.  In that case we give you configuration controls for triggering the HDR playback.  We also announced an upgrade for our Helo product in the sense of new firmware that allows you to capture up to six hours to H264 or for streaming purposes of course since that’s a standalone streaming device.  We also showed what is known as HDR10+ support with the new Samsung displays and that’s HDR that has dynamic metadata which allows you to trigger different settings per scene or per shot.

Larry Jordan:  Where does HDR fit into your new releases, because it seems like HDR has got multiple standards associated with it?

Bryce Button:  Yes, so as a company we’re very flexible from that point of view.  We support all the HDR standards, and when it comes to HDR10 for instance, that is a description of what’s also known as PQ, so PQ and SDI HDR10 and HDMI is the same thing.  We do support HLG which is the BBC standard, we support Dolby Vision, throughout OEDMs, our developer cards, and of course now HDR10+.  Folks shouldn’t be worried about this.  It’s not like a standard or as we had in the past with DVDs, so it was a real issue.  Your display is able to recognize these standards.  If you’ve got an HDR10+ display, especially important this year, it’ll support both HLG and HDR10 and it’ll automatically switch when it is triggered to the correct color space.

Larry Jordan:  Is HDR10 an interim spec as we get up toward Rec2100?  Or is it going to be a standalone in and of itself?

Bryce Button:  It’s basically a description of dynamic range, brightness levels on the display, and includes support for effectively what’s known as the BT 20 20 color space, which is the broad color space that we’ve all been aiming for and is applicable for both HD and 4K or ultra HD.

Larry Jordan:  You also announced a relationship with Avid.  What’s going on there?

Bryce Button:  Aha.  So when it comes to working with Avid, they’ve always been a great partner, and effectively what we’ve done is we have created a version of IO4K+ that is dedicated to Avid users for Media Composer, News Cutter, applications like that.  So you can think of it as the same thing as an IO4K+ in the sense that it’s got the same 12G SDI support, the same HDMI 2.0, but specifically on this model, which will be sold by Avid through their channel, you do get an XLR audio input on the front which has Mic/Line and Phantom Power support, so editors doing news pieces, vloggers for instance, can literally plug their microphone right into the front of the device which helps when you’re doing voiceovers to timeline.

Larry Jordan:  Which of your new announcements has gotten the most interest at the show?

Bryce Button:  IO4K+ has had a ton of attention, and then the product that’s probably had the second most attention is what’s known as FS-HDR which we had announced as a tech preview, at NAB.  This is our real time HDR conversion product which is in a 1RU factor, and this product we released just prior to the show with additional features that we hadn’t originally talked about at NAB, and it’s had a huge amount of interest at the show with a lot of orders in its first week.  So it’s a real time device.  It translates or transforms the current standard dynamic range video into HDR.  It can also transform between the different HDR standards, again that’s why we’re not concerned that there are multiple standards out there, they’re just different ways of trying to get the same end result.  You can go from HDR to SDR as well when you have to deliver for normal standard dynamic range screens.

Larry Jordan:  With all these new announcements to look at, where can people go on the web to learn more?

Bryce Button:  We’d love it if you visited our website of course at aja.com and you’ll find that we’ve indeed got a couple of new solution pages there.  If you wanted to learn more about HDR in general as well as Thunderbolt 3, we have solution pages that actually give you a description of what these standards are, what they’re about, how they function, before we get into the actual product information, so you can choose the correct product for your particular workflow.

Larry Jordan:  That website is aja.com and Bryce Button is the product marketing manager for AJA Video Systems.  Bryce, being at a trade show is an exhausting job.  I wish you a successful show and a safe trip home.

Bryce Button:  Thank you very much, it’s indeed been an incredible week here in Amsterdam, and like anyone, I am looking forward to getting home as well.

Larry Jordan:  Thomas Burns is Dell EMC’s chief technology officer for media and entertainment.  He’s a founding member of the StudioSysAdmins networking site, and began his career at Silicon Graphics, developing Maya animation software and managing digital disk recorder products.  Hello Thomas, welcome.

Thomas Burns:  Hello Larry, thank you.

Larry Jordan:  Thomas, you live at a different level than I do.  I’m always focused on individual tools, but part of your job is to take a look at the big picture.  What do you see as key themes coming out of IBC?

Thomas Burns:  I think we all have to understand now that data has mass.  Video is the massiest data of them all.  It has its own gravity with planets and black holes and suns and inertia and all of that sort of physics stuff.  Because truly, data may cost something to store, and it’s not inconsequential, data costs a lot to store, but it costs a lot more to move it from place to place in the global collaborative production workflow that defines so many projects these days.  We have to understand the cost of that data gravity in order to design an efficient production pipeline.

Larry Jordan: What does data gravity mean?  I hold a hard disk in my hand, it doesn’t weigh any different than if it’s full or empty.  What’s the term mean to you?

Thomas Burns:  The term came from big data.  Now we call it analytics, but what I mean is that if I’m on set generating UHD resolution images, in 10 bit, even compressed, even heavily compressed 800 megabits per second or something like that, I still have to have a physical amount of time to copy those camera cards to the DIT station, and then the DIT has to make those copies and checks on them and back them up for the insurance company, and then I have to send one copy to the post house and one copy to the VFX house, and I have to have a down res copy to send to the studio so they can check that I’m spending their production dollars well.  All of these data movements have a cost in terms of human time, infrastructure time, physical time.  Creative projects never finish, they just kind of run out of time.  What we want to do is maximize the amount of time so you can keep doing as many iterations as you can dream of and still make your deadline and still get paid.

Larry Jordan:  It sounds like the situation’s almost hopeless because files are getting bigger and the gravity is going to get denser.

Thomas Burns:  The networks get faster, the disks get faster and we always have cheaper tiers such as object storage, so that we can keep everything but only pay for the expensive storage that we’re actually working on that day.

Larry Jordan:  Media today is devouring storage, especially as we move to higher resolutions like 4, 6, even 8K and the shift to HDR and wider color gamut, file sizes are exploding.  How do you see the future of storage, and how should smaller companies that are not studios, prepare for the future?

Thomas Burns:  One thing I would advise smaller companies to do is all of those drives that are sitting on a shelf, where they archived a project and put it away a year ago, you have to plug in those drives and make sure they spin up at least once a year, twice a year is better.  Because hard drives on a shelf are just not a very good archival mechanism.

Thomas Burns:  In answer to your earlier question about storage requirements increasing, it’s absolutely true and yet we never talk about frame rate.  We always talk about resolution as the driver of greater storage needs, and yet the gaming industry is now standardized on 60 frames per second, some games are 120 frames per second, and some are 120 frames per second per eye.  So frame rate is not only changing the nature of narrative storytelling, but it’s the single biggest driver of the storage requirements that we’re seeing explode.

Thomas Burns:  The obvious answer from a storage company, is “Oh, we’d love you to buy more storage” but we have a tiered approach that allows you to only buy the expensive storage for the stuff that you’re working on today and a really intelligent archiving system so that you park older versions on cheaper and colder tiers of storage.

Larry Jordan:  We’re focusing on news coming out of IBC and I know you’re still in Amsterdam holed up in your hotel room this evening, so what did Dell announce at IBC this year?

Thomas Burns:  We have new version of our flagship Isilon Scale-Out NAS, which is a really great way for people that want to participate in the global collaborative way that feature and episodic projects get made these days.  People talk about cloud, and all cloud really is is an object file system living in somebody else’s data center.  We have ECS which is our object file system, but the big news for us this IBC, is now it’s been almost a year to the day that the merger with Dell and EMC was announced, and so we have a whole end to end bunch of stuff that as a storage company, especially an enterprise storage company, we were never able to show on the booth before.  And that’s the complete range of Dell from work stations to displays, to a really cool technology that artists and content creators would really like to get a hold of, the Dell Canvas.  I was going to say Microsoft Surface because that’s what it makes me think of.  It’s a really interesting, two handed way to work in an interactive artists environment.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s take a deep breath, because we’ve covered a whole lot of products in about one paragraph.  You’ve talked about network attached storage, that’s what the NAS is, but what does Scale-Out mean, and why and where would we use it?

Thomas Burns:  People always start with a USB drive or in the old days it was a Firewire drive attached to their workstation and they always had to wait while you copied the files off to that USB drive, then you walked it down the hall and you had to wait while the recipient would ingest those files onto their workstation.  When you work off of a NAS, any kind of NAS, that problem goes away because you’re editing in place and your collaborative flow gets much better.

Larry Jordan:  Would we think of a NAS as a server?

Thomas Burns:  Yes, exactly.

Larry Jordan:  Go ahead.

Thomas Burns:  Your normal NAS has some technical issues that Isilon’s Scale-Out NAS gets around by being able to expand and control the actual capacity of the storage without having to copy data, without having any down time.  It’s the most flexible and scalable NAS for video production, collaborative video production.  This really more appeals to the storage administrator who normally when you add a couple of terabytes or a couple of petabytes of storage, it’s a big deal and you have to migrate data and you have to manage all of the infrastructure.  With Isilon you just throw the new storage in and it’s automatically balanced to use the new capacity, new CPU and the new network ports.

Larry Jordan:  Haven’t we had this technology for a while?  Why did Dell need to design this new gear?

Thomas Burns:  Isilon’s been in the business of scale-out NAS for 15 years.  We’ve just announced our sixth generation of hardware and our eighth generation of the flagship 1FS operating system if you will, file system.  There’s a number of bundling and competitive advantages to getting into Gen 6 Isilon, our starter bundle provides a really inexpensive way to get in the collaborative shared production flow.

Larry Jordan:  What does really inexpensive mean to a company like Dell?

Thomas Burns:  It’s an enterprise storage product, so it’s going to be more than a bunch of Firewire drives sitting on your shelf.  But the efficiency advantages and the performance advantages are going with all IP storage over a one gig or a ten gig network, make it worth the cost.

Larry Jordan:  Who would be a typical customer?

Thomas Burns:  A four person editorial work group that is used to sharing disks amongst themselves should really look into the workflow advantages of going to a scale-out NAS.  But on the very very large end, broadcasters, visual effects houses, integrated telco, cableco, satco, anybody that deals with large volumes of media for a living, and hates to wait for that progress bar to slowly creep across the screen.  Those are the people that we want to show the benefits of scale-out NAS.

Larry Jordan:  It’s an obvious question but I’m going to ask it anyway.  Dell is a PC company and many media creators are Macintosh based.  Is there an issue of Windows versus Mac versus Linux in terms of connecting your gear?

Thomas Burns:  That’s the beauty about putting everything on a common network such as Ethernet, is that those problems go away.  No client side driver, no custom metadata overlay network, it’s just simple Ethernet.  And it works, and it’s fast.

Larry Jordan:  We’ve been focusing on storage from Dell.  Were there other products that content creators need to pay attention to that you guys announced at IBC?

Thomas Burns:  One of the things that I’m probably going to get for our own internal video production unit, are these Windows XPS 17 all in one workstations.  When I say all in one, it’s like an iMac type of form factor.  The new one from Dell has the most amazing quality 5.1 sound bar built right in, and you know, the dirty little secret, especially in animation where I worked for many years, is that good audio makes your picture look better.  So having good audio right on your desktop without a lot of fiddling and setup is a real boon to people who are doing shot finaling and program reviews just from their desktop.

Larry Jordan:  What else do we need to pay attention to that you guys were talking about?

Thomas Burns:  We announced partnerships with all of the major content creation software companies.  The A’s right?  Avid, Adobe, Autodesk.  We had Autodesk Flame which is typically a very high end uncompressed DPX workflow content finishing tool, and Autodesk Flame usually takes direct attached storage or a SAN because of the performance requirements.  Now we have our Gen 6 Isilon and we can handle 12 Flames hooked up to one of our all flash F800 Isilon units, and it’s just so much easier to work in an all Ethernet network than having to manage all of those individual storage components called LUNs.

Larry Jordan:  I was just counting on my fingers as you were talking, how many storage vendors are out there, and I gave up after about five or 6,000.  Why should somebody consider Dell?  Around here you throw a rock, you’re going to hit two storage vendors.

Thomas Burns:  Dell’s got a huge range of products.  Because of the history of Isilon in the collaborative production group when the editors have to interface with the VFX people and they have to interface with the stuff coming in FTP or Aspera, having everything all in one compact data lake where the path names never change because, no matter how much the storage grows and shrinks, you never have to migrate data or change your path links.  Think of it as the world’s largest expandable D-drive, and that’s a Window’s term.  I could call it the Isilon volume on your desktop, it’s the exact same thing in Mac, Windows and Linux.

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

Thomas Burns:  Dell EMC has a massive website, detailing all of our products.  I would advise you to Google Isilon Gen6, for all the gory details.

Larry Jordan:  Isilon is spelled Isilon and a Google search will turn up what you need to know.  Thomas Burns is Dell EMC’s chief technology officer for media and entertainment, and Thomas thanks for joining us today.

Thomas Burns: Thank you 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:  Dan May is the president of Blackmagic Design and overseas North and South American operations. He’s been an integral part of a core team that has built Blackmagic into a game changing force in the feature film, post production and TV broadcast industries.  Hello Dan, welcome back.

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

Larry Jordan:  We’re talking IBC, we’re talking new products, and now that we’re talking to you, what’s the news from Blackmagic?

Dan May:  Well certainly the biggest announcement we had at IBC this year was the launch of Ultimatte 12.  An exciting launch for us, Ultimatte was a company that we had picked up last year.  Ultimatte has been known in our industry as that very high end green screen capable, keen graphics type of box.  We wanted to redo what they had been doing, bringing that Blackmagic to the product as it were, and we’re very happy to have Ultimatte 12 showing and shipping at IBC this year.

Larry Jordan:  You purchased Ultimatte in September 2016, the same time as you purchased Fairlight, and at the time of the acquisition you announced Ultimatte 12.  What took you so long to bring it out?

Dan May:  We wanted to do all the Blackmagic bits to Ultimatte 12 that we could, so it took us a while to go through and be able to put the technology that Blackmagic had at our fingertips into this box.  So we knew what the big things in Ultimatte 12 from a feature set were going to be was being able to move to this ultra HD space, being able to add these algorithms were going to require more processing power.  These were things we knew were going to be part of that Ultimatte 12.  What took so long was to pool all that together, and of course using Blackmagic’s purchasing power for parts, adding our 12 gig technology to do 4K.  So it did take a bit of time for us to get all that in there, but we’re really pleased with the final product and of course being able to take something like Ultimatte’s, which were essentially $40,000 boxes, and turn this into a $10,000 box, what is truly the world’s leading professional keyer and compositor for these kind of real time capabilities.

Larry Jordan:  What are some of the big new features in Ultimatte 12?

Dan May:  Certainly the ultra HD is a big part of this.  We’ve had HD keying capabilities for a long time in the Ultimatte 11s.  That’s about a ten year old product, and it has been a great product out there for folks that are doing news and graphics of that nature.  But in particular when you start looking at what we see in this expansive development of augmented reality and virtual reality, this is a newer technology where people are trying to get the most out of that capability to make it as immersive as possible, and that’s where ultra HD really comes into effect.  The rest of the bits that are in Ultimatte 12, they’re a little bit more in the algorithm based capabilities, so it’s not as easy to just say, “Oh you get a cleaner key here, you get finer details here, better color fidelity.”  These are all algorithmic challenges that need to be done largely because of wanting to improve the keying and composing capabilities, but especially because as you’re going to ultra HD, those details are going to be noticed more.  The details need to be extra refined and we need to have that processing power built in.  So a lot of it’s under the hood algorithms that really take the ultra HD keying capability of Ultimatte 12 to a whole new level.

Larry Jordan:  Ultimatte was not the only new announcement.  What else is news?

Dan May:  The big things that we also wanted to show at IBC this year was Resolve 14 and of course our latest Fusion update as well.  We announced Resolve 14 at NAB, we had announced Fusion at Siggraph, but both of these were pre-announcements, so these were really the two new softwares that we were able to show for the first time.  Resolve has obviously come a long way from when we acquired that product, being able to pull in all of the Fairlight audio capabilities into the software, how much development time we’ve put into the editing platform.  Of course world class color grading software, and really truly being able to show multiple users working on projects at the same time across multiple machines.  This is something that’s very unique to what DaVinci Resolve 14 does and of course Fusion, an application that has so much capabilities in Fusion 9, again tying into all these capabilities of better rotoscoping, better graphics capabilities, being able to tie into more 3D animation, being able to do even better planar tracking and camera tracking which Fusion was already famous for.  These are great software tools.  Of course, having both these softwares now available at 299 is really remarkable that we can offer that to folks out there, and I think it puts a nice bow on how a lot of these Blackmagic products can all work together, how they empower individuals with tremendous capabilities for relatively very little cost compared to where we were looking ten or 12 years ago.  So a very busy IBC for us this year.

