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Digital Production Buzz – November 2, 2017

All the major trade shows for 2017 are over. So, tonight, we take a look at emerging technology, trends and products in our industry that we need to watch moving forward.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Ned Soltz, Riley Stricklin, Clark Weber, Philip Hodgetts, Nigel Booth, and James DeRuvo.

  • Emerging Trends in Camera Technology
  • Very Bright, Very Small, Very Affordable Lights
  • New Cameras From GoPro
  • Tomorrow’s Trends Explained Today
  • Media Asset Management in The Cloud
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Guests this Week

Emerging Trends in Camera Technology

Ned Soltz

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

No one has a better handle on cameras and camera trends than Ned Soltz, contributing editor for Red Shark News. Tonight, he shares the latest in camera news, along with the trends he’s watching for the rest of this year.

Very Bright, Very Small, Very Affordable Lights

Riley Stricklin

Riley Stricklin, VP of Sales, LumeCube

Creativity doesn’t stop after the sun goes down which means you need a reliable lighting source. Tonight, Riley Stricklin, VP of Sales from LumeCube, stops by to talk about their extremely affordable range of lighting gear.

New Cameras From GoPro

Clark Weber

Clark Weber, Senior Product Manager – Connected Devices, GoPro

GoPro had become a leading name in high-quality action cameras. Tonight we talk with Clark Weber, Senior Product Manager at GoPro, about the latest updates to their Hero camera and their new Fusion 360 Camera.

Tomorrow’s Trends Explained Today

Philip Hodgetts

Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System

Earlier tonight, we heard from Ned Soltz on the latest camera trends. Now, Philip Hodgetts, CEO of Lumberjack System, shares his thoughts on other technology trends we need to watch.

Media Asset Management in The Cloud

Nigel Booth

Nigel Booth, EVP Business Development and Marketing, IPV

Media asset management in The cloud is becoming more of a reality. Tonight, Nigel Booth, Executive Vice-President of Business Development and Marketing for IPV, discusses the importance of using a MAM and how it works when integrated with The Cloud.

The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – October 26, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Mark Jackson, Senior VFX Artist, Saddington Baynes
Craig Ratcliffe, Photographer, Craig Ratcliffe Photography
Cirina Catania, Founder and Lead Creative, The Catania Group
Jon Schellenger, President, Cinematic Motion Pictures
James DeRuvo, Senior Writer, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are looking at commercials. From Britain, to Australia, then back to the US.  We start with Mark Jackson, Senior Visual Effects Artist at Saddington Baynes in London.  Before all else, a commercial needs to catch the eye and the attention of the viewer.  Increasingly, advertisers are using visual effects to do exactly that.  Tonight, Mark walks us through the creation of Strongbow, an all VFX commercial, and the process they used to create it.

Larry Jordan: Next, we switch over to Australia, where Craig Ratcliffe has been a Commercial Photographer since, well, a long time.  Tonight, he talks about his process for creating still images for commercials.

Larry Jordan: Next, Cirina Catania is an Independent Filmmaker, who got her start in commercials.  Tonight, we talk about her process in creating a commercial and how this differs, as she works in different locations.

Larry Jordan: Next, Jon Schellenger owns Cinematic Motion Pictures, a Florida based production house.  Tonight, we talk with him about creating local commercials, budgets and his workflow for creating compelling ads.  All this, plus James DeRuvo with our weekly DoddleNEWS update.  The Buzz starts now. 

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

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

Larry Jordan: Commercials are strange animals; they’re essential to just about all marketing today, yet creating a good one is really, really difficult.  Tonight, we talk with experts across the globe about how they create the commercials that the rest of us watch.  From stills, to video, at the core of every successful spot is a compelling story that grabs our attention long enough to deliver its message.  But how is that done?  How do production houses work with ad agencies and clients?  What’s worked and where have things fallen apart?  That is what we want to talk about tonight.

Larry Jordan: But first, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter, at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Every issue, every week, provides quick links to all the different segments on the show; plus articles of interest to filmmakers.  Best of all, it’s free and comes out every Saturday.

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

James DeRuvo: Well hi Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: It is wonderful to hear your voice again, as always.  What’s in the news?

James DeRuvo: Well, you know, Adobe shipped their 2018 version of Creative Cloud this week; right as they were beginning with Adobe MAX and, in the process, we got a sneak peek of what’s coming beyond 2018.  This included a little project called Project Puppetron, which uses Adobe character animator to animate a selfie of yourself, but with a graphic overlay; so you can take a picture of yourself, put graphic overlay on it to make yourself look like, I don’t know, a koala or something and then animate it; which is like really cool.

James DeRuvo: Then, you know those wires and all those little things that are in the image that you want to get rid of, well they have this thing called Project Cloak, which analyses and hides unwanted elements automatically; so thinking of things like wirework or … on steroids.

Larry Jordan: Well James, what are these Adobe sneaks?

James DeRuvo: Well, Adobe Sneaks is one of the most popular sessions at Adobe MAX, their annual conference; because it gives the content creators a peek over the horizon at what they’re looking on for future versions and though, through it we’ve gotten Adobe Character Animator, Warp Stabilizer and even mobile apps like Adobe Click to your smartphone.  While many others haven’t made the cut, it’s exciting to see that Adobe keeps innovating and that our post-production workflow gets easier and easier to manage as a result.  The irony is, a lot of their ideas come from their interns.

Larry Jordan: Well that’s a look at the future from Adobe, but what about the here and now?

James DeRuvo: Well, yesterday, Sony unveiled their new Alpha 7R III and it’s a pretty impressive dot upgrade.  It basically uses the same back illuminated Exmor CMOS sensor as the previous A7R II; but Sony has managed to squeak out even more performance; including a burst mode of up to ten frames per second in either mechanical or silent mode; five axis image stabilization and it over-samples 14 bit log video in high dynamic range, at 5K, with no pixel binning; so that it can then output into 4K and not only at 50 frames per second, but it can also do 120 frames per second at 1080p.  It’s going be a monster.

Larry Jordan: Well, what is it specifically that makes this upgrade newsworthy?

James DeRuvo: Well, I think it’s going to be able to future proof your work for the next level.  You’ll be able to shoot in full frame, as well as super 30 … mode and it’s just going to be a really good upgrade for video and action still photography shooters; like sports photography and that type of thing.  Some may question whether it’s worth upgrading; but if you’re interested in future proofing your work, it could take you to the next level.

Larry Jordan: Well that’s the latest from Sony; do we have any other camera news?

James DeRuvo: Speaking of looking over the horizon, let’s look back.  You know that old Nikon analogue SLR that’s collecting dust in the drawer of your desk?  How would you like to blow that sucker off and put a digital back on it and take digital video with it?  There’s this new product called I’m Back and it’s a digital back that has this adjustable focus screen.  Inside of it, it has this built-in 16 megapixel CMOS sensor and it’s designed to slip onto the backs of an old Nikon Leica or … SLR; you know the ones where you take it off and the bottom comes off as well as the back?  You slip this thing on and it’s capable of shooting digital stills, as well as 2K video at 24 frames per second, or 1080p at 60 frames per second.

Larry Jordan: What impact do you think this thing is going to have?

James DeRuvo: Well, I don’t think filmmakers are going to be trading in their D850s any time soon; but if you’re looking for a cool way to get a vintage newsreel look, or super eight footage look, this could eliminate the step of developing film; maybe capturing it and adding filters and re-encoding.  It’s not going to be for everybody, but it’s kind of a cool little tool to have for a specific occasion.

Larry Jordan: What other news are we following this week?

James DeRuvo: Other articles we’re following include, we’ve got a host of new competitions with which to win your favorite gear and the State of New York wants drone manufacturers to test their UAVs upstate.

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

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

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the Senior Writer for DoddleNEWS and joins us every week with the latest DoddleNEWS update.  James, as always, thanks for joining us and have a good week.

James DeRuvo: Have a good weekend Larry.

Larry Jordan: Bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to, doddlenews.com.  DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries; it’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry.  DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platform, 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.

Larry Jordan: DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts community; a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers.  From photography to filmmaking; performing arts to fine art; 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: Mark Jackson has created still and motion campaigns for many of the world’s top advertising agencies and brands; including Heineken’s largest ever marketing campaign.  He currently works at Saddington Baynes in London, as the Senior Visual Effects Artist.  Hello Mark, welcome.

Mark Jackson: Hi Larry.

Larry Jordan: Mark, how would you describe your job as a Senior Visual Effects Artist?

Mark Jackson: My primary role is to take a project that’s not always effects heavy work, it tends to be any of the projects that are slightly more complex, say, than your average sort of 3D animation and I lead those projects through all the stages of production and hopefully create a nice ad at the end of it.

Larry Jordan: Well what first got you interested in effects all those many years ago?

Mark Jackson: That’s an interesting question.  I started out as a Graphic Designer when I was a teenager, and I was working at doing flash animation and things like that, for websites.  I just got really into the whole sort of animation side of it and they started doing cool things with 3D online and things like that.  It sort of took me deeper and deeper into that sort of world and then I thought, I need to properly get qualified for this and so I ended up going back to university and getting qualified on a Digital Animation course.  Once I was there, I ended up specializing in the visual effects 3D side of things.

Larry Jordan: On your website, which is saddingtonbaynes.com, if you click on the work page and scroll way past all of the cool ads you’ve done, about two thirds the way down, there is an ad called Strongbow.  What was your role with this ad?

Mark Jackson: I was one of two lead artists on that ad and so I was responsible, essentially, for all the animation, effects and rendering on that project.

Larry Jordan: It’s all animation and effects; what were you not responsible for?

Mark Jackson: The other side of the process is compositing.  Say we get the storyboard from the Director and that’s sort of your 2D flat boards, thumbnail sketches.  We then take that and we’ll do an animatic.  We’ll block out all of the shots and make those sort of like the wire frame; so we can actually have the scene there in front of us and move the camera around and block out all the shots.

Mark Jackson: Once all the shots are blocked out and the cameras are set; for instance, the archer in that needed creating and rigging the areas where the clouds needed to be set and then those all need to be animated and cloudified.  Those are then rendered and once those are rendered, they then go into the compositing workflow; which is the point after the renders have been made.  This is where the compositor will then sort of layer up clouds and, if we haven’t rendered everything together in the one shot, the compositor will then add in extra bits and pieces and color grade everything, so that everything matches nicely.  Sometimes there were clouds in the background that were photographic clouds, but they were really far distance things; so you can put the sky in behind.  On one of the shots you can maybe see some tree branches lower down, which came from photography.

Larry Jordan: Now I’m confused.  I thought, as a Visual Effects Artist, you would create the entire frame; but it sounds like you’re creating pieces and delivering the pieces to somebody else to put together.

Mark Jackson: Yes, sometimes the amount of objects that need to be rendered in the frame can be too heavy, or take too long; especially with clouds, because, they’re a volumetric object and, once they layer up on each other, the renderer sometimes has trouble casting the ray all the way through all of these clouds and calculating all of the opacity calculations that it needs to do.  What we would do is sort of split the scene into foreground elements, mid ground elements and far ground and we can render those objects with different levels of detail.  The stuff in the foreground will be nice and detailed and then the mid ground and far ground will fall off in detail as you go back and so the geometry is less heavy on the scene and the renderer.

Mark Jackson: What the compositor can then do is, he’ll take those and then the compositing software can quite easily plonk those in as they layer them up and get them all to sit nicely together.  It’s just sort of a shortcut that we would take, to allow the whole scene to be rendered.  Then it also allows us to focus more on certain elements; so we can get the background done and the Director will go, yes that’s brilliant, that’s all good.  The client would sign it off and then we can focus on, say for instance the archer and he can just be rendered and animated separately; so we can work on his movement and all of the little wisps and things that come off him.  Then those can be composited together at a later date.

Larry Jordan: Everyone on the creative team is creative, so I don’t mean to imply a lack of creativity; but it sounds like the Visual Effects Artist is the design and the compositor is the assembly.  Is that a fair characterization?

Mark Jackson: Yes, within reason.  I don’t want to say it’s not.  I think, at each part of the process, everybody has their own role and creative flair to bring to the project.  There are certain things that a compositor will be able to creatively bring to the shot, to bring it alive; with their color grading and any tricks they might have, to add atmosphere and all those kind of things.  Sometimes it’s little flashes of lightning that they might be able to put in the clouds, or little things like that.  I think, the nearer you are to the beginning, the client and the Directors will flesh out that story and then, as we go down along the line, each part of the process has its own creative piece of the puzzle to add.

Larry Jordan: What’s the role of the Director, especially regarding the artist?  Because you’re doing the creative process, you’re designing the actual pieces that are going to go there; what’s the Director doing?

Mark Jackson: Well, if say we’re blocking out shots, you know, we would sit with the Director and we would sort of go through each shot by shot.  Sometimes, you know, the little thumbnail drawing doesn’t make as much sense when you put it in the world and, then, once you start adding camera moves, some shots don’t flow together quite as nicely as you thought they would, once the camera starts moving.  Then, we’ll sit there and we’ll work out together how that camera move can change to work.

Mark Jackson: The Director we worked with on the Strongbow ad, I think it was one of the first times he’d actually worked on a fully CGI commercial; most of his stuff before had been video based.  He was very used to working on set and dealing with talent and things like that; so it was interesting to have his perspective.  I have done stuff in the past on set and I have an idea of how things work, but to have that level of experience there, that we can all use to make a better ad, is very useful. We can replicate everything in the CG world, cameras and lights and all that sort of thing from practical, so it’s ended up being quite a nice and easy process for him to start and take us through to the end.

Larry Jordan: The purpose of a commercial is to make the audience aware of something and encourage them to buy it.  Because every commercial has the same goal, how do you avoid clichés and how do you keep your commercials fresh?

Mark Jackson: That’s a good question.  I think our company has a set of, I guess, values and we have some great Creative Directors here that try and push those values through as a studio.  You know, people come to us because we have a certain set of criteria; you know, we create emotional imagery that is photo real and we’re good at complex short creative pieces.  By sticking to our own idea of what is a great image, that allows us to steer away from the cliché things.  If we’re working with a good creative team, everybody is highly aware when we do something that’s been overdone, or done to death.  It’s always about trying to find our own spin on it, even if we’ve been given a creative brief that could very easily veer off into cliché.  I think it’s just being aware of that.

Larry Jordan: How long did it take to create the Strongbow ad; from approval of the concept by the client.  In other words you got the go light?

Mark Jackson: I’m going to say between five to six weeks, I think.  If I remember correctly, it was about a five week project.

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

Mark Jackson: They can visit saddingtonbaynes.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, saddingtonbaynes.com and Mark Jackson is a Senior Visual Effects Artist at Saddington Baynes and, Mark, thanks for joining us today.

Mark Jackson: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: Craig Ratcliffe is a Commercial and Advertising Photographer based in Brisbane, Australia. He began his career in photography in Sydney at age 15; following in the footsteps of his Father. Hello Craig, welcome back.

Craig Ratcliffe: Hello there Larry, nice to be talking to you.

Larry Jordan: What first made you decide to build your career on photography?

Craig Ratcliffe: It originated from the fact that my Father was a photographer; so I was always hanging around his studios as a small child.  He’d get a new studio and we’d be taken in there as kids and he’d build these things.  I don’t know, we were always hanging around the studio.  Then, when I left school, he offered me a job in his studio, as his assistant, and I took up the opportunity and I’ve basically been doing that ever since.

Larry Jordan: Well let’s flash forward a few years and now you’re running your own company.  A client comes to you and wants you to shoot a photograph for an ad.  How do you approach a commercial shoot?

Craig Ratcliffe: Well, hopefully they would have some kind of brief put together.

Larry Jordan: What would you expect in the brief?

Craig Ratcliffe: I would like a visual, what we called in the old days a layout, which would be a rough rendering of the concept and then some kind of a vocal brief as well.  I usually work with advertising agencies; although the system’s changing a little bit these days.  I would be taken to the agency and briefed on the shoot and I’d consider what I’d have to do, to get the outcome that they want.

Larry Jordan: Would the agency give you a sketch of what they want the picture to look like?

Craig Ratcliffe: Yes, in the old model, yes, that’s what would happen.  In the new digital age, there’s been quite a shift in how advertising is done.  Rather than just having advertising agencies, we’ve got a plethora of people; like social media agencies etc.  I find a lot of my photography, these days, is directed at social media; it’s such a potent force.  That’s the way clients are directing a lot of their advertising.  But yes, I would hope to have some kind of rendering I could look at and conceive the appropriate system to add the photograph.

Larry Jordan: Would you change your procedure if you were shooting something that’s going to go to the web versus print?

Craig Ratcliffe: Generally not, because I believe I should give them the optimum quality possible; so I would always shoot at a high resolution.  If that was needed for social media, or online work, then that would be in some way true; the production would be lowered in resolution or what have you.

Larry Jordan: What are some of your favorite things to capture?

Craig Ratcliffe: People, in particular; I love photographing people.  I love working with actors.  I mean, I shoot everything from food, to jewelry, to cars.  In particular, I do a lot of work on set, on television commercials; so working around a film crew.  I really do enjoy that, although I don’t get much time on set; time is usually the optimum.  In fact, that’s what I’m doing today.

Larry Jordan: Wait a minute.  You’re creating a still image, why do you need to work with an actor; where’s the acting?

Craig Ratcliffe: Well, if it was a television commercial with an actor do you mean?

Larry Jordan: Yes, but there’s movement, they’re walking around; they’re walking and talking and chewing gum all at the same time; they’re not doing any of that for you.

Craig Ratcliffe: Yes, well I would have get in there and grab my shot as quick as I can usually; when the First Assistant Director gives me a moment on a film set.  But in my own studio, or location, where I’ve got control, of course I can direct people a lot better and more at length.

Larry Jordan: What cameras are you using at the moment?

Craig Ratcliffe: At the moment I’m using a Nikon D810 and hoping, very shortly, to upgrade to the Nikon D850.

Larry Jordan: In this age when a good camera costs a ton of money and the technology is changing so quickly, is it still a good idea to buy your own gear, or should we rent cameras?

Craig Ratcliffe: It’s my belief that you should certainly own a camera and your own lens kit; that can change if you need a particular lens that you might not have; but that doesn’t happen very often.  I don’t possess a huge 800 ml, I would hire that; that’s a particularly expensive lens; but I have a good lens range.  I still own all my lighting equipment as well.  But I don’t know if cameras are that expensive these days; I think they’re actually pretty cheap these days.  I used to use Hasselblad in the film days and that was a tremendously expensive camera; but I had four of them.  But when you bought them, they lasted virtually your career, sometimes.

Craig Ratcliffe: These days, things are obviously improving rapidly and new cameras are coming up for sale online pretty regularly.

Larry Jordan: What can clients do, and I define client to mean an ad agency, when hiring you as a photographer, that makes your job easy?

Craig Ratcliffe: I like to have agency representation on set; particularly an Art Director, who can help me with the visual, who can approve at the time of the shoot, rather than down the line somewhere, where everything’s over.  Again, these days, there are so many different formats; so you’re looking at online, where you may have banners of various sizes, even bus ads here in Brisbane, there’s something like 27 separate pieces of artwork that have to fit 27 styles of buses.  There are dozens of different artwork formats; so we’ve got to make sure that my image is going to work within all those formats.  You’re not working around the restrictions of the camera’s format these days, which is traditionally 35 ml, vertical landscape.

Larry Jordan: For clients that realize they have to improve the quality of their photography, where can they go on the web to learn more about you?

Craig Ratcliffe: www.ratcliffephotography.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, ratcliffephotography.com and Craig Ratcliffe is a Commercial Photographer based in Brisbane and, Craig, thanks for joining us today.

Craig Ratcliffe: Thank you very much Larry, it’s been a pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Cirina Catania is a successful Writer, Director, Journalist, Tech Evangelist and Filmmaker.  She’s also a former Senior Marketing Executive at MGM/UA and United Artists and one of the original co-founders of the Sundance Film Festival.  Hello Cirina, welcome back.

Cirina Catania: Well hi Larry.

Larry Jordan: It’s been a while, I have missed your voice.

Cirina Catania: I know, thank you, I’ve missed you too.

Larry Jordan: Cirina, this evening we’re talking about commercials and I know you were involved with one of the first branded entertainment thingies on the web, when you were asked to shoot the Chivas Regal advertisements.  What was that like?

Cirina Catania: Actually, my gosh, I was thinking earlier today, that was almost nine or ten years ago; I don’t know where time goes.  We were counted, at the time, as the first branded entertainment on the web and actually created a channel in connection with the brand, which was Chivas; the ad agency; the production company; and then the distribution outlet, which in this case was MSN for the web.

Larry Jordan: What is your process for a commercial shoot?  What do you go through and how does the workflow work?

Cirina Catania: It really depends on where you are in the hierarchy. With me, if I’m hired to direct, sometimes I’m also hired to write.  In the case of Chivas, I was writing, directing and then post-supervising.  The first thing is to really find out what the demographics and the psychographics are of the brand that you are promoting.  You have to know who your audience is.  The ad agency and/or the production company, in connection with the ad agency, are the ones who have done all of that research and they pass that along to you as the Director, Cinematographer, Writer and you help them to create what is in their heads.

Cirina Catania: I think the difference between an ad agency shoot and a commercial shoot and a normal film that I might be making is, there are a lot more people involved on a commercial shoot side and a lot more people to please and a lot more creative impressions that are made onto the product by the team.  It’s a whole different thing.

Larry Jordan: Does it make a difference if you’re shooting a commercial in the States, versus shooting it abroad?

Cirina Catania: No, I don’t think so.  The difference is, if you’re based here in the States and you’re shooting abroad, you’re going to need a really good fixer; which is somebody that knows the local lay of the land, has the crews available, can find translators for you, can make sure you stay out of trouble.  If you’re shipping a lot of equipment overseas, shipping regulations have changed.  On one shoot, we found out that we couldn’t really ship any of the special effects makeup that we wanted to use to create the characters we were going to create; so, at the last minute, we’re scrambling around in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji trying to find the chemicals and the makeup that we needed to create the characters.

Larry Jordan: What’s been the most unusual place you’ve shot a commercial?

Cirina Catania: LA.

Larry Jordan: How so?

Cirina Catania: LA is weird man.  Well I don’t know.  I’ve been all over the world and I don’t think of it in terms of weird.  I did shoot a series of branded videos for a company that was doing survival videos in the Amazon; which took me to the Amazon.  Sleeping in tree hammocks and dealing with all the poisonous wildlife and the food in the Amazon.  I wouldn’t say it was weird, but it was really interesting.  I love those kind of challenges.

Larry Jordan: Perhaps more offbeat is probably the better word.

Cirina Catania: Yes, something a little bit different.  In the case of Chivas, I was really lucky, because they really gave me a lot of leeway.  They hired me because they knew I was also a Writer and they basically told me what they wanted; they told me what cities they wanted us to go to and the production team helped me to hire the local crews and to deal with all the venues, based on what we wanted to shoot; so that was pretty good.  We went to six cities in 17 production days.

Larry Jordan: What can clients do, and that includes ad agencies, to make your job easier?