Larry Jordan:  Well this begs the larger question.  Blackmagic has the tradition, and Ultimatte’s a classic example, where you take a package and Teranex is another, which costs tens of thousands of dollars, and you drop the price to below 10,000, or you take Resolve or you take Fusion which was a multi thousand dollar package and now you’ve got a free version.  Where does Blackmagic make its money and do the rest of us need to worry that you’re going to run out of cash?

Dan May:  I’m hoping that that’s not going to be the case, certainly the strategy is not to run out of cash.  The unique part about Blackmagic is the fact that we’ve been able to build a portfolio which is able to leverage all of the pieces of the engine so I don’t need to go and make $3,000 on a Fusion 9 software, because I’m hoping someone’s going to buy a Decklink card, or they’re going to buy some SmartView, or they’re going to buy some Teranexes.  You know, I’m not necessarily going to need to make $20,000 on a camera, because I’m hoping that they’re going to use Resolve and buy again many converters or Decklink cards.  This is a very unique position in our industry.  When you look around at other folk that are in the IBC hall, that we’re in, and what they do, a lot of them are very singular in what they do and how they approach that.  So Blackmagic’s model is not one that we need to maximize the profitability of any one product because we’re being able to fill in a lot of pieces of the overall workflow.  Again, so far that’s worked out really well for us and we definitely believe that that’s a model that will continue on to the future for us.

Larry Jordan:  Looking at Resolve 14, you’ve got three major applications which is editing, color grading and audio all in the same app, all wrapped around a collaborative engine where multiple editors can be editing the same project at the same time.  It almost feels like we’re adding so much stuff that the application’s becoming a jack of all trades, master of none.  How are you avoiding that?

Dan May:  Hey, it’s a big challenge, because when you put up the white board, and say, “What do we want to do and what are the challenges going to be?”  You don’t want to make it so that all these professional color grading folks that have been using this tool for 20 years, suddenly feel like we’ve taken away from color grading capabilities in order to … capabilities.  So you really do have to focus on all of those pages at the same time and give them equal weight.  So much so, that if someone is simply just an editor and never is going to go into those other pages, you have to give them everything that they’re going to need.  The benefit there is that they can be still using the same processing power, so if I’m in the editing page, and I’m not an audio engineer, and I’m not going to go to that level of detail that the Fairlight page will give you, that is perfectly acceptable.  But why wouldn’t I want to have that Fairlight processing power if I am going to be doing audio adjustments, if I am going to be doing some type of feed ramping and timing?  Why wouldn’t I want to use that Fairlight processing power?  Same thing in the color page.

Dan May:   If I am just doing color correction, that’s great, and we know we have all those tools in there, but why wouldn’t I want to have some of the editing capabilities right within that page to say, “Look, this actually needs to be a second longer.  I actually need to add three more frames in order for that transition to work.”  Some of those tools being able to be accessible right within those pages is paramount.  It’s a big challenge.  But we feel like the benefits of that collaborative workflow, having multiple people working on projects at the same time, outweigh the risks that we may run if we were to go the other direction. So it’s not an easy task.  It takes a lot of work, but so far, what we’ve heard back on Resolve 14 is all very positive.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s take a look at Fusion 9.  One of the things that you stressed is that Fusion 9 does not require internet access.  Why is that so important?

Dan May:  One of the problems that we see with the whole internet connection need, whether you’re trying to buy a cloud subscription or whether people are trying to access how many licenses you may have, is that there are a lot of companies out there that are doing high end effects and high end editing work that don’t want to be on the internet for obvious reasons.  There’s been numerous hacks that have gone out throughout Hollywood, because obviously there’s more risk involved there, and obviously more people seeking out those shots or movies or dailies.  There’s just risk of being on the internet.  So one of the things that we have heard from that high end clientele was, we really don’t want to have to have these machines hooked up to the internet just to validate that we can use the software that we’re buying in our case, or renting or whatever you want to look at for other cases.  So, it’s a marketing point that may not affect your everyday Fusion artist that just wants to go and rotoscopes and stuff out of their event video, but at the same point, if I’m going on location and I’m taking my laptop out, you know, I may not have internet access.  So we felt that that was a point that was important enough to put into the marketing to say, you buy this copy of software, it is your copy of software, not required to be online.

Larry Jordan:  There’s two versions of Fusion 9, Fusion 9 and Fusion 9 Studio.  What are the key differences between them?

Dan May:  The big thing that we wanted to do is, and this is very similar to Resolve, we wanted to make sure that we had a very robust free version of the software.  We understand that there’s a lot of people that don’t necessarily want to pay for what may be the highest end features and there may be the need for people to be able to get in and experiment with the software, or they just have multiple seats where they need to have an assistant working on something that doesn’t require all of the high end software.  The biggest things you’re going to see on the Studio is going to be, more of the capabilities that are really on the high end things, like stereo VR, various VR functionalities that we have in there, but a lot of things that also have to do with if you’re working with multiple seats of software.  If I’m someone that just wants to get in and start working with some of this VFX software, by all means the Fusion 9 software which is free is a very robust software for someone to get up and going in.

Larry Jordan:  Dan, for people that want more information about all of Blackmagic’s products, where can they go on the web?

Dan May:  They can definitely come and visit us at www.blackmagicdesign.com.

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

Dan May: Larry, great to be with you.

Larry Jordan:  You know, I was just thinking, due to the time differences between LA and Amsterdam, I recorded the interview with Thomas Burns yesterday morning.  Ever since then, I’ve been thinking about his comments that data has mass.  During the interview Thomas said, “I think we need to understand that data has mass and video is the massiest data of them all.  It has its own gravity with inertia and all that physics stuff.  Because data costs a lot to store,” he said, “and a lot more to move it from place to place, we have to understand the costs of that data gravity in order to define an efficient workflow.”

Larry Jordan:  His comments made me realize that I deal with this issue every day though I have not yet given it a cool name like data mass.  Here at the office, I have multiple computers and about 80 terabytes of storage.  However, I’ve discovered that what I can create is bounded by the speed of my internet connection and the size of the files I need to transfer.  I’m not limited by my storage or my computer, I’m limited by how fast I can transfer the data from one point to another.  In this case, the mass of the data that I need to move, from one place to another, is so large and my pipeline is so small, that it forces me to change what I can create to account for these limitations.

Larry Jordan:  A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  In the past that was the speed of our computers.  Then it was the speed of our storage.  Now it’s how fast we can transfer data from one place to another.  This data gravity is one of the driving factors behind the new Apple file system which speeds copying files, or the new HEVC codec which makes compressed files 30 to 40 percent smaller.  It’s also why many of us are looking for faster ways to connect to the web, and why multi-tasking file transfers on set is so desirable.

Larry Jordan:  As we move toward higher resolutions, faster frame rates, and richer colors, this data mass is only going to get denser.  The solution isn’t in our computers.  It’s in how we connect them.  Just something I’m thinking about.  And as always, I’m interested in your opinion.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank our guests for this week, Laura Williams-Argilla from Adobe, Bryce Button from AJA Video, Dan May from Blackmagic Design, Thomas Burns from Dell, Terry Hope from Pro Moviemaker magazine, and as always, James DeRuvo from DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan:   There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today.  Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Friday afternoon.

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 – September 21, 2017

With IBC 2017 ending this week, we reached out for the latest news from industry leaders Adobe Systems, AJA Video, Dell EMC and Blackmagic Design. Plus, we have two additional reports from James DeRuvo and Terry Hope.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Terry Hope, Laura Williams-Argilla, Bryce Button, Thomas Burns, Dan May and James DeRuvo.

  • News From the Halls of IBC 2017
  • Adobe News at IBC 2017
  • AJA News at IBC 2017
  • Dell News at IBC 2017
  • Blackmagic Design News at IBC 2017
  • DoddleNEWS Update on IBC 2017

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

News From the Halls of IBC 2017

Terry Hope

Terry Hope, Editor, Pro Moviemaker Magazine, Bright Publishing

Terry Hope is the editor of Pro MovieMaker and is our reporter “on the scene” at IBC 2017. Tonight, he presents the second of three weekly reports covering new products announced at the show.

Adobe News at IBC 2017

Laura Williams-Argilla

Laura Williams-Argilla, Director of Project Management for Creative Cloud Video, Adobe

Adobe presented a “product reveal” for their Creative Cloud software at IBC 2017 in Amsterdam this week. Tonight, we are joined by Laura Williams-Argilla, director of product management for Adobe, with more details on their latest updates.

AJA News at IBC 2017

Bryce Button

Bryce Button, Director, Product Marketing, AJA Video Systems

AJA Video announced a series of new products at IBC 2017 earlier this week. Tonight, Bryce Button, director of product marketing for AJA, joins us to showcase their latest products and where they fit in video production today.

Dell News at IBC 2017

Thomas Burns

Thomas Burns, CTO Media and Entertainment, Dell EMC

Dell EMC announced a series of innovative storage options specifically designed for media creators. Tonight we talk with Thomas Burns, Chief Technology Officer for Media and Entertainment at Dell EMC, about changes to their Isilon storage platform, the future of storage for media and a new concept coming out of IBC – that data has “mass.”

Blackmagic Design News at IBC 2017

Dan May

Dan May, President, Blackmagic Design, Inc.

Blackmagic Design had three big announcements at IBC 2017: Ultimatte 12, DaVinci Resolve 14 and Fusion 9. Tonight, Dan May, president of Blackmagic Design, joins us to share their news and highlight what it means.

DoddleNEWS Update on IBC 2017

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. With experience covering technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James presents our weekly DoddleNEWS Update covering new product news from IBC 2017.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – September 14, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Terry Hope, Editor, Pro Moviemaker Magazine, Bright Publishing
James DeRuvo, Senior Writer, DoddleNEWS
John Pritchard, Founder/Director, The One Heart – One Spirit Project
Andy White, Creative Director, Saddington Baynes
Robin L. Bronk, CEO, The Creative Coalition

==

Larry Jordan: The massive IBC trade show opened this morning and we have a series of reports covering the latest news.  Then we turn our attention away from IBC to introduce some new companies that are worth getting to know better.  We start with Terry Hope, editor of UK based Pro Moviemaker magazine for a pre-show look at announcements at IBC.

Larry Jordan:  Then James DeRuvo extends his DoddleNEWS update to cover the latest news from both Apple and IBC.

Larry Jordan:  Producer director John Pritchard talks about the process he used to get his documentary, One Heart One Spirit, entered into a film festival, what it took to win the film festival and what he’s learned in the process.

Larry Jordan:  Andy White is the creative director for Saddington Baynes.  This artisan production agency has built a reputation for cutting edge visual effects.  Tonight Andy shares his thoughts on the current state of visual effects.

Larry Jordan:  Media today tells stories.  Whether that is as simple as a commercial or as complex as a documentary, tonight we talk with Robin Bronk, CEO of the Creative Coalition, about the role media has in raising awareness for pressing social issues around the world. 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.  Yesterday morning, Adobe announced their latest updates to Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition and Character Animator which they also plan to demo at IBC this week.

Larry Jordan:  The biggest news is Adobe Sensei, a framework for artificial intelligence and machine learning that’s built into the Adobe Cloud platform which leverages Adobe’s massive volume of content and data assets. Adobe Sensei is designed to improve the design and delivery of digital experiences.  New features in Premiere include the ability to open multiple projects at the same time, improvements to the essential graphics panel, the ability to access motion graphics templates using Adobe stock, improve virtual reality video creation and support for common consumer headsets.  360 VR audio can now be positioned by orientation and position, and exported as an ambisonics file and team projects in Premiere are now released and allow project locking to prevent accidental changes.

Larry Jordan:  In After Effects we can now create and update animated graphics using data sets, and there are improved expressions for faster production and animation.

Larry Jordan:  New features in Audition include improved session organization for multi-take workflows, continuous playback while editing, autodocking is now included in the essential sound panel which simplifies us mixing music.  There’s improved hardware support, and faster export of mixdowns.

Larry Jordan: New features in Character Animator include improved animation functions, improved lip syncing and improved puppet controls.

Larry Jordan:  The updates will be included as part of the Adobe subscription service and available later this fall.  Adobe did not announce a release date.

Larry Jordan:   These Adobe announcements are only the start of news coming out of IBC.  We’re going to take a short break then return with two IBC reports, the first from Terry Hope, followed by James DeRuvo with more insight on what’s being announced at the show.

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, film makers and story tellers.  From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed.  Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go.  Doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan:  Terry Hope is the editor of Pro Moviemaker magazine which is a quarterly publication that appears in the UK and the US.  He began his career as a professional photographer, then a videographer and now the editor of a key UK media magazine.  Hello Terry, welcome.

Terry Hope:  Hello Larry, thank you for having me on.

Larry Jordan:  Terry this year the Buzz teamed with Pro Moviemaker magazine to expand our coverage of IBC, however before we get to the news from the show, how would you describe your magazine?

Terry Hope:  Well the magazine developed organically.  It started off as a supplement about four years ago, and just grew.  It was just a few pages long to start with, and now it’s a magazine in its own right.  Initially we were talking about filmmaking from a photographer’s point of view of how you moved into that world, but now of course we’ve reached maturity and we get a lot of people who are pure filmmakers, they aren’t photographers at all.  Our audience is professional filmmakers, normally commercial as opposed to independent filmmakers, so they could be anything from wedding videographers through to people making commercial films that people use on their website.

Larry Jordan:  When it comes to professional media, that instantly means IBC, and we’re recording our interview on Tuesday, two days before the show opens, to give you time to travel to Amsterdam from London.  Based on what we know so far, what’s some of the news coming out of IBC?

Terry Hope:   The news is very interesting.  As always, you’re getting a few pre-show announcements.  These days you don’t tend to see an awful lot of things that you’re not expecting to see, but in the week before IBC quite a few things are coming through, and there have been some big camera announcements already, from Canon for example.  I think part of the pleasure of going there is to come across things that you don’t necessarily expect, and they can be smaller things as opposed to bigger things as well.  It’s always a bit tricky in the lead up to the show because you’re never quite sure what you’re going to see.  For me, the big announcement has been the Canon cameras, but there’s bound to be other things that come up at the show and I’ll be thinking of what I’m going to be talking about when we next catch up and there will be things that I will definitely be picking up on and highlighting in our next conversation.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s tackle the news.  What are some of the announcements that we know of so far?

Terry Hope:  For me one of the big ones was from Canon.  I did get a chance to see the new compact camcorders that they’ve announced, the XF400 and the XF405 4K.  Having had a bit of a preview of them in London the other week, I can say they look really interesting and I look forward to getting one of those in for a proper review.  Some of the things they do is it’s 4K, UHD, 50p recording.  They’ve got three steps of built in ND filters, and a one inch chip as well.  They’re very nice, very compact, beautiful to use so I think they’re going to be interesting.

Larry Jordan:  Anything happening on VR?

Terry Hope:   I’ve had quite a few bits of information coming through prior to the show.  My favorite part of the whole show I have to say is the Future Zone which I always make a point of spending a good hour or two going around.  As I’m sure you know, that’s for VR announcements, so I shall be making my way there to see what’s going on.  In terms of specifics, there’s the announcement of a VR news room which is going to be demonstrated at IBC which I shall go and have a look at.  At a bit of a tangent, one of the seminars at the conference there is going to be introducing a couple of very lifelike robots which if I get the chance I’m definitely going to go along and have a look at that as well.

Larry Jordan:  What are the robots supposed to be doing?

Terry Hope:  I think they’re being presented as two of the most human like robots ever to be created.  I think it’s very much a case of seeing what that’s all about.  It’s one of the things you get at IBC, these off the wall events that are fun to go along to and sometimes offer you something you don’t expect.  You get something out of them that shows you a way to the future somehow.

Larry Jordan:  Tell me about the IBC Future Zone.  What’s that about?

Terry Hope:  That’s probably about the size of half a floor with I would say between 20 and 25 different stands.  It’s basically different companies showing off things that they’re doing that are very cutting edge or they may not have been introduced yet.  They may be future technologies that people are testing out.  That’s very much a home for VR, so you get things like Sennheiser was showing their VR microphone there last year which was incredible to see, and obviously you get a proper demonstration of all the things it can do.  They also show things like 8K TV screens, live VR screening from around the floor of the show.  All of these kinds of things.  It gives you a little bit of a taste for the future, things that might be coming.

Larry Jordan:  Terry, there is so much stuff to cover at IBC, we’d like to invite you back for the next two weeks to keep bringing us the latest news on IBC if that works for you?

Terry Hope:  Yes, that works for me very well thank you.

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

Terry Hope: It’s www.promoviemaker.net.

Larry Jordan:  Promoviemaker.net not .com and Terry Hope is the editor of Pro Moviemaker magazine, and Terry thanks for joining us today and we’ll talk to you next week.

Terry Hope:  Thank you very much Larry.

Larry Jordan: IBC continues to dominate the news and we’ve got even more stuff happening today which is why we turn to James DeRuvo the senior writer for DoddleNEWS.  James, it’s good to have you back.