Cirina Catania: I think it’s all about communication and being very clear.  The more they can tell you about what’s happening on their end, in terms of the creative, the better you’re going to be at it.  Some clients are very forthcoming and they’ll share everything with you; they’ll share the creative briefs they’ve given to their client, obviously, they have to share the storyboards or you can’t shoot.  But there’s a lot of underlying material that is distributed amongst the internal staff and some of them will share it with the outside Writer, Producer, Director and others will just put you on a need to know basis; which makes it for us as creatives a little bit more difficult.

Cirina Catania: It’s easier for us to please our clients if we know exactly what they want, when they want it and how they want it; you know, what’s the style, what’s the content, how many people are going to have to approve this.  All of those procedures, as much as they can tell me personally, then I can do a better job for them.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to hire your company to create their next commercial, where do they go on the web?

Cirina Catania: They can go to www.thecataniagroup.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, thecataniagroup.com and Cirina Catania is the Lead Creator for the Catania Group.  Cirina, as always, it’s wonderful.  Have yourself a great evening.

Cirina Catania: Thanks Larry.  Goodnight.

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: Jon Schellenger is the President of the Florida based production company, Cinematic Motion Pictures; specializing in local and national television commercials, corporate video and they’re moving into independent features.  Hello Jon, welcome back.

Jon Schellenger: Hey Larry, how you doing?

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just realizing, it’s almost four years since the last time we had you on the show.  It’s good to have you back again.

Jon Schellenger: It’s good to be back.

Larry Jordan: How would you describe your company?

Jon Schellenger: We do everything from stock footage, to television commercials, all the way to feature films.

Larry Jordan: I want to focus, for today, just on your commercial work; so let’s shift and put our commercial hats on.  When a client hires your company to do a commercial, what’s your role in the creative process?

Jon Schellenger: We play a little bit of everything, I mean, all the way from just simply editing; to being the Director of Photography, which is what I like to do on set, about 95% of the time; all the way to directing, if I have to.  Most of the time it’s usually the ad agency, if there is an ad agency for the commercial and, if not, it’s usually the people that have the concept in their mind; like, you know, the owners of an eyeglass company, let’s say.

Larry Jordan: You’ve done both local and national commercials.  What’s the difference between the two?  Is it just the budget?

Jon Schellenger: You know what?  It’s pretty much just the budget.  They are very, very similar.

Larry Jordan: Because so many local commercials are so painful to watch and, yet, most national commercials are not.  Is it just because you get more by spending more?

Jon Schellenger: You know, when you start out, you start out doing local and you’ve got smaller camera gear, you have a smaller crew; therefore, you know, smaller lighting equipment that you might be bringing out.  When you have the larger budgets, now you can start bringing out, you know, Grips and Gaffers and people like that; so now you can get the shots to move.  You can bring in larger lighting, so you can light through windows; you know, with some HMI equipment, that kind of stuff.  This always help bring up the production value for sure.

Larry Jordan: When you’re creating a commercial or, more importantly, when a client comes to you with an idea for a commercial and let’s say they want to have you take creative control; they’re not exactly sure what they want to do, when do you fall back on clichés like puppies and kittens and when do you suggest they try to break away from that and chart some new ground?

Jon Schellenger: I have to feel the client out and see what they’re willing to do.  If I have a fun client that is completely open for fun ideas, then I will do everything I can to not do anything cliché.  For a local car commercial in Palm Beach, we had a concept that the lady that wanted to do the TV spot, she had this idea.  It was called Take a Virtual Tour and it was a 3D animated car and it did all these things.  As soon as I heard it I’m thinking, what’s your budget and what’s your deadline?  You have only like two weeks to do this, there’s no way you’re ever going to make that deadline.  I just told her straight up.  I was nervous during the interview because I’m thinking, there’s just simply no way this is going to happen.

Jon Schellenger:  She then asked me, she goes, well what kind of car commercial would you do?  Of course, me, I don’t want to do anything that everybody sees every single day; I don’t want to do anything that looks local, even though it’s a local TV spot; I want to do something that looks very polished, very national.  I told her, I said, you know, when I walked in here, the first car I bumped into was an Aston Martin and so why don’t we make James Bond ads; so it’s something along the line, like the guy is always on the quest to get the key to the car and we utilize all kinds of local areas in Florida.  Something where we can bring in scuba-diving; you know, he’s diving off a ship wreck and, when he comes out of the ocean, there’s the car revealed, he’s got the key.  You know, some kind of mission; the guy’s always going after the key.  We won a lot of awards for that campaign.

Larry Jordan: Well you’ve only got 30 seconds, how do you create a story in that short a period of time?

Jon Schellenger: That is extremely hard to do; you’ve got to be very, very creative on that and you have to think out of the box.  Let me say this Larry, you absolutely have to have that figured out so far in pre-production; because, if you don’t, you’re dead.  I’ll give you a case in point.  For the same car commercials that we were doing, they had a $22,000 budget for a local TV spot and they wanted to do something really elaborate with the helicopter; so we were thinking, okay, there’s going to be a helicopter chase scene.

Jon Schellenger: If you actually go onto our website, you’ll actually see these spots, because they’re posted up there.  We did a helicopter chase scene, where they closed down part of an airport in the south part of Florida; one of these small airports.  We shoot this elaborate commercial and the guy is late for his wedding and, basically, you know, he’s trying to avoid the helicopters and everything and then it gets to the wedding and you find out that he forgot the wedding ring and that’s why they were chasing him.  When we talked to the ad agency, we made it very specific that it was going to be a one minute spot; there was no way we could do that in 30 seconds, with everything; because, no matter how many times we try to come up with the combination code to make that a 30 second spot, it could not happen.

Jon Schellenger: They agreed to it and here we were three months later, deep in post-production, and she saw the first cut of it and she goes, well how long is this?  We said one minute exactly.  She goes, it needs to be 30 seconds, why is it a minute?  There was just dead silence.  The only other thing I could say, when it comes down to doing commercials and I know it’s a little bit of a long-winded answer, but it is important, you have to have everything in writing; there’s got to be contracts.  You just have to be very specific.  It’s not that you’re trying to lock somebody into certain agreements, but it’s there also to protect you as a production company.

Jon Schellenger: That spot, we actually did cut down to 30 seconds, it was so confusing, nobody understood what the spot was.  They played it once and they never played it again.  We have gotten so many battle scars from doing TV spots.

Larry Jordan: What causes the biggest battle scar?  What’s the battle you fight over and over again?

Jon Schellenger: Budget, always budget.  It’s like anybody comes up and says, I want to make a music video and then I’ve got to play 20 questions with them, because I can’t give them a price until I understand what is the music video; what do they want to do; what is the commercial; what do you want to do?  Are we shooting outside; I mean, do you want drones to be used to shoot your building?  If that’s the case, I’ve got to get permits now and I’ve got to get a drone operator.

Jon Schellenger: You know, that just goes on and on and on and you start looking at the list of everything and you come up with the budget and then you give it to them and they turn around and say, oh no, no, no, I know somebody who can do it for 1,200 bucks.  You sit there and you’re like, I can’t compete with that and you have to let them go, at that point, or you try to bring your budget down a little bit by being respectful.  I don’t want to laugh at them when they tell me what their budget is, I want to see if there’s a way I can tailor my budget to help them and, if not, then I’ll simply give them a suggestion of somebody I know, who’s just getting started, who I can recommend as another videographer, or a cinematographer who can, you know, shoot their spot for them.  At least I know they’ll get good customer service wherever they go.

Larry Jordan: The battle of the budget is always the hardest isn’t it?

Jon Schellenger: Yes, absolutely and, if you’re not careful, and this is the big one, you can sink your ship very quickly.  In the production business, if you sit there and offer the world and, the next thing you know, it takes you three or four extra days to cut something for them, because of scope creep or whatever, and you let that happen, next thing you know, I can’t make my business work anymore and you will close doors.  You’ve got to be very careful.  You’re not trying to be mean with anybody, you’ve just got to make sure it’s very crystal clear what your expectations as a production company are; so you can avoid scope creep.  That’s huge.

Larry Jordan: Put your people hat on for a minute.  How do you convince a client that what they want to do just won’t work?

Jon Schellenger: In this business, also, we’re not out there just to make a bunch of videos for a reel, we’re out there to get repeat business.  The biggest thing you want to do is you want to offer the client customer service all the way.  You can’t just tell them, no that can’t be done, you have to tell them why and you have to try to get them to understand.  For example, when the ad agency wanted to do this elaborate 3D thing, I said, that’s going to require a building filled with people and that’s going to be probably two months of work.  I said, I could build a 3D steering wheel and it’ll take me a day just to build that.

Jon Schellenger: Instead of just saying no and leaving them nowhere to go, I gave them suggestions and, hopefully, they take those suggestions.  If they don’t and they are absolutely wanting to do the spot no matter what, sometimes, and it’s painful to do, you have to turn it down.  You’ve just got to tell them, I’m sorry, I can’t help you.  I want to do this spot for you really bad, but we just don’t have the manpower; we don’t have the current technology to do it.

Larry Jordan: What’s your favorite client to work with?

Jon Schellenger I love clients that are open-minded and the ones that kind of think like me; which is someone that’s obviously out of the box; people that don’t want just the same old local TV spots, they’re willing to do something different, something crazy, not specifically artsy, but just something that really is eye-catching.  Maybe my favorite client would be somebody that sees cinematically, I love that; people that respect the work that goes into making something really cinematic; something very national, even though it’s a local spot.  It makes them look great, it makes their company look great.

Jon Schellenger:  Commercials are very similar to shooting movies; the movies is a marathon and the commercials are really nice.  In some ways, I almost like doing commercials more than I do the movies, because, the post-production side of it is very quick, you know, it’s 30 seconds; so to go in there and watch it 20,000 times, you can do it basically in one day; you could color correct everything in a day, you can export it out and double-check your deliverables very quickly.

Jon Schellenger: Whereas, if you do a movie, it’s, you know, however long the movie is; it’s an hour and a half movie, or two hour movie, it could be a two to three hour render.  You have no choice but to do quality control, so you have to sit there and watch it now, to make sure there’s no render glitches or anything wrong with it and then you have to upload it to the client and that takes a long time.

Jon Schellenger:  Commercials are nice because, you know, the ones that have the decent budgets are great; you can go in there and shoot it in a day, usually cut it in a day, day and a half and you’re done.  I like that side of how fast the commercials are and how different each commercial can be from one another.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to create their own eye-catching spots, where can they go on the web to learn more about you?

Jon Schellenger: Go to cinematicmotionpictures.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, cinematicmotionpictures.com and Jon Schellenger is the President of Cinematic Motion Pictures and, Jon, thanks for joining us today.

Jon Schellenger: Larry, thank you, I appreciate it.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking about the power of simple kindness.  Last week, one of my co-workers was having a difficult time personally; though, she still needed to get work done in the office.  Part of her job is contacting people to set up interviews for The Buzz.  Now, for those of you who have done any amount of cold calling, or cold emailing, you know how depressing that can be.  Imagine her surprise and delight in getting an email reply from a high-level executive at a tech firm.

Larry Jordan: Even though they declined the interview, the email itself was pleasant, cheerful and personal; even though the two of them had not met before.  What struck me was her reaction to the note.  The executive could simply have ignored her, or sent back a one word reply; instead, they sent a pleasant personal comment.  It wasn’t just the message, it was how the message was packaged.  Far too often, we lose sight of the fact that the words we say and how we say them makes a difference.

Larry Jordan: Earlier today, my Wife walked into the office, commenting about how much she likes talking with customer support at her credit card company, because they’re always polite and easy to talk with.  In today’s world, it’s easy to be unnecessarily abrupt, especially with people we don’t know; but after seeing the smile on my associate’s face, it made me appreciate, even more, the power that a cheerful phrase and kind words have to brighten someone’s day.  Just something I’m thinking about and, as always, I’m interested in your opinion.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank this week’s guests, Mark Jackson with Saddington Baynes, Photographer Craig Ratcliffe, Filmmaker Cirina Catania, Jon Schellenger with Cinematic Motion Pictures and James DeRuvo with DoddleNEWS.  There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online and all available to you today, and remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Saturday.

Larry Jordan: Talk with us on Twitter @dpbuzz and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner, with additional music provided by smartsound.com.  Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription; visit take1.tv, to learn how they can help you.  Our Producer is Debbie Price, assisted by Tori Hoefke.  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 – October 26, 2017

Tonight we talk about creating commercials with companies from Britain to Australia to the US. How do we get the sponsor’s message across in just 30 seconds – and avoid clichés or confusing the audience in the process? Actually, it’s really, really difficult!

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Mark Jackson, Craig Ratcliffe, Cirina Catania, Jon Schellenger, and James DeRuvo.

  • Creating Visually Powerful Commercials
  • Create That Perfect Shot
  • Create “Branded Entertainment” for the Web
  • Create Successful Local Commercials
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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

Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Creating Visually Powerful Commercials

Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson, Senior VFX Artist, Saddington Baynes

This week, we are looking at commercials. Before all else, a commercial needs to catch the eye – and attention – of the viewer. Increasingly, advertisers are using visual effects to do exactly that. Mark Jackson, Senior VFX Artist at Saddington Baynes walks us through the creation of “Strongbow” – an extremely visual commercial – and the process they use when working with clients.

Create That Perfect Shot

Craig Ratcliffe

Craig Ratcliffe, Photographer, Craig Ratcliffe Photography

Photographer Craig Ratcliffe has been taking pictures professionally since he was young. Tonight he talks about creating still images for commercials and the on-going question about what gear to use to get the shot you see in your mind.

Create “Branded Entertainment” for the Web

Cirina Catania

Cirina Catania, Founder and Lead Creative, The Catania Group

Cirina Catania is the founder and Lead Creative for The Catania Group. While she specializes now in long-form documentaries, she got her start in commercials. Tonight, she shares how she got involved with the first “branded entertainment” on the web.

Create Successful Local Commercials

Jon Schellenger

Jon Schellenger, President, Cinematic Motion Pictures

Why are local commercials so painful to watch? Tonight, Jon Schellenger, president of Cinematic Motion Pictures, describes the process of creating a successful local commercial.

The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – October 19, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Bill Roberts, Director, Product Management for Video and Audio Solutions, Adobe Systems, Inc.
Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor, Red Shark News, Ned Soltz Inc.
Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney & Labor Reporter, TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter
Paul Lasley, Co-Host/Producer, OnTravel Media
J.J. Kelley, Senior Producer and Correspondent, National Geographic
James DeRuvo, Senior Writer, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight we divide The Buzz into two parts, news and travel, and we start with the news.  Adobe made big news with the release yesterday of upgrades to all their applications.  Tonight, Bill Roberts, the Director of Product Management for Video and Audio Solutions for Adobe joins us to explain the new releases; as well as highlight Adobe’s new foray into machine learning.  Next, Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor for RedShark News, reports from NAB New York, on their latest news and announcements.  We asked Ned to pay special attention to the conference track, to give us a sense of what trends are starting to take off.

Larry Jordan: Next, James DeRuvo, the Senior Writer for doddleNEWS, presents our weekly doddleNEWS update; this time with a look at all the tech news that wasn’t from Adobe or at NAB.  Next, Jonathan Handel, Entertainment Labor Reporter for the Hollywood Reporter, discusses the burgeoning Harvey Weinstein scandal; it’s impact on Hollywood and, by extension, how this will impact all of us.

Larry Jordan: Then we shift gears to travel, looking at travel videos and podcasts.  We start with Paul Lasley.  Paul produces and hosts two daily travel shows that are broadcast to 3.5 million listeners, in the 180 countries on the American Forces radio network and podcasted on Travel.com.  Tonight, Paul talks with us about travel, media and the challenges of creating interesting audio podcasts on travel.

Larry Jordan: Next, J.J. Kelley, Senior Producer and Correspondent for National Geographic, shares his stories of reporting from the wilds of the world, for the National Geographic Network.  The Buzz starts now.

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

Larry Jordan: Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry; covering media production, post-production and marketing around the world.  Hi, my name is Larry Jordan; this was an interesting week.  The Harvey Weinstein scandal exploded into something far greater than Hollywood; Adobe released updates to all their media software; and NAB New York opened for the rest of the industry to showcase the latest in technology.

Larry Jordan: NAB New York is gaining in importance, so we invited Ned Soltz to cover it on our behalf.  One area where I wanted Ned to take a closer look was the conference.  Often conversations start there, that don’t become products for months, or even years.  Still, the conference is an excellent way to take the pulse of the industry as attendees try to figure out which ideas are worth supporting, with services or products.

Larry Jordan: Then an idea we’ve been discussing internally for a while is the challenge in creating podcasts and programs related to travel; so tonight we have two acknowledged experts, Paul Lasley and J.J. Kelley.  Each has an audience of millions, with decades of experience in creating compelling programs.  Tonight, we go behind the scenes to learn how they do it.

Larry Jordan: Let’s start with the news.  Bill Roberts is the Director of Product Management for audio and video products for Adobe Systems.  He, along with his engineering counterparts, determine the direction of Adobe products like Premiere Pro, Audition and After Effects.  Hello Bill, welcome back.

Bill Roberts: Good morning, good to talk to you Larry.

Larry Jordan: It is my pleasure, because there were some exciting announcements, yesterday, from Adobe.  What’s the news?

Bill Roberts: This week is obviously MAX, which is our great creativity conference and MAX is also the vehicle for us to update all of the products across the family.  For the video team, it’s our opportunity to actually deliver the products that we revealed back at IBC in September.

Larry Jordan: So we can now get our hands on these things?

Bill Roberts: That is exactly it; they’re all available for download as of yesterday.

Larry Jordan: So, what are the highlights?  What are your favorite features?

Bill Roberts: It’s a big update for us across the board; I’ll hit on some of the top things by product.  We’re really trying to address the fact that, the one thing that doesn’t change in this industry is the increased demand for throughput; and, if you think about anybody who’s building a brand; it’s about, how do you get it across all the different screens and how do you do it consistently.  A lot of the things are tied into that theme of, do more, do it faster.

Bill Roberts: For Premiere, Team Projects, which we’ve had in a full public beta for the past year, goes 1.0; so everybody can now collaborate on a Cloud project; and, on top of that, we added two other features that are really driving collaboration for very specific workflows.  We’ve added Multiple Open Projects, which works flawlessly with Team Projects; so it allows people to have any historical project that they’ve opened open at the same time as the one they’re working on; so they can move back and forth between different projects very easily.  That was a really important feature for people who’ve come across to Premiere Pro from products like Final Cut.

Bill Roberts: We also have added the ability to have shared projects, or Project Locking; so for people who come across from an Avid background, they’re familiar with bin locking; the idea that, if you’re working with an assistant, the assistant can prep a reel, lock it, you can pick it up and you work on it, no-one else can work on it.  Basically we’ve expanded our collaboration tools to make it so that, you know, any creative workflow that you want to project onto the software is now enabled.

Larry Jordan: What’s the difference between a Shared Project and a Team Project?

Bill Roberts: Team projects live in the Cloud and that’s designed for the ability for people to work on a project at the same time; there’s no restrictions, there’s no locking and unlocking of the project.  That’s fantastic for a lot of workflows; but when we started to do more and more with Hollywood, the specific workflows where you’ve got a Senior Editor and you’ve got assistants, they really wanted the ability to have what I’ll call Serial Workflow.  Somebody works on it, you know, it has a state; the next person picks it up and they don’t want anybody messing with it while they’re working on it.

Bill Roberts: That’s the big difference.  Team Projects is unfettered collaboration and will help you merge all the changes on the backend; if people have created conflict.  The idea of Shared Projects is really, let’s address the workflows; where people do not want to ever get into a situation where there could be any conflicts between version.

Larry Jordan: Well we’ve talked briefly about the new features in Premiere, what else is new?

Bill Roberts: There’s one that nicely spans Premiere and After Effects.  We introduced the idea of motion graphics templates back at NAB and they kind of get supercharged in this release.  Not only are we changing the way that you create and consume them and to make that even easier; but also, we now have them available on Adobe stock; so literally hundreds and hundreds of hundreds of beautiful templates that you’re going to be able to download, many of them for free, to help you kick start your creativity.

Bill Roberts: Just to recap on what a motion graphics template is, it’s all the complexity of After Effects condensed down and now delivered and it’s super easy to use.

Larry Jordan: So a motion graphics template is created in After Effects, but used in Premiere and it’s designed for Premiere Editors who don’t know After Effects, to have the power of After Effects.

Bill Roberts: That’s exactly what it is and that was one of the biggest challenges we have.  If you take someone who’s not a motion graphics expert, they’re an Editor by trade and you present them with After Effects, it is designed to be the ultimate creative playground.  It’s got all the layers of Photoshop, it interacts with all of our other products; but it’s got that added element of time; so a lot of people were intimidated by that.  With motion graphics templates, we’ve really addressed a lot of the challenges that people had in, you know, being productive and staying on brand.

Bill Roberts: We’ve actually made it a little bit easier for the multi-framed deliveries that people have today; because quite often, you might be delivering something 16×9 for your broadcast channels, square for Instagram and, heaven forbid, even portrait video; so we added two new attributes to motion graphics templates and how they’re used, called Responsive Design.  We have one which allows you to lock something relative to each other or relative to the frame; so let’s say you wanted something in the top corner of a 16×9 window and then you want to deliver it into a portrait video, it will automatically lock; so when you change that aspect ratio, it will move up and be in the right place.

Bill Roberts: We’ve also done the same thing for time.  If you’re going to take a lot of effort to have a nicely animated intro and extro, say for a lower third, what you want to do, if you’re adjusting the length of it, is not have the intro and extro animation change, you want them to stay static and just change the overall duration; that’s responsive design time.  We’ve been working with our customers to make sure that these things really meet the needs of this high velocity content production.

Larry Jordan: Well there’s a lot of other features we can talk about and we haven’t even mentioned my favorite program, which is Audition.  But there’s something else that you guys have announced, that I want to find out about.  What is Adobe Sensei?

Bill Roberts: When we start to look at, you know, what’s going on in the industry that’s changed, we can now use machine learning and artificial intelligence to augment what people do.  Sensei is our term that kind of brings those worlds together and gives it a jazzy marketing moniker.  There’s so much that machines can do better than humans and there’s a great example of that in Audition, for this cycle.  Typical things in video are voice, background music, background sound and you have to create a mix.  Before you can even think about doing anything pure creative, you’ve got to get to the basics; you’ve got to be able to hear the voice relative to everything else.

Bill Roberts: We’ve added a new feature, which allows you to automatically ride the audio through an entire sequence with the click of a button; so it builds upon our ability to have track types.  As long as you put all of your voice on a track and type that as voice, all your background sound on tracks that are labeled as background sound; same for music, one click of a button and you’ll have automation throughout the entire timeline and that automation is then something you can go in and start tweaking, because it’s just basically the same as if you rode through your entire sequence, adjusting the faders.  But, being a machine, it knows exactly every single sample at every single, you know, frame of that video is going to be volume adjusted correctly.  There’s no point in mixing like a machine, you want the machine to mix like a human, wherever possible.

Larry Jordan: Because it’s machine learning, that generally means that we’re working with servers on the web.  Do we have to have internet access for these features, like automatic docking in Audition, or lip syncing in Character Animator to work?

Bill Roberts: No.  In this particular case, this is actually running completely local; so there’s no need to be connected.

Larry Jordan: These are some very exciting new features.  For people that want to learn more, where can they go on the web?

Bill Roberts: Adobe.com/video and all the new information is up there, as well as demo videos for a ton of fantastic features.

Larry Jordan: That website is adobe.com/video and Bill Roberts is the Director of Product Management for audio and video products at Adobe and Bill, as always, thanks for joining us.

Bill Roberts: Thank you Larry, I appreciate your time.

Larry Jordan: Ned Soltz is a Contributing Editor to the Creative Planet and RedShark News and, best of all, he’s a regular here on The Buzz.  Hello Ned.

Ned Soltz: Hi Larry, good evening.

Larry Jordan: It is wonderful to hear your voice, it has been a while.

Ned Soltz: It has indeed been a while; but, getting back into the swing of things right now, after an accident and now I’m about 95% me.

Larry Jordan: Because you’re now mobile, we decided to send you off to cover NAB New York this week.  What are the highlights?

Ned Soltz: NAB New York just as a background, there was a show for a number of years, called CCW and NAB acquired that show, in order to create an NAB East.  We can’t think of this in terms of the magnitude of NAB Las Vegas; or the magnitude of an IBC; but rather it’s an excellent opportunity, in the Fall, to bring together an assortment of speakers and topics, as well as product demos and vendors and take up the majority of the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.  I got a good walk through there and looked at some of the conferences and played with some of the toys as well.

Larry Jordan: Well let’s take a look at the conference.  What were some of the hot topics there?

Ned Soltz: First of all we have to remember that the B in NAB stands for Broadcasters; so that, particularly in this show, the programming was very strongly concentrated toward broadcasters.  Particularly dealing with issues as the ATSC 3.0, the new proposed standard for our broadcast television that incorporates higher resolutions and IP over broadcast and other business type areas.  But two things really stood out very strongly.  At the keynote address, instead of really dealing with broadcasters, it was dealing with cyber security.

Ned Soltz: The cyber security issue really permeates everything across the board, from individual users, even to broadcasters; particularly now with so much broadcast work; so much storage, so much approval work all being Cloud based, there remains these significant and very real concerns for cyber security.  Those sessions really were significant and, if not dominant, certainly very prevalent.

Ned Soltz: There was one that’s probably more pertinent to our audience and that was with several individuals who are noted camera operators of the broadcast world and members of the SOC; Society of Camera Operators and it was really on the role and craft of the camera operator.  Particularly fascinating because, somehow and particularly even when we’re working in smaller scripted scenarios, the camera person is just thought of as somebody who follows the directions and, here, grab that shot and push that button; but, indeed, there’s a certain craft of the camera operator, regardless of the level of production and that really is blocking up those shots; making certain the set runs smoothly, and communicating with the DP, with the Director, with talent.

Ned Soltz: This is the significant role of the Camera Operator and that is really pertinent, completely across the board, to broadcasters, as well as to the majority of us; who are going to be either indie shooters, or shooting in scripted scenarios, or even in other areas of the production world, to appreciate the significance of the Camera Operator.

Larry Jordan: Before we run out of time, what new technology caught your eye; either in the show or in the conference.

Ned Soltz: There were two new cameras that, particularly being laid up for a bit, I hadn’t had the chance to see early on.  But it was really the first public showing of the Sony Venice; the new full frame Sony camera, for high end cinema production.  As well as the more affordable and down to earth Panasonic EVA1, in a Super 35 format; kind of the mini varicam, if you will and to see some of the excellent images that are created by this EVA1 was very impressive.  Then, in another area, JVC’s PTZ camera, with an integrated switcher and a synergy with Roland; because we’re seeing synergies between varying manufacturers right now and this Roland/JVC synergy is an excellent example of that.

Ned Soltz: My favorite lighting companies, Cineo and BBS, both of them are bringing new product to market; particularly in the two type LED, or phosphorous lighting, that is really replacing hot lighting at the moment and even replacing florescence.  Lots of good stuff.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to keep track of your writing and what you’re doing, where do they go on the web?

Ned Soltz: Best place to find me is redsharknews.com.

Larry Jordan: That website is all one word, redsharknews.com and Ned Soltz is the Contributing Editor for RedShark.  Ned, thanks for joining us today.

Ned Soltz: Always a pleasure.  Thank you.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: But there’s still more news, because now it’s time for our doddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo.  Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Well hi Larry.

Larry Jordan: Good to hear your voice.  What’s the news this week?

James DeRuvo: The Adobe news is pretty big and NAB New York has had some really interesting technology, but there’s a lot of other news this week in the industry.

Larry Jordan: Well go to.

James DeRuvo: First off, Western Digital has announced a, get this, 12 terabyte spinning hard drives.  7200 RPM spinning drives at up to 12 terabytes; so it goes eight, ten and 12, with up to 250 megabytes of cache and it’s sealed inside an atmosphere of helium.  Nice and protected against dust and moisture and that type of thing.  Western Digital’s enhanced RAFF technology has also been added and that monitors and dampens out any linear or rotational vibrations; that translates into better long term performance and a healthier hard drive.

Larry Jordan: Well James, just how much more can these hard drives go?

James DeRuvo: They’re even currently developing a 16 terabyte model for server and enterprise clients; so, as we go deeper into the 4K and 8K universe, that innovation has never been more important and I think it’s going to just keep growing, until they figure out a different way to build them.

Larry Jordan: That’s the new 12 terabyte drives from Western Digital; what’s next?

James DeRuvo: Well there’s another Wi-Fi hack out in the wild now, that we want to be aware of; it’s called Crack and it exploits a handshake in the Wi-Fi WPA2 protocol.  This handshake clears out the encryption key up to four times during verification; so it’s what’s your verification?  Okay, what’s your verification?  It asks you four times.  What the hackers have managed to do is, they’ve been able to exploit that clearing out of the encryption key to wiggle their way into the network and it enables them to steal, manipulate and insert data into the stream.  But they can only do it if they’re within a 150 foot range of the Wi-Fi signal.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking, with all the hacks we’ve had recently, it seems to me that computer security is a lot harder than it looks.

James DeRuvo: Last year was a tough year for computer security in our industry and it’s coming full circle with this latest exploit.  The problem is, is that this exploit attacks every platform; from the mobile platform, to the Windows platform, to the Apple platform, to Android, it doesn’t matter; because it’s all based on Wi-Fi.  The problem is, is that the target is always finding these new vulnerabilities that nobody knows about; it’s called a Zero Day Exploit.  Computer network security is even more important than developing better imaging tools, in my opinion; because, if we want to keep films up on the movie screen and not on the Pirate Bay, we’ve got to be on top of this and be even better at it than the hackers are.

Larry Jordan: Well now that you’ve got us completely paranoid, do you have any good news?

James DeRuvo: This ought to cheer you up.  You know that collaboration software frame.io?  Well they’ve teamed up with Pond5, our favorite collection of royalty free stock media assets and now you’ll be able to work within the frame.io interface to search, select and buy media assets from Pond5.  They’ll be fully time stamped with comments and annotations, directly on the assets, for later referral and that’s all going to be starting right now.

Larry Jordan: What do you see as the reason for the collaboration?

James DeRuvo: The basic idea is to fast-track the process of finding, choosing and approving stock media assets; just to make it easier.  Within the frame.io architecture that asset can then be downloaded and then passed on seamlessly to the Editor, with any notes that have been generated in the collaboration session; so that everyone is on the same page from the beginning of the project, all the way to the end.

Larry Jordan: That’s frame.io and Pond5, what other stories are you following this week?

James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following this week include Lucasfilm has launched a Star Wars virtual reality experience at Disneyland and Disneyworld; that’s going to be coming out this Christmas and I reviewed the GoPro Hero 6, with some test footage from my San Francisco adventure.

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

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

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the Senior Writer for doddleNEWS and joins us every week with the doddleNEWS update.  Thank you James.

James DeRuvo: Alright Larry, see you next week.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel is an Entertainment and Technology Attorney; he is also the Contributing Editor on Entertainment Labor Issues for the Hollywood Reporter and, best of all, he’s a regular here on The Buzz.  Hello Jonathan, welcome back, it’s been a long time.

Jonathan Handel: Larry, it has been a while, it’s good to be back.

Larry Jordan: I want to talk with you today about the Harvey Weinstein scandal; because that’s continuing to generate front page news.  Give us a summary, what’s going on?

Jonathan Handel: Well this started about two weeks ago, with first the New York Times and then the New Yorker publishing exposes in which numerous women, it’s up to about 30 women now, accused Weinstein both of sexual harassment and, in several cases, of actual rape.  The result was a firestorm, as I think everyone knows.  He was expelled from the Motion Picture Academy and other organizations; projects were canceled; deals were canceled; he was fired from the company he co-founded, The Weinstein Company, and the company’s future is now in doubt.  With an underscore that, in fact, there are some accusations, of a somewhat lesser nature, but still sexual harassment, against his brother Bob; who was co-owner of the company with him and with investors.  It’s been a dramatic several weeks of developments on this.

Larry Jordan: But it seems that the Weinstein scandal is speaking to a bigger problem that Hollywood has always had to deal with, which is male predators.  Is this starting to expand beyond just Harvey Weinstein?

Jonathan Handel: Well it is.  Roy Price, who was the Head of the Television and Movie Studio at Amazon, is now out; he has left the company, or been ejected; depending on what the reports are; based on sexual harassment.  Reports have been written by women, of sexual harassment by, you know, television executives, you know, movie critics, TV critics being harassed.  It’s been enormous.  But, I want to take slight issue, when you say this is a problem with Hollywood.  It’s only a more glamorous, if you will, problem in Hollywood; this is a problem throughout the country and throughout the world.

Jonathan Handel: You know, we live in a world where women are expected to act and perform like they just jumped out of a bucket of KFC; you know, it’s all legs and breasts.  If you think about the way women are supposed to dress really dressy, it’s showing legs, showing breasts.  Flip that around.  What if we lived in a world where, you know, the good looking guys had to wear tight shirts and shorts, it’s almost laughable to say it; but it underscores that we live in a world where women are expected to be, at some level, objects for heterosexual male consumption.  That is the beginning of a slippery slope that some men slide down, that leads to sexual harassment and even to rape.

Jonathan Handel: It’s an enormous problem in Hollywood.  We have a President who got almost 63 million votes, despite a tape that was quite explicit about how he can do what he wants with women because he’s a star and he can grab them and kiss them and so forth; grab their genitals.  This is not just a Hollywood problem.  But I hope that the intensity of the attention here will lead people, in the future, who might be tempted to behave this way, to think to themselves, I don’t want to end up like Harvey; who, at this point, is in a rehab center in Arizona and is disgraced and probably may well end up sued, or even criminally indicted.

Larry Jordan: Do you think there’s going to be a long-term impact, or do you think this is just going to be a flash in the pan and more of the same?

Jonathan Handel: I think there will be a long-term impact, at least incrementally.  I don’t think that any one incident, no matter how dramatic, changes the world.  You know, rape has been used as a tool of war around the world for millennia; the male oppression, unfortunately, of women is a long-standing problem.  I mean, 100 years or so ago you couldn’t even fly in an airplane and now you can fly on the internet, or in an airplane, or in a rocket, or you can destroy the world with nuclear weapons.  I mean, the technological reach of human kind has expanded so dramatically, but our moral and ethical development has been much more slow and incremental.  It’s there, this is a better world even today than it was 20, 30, 40, 100 years ago; but it is slow.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, for people who want to keep track of what you’re writing, where can they go?

Jonathan Handel: Well they can go two places.  To find out more about me, jhandel.com and my writing is on the Hollywood Reporter, particularly thrlabor.com.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel is an Entertainment and Technology Attorney and the Contributing Editor for Entertainment Labor Issues for the Hollywood Reporter.  Jonathan, thanks for joining us today.

Jonathan Handel: Thank you 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 platform 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.

Larry Jordan: doddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers.  From photography to filmmaking; performing arts to fine arts and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed.  Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals, or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project; there’s only one place to go, doddlenews.com

Larry Jordan: Paul Lasley, along with his co-host Elizabeth Harryman create ten podcasts about travel every week, that are heard on American Forces Network in 145 countries.  They are the longest serving independent contributors to AFN; providing travel coverage since flying was fun.  Hello Paul.

Paul Lasley: Hi Larry, it’s a pleasure to talk to you.

Larry Jordan: Well I’m looking forward to this; I had a chance to read your résumé and it is intimidating; you have been everywhere and done everything.

Paul Lasley: Oh, not everywhere and done everything; but we have managed to have some really good times on the road.  You know, one of the things about travel is that, we get to really have interesting experiences and meet interesting people and searching for ways to communicate that to the public.  That’s really our goal here, is to encourage people to travel and to do it smarter and better and cheaper maybe and enjoy themselves when they’re on the road.

Larry Jordan: I know I went outside my front door day before yesterday; so I think there’s hope there.  What first got you interested in travel?

Paul Lasley: Actually, many years ago I was a Business Editor and it didn’t seem to be a lot of fun and I looked around and I met some people who were doing travel and that seemed a lot more fun than interviewing executives about the state of their company; so, I got into travel.  Elizabeth was writing about theater, because she had been an actress in New York.  We got together and thought travel would be an interesting field and there we were.

Larry Jordan: What programs are you creating now?

Paul Lasley: We do two shows a day for American Forces.  They’re podcasts, of course, as well as radio.  The first one is a one minute travel feature, that Elizabeth and I voice and we have to script it, because, has to come out at 59 seconds.  The second show is a 25 minute interview show and we’re able to go to places and talk about subjects that really aren’t covered in the normal travel media.

Paul Lasley: For instance, we just did an interview last week with the CEO of Lufthansa Technik in Puerto Rico; because they had managed, within I think 48 hours, to have 90 tons of supplies delivered to their base in Puerto Rico by a Lufthansa freighter.  It was an amazing thing, because they were helping out all their employees and colleagues and things like that down there. That’s something that probably won’t get into the mainstream media, but it really illustrates how travel companies really work to help and really work in the face of emergencies.

Larry Jordan: Are you originating your travel reports locally, that is to say out of your studio; or are you traveling and all of these are done on location?

Paul Lasley: Oh I wish.  No, most of the time they’re done in front of a computer screen and on Skype and on the telephone; but we do get to travel a good bit and that’s really the perk of the business, that’s what keeps us going for 24/7.  I’m sure it’s the kind of thing you do Larry, people think it’s a lot more glamorous; at the end of the day, it’s a really nice job though.

Larry Jordan: It is.  The glamour comes in listening to it, not necessarily in producing it.

Paul Lasley: Absolutely and Elizabeth listens to all of my stuff, because I can’t bear to listen to myself.

Larry Jordan: Well you have nothing to be ashamed about, in terms of a professional set of pipes; as they like to say.  How do you decide where to travel and what to cover?

Paul Lasley: Well, it’s a process.  Elizabeth and I live the world of travel and we try to look at things that are trending; we look at technology, of course, which is a huge part of travel today.  It’s revolutionized travel over what it was even five or ten years ago.  We utilize all of that; we read incessantly, we get four or 500 emails a day; from various travel sources, and things like that, around the world.  That gives us a sense of what’s happening and what we should be doing.  Then we choose topics out of that.

Larry Jordan: Does your interview show follow a standardized format, or is it different every day?

Paul Lasley: It’s very conversational; very similar to what you do.  We really have conversations, rather than say a strict Q&A format or something like that and we find that’s much better.  Especially if we’re interviewing senior people in the travel business, what we find is that, they have a static pitch; this is what they do and travel people are talking constantly.  By having a conversation, we’ll come up with very interesting angles and ways to maybe approach their product a little bit better.

Paul Lasley: Sometimes it’s not so much about the product that they’re promoting, but rather, oh I don’t know, something really interesting about technology. Royal Caribbean, for instance, has incredible Wi-Fi access on their ships now and that was a whole other subject that led to several interviews with their tech people; because, really what they’re doing is Wi-Fi that’s about as fast as most people have at home.

Larry Jordan: Now wait a minute.  I’m spending $800 million to go on a cruise, so I can sit in front of my computer and post on Facebook.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Paul Lasley: People do and that’s the amazing thing.  You know, I’ve been in this business, I don’t want to say forever, but I’ve been in the business long enough to know that, at one time you had to go to the ship’s radio room and they would telex something off for you, or something like that.  There were phones in the rooms, but no television; nothing like that.  That’s barely 20 years ago and they have Wi-Fi as good as your home.

Larry Jordan: Our Producer is getting ready to take a cruise herself and has been demanding that we not contact her, because there’s no Wi-Fi.  But now I know the secret.  She is in such trouble right now.

Paul Lasley: I’ve blown her cover.

Larry Jordan: How do you keep your audience interested?  It’s a radio show about places you go to see?  This is a challenge.

Paul Lasley: We hold pictures up to the microphone.  No I joke about that.  It’s a cliché to say radio is the theater of the mind, but it truly is when it comes to travel.  We can talk about glaciers caving and, you know, blue sky in Alaska and we don’t have to have that.  But we’re able to draw word pictures and that seems to me to be very satisfying.

Larry Jordan: A phrase that I read on your website is that podcasts are frozen radio.  What does that mean to you?

Paul Lasley: A lot of people have asked us what a podcast is and radio, to me, is a very dynamic medium.  But if we turn it into a podcast that you can digitally download and listen to at your convenience, then that becomes frozen, in a way.  I think it’s a very exciting medium and, of course, it has a whole resurgence going on right now.  A lot of people are getting into it that never would have thought they would and I think that’s very exciting as well.

Larry Jordan: When you travel, do you talk about the place you’re visiting, or are you interviewing people at the location?  Is it more of an environmental study, or an interview for subject matter?

Paul Lasley: Both, it depends.  Elizabeth and I will do shows where it’s just us talking about interesting things that we’ve come across; but I love to interview people.  For instance, once we were doing the Dorchester Hotel in London; gorgeous hotel.  The thing that stands out to me is an interview with did with the doorman.  We started off by saying, wow, you must have stars and crowned heads and all these royalty coming to you and everything else.  He said, well we do, but the thing that means the most to me and my staff are the newlywed couples who’ve saved for months, if not years, to spend their wedding night in the Dorchester.  We are so good to them, it would surprise everyone.

Larry Jordan: It’s not the famous people, it’s the people that have worked to earn the privilege.

Paul Lasley: Amen and I think that’s true for all of us in the travel business.  Elizabeth and I are in the business of fulfilling people’s dreams; helping them fulfil their dreams and giving them good straight advice.  That’s what, at the end of the day, all most people want; they really want somebody to say, hey, you’ve made the right decision, or this is the right way to go.  That’s very satisfying.

Larry Jordan: Before we let you go, let’s talk tech for just a minute.  What kind of gear are you using in your studio?

Paul Lasley: Well I work on Apple, but I have two Sennheiser 440 dynamic microphones and we have a couple of headsets, actually, that we use.  You know, I use loopback a lot in the process of recording in Skype; which I do constantly and it’s gotten much, much better over the years.  Then, of course, we will talk to anybody on a landline, on satellite phones and even on cell phones and it works very, very well.

Larry Jordan: What kind of turnaround time do you give yourself?  I assume the 29 minute show is not live?

Paul Lasley: No, it’s taped; well both shows are taped.  But we can turn it around in a couple of days.  We don’t do breaking news, because, when we put it up on the satellite it goes up the following week and we can’t really control what day that runs and the time zones and, of course, we’re in 145 countries; so who knows, you know.  We try and stay away from real breaking news, but we try and cover timely subjects.

Larry Jordan: As you look back on it, and you’ve got way too many shows to remember all of them; I have trouble remembering breakfast; but what’s a couple of memorable interviews that you’ve done?

Paul Lasley: Oh, memorable interviews.  Well I think, one of the most memorable interviews occurred in London, when we talked to the Royal Curator of the Royal Collection.  Everything that the Queen owns is kept in like a museum like environment and we interviewed him and, I’ll never forget, we were in Holyrood House, in the Royal residence actually, and interviewing this guy.  He’s Lord somebody or other; I can’t remember exactly at this moment.  But we’re on a sofa that is one of these overstuffed down sofas and we kept sinking down.  By the end of the interview, he and I were actually almost prone on this sofa.

Paul Lasley:  I’ll never forget that, but it was wonderful because he said, now don’t get carried away by the Rembrandts and the Vermeers and all this amazing stuff that we have; just remember, we also have the largest collection in the world of Victorian washstands.  It was a great interview and, you know, it was after we met Prince Charles; so, it was very nice.

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

Paul Lasley: The website is Ontravel and it is a podcast for everything that’s there.

Larry Jordan: That website is ontravel.com and Paul Lasley, along with his co-host, Elizabeth Harryman, run the site.  Paul, thanks for joining us today.

Paul Lasley: Thank you Larry, it’s a pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.

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: J.J. Kelley is a twice Emmy nominated Director and Correspondent; he is also a Senior Producer at Explorer, which is National Geographic’s flagship documentary series.  His work has taken him to all seven continents and he’s currently hosting a new adventure series for the Travel Channel.  Hello J.J. welcome back.

J.J. Kelley: Hey Larry, it’s a real pleasure.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just calculating, it was six years since you and I last spoke on this show; it seems like it was at least six years ago.  It’s good to have you back again.

J.J. Kelley: It’s been far too long, thank you so much.

Larry Jordan: How would you describe what you do?

J.J. Kelley: Well, I get goosebumps when I go to work; I do really love what I do.  My job consists of being in an office for maybe 40% of the time, preparing to go out into the world; and then the other 60%, I’m out there on two week assignments, sometimes less, sometimes more, you know, really at various locations all around the world.

Larry Jordan: How did you connect with National Geographic?

J.J. Kelley: It has been a pretty long and amazing road with the company and it really goes back to doing an internship.  You know, 12 years ago, I started to make my own films and, you know, this was back when HDV was coming around and you could buy professional or Prosumer cameras and they were at your fingertips and you could make your own film.  Editing software; you know, Final Cut Pro was coming up.  Really the power was starting to be taken away from these big production companies and put in the hands in the every person and I was the every person at the time that this was coming around and I started to make my own films.

J.J. Kelley: My senior year in college, I took a film that I made and I sent it to National Geographic and I said, goodness, will you give me a job on this film.  They said, get lost buddy, you really haven’t done a whole lot and I said, okay, fair enough, would you give me an internship and they said, okay, we’ll give you that.  I got an internship and that led to Production Coordinator jobs, Associate Producer, Producer and then Senior Producer; which is what I do now.

Larry Jordan: Do you find yourself doing more producing, or more reporting on camera?

J.J. Kelley: I have a short attention span and maybe that’s a good thing; maybe that’s a bad thing.  You know, I’ve spent a couple of years of my career editing and assistant editing and kind of learning the ins and outs of Avid and Premiere and Final Cut.  I’ve spent two years of my career being a Director of Photography, shooting for National Geographic.  I’ve spent a little bit of time over at Vice and shot for Discovery; really working just as a DP.  Then most of my career it’s been as a Producer; but, you know, a lot of what I do is working with On Camera Correspondents and together we hash out a story, you know, we decide what the important beats are and we really tell it together.  It just became a natural evolution that, you know, working with them on what they should say, I kind of had a sense for what should be said and my bosses took a chance on me and said, well why don’t you step out from behind the camera and get in front of it?