James DeRuvo:  Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan:  There is so much news going on this week, let’s start with the biggest.  What’s happening with Apple?

James DeRuvo:  Well the big news out of Apple, it turns out that just about everything we thought was going to be about the new iPhone actually is the new iPhone.  We got the iPhone 8 and the 8 plus.  It comes with modest upgrades, faster A11 bionic processor, don’t ask me why they call it bionic, I have no idea.  Faster cameras, F1.8, F2.8 on the dual cameras on the 8 plus, and a new feature called portrait lighting.  It’s almost like the iPhone applies LUTs to the images that you shoot, and it just automatically adjusts lighting on the fly, to get a fine high quality professional grade portrait with your mobile phone.  It also has wireless charging via the open source Qi standard and it leaves me wondering if that lightning port is not long for this world.

Larry Jordan: You got to hope that the lightning port will be there because it’s the way we’re going to connect a lot of peripheral devices, but is there any benefit to these new phones for filmmakers?

James DeRuvo:  The new iPhone X, the tenth anniversary iPhone, which Apple is calling “the iPhone of the future” and it has a super OLED retina screen and the bezel is designed in a faster telephoto lens at F2.4 which will also support the HDR standards of HDR10 and Dolby Vision.  For mobile filmmakers there’s a lot to like here.  You got the wireless charging, shooting 4K at up to 240 frames per second, and although the portrait mode and the portrait lighting option is not available for video just yet, I’m betting that’s going to happen in the next upgrade.  So for now, I think it’s a powerful upgrade, and it just comes down to whether or not you want to spend $1000 on that iPhone X.

Larry Jordan:  The jury is still out because they’ve been announced but not yet released.  We’ll see what happens once the phones actually reach the real world.

James DeRuvo:  They ship September 22nd.

Larry Jordan:  What else is going on in the outside world that doesn’t affect IBC?

James DeRuvo:  GDU has returned with a cool new telescoping drone design.  GDU used to be called ProDrone and were the creators of the first collapsible drone and now they’ve come out with a new drone design that has slide in and out drone motors to make a more compact design that doesn’t sacrifice on stability, has a 4K camera, fully stabilized with a three axis gimbal, that’ll give it a leg up over DJI Spark.  It has all the usual navigation features including obstacle avoidance, follow me, orbiting, and a really cool feature called vertical burst, where it takes off like a rocket and shoots a burst mode of three frames per second as it goes.  It looks like a really super cool camera drone that would be great for everyday drone users.

Larry Jordan:  DJI and GoPro own the market, can GDU compete?

James DeRuvo:  It’s really difficult to compete in this market when you have those two companies as your main rivals, but GDU is doing it with innovative designs and offer faster options.  You can deploy the drone in seconds instead of minutes, and they are doing things that the other guys haven’t thought of.  So for the everyday drone enthusiast or the shooter looking to add aerial cinematography to their cadre the GDU O2 is worth taking a look at, it’s a cool little drone.

Larry Jordan:  That’s Apple and GDU, in non IBC news.  What’s happening at IBC that’s got your attention?

James DeRuvo:  The real news is coming out of Amsterdam this week.  In addition to what you just heard earlier from Terry, Transcriptive, the cool automatic transcription service that enables you to upload your audio and video into their software and it will transcribe it for you.  It can now do it in over 20 different languages, including English, Japanese, German, Spanish, French and Dutch.  It uses two different speech recognition services including Speechmatic which also adds Russian, Swedish and Watson which adds Arabic and Mandarin.  So Transcriptive is really exploding in their capabilities as far as adding transcriptions for the international world.

Larry Jordan: Transcriptive is published by Digital Anarchy and we’ve had a chance to follow them during their beta process, so I’m really excited they’ve got this released, and you’re right, 20 languages is pretty amazing.  What else do we have?

James DeRuvo: SmallHD has launched a 17 inch daylight reference monitor, fully featured with double the brightness of other models, covers DCI-P3 and Rec 709 color spaces. It’s got a 1500:1 contrast ratio and 179 degree viewing angle.  It’s a huge monitor, at home, in bright sunlight you can see all the details you want with the sun shining right into it.  It’s really amazing.

Larry Jordan:  OK, what else?

James DeRuvo:  Rode has announced a new addition to their Kit wireless microphone line.  It’s got the Filmmaker kit, the Newsshooter wireless kit, and now they have the Performer kit, which comes with a TX-M2 wireless microphone, and the RX-Desktop receiver.  It uses the 2.4 gigahertz wireless standard which is kind of crowded, but it uses encrypted digital transmission that’s set on two separate channels so you don’t get any bleedover.  It’s going to be an excellent addition to that Kit wireless line, and I’ve used both the Newsshooter kit and the Filmmaker kit, and they’re excellent so I expect high things from the Performer kit.  That’s just day one Larry.

Larry Jordan:  James, IBC is just exploding with news and it’s going to continue for the next several days so we’ll talk more about that on next week’s show, but what else are you following this week?

James DeRuvo:  Other stories we’re following include yet another director loses his Star Wars gig.  James Bond could be distributed by Apple.  And we deep dive into RED’s IPP2 workflows.

Larry Jordan:  For people who want more information on these and other stories, where can we go on the web?

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

Larry Jordan:  Keep your eye on IBC and we’ll bring you and Terry back next week to find out what the latest news is from Amsterdam.  Thanks for joining us today.

James DeRuvo:  We’re all IBC all the time Larry.  Have a good weekend.

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, film makers and story tellers.  From photography to film making, 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:  Now let’s shift gears from IBC to filmmaking.  John Pritchard is an award winning educational filmmaker, multimedia producer and publisher.  His newest film, One Heart One Spirit, just won Best Indigenous Documentary at the 2017 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival in Australia.  Hello John.

John Pritchard:   Hey Larry, how’s it going?

Larry Jordan:  I’m talking to you, it’s going great.  By the way, congratulations on winning the award, we’re going to talk about that more in just a minute.

John Pritchard:  Many thanks.

Larry Jordan:  How would you describe One Heart One Spirit?

John Pritchard:   This is a film that has been in the making for a number of years, but it takes place in Northern Australia where there is a Festival of Aboriginal Wisdom that is shared with the outside world every August since about 1999 and a couple of thousand people come to this Garma Festival.  Garma is an Aboriginal word that means coming together in harmony, and it’s essentially the only place in the world where people from the outside can go and learn about the 40,000 year old traditions and culture of the Aboriginal people.  My film is unique in the sense that a very close friend of mine who’s a Native American elder, who is of Micmac and Mohawk heritage, travelled to Australia and was doing a storytelling tour and was invited up to this festival, and essentially a couple of filmmakers followed him around for three days, and that’s where we got the footage.  That’s really the essence of the film which is the essence of indigenous wisdom, that we’re all one human family, we’re all connected and we took that message and are now bringing it to colleges and universities on a world tour.

Larry Jordan:  I can understand the value of the festival, but why did you decide to turn it into a film?

John Pritchard:  This was a long process that started with our executive producer who lives in Sydney and we worked together very closely in New York City back in the 90s and the Native American elder is someone that we worked with in a band called Sinh-Tala where he played his Native American flutes, Greg played guitar and I played drums, percussion and keyboards.  We played all over New York City and put an album together which is the soundtrack for this album, but we all went our separate ways in the early days of the dot com era, 97, 98.  Greg went back to Australia and he really had this vision of getting Ken to meet with the Aboriginal folks up at this festival and it took a number of years but it finally happened.  The subject matter and content was very new to me being that it was an Aboriginal festival.  I’ve gone to many Native American pow wows, but there’s something very unique about Australian Aboriginal people, and we’re even finding out that our human heritage goes back to Australia, not to Africa.  The folks that took us on the journey to Eve 180,000 years ago in Africa have now started to re-write their research and it’s now going back to Australia interestingly.

Larry Jordan:  What was the purpose of the film?  Now that it’s done, what are you doing with it?

John Pritchard:  The purpose is to share the heart of indigenous people everywhere which is to have not only respect for each other, but also for the earth.  So these are two very timely issues as we know with our current political scene, kindness is not necessarily an operating word, and certainly environmental justice has had to take a big slap in the face during the last year.  But both these issues of human kindness and caring for the earth are at the heart of indigenous people all over the planet, and this message, we believe, as a filmmaking team, is crucial to bring to the world, and especially to college kids.  People that are at the heart of their own career building, about to go out into the world, and as much as we can do to introduce them to these very simple indigenous principles of respect, being less materialistic, thinking seven generations ahead.

Larry Jordan:  John, take a breath.  We’re going to run out of time, so I understand the film has value but I also want to talk about the fact you decided not just to send it to college kids, but you wanted to send it to a film festival.  What was the role of the film festival?

John Pritchard:  The big search that every filmmaker needs to go through is to find or create a festival list that is going to be showcasing the subject matter that their film contains, and for us obviously looking at different film festivals in Australia, this one in Melbourne had an indigenous focus and we knew there would be quite a number of films that we would be competing against, but at the same time the director in particular there had a specific passion for helping get the indigenous message out.  So what I recommend to all filmmakers, which is a little bit of stating the obvious, but if you can really go through the hundreds of film festivals and find the ones that really resonate with your message, the most important thing you can do is try to contact the director of that film festival and not unsurprisingly, they are accessible, and their goal is to get your film seen and if it’s in a competitive category, to help you do as well as you can to win.  We found the Melbourne film festival to be extremely helpful all the way through from the moment we entered to getting articles written by local magazines and online blogs.  The critical component is really to search and find the festivals that match your film.  Does that make sense?

Larry Jordan:  Yes, what did you do to win?  Did you have to do anything special in terms of marketing or the media?

John Pritchard:  The main thing that we had to do was stay in the eye of both the film director and his team and once they went through their process of looking at all of the different films that were in this category of Indigenous Documentary films, they had let us know that we were high in the running.  I think it’s probably different for example with Sundance which we’re entering in another week, and you have a much larger pool of films that are not necessarily in a particular category other than documentary and feature and so on.

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

John Pritchard:  Createkinderworld.org is where people can go and also download a free guidebook.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, createkinderworld.org not .com, and John Pritchard is the publisher and the director of One Heart One Spirit.  John, thanks for joining us today.

John Pritchard:  Thanks so much Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  Andrew White is the creative director at Saddington Baynes which is a production and post production studio located in London.  Hello Andy, welcome.

Andy White:  Hello, it’s good to speak to you.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s start with the easy question first.  How would you describe Saddington Baynes?

Andy White:  I would probably describe us as one of the more artisan production agencies out there.  We create a wide variety of projects from beverage to pharmaceutical, also working with the automotive sector.  We’ve got a big history in CGI, probably one of the first retouching houses to use CGI for photographic retouching.  Always pushing the envelope on everything we do really.  Our clients really do challenge us, so there’s not really a question of us sitting around and resting on our laurels.  There’s always the next challenge coming in the door.

Larry Jordan:  What do you mean by artisan?  What does that mean to you?

Andy White: To me it means that we will push stuff for our own personal gain in terms of we might get to the end of a project but we still think there’s more to be got from it, or the amount of options we may give clients.  We’re just very passionate about trying to do the best we can and do that piece of work that gets us noticed, so we’re always trying to get more out of what we’re doing.

Larry Jordan:  One of the words you used as you were describing the company is the idea of digital retouching.  We’ve been able to do this in software for a long time and is that what you’re referring to?

Andy White:  Yes, originally back when, everything was photographic.  Saddington Baynes was one of the first studios out there to start using barcodes and image retouching before even the Photoshops were around to generate some of the advertising imagery that was out there.  So they’ve done a huge journey from there to where we are now.

Larry Jordan:  One of the things you specialize in is CGI work.  Tell me more about the kind of CGI work you do and more importantly, the tools that you’re using to accomplish it.

Andy White:  We have a very varied client base.  We really do mix the tools that we use.  I’d say we’re a largely Mayer based studio, but we’re also using Houdini, ZBrush, Mudbox, Cinemar, Nuke, the list goes on.  Anything we need to accomplish we’ll look around for the right tool for the job, so we don’t have a 100 percent lock down, we only do it in this or that software.  Just because of the nature of the work really, we get asked for, from furry dice to huge landscapes or cities to some of the automotive work we’re doing, to the pharmaceutical work we do to beverage work. They’re all very different mediums to work in, and they all need different tools and different rendering solutions.

Larry Jordan:  One of the things that caught our attention was your statue project where what looks like a bronze statue starts to flake apart and explode with glowing orange light.  Tell us about this.

Andy White: That was one of our internal projects.  I mentioned earlier that we really like to push ourselves.  We’re always looking around at new tools.  We’ve been doing a lot of work in the last two to three years with Houdini, and the idea behind it was to come up with a project that could showcase a lot of the more advanced visual effects that you can accomplish in that package.  So we have some very advanced artists that are really good at using that, so the challenge for me was to come up with an idea where we could showcase that and orchestrate some effects and show our skills doing that.

Larry Jordan:  Do you find yourself doing artistic work yourself?  Or are you principally supervising others?

Andy White:  As creative director here I’m a bit of everything.  I’m supervising, I do put images together, do visuals.  I’m obviously working very closely with clients to make sure everyone understands what they want to get at the end of the day, but I do dabble.  I have a bit of background in CG and compositing, so I’m a bit of an all rounder, so I do still really look at technology, I’m always interested in what’s out there and what’s coming and I do like to dabble.

Larry Jordan:  Thinking from the point of view of your clients, we’re living now in a world where everything is visual.  We’re being bombarded with tens of thousands of images a day.  What imagery today is reaching through the screen and actually grabbing an audience?

Andy White: That’s a very good question, and it’s something we’ve been looking into a lot here over recent years, and we have a lot of stuff that we’re pioneering with neurotesting in terms of looking at images and analyzing what people get from them.  What sort of lighting, what sort of angle, what composition and how that affects the overall noticeability I guess of an image.  We’re using that with a few clients now where it helps us to scientifically guide and prove that certain approaches to that image is going to be more beneficial than others.  Because as you say, there’s a huge amount of imagery out there at the moment and we’re looking for something to take us to the next level, to give us some hard facts so our client can be really confident that whatever you’re creating now, we’ve fine tuned it to get the most from it.

Larry Jordan:  And the initial takeways based on your research so far?

Andy White:  It’s been a really good learning process because there are certain things come out of it that you then can instinctively use going forward.  You start to learn stuff about certain things, about images.  It’s like some things you thought had great value, don’t necessarily have the value you may have thought and other things that you have to be mindful of that can affect an image.  What we do here is we have a set of goals for an image, so you’ll say, OK this image wants to be premium, it wants to be very emotive, it wants to be very striking, and we’ll look to score within those goals.  Another image might have a different set of characteristics so we’ll be looking to score differently on those.  So we always set up a testing environment for each image and what we want to get out of it.

Larry Jordan:  So the standards for what makes an image successful depends upon the emotional connection you want it to make?

Andy White:  Yes, it definitely does, and obviously hitting that right note, depending on what reaction you might want to get from that image.  It might be something pharmaceutical, it might be something that’s quite striking and not necessarily very pleasing because it’s more of an attention grabbing image, or shocking, and wants to get people’s attention that way rather than something that’s very product based which might be fresh and pretty.

Larry Jordan:  It sounds like there’s all kinds of lessons to be learned as you explore this area.

Andy White:  Yes, I don’t think you ever learn enough.  There’s definitely a lot to be learned there.

Larry Jordan:  Andy for people that are interested in learning more about your company and the products you create, where can they go on the web?

Andy White:  It’s saddingtonbaynes.com so you can find us quite easily on that site.

Larry Jordan:  That website is all one word, saddingtonbaynes.com and Andrew White is the creative director at Saddington Baynes, and Andy, thanks for joining us today.

Andy White:  Thank you for your time.

Larry Jordan:  Robin Bronk is the CEO of the Creative Coalition, a leading national non profit, non partisan social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment industry.  Hello Robin, welcome.

Robin Bronk:  Hi Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan:  I am delighted to be talking to you because I’ve heard of the Creative Coalition but don’t know a whole lot about it.  How would you describe the group?

Robin Bronk:  I’ll give you the elevator pitch.  We were formed about 30 years ago by the actors Chris Reeve, Susan Sarandon and Alec Baldwin specifically to use the unique power and platform of the entertainment industry behind issues of social welfare importance.  It was started when President Reagan was going to eliminate the national endowment of the arts and Chris and Susan and Alec decided that they were activists, who all happened to be actors and cared about the arts and the nation because they certainly had arts when they were growing up and it did well by them.  They went to Washington and literally went door to door gathering votes to save the national endowment of the arts.  That’s how we were formed and I guess the past has caught up with us.

Larry Jordan:  Sometimes things go full circle when we don’t want them to.  What issues are you looking at today as a group?