Larry Jordan: As you are looking at it from a Producer’s point of view, what were some of your more unusual destinations?

J.J. Kelley: Oh, my goodness, I love this question, because I really get to go to some of the most incredible places in the world.  Last year, for me, was probably my best year, in terms of just getting out there.  I went to all seven continents last year and the coldest one, you know, really stood out as being the most challenging and rewarding, in terms of video production; that was Antarctica, of course.  Going down there and deciding the camera equipment to bring, you know, knowing that there is no B&H, you know, there’s no Adorama; there’s no way to get replacement parts, basically, you’re going to be down there for four months.  At times it will be negative 40, negative 70 degrees and you need to have everything with you to make a television show.

Larry Jordan: Just trying to keep the gear warm enough to function, at temperatures that low, is a challenge in itself; separate and distinct from what you record.  How did you do it?

J.J. Kelley: I learned a ton.  I’ve never been to anything quite that cold.  I grew up in Northern Minnesota, so I knew, you know, negative 40 wasn’t completely foreign to me; but I really hadn’t done a lot of filming in that environment.  Cameras are incredibly robust; for that shoot we had the Sony FF7s and, for that, because any time you send a filmmaker down to the frozen continent, you kind of have to boot out a scientist; so the science community down there wants to disseminate the information that they’re learning down there, but they also want to continue to get information; so they only let a select amount of people down there.

J.J. Kelley: Five other really intrepid individuals and I went out to Antarctica and we were charged with making a six hour mini-series for National Geographic; so we had to be our own one man band.  That meant doing sound, sometimes three channels of independent audio, doing all the filming and producing a fully complete story; so, you know, I had two of everything.

J.J. Kelley: The cameras were incredibly tough, what wasn’t as tough were the LCD screens.  Sometimes it would be so cold, I’d be living in a tent, I’d be charging my batteries with a generator and I remember it would get down, it would dip to negative 50 and I couldn’t feel my fingers and there was a good scene going on, it was a crazy blizzard, I thought, this is going to be great film, this is going to be great television; I’ve got to stay with this.  Then the entire monitor just goes white; it just goes white and I can’t see what I’m filming in front of me.  I bump to F16, there really are no trees, there’s nothing in the background.

J.J. Kelley: Anyway, I’m thinking, whatever I’m filming is probably going to be in focus right now, let’s just stick with it and, you know, sure enough, it ended up being a great scene and the camera kept ticking; it was just, I couldn’t see what I was doing.

Larry Jordan: When you are going on location, clearly you have to take more than a camera.  What do you feel is an essential part of your kit, if you exclude the camera?

J.J. Kelley: I’ve been doing this for a little while now, about 12 years kind of out there in the world and I’ve come to the point in my career where, if I’m not using it every day I am going to leave it back home; because it is slowing me down.  Sometimes, on more risky assignments, if it’s slowing you down, then it’s putting your life at risk; so I really kind of bring the bare bones.  It depends how many people are going to be with me; how many people I can hand the gear out to, so everybody can kind of have their own part.

J.J. Kelley: I was just in Central Congo and I had a decent sized crew; there were four of us that went over there and I was able to hand bits and pieces out.  You know, if I can bring a drone over today, I love a drone; I love the aerial perspective.  I like to get up in the air, whether it’s an establishing shot for a scene, beautiful b roll, I love to have a drone with me.  I’m going to need to have wireless audio; audio is so critical, it’s so important camera side; you need to understand what people are saying, otherwise, the message is just completely lost.  I always wear a little DSLR camera around my neck, because I love to take photographs; so I always have my A7s II with a Leica 35 Prime around my neck; so any time I shoot a scene, I can get a photo, just to remember for myself.

J.J. Kelley: See now those kind of bare bones parts, you can do a lot with that.  If you know you’re going to be in a dangerous situation, maybe you can leave that tripod behind and you can get by with a Cine … or you can just set the camera down.  You know, it’s really deciding, how much time am I going to have?  How many times am I going to be moving location?  Is my life going to be at risk if I bring too much stuff?  It really is kind of tailor-made to the very shoot that I go on.

Larry Jordan: Now some shoots, they just let you wander on your own, other shoots you’ve got minders; think of it as PR people that are keeping an eye on you.  How does your shoot change when you’re being minded?

J.J. Kelley: Oh the minders, the minders.  It definitely restricts the message that you’re going to be telling.  A lot of times if I’m going to a place, like I was just in the Gaza Strip and, going over there, you have to apply for a film permit of what you’re going to be doing and you really have to be pretty vague when you’re telling them what you’re going to be doing; if you think what you’re going to be doing could be annoying to them.

J.J. Kelley: We went in these tunnels where there are goods that are kind of brought in and out of the country and it’s illicit travel through these tunnels.  On our main film permit you know, you have to be honest, you can’t lie when you’re going into these places; but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a little bit oblique with what you’re going to do.  When you’re actually on the ground and you have these minders with you, you know, there are various tricks that you can use.  You never want to lie; because lying, in a place like the Gaza Strip, where you have a group like Hamas around, could get you at risk.

J.J. Kelley: We had an amazing situation where the correspondent was talking about these illegal tunnels and said, sometimes the Israelis say that suicide bombers are going through the tunnels and the minder didn’t hear us correctly and thought that we said, suicide bombers are going through these tunnels.  We said, the Israelis say, so we qualified it and they didn’t quite catch the details, because they didn’t speak great English; so they pull us into a Hamas holding cell, where we were surrounded by people with AK47s and then it was a matter of, we’re going to play the tape, if you’re lying then, you know, potential orange jumpsuit kind of consequences.

J.J. Kelley: We were really questioning the correspondent, like, did you say the Israelis say that they do this?  She was like, yes, I’m a good journalist, I’m confident, I’m sure that I said that and they weren’t going to let us leave until they heard exactly what she said.  We said, okay, I trust you and we played them the tape; sure enough she said the right thing, they understood it correctly and they let us go.  But you can’t be deceptive in front of these minders, because, you know, it really could have some pretty awful consequences.

Larry Jordan: A big challenge is just getting your gear across the border.  How do you make sure that you come back with the gear that you went in with?

J.J. Kelley: We hope and pray that everything comes back; nothing’s nipped.  I mean, it depends on how much stuff you bring and National Geographic, you know, is known for taking beautiful images, pretty pictures; so, sometimes that means bringing a good bit of gear.  You know, sometimes that means bringing big cinema lenses; a long lens; a macro lens.  It could mean bringing the bigger drone.  Sometimes you’re going through with anywhere from seven to 18 excess baggage cases and you really want to know your airline that you’re flying on and make sure that they have a media rate; because otherwise that could cost you, you know, $10,000, if you go with the wrong airline and they charge you per kilo.

J.J. Kelley: Once you get over there, I mean, I really rely on local Producers.  If I go to a place like the Congo, I’m hiring a solid local Producer, who I know, who I’ve worked with before, who’s been vetted, who’s going to have local porters that can help out; is going to have the right vehicles, that aren’t going to break down; is going to have backup vehicles.  Then, you need to go to a lot of countries in the world with something like a film carnet, which lists every piece of gear that you have.  I live in New York, when I fly out of JFK I go to customs and they’ll look at this list and they’ll point to various items and I have to show them that I have those items and I have to show them that I have those items when I get back as well; because if I don’t, my company could get fined pretty heavily.

Larry Jordan: Well there’s no shortage of excitement in your life, that’s for sure.  For people that want to know more, where can they go on the web?

J.J. Kelley: Go to jjkelley.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, jjkelley.com and J.J. thanks for joining us today.  This has been amazing.

J.J. Kelley: Thanks so much Larry.  Have a great night.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking about how audiences are evolving.  This was sparked by the Nielsen company announcing this morning that it will offer networks and studios data on who is watching programs using streaming video on demand services; which will complement the ratings it already provides on traditional delivery systems, such as broadcast and cable.  The broadcast audience has been shrinking for years, but no-one has a good idea on how much of that audience is actually lost; versus watching these shows on streaming media.  Nielsen hopes to fill that information gap.

Larry Jordan: If you think back just a few years, the idea that watching video on a computer would be as easy, or as popular as watching video on a TV, would have seemed the realm of science fiction.  Today, for many of us and most in the Buzz audience, I suspect, this is a normal way of how we live our lives.  I’m really curious to see whether the audiences for these programs are, in fact, smaller; or simply finding different ways and different times to watch the same program.

Larry Jordan: This is just something I’m thinking about and, as always, I’m interested in your opinion.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank this week’s guests, Paul Roberts from Adobe Systems; Ned Soltz from RedShark News; Jonathan Handel from the Hollywood Reporter; Paul Lasley from On Travel Media; J.J. Kelley from the National Geographic Channel; and James DeRuvo with doddleNEWS.  There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today and remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter, that comes out every Saturday.

Larry Jordan: Talk with us on Twitter @dpbuzz and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner; with additional music provided by smartsound.com.  Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription; visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you.  Our Producer is Debbie Price, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz.

Digital Production Buzz – October 19, 2017

Tonight, we have breaking news from Adobe, NAB in New York, and the Weinstein scandal, plus an in-depth look at travel bloggers.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Bill Roberts, Ned Soltz, Jonathan Handel, Paul Lasley, J.J. Kelley, and James DeRuvo.

  • Adobe Updates All Their Software
  • Report from NAB – New York
  • Update: The Harvey Weinstein Scandal
  • Creating a Daily Travel Podcast
  • Video From the Wilds of the World
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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

Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Adobe Updates All Their Software

Bill Roberts

Bill Roberts, Director, Product Management for Video and Audio Solutions, Adobe Systems, Inc.

Adobe released the latest versions of all their media applications this week. So, tonight, we talk with Bill Roberts, Director of Product Management for Video and Audio Solutions for Adobe – what it is and what it does.

Report from NAB – New York

Ned Soltz

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

Ned Soltz is a contributing editor to Red Shark News. He’s also our “man-on-the-spot” at NAB New York and shares his insights on the event, with an emphasis on the conference.

Update: The Harvey Weinstein Scandal

Jonathan Handel

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

Harvey Weinstein’s behavior has rocked the entertainment industry to the core. Tonight, Jonathan Handel, Entertainment Labor Reporter for “The Hollywood Reporter” walks us through the timeline and discusses the long-term ramifications of this scandal.

Creating a Daily Travel Podcast

Paul Lasley

Paul Lasley, Co-Host/Producer, OnTravel Media

Paul Lasley produces and hosts two daily radio shows that are broadcast to 3.5 million listeners in 180 countries on the American Forces Radio Network and podcast at OnTravel.com. He’s co-hosted radio shows on KABC and Public Radio KPCC in Southern California and for Discovery Channel Radio on XM Satellite. Tonight, Paul talks with us about travel, media and creating interesting audio podcasts.

Video From the Wilds of the World

J.J. Kelley

J.J. Kelley, Senior Producer and Correspondent, National Geographic

When National Geographic ask you to report from a remote location you GO! But… what do you take, what can you expect and how do you prepare? Tonight, J.J. Kelley, Senior Producer and Correspondent for National Geographic, shares his stories of reporting from the wilds of the world for National Geographic.

The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – October 12, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Pat Grosswendt, Co-Founder, Senior Sales Specialist, Litepanels
Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media
Wayne Read, Vice President of Marketing, Glyph Production Technologies
Martin Baker, Founder, Digital Heaven
Dave Walton, Assistant VP, Marketing Communications, JVC Kenwood USA Corporation
James DeRuvo, Senior Writer, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan:  Tonight on the Buzz we look at several new and emerging technologies and some cool new products.  We start with Pat Grosswendt, co-founder of Litepanels, who showcases their newest lighting gear, as well as current trends driving the lighting industry.

Larry Jordan:  Next, Michael Kammes, the director of technology for Key Code Media, shares his thoughts on trends emerging from IBC, new uses for artificial intelligence and the evolving world of collaborative video editing.

Larry Jordan:  Wayne Read the vice president of marketing for Glyph talks about their newest storage technology, along with tips for picking the best storage.

Larry Jordan:    Martin Baker, the founder of Digital Heaven, showcases SpeedScriber, the first automated speech to text transcription software.

Larry Jordan:    Dave Walton, assistant vice president of marketing for JVC talks about their latest cameras, along with how smart phones are changing the professional camera market.

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

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

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

Larry Jordan:  Hi, my name is Larry Jordan.  Tonight, we’re looking at new products and new trends that will affect us over the course of the coming year.  Predicting trends is always somewhat perilous.  I mean, sure, trends like computers will get faster, and storage will increase in capacity and software will continue to evolve, those are easy, but not particularly helpful.  Because the key question we all want to know is, what is happening in the future, so I can prepare for it today?  What gear should I buy to help me become more future proof?  And what new technology can I make money on and which technology should I ignore?

Larry Jordan:  Now truthfully, if anyone really had those answers they’d be selling them on the open market to the highest bidder.  All we can do is guess, but tonight’s guests are more informed than most, when it comes to new technology and I think you’ll enjoy listening to their answers.

Larry Jordan:  By the way, when it comes to answers, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Every issue, every week provides quick links to the different segments o the show, plus articles of interest to filmmakers.  Best of all, every issue is free, and comes out on Friday.

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

James DeRuvo:  Happy Thursday Larry.

Larry Jordan:  And a wonderful Thursday to you as well sir, how are you?

James DeRuvo:  Hanging in there.

Larry Jordan:  Alright, well let’s get right to the news.  What is shaking this week?

James DeRuvo:   RED unveiled a brand new MONSTRO 8K Vista Vision image sensor.  It’s newly designed to record up to 60 frames per second, gives you an extra two thirds of a stop greater dynamic range, and writes the image files at up to 300 megabits per second.  It can also record simultaneously to both REDCODE RAW and either Apple Pro Res, or Avid DNX HDHR.

Larry Jordan:  Now does this mean that every other RED camera is now obsolete?

James DeRuvo:  Oh not at all.  RED already future proofed the design through DRAGON, so anything before DRAGON you had to sell but they had this really great deal.  RED now has this philosophy of obsolete obsolescence and it protects the shooters’ investment by enabling them to upgrade only what they need, without having to buy a whole new camera.  And the MONSTRO sensor package is a steal at $29,500 for existing WEAPN users and for Stormtrooper users, it’s half that.

Larry Jordan:  That’s RED, what else we got?

James DeRuvo:  Atomos has updated the Ninja Shogun and Inferno recorders, for HDR pertaining to using Panasonic VariCam LT, and Sony cameras.  It supports Hybrid Log Gamma HDR, and is bringing with it 4K 12-bit CNDG Raw and 2K recording at up to 240 frames per second through Atomos Raw-to-ProRes technique.  RED users will benefit from an updated support of IPP2 workflow, and the new nighttime DA50, also gets audio support so you can now record externally.

Larry Jordan:  Well HDR support is great, and I’m a big fan of HDR, but when is Atomos going to start to support streaming?

James DeRuvo:  That’s happening in this update.  You’ll be able to stream directly to HDR to YouTube, and Atomos specifically mentioned HDR flag support for live streaming from gaming consoles as well, like the Playstation 4, Pro and the Xbox One X.  And although game streaming is not really our bailiwick, it’s become a very popular genre for content creators and it looks like Atomos aims to lead in it.

Larry Jordan:  OK, that’s Atomos and some new upgrades.  What else have we got?

James DeRuvo:  In the world of drones, you know how I love drones, DJI has unveiled the Zenmuse X7 Super 35 camera for the Inspire 2 drone.  It’s designed specifically for aerial cinematography, it has a Super 35 image sensor with 14 stops of dynamic range, it records in 6K CinemaDNG Raw and 5.2K Apple ProRes with up to 30 frames per second.  You could also get it up to 60 frames per second using a lower resolution.  All these features include DJI Cinema Color System, with D-Log Curve and D-Log Gamut colorspace.

Larry Jordan:  I was just thinking, didn’t DJI acquire Hasselblad last year?

James DeRuvo:  They acquired an interest in it.  They bought about 25 percent of it.  That investment is starting to yield some serious dividends.  So the X7 isn’t medium format per se, they’re applying a lot of the lessons they’re learning from that new partnership and I’m sure we’re going to see that performance window in this new camera.

Larry Jordan:  There’s something I’ve been reading about this week, something called the Soap Opera Effect that directors have been complaining about.  What’s that all about?

James DeRuvo:  Well technically, it’s called frame interpolation and it’s what happens when your HD and 4K TV adds frames in between the 30 frames per second signal of the video.  Because most of our TVs are at either 60 megahertz, 120 megahertz, some are even 240 megahertz.  In order to read the file, they’ve got to add frames.  That technique was invented when we went from standard definition to high definition, since the upscale would make the video just look awful.  It was blurry and muddy and the engineers invented frame interpolation, to make the image sharp again.  Great for live sports, and action scenes, but for movies?  It kind of gives a video this soap opera like quality.  I first saw it when I saw Star Wars, and it completely ruined the film and directors just can’t stand it.  So James Gunn and Edgar Wright are leading the charge to lobby TV manufacturers to just flat out kill off the feature.

Larry Jordan:  James, a lot of good stories.  For people that want to keep track of these and others that you’re writing about, where can they go on the web?

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

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

James DeRuvo:  Talk to you then.

Larry Jordan:  Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan:   Here’s another website I want to introduce you to.  Doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries.  It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry.  DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production.  These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.  DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, 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:  Pat Grosswendt is a co-founder of Litepanels, where he works as a senior sales specialist supporting their sales teams in the Americas, Asia Pacific and China with technological insight.  He’s also actively involved in new product development.  Hello Pat, welcome back.

Pat Grosswendt:  Hi Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan:  Pat, set the scene for us.  How would you describe Litepanels?

Pat Grosswendt:  Litepanels is the trendsetter as far as LED technology and image capture.  We’ve always been looking to create tools that satisfy the need for an ever changing marketplace, and image capture routine.  All at the same time as keeping in mind what is happening with the industry.

Larry Jordan: That gets me to essentially the focus of today’s show, which is the latest in technology.  What is the latest technology in lighting?

Pat Grosswendt:  In our lighting, the latest technology’s what we just introduced at IBC in Amsterdam, several weeks ago, which was our Gemini which is a 2×1 soft light that is low power consumption and high light output.  It gives us the ability of dialing in full daylight or full tungsten or anywhere in between, just as we do in our Astra lineup.  But what we’ve also introduced into the technology is the ability to draw on RGB as a separate entity, in that product, to create the pinwheel of colors that someone may choose from.

Larry Jordan:   In other words, the Gemini instrument can have white light or it could be red or blue?

Pat Grosswendt:   It can be white light, based on the fact we’re using white LEDs, or it could be tungsten, based on the fact we’re using orange LEDs. That’s the simplest way I think for some of the people that aren’t caught in the nuance of color temperature.  Daylight or tungsten, tungsten being orange, daylight being blue.  We have the option with both those chips being in the unit, just like our Astra, of fixing a color between 2700 and 6000.  When you are interested in using that tool for creating another light source with a variety of colors emitting from it, you have that option of going into the unit and adjusting the hue saturation and the intensity of the light which gives you suddenly another value to that tool on the set or in the workplace.

Larry Jordan:   All this is done without putting filters in front of the light?

Pat Grosswendt:  Correct.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s imagine we’re on location, and I’ve got daylight streaming through a window.  I need to supplement that daylight to make my actors visible, so I’m using some of your units.  How do I match the color of the light to the daylight so they all look like they are the same color temperature?  Do I do it by eye or are there tools that we can use?

Pat Grosswendt:  There’s tools you can use.  We also have the ability with five pre-sets on the light to go anywhere from 6000 down to 2700, so those that are really versed with being able to by eye call the colors pretty closely to what they see, and how the camera registers it, you can go to pre-set buttons to set those levels, and then just adjust your intensity.  There’s a lot of people are using different apps or different lighting tools such as handheld spectrometers that are going to read the light coming in, and match that to the light you’re emitting from the lighting tool as well as a lot of people have … where you’re actually able to adjust your film look in lighting to the sources and make sure everything’s even or not.  So, there’s a lot of different opportunities today be it either handheld or by professionals that come to the set to do it.

Larry Jordan:  Litepanels has continued to develop new lights over the years.  What trends in lighting today are driving your product development?  What do customers want?

Pat Grosswendt:  Everybody’s looking for something they can use, something better that doesn’t replace what you just bought.  We’ve seen many changes, and a lot of those effectively are happening within the camera, that knowing the camera will give you many more advantages over knowing just about lighting, because the two have to work in unison, and if you know the camera, you’re going to realize that you can get a lot of work done by only adding a few lights instead of a lot.  The essence today is, it’s not about how much light you put out, but where you put the light.  So that your painting can be broader, can be very detailed.

Larry Jordan:  I have a philosophical question.  Technology changes so rapidly that for many of us, any gear we buy today will be obsolete in six months, and this makes it really difficult to earn a return on our investment.  Because of this, it’s often better to work with the gear we have rather than to buy new gear which puts manufacturers like you in a bind, because you need to create new gear to fend off competition, but you also need to reassure end users that the investment in the gear they buy today is safe.  It seems like it’s almost a vicious cycle.  What’s your take?

Pat Grosswendt:  It’s a great observation but that happens every time I speak with you.  I think the value is that we understand lighting, and we’re going to produce a product based on our understanding of lighting and how technology allows us to move forward.  The benefit comes from the ability to show something.  If you build it, they will come, they will buy it, if it’s right for them.  So being very broad in your decision making is not so simple, but at the same time, you want to develop something that will reach to a broader market.  We can’t confuse the customer, we can only educate them and a lot of times, these shows are not intended by many of us that are helping to design the product to put a PO in the sales person or reseller’s hands.  That should come organically from the fact that what we made is so enthralling and of interest that the customer realizes at this point in their career, it’s the right tool for them to have and that becomes the onus on us or any other manufacturer.  Make great products and they will follow.

Larry Jordan:  As you mentioned, cameras are becoming increasingly sensitive.  Low light levels are almost noise free in many cameras.  How does that affect your decisions in the lighting you develop?

Pat Grosswendt:  Cameras are very sensitive.  As a matter of fact, if you tell them they did a bad job, they get very upset.  That’s how sensitive they are.

Larry Jordan:  Thank you.  Don’t forget to tip your waiter.

Pat Grosswendt:  Yes, I’ll be here all week.  Back to the question of what’s happening with cameras?  I think everybody’s in the same position, whether you’re designing cars or whether you’re designing refrigerators, or whether you’re designing cameras, or lights.  You have to have a better idea.  That’s what people expect from those who have cut trails.  So whatever the camera manufacturer is doing is to fit a segmented market, whatever the lighting manufacturer’s doing is to fit a segmented market.  So you have to be able to realize one, who is your market share or how many of those sub-groups are you making your market share?  And from that, you’re going to design products that will last, become a return on the investment, but also do the chore that they’re expected to do.

Pat Grosswendt:   The longevity of a product helps … whether it’s a camera or a light, so we need to be very aware of what’s happening with cameras, but I think most people intuitively are simply because they’re seeing it every day, whether it’s on the set or on the market shelf.  How it fits to their needs is an important factor.  Everybody’s not going to use a small little camera that you’re going to put on a surfboard to take a picture of you cutting down a wave, compared to a larger camera with a longer lens that somebody’s going to shoot from afar.  The perspectives are different.  So as the marketplace is taking viewers into different arenas of distribution, of imagery, whether it’s YouTube or Vimeo or Netflix or Paramount Studios projects, there’s a lot of different projects happening with a lot of different formats, and it goes back to the part about designing a tool that people realize is useful for them.  Just because the bolt’s designed for one thing doesn’t mean that that’s the only thing it’s going to be designed for.  Somebody may pick it up, 1,000 people will use it differently than what it was designed for because it fits a need that they can fit into their design of what they’re doing.  Visually.  And so, knowing what the camera manufacturer’s going through is, let’s see what the market is willing to move themselves towards to give us an idea of the direction.

Pat Grosswendt:  We will see that lighting is being dictated by who’s buying what.  But also by who bought what, and what they’re still using, and that’s why they’re not buying new.  We have many customers that are still using lights they bought from us 12 or 15 years ago. If you build a great product, people will come to buy it and because they don’t come back right away, is hopefully the return on their investment because what you design fit their needs.  As they look towards something to replace it eventually for whatever reason, ten out of ten times they’re going to come and look at what you have.  So being innovative, just like the camera manufacturers are having to do, is the key to success in developing new products and reaching customers.

Larry Jordan:  For people that want to become a customer of Litepanels or learn more about your products, where can they go on the web?

Pat Grosswendt:   Litepanels.com.

Larry Jordan:   Litepanels.com, and Pat Grosswendt is a co-founder of Litepanels and currently senior sales specialist.  Pat, thanks for joining us today.

Pat Grosswendt:   Great to speak with you Larry.  Be well.

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

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

Larry Jordan:  This week we’re looking at new technology and there’s so much new technology exploding around us, and much of it passes through Key Code Media.  So I want to have us take a step back and see if between the two of us, we can spot some bigger trends, so let’s start with, from your perspective, what were some of the highlights coming out of IBC?

Michael Kammes:  Well some of the highlights coming out of IBC, and I hate to put on the purple hat again, but the Avid continuing announcements of working with Microsoft in terms of remote editing, whether it be in a VM or in a cloud or simply editing remotely with the media elsewhere, they seem to really be pushing the envelope that most other major players have abandoned or are still looking into what a solution may be.

Larry Jordan:  Now VM stands for virtual machine.  What would Avid be doing in a virtual machine environment?

Michael Kammes:  Traditionally it’s been a one to one ratio.  If you want to run Media Composer, you need a machine in front of you that can run Media Composer.  But let’s say that you are renting out Microsoft is your space, and you could then put Media Composer on that VM, or perhaps you want to work with editors that are across the country.  Well you can spin up a VM locally and then have someone across the country access it from their home office or their own edit bay.

Larry Jordan:  I’ve had very limited experience working with a virtual machine, but discovered that it had a lot of latency and a lot of lag.  Is that still true of that technology?

Michael Kammes:  We’re talking about a couple of different things.  If we’re talking about a VM that is local, meaning I’m running a VM within the four walls of my facility, the lag isn’t too bad.  But if we’re talking about someone in another country, someone across the country, then we have this little thing called physics, and the speed of light, and having a key pressed in New York, having it trigger something in LA and then going back to New York, that can be an issue.  But if it’s local, latency isn’t too bad at all.

Larry Jordan:   Alright, well let’s shift to a different subject, which is artificial intelligence or machine learning.  This seems to be sprouting up everywhere, it’s like kudzu, you can’t get away from it.  What’s your thought on AI?

Michael Kammes:  Well, I think that’s where we’re definitely going.  I think there’s a big concern and a big worry in the industry that it’s going to take away the jobs of, dare I say, some of the more pedestrian things that editors and assistant editors do.  I look at it as a godsend, because I think it’s going to free up a lot of the mundane tasks that assistants and editors are doing and allow them to create or do other things.  I don’t think it’s going to phase out any jobs.  What I think is very interesting, as you pointed out, it’s everywhere.

Larry Jordan:   I’m not necessarily as optimistic as you are.  I think AI will cost a lot of jobs and I think one of the things that surprises me is how little conversation there is on the impact that machine learning will have on job creation.  So we’ll see how that develops over the next 12 months.

Michael Kammes:   I’d be very interested and if it does end up eating into some of the job market, I can only hope that the creatives in the industry are up to that change just like they were when they moved from tape to digital, to learn new skills and still be employable as their job description morphs.

Larry Jordan:  What’s your thinking on Adobe, of their new project collaboration emphasis?

Michael Kammes:  Oh this is my new favorite thing Larry.  I’ve been so into this concept ever since Adobe Anywhere came out, what was it?  Three years ago.  I’m anxious to work with it more. I think it’s going to be at least for the microcosm of Hollyweird, I think it’s going to be massive.  I think for everyone outside of Hollywood, who wants to get into collaborative workflows, I think this is going to be a massive eye opening experience that you can collaboratively work without pushing and pulling project files and media and I think the folks who are using Avid really need to watch out, because I think Adobe’s really going to start taking a chunk of that business.

Larry Jordan:  How about storage technology?  Any interesting stuff happening there?

Michael Kammes:  When we talk about storage, what we see are a lot of companies who are throwing a lot of drives in a chassis and then sharing it out over the network as a NAS.  Without getting into a lot of the finer details of SAN versus NAS, we’re seeing a lot of low cost NAS providers trying to top themselves as having the ability of a SAN, and anyone that’s done any kind of IT work, anyone that’s ever been in a collaborative environment, knows that’s not the case.  So the one thing I want to caution is that when folks are looking into less expensive storage from smaller brands, look at the fine print in the details because you’re not going to get the performance and features that you would find in a SAN in an off the shelf NAS.

Larry Jordan:  So your vote is to pick what?

Michael Kammes:  I’m a big fan of SANs, I’m a big fan of storage providers who have invested in their own technology, and developed their own file systems as opposed to trying to use something generic like a NAS.

Larry Jordan:  For people that need to keep track of you and what you’re doing, where they can go on the web?

Michael Kammes:  Lots of places, but the first one is michaelkammes.com, and fivethingsseries.com.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, michaelkammes.com or fivethingsseries.com.  Michael, thanks for joining us today, I look forward to talking to you soon.

Michael Kammes: Always a pleasure, thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Wayne Read has been working with computers since let’s just say a long time.  Currently he’s the vice president of marketing for Glyph Productions Technology, providing trusted data transport and storage solutions.  Hello Wayne, welcome.

Wayne Read:  Hi Larry, how are you sir?

Larry Jordan:  I’m looking forward to our conversation.  It’s been a while since we’ve had Glyph on the program, and just to get things started, how would you describe Glyph?

Wayne Read:  We like to say that Glyph is a boutique manufacturer of external storage solutions, for anybody that wants to create content.  Whether that be professional or prosumers, in the field or in the studio, but we’ve also found that we have a much broader appeal, and we’re finding that our products are being embraced by college students who are freshmen in college, through the Department of Defense.  So, it’s been exciting watching us move beyond just being boutique.

Larry Jordan:  Well tonight we’re looking at new products, so what have you done for us lately?

Wayne Read:  Well last year we launched the Atom and the Atom Raid, which are basically two SSD devices that fit in your pocket, that are USB-C 3.1 gen two, so compatible with Thunderbolt 3 as well as backward compatible to USB 3.0.  What’s been so great about those products is that in your hand you have basically a production grade studio level performance product, so our Atom right now, we had at one terabyte, and this year we’ve increased that capacity to a two terabyte capacity in something that’s two inches by five inches.  What’s interesting is we’ve seen a lot of people in the video space and doing a lot of 4K editing, love our Atom Raid which is getting 860 megabytes per second out of something that is three inches by five inches.  So that’s an exciting product for us this past year.

Larry Jordan:  Clearly, storage capacity on an SSD is increasing, but why is it taking so long?  Why is adding capacity to an SSD drive so difficult?

Wayne Read:  Part of the challenge is, in our situation, we also want to be bus powered when we’re looking at SSDs for mobile use, and there’s a power requirement for those.  So I think part of the challenge is the increased capacity and the power requirements aren’t there.  Also there’s a demand for SSD around the world, and there’s actually a shortage right now.  So a part of that is demand is going to control the growth, and the capacities of those items.  They’re coming along, but it’s a process.

Larry Jordan:  Another question I keep wondering about is hybrid drives.  Why can’t we take an SSD and combine it with a hard disc like Apple’s done with the Fusion drive?

Wayne Read:  You’re seeing some of that happen, but I believe that the benefit of an SSD drive is that you don’t have any moving parts.  So you don’t have any heat, and you’re going to get a much cleaner sustained performance out of it.

Larry Jordan:  OK.  I was just counting on both fingers and toes, there’s 800 million storage vendors out there.  How do we pick which storage to get, and how do we pick the right vendor?

Wayne Read:  There may be 800 million out there, but the truth is that there are very few that are small and independent that are not owned by some of the large conglomerates, and we’re one of those.  So that’s one thing, is you look for a company that’s going to care about your workflow, is going to accessible to you, and will be designing products that will be helping you improve your workflow.  And one of the things we’ve done this year, is we’re going to be launching a dock for our Atoms.  We’ve found that people who love using it in a mobile setting, or in the field, wanted to come back into their studio and have that Atom be part of their studio workflow.  So it’s going to be a docking device, that will allow you to connect it to your laptop or Mac or PC, and then you’re also going to be able to put in SD cards or other devices that are coming out of your drones or your cameras.

Wayne Read:   That came strictly out of us listening to the market, and very nimbly adapting and developing that product for the market.  So that’s part of it, and I think one of the things you’ve got to look at is, you get to a certain point where speed is important, and capacity’s important.  But also the build.  All of our products are built in Cortland, New York, and they’re tested up there, and at the end of the day if something doesn’t work, if it’s not assembled to the highest standard, and it’s not engineered to the highest standard, then the storage and the speed really don’t matter.  So, we pride ourselves on that and our 3, 2, 1 warranty which is …

Larry Jordan:  But the flip side to being a small company is that a large company has got resources and is likely to be there next year.  How do we know that Glyph is going to hang around?

Wayne Read:  Well we’ve hung around for 25 years, through a lot of different market dynamics obviously.  We’re coming off two years in a row of 40 percent growth and this year it’s going to be even higher than that, so we’re here to stay.  We’re going to keep on innovating and building quality product.  We have a very passionate client and customer base, and we’re just going to keep on supporting that base.

Larry Jordan:  So for people that want to learn more about Glyph products, where do they go on the web?

Wayne Read:  I would go to www.glyphtech.com.  You can find out about our products, also some of the resellers that have them available.

Larry Jordan:  That website is glyphtech.com and Wayne Read is the VP of marketing for Glyph, and Wayne thanks for joining us today.

Wayne Read:  Thank you Larry, have a good evening.

Larry Jordan:  Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  Martin Baker left the BBC after 13 years as an editor to found Digital Heaven, in the year 2000.  Over the last 17 years, Martin and his team have developed a series of utilities and plug ins that make an editor’s life a lot easier.  And their newest title is SpeedScriber.  Hello Martin, welcome.

Martin Baker:  Hi Larry, good to be here.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s start at the beginning.  What is SpeedScriber?

Martin Baker:  SpeedScriber is the world’s first automated transcription app.  It’s for Mac OS and it’s specifically aimed at content creators and most importantly, it integrates with all three major editing systems.  So that’s Avid, Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro.  SpeedScriber’s been two years of work and me working six days a week on it to get it to this point.

Larry Jordan:  What made it so hard?

Martin Baker:  It’s complex.  The whole system, the way you have to interact with it, integrating with all the NLE’s, there’s just so much there.  It’s pretty complex stuff really to be honest.

Larry Jordan:  How do you integrate with the NLEs?

Martin Baker:  It depends on the NLE.  They all have their little strengths, and weaknesses.  Avid is a simple text export, but it’s in a very specific format that Avid requires for their script import, so we do that.  We support that.  For Final Cut Pro X, it basically adds transcript, breaks it down into generally sentences, and then it will add a sentence as a key word range, on that clip.  And there’s actually a pretty deep integration with Final Cut Pro in that you can drag a clip from Final Cut Pro into SpeedScriber, transcribe it, and then send it back again, without having to mess around with any XML files yourself.  So it’s all drag and drop which is pretty neat.

Martin Baker:  For Premiere, we’ve got a custom panel which is of course one of the great things about Premiere, that they open out to third party developers.  With that you can log into your account and attach the transcript to a clip and depending on what type of clip it is, it will either come in as speech metadata or it will come in as markers.

Larry Jordan:  Well there’s a number of speech detect utilities out there.  SpeedScriber was first, but there’s now Builder, and Transcriptive, which come to mind.  What makes SpeedScriber unique?

Martin Baker: One of the things that really makes it unique as a product is that it is a native Mac OS app and it’s combining that with the power and the scalability of a cloud based transcription service.  So when you put those two things together, you can do some very interesting things.  So for instance, just to give you one example, if you were to drag in a multi gigabyte video file into SpeedScriber, because we’re a native Mac OS app, we have access to all the built in media handling that Apple apps do.  So that means that we can just create an audio file and we can upload that audio file to our servers for transcription because at the end of the day, all it needs is the audio.  So that’s one of the key things that we do.

Larry Jordan:  From the point of view of the user, we don’t have to worry about prepping the file, just grab what we’ve got and drag it over?

Martin Baker:  Exactly.  So it cuts down the prep time.

Larry Jordan:  How does the software work?

Martin Baker: There’s two basic ways that it works.  First of all you can drag a media file, audio or video from the finder, directly into the SpeedScriber app, and that comes in as a panel on the left, the import panel.  Then you can choose what type of English accent it has, on the file.  And also how many speakers that file should contain.  Once you’ve done those two things, you press the transcribe button, and then up it goes, for transcription, and then within minutes, you will get back a transcript within the app, and that all happens automatically.

Larry Jordan: How would you define the accuracy of the transcription?

Martin Baker:  The thing about automated transcription is, which seems obvious to some people, but maybe not to others, is that it will absolutely depend on the quality of your original source file.  So it makes a major difference.  If you upload something that has poorly recorded audio, the mike is in a corner of a very acoustically live room, you are not going to get good results with that.  If you upload something which has background music, that makes it so much more difficult to decode where the words are and what the words are.  So again, it’s always best to have the cleanest, least echoey audio recording to feed into the system.  And by doing that you’re going to get the best results out of it.

Larry Jordan:  One of the challenges I’ve found in doing automated transcription is that most automated systems have problems with acronyms and proper nouns.  Is that also true of your service?

Martin Baker:   Not in my experience, no.  It’s actually pretty good with all that stuff.

Larry Jordan:   One of the concerns that some people have about uploading files to the cloud or anywhere outside the facility, is security and privacy.  Are these audio files retained by you after we upload them, or are they erased?

Martin Baker:   So you have two options.  By default, they are retained for seven days and then they’re automatically deleted, and the reason why that is in place is simply for diagnostic purposes.  So if somebody said, “I got really bad results with this and the audio is really good,” then we can look at it because we have that original audio file as long as they do it within seven days.  We can listen to that original audio file, obviously with their permission and compare it against the transcript and investigate what’s going on there.  Obviously for some users that is a concern, and I understand that, so what we have introduced fairly recently is that you now have the option to delete the audio file as soon as the transcription is complete.  So we don’t hold any audio files if you select that option, then that’s an account level option basically.

Larry Jordan:   For people that want more information about SpeedScriber, where can they go, and is there a trial version available?

Martin Baker:   Sure, so they can just go to speedscriber.com and you can click through to the Mac app store, and download it.  It’s a free download, you have to create an online account, but when you do that, you will get 15 free minutes that you can just try out yourself with your own files and just see how it works for you.  And after that, you can buy minutes as you need to.

Larry Jordan:   That website is all one word, speedscriber.com and Martin Baker is the CEO and founder of Digital Heaven, and Martin, thanks for joining us today.

Martin Baker:   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:  David Walton is an expert in the field of cameras.  He’s also the assistant vice president of marketing for professional products at JVC Kenwood USA.  He’s based out of the company’s headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey.  Hello Dave, welcome back.

Dave Walton:  Hi Larry, it’s good to talk to you.

Larry Jordan:  With all the different camera manufacturers that are in the market today, how would you describe JVC?

Dave Walton:  Well it’s an interesting question, because we’ve been in this business for a long time.  This is actually our 90th year anniversary as a manufacturer in the electronics area, and we started building cameras about 70 years ago, so those are just some numbers, but the reality is that we’ve been around a long time and we have a variety of products that fit in, I would say, well certainly the professional products area.  We range everywhere from broadcast products that are used for electronic news gathering and studio usage down to products that are used for events, sports, you name it.

Larry Jordan:  The focus of today’s show is new technology, so what’s new with JVC’s cameras?

Dave Walton:  Cameras have been evolving for a long time, and it’s been generally the policy to build cameras that are as flexible for as many different applications as possible.  Because it costs a lot of money to design a specific product for one application.  So if you can nudge in features that work for a variety of things, that’s fine.  But we’ve also found that you can’t be too general.  It helps if we can come out with specific features that address certain markets, for example, we have a sports production camcorder.  That camera actually will interface with the scoreboard at stadiums and we’re talking now probably high school and some college, the actual score and the clock and all those could be overlaid on the video in a professional looking lower third graphic that will simplify the process of producing that live streaming event, or live recorded event that’s later used.  We have some coaches that are using these to record games and to do it with a scoreboard clock overlay and then they have footage that they can go and review after the game, that’s terrific looking HD footage.  We have the scoreboard templates for baseball and football and soccer and other sports.

Dave Walton:   So this is just one type of feature that we have in a product that gives it a applicability in a particular vertical market.  We have another product that has a specifics overlay for the house of worship market, so church can do graphics easily in the camera.  In general, we have a number of products, and accessories that work in the broadcast market that allow you to do live streaming from a breaking news location.  These are things that we have built into the cameras today.

Larry Jordan:  Well I’m getting a sense that the camera market is fragmenting.  Not just existing manufacturers, like yourself and others who have been in the industry for decades, but also with the new manufacturers that are providing new competition.  There’s so many different cameras, that it’s hard for end users to choose.  How does a camera manufacturer decide whether to develop a new camera or add features to an existing camera?

Dave Walton:  I think a lot of that has to do certainly with the market.  We’ve always had a lot of cameras in the marketplace.  The professional cameras have always, at least in the last 30 years, been able to leverage the technology that’s gone into the development of consumer cameras.  It’s very expensive to build a camera, and the professional camera market is not as big as the consumer market ever was.  And when a manufacturer is building products for a consumer marketplace where the volumes are very high, and the costs are very low, they’re able to develop technology that can be leveraged into specific products for vertical professional markets that allow them to be affordable.  When I entered this business in the late 1970s, a professional video camera used by a television station, often at that time cost $40,000.  That’s a lot of money in 1979 dollars.  $40,000 would probably be close to $100,000 today.  If that’s what it costs to build a camera to go out and shoot a wedding, nobody would be shooting weddings, but what we’re seeing is the exact opposite now.  We’re seeing cell phones developed with such good technology that in a mass market sense, that in a way they’re setting the standards by which consumers are expecting video cameras to perform and now we in the professional camera industry, have to keep up with them in many cases.

Larry Jordan:  I think this points out a real challenge.  In the past companies like JVC would develop a low end consumer camera and then migrate up to the professional camera.  But the smart phones have literally destroyed the consumer camera market.

Dave Walton: You’re absolutely correct.

Larry Jordan:  How does JVC react now?

Dave Walton:  An analogy that I like to use is, if you have a Swiss army knife which consumer cell phones tend to be, they do many different things, and they do some things very well.  But a Swiss army knife could be used by a gourmet chef to create a fantastic meal, if the chef knows what they’re doing, they could use a Swiss army knife, and they could create the most incredible meal with that knife.  However, I don’t know any chefs that would want to do that, because a chef would pick tools for creating a meal that are ideal and suited specifically for the project at hand.

Dave Walton:  One of the complaints we would hear typically about using a cell phone for a video production, is “But where are the XLR audio connectors?”  Something it seems very simple, but I suspect Larry that in your audio studio right now, you are using a microphone that’s connected to a console with an XLR audio connector.  You’re not trying to figure out how to nudge that into a form factor that will fit in your shirt pocket.  You don’t have to, and you wouldn’t do that because you have specific needs, and those needs are not the same as 100 million consumers out there.  You have needs to get a job done, and you’re going to use the technology that’s ideal for that.

Dave Walton:  And our camera technology is much the same way.  We build a camera that is useful for a professional and they need to be able to connect professional audio equipment, not just through an XLR connector, but perhaps one that provides 48 volts of current to power a microphone, and that’s one of the things that’s built in with the camera.  The other has to do with lenses, and the way lenses perform.  Not just whether they have the capability within the lens of zooming and stabilization, but lenses that have a particular feel to the camera operator so that they can get the shot they want in a way that feels comfortable to them.  And the form factor of a cell phone is typically not all that comfortable.  So they have decimated the consumer market place, but I don’t think they’re going to be the ideal form factor for a professional doing a production or a documentary or in a live shooting event where you have multiple cameras and that sort of thing.

Larry Jordan:  How does a camera manufacturer like JVC compete against smart phones?  Because the technology of smart phones is just growing exponentially.

Dave Walton:  On the consumer side, it’s really not possible.  The money that goes into developing the integrated circuits in those products and the chips and the lenses and everything that goes into those is far greater in terms of investment than whatever went into the consumer camcorder or the professional camera market.  We just don’t have the money to invest in specific products that do one thing, that they’re putting into the products that are selling in the millions.  But having said that, we’re going to be able to latch onto some of that, it’s going to make our products better for specific applications.  But we’re never going to be able to compete with a product like a Swiss army knife that does everything for everybody.

Larry Jordan:  Technology changes so rapidly that for many of us, any gear we buy today will be obsolete in six months.  This makes it really difficult for us to earn a return on our investment and because of this, it’s often better for us to work with the gear we have rather than buy something new.  This delayed buying cycle puts manufacturers like JVC in a bind, because you need to create new gear to fend off the competition, but you also need to reassure end users that their investment is safe.  It sets up what seems almost like a vicious cycle.  What’s your take?

Dave Walton: It’s always been the case and at the high end, that generally means that a producer is going to rent equipment, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  You’re going to go out, you’re going to shoot a TV commercial and you want it to be the very best and you want to use the very best cameras, and the very best lenses.  There’s a very good chance that you’re going to consider going to a rental house and renting the gear necessary, and it’s not just cameras, it’s all kinds of things.  It’s cranes, it’s dollies, it’s the equipment you need for the job at hand.  If you do the same thing over and over again on a regular basis, you’re probably going to buy something and you know what you’re going to do now, you know what you need the product to do two years from now.  If the cameras we have, and I believe they do, will solve the problem that you have now and two years from now, you’re not worried about them becoming obsolete, you just want cameras that are going to reliably get the job done, and that means that you’re going to pick from the best of what we have today.  You’re not necessarily going to try to figure it out, because what happens is that people say “Oh yes, but it needs to have 4K, 120p so I can do slow mo 4K.”  Well do you need that today?  Tomorrow?  In the future?  Well maybe not, so maybe what you need today is a pan tilt zoom camera that can be put onto a mount and provide the shots you need with the image you need in the most effective way, and that’s the products that we offer, and those are the ones that we sell the most of.