Robin Bronk:  As a group, today, for better or worse, we’ve become very relevant.  We’re a non partisan organization, but President Trump has called for the elimination of the national endowment of the arts in the current budget, and we think that’s an issue worth fighting for and it stumps us why we do have to fight for it because not only is it a cultural development, it’s a necessary educational tool, and also for every dollar spent by the national endowment of the arts in a community, seven dollars comes back to us, so it’s also great economic development motivator.

Larry Jordan:  Is the organization principally focused on getting funding for the arts, or is it looking at advocating for other issues in society today as well?

Robin Bronk:  That’s a great question.  Substantively all of our resources go to helping to ensure that the arts thrive and flourish, especially for the next generation.  Process wise, we are the public policy … for the entertainment industry.  We use the process and help our members, we’re also a membership organization, our members are actors, writers, producers, directors, executives, fine artists, to follow their public policy passion.  So we’ll help them navigate the deep waters of policy.

Larry Jordan:  I had a chance to go on your website to learn more about the organization, and was looking through the board of directors and you’ve got some outstanding people on your board.

Robin Bronk:  We do.

Larry Jordan:  But organizationally, I’m confused.  You’re the CEO of the organization and Tim Daly is the president.  What is the difference between those two roles?

Robin Bronk:  Well, I do the footwork, the administration, and again I think that’s a development in the non profit world.  The executive director title has flowed into CEO and I think maybe it’s because none of us could spell executive director.  And with Tim as the president, we set the agenda with the board.  He is quite knowledgeable about Capitol Hill.  It’s interesting that he now is playing on a show that is policy focused, and he certainly walks the walk and talks the talk in real life, real versus reel life.  But he does that too.

Larry Jordan:   I was just reflecting, you’re talking to an audience of creative individuals, and every one of us cares about the arts.  What resistance are you running into?  Why is it so hard to get consistent decent funding for the arts?

Robin Bronk:   You know what?  That is a question that’s stumped all of us, because if you care about the arts, and you care about our society as a very cultural thriving society, we know that the arts is a basis for that.  If you say, “I don’t care about that, all I care about is economic development for the nation,” in that case then the arts are a huge economic driver.  We have the statistics for that and what I find absolutely baffling is that the arts have become a political football, and how does that happen?  I’m stumped.

Larry Jordan:   You’re not supposed to be stumped, you’re supposed to be coming up with the answers.

Robin Bronk:  I know the answer is we cannot be a society without artists.  How do we do that?

Larry Jordan:  You mentioned that you’re a membership organization.  Is there a requirement, you have to be a certain type of person to become a member?

Robin Bronk:  You are invited to become a member, and we have different levels of membership and if you’re a practicing artist, and that goes very broad, actor, writer, producer, director.  You might be a lawyer who defends artists.  You might be an executive, the purveyor of art.  So you basically have to believe in the arts.  I think that’s it.

Larry Jordan:   I think believing in the arts would qualify just about all of us.  But there’s another question.  We have a lot of filmmakers that are listening in.  Do you have a way of helping filmmakers get additional visibility?

Robin Bronk:   I’m so glad you asked that because at the Creative Coalition we believe that independent film is really one of the last vestiges of art craft in the film industry and as your listeners probably know better than me, it’s hard.  Making an independent film and getting it out, getting it to an audience, it’s not an easy task.  It’s a fine art that requires a lot of labor.  We do have something that we started about ten years ago called the Spotlight Initiative, where we choose ten films a year, both features and documentaries, films are submitted to us, to support.  And support can range anything from helping figure out a cause marketing strategy, because we know that cause marketing works in this world.  People like to get behind causes, whether you’re buying ice cream to save a rain forest, or seeing a movie that will help educate the world on a particular issue.  Or as documentaries and features, or we will get our celebrities behind it, and again, our only dog in the race is to get your independent film out there and to get it seen and to get it heard.  I often use the example of when Vice President Gore was trying to change the world to understand global warming, what finally crystallized it was when he made a movie.  So movies do change the world.

Larry Jordan:  Robin, for people that want more information about your coalition, where can they go on the web?

Robin Bronk:  They can go right to thecreativecoalition.org.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, thecreativecoalition.org not .com.  Robin Bronk is the CEO of the Creative Coalition, and Robin thanks for joining us today, I’ve enjoyed our chat.

Robin Bronk:  Thanks so much.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  You know, I was just thinking.  There are over 1800 exhibitors at IBC and this morning every single one of them had something new to announce.  Most had multiple somethings.  In years past I’ve worked for companies that were announcing new products at a trade show.  Now I’m on the other side as part of the press that helps spread the word of new products.  The challenge for both sides is trying to determine how to get the word out.  Every morning for the last two weeks, I’ve waded through 20 to 30 emailed press releases, many started with the words “New product for broadcast and enterprise.”  That’s code for really expensive.  And broadcast and enterprise isn’t the buzz audience, so those are easy to delete.

Larry Jordan:   However, that still leaves hundreds of companies who want you to know about their latest products that are targeted at the independent content creator.  That’s where teaming with DoddleNEWS and Pro Moviemaker help.  Their editorial teams are geared to providing short announcement articles so that you know there’s something new from that vendor.  Now we do our part on the Buzz, but the problem we have is time.  In our three IBC reports, it took us ten minutes to present 12 new products.  Presenting products from all 1800 companies would require a program about 26 hours long and this is probably longer than you want to listen.  I know that it’s not possible for us to cover everything, but I sure do want to try because maybe there’s a new product that solves a problem you’ve been wrestling with.  That’s why I enjoy working with the team at DoddleNEWS.  They provide additional news resources that enable us to cover more of the industry at any one time.

Larry Jordan:   Still, figuring out how to connect relevant news to you is something I think about every day.  It is a never ending puzzle.  Just something I’m thinking about and as always, I’m interested in your opinion.

Larry Jordan:   I want to thank our guests for this week, Terry Hope of Pro Moviemaker magazine, John Pritchard, producer director, Andy White of Saddington Baynes, Robin Bronk, the Creative Coalition, and James DeRuvo from DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan:   There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today.  Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Saturday.

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 – September 14, 2017

The IBC trade show began this morning. Tonight, we have series of reports covering some of the latest news from the show. Then, we head outside IBC to meet some new people and companies that are worth getting to know better.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Terry Hope, James DeRuvo, John Pritchard, Andy White, and Robin Bronk.

  • A First Look at IBC 2017
  • DoddleNEWS Covers IBC 2017
  • Tips to Winning a Film Festival
  • The Cutting-Edge of Visual Effects
  • Funding the Arts is Everyone’s Business

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

A First Look at IBC 2017

Terry Hope

Terry Hope, Editor, Pro Moviemaker Magazine, Bright Publishing

Terry Hope is the editor of “Pro MovieMaker” magazine. This UK-based quarterly publication provides news and tutorials and for filmmakers. This year, Terry is providing a series of exclusive reports for The Buzz on the latest news from IBC, which opens on Thursday.

DoddleNEWS Covers IBC 2017

James DeRuvo

James DeRuvo, Senior Writer, DoddleNEWS

IBC 2017 opened this morning in Amsterdam. Tonight, James DeRuvo has an extended report on news and announcements from the show as part of his weekly DoddleNEWS Update.

Tips to Winning a Film Festival

John Pritchard

John Pritchard, Founder/Director, The One Heart – One Spirit Project

Getting a film ready to enter a festival is not easy. Actually WINNING at that festival is a real achievement. Tonight we talk with John Pritchard about his documentary “One Heart-One Spirit” and how he took it to a festival and won.

The Cutting-Edge of Visual Effects

Andy White

Andy White, Creative Director, Saddington Baynes

Saddington Baynes is an artisan production agency that lives on the cutting edge of visual effects technology. Tonight, we talk with Andy White, their creative director, about the company, their services and the current state of visual effects.

Funding the Arts is Everyone’s Business

Robin L. Bronk

Robin L. Bronk, CEO, The Creative Coalition

Media today is designed to tell us stories, make us aware of issues and change opinions; whether that is as simple as a commercial or as complex as a documentary. Tonight we talk with Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition, about the role media has in raising awareness of pressing social issues around the world.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – September 7, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Michael Accardi, President, CueScript
Matt Kellogg, Global Sales Executive, StreamGuys
Charlie Dunn, General Manager, Tektronix
Nigel Booth, EVP Business Development and Marketing, IPV
Gordon Daily, CEO & Co-founder, BoxCast
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: The IBC trade show starts a week from today so tonight on The Buzz, we’re looking ahead to some of the announcements that will be made at the show.  We start with teleprompters.  Michael Accardi is the president of CueScript.  Tonight he gives us advice on how to pick the right prompter, how to improve your prompter reading skills, and what they are talking about at IBC.

Larry Jordan:  Matthew Kellogg is the global sales executive for StreamGuys.  This 17 year old content distribution network helps people from broadcasters to podcasters bring their content to an audience.  Tonight he talks about the differences between live and on demand streaming where StreamGuys fits in the production process, and what they are announcing at IBC.

Larry Jordan:  Charlie Dunn is the general manager for video products at Tektronix.  Tektronix measurement gear was indispensable when all media was analog.  Tonight we want to learn where Tektronix fits in the expanding all digital media world, as well as discover what they will present at IBC next week.

Larry Jordan:  Nigel Booth is the executive vice president of business development for IPV. This is the company that makes Curator, a media asset management system that works both locally and in the cloud.  Tonight he shares news of a new product and a new partnership that enhances the power and flexibility of Curator.

Larry Jordan:  Gordon Daily is the CEO and founder of BoxCast.  Webcasting is exploding in popularity far beyond the traditional roles of broadcast stations.  Tonight we learn how BoxCast can connect anyone to an audience as well as their latest news for IBC.

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.  It is impossible to overstate the importance of IBC to our industry.  Held every September, and located in Amsterdam in The Netherlands, IBC is a major conference, trade show and product announcement venue.  Similar to NAB in Las Vegas in the spring, these two shows serve as a metronome, determining new product timing as well as a way for each of us to take stock of our industry and figure out where we’re heading in the near future.

Larry Jordan:  Tonight’s show is the first of three that we’re dedicating to news and announcements from IBC.  In all three shows, we’re looking to see what’s new, and how it will impact us.  But IBC isn’t the only big news next week. You would need to be living under a rock not to know that Apple is announcing new iphones next Tuesday which means that shortly thereafter we’ll also have new operating systems for iphones and Macs and the rest of Apple’s gear.

Larry Jordan:  While new iphones are not something we cover directly, the new capabilities of the operating system such as ARKit, the Apple filing system, and the HEV compression codec provide new opportunities for many of us.  I’ll be watching Apple’s announcements along with the news coming from IBC, and share my thoughts with you on next week’s show.

Larry Jordan:  By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Every issue provides quick links to the different segments on the show, plus articles of interest to film makers, and best of all, it’s free and released every Saturday.

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

James DeRuvo:  Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan:  So what have we got in the news this week?

James DeRuvo:  Yesterday Sony announced their brand new, top of the line full frame cinema camera called The Venice.  Interesting name.  It’s a full frame 6K camera that supports initially 4K but you can buy a license for full frame 6K and anamorphic modes.  It’s 36 by 24 millimeter sensor package is really cool because it has a swappable chassis which means it’s upgradable.

Larry Jordan:  So what do you see as the purpose of this camera?

James DeRuvo:  Sony will still be offering the high performance F65.  Venice is clearly designed to be the once and future king, and I think it’s all wrapped around that future proof sensor design that will make it a work horse camera for Sony for some time to come.

Larry Jordan:  Sony’s got a new camera, what else is new?

James DeRuvo:  Panasonic has unlocked 6K in the GH5, kind of.  Its September upgrade, coming at the end of this month will unlock 6K recording, plus an anamorphic video mode, and also will add hybrid log gamma to support HDR and 4K.

Larry Jordan:  Is this really a 6K camera?

James DeRuvo:  That’s why I said kind of, because the new resolution is actually 4992 by 3744, so it’s not strictly 6K.

Larry Jordan:  It’s like 5K.

James DeRuvo:  Yes, I know, but we always knew that the GH5 had more under the hood Larry, so who knows how far that sensor can go down the road?

Larry Jordan:  Alright, so Sony and Panasonic have both got new toys.  What’s the third story this week?

James DeRuvo:  FilmConvert has launched their fifth annual Color Up competition, where you’ll be able to submit a short film in one of six categories, including creative, documentary, music video, wedding, commercial and something called non-vocal.  Prizes include packages from Filmstro, Blackmagic DaVinci, Rode, Rhino and many others.

Larry Jordan:  So what’s FilmConvert’s intent for the contest?

James DeRuvo:  The Color Up contest is basically you make a short film and then you color grade it using FilmConvert.  Although this is strictly speaking more of a color grading contest, the competition is really open to any filmmaker who’s looking to hone those skills.

Larry Jordan:  So what other stories are you covering this week?

James DeRuvo:  Other stories we’re following this week include DaVinci Resolve 14 is shipped.  The Canon C200 will get a firmware update next year, but honestly, we’re not really sure it’s going to be worth the wait.  And DJI upgrades their Mavic and Phantom drones.

Larry Jordan:  Where can we go on the web to learn more about these, and other stories?

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

Larry Jordan:  Why am I not surprised you recommended that website?  James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS and James, as always, thanks for joining us this week.

James DeRuvo: Talk to you soon, have a good weekend Larry.

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

Larry Jordan:  Michael Accardi is the president of CueScript and he has more than 27 years in the broadcast industry working at top tier companies such as Sachtler, Anton/Bauer, Autoscript and Vitec Videocom.  Hello Michael, welcome back.

Michael Accardi:  Thank you hello.

Larry Jordan:  How would you describe CueScript?

Michael Accardi:  CueScript is a state of the art prompting company.  We basically have a team of all prompting experts and we’ve been able to put together from scratch a very clean solution.  One of the reasons I can say clean is, we don’t have any legacy products to work with, so when we started to design our on camera units as an example, we really could do things that were just revolutionary.  No tools necessary, no loose pieces.  When we started designing our software, we really went for a full IP solution from beginning to end, but we also recognized how people are using things.  That’s the beauty of our team.  We have so many years experience out there with customers, and I stress the point that we spend a lot of time with customers.

Michael Accardi:  So we’ll talk about our IP, it’s very exciting, everyone’s talking about IP.  But we also can plug our controllers in via Cam Bus or USB or whatever we need.  We make sure that we have a system that works for our customers.

Larry Jordan:  First, the cynic in me says “Every company I’ve ever met says they talk to their customers.”  Why is your conversation more useful?

Michael Accardi:  I don’t find people do as much talking as they used to.

Larry Jordan:  Really?

Michael Accardi:  We kid around about the fact that we’re the new company that likes to do things the old fashioned way.  We spend more time in front of our customers than probably anywhere else, and that’s really what’s helped us.  When we did our first development meetings, we had customers there in the development meetings.  This is why we build things without tools, without loose pieces.  Typically most prompting companies think, “No, prompters get set up once, they stay in the studio and so it doesn’t matter if you need a tool, and doesn’t matter if there’s a loose bit.  It gets set up once every ten years.”  That used to be true, but with the world changing with the demand for news being so high, prompters are everywhere.  We did more prompting during the elections in the States, during the Brexit stuff with the UK, prompters were going in field everywhere, and not just small prompters, full studio set ups.  So being close to the customer, we have a little bit of a different idea in many cases.

Larry Jordan:   It sounds like you’re saying prompters are moving outside of broadcast.  Are you seeing more prompter use in a non-broadcast environment?

Michael Accardi:   Absolutely.  As a matter of fact one of our newer products is a prompter designed for PTZ units, those pan tilt zoon, all in one cameras.  You would never expect that to have a prompter on it, but you can’t believe the amount of schools and industry and flash cam applications where those cameras are being put.  And the last thing is, “I never thought I had to put a prompter on it,” so this product has, again, taken us a little bit out of the broadcast only world, and given us a really good market to work with.

Larry Jordan:  This I think brings me to a key question which is, I know that when I’m on camera, if I can’t get my script memorized, which I can’t, having a prompter is vital.  But there’s 800 million prompter companies out there.  What questions should we ask to be able to pick the prompter that’s best for our situation?

Michael Accardi:  To that extent, my favorite question I get all the time is, “I have a small camera, I need a small prompter.”  My point is, “Because you’ve got a small camera doesn’t mean your talent’s eyes got any better.”  So, how old are the presenters?  How good are their eyes?  Are they willing to wear glasses?  How long are the pieces?  What’s the distance?  What’s the lighting environment?  Then you can really choose the prompter to fit the application.

Michael Accardi:  We have the opportunity and for a while we were working with ipad prompters, and it’s a very big market.  But we’re finding we weren’t having satisfied customers and actually decided to leave that section of the market because it doesn’t give the kind of visual confidence that most of our customers are demanding.

Larry Jordan:  When you say an ipad prompter, that’s not that they were using the ipad camera as the recording device, they were using the ipad to display the script?

Michael Accardi:  Right.  They’ll use an ipad to display the script or some android device.  They’re so small, they’re very comfortable to work with, but they’re very small, key factor, they’re not very bright, key factor and they’re highly reflective, key factor.  Which means that anything over a few minute piece is really difficult for the talent.

Larry Jordan:  If I have a small camera, whether it’s a mobile device or one of these small hand helds, if I put a big prompter in front of it, aren’t I haven’t real problems with the talent eye scan going back?  They’re way outside the camera, then they’re looking at the camera, then they’re way outside again, simply because the lens is so small and the prompter is so big?

Michael Accardi:  More important than the size of the lens is really the type of screen you’re using.  One of the weird things we take a look at is everything is wide screen right now, but when you look at the prompters, especially the better prompters, you’ll never find anything but a four by three screen.  Four by three keeps your eyes from going too far right or left.  If you have a 16 by nine screen, your eyes will go too far right and left.  So the four by three screen is what’s preventing that eye travel that you’re speaking of.

Larry Jordan:  What advice do you give to somebody that’s on camera that wants to sound more fluid when reading from a prompter?

Michael Accardi:  It’s really a question of not reading to the script.  The script is supposed to follow you.  And that’s where the prompter operator, and the talent, have to have a synergy together.  So they have to actually speak like normal, and not follow the prompter.  The prompter should follow them, and that’s where the prompter operator and the talent together become a team.

Larry Jordan:  In other words, the person speaking needs to be slightly ahead of the prompter so that the prompter’s always sort of catching up?

Michael Accardi:  Well when the person is reading, they should feel comfortable hesitating.  They should feel comfortable pausing.  A lot of times, they think the letters are moving, therefore I have to keep moving. No, they should pause when they want to, and as they do that, the operator will pause the prompter.  The talent should inflict the speed, and resting points, not the other way around.

Larry Jordan:  For podcasters which is an increasingly growing market, how would you specify a minimum system for prompting?  Because clearly they don’t need a full blown studio system with all the bells and whistles, but what should they get?

Michael Accardi:  Your basic system is going to be a very straightforward prompting system which is going to allow direct viewing.  We’re a big believer in direct viewing, so that you’re looking directly into the lens, you’re not looking below, or above the lens.  Then a basic software like our WinPlus Premier software, allows for all the editing, the scrolling, the smoothness, the prompter will have the direct view to the lens.  That’s a basic system to us.

Larry Jordan:  The entry level price for that is about what?

Michael Accardi:  Full system would be about 5,000 list.

Larry Jordan:  Alright.  What are you showing at IBC this year?  Is there prompter technology we should pay attention to?

Michael Accardi:  We’re showing an end to end IP solution.  We’ve always been an IP with our software, where you can put our video boxes in the server room, you can have your computers anywhere.  Foot controls, hand controls, all IP.

Larry Jordan:  You’re using IP not to mean intellectual property, but to mean connected via Ethernet?

Michael Accardi:  Correct.  All Ethernet connectivity.  So we’ve always had that capability.  What we’ve added is the ability to actually send the information to the prompter, out on the camera, over the Ethernet as well.  So I don’t have to have a single piece of co-ax cable if I choose not to.

Larry Jordan:  Does that mean we can switch these devices from one unit to another, because we’re using an Ethernet protocol?

Michael Accardi:  Correct.

Larry Jordan: That makes it a whole lot more flexible if you have multiple studios or multiple prompters, you can then feed the right signal to the right prompter without having to rewire a whole patch panel.

Michael Accardi: Correct.  You can actually do it multiple different ways.  You can have our traditional cube which actually generates a composite or HDSDI signal.  You can have those in the server room and just call them up as you need them and have the signal then routed through your video router.  Or you can even take that box out of the equation and go straight IP directly into the prompters, and route that through your Ethernet.  So you have multiple ways to do it.

Larry Jordan: That is very cool.  You’ve been doing prompters for a long time.  What do you see are the challenges or has it just become a job and it’s not interesting anymore?

Michael Accardi:  Well I have been doing prompters, but I’ve been more than anything else in the broadcast equipment industry and I just think it’s a great industry.  It keeps changing and my feeling is that if things don’t change, they die, so I’m fine with the changes, but it keeps being fun.  I think it’s a great group of people, a great industry, always keeps you on your toes, so I just love it.

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

Michael Accardi:  www.cuescript.tv.

Larry Jordan:  That’s cuescript.tv, not .com, but cuescript.tv, and Michael Accardi is the president of CueScript.  Michael, thanks for joining us today.

Michael Accardi:  Thank you, my pleasure.

Larry Jordan:  While Matthew Kellogg is currently the global sales executive for StreamGuys, his career began on air in radio.  He started at KOZZ in Reno, Nevada, ended at KCBS in San Francisco, and now at StreamGuys, Matt helps the top broadcasters in the industry find solutions to their streaming headaches.  Hello Matt, welcome.

Matthew Kellogg:  Thank you very much, and hello.

Larry Jordan:  How would you describe what StreamGuys does?

Matthew Kellogg:  That’s a complicated question.  We’ve been in business for 17 years, and we’re one of the first content delivery networks, a CDN, on the block and today we remain one of the best, wholly and independently owned CDNs with a streaming backbone at its core.  That’s one of our differentiators.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s just define a couple of terms.  What’s a CDN, and would you be a competitor to say LiveView or StreamCast?

Matthew Kellogg:  CDN content delivery network, we are the infrastructure and back end to the streaming.  CDNs typically have multiple instances round the country, and or world, where they can deliver their content, and we do that.  So we have data centers where we have servers in Chicago, two in Chicago, Virginia, Amsterdam, home of IBC where we’ll be going, Tokyo and New Zealand.  As far as our competitors, because we are a CDN, we can do audio and video so really anybody from Akamai to Triton and in between, would be considered a competitor, but we all agree that there’s plenty of business out there for all of us.

Larry Jordan:  17 years.  Why did the company get started?

Matthew Kellogg:  Our president and founder, Kiriki Delaney I believe had one of the first internet radio stations ever.  Rastamusic.com is the website you can go to and check it out.  He started it in 1997, and it was pretty quick that Kiriki realized that the service he wasn’t getting wasn’t very good, and the prices he was paying was expensive.  He realized that with his technology know how an how to put together internet radio streams already, he could provide a better service and more affordable pricing.  That’s really been the mainstay of our 17 years.  We pride ourselves on being affordable, reliable and scalable.

Larry Jordan:  Help me understand how you fit in the streaming picture.  I do a weekly audio podcast that gets streamed to the web.  You aren’t involved in the production, where do you take my podcast, where do you get involved?

Matthew Kellogg:  That’s a great question.  For podcasts and on demand delivery, we provide the hosting, and delivery.  What happens at certain times when podcasts grow in popularity, the subscriber list grows, and if you hit a certain number, one server can no longer handle that and you will have problems downloading that.  So as a CDN, we provide what we call high availability and load balancing, which means we host your content on multiple servers around the world and they are drawn on equally upon download.  So we can provide the reliability there and because we do scale on high, large traffic podcasts, we’re also affordable.  So that would create just a better user experience overall.  Within the on demand and live streaming for that matter, we have the ability to insert dynamic ad insertion or server side ad insertion through our partner AdsWizz which we work with very closely, so now you have the ability to not only monetize your on demand content, but geotarget your messaging dependent on where that content is being downloaded, and or played.

Larry Jordan:  Is there a difference in technology needs between someone who’s streaming on demand and someone who’s streaming live all the time?

Matthew Kellogg:  There are some similarities and some differences.  For broadcasters, one of the differences would be their content is coming from on air.  We have solutions such as the SG Recast where we can ingest your live stream, and create that on demand file available for on demand, seamlessly and without any effort on the broadcaster’s part.  So, let’s say you have a morning show. We can start that.  It could be trigger via time schedule or metadata, and that starts at six am, and at ten am when that morning show is over at 10.01, that is now available online for on demand consumption.  So we can certainly help simplify the workflow for the broadcasters.

Larry Jordan:  From your perspective everything you do is on demand?  You’re not providing live services as much as you’re providing storage hosting and delivery of on demand services, so people can listen to the programs whenever they want, wherever they are?

Matthew Kellogg:  We do both honestly.  Live streaming is our core functionality, and on demand was born out of live streaming and the technology that came from streaming media.  If you look at on demand and the definition, you essentially are streaming, it’s just how that is consumed.  So we do both.  Large scale on demand hosting, but we also provide live streaming for some of the best and top broadcasters around the world.

Larry Jordan: It seems to me that although you do live, the principle effort is in on demand?  Your advertising is on demand, and you describe the service mostly as on demand.  Is on demand where the market is?

Matthew Kellogg:  I think on demand right now is where the interest is.  Not necessarily the market.  For broadcasters in particular, they’re still trying to figure it out.  As well as advertisers, they understand that podcasts are huge, but it’s still like a moving target, and for us we just want to be able to ensure that people are getting the audio that they want without any hesitation and to be able to create compelling content at the end of the day is the key differentiator.  So if you have compelling content on air, it’s going to be compelling online.  And on demand.

Larry Jordan:  What are you talking about at IBC this year?

Matthew Kellogg:  At IBC we are definitely more talking about our software as a solution, tool sets for the live and on demand, which we like to call the SG Recast.  The SG Recast is a Pandora’s Box literally of functionality for the broadcaster.  We are going to be unveiling some new features with our SG Recast.  The new features we’re going to be unveiling are ad insertion, tagging, which allows you to visually tag the location of your on demand file.  Mid roll, pre roll, and post roll ads.  We’re also going to be talking about the integration that we have with our AdsWizz partner for maximizing the monetization that I alluded to earlier.  As well as keeping your old podcast evergreen with the dynamic ad insertion.  So being able to go back ten years or however long your on demand content’s been in that cloud or being shelved, we can go back and recreate new pre and post roll advertising.  Again, this is a part of a larger unit of the SG Recast where you have the ability to ingest a live stream and turn that into on demand, which is a very important feature for radio stations where the bulk of their content is coming from over the air.  So we’re able to help automate that workflow, simplify the workflow and monetize the on demand content that’s made available.

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

Matthew Kellogg: You can go to streamguys.com.

Larry Jordan:  That website is all one word, streamguys.com, and Matt Kellogg is the global sales executive for StreamGuys, and Matt thanks for joining us today.

Matthew Kellogg:  Thank you so much for the time.

Larry Jordan:  Charlie Dunn is the general manager for the video product line at Tektronix.  His group focuses on analysis and monitoring of content in the rapidly changing world of media and entertainment.  Hello Charlie, welcome.

Charlie Dunn:  Hi Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan:  I am doing great, because I get a chance to talk with you.  Let’s start by how would you describe Tektronix?

Charlie Dunn:  Tektronix is a broad multinational company focused on test and measurement and I manage the part of Tektronix that’s focused on test and measurement for media and entertainment.

Larry Jordan: Tektonix developed its reputation in analog video.  I remember using your gear years and years and years and years.  But where do you fit in the new world of digital media? There’s no cables to plug into.

Charlie Dunn:  There’s several parts that we plug into the workflow.  We’ve been a part of television since the analog days and there’s been waves and waves of transitions, and right now we’re experiencing another set of those waves of transition.  So as we move to UHD and of course 4K and HDR, we really focused on a product that is a waveform monitor or known to the industry as a scope, and we really help people do that in both live production and post production where you need a lot of fidelity and a lot of understanding of the signals.  But we also have a lot of quality measurement tools that are available in the file domain, and those are for automated QC or automated analysis of the files that are generated in a production environment.

Larry Jordan:  Measurement is now included in all post software.  Why do we even need Tektronix gear?

Charlie Dunn:  It provides another layer of fidelity, another set of unique measurements for the customer.  Where I think software includes basic waveform and vector, Tektronix goes the additional steps to provide the tools that I would say are needed for the best productions or people looking for the highest quality.  So we have a unique set of measurements, one example of which is the Diamond Display which helps you set black levels, helps you adjust out the colors, just in the right way that are very hard to do with those integrated tools.

Larry Jordan:  Traditionally Tektronix was priced for and installed by large facilities and networks.  Should independent video creators even consider using Tektronix?

Charlie Dunn:  Tektronix products will start under $4,000 and we will go up and support the very best productions that there are and those may go up into the high teens, but I think depending on the kind of production, and what people spend on that, I think we’ve got a spot for everyone.

Larry Jordan:  That gets me to all the new toys, what are you showcasing at IBC?

Charlie Dunn:  At IBC we’re really focusing on the three big transitions that are happening in the industry.  One in the live production space is really moving beyond just 4K and moving into the world of HDR.  We’re really showing how we’re bringing tool sets to help customers with that both as they’re shooting it, and as they’re posting it up.  We’re introducing a new technology which we call a Stop Waveform where we look at the picture more in stops, which is what people are more familiar with, and it helps them tell the difference between something that’s SDR and HDR and helps them manage those higher peaks that they’ll experience in HDR.

Charlie Dunn:   In the other domain, more facilities, the technology of SDI is transitioning to packet based IP and we have a whole series of tools that are helping customers transition not all the way in a hybrid mode where we can do SDI and IP, and really helping them become familiar with how these new technologies work.

Larry Jordan:  I just realized something you said, I just want to make sure I understand it clearly.  One of the things that you really emphasize is being able to provide monitoring and support for live productions.  Is that really the focus of the company, of your group?

Charlie Dunn:  I would say as television has evolved, more and more what really is television is what’s created in live production.  So more and more our customers want to do those productions in the best way that they can, whether they’re shooting it live and posting it up, or it’s really a live event.  It has become a focus for us, but we still support what I would say are more of the offline tools in terms of post or in video on demand applications as well.

Larry Jordan:  If we’re working in a file based environment, does Tektronix have a solution for us?

Charlie Dunn:  We have a tool that we call Aurora, and that Aurora tool will work in a file based domain.  So if you have a file and you want to be sure that the audio’s in correct, and that your video quality is accurate and that the syntax of the file’s going to play in a Netflix or an Apple environment, our tool will do that in an automated fashion and generate a really useful report for someone who’s producing that material to know what was wrong or have confidence that it passed.

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

Charlie Dunn:  They can go to www.tek.com.

Larry Jordan:  The general manager for the video product line at Tektronix is Charlie Dunn, and Charlie thanks for joining us today.  I enjoyed the conversation.

Charlie Dunn: Thank you for the time Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  Keeping track of our assets is important to any project, but media asset management software is often misunderstood or not even used.  Nigel Booth is the executive vice president of business development and marketing for IPV.  IPV makes Curator which is an all in one media management system and they’ve got some cool news coming up at IBC.  Hello Nigel, welcome.

Nigel Booth:  Yeah hi Larry, good to speak to you again.

Larry Jordan: It’s always my pleasure.  It’s been about four or five months since last we talked, so let’s bring us up to date.  How would you describe Curator?

Nigel Booth:  I’d describe Curator as a scalable MAM solution.  You often find with many MAM solutions, they’re available and they’ll fit your current requirements, but key to it is to actually provide a system that can scale up, so what Curator does is it allows you start small, and scale up as your business needs require it.

Larry Jordan:  What does scale mean to you? What are we scaling?

Nigel Booth:  We’re scaling things like the number of users, the number of different workflows that you might have in any organization, so whether you’re working in the creative services department, or whether you’re working as a librarian, an archivist, then you need to scale the solution to meet all of those requirements.  They’re very diverse across both sports, creative services, the reality TV space, and of course, broadcast as well.

Larry Jordan:  Is this a locally stored function, or is it available on the cloud?

Nigel Booth:  That’s a good topical question for IBC.  Our solution is available both as an on premise solution, a cloud solution or in terms of what we’re seeing these days, more of a hybrid solution.  So you may well have things like the proxies located in the cloud, and you’d have the high resolution storage stored locally.  And that’s more of an issue these days as we move towards 4K and 8K and virtual reality type workflows where a lot of the costs in terms of moving to the cloud are based around the ingress and egress costs.  So moving the data in and moving the data out.  But having just the proxies stored in the cloud allows you to manage that and manage connectivity of multiple users across multiple locations in a very elegant way.

Larry Jordan:  I think that’s really smart, because proxies are small, they transfer up quickly and what you need from a media asset management system is simply saying, “Where is this file so I can get my hands on it?”  Proxies solve a lot of those problems.

Nigel Booth:  Absolutely.  You’re right, and we have the concept of media stores.  So a media store could be in London, it could be Atlanta, or could be in Hong Kong, but providing a unified single piece of … into the content means that that storage can be stored anywhere in the world, but you see a proxy of it.  Importantly, it’s not just about creating a proxy and storing a smaller file there, it’s about how you stream it and how you allow multiple users to interact with the same piece of content at the same time.  We’ve employed some advance streaming techniques that allow you to move around that proxy very quickly as if you had the high res locally.

Larry Jordan:  What are you announcing at IBC?