Dave Walton:   It becomes a little different when you’re talking about a cinema project where you’re going out and shooting a movie, or a documentary that is going to take advantage of the high dynamic range or the 4K features, and for that then people are very interested in products like our GYLS300, that will do log recording, and that gives you a lot more lens options and a larger imager, and there are many options out there for customers not just with our product but with DSLRs and with cinema cameras.

Dave Walton:   There’s a lot to choose from and my advice still is to a customer, pick what’s going to work best for the kind of work you do, and if you don’t know what you’re going to do, you might want to hold off a little bit, learn as much as you can, get the experience, even if it’s using your latest and greatest cell phone, or rent the gear and get your hands on professional gear and see if that’s going to work for you before you go out and make a great big investment.

Larry Jordan:  For people that do want to know what the latest in professional gear is, especially from JVC, where can they go on the web?

Dave Walton:  They can go to pro.jvc.com or they can even go to jvc.com and click on professional and they’ll get all the information about our products.

Larry Jordan:  That website is pro.jvc.com and Dave Walton is the assistant vice president for marketing for professional products for JVC Kenwood.  Dave, thanks for joining us today.

Dave Walton:  Thank you for having me.

Larry Jordan:  You know, I was just thinking.  In my newsletter last week I reviewed a new software program called Command.  This is a new combined computer ipad app that allows you to gather and organize, keyboard shortcuts for any Mac application, and display them as a series of buttons on an ipad.  Personally I’m a keyboard shortcut junkie and I can easily remember hundreds of shortcuts spread across a variety of programs.  Well, hundreds perhaps, except the one shortcut I need at that particular moment.  But I’ve learned that not everyone can remember or even wants to use keyboard shortcuts.  Many prefer to use menus while others prefer to use buttons.  Each of us uses the same programs differently.

Larry Jordan:  All of us want to get our work done efficiently with as much quality as possible, but while we may all have the same goal, we don’t all have the same path to the goal.  Keyboard shortcuts are great if you’re using the same program day after day, but shortcuts aren’t a big help if you only use a program periodically and need to use menus to remember what the program does and how it works.

Larry Jordan:  I try to always keep this in mind as I interview guests for the Buzz.  What’s important to one person may not be important to someone else.  That’s why I always try to start by explaining the basics so that we all have the same base level of knowledge, then build upon that to discover the key features in whatever we’re talking about at the time.  Unless we all have the same foundation of knowledge, talking about cool new features won’t mean very much.  And that’s a hard balance to hit.  To make sure we have enough time to talk about the cool new stuff, while also assuring that everyone understands what we’re talking about.  All while doing this in the time we have available.

Larry Jordan:  Time versus content versus comprehensiveness.  This is a balance we try to hit every week.  Just something I’m thinking about and as always, I’d like to know your opinion.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank our guests for this week, Pat Grosswendt from Litepanels, Michael Kammes from Key Code Media, Wayne Read from Glyph, Martin Baker from Digital Heaven, Dave Walton from JVC Kenwood, 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 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 – October 12, 2017

Tonight we look at several new and emerging technologies and talk to the companies who are evolving their products to keep pace with the latest trends in technology.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Pat Grosswendt, Michael Kammes, Wayne Read, Martin Baker, Dave Walton, and James DeRuvo.

  • Litepanels Enlightens Us
  • Hot Industry Trends for 2017
  • New Storage from Glyph
  • SpeedScriber Transcribes Faster
  • JVC Video Cameras in the Age of Smart Phones
  • Our Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Litepanels Enlightens Us

Pat Grosswendt

Pat Grosswendt, Co-Founder, Senior Sales Specialist, Litepanels

LitePanels pioneered LED lighting. Tonight, Pat Grosswendt, Co-Founder and Senior Sales Specialist at Litepanels, showcases Gemini – their newest lighting product and looks at current trends that are driving the lighting industry.

Hot Industry Trends for 2017

Michael Kammes

Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media

Michael Kammes, Director of Technology for Key Code Media, joins us tonight to share his thoughts on trends from IBC, artificial intelligence, storage, and collaborative video editing.

New Storage from Glyph

Wayne Read

Wayne Read, Vice President of Marketing, Glyph Production Technologies

“I have too much storage!” is a complaint you’ll never hear from any video editor. Tonight, Wayne Read, vice president of marketing for Glyph, tells us about their newest products and how to pick the best storage for your needs.

SpeedScriber Transcribes Faster

Martin Baker

Martin Baker, Founder, Digital Heaven

Automated speech-to-text software is getting more popular and more accurate. Tonight we are joined by Martin Baker, Founder of Digital Heaven who talks to us about SpeedScriber, one of the first automated transcription products.

JVC Video Cameras in the Age of Smart Phones

Dave Walton

Dave Walton, Assistant VP, Marketing Communications, JVC Kenwood USA Corporation

David Walton is an expert in the field of cameras. He is also the assistant vice president of marketing for professional products of JVC/KENWOOD USA. Tonight, he talks about how Smart Phones are changing professional camera technology.

Our Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – October 5, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Maxim Jago, Director, MaximJago.com
Sarah Meister, Hardware, Design and Technology Outreach Manager, Indiegogo
Martin Simmons, Owner, Apprise Video Productions & Photography
David Ciccarelli, CEO and Founder, Voices.com
Greg Fornero, Vice President of Distribution, Postworks New York
James DeRuvo, Senior Writer, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we look at the business behind the business; producing, funding, management and distribution.  We start with Producer Maxim Jago, who describes what it takes to be a successful film producer and what he looks for in picking a project.  Next, Sarah Meister is the Outreach Manager for Hardware, Design and Technology for Indiegogo.  Tonight, she explains why producers should consider crowd funding their next project.

Larry Jordan: Next, Martin Simmons is the owner of Apprise Video Productions.  Tonight, we talk with him about running a company of one; the challenges of getting business and, more importantly, getting paid for the business.  Next, David Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and CEO of voices.com.  They are an online marketplace for producers and voice actors.  Tonight, we discuss the challenges of starting a new business.

Larry Jordan: Next, Greg Fornero is the Vice-President of Distribution for Postworks Digital.  They specialize in creating DCP packages for filmmakers releasing their films into theaters.  Tonight, Greg explains what DCP packages are and common mistakes producers make, when it comes time to create them.  All this, plus James DeRuvo with our weekly doddleNEWS update.  The Buzz starts now.

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

Larry Jordan: Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry.  Covering media production, post-production and marketing around the world.  Hi, my name is Larry Jordan.  Tonight, we decided to go behind the scenes, to look at the business of running a creative business.  This idea came to us as we were covering all the new products introduced or released at IBC.  We realized that, unless a business is successful as a business, all the creativity in the world is not going to allow them to buy new gear, or even survive in the future.

Larry Jordan: So tonight, we look at the entire workflow, from getting an idea for a project; through funding; managing the business and finally; releasing our project into distribution.  By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter, at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Every issue, every week, provides quick links to all the different segments on the show; plus articles of interest to filmmakers.  Best of all, every issue is free and comes out on Saturday.

Larry Jordan: Now it’s time for our doddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo.  Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry, I’m rested and tanned and back from San Francisco.

Larry Jordan: You know, that was an exciting GoPro event last week, I’m really curious to see especially how the Karma drone does.

James DeRuvo: It was really a great event, we got to see what the Fusion can do now; it’s evolved into over capture being the main tool for the camera.  The brand new Hero Six has some remarkable HDR features, a brand new GP1 processor and, with the firmware update for the GoPro Karma, you have a brand new drone that’s smarter, does more.  It was a great event.

Larry Jordan: But James, that was last week’s news.

James DeRuvo: That was last week’s news.

Larry Jordan: Forget that, what have we got this week?

James DeRuvo: Well, 8K may be closer than we think.  Even though you can record in 8K, using a Red Weapon and several emerging new cameras, this year at CES may be the first time we get a widespread showing off of 8K TVs, as manufacturers seek to lure us back to the showroom.  Problems though are that there’s a lack of 8K content; we’re barely getting 4K content now and that’s not going to change any time soon.  Plus, most people honestly won’t see a difference.

Larry Jordan: See, that’s my big point, does 8K really make sense from a viewer’s perspective?

James DeRuvo: You know, not really.  The simple fact is, Larry, that we’re running into limits; not of the technology, mind you; that seems to operate on a sky’s the limit philosophy.  But the limits are of our own biology.  Most people simply can’t see the difference when sitting at the average viewing distance.  It was also the same issues that we experienced making the transition from 1080p to 4K.  Users will either have to have TVs that are larger than 70 inches and, I mean, 100 inches; or sit so close to the TV that it’s a danger to their vision.  I’m just of the mind that 8K will be a source of archival format for the next several years.

Larry Jordan: Yes, personally I don’t see the benefit to 8K.  We’re right on the edge of being able to see the benefit of 4K.

James DeRuvo: Yes.  The problem that they had with 4K TV sales at the very beginning was, most people, including myself, I still have a 1080p TV, because it’s good enough.  I mean, I love my 1080p TV.  It’s got rich blacks; it’s a great TV.  Yes, 8K not going to happen.

Larry Jordan: Alright, so that’s 8K.  What’s next.

James DeRuvo: Intel today announced their brand new Coffee Lake processors; a core i7-8700K, i7-8700, i5-8600K, i5-8400 and then a couple of models that are i3 capable.  But these are completely different core i7, i5 and i3s from previous generations; brand new processors.  The i7s run with up to six cores and 12 threads, the i5s will run up to six cores and six threads; unfortunately, if you buy an i3 which, let’s face it, you and I both know that nobody listening to this show’s buying an i3, they’re running out of fixed clock speed and can’t jump up into turbo.

Larry Jordan: So, do you think this is Intel’s response to the highly reviewed AMD CPUs?

James DeRuvo: Oh it’s definitely a response to the AMD rise in processors; which were AMD’s attempt to respond to Intel’s news i9 shipped set.  So it looks like we’re knee deep in another processor war Larry and we’re the benefactors.  One downside though is that the Intel processors are not backwards compatible and, as such, users will also have to upgrade their motherboards and if you’re a Windows 10 user, you know that that means a brand new copy of Windows, that you’ll have to buy with the new entitlement scheme Larry.

Larry Jordan: Okay, so that’s Intel’s latest CPU chips, what else have you got?

James DeRuvo: Well, Adobe has announced an update to their Adobe Premier elements and their Adobe Photoshop element software and they’ll be on an annual update cycle from now on.  That means that Adobe Premier elements will be known as Premier Elements 2018 and Photoshop elements will be Photoshop Elements 2018.  With new features that include the ability to insert eyes into still subjects who close their eyes in a picture.  You know you have that great picture of everybody in the group and one person’s got their eyes closed?  You can now take the eyes out of another photo and insert them into the picture and it looks unbelievably natural; it’s a really great feature.

James DeRuvo: Then, on top of that, there’s going to be Candid Moments, where you’ll be able to punch out a still image from a 4K video and fisheye removal for your GoPro cameras and Smart Trim, which will be able to take the best moments out of clips; even the bad clips that you have no intention of using and assemble them into a quick edit for outputting and sharing with family and friends.

Larry Jordan: Who do you see as the market for this software?

James DeRuvo: Well, granted, Adobe Elements software isn’t for the first timer and the average consumer; but frankly, I think the YouTube set will like it, because it has a basic need for assemble editing and photo retouching; you get 80% of Creative Cloud; so you don’t need a subscription and I rather like it better than Creative Cloud for most quick and dirty projects, like my son’s band videos that I output every week of their performances.  So I really do think that the Elements line is really good for the basic YouTube crowd Larry.

Larry Jordan: James, what other stories are you following this week?

James DeRuvo: Well, Apple seems to be having problems with their APFS update and iOS 11 is draining your battery like nobody’s business; so we’ll be following that over the next couple of days, to see how quickly they put out fixes.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to keep track of these and other stories on the web, where can they go?

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

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the Senior Writer for doddleNEWS and joins us every week with our doddleNEWS update.  James, thank you so very much.

James DeRuvo: Okay Larry, have a good weekend and thanks.

Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to, doddlenews.com.  doddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries.  It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry.  doddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platform, specifically designed for production.

Larry Jordan: 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 the resources you need to succeed.

Larry Jordan: 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: Maxim Jago is a Film Director, a Screenwriter and an Author, who splits his time between filmmaking and speaking as a futurist; especially at events celebrating creativity.  Hello Maxim, welcome.

Maxim Jago: Hello Larry, it’s great to be speaking with you again.

Larry Jordan: Today we’re talking about the business of being a business and I want to have you wear your producer hat.  What makes for a successful producer; aside from a great script?

Maxim Jago: Wow, you know, for years I used to joke that it comes down to capacity to say no.  As a director, I spend quite some time testing new potential producers, by asking them, first of all, could I have a 40 foot crane and the correct answer is no.  Followed by, why do you need it?  You know, you need to have some creative collaboration.  The second question was, do you know what risk assessments are?  Because, if they don’t shudder at the prospect of having to do another risk assessment, then they haven’t done enough risk assessments.

Maxim Jago: Ultimately, it comes down to realism; I’m an optimistic realist.  I think good things happen, but I think you have to be totally realistic and if you’re planning a production, you’re looking at the costs, you’re looking at the budget that’s realistic for a project; when someone brings a project to you, sometimes it just doesn’t feel realistic.  You know, we’re not going to have Close Encounters of the Third Kind, we’re not going to have spaceships blowing up on the horizon and all of that for a small indie budget, for example.

Maxim Jago: The people working in VFX will tell you, if we can imagine it we can do it and that is true; but you have that wholly unbreakable trinity of three things that you want; you know, you want it high quality, you want it quickly and you want it low cost and you can only have two.  I think, when you’re looking at a project and, in fact, also when you’re looking at people to work with, you need to know where they fit into that.

Maxim Jago: David Lynch famously made his first really successful film, Eraserhead, over a period of about ten years, because the lead actor apparently didn’t have anything to do for ten years and every time they shot a bit more of the film, they would get him another haircut.

Maxim Jago: I think that realism about what you can achieve in a time, with the budget available and working on a project that’s worth making, is really how you break it down.  You need to look at whether this is something you can achieve and whether it’s worth achieving.

Larry Jordan: Well let’s focus on that phrase worth making.  How much should we view filmmaking as a profitmaking enterprise and how much of it is creative, which may or may not make a profit and, if our goal is to stay in business, how do we decide which to pick?

Maxim Jago: Wow, that’s a great question.  I think that, there are two reasons why people make films; one is because we want to change people; we’re the bards of the modern age, using storytelling to make people feel, or understand things differently, and the other aspect of it is that we want to get paid.

Maxim Jago: Historically, you know, if you go to film school, you go to any of the lectures on filmmaking, the numbers are really, really big; but I’ve always felt that, actually, the measure is not whether you can become a millionaire, the measure is whether you can earn more than you would earn working in a post office, or a bank.  If you can earn enough money from filmmaking to sustain yourself, then that is this concept of sustainable filmmaking.  As long as you can earn enough to pay you and pay everybody else and prep for the next one and the next one and the next one and the next one, you’ve got a business; you know, that’s you surviving as a filmmaker.

Maxim Jago: I think, now that the distribution landscape is so directly accessible to people, not for the big budget tent-pole movies; those are always going to be dominated by the organizations big enough to manage them; that has to be dominated by an organization that owns the screens, that it has access to the talent and the marketing budget and all of that and they do it amazingly well.  You’re not going to compete with them.  But what you can do is produce content that lots of people want to see, that you can make available to them and you can really answer that call that Kevin Spacey talked about some time ago, that you give people what they want; in good quality; at a price that’s reasonable and they will pay for it.  Now we’re seeing more and more people producing web series this way.

Maxim Jago: But I do think that there’s demand for distribution of short films and feature films and certainly working at filmdoo.com, we’ve got about 600 feature films that we distribute; but we’re also taking shorts now and we’re seeing greater and greater demand; interestingly, not for individual shorts, which is a huge marketing exercise, but for curated batches of shorts.  There’s demand for those.  As I think we’ve discussed before, curation is key and, ultimately, curation for your paying audience is about marketing.  How can you find them and let them know your content exists.

Larry Jordan: Just talking about marketing opens up a huge new kettle of fish that we’ll talk about for another time.  But one last question while you’re wearing your producer hat.  What do you look for when you take on a project?

Maxim Jago: I think, like a lot of people working in the media, I’m rather unrealistic and idealistic and romantic.  You know, it’s like looking at a great landscape, or an amazing painting, or a fantastic dancer, something inside of you reacts and it’s not rational, it’s not logical.  You know, I’m not in the business of making millions through managing multiple media and multiple demographics, I’m in the business of telling stories that excite me.  I think that you begin with that excitement and then, having felt something, you have to trust that other people will feel something too.  Once you’ve got hold of that, the rest of it is the logistics, the planning, the negotiations, the contract law, the copyright; all that yada yada that we have to do.  That’s the work, that’s the craft.  But the craft is in the service of the art, you have to feel that it’s something that excites you.

Maxim Jago: We’re working on a project at the moment that’s a short film.  Beautiful.  Everybody who reads the script just says, oh my God, you know, I want to work on this.  None of us are going to make any money out of it, but we feel that we’re going to make a difference with it.  Again, I think you have to be realistic about the kind of project you’re working on and what your goals are for it and once you’ve identified it, just go for it.  You know, there’s that beautiful quote, when people tell you what you’re doing is impossible; don’t waste your energy correcting them, just show them and I think you have to do that with media production.

Larry Jordan: It’s impossible until it’s done.

Maxim Jago: Exactly.  I think Einstein said something like that.

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

Maxim Jago: Maximjago.com is a good place to start at.

Larry Jordan: Maxim Jago himself is the voice you’ve been listening to, and Maxim, thanks for joining us today.

Maxim Jago: Thank you very much.

Larry Jordan: Sarah Meister is the Manager of Hardware, Technology and Design at Indiegogo.  She’s been working in crowd funding for several years and, before that, her experience includes work in post-production and live TV, freelance public relations, ecommerce, social media and marketing.  Hello Sarah, welcome.

Sarah Meister: Hi, happy to be here.

Larry Jordan: Sarah, tonight we’re looking at the business of filmmaking.  I mean, once we pick a project, we need to get it funded.  How can Indiegogo help us fund our next film?

Sarah Meister: There are so many places to start there.  You know, Indiegogo works with people, entrepreneurs, filmmakers across all different protocols and the same rules apply to everybody; no matter what you’re crowd funding, you’re really needing to kind of emphasize the crowd before you take any action.  Who are the people that are the main audience for your film; where do they go to sign up for newsletters, to find out about information?

Sarah Meister:  Just starting with the crowd from the very get go and really kind of imbuing every step that you take in preparation to a crowd funding campaign, with the crowd kind of at the center, is the best, most successful measure I think a campaigner can take.  Especially with film, because, from past experience, films can kind of, on the surface, seem to have an audience there; but sometimes audiences will really surprise you and the more you go investigating into the nooks and crannies of where to find people, they might even help you end up making creative decisions about your project; to enhance it, or make it that much more special for viewers that don’t find out about a campaign in the long run.

Larry Jordan: Well does crowd funding actually work; or is it really just for really, really, really, really low budget projects?

Sarah Meister: Crowd funding actually works.  You know, we have million dollar campaigns on the site now, there have been films that have raised millions of dollars.  I myself personally worked on the Joan Didion documentary that was just bought by Netflix and is premiering in New York, I believe, next week. You know, I think crowd funding is something that is extraordinary for filmmaking.

Sarah Meister: The second Super Troopers movie was made possible through Indiegogo; it’s going to really have an insane splash when it goes into the theaters, also very soon.  It’s a little bit more public process than I think a lot of filmmakers that are seasoned are familiar with and it’s created a new separate rulebook for people.

Sarah Meister: While someone might have a group of investor friends that can invest in their film, if crowd funding is done correctly, people can kind of keep more of the reins of the creative control and steer the project to the places where they really want to see it go.  I know that really appeals to a lot of artists.

Larry Jordan: I want to talk about the process of crowd funding in a moment; but before I do, what’s your role with Indiegogo?

Sarah Meister: My role is I’m the Outreach Manager of Hardware, Technology and Design; so I work with hardware campaigners that are creating new and innovative products, that are hitting the market and somewhat disrupting maybe sleep technology or, you know, fitness technology; you name it.  I love working with people that have cool and interesting new devices for the kitchen, to cook a perfect egg.  The way I got to this point was by working across all verticals, as the second in command at a small agency for a few years, prior to joining Indiegogo, where I’ve been about a year now.

Larry Jordan: Let’s say that we’re a filmmaker; just because that’s where we’re focused today; but let’s say we’re a filmmaker that wants to get their next film funded.  Is there a review process that Indiegogo uses, or do you just post everything that comes in?

Sarah Meister: People can launch a campaign without a review from Indiegogo.  Indiegogo is almost about ten years old and with launching with companies like Google, with an emphasis in openness and transparency and letting people kind of post what they want to post, without there being regulation or control from the platform.  In terms of like the history of Silicon Valley’s influence in tech and development, you know, Indiegogo has a really special place.

Sarah Meister:  Some of our competing platforms are focused predominantly in a review process; you know, you have to have a full campaign page review, before you can hit publish.  However, Indiegogo, they do recommend trying to get in touch with someone who specifies in the specific area that you’re launching in; so for films, we’ve got an amazing Head of Films, his name’s Marc Hofstatter; he’s an amazing person to reach out to, to see, hey, what could I be doing a little bit differently with my campaign?  What should I know?  What are the dos and don’ts.  Or, hey, I have a budget and I want to market this campaign really smartly, who should I talk to and what are the things that have been successful for people in the past; like the Super Troopers?

Sarah Meister: Everyone on the Outreach team at Indiegogo, across verticals, is really specialized in knowing how to advise people in exactly how to execute a campaign.  We also have an education center on Indiegogo, in the entrepreneur kind of section of site and that is the best piece of advice I could give; just going and immersing yourself in all of the resources that our team have put together, over the course of, you know, watching just thousands and hundreds of thousands of campaigns launch on the platform.

Sarah Meister: Indiegogo has raised over a billion dollars since it came, you know, ten years ago and it has over 12,000 campaigns launching every single month; so it’s really, really vital that campaigners are going and immersing themselves in the resources and learning as much about how to differentiate themselves from others on the site before launching.  The only kind of review process that exists is one that I heavily encourage, send your campaign to your friends, your loved ones and ideally send it to someone at Indiegogo, to see if you can get a review before going live; just in terms of feedback.

Sarah Meister:  Otherwise, you’re good to go, there’s a green light, you can post whatever you want.  It’s sometimes not a good thing, but you can post.

Larry Jordan: Well that gets to, I think, a huge issue, the online community itself is grappling with the whole issue of fake news.  How do we know that something that’s on Indiegogo was legitimate?

Sarah Meister: I think that they have the means to actually ask the campaigner themselves and to kind of dig a little bit.  We have a very open policy; but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take a campaign down if it seems to cross a line for the community.  We’ve actually found that the community is extremely helpful in ways that a website or a platform can’t really fully be on two legs.  We’ll have people point out to us when they think a project is not feasible at all; or that the person hasn’t delivered a perk; or it’s been two years since they’ve even communicated with anyone.