Nigel Booth:  We’re announcing a number of improvements for the creative services type users.  So very much around the integrations with tools like Avid and Premiere, and very much about the management of productions, tasks and sequences.  You typically find that it’s not just about importing a single piece of media, it’s about importing a production.  And a production may well consist of a number of different files, that could of course be co-located or located anywhere, and you need to manage those into a video production.  We’re announcing a number of tasks to help that within both Avid and Premiere workflows, and it truly makes collaborative editing available at a relatively low entry price point as well.

Larry Jordan:  Which forces me to ask, what is the entry price point?

Nigel Booth:  I knew you were going to say that Larry.  It is a difficult one, and it really depends on what you want to do, but I would say that we start offering our solutions at around the $15-20,000 a year if you were looking at a subscription type model.  We also have virtual models that are available, but we can truly start to have solutions for small production houses right the way up to the enterprise.

Larry Jordan:  Is IPV exhibiting at IBC anywhere else other than its own booth?

Nigel Booth:  This year we’re majoring on our demonstrations on the Microsoft booth, where we’re showing true hosted services on the Azure platform as well.  But also importantly, we’re integrating with the Microsoft artificial intelligence tools, both for text and object recognition, and it makes for a very exciting and compelling demonstration Larry.

Larry Jordan:  How are you using AI?

Nigel Booth:  We’re integrated with their services, so we will push a piece of video essentially over to their tools, such that it’s indexed, and that index live automatically comes back into the IPV Curator system.  We can then identify things like voice to text and also object recognition as well, and their API is fairly rich, and it allows us to integrate fairly seamlessly.  You’ll see content being analyzed and then ingested directly into Curator with both text and object recognition.  It’s really cool.

Larry Jordan:  For people that need more information and want to keep track of your latest announcements, where can they go on the web?

Nigel Booth:  They can go to our website which is www.ipv.com.

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

Nigel Booth:  Thanks 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, film makers and story tellers.  From photography to film making, 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:  Gordon Daily is the CEO and co-founder of BoxCast, a live video streaming company and at the start of his career, years ago, he received both a bachelors and masters degree in computer engineering from Case Western Reserve University.  Hello Gordon, welcome.

Gordon Daily:  Hi Larry, delighted to be here.

Larry Jordan:  We are delighted, and especially congratulations on your new fatherhood, that you’re awake enough to be able to talk to us.

Gordon Daily:  Hopefully it stays that way.  I’m glad to be here.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s start with something simple.  How would you describe BoxCast?

Gordon Daily:  BoxCast is a technology for live streaming.  We’ve built a live stream platform to support live events, scalable to any size for any organization and it’s all the piece parts, it’s the hardware encoders, transcoders, the player, the protocols, all packaged together to create a worry free way to do ultra high level, high quality live streaming.

Larry Jordan:  Why did you decide to start the company?

Gordon Daily:  The reason we were really serious about helping folks live stream is we saw all these amazing events and experiences that were happening, but not everyone could be there in person.  So technology was in people’s pockets with smartphones that were coming out, but we realized that something needed to be done to make it possible for people to be able to experience those events, but just didn’t know the technology was simple enough.  So we decided to build an automated way to do it.

Larry Jordan:  Is your product hardware, software or both?

Gordon Daily:  In order to make this work for people in an automated way, it has to be a little bit of all those things.  We’ve got a set of hardware products that we sell that take the heavy lifting out of configuration and technology, to capture any video signal.  Then we’ve got the cloud video distribution infrastructure to deliver that video to any size audience, watching on any kind of device.

Larry Jordan:  Earlier in the program, we spoke with the folks at StreamGuys who provide a content distribution network, and many of us are familiar with LiveView.  How is BoxCast different from those companies?

Gordon Daily:  With BoxCast we have the content delivery network piece of it, but we also have the transcoding piece of it.  So traditionally live streaming’s been a piece parts activity, where you’ve maybe got a teradek to capture the video, and then you maybe have a wowza transcoding service to have the video be transcoded and make it work, and you might have a content delivery network.  What BoxCast does is makes all of that happen in one consolidated place and this system that we’ve built from the ground up, all these different pieces work so beautifully in concert, that what happens is you get better reliability, it’s more affordable, it’s more cost effective and it’s so much easier to maintain and rely on when it happens.  It just makes it a lot simpler.

Larry Jordan:  Walk me through the process.  Let’s make it easy, let’s do a concert, and I’ve got two or three cameras that are covering a concert, or 20, whatever.  How do I get my concert to somebody who wants to watch it at home?  Where do you fit into that whole puzzle?

Gordon Daily:  When we first start out, what we do is work with the organization, and say “Hey, what do you want your video to be?”  Most organizations say “Hey, I’d love the video to be on my website, and at the same time maybe on these different social media platforms.”  With BoxCast we set it up so that one copy and paste into the website, it’s configured.  Folks go to BoxCast.com to schedule their events and to figure out all the other different streaming definitions they want to syndicate video out onto.  And once that event’s scheduled, then they can just plug it into our hardware, or they can send a video via anybody’s equipment, to stream to us.  But most simplistically, they just plug the video and the audio from the event into our little box, and everything then just happens automatically.  Doesn’t matter the audience size, doesn’t matter if it’s live or archived.  It can even do monetization.  It’s everything packaged up in one really simple, easy to understand platform.

Larry Jordan:  So basically, I’m taking the output of my production switcher and my audio mixer, feeding that into your box, you’re compressing it, feeding it up to essentially a server on the web, and then distributing it from that server to the end user?  So you’re taking all that distribution hassle off us, is that correctly stated?

Gordon Daily:  That’s correct.  So whatever program output they’ve got from their mixer, or we’ve even got, in some more simpler cases, if it’s an event, we can even use our ios app.  We’ve got a really nice best in class video streaming app for ios that can make it even easier than that.  But most people, especially the bigger production houses we work with, will just take their program output from their truck, their mixer, and then we handle all the hassle from that point on.

Larry Jordan:  Do we need to hire additional people to use your gear?  Do we hire you as a service provider, or is it really just plug it in and don’t worry about it?

Gordon Daily:  We are a self service platform, so we don’t send a crew out.  And it’s great for any kind of film crew, or organizations that are ready to do the videography themselves.  I know this sounds interesting or maybe unique, but there’s times where fixed cameras do the job.  You know, one of the biggest industry earners in sports Larry, and there’s already a camera for the coach up in the press box.   So what’s beautiful is you just plug in that camera that’s already there into our box, you plug the announcers in if you want to add those, you can even plug in any scoreboard from any manufacturer, we’ve got connectors for that, and we’ll actually overlay the video with the score in the cloud for you with the data of the sporting event.

Larry Jordan:  I’m chuckling because you guys have done a lot of thinking in terms of how to make this simpler.

Gordon Daily: It’s all about automation.  We try to do anything we can to make it easy and automated.

Larry Jordan:  So how do you price your service, and hardware?

Gordon Daily:   It’s really simple.  Starting at just $19 a month, that’s our entry level plan.  We include unlimited viewing and transcoding with that.  Most of the time you got to pay $1000 to have full transcoding for all the different profiles, but we include that with all our plans.  Depending on the different types of features that you need, different organizations have different needs, it’s just a monthly subscription service to let that streaming happen.  If you want to use our equipment you’d buy one of our box casters.  We’ve got one for $500, we’ve got a more sophisticated one coming out this fall, which I’m really excited to share, that’s going to be a little bit more than that for the professionals.

Larry Jordan:   How about audience size, because clearly there’s a bandwidth charge for the audience?

Gordon Daily:   You know, we’re large enough as an organization now that we’re one of the few companies that don’t charge extra for audience size.  We don’t care how big the audience is. What we’ve found is that that usually is something that will handcuff an organization to be a little apprehensive to get started, and in our experience because we do so much, we can offer organizations to stream without an added expense for the viewership.

Larry Jordan:  Before we run out of time and before I rush out and buy another BoxCast for this company, what are you showing at IBC and maybe I’ll save my dollars until you ship the new stuff?

Gordon Daily:  We’re really excited to be showing off our new BoxCaster Pro.  It’s targeted to the more professional audience.  It’s looking for professional quality audio inputs.  We’re talking balance, XLRs, it’s looking for SDI connectivity.  This new BoxCaster’s pretty sophisticated because it enables true 4K streaming, it’s got 4K resolution, 60 frames per second, high dynamic range, HDR and it compresses it with HEVC, which is the next up and coming compression standard.  What’s most surprising though is that all this package solution, the box is only $2,000.  It’s 1990 on our website, and we’d be happy to meet anybody.  We’ll be at IBC and if anybody wants to meet us, we’d love to catch up with them there to talk about it more and show them what we’ve got.

Larry Jordan:  Now, HDR is still a movable spec, and HEVC, not everybody can play because mainly it’s not released much to the wild.  So is this a box which we should off on getting, or when does it release, and how do we fit it in with the technology that’s available to us today?

Gordon Daily:  No need to hold off.  We’re taking pre-orders now for it.  The reason why it’s ready to go now is because we handle the transcoding for you.  So if a viewer device doesn’t have a fast enough internet connection, doesn’t have the better compression, no problem at all.  We’ll transcode that down to a format that fits their device so when people go to play it, it just always works.  So those have a really fancy HDTV that’s 4K and they got the bandwidth to sustain it, it’ll play right from the BoxCast app on their smart TV.  So we’ve got all those things figured out for you, and that’s why we’re leading the charge with this 4K distribution.

Larry Jordan: In other words, you’re transcoding simultaneous in HD stream and a 4K stream and a standard dynamic range, and a high dynamic range?  You’re having multiple streams fit out of the box?

Gordon Daily:  Oh yes, and a 240 for your old mobile phone.  Your cousin has an older mobile phone, we can fit that too.  When we work with these organizations we have to make all these different things a non issue.  That’s the beauty of the transcoding.  That’s why every organization needs to think about having the play or being able to play it no matter what the circumstances are.  It doesn’t matter if you’re small or large, all organizations have that need, that’s why we include it with all of our plans.

Larry Jordan:  What kind of bandwidth do I need for my machine up to your server?  Because it sounds like suddenly I’m going to need a fair amount of bandwidth going up?

Gordon Daily:  If you’re going to want to have the video quality look fantastic, the more bandwidth you’ve got the better the picture’s going to be.  But that’s part of the automated system.  We’ll detect automatically for you what the absolute maximum quality you can get in for the best picture quality you can get.  And because we’re transcoding it in the cloud, you only have to send that one single best picture.  Traditionally with video streaming, at the source where you send the video, you had to send all the different sizes that you want people to be able to see.  But that just takes too much bandwidth, so what we’re trying to do is get the best possible picture you can with your uplink speed.

Larry Jordan:  Ah, so I misunderstood what you said.  You’re doing all this multiple transcoding but I’m feeding a single stream from my production to your server, and your server is then creating all the different versions that are needed in the cloud?

Gordon Daily:  Yes, that’s right.  And our box on site does a best in class job of compressing it given the circumstances and dealing with all the network conditions.  I mean, the other thing we built into this platform is something we call BoxCast Flow where it’s like a Zixi or an SRT on steroids, where we can deal with intermittent traffic issues.  Where maybe not every data package is making it up, we can air correct for it, we can honestly control the flow, we can play some games that helps to encrypt it so that people can’t inspect the package. All these things that you don’t want to have to worry about, we’ve solved with the protocol since we’ve got both ends of the pipe.  We make the box to stream it, we make the servers to do their fancy transcoding so it works more reliably for people that want to stream.

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

Gordon Daily:  They can find us at boxcast.com, our website.

Larry Jordan:  All one word, boxcast.com, and Gordon Daily is the CEO and co-founder of BoxCast.  Gordon, thanks so much for joining us.

Gordon Daily:  Thanks.

Larry Jordan:  Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan:   You know, I was just thinking.  Companies have been sending out press releases either pre announcing their IBC news or reminding us that they will be at IBC and we need to visit their booth for the last two to three weeks.  August as you can imagine, is a very difficult time to get anyone to think about business, so the rush of press releases picks up significantly after September 1st.  As I read these releases, one phrase that I’m not seeing a lot this year is “game changing,” and its cousin, “This changes everything.”  And I think this is a pretty good thing because from my email and the people I talk with, we’re all pretty exhausted with having our game changed every six months.  Where the gear we bought in February is suddenly out of date.  This constant upheaval can work in an industry that’s flush with cash but most of us, both media producers and the companies that supply them, are struggling with lower revenue and a need to stretch our equipment further.

Larry Jordan:  All too often we become paralyzed, unwilling to purchase something new for fear that it will be outdated in a month or two, and this hurts all of us.  End users because we can’t take advantage of the latest technology, and manufacturers because no-one is buying the technology they have on sale today.  Instead, what I’m seeing is an increasing emphasis on extending the gear that we already have.  One example that James mentioned at the beginning of our webcast was Panasonic, unlocking features in the already existing GH5.  The hardware we bought last year, now does more. I’m seeing Sony also apply the same software upgrade technique to expand the features of their existing cameras rather than force us to repurchase all new gear.

Larry Jordan:  I expect this extend through software trend to continue at IBC though there will always be new gear announced, that’s just the nature of the beast.  However, by reassuring us that the gear we buy today won’t be obsolete tomorrow, everyone benefits.   As an industry we need to keep growing and pushing the envelope of technology, while as media creators budgets may continue shrinking and competition keep increasing, new technology opens up new markets for us to explore and exploit.  Provided that technology remains affordable and available. One of the things I expect to see over the next 12 months is a continued balancing between manufacturers needing revenue to continue development, and end users needing stability to make money on the gear they have before investing in the next new thing.

Larry Jordan:  But at least right now, it seems the game is not changing right out from under us.  Just something I’m thinking about.  And as always, let me know your thoughts.

Larry Jordan:   I want to thank our guests for this week, Michael Accardi, with CueScript, Matthew Kellogg from StreamGuys, Charlie Dunn from Tektronix, Nigel Booth from IPV, Gordon Daily from BoxCast, and James DeRuvo from DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan:   There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today.  Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Saturday.

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 – September 7, 2017

The IBC trade show is only days away. Tonight, we get a jump on key industry announcements by talking with several companies who hope to make news with their latest products.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Michael Accardi, Matthew Kellogg, Charlie Dunn, Nigel Booth, Gordon Daily, and James DeRuvo.

  • Pick the Perfect Prompter
  • StreamGuys Delivers Content to the World
  • New Products from Tektronix
  • Better Ways to Manage Assets
  • BoxCast Streams Live to the World
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Pick the Perfect Prompter

Michael Accardi

Michael Accardi, President, CueScript

Teleprompters are crucial to many presentations, especially live events. Tonight we talk with Michael Accardi, President of CueScript, about what we should look for in a prompter, how best to use one and what they are announcing at IBC.

StreamGuys Delivers Content to the World

Matt Kellogg

Matt Kellogg, Global Sales Executive, StreamGuys

StreamGuys began 17 years ago to deliver streaming content to the world for both live and on-demand productions. Tonight we talk to Matt Kellogg, Global Sales Executive for StreamGuys, about their company, how they can help podcasters, and what they are announcing at IBC.

New Products from Tektronix

Charlie Dunn

Charlie Dunn, General Manager, Tektronix

Tektronix is a measurement company that is legendary in the media industry. Tonight, we talk with Charlie Dunn, General Manager for Tektronix, about their latest products, where they fit in the new world of file-based media, and what they are announcing at IBC.

Better Ways to Manage Assets

Nigel Booth

Nigel Booth, EVP Business Development and Marketing, IPV

We all agree that managing assets is essential to any project. But, figuring out the best way TO manage them is much more difficult. Tonight, we talk with Nigel Booth, Executive Vice-President of IPV, about their media asset management system, why they created a hybrid version for The Cloud, and what they are announcing at IBC.

BoxCast Streams Live to the World

Gordon Daily

Gordon Daily, CEO & Co-founder, BoxCast

First there was live radio, then live television… now, it seems just about everyone is live podcasting. From churches to sports to government, folks with a story to tell are sharing it with the world. That’s where BoxCast fits in: they connect your production with your audience. Tonight we talk with Gordon Daily, CEO and Co-founder of BoxCast, about how their system works and what they are showing at IBC.

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 – August 31, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Howard Lukk, Director of Engineering and Standards, SMPTE
Dr. Richard C. Cabot, Standards Manager, Audio Engineering Society
Mark Harrison, Managing Director, DPP (Digital Production Partnership)
William T. Hayes, President, IEEE Broadcast Technology Society
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

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Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz we meet some of the key media standards organizations.  These are the folks that create the specs that allow all of our gear and software to work together.  They also determine the direction of our industry by setting the ground rules for future technology.

Larry Jordan:   We start with Howard Lukk, he’s the director of engineering and standards for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, which is also called SMPTE.  Tonight, he describes what SMPTE is, what they do, and why they are so important to the future of our industry.

Larry Jordan:  Dr. Richard Cabot is the standards manager for the Audio Engineering Society, or AES.  Tonight he describes their organization, what it does and the latest audio technology that they are currently discussing.

Larry Jordan:  Mark Harrison is the managing director of the Digital Production Partnership, or DPP.  They are focused on developing a standardized, fully digital, internet enabled content creation and distribution process to enable content creators to seamlessly distribute their work across broadcast, cable and the web, as he explains tonight.

Larry Jordan:  William Hayes is the president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE Broadcast Technology.  Tonight he describes his organization and how they fit with all the other standards bodies.

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 we started a new weekly feature on the Buzz called ‘I Was Just Thinking.’  This is a cross between an editorial and a reflection.  Our producer Debbie Price has been pushing for this for a while. She told me that she thought it would be fun to have a kind of commentary from me on what I’m thinking about this week.  She wants it to be a regular segment where I can muse about anything that takes my fancy.  It’s not a teaching moment, it’s a musing moment, funny or poignant.

Larry Jordan:  It took her some arm twisting to get me to say “Yes.”  While I’m happy to provide opinions that revolve around technology, I don’t often write commentaries on my general thoughts.  On the other hand, if it gives you something to think about, and perhaps comment upon, I’m all in favor of more conversations.  So you’ll hear the latest installment at the end of this program, and I’m already wondering about what I’m thinking for next week.

Larry Jordan:  By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Every issue provides quick links to the different segments on the show, plus articles of interest to filmmakers, and best of all, it’s free and released every Saturday.

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

James DeRuvo:  Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan:  So what have we got?

James DeRuvo:  Well, it took them a while, but Apple has finally taken a stand for net neutrality.  Apple’s head of public policy, wrote a letter to the FCC warning that abandoning the policies of the last eight years would result in giving ISPs too much power to choose winners and losers.  It will be inevitable that the fast lanes will be created which will give companies willing to pay for it, faster streaming access, while the rest of us are stuck in bogged down buffering traffic.

Larry Jordan:  So what’s your take on this?

James DeRuvo:  Considering they’ve committed over a billion dollars to original streaming content, Apple has a considerable stake in keeping the internet open with net neutrality.  Though their support is a little late to the party, the arguments they put forth warn us that calamity looms if we abandon the simple principle that when it comes to online internet activity, bits are bits no matter where they come from Larry.

Larry Jordan: That’s Apple.  What’s next?

James DeRuvo:  I don’t know if you know who Casey Neistat is?  He’s a very famous YouTuber and he’s got this reputation of losing his drones and abusing his gear.  He’ll do whatever he needs to do to get the shot that he wants, and now, he’s being investigated by the FAA for reckless drone flying in New York City.  With multiple complaints, unfortunately no action has been taken due to what the FAA says is a lack of evidence, but they do say that he’s been flying where he’s not supposed to.

Larry Jordan:  Well James, it seems like his activity is exactly the reason why the FAA wanted to regulate drones in the first place?

James DeRuvo:  Indeed.  All you have to do is look at a few of his videos to see that Neistat has this reputation of not caring if the gear gets broken or lost as long as he gets his shot.  And if he has to break a few rules or laws to get it, it seems like that’s what he’s willing to do.  Although he claims he doesn’t want to be irresponsible, or get in trouble, with the FAA investigating hundreds of near misses around the country, it’s guys like him that make the rules of Part 107 so important.

Larry Jordan:  So that’s what the FAA is up to this week.  What’s our third story?

James DeRuvo:  Can you believe it’s been 25 years since Robert Rodriguez launched ‘El Mariachi?’  25 years.  When he made that movie, and he sold it to Sony, Sony made $2 million on a film that he made for $7,000, and they gave him a Canon A1 video camera as a thank you.  Now, 25 years later, he’s creating this new reality streaming series called ‘Rebel Without a Crew.’  It’s based upon the book that he wrote about his experience making ‘El Mariachi’ for $7,000, and what he’s going to do is he’s going to give five young filmmakers that same $7,000 to make their first feature film and then on top of that, he’s also going to make another film for $7,000 and take us through his entire journey all over again.

Larry Jordan:  What’s the key benefit that independents can get from this?

James DeRuvo:  ‘El Mariachi’ showed independents that you can make a film on a shoestring budget with nothing but a dream.  His new reality series ‘Rebel Without a Crew’ will show us how it can be done, and in the end, with all the tools we now have that he didn’t have at all, we have no excuses left to make that film that we’ve been wanting to make.

Larry Jordan:  An amazing time.  What are the stories we’re following this week on DoddleNEWS?

James DeRuvo:  Other stories we’re following include what makes a successful indie film, more on Nikon’s homegrown D850 sensor, and how you can turn your smartphone into a field monitor external recorder.

Larry Jordan:  Where can we go on the web to learn more about these, and other stories?

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

Larry Jordan:  James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS and James, happy anniversary, it’s been a year since you started working with us and we are delighted with you every week.  Thanks for joining us.

James DeRuvo:  Indeed Larry, it’s been a great year.

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:  Howard Lukk is the director of engineering and standards for SMPTE, that’s the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.  Hello Howard, welcome.

Howard Lukk:  Hello, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan:  We are having a great show talking about standards organizations, except I’m confused.  Why are standards organizations necessary?

Howard Lukk:  Well if you think about maybe the last time you went to Europe, or maybe you haven’t gone to Europe, and those different electrical plugs, and all those adaptors you have to carry around, think if we had that in every different household.  So standards are necessary to keep things even and balanced so that we can plug in and get electricity pretty easily with anything we buy from the store.  That’s an analogy about standards.

Larry Jordan:  Well having carried my share of electrical cables and plugs around, I can identify with that perfectly.  Now what is SMPTE?

Howard Lukk:  SMPTE deals with the portion of the industry that deals with professional media.  So film, television, broadcast and some of the streaming stuff we’re getting into too, so it’s the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and we look at standards that work across the media industry.

Larry Jordan:  Well, one could argue that so does AES and we’re talking to them next, and so does IEEE, so where does SMPTE fit into this mélange of standards groups?

Howard Lukk:  Good point.  We fit in on the professional side of standards, so we deal with a lot of things that have to do with from the camera, all the way to the theater to a certain extent, and we don’t get involved in too much of the consumer equipment, say the television.  That’s where the other standards bodies come in, and we do some audio standards too, but AES does the primary work on most of the audio stuff, for the recording and the PA and also some of the stuff that touches into broadcast.  We work very closely with AES.

Larry Jordan:  Which gets to my question.  How do you guys avoid standing on each other’s feet?

Howard Lukk:  Lots of communication.  We have liaisons with a lot of the standards bodies that are around, so we actually talk back and forth with them to make sure that we’re not working on standards in their area, and they’re not working on standards in our area.  Then we cross pollinate quite a bit, so there’s a lot of things that we point to their standards, and they point to our standards as well too, so with good communication it keeps us out of trouble if you will.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s take a look again back at SMPTE.  Is it a all paid group?  Is it a small or large group?  Tell me more about the organization itself.

Howard Lukk:  The organization is about 8,000 members worldwide, so we’re kind of a global effort, and in the standards body itself, we have probably 800 volunteers that help write the standards.  So nobody’s paid other than a small staff that we have.  I’m of course one of the people on the staff that just tries to keep all the cats herded together as they go forward, so it’s really a voluntary organization from a lot of people that are experts in the industry that help us make these standards.

Larry Jordan:  What do the 7200 people at SMPTE doing that aren’t setting standards?

Howard Lukk:  We’re also a membership organization. SMPTE is really three pillars if you will.  We have the standards pillar, we have a membership pillar, and then we have an education pillar.  So we do a lot of industry meet and greets, a place where people with likeminded activities can come together and talk about the latest things that are going on in the industry.  Then we do a lot of outreach education and also hold conferences as well too where we do a lot of education of stuff that’s going on in both the standards and the industry at large and broadcast, and television and film.

Larry Jordan:  How do you walk the fine line between a governmental regulation, say FCC or ITU, and what SMPTE is doing?

Howard Lukk:  Yes, SMPTE is really a volunteer standards organization in the sense that all of our standards are not mandatory or mandated by government.  They’re all just volunteer standards that people agree that this is the way we’re going to operate.  So, we stay out of that.  Now we do from time to time have some of our standards go into the ISO or the International Standards Organization, and that can then become actual governmental standards in certain areas, and certain national bodies.  But as America is kind of a capless society if you will, we don’t like to have regulations put on a whole lot of folks, so all of our stuff is voluntary and there’s certainly no necessity in this area of the industry to have mandatory standards.

Larry Jordan:  If you don’t have any legal clout, why does anybody pay attention to you?

Howard Lukk:  The case that it’s sure nice that if you buy this piece of gear from manufacturer A and you try to plug it into gear from manufacturer B, that it actually works.  So it really provides an economic balance of not having to adapt things between all the different types of device that we use in production to make both television shows and film.  So it really helps people integrate a lot better, and have a lot more choices from a lot of different manufacturers to actually do the same thing.

Larry Jordan:  One of the things I learned in one of the interviews that we’re going to hear shortly, is there’s a difference between a standard, and an implementation.  You guys are creating standards, so what is actually a standard?

Howard Lukk:  Well a standard is actually a document that a large group of people have come together and agreed that this is the way we want to do something.  We want to connect point A to point B, and this is the way we want to have that connection work.  That is a standard.  To implement it, then manufacturers have to read that standard and adopt it into the equipment that they have that they put out into the field.  So there’s a gap between writing that standard that’s down on paper that everybody agreed to that this is the right way to do it, and then actually making it work out in the field so it actually does what you say it should do on the paper.

Larry Jordan:  Does that mean that a standard is the end result and the manufacturers are up to the process?  Or are you describing the process itself?

Howard Lukk:   It can actually work both ways.  So we’ve had places where manufacturers have built equipment already, and then we’ve done the standard around that manufactured equipment.  Or we’ve had places where people come with a pain point or something that they need a solution to, and we get together and create a standard, and then manufacturers build it from that point.  So it really can work in both directions and it really is a process if you will as far as making the standard.

Larry Jordan:   Give me an example of a couple of popular standards so we can get a better clue of what you’re working with.

Howard Lukk:   Sure.  One of our most popular standards that got voted the top out of all of our standards with people when we polled them, was timecode. Timecode is really a big essential thing that you need to do to make sure you can keep track of each frame that you have, especially when you get into an edit bay and you want to associate things and go back and get to the exact same place that you were before.  So timecode is a big standard.

Howard Lukk:   The other one we have that’s been quite well received is SDI, or serial digital interface,  which allows people to connect with one cable.  Audio, video and timecode through one digital stream that connects from one place to the other one.  We have a new one coming up which is ST2110 which is a standard for professional media or IP, and that’s just coming out of the oven now, and that kind of moves everything into the internet, and the IP protocol world.

Larry Jordan:  So the coax cable is going away and being replaced with an Ethernet cable?

Howard Lukk:  Yes, it’s happening, and it’s happening quicker than most people thought it might happen.  So we’re converging along with the computer industry.  It’s really dominated a lot of the equipment now that we have in the professional media marketplace.

Larry Jordan:  Seeing as you’re a volunteer organization, who can become a member of SMPTE?

Howard Lukk:  Anyone can become a member of SMPTE.  If you have interest in SMPTE, basically we do charge a slight fee because we provide you things like a journal and things like that, but anyone that’s interested can sign up and become a SMPTE member.

Larry Jordan:  You also mentioned there’s three pillars.  Standards, membership and education.  What does the education outreach do?

Howard Lukk:  The education outreach basically has some web casts, so we have web casts about different topics that go on all the time.  We also offer some courses that you can take to bring you up to speed, especially in the IP area.  That’s really becoming popular.  They also hold events, conferences around the world.  The biggest conference that we have is the fall conference in Hollywood, the annual technical conference we have and education is bringing together a lot of people with white papers that are on the verge of technology, on the cusp of that to present to the public.

Larry Jordan:  Before we run out of time, one thought just occurred to me.  Do you guys ever revisit a standard, or once that’s standard’s published it’s locked, and nobody ever goes back to it?

Howard Lukk:  Oh no, we revisit them almost every five years, until they become so stable that they don’t need to be visited any more.  So especially in the first year or so of a standard, there’s a lot of things that we learn back from the field, maybe it wasn’t written correctly, maybe there’s a bit here that was missing, or we didn’t think about.  That information comes back to us and we revise the standards as they’re needed, so they’re a living document for a while until they become very stable, and then we keep them in the library and make them publically available.

Larry Jordan:  You are herding 800 cats.  You still having fun?

Howard Lukk:  Oh yes, absolutely having a great time.  It’s great because we’re at the cusp of technology, so it really keeps you on your toes, and you have to read up a lot and attend a lot of conferences, and you meet a lot of fantastic people from around the globe, so it’s a lot of fun.

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

Howard Lukk:  www.smpte.org.

Larry Jordan:  That’s SMPTE.org and Howard Lukk is the director of engineering and standards for SMPTE.  Howard, thanks so much for joining us, I’ve enjoyed our conversation.

Howard Lukk:  Thanks for having me, I appreciate it.

Larry Jordan:  Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  Doctor Richard Cabot manages the Audio Engineering Society standards operation, consisting of ten working groups and about 1,000 registered members.  Their standards activity covers a wide range of audio technologies, including digital audio, networked audio, metadata, acoustics, interconnections, modeling, and measurement.  Hello Dr. Cabot, welcome.

Dr. Richard Cabot:  Hi.

Larry Jordan:  How would you describe AES?

Dr. Richard Cabot:  Oh AES is the oldest technical society focused on audio in the world.  We were started by a group of engineers back at the early days of high fidelity.  Just in the 50s.   And we’ve progressed through all of the transitions that the audio world’s gone through, culminating now in digital audio and network audio, and we remain the place that people go to to get and to share technical knowledge in the audio field.

Larry Jordan:  Well why do we need a standards group for audio?  I mean, what role do you serve?

Dr. Richard Cabot:  Well we need standards because there are lots of bright people out there, and they have lots of bright ideas, and unfortunately they’re not always compatible with one another.  So rather than have a lot of people doing things their own way, and you not being able to then buy equipment that you know you can use with the programs that you buy, … Standards are an attempt to get around those things and to create a mechanism whereby people can share their technical ideas, battle them out in a relatively safe area and hopefully come to agreements on a common path to take.

Dr. Richard Cabot:  I think one of the best examples of that we have in the industry, is the mp3 standard where there were lots of folks working on ways to compress audio, make it take up less space, and they sat down and even though there were some big companies involved, and some small organizations too, and there were lots of different ways to proceed, they hammered out something which was a hybrid that they could all agree on, and then made it much easier for that to become effective in the marketplace, because people could use it and know that it was going to be compatible no matter where they got their equipment or their source material from.

Larry Jordan:  How do you determine what needs a standard, and what can remain proprietary?

Dr. Richard Cabot:  It’s generally driven by requests from the people in the industry.  We don’t try to enforce standards in the sense of going in and saying, “Hey, you guys need to standardize this.”  It’s more that the people involved recognize that there is advantage to working together, but of course in the legal environment we have in the United States and around the world, there are problems with companies just trying to get together and sort things out on their own.  So a standards organization like the AES provides a legally defensible common forum for them to collude but not in the legal sense, in the technical sense.

Larry Jordan:  It seems to me that your role as the standards director for AES, is part technical but also it’s like herding cats.  You’ve got companies that are going in different directions.  Is it principally a political organization to get a standard done, as well as technical?

Dr. Richard Cabot:  There’s some politics involved.  Generally not as much as you might expect because it’s involving technical people who tend to be less political than the folks on the other side of the business.  It’s rare that we have real conflict.  They do come up and we’ve managed to work through them, and keep everybody on the same page.  Yes, my job is partly home room teacher, and partly technical resource, but mainly the resource I serve as is someone knowledgeable of the process and the procedures and the legal issues.  It helps that I understand the technology because then I can suggest edits, I can suggest ways of wording things or of finding common ground on things when that’s necessary.  I can edit documents, work on documents and understand what I’m working on, whereas if you just hired somebody who was an editor, off the street, they would not have that ability.

Larry Jordan:  What’s the difference between a standard and an implementation?

Dr. Richard Cabot:  A standard says how things should be done, what’s allowable, where you can deviate, where you’re not allowed to deviate.  An implementation is what a user then actually does with it, what a manufacturer creates for their final product, and hopefully the implementation is conformant to the standard. If the standard’s done correctly, each person’s implementation or each company’s implementation will work with the other companies.

Larry Jordan:  As an example, so I make sure I’ve got this clear, in the case of an mp3, you say this is what an mp3 file is, but some manufacturers could get their VR hardware encoding and some could do software encoding, so that the process to get to the end result is up to the manufacturer, but the end result is set by the standards committee?