Sarah Meister:  That’s actually stuff we love to know, because, it means that the community is really involved and the community’s happiness and their trust in the platform is the most important thing to us.  We want to make sure everyone’s having a really good experience.  Our team has actually gotten very good at identifying those campaigners, when they’re live, before the campaign ends and they actually shut campaigns like that down and refund everyone, as soon as a red flag is raised and they can prove it.

Larry Jordan: This is a philosophical question.  How do you balance Silicon Valley for open speech, with the increasing interest of people in abusing that?  I’m thinking Facebook’s challenges with trying to figure out how to keep Facebook open and yet shut down fake news and defamatory remarks.

Sarah Meister: I think that the really important question and that’s kind of the generation that we’re in right now and it’s happening with Google too.  Their partners and sponsors are incredibly disappointed sometimes when an ad goes up with a video that they don’t agree with themselves or, you know, their client doesn’t agree with; so, you know, it is a delicate balance.  I think that, in this era of transparency and this era of openness, a lot of the ideals need to be given a deeper look and I think regulation is out there to protect people.  As you’ve seen, Facebook and Google and other sites in Silicon Valley are absolutely embracing the fact that they have a responsibility to that.

Sarah Meister:  I’m constantly impressed with the team that we have, you know, we have a very, very impressive group that is really cracking down on people that see crowd funding as an opportunity to take money from others.  We’re really doing a reverse Robin Hood, you know; making sure that people don’t have money taken from them; especially in an era where every dollar counts to the average family and, you know, we really value that.

Larry Jordan: Why should someone consider Indiegogo and not Kickstarter?

Sarah Meister: That’s a great question.  Indiegogo is not the all or nothing model; so, if a campaigner has a $20,000 goal and they raise $17,000, they will get to keep that $17,000 and they can raise an additional 3,000 through friends and family.  Another reason is that, Indiegogo is an incredibly human platform; that means we have people across all verticals that are more than willing to talk and work with the campaigner along the process and make sure that they have their questions asked and questions answered.

Sarah Meister: The constant feedback I get about platforms, other than Indiegogo, is that that type of customer service doesn’t really exist beyond us.  If you think that raising $20,000 is something that you might want to do, or maybe even raising $1,000,000, think about how important it would be to have someone that you can reach out to, who will actually answer your questions.  Then I think the platform choice is extremely clear.

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

Sarah Meister: They can head to indiegogo.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s indiegogo.com and Sarah Meister is the Outreach Manager of Hardware, Technology and Design for Indiegogo and, Sarah, thanks for joining us today.

Sarah Meister: Yes, that sounds great.

Larry Jordan: Martin Simmons is the owner of Apprise Video Productions and Photography, located near Pensacola, Florida.  They are a full service video production house and a one man shop.  Hello Martin, welcome.

Martin Simmons: Hello, greetings from LA, Lower Alabama.

Larry Jordan: A very good greeting from Los Angeles to you as well.  Tell us about Apprise Video Productions, what do you guys do?

Martin Simmons: Well we started in 1989, I was doing freelance and I just kind of organized it into a company.  Apprise means, to cause to know, to inform.  Pensacola Mobile television market, Mobile Alabama combined, is a very small television market.  Out of the 210 television markets, we’re 247th, very small, which means around here you do everything.  I do everything but weddings; that’s the one thing we don’t do.  Occasionally I shoot for Discovery Channel; not often enough.  From that to video depositions.

Martin Simmons: In fact, today I had to be in three places at one time and, Larry, I can only be in two places comfortably at one time; I’ve got my regular guys that I call, that have their own gear.  I had to do a video deposition and I had to be in a warehouse videoing a piece of an industrial video.  It’s amazing how it’ll come all at the same time and then you’ll go days with nothing and that’s when you edit.

Larry Jordan: Tonight we’re focusing on running a creative business.  What are the biggest challenges that you face, because you’re not in the world’s largest market?

Martin Simmons: It’s, like, I said, small.  Getting business is somewhat of a challenge, not as much as you would think; because I’ve been out there long enough and my quality reputation is out there and I’m really involved in the Chamber of Commerce, really involved in politics; I get a lot of political business and just out there.  I’m from here originally; I was in Nashville for a decade, but I’m from here originally; so that helps.  Getting business isn’t a challenge, but getting paid and getting business that pays enough is probably the biggest challenge.  It always comes down to money, it seems like.

Larry Jordan: Let’s focus on that for a second.  One of the challenges for many small businesses is getting paid; so how do you make sure that you do get paid for your work?

Martin Simmons: You just have to keep asking and go back and keep sending invoices.  Years ago I was reading a trade magazine and it said, we creative people would rather clip the dog’s toenails than to send out invoices and so, you know, just sometimes it’s just hard to get that business side going; but you have to, to survive.  I could be creative all day and love it and never charge anybody anything and be happy as a lark; but the reality of the world is not that way.

Martin Simmons:  Money, of course, is the exchange in the natural world, the medium of exchange.  You just have to keep billing them.  Larry, it’s very hard to leave a price on what I do in this market, because people call me from out of the market and the prices are so much higher in real cities, I don’t count Pensacola as a real city, and they’re so low here for locals; so it’s very difficult.  Plus, people calling from out of town want specific gear, which I try to have; over the years I’ve tried to get that gear; but then people around here don’t even know what that gear is and they certainly don’t want to pay, you know, for that 40 foot crane like the earlier guy was talking about.

Larry Jordan: Many of his producers don’t want to pay for it either, so I understand what you mean.  In brief, what advice would you give to other small shops, who are struggling right now?  What can you do to reassure them that there’s hope and light at the end of the tunnel?

Martin Simmons: Well, if they’re in this market, they need to get into another profession and not compete with me.  No, honestly, 15 years ago, when the Yellow Pages came out, there were 27 video production companies from the Pensacola Yellow Pages and that’s just bizarre.  The next year there was five of us.  The advice I would give is, with us quality is job one.  I think we … 4K earlier, with the quality of video being, I used to love, I thought Betacam SP was the best it could possibly be.  The last time I was in Atlanta, I saw high definition for the first time and I said, okay, Betacam SP is not the best.

Martin Simmons:  Quality is job one; keep your quality up there and hopefully your customers will recognize it.  Some of them don’t care about quality and that’s one of the biggest struggles I have is, the customers that don’t care about quality and I’ve invested, I don’t want to know how much money I’ve invested in equipment over the years for high quality; so I just let quality be the number one thing that they have.  Because we’re competing with the companies that are producing video in Atlanta, in New Orleans and Orlando.  We are in direct competition and although it’s a small market, if people call and want a certain camera that costs $100,000, that you have out in LA and I’ve seen them at NAB and lusted after them and that’s all I can do. We really can’t have that level of equipment, but what we can have is the quality as is possible within the budgets we have.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to hire you for their next gig, where can they go on the web?

Martin Simmons: Apprisevideo.com, or Martin @ Apprise video.

Larry Jordan: Apprisevideo.com and Martin Simmons is the owner of Apprise Video.  Martin, thanks for joining us today, I enjoyed the chat.

Martin Simmons: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: David Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and CEO of voices.com, which is the world’s largest website devoted to connecting producers with voice actors.  Hello David, welcome.

David Ciccarelli: Hey Larry, thanks for having me on the show today.

Larry Jordan: How would you describe the company?

David Ciccarelli: Well exactly that, it’s what we call an online marketplace.  We are predominantly connecting creative producers, ad agency creative directors and corporate executives in marketing departments.  Anyone that needs that human voice to tell that story, we connect them with those professional voice actors.  I’ve been doing so for the last good number of years, almost 12 years and having a lot of fun doing that; helping brands tell their story through the power of the human voice.

Larry Jordan: One of the things tonight’s show is focusing on is the challenges of running a creative business.  What challenges did you face when you started your own company?

David Ciccarelli: Well, when we started, it was just Stephanie and I.  Most entrepreneurs have either a sole proprietorship; meaning kind of a solo act, or they partner up with someone and so Stephanie is my Wife and we’re Co-Founders in the company as well.

David Ciccarelli: We faced a number of challenges, first and foremost being perceived as a husband and wife, kind of small mom and pop shop; when really we aspire to running a global marketplace, a website that really catered to the needs of the entire industry.  That has some immediate consequences, which made things like funding and financing the company in its earliest days, which I’m sure resonates with everyone, that was a challenge.

David Ciccarelli: Lastly was just the name itself.  We actually began called interactivevoices.com; it’s a bit of a mouthful.  We felt Interactive just kind of pigeonholed us into doing new media, when voiceover is so much more broad than that.  We went on a quest to change the name and were successful in acquiring the domain name voices.com and really kind of reaped the rewards of that; of having an online property that not only serves as a destination, but summarizes what we do, in a single word.

David Ciccarelli: I would encourage those people who are in business or thinking of starting one, with enough persistence and fortitude, you can certainly overcome those challenges as well.

Larry Jordan: You’ve been in business 12 years now.  If you could go back to yourself knowing what you know now and giving him advice, what would you say at the start?

David Ciccarelli: I don’t know if regret maybe is too strong of a term, but I always think about, boy, I wish we acquired more customers early on.  You know, this was the advent of Google’s Adwords platform, you know, the keyword based advertising.  I wish we did that when the costs per click for an advertiser was something like ten cents and 25 cents on some of the most important keywords to us; now they’re like two, three, four, five dollars; just to get a single click; a single visitor to our website.  I wish that we could have done more of that type of advertising earlier on, to bring people into our sphere of influence.

David Ciccarelli: Everything else you’ve got to view as, it’s a learning experience and kind of like being married and having kids and running a business, there’s no instruction manual, because every one of those relationships is so different.  You can learn from someone else’s experiences, but, truthfully, you’ve got to have your own experience and be able to take a unique approach that works for you and your personality and your resources that you have available.

Larry Jordan: Next is a two part question.  I did an online search for voices.com and turned up a number of extremely hostile reviews, especially in 2015-2016; how have those been resolved?  The second part of the question is, how do you deal with such bad press?

David Ciccarelli: You know, it’s funny, every business is going to go through these phases.  Sometimes, the industry that you moved into, there is some disruption along the way and I think that’s something that we’ve experienced firsthand that, in our earliest days, freelance voice actors were getting work and they were tremendously successful early on with us.  As more people joined the platform, they really weren’t as successful as they once were.

David Ciccarelli:  I think there’s a lot of concern around that, that this has become an industry that’s perceived as kind of too easy to get into and so we’ve had to recognize that, our position isn’t to set the rates of what the actors charge, or some of these other kind of policies, if you will.  You know, we view ourselves as first and foremost a technology platform; our role is to connect the buyer and seller, in this case, the service that’s being provided is that of the voiceover; but, being true to us being a technology platform, I think, has really helped out.

David Ciccarelli: I would encourage businesses that maybe do face a negative experience of a customer or maybe in a group of customers, to try to engage in conversation; know where you stand on a number of issues, or whatever that kind of hot topic issue is.  But it’s your responsibility to extend that olive branch out to another firm, or another organization, or industry association; which for us has actually been the Screen Actors Guild.  We’ve actually had a number of phone calls, in person meetings in New York twice now and, you know, we were saying the other day, I’m like, isn’t that strange that one of our best relationships that we feel that we have right now is with the Screen Actors Guild; which is in some ways is the organizing body for the industry that has seen so much change since the advent of the internet.

David Ciccarelli: I think, again, this isn’t a one and done, we always say to the team here, you’re in it for the long haul.  The way that the industry may have operated 20-30 years ago, versus how it is done digitally online now, I think that’s just reality and I think, you know, the internet presents more opportunities than threats.  If you take that long view to your relationships, I do think that opinions can be changed over time; as long as you live out what you say you’re going to do.

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

David Ciccarelli: Pretty straightforward.  If you would like to post a job, looking for a voice actor, you can do so on voices.com.  You can create an account for free and even post a job for free and then the talent bid on the work and quote on it and you can hire them through the platform and even receive those broadcast quality audio recording files.  I would encourage you to do so.

Larry Jordan:  That website is voices.com and David Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and CEO of voices.com.  David, thanks for joining us today.

David Ciccarelli: Okay, thanks so much Larry.

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

Larry Jordan: Visit thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed.  That’s thalo.com.

Larry Jordan: Greg Fornero is the Vice-President of Distribution at Postworks Digital; which is a New York based post house.  Greg has been involved in digital theater, specifically creating DCP packages for filmmakers for more than ten years.  Hello Greg, welcome. 

Greg Fornero: Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan: Tonight we’re looking at the business of movie making and, in your case, I want to talk about distribution.  The whole point of creating a movie is to show it to an audience, so to start, what advice can you give on getting a project released theatrically?  What does a producer need to do?

Greg Fornero: I think that they would probably want to make sure that they know what mediums they’re aiming at, before they go about making all the content.  Specifically for theaters, they want to make sure that they understand requirements the DCP has.  One of the common mistakes that comes up is, people will record things in frame rates that aren’t easily transferable to the DCP frame rate of 24.0.

Greg Fornero:  They’ll also want to make sure that the source material that they create is something that can easily be used to create a DCP; or, can easily be transferred to something to create a DCP; usually … or, if you have a little bit more of a budget, DPX files that can be easily be converted to TIFs; that can be converted to DCPs from there; that kind of a thing.

Larry Jordan: Is DCP actually an image sequence?

Greg Fornero: Yes, it’s a series of images wrapped together in what’s called an MXF wrapper and they each play frame by frame; there’s no transitionary data, the way you would have like with MPEG.  Each frame is its own image all the way through.  For a DCP they use a JPEG 2000 is the format for the image.

Larry Jordan: You made an interesting comment.  You say, before we even start production, we need to know what we’re delivering for distribution.  Is that what you meant?

Greg Fornero: Correct.  When you’re making decisions about how you’re going to make the movie, it helps to know how you’re going to have to hand it off to the various groups that need to take it and run with it.  As an example, if you’re planning to localize a movie and distribute internationally, one of the things that you’re going to want to keep in mind is, if you’re going to make your movie in reels, at least from a theatrical perspective, everything stays in reels throughout the entire process; because, you want to maintain that consistency; so that when you have to deliver media to a subtitle vendor, that media matches what the end product DCP will be like.

Greg Fornero: For example, a long play subtitle reference file, you think they’re going to give you the subtitles that you want, if your movie’s in reels?  You want to make sure that, if you’re planning on subtitling it in Latin American Spanish, or any other language, you maintain the structural, I guess, integrity, consistency of the feature throughout the process; that way, you don’t run into technical problems later, where you have to dice it up.

Greg Fornero: One of the common things that we’ve run into recently is, depending on the type of movie you’re making, you can run into issues where the reels get too long; which can easily happen with a long play movie and the subtitles won’t fire properly.  So you may have to go back in, hard cut reels into the DCP; which can complicate things.  It saves you that headache of having to go back and redo various things; because, by the time you usually get to the stuff that I’m doing, you’ll usually have a week or two to get your movie made, to get it distributed, get it where it needs to go; so that people can start watching it and people can start hitting play.  That isn’t the time that people like to hear, hold on, you’ve got another week’s worth of work that you need to do, because of a choice you made six months ago.

Greg Fornero: Just trying to get more awareness; you don’t necessarily have to make every possible decision, but if you know what’s coming, you can keep in mind what needs to be done in the future.  Just to make your life easier.

Larry Jordan: Well we’re creating files digitally, we’re not using film; why are we working with reels at all?

Greg Fornero: I think that’s a good question.  In the beginning of digital cinema, back in 2005, when the first DCP actually got put together, back then the movies were made for film and DCPs were just sort of an add on and so all the source material that DCPs used was everything that film used.  At this point, I don’t want to say the majority, because I’m not 100% sure that’s true, but at least a fair chunk of distribution is all done digitally and, in theory, you could go all the way through digitally and make whatever cuts that you need to make.  But I think the problem is, closed caption systems have problems running closed captions that are longer than 20 minutes.

Greg Fornero: If you plan on localizing your movie in the US, playing it at big chains, they’re going to want you to make sure you have the accessibility files; which are the closed captions, open captions and hearing impaired and visually impaired audio.  You run into issues in distribution if you’re trying to play long play, because, now the closed caption systems, some of them won’t work and, in digital cinema, when some things don’t work, generally speaking, the industry shifts to a place where everything will work.  So, instead of distributing closed caption files that will work most places but not in some, what the post houses will generally require is that you modify your DCPs so that you’re under that limit that closed caption systems have; to make sure that it will play everywhere.  They want to make sure everything plays everywhere.

Larry Jordan: Can we release a film theatrically without it being a DCP package?

Greg Fornero: You probably can on a very limited scale, to small art house theatres; but anything to scale and outside of probably the major cities, you’re going to be really hard to do.  The other problem you’d have is, actually acquiring film stock can be expensive and challenging, compared to what it was, you know, 15 years ago, when this all started.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of DCP packages, do they provide encryption; is encryption expensive; and is encryption actually necessary?

Greg Fornero: Encryption, generally speaking, doesn’t cost extra to add at the time that you make the DCP.  What encryption is there for is to protect the intellectual property of the film creator.  What encryption allows us to do via the key management systems that the industry’s adopted, it allows you to know who can hit play on your movie, where they’re going to hit play on your movie.  Also, you know that they’re not playing it outside that window.  It also protects your movie in transit.

Greg Fornero: Generally speaking, there are two methods of delivery when it comes to digital cinema, satellite or copy the file to a hard drive and physically distribute it.  Satellite transmissions themselves can carry encryption, so you’re not super worried about somebody, you know, catching your satellite signal and downloading it.  But physical delivery of the drive is essentially a file on a hard drive that anybody could copy, if they have the appropriate equipment to read the hard drive.  That’s a super high resolution version of your movie and you don’t necessarily want something like that to exist, because piracy is a very big concern.

Greg Fornero: The files on the drive itself being encrypted prevent any monkey business from taking place, while it’s in transit to the theaters; while it’s at the theaters, if they have a janitor who is cleaning the room and decides that he wants a high resolution version of whatever your movie might be, he’s not going to be able to do anything with it, because again those files are still encrypted.  So it’s protecting the intellectual properties, but it also allows, from a distribution perspective, a little bit of control and the ability to enforce your, this is when you can play my movie and you’ve agreed to play it in house one, here’s the key for house one and I’m not going to give you keys for any other house; you have to play it there.  That kind of thing.

Larry Jordan: What’s the most common problems you run into, with a first time producer bringing you their project to convert into a DCP?

Greg Fornero: What’s really common is, most people have a lot of background in other mediums and not necessarily DCPs and the world of DCP has a lot of very unique requirements.  There isn’t really anything else, at least to my knowledge, that uses the frame rate that DCPs use; which is 24.0.  Don’t think there’s anything else that uses the color space that DCPs use, which is XYZ and there’s just a lot of very specific technical things about DCPs that people don’t always know; because, until you deal with it, there’s no real reason for you to have learned it before, because it doesn’t basically exist anywhere else.

Greg Fornero: Once you get over those educational hurdles and you start dealing with getting whatever source material someone has, into a format that can be used to create a DCP, then the DCPs are made.  DCP distribution is a bit different, because of the file sizes involved, generally speaking the security involved and the locations where they play in the extremely risk averse environment, inside theatrical distribution, because there’s a lot of money in play.  So, helping people  understand the technical side of DCPs enough to where they can give you what they need, so that you can make their DCP and then helping them along with the intricacies of DCP distribution.

Greg Fornero: This is an example most people that doesn’t really occur to most people, but if the movie opens on Friday, you want to make sure that the DCP delivers a day or two before that; which means, you want to make sure you ship it two or three days before that; which means that, if you’re going to master your DCP, you want to have that done probably at least a couple of days before you have to ship it; which means the source has to come in three or four days before that; because you’re dealing with really large file sizes and sometimes the weekend can get in the way, sometimes holidays can get in the way.  If you want to have it in theaters and launch it on Friday, you really, really, really, really want to have the files and everything delivered to the place making the movie two weeks in advance if you can.  You can speed things up if you have to, but that generally speaking is where costs go up, because as you accelerate the process, generally there are rush fees involved.

Greg Fornero: That kind of timeline generally catches people off guard, because, digital cinema, DCPs, they’re digital files, everything moves really fast and, compared to film, that’s very true.  But you’re still dealing with distributing somewhere between 100 and 200 gigabyte files to multiple locations across the country/world and that can get very complicated.  The more ahead of the game you are with the timeline, the easier it is to deal with any unexpected challenges that arise.  Very similar to live television, your deadlines are completely immovable.  Dealing with the implications of that is one of the things that seems to surprise people a little bit; especially when they’ve been working on the movie for, you know, six, 12, 18 months at that point.  The last two weeks can be crunch time.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to learn more about creating DCPs or hire your company to do exactly the same thing, where can they go on the web?

Greg Fornero: Postworks.com.

Larry Jordan: That website is postworks.com and Greg Fornero is the Vice-President of Distribution for Postworks Digital and, Greg, thanks for joining us today.

Greg Fornero: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking about an email I received earlier today.  Clayton wrote “You have wisely been sounding the alarm of how content creation is shifting.  Rapidly changing markets are altering revenue and business models.  What will the new video professional look like and what will their tools be?”  That’s really the theme of what we’ve been discussing tonight.  Maxim told us that, when he picks a project, it has to be something that triggers a powerful emotional response; but, as David told us, when the internet gets involved, long-standing methods about how we work and how much we get paid get upended.

Larry Jordan: I’m deeply concerned about the increasing trend toward more automation and machine learning, not that I think these are bad; in fact, I think they could make a significant positive contribution to our society.  What’s missing though, in this rush to automation, is a conversation about the human side of this conversion.  What happens to those folks who are unable to work because their jobs no longer exist?  We saw this up close as the industrial age morphed into the technology age; entire industries disappeared, but their now out of work employees still needed to eat.

Larry Jordan: Recently, Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna Insurance, stunned the industry by raising pay and benefits for all of their workers.  At the time he remarked that the survival of capitalism depends upon creating well paid jobs.  According to Fast Company, CEOs are beginning to realize that paying workers well helps to attract talent; especially millennials who want to work at a place in which all their colleagues, including those on the lowest rungs, enjoy a living wage and are treated with dignity.  As Fast Company wrote, “Corporate America needs to move beyond its single-minded focus on maximizing shareholder value.”

Larry Jordan: This is the opposite of what’s happening in production today, where pressure continues to focus on doing more and getting paid less.  It’s great to be creative but, as Maxim said, we still need to pay the rent.  We only need to look at the collapse of the visual effects industry to realize that we can’t stay in business if we’re continuously losing money; at some point, we need to find a balance, so that all of us who work in this industry can continue to pay the rent.  Just something I’m thinking about and, as always, I’m interested in your opinion.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank this week’s guests, filmmaker Maxim Jago, Sarah Meister from Indiegogo; Martin Simmons from Apprise Video Productions; David Ciccarelli from voices.com; Greg Fornero from Postworks Digital and James DeRuvo from doddleNEWS.  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.   Talk with us on Twitter @dpbuzz and Facebook @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 Take 1 Transcription.  Visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you.  Our Producer is Debbie Price, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz.

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

Digital Production Buzz – October 5, 2017

There are many elements to successfully running a creative business – so tonight we chat with experts about producing, funding, management, and distribution.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Maxim Jago, Sarah Meister, Martin Simmons, David Ciccarelli, Greg Fornero, and James DeRuvo.