Dr. Richard Cabot:  Yes, and it’s a little more than that in fact in that the mp3 standard, as an example, standardizes the way you decode the file.  It standardized the file and how you decode what’s in it.  It doesn’t say anything about how you create it in the first place, so there’s quite a bit of freedom in people’s implementations and how they create, how they encode the audio in the first place.  In theory, you could have different quality of implementations.

Dr. Richard Cabot:  Now on the playback side, where the standard does apply, there’s still a fair amount of freedom in the manufacture where they do hardware or software implementation or even within that hardware implementation, for example how they do it.  How wide the word width is, in different places within the computations, how they structure memory tradeoffs versus CPU tradeoffs, because there are generally ways to save memory by putting more CPU effort on it, or save CPU effort by putting more memory.  So the manufacturer’s free to make the tradeoffs that fit their particular requirements as long as you can take that file and put it in and out comes audio.

Larry Jordan:  What are the current hot topics the organization is discussing?

Dr. Richard Cabot:  Well we’ve got quite a few that we’re working on but probably the hottest at the moment relate to networked audio.  When you’re trying to send digital audio around on what’s the equivalent of Ethernet, where you have equipment that’s plugged together with an Ethernet interface, and that equipment may be in the same room, it may be miles apart.  But you feed the audio in and it comes out and people can share it and you can have multiple listening devices or receiving devices hooked up to that same stream.  You can do matrix switching of audio around between the different devices.  There’s a lot of flexibility you can get in the same way that you get flexibility in passing around emails on a network, and it’s sort of a rough equivalent.

Larry Jordan:  This is a standard which is not yet final, but you guys are talking about?

Dr. Richard Cabot:  No.  There’s an issued standard.  AES67 is the fundamental standard in that area, then we’ve got standards related to directory listings as to how you find the various things that are on the network, how you see what they’re carrying and decide that you want to hook up to them.  That’s AES70, and we’ve got a lot of work going on in enhancing those standards because people always have bright ideas, so people come up with ways of improving on the existing standard, or they find areas where the standard isn’t specific enough and implementations don’t really quite work together the way you’d like.  So they say, “Oh well we need to standardize this difference and come to an agreement on how we’re going to do it,” so that everybody’s implementation can then work together and it’s not going to be too onerous a change for any one of the participants to make.

Larry Jordan:   That’s got to be a fun job as you help shepherd this through?

Dr. Richard Cabot:  It can be.  Other times it can be dreadful, other times it can be tiresome because you’re going through documents and doing editing but it’s a fun job yes, and you get to work with a lot of neat people, a lot of bright people from all around the world.

Larry Jordan:  Who can be a member of AES?

Dr. Richard Cabot:  We’re open to anyone who’s interested in audio, has a love of audio, wants to participate.

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

Dr. Richard Cabot:  www.aes.org.

Larry Jordan:  Dr Richard Cabot manages the Audio Engineering Society’s standards operation, and Dr Cabot, thanks for joining us today.

Dr. Richard Cabot:  Thank you for having me.

Larry Jordan:  Mark Harrison has 20 years experience as an award winning freelance producer and director.  As well, he’s held a number of senior innovation roles at the BBC.  Now he’s the managing director and co-founder of the Digital Production Partnership, or DPP, an international business change network for media companies.  Hello Mark, welcome.

Mark Harrison:  Hello there Larry.  Hi.

Larry Jordan:  I have no idea what an international business change network for media companies is, so what is the Digital Production Partnership?

Mark Harrison:  We’re an organization for any company that works in the media sector, and that’s broadcast, non broadcast, anybody who makes and works with, supplies to the world of audio visual content.  Any of those companies who are really committed to trying to ensure then the right kind of shape for the future.

Larry Jordan:  Who founded the DPP and why did they start it?

Mark Harrison:  It came about originally as just an informal get together that was initiated in the UK by the BBC, and two other broadcasters, ITV and Channel 4.  It responded to a feedback that we were getting from the UK broadcast sector in particular at that time, about how slowly the world of broadcasting was getting to end to end digital production.  Everybody noted that in the consumer realm, consumers were all end to end digital, with audio visual content even.  But we couldn’t seem to manage it in the world of broadcasting.  So why were we so slow?

Mark Harrison:   The view was that one of the big impediments was that all broadcasters did things differently, and the deliverables and the requirements that they had for their suppliers, particularly production companies, were all different.  While we had that, we had loads of complexity.  But actually there was something much simpler at the heart of the problem.  We were still using video tape.  So there we were, producing and shaping content digitally, and  then when we’d finished, we’d put it onto a video tape and then we’d give it to a guy on a motorbike to take it to a broadcaster who would then digitize it again, and use digital systems to play it out, whether over the airwaves or online.  And as long as we had video tape in the middle of this process, we were never going to reap the benefits of being digital.

Mark Harrison:  So we said, “OK, let’s see whether we can get rid of video tape in UK broadcasting.”  That’s actually precisely what we did by defining a common delivery specification using existing standards, just taking them and working with them to work out how to have a single common file delivery specification.  But perhaps more importantly, we also managed all the business change with producers, post producers, suppliers, broadcasters, so that on a single day in 2014, everybody in broadcasting in the UK moved across to this new way of delivering programs.

Mark Harrison:  That was really successful and so much so that people said, “You know what?  … maybe stick around?”  And that was the point at which we decided to become a formal organization and see how else we might help to intervene to help drive change.

Larry Jordan:   So the DPP sets standards like SMPTE and IEEE?

Mark Harrison:   No.  It’s really important to understand that we’re not a standards body.  There are great ones, and SMPTE is a very close partner of DPPs.  There are lots of great people who set standards.  What we do is, part of our work anyway, is we take existing standards and we look at how we can implement them.  What are the business problems that need solving is what we’re constantly asking, and increasingly is what our member companies tell us about.  “We’d like to be able to do this and it would be so much easier to do it if we had some common specifications for doing it.”  So then what we do is we look at existing standards and we take this standard, we’ll work with it, and in technical jargon, it’s if you constrain it, take those bits of it that could be particularly useful in a particular real world setting, then could we make something that everybody’s then able to use?  So common technical specifications is a part of our work, but that’s not all.  We also do a lot of insight work and an awful lot of helping different players in a supply chain to engage with each other.

Larry Jordan:  Recently you announced a partnership with SMPTE to create a new version of the IMF format for broadcast and online.

Mark Harrison:  That’s right.

Larry Jordan:  We already have about a billion codecs, maybe more, I lost count.  Why do we need this?

Mark Harrison:  By the way, I should emphasize I’m not a technologist, and maybe that’s where I’m useful in this conversation because I don’t know about codecs, and I certainly don’t want a billion and one.  But I know about some real problems, and one real problem is that nowadays as we all know I think, movies typically run to like 400 versions, and we know that problem exists in the movie sector.  But now, higher end television programs, particularly the more successful franchises in factual and in non-factual programming, can run into hundreds of versions as well.  It’s crippling broadcasters and distributors to be having to make so many different versions.  It’s also creating so much complexity in how we actually go about distributing content.

Mark Harrison:  So wouldn’t it be great if we could have like a takeaway restaurant menu of all the different elements you could possibly want in different versions?  Then you could pick from that menu, and out of that select the things that you need for a particular territory or a particular version.  And wouldn’t it be great if that could all be automated?  So it became a computerized process whereby you could generate many different versions out of a single master set.  That’s what IMF for broadcasting online is.  It’s not actually a codec at all. In fact, part of what might be specified would be the codec that’s required.  It’s more like a menu of available options.

Mark Harrison:  You’re based in the UK.  Does that mean that you’re just focused on UK broadcast?

Mark Harrison:  No, absolutely not.  In fact, very quickly just over the last two years, we have become an international organization with members around the world.  We partner very closely with the North American Broadcasters Association, NABA, as well as SMPTE in the US.  So we’re particularly strong actually in north America.

Mark Harrison:   And as well as becoming international, we’re also no longer just about broadcasting.  Many of our member companies don’t work in broadcast at all, they actually work in non broadcast content production and distribution.  As you may well know, we’re not at a place where actually there’s more content that’s commissioned and produced for non broadcast use than there is for broadcast.

Larry Jordan:  Is the DPP open to new members, and do you need to be a studio or large enterprise to join or who are you looking to have become part of the organization?

Mark Harrison:  Membership comes in all shapes and sizes.  We currently have nearly 300 member companies, from a standard start just over two years ago.  It ranges from the giants, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Fox, Turner, the really big players, right through to production companies, start ups.  We have companies with just one or two people in them.  It means that if you’re very small you pay a very low membership fee.  And if you’re very big, you pay a much bigger membership fee.

Larry Jordan:  For a small person, how much are they spending to become a member?

Mark Harrison:  It can be £500, so $600 for a small company.

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

Mark Harrison:  They should go to our website, which is www.digitalproductionpartnership.co.uk.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, digitalproductionpartnership.co.uk, and Mark Harrison is the managing director and co-founder of the Digital Production Partnership, and Mark, thanks for joining us today.

Mark Harrison:  It’s been a real pleasure Larry, thanks.

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:  William T. Hayes is the president of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and rather than describe IEEE myself, I think I’ll let Bill do it.  Hello Bill, welcome.

William T. Hayes: Well thank you very much.  Yes I am the president of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society.  BTS is just one of the 47 societies and counsels that make up the IEEE.  For those not familiar with it, the IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization.  We have over 420,000 members globally, and the IEEE’s mission is to advance technology for humanity and we’ve got members obviously, we’ve do conferences, publication standards, educations, all kinds of outreach to the engineering and electrical and electronics.  We’ve developed communities of support for various technologies.  As I said, I’m the president of one of those societies which is focused on broadcast technology.

Larry Jordan:  I’m already tired just listening to the description of what you’re doing.

William T. Hayes:  It’s a big organization.

Larry Jordan:  So far today we’ve talked with SMPTE and we’ve talked to AES in terms of standards organizations, how do you fit in with them?

William T. Hayes:  BTS obviously focuses in some of the same areas that both SMPTE and AES focus in, and that is standardization in media.  But IEEE’s net is much wider than that.  IEEE has societies in everything from biometrics to plasma sciences, and nuclear sciences.  So our standard operations go far beyond media.  If you’ve ever used wifi, that’s an IEEE standard.  Firewire for computer connections, that’s an IEEE standard.  So IEEE’s reach is much broader, although I’m a member of both AES and SMPTE as well, so sometimes focusing helps get the work done.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s put your Broadcast Technology Society hat on, and narrow it down to the kind of stuff that you do.  How do you avoid stepping on SMPTE or AES’s toes or the other way round?

William T. Hayes:  Well it’s actually not as difficult as you might imagine.  BTS, because our focus is much more on the distribution side of this, of media to mass audiences, so we focus in the areas of taking content that has been created using AES and SMPTE standards, and our focus is on delivering that from the organizations that create it, to the consumer who want to receive it.  So we are actually much more symbiotic and cooperative.  We seldom run into places where we’re stepping on each other’s toes and as a matter of fact, in some of the standards, we actually use each other’s standards to enhance what we’re doing.

William T. Hayes:  A case in point would be the SMPTE standard that’s been worked on IP video, uses an IEEE standard called precision time protocol, as part of its standard.  So we actually cooperate quite well together.

Larry Jordan:  Well within your organization, how do you view your role?

William T. Hayes:  As the president of the Society?  I’m the cheerleader.  I’m the one who’s out there trying to get more people interested in participating.  The one area where we’d like to see more participation is in the user community.  We’re all focused on making technology better, but where we find a shortage is people who are applying the technology, you know, to close the loop.  We can design something and standardize it, but if we don’t have users helping us through that process, what we can tend to do is create something that’s, while it’s standardized, is not what the user actually wants.  So my job is mostly an ambassador to try to get more practicing people and more end users to get involved in this.  The manufacturing community loves to support this, because obviously they’re selling products either in our professional spaces or in the consumer spaces that are utilizing these standards.  So they’re very happy to participate in it, but we’d just like to see more of the people, the applications side of this.  So engineers at radio stations, and TV stations or in various industries that are actually working with the technology that’s being standardized, be part of it.  So that’s really where I see my role.

Larry Jordan:  Well I’m a consumer that is in a media space, and I would consider myself a professional for the next 30 seconds or so.  Technology is happening and changing so quickly that most of us poor users can’t keep up.  Do standards organizations have a role in trying to stabilize all this technological change?  Or are they enhancing it?

William T. Hayes:  Well the whole idea of standards is not to create limits, in my vision it’s to create the pathways.  In the old days when technology was very much long term and you bought something like a TV, it was a 20 to 30 year product.  It sat in your living room.  Most of the time you didn’t throw them away, you put them somewhere else, so the standards that were created for that had this long lifespan and so creating them took time, but once they were created, they really didn’t change much over time.

William T. Hayes:  Now technology is much more commoditized and disposable, and the technologies are changing rapidly, so standards organizations, in order to keep up with that, have gotten away from writing these very hard concrete limited rigid standards, to creating what we would call tool kits where we create standards that are extensible, that can be added onto.  The idea is to provide a pathway for growth and development that doesn’t necessarily require the consumer to throw away everything they have, and buy all new again.  The worst thing we can do is create a standard and then three or five years out, a new technology comes out and a person buys that and the standard doesn’t work with it, so they can’t get what they want.  So the whole idea with standards now is to try and be much more flexible and create them as tool kits and that allows growth and development so that they do have some legs and some life expectancy.

Larry Jordan:  So what new technology are you guys debating?  What future can I look forward to in the next couple of years?

William T. Hayes:  In the television space, in the US and in Korea, and pretty much globally, it’s all about the new digital TV standard, ATSC3.  ATSC is the digital television standard used in the United States, Korea, Canada, Mexico and a number of places.  We’re working on a new standard that allows terrestrial broadcast television to become much more internet like with the ability for back channel, to utilize smart devices and bring in content not only from the transmitted service over the air, but also from a smart connection via broadband connectivity.  So that’s what we’re focusing on right now.  And it’s happening on a global level.  We have participants from all over the planet that are working on various components of this.  And again, this is another one of those tool kits, we’re creating this extensible standard that will be start being deployed, probably in the next year and a half, but it has the capability to be expanded upon so that it should last for several decades of service and perhaps beyond that.

Larry Jordan:  It seems to me your role is caught between all these different warring factions of people that have opinions and different countries you’re dealing with.  Are you still having fun?

William T. Hayes:  Oh yes.  To me that’s the best part of it is consensus building.  And it’s great on a global level because not only are you building consensus with technologists, but you’re also learning about cultures and, not my favorite part, a little bit about the politics going on around the world.  We had this conversation where there’s no technical reason not to have global standards.  Typically it has to do with politics and political boundaries, so it’s fun to sit with engineers from all over the world, have a conversation about the technology, ease of vision of what it can do and then realize, we have to figure out how do we get our politicians to say this is OK?

Larry Jordan:  Well for people that want to keep track of what the IEEE is doing, and your group specifically, where can they go on the web?

William T. Hayes:  Well for BTS it’s just BTS.IEEE.org and if you’re interested in the IEEE, it’s IEEE.org.

Larry Jordan:  William T. Hayes is the president of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and Bill, thanks for joining us today.

William T. Hayes:  Thank you for having me.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  I was just thinking, last week one of my teaching assistants at USC told me he wanted to be a film director and that he was working to get into the film school.  I asked him, “What do you want to learn in film school?”  “How to use the gear” he replied.  Now, USC has a justifiably famous film school, but I told him that film school is not necessary for success as a filmmaker.  Watching films, analyzing films, deconstructing what makes a camera shot, or a scene work are all essential steps to becoming a successful director and that process can be learned in film school, but it can also be learned in your spare time.

Larry Jordan:  Instead, I asked him, “Which is more important to a director?  How to use the gear, how to work with a crew to create your vision, or how to enable your actors to tell your story?”  Directing, I suggested, has far more to do with people skills than technical skills.  This doesn’t mean that tech isn’t important, but that all too often we think tech is the answer when it is merely a tool.  Even high budget films have fallen into this trap.  He’s putting his career on hold for the wrong reason.  I told him that he already has an outstanding camera in his pocket.  It’s his smartphone.

Larry Jordan:   If he wants to learn the challenges of directing, I told him “Shoot a short film every weekend.  No more than two to four pages of script.  Put yourself on a tight deadline, so that you have to think and work quickly.  See how framing and camera position affect your story.  Discover how to motivate a crew.  Learn how to work with actors, especially student actors, to help them find the emotional heart of a scene.  Develop your communication and people skills, analyze your shots, practice your editing, and constantly critique your work.  Then do it again, and do it again.  If you get into film school, great.  If not, also great, because the things you most need to know to create a great film are learned on the job, not in the classroom.”

Larry Jordan:  Just something I’m thinking about.  And as always, let me know your thoughts.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank this week’s guests, Howard Lukk from SMPTE, Doctor Richard Cabot from AES, Mark Harrison from DPP, William Hayes from IEEE and James DeRuvo from DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan:   There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today.  Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Saturday.

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.