  • Tips to Pick a Project
  • Crowdfund Your Next Project
  • The Challenges in Running a One-Man Shop
  • Voices.com – The Story of a Start-up
  • Create DCPs for Theatrical Distribution
  • Our Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Tips to Pick a Project

Maxim Jago

Maxim Jago, Director, MaximJago.com

Maxim Jago joins us again tonight wearing his “Producer” hat to talk about the business of being a producer.

Crowdfund Your Next Project

Sarah Meister

Sarah Meister, Hardware, Design and Technology Outreach Manager, Indiegogo

Every project lives or dies on it’s funding. Crowdfunding is a new phenomenon but it can really work for you. Tonight we are joined by Sarah Meister, Hardware, Design and Technology Outreach Manager who walks us through the crowdfunding process.

The Challenges in Running a One-Man Shop

Martin Simmons

Martin Simmons, Owner, Apprise Video Productions & Photography

Martin Simmons is the owner of Apprise Video Productions. His one-person-shop offers an impressive selection of video services. Tonight we talk with him about running a company of one, the challenges of getting business and, more importantly, getting PAID for the business!

Voices.com – The Story of a Start-up

David Ciccarelli

David Ciccarelli, CEO and Founder, Voices.com

Voices.com is the world’s largest website devoted to connecting producers with voice actors. David Ciccarelli is the CEO and co-founder of Voices.com. Tonight, he describes how his business can help producers find the right voice for their project.

Create DCPs for Theatrical Distribution

Greg Fornero

Greg Fornero, Vice President of Distribution, Postworks New York

DCPs are essential to releasing any project theatrically. But, DCPs are unlike anything else in the film-making process. Tonight, Greg Fornero, Vice President of Distribution at Postworks Digital, explains what DCPs are, why they are needed for distribution and common mistakes producers make creating a DCP harder, and more expensive, than necessary.

Our Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – September 28, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Terry Hope, Editor, Pro Moviemaker Magazine, Bright Publishing
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System
Paul Stewart, Director of Business Development, North America, multiCAM Systems
Stefan Karle, Founder, DoPchoice
Jess Hartmann, CEO, ProMAX Systems
James DeRuvo, Senior Writer, DoddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we have our final reports from IBC; along with exciting new products from Lumberjack System, DoPchoice, multiCAM Systems and Promax; plus, breaking news from GoPro’s big press announcement this morning in San Francisco.

Larry Jordan: We start with Terry Hope, Editor of ProMovieMaker Magazine, with his final report from IBC 2017; this time covering the latest news in storage.  Then James DeRuvo, Senior Writer for DoddleNEWS travels to San Francisco, to cover this morning’s GoPro event; along with other major industry news.  Next, Philip Hodgetts, CEO of Lumberjack System, joins us to talk about the increasing role that artificial intelligence and machine learning is taking in post-production; along with the announcement of their latest product, Builder.

Larry Jordan: Next, Paul Stewart, North American Director of Business Development for multiCAM Systems, explains their new automated podcast technology; as well as showcasing their latest announcements from IBC.  Next, Stefan Karle, the CEO of DoPchoice, talks about their newest tools for shaping light from soft lights; which were introduced at IBC.

Larry Jordan: Next, Jess Hartmann, the CEO of ProMAX talks about the increasing use of shared storage in post-production; the differences between SAN and NAS devices and their newest announcements targeted at smaller work groups.  The Buzz starts now. 

Terry Hope: 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 plant.  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.  Hello, my name is Larry Jordan.

Larry Jordan: Tonight wraps up our coverage of IBC for 2017; but even as IBC fades away, new products are clamoring for attention.  James DeRuvo travelled to San Francisco today, to attend the GoPro launch event and called in from, I don’t know, some hotel someplace up there, with all the news of GoPro’s newest camera.  As someone who grew up in the news business, it continues to amaze me how easy it is to get reports from just about anywhere.  I’ll have more on this and my ‘Just Thinking’ segment at the end of the show.

Larry Jordan: Before IBC recedes too far into the rear-view mirror, I want to get one more report done; some of the significant announcements at IBC and that means Terry Hope.  Terry Hope is the Editor of ProMovieMaker magazine, which is a quarterly publication that appears in the UK and the US.  His career spans professional photography, then videography and now Editor of a key industry publication.  As always, welcome back Terry.

Terry Hope: Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan: I was reflecting on your reports over the last couple of weeks and realized, the one area that we haven’t talked about is storage.  Well what’s your thought on storage technology, based on what you saw at IBC?

Terry Hope: Well obviously storage is becoming ever more crucial, thanks to the increasing data requirements of the new breed of cameras, 4K, 8K and so on.  So, obviously it was really interesting to see some of the solutions that are coming out.  It was a very interesting experience.

Larry Jordan: What product did you see that caught your eye?

Terry Hope: Well, there were a couple of things, for example, on the G-Technology; one of which was a G- Rack 12 software development kit, which really was interesting; because that now is giving the capability for third party partners to develop customized apps for the G NAS operating system that can run natively on the G-Rack 12 and its dual six core Xeon processors.

Terry Hope: A couple of manufacturers have already come up with apps for this particular device and it’s obvious that this is early days and there are going to be a lot more apps coming along in the very near future.

Larry Jordan: What kind of an app can you put on a storage system?

Terry Hope: For example, there was one, it was a workflow solution, specifically for the G-Rack 12 and it was produced by Archiware, who were an expert in data management software.  They’ve integrated their P5 software suite with the G-Rack 12 to create a solution that will facilitate disaster recovery, data migration and archival options for media and entertainment workflows.

Larry Jordan: Alright.  Apps on storage are kind of cool.  What did you G-Tech talk about?

Terry Hope: In recent years, the development of SSDs has pointed the way to the future of storage on the go.  These devices are not just compact and capable of remarkably high capacities; but crucially, they’re also highly robust, able to withstand any issues that might arise if you’re working in demanding environments, temperatures or elevations; so obviously anyone who’s filming on location, SSDs are definitely the way to go in terms of safe storage of data.

Terry Hope: What G-Technology was showing is their new R series of SSDs and they combine really high performance of up to 560 megabytes a second for 4K and raw storage; with rugged features that include IP67 dust and water resistance.  They’re also drop resistant, they can withstand something like 1,000 pounds of crush resistance; so pretty secure.

Larry Jordan: How do they connect to the computer?

Terry Hope: They’re connecting with USB-C, which is compatible with Thunderbolt 3 protocols at varying speeds; depending on which on board controller is installed.  This is important because the latest MacBook Pro support full speed, for example; whereas some of the previous generation ports only run at half speed.  That’s quite an important development; the more capacity you have on an SSD, the faster you need to be able to transfer the data.

Larry Jordan: How big are these?  What do they store?

Terry Hope: They had capacities of up to two terabytes.

Larry Jordan: Was G-Tech the only storage company showing something new?

Terry Hope: No, there were quite a few other things on display at the show.  One of the ones that caught my eye, I went to the Glyph stand and, again, my previous comment about SSDs, they very much confirm this is the way that technology is going.  They were showing quite a few products; they had their Atom and Atom RAID products; they’re both SSD solutions.  They’re very small and flexible; again, they come with USB-C and USB-3 connectivity; which is important.  Obviously with the new Mac, you can now connect without using a dongle; so that’s important.  Again, very much like the G-Technology products, they were very, very solid and well-built and they came with a rubber bumper as well.

Terry Hope: You can imagine, with this amount of data in the field, you last thing you want to be doing is dropping your SSD and finding you’re losing all your data.  Well these are much more robust than the previous solutions.

Larry Jordan: So that’s a G-Tech and Glyph and what did you see in software that got your eye?

Terry Hope: I came across, obviously, the Black Magic booth at the show.  It’s been very well broadcast; obviously DaVinci Resolve 14 has been in beta for a while.  I had a bit of a demonstration on it and I know that you’ve covered this before on your broadcast.  But, for me, the big things were that it’s so much faster than previous versions; up to ten times I believe and it’s also got collaborative workflow features, which I think is going to be really important for professional users.

Larry Jordan: IBC is famous for taking a step back and looking ahead and projecting what the future is going to hold.  Just to wrap up your report, what did you see of future technology?

Terry Hope: One of the things which I think I mentioned on my first report, there was a chance to see some very cutting edge AI robots, which have been developed by David Hansen.  He’s been trying to create the next generation of super intelligent super benevolent robots.  His latest creation is Sophia and she’s amazing.  She can maintain eye contact, recognize faces, understand speech, hold natural conversations and even simulate human personality.  Quite impressive.  She was actually answering questions, which I thought was quite impressive.

Terry Hope: Also, the other thing that was quite impressive was her face, which is very, very lifelike and, apparently, it’s inspired by a cross between Hansen’s Wife and Audrey Hepburn.  Quite a good looking robot.  You can imagine what the questions were.  Somebody asked her from the audience whether robots had a malicious nature.  She answered that we’ve got nothing to fear.  But I’ve seen Terminator and I don’t especially believe her.

Larry Jordan: Terry, thank you so very much for spending all of your time at IBC and for these wonderful reports.  For people that want to keep up with the industry and they want to check out your magazine, where do they go on the web?

Terry Hope: Our web address is www.promoviemaker.net. 

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, promoviemaker.net and Terry Hope is the Editor of Promoviemaker magazine and, Terry, again, thank you for all of your time and hard work.

Terry Hope: No problem at all Larry, it’s been a pleasure.

Larry Jordan: But there’s more than IBC making news this week; in fact, the big news today is coming from GoPro and with all the details, we turn to James DeRuvo from DoddleNEWS; who’s currently in San Francisco attention the GoPro product rollout.  Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Yes Larry, I’m on assignment.

Larry Jordan: It is so cool.  What did GoPro announce?

James DeRuvo: Well GoPro announced the GoPro Hero 6 and it’s got a brand new GP1 processor, which is capable of recording at 4K; at 60 frames per second, or 1080p at up to 240 frames per second.  They’ve also incorporated a brand new digital zoom into the GoPro, so, when you’re shooting 4K, get that digital zone in there and all of a sudden you’re like … when it comes to moving in on your shot; which is something that GoPro’s never done.  It also has HDR and RAW modes and optical image stabilization that is “karma grade” which means it’s as good as the access gimbal on the GoPro Karma.  It’s got 12 stops of dynamic range.  This is a beast of a camera Larry.

James DeRuvo:  They also announced an update to the GoPro Karma Drone, which gives it smart modes including Follow Me, Cable Cam and a new feature called Tilt Up Gimbal; which allows the camera to tilt up and see what’s on top of it.  GoPro Fusion has got a couple of new features that are going to come into the 360 degree camera, including this thing called Angel View; which makes it look like the camera is floating in front of you.  You don’t see the selfie stick that holds the camera; it disappears.  I don’t know how they do it, but it’s amazing.

James DeRuvo: There’s also a panning feature, which enables you to pan within the 360 degree space; as well as that amazing over-capture, which allows you to punch out a 2D regular video clip out of anywhere in the 360 degree spectrum and it’s making Fusion look seriously like a hard-core camera that  every cinematographer is going to want to use; especially if they’re a one man band.

James DeRuvo: The firmware update for the Karma is available now at gopro.com; so any Karma owner can get these smart features on their Drones.  The Hero 6 is shipping today, so you can order it now.  Preorders for the Fusion began today and it’s shipping in November.

Larry Jordan: Pricing?

James DeRuvo: Pricing is 499 for the Hero 6, you can buy the Karma, with the Hero 6, for 1199, or the Karma by itself for 799 and the GoPro Fusion 699.

Larry Jordan: James, let’s turn our attention away from GoPro and now that IBC is over, what else is making news this week?

James DeRuvo:  Well, of course, you say that there’s more going on than just the world of IBC; so naturally I have to start off with a story from IBC.  Datavideo has introduced a new video camera called the NightHawk; it’s a micro four thirds cinema camera, which is designed for extremely low light situations like concerts.  It’s got a modular design, a 20 megapixel micro four thirds CMOS sensor, capable of capturing 1080p in extremely low light and it live streams, via 4G, through the iPhone with RMTP.  The real cool thing about it is, is that it’s customizable, because it’s got a modular design.

Larry Jordan: There’s 800 million cameras already out there.  Is Datavideo a little late?

James DeRuvo: To being fair, yes, they come a little late to the party and since this camera only shoots in 1080p, it’s not only light, but it’s a little behind the curve.  But Datavideo says that the NightHawk oversamples in 4K and then downscales to 1080p; so we may see a higher resolution version in the near future.  But for streaming of concerts and over low light situations, it’s an intriguing offer.

Larry Jordan: Alright.  That’s Datavideo with their new camera.  What else we got?

James DeRuvo: Cinemartin has introduced a brand new, ridiculously thin field monitor called the Eclipse.  Get this.  It’s a seven inch OLED screen that’s 20 mm thick and it’s considered the lightest in its class.  It’s super bright and up to 1000 nits, so you won’t need a hood if you’re outside and it’s unbelievably thin.

Larry Jordan: The fact that it’s thin is one thing, but what features does it come with?

James DeRuvo: It comes with a nice zoom and crop feature, so if you’re a DSLR shooter and you want to check focus, you can zoom in, check your focus, tighten it up and then zoom back out.  It’s got plenty of customizable buttons to set it up exactly the way you want it.  But the real feature is, is that it downscales from 4K to true HD; so you get an accurate look at what you’re looking at; rather than most monitors which go the other way and upscale from 720p up to 1080p.  Even though you’re bringing in a 4K signal.  Again, how thin and light this thing is.  20 mm before adding batteries, that’s barely wide enough to accommodate its SDI connectors Larry and that’s pretty impressive for around 800 bucks.

Larry Jordan: Okay, that’s Cinemartin and their new Eclipse monitor.  What else do you have?

James DeRuvo: The Nikon D850, this is Nikon’s brand new flagship DSLR.  Turns out, it’s got some autofocus issues in video mode.  Face detection and focus tracking, that is the hallmark of the D850, tends to seek its quarry; it breathes in and out as a background, gets more complicated and, in fact, the lower end D5300 can face track better.  So this looks to be a step backwards for Nikon and even Jared Polin of Fro Knows Photo even goes so far as to say that the autofocus feature for video is pretty much useless.

Larry Jordan: Well is this going to be a big deal?

James DeRuvo: Maybe, maybe not; depending.  I mean, as filmmakers, we tend to focus mainly anyway; but if you’re shooting weddings, having that autofocus tracking mode could sure come in handy.  I mean, if that’s what you need and if that’s what you’re looking for, then more than likely Canon Dual Pixel AF is probably going to be a better choice Larry.

Larry Jordan: Alright.  That’s Nikon’s D850.  What other stories are you watching this week?

James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following this week includes a firmware update for the Atomos SUMO 19-inch field monitor recorder.  I reviewed the iOgrapher Go Stabilizer for GoPro; which may now be my favorite cage for doing video blogging.  Next week I’m going to have a lot of talk about the realm of GoPro.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to keep track of everything happening this week and next week in the industry, where do they go on the web?

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

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the Senior Writer for DoddleNEWS and joins us every week with our DoddleNEWS update.  James, thank you so much, we’ll talk to you next week.

James DeRuvo: See you next week.

Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to, doddlenews.com.  DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries.  It’s a leading online resource; presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry.  DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platform specifically designed for production.  These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in-depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.

Larry Jordan: DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers.  From photography to filmmaking; performing arts to fine arts and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed.  Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals, or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go; doddlenews.com

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

Philip Hodgetts: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Philip, before we get into the specifics of your new product, I’m hearing a lot more about the role artificial intelligence or machine learning is playing in our editing systems.  What’s going on?

Philip Hodgetts: Well you’re really smart to draw that distinction, because, when we think of artificial intelligence, most people’s minds tend to go to Skynet or something like that.  Whereas, in fact, it’s much more prose.  The machine learning  is where we can teach generally a neural network which is just the magic that happens in the middle.  To do a particular task, usually something that’s fairly repetitive, they learn by looking at the examples and getting graded for the outputs.  When the machine starts to get the output that the human would be, it’s considered to be trained and then we feed it new raw data.  Eventually these machines do very useful things, like prepare your taxes, or find you the best legal case or diagnose skin cancers.  They are very good at doing these very repetitive tasks.

Larry Jordan: What’s an example of how we use AI today in editing?

Philip Hodgetts: Well, one of the great things that happens with these learning machines is that people program to do specific things.  There are tasks that everybody wants to do.  A lot of people have taken their … and built in a transcription app around it.  Generally you want to find a way of managing  media, sending it off to the … API, the programming interface that does the actual speech detect and translation and then getting it back so that it can be corrected.  Then sending it on to the host location, where you might want to use it.  There are a number of examples like SpeedScribe and … and the … schematic.

Larry Jordan: Well why can’t we do transcription on our local system?  Why does it require seriously large servers on the web?

Philip Hodgetts: Well, strangely enough, the problem is we could.  There is a downloadable version of Apple Dictation but it’s a private API and only Apple can use that.  Generally we look at these machines because they’re doing two things by sending the material to the machine and also providing it with more training material.  But they do require a lot of computational power to do things in semi-real time or faster than real time and they also need to be doing a lot of the transcription in parallel; so we don’t have to do them sequentially.

Larry Jordan: Does the choice of transcription servers make a difference in the quality of the transcript?

Philip Hodgetts: It will certainly make a difference in the result.  It’s … absolutely cleared better than … to that one service.   There’s a particular one out of the UK that does seem to have a reputation for slightly higher accuracy and that is Speechmatics, which are a developer contact.  This is used in a couple of systems, I think, already.  They do have a reputation for doing better with less great quality audio.  What would make it appealing to us is to support way more languages.

 

Larry Jordan: With that as a background and understanding that machine learning is having a bigger and bigger influence on what we’re doing.

Philip Hodgetts: Do you mind if I interrupt for a moment?  I saw yesterday some examples of what machine learning is doing in labs; like, we’re sort of eight to ten years away from a product.  You’ll never trust what you see or hear again.  You’ll be able to have somebody say a completely different word or sentence than they said originally just by talking in a change of word.  It’s like very scary and very creative and wonderful at the same time.

Larry Jordan: Thank you for cheering me up.  I’m going to go hide under a rock for a while.  With this as a background, tell us about the new product that you introduced at IBC.

Philip Hodgetts: Well I’ve certainly respected the work that people like Martin Baker have been doing with SpeechScribe and being very quick off the mark to see the benefit of these new services.  But, at the same time, having been a user of those services and having been the first to get transcripts into Final Cut Pro X back in 2015, through our Lumberyard application, we were not desirest to rush straight into that same space, in exactly the same way, partly because that would simply be unfair competition.

Philip Hodgetts: But what we’d realized is that, even if you get a perfect transcript in Final Cut Pro X or into any other application, they’re not really optimized for working with text-based editing.  So Graham and I looked at the entire workflow and realized that we have to build a different app, we have to build video editing applications, a brand new media video editing application that is text driven; so that you can work with your transcript, manipulate the transcript, but at the same time you can use the video that ….  So we built an interface,  so that you can preview the video base against the transcript and you can start to build storage; so you can actually edit the transcript.

Larry Jordan: Do you consider Builder to be a transcription application or something else?

Philip Hodgetts: It’s something else.  I believe it’s a video editing application that works by application.  Part of the reason why I need to justify that assertion is that, we will accept into their transcription from anywhere.  Say for example you’re in a studio situation where they’re very unhappy about audio going off to these remote APIs, you can have the transcriptions done in-house and feed them into Builder; this is the name of our app, and still get all the story building they’d benefit, just maybe not as tightly bound on the words.

Philip Hodgetts:  I don’t think it’s a transcription application, transcription is a feature of the application; but it does so much more.  We just take that transcript as a starting point, because we not only use the machine learning to get the transcript, we also use machine learning for the right keywords.  So you get an organizational starting point, based on the keywords that are derived from the transcripts and then that’s the starting point for the edit.

Larry Jordan: Just now you mentioned keywords and on the website it makes a big deal of keyword extraction.  Why are keywords important as opposed to the transcript?

Philip Hodgetts: They’re always important.  There’s no metadata that I didn’t like.  The transcript is fine, the transcript holds the words, but what the keywords hold are the concepts and concepts can be put together.  You can search for a concept or you can search for a word that’s in the transcript itself.  Both are valuable ways of finding the content.  But the problem with adding keywords is that it takes time to glance at the transcript and, believe me, it’s a lot faster to glance at a transcript to see what the keyword for that paragraph might be, than it is to listen through the paragraph in audio or watching the video.  You can build keywords yourself, but when you’re machine learning to derive keywords, you’ve got a head start on what the concepts are within the transcript and that’s using both ways to organize.

Larry Jordan: If keywords are the concept, then how important is the accuracy of the transcript?

Philip Hodgetts: Well, it depends who you talk to.  There are some people who say that, if I can’t rely on the transcript to be 100 accurate, I can’t use it for anything.  I hear from other people who have had these transcription apps for longer, that most people are not correcting.  I can get a lot of value out of the transcript without going and correcting some details.  It carries the concept quickly enough to know what’s there and if I want a better idea I will watch it.  Because, how video editors are, we’re building stories and our video; but in the transcript as a shortcut.  You can’t rely on just the script, we’re realizing that it’s part of the way of getting there and I find that 95% accurate is good enough; through keyword extraction, keyword management and inter story building.

Larry Jordan: Well, in this case, the transcript is not the final product, the transcript is just a prompt to help us get to the final product; whereas, if we were posting the transcript for people to read, we’d want it to be accurate.

Philip Hodgetts: Absolutely.  If you want to use it for subtitles, you would want it to be absolutely accurate.  But you only need that on the finished program, you don’t need that on every single minute of every interview that goes into the program.  We do have one other feature that I love and that is, you often need to add narration to a story and you can simply click on the add voiceover button and type in the narration that you want and we will instantly make you an audio file from the system voice and system language that you have your system currently set to.  That’s a real audio file, so when we send the edit over to Final Cut Pro X, the audio play is in the project in Final Cut Pro X as well.

Larry Jordan: When is this new product going to be available?

Philip Hodgetts: Well, we’ve previewed at IBC and we expect that it will be available for at least a public beta for Lumberjack customers around the time of the Final Cut Pro X Creative Summit at the end of October.

Larry Jordan: Is it a standalone app, or does it require something else?

Philip Hodgetts: It is part of the Lumberjack system.  One of the great features you can do in the keyword manager that we built is that you can bring in the keywords that have been carefully entered in Lumberjack; in the real time logger and other parts of the system and you can apply those to keyword ranges that have been automatically generated or created by paragraphs inside Builder.  It integrates with the rest of Lumberjack and it is part of that.  It will be no extra cost, it will just be part of Lumberjack subscription.  There will be a charge for transcriptions done through our app, but as I said, you don’t have to do the transcriptions through our app.

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

Philip Hodgetts: To lumberjacksystem.com and particularly to lumberjacksystem.com/builder.html.

Larry Jordan: Philip Hodgetts is the CEO of lumberjacksystem.com.  Philip, as always, thanks for joining us today.  We’ll talk soon.

Philip Hodgetts: My pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Paul Stewart is the Director of Business Development for North America for multiCAM Systems.  He works closely with customers and educators to reduce the learning curve and technical burden of producing and streaming live presentations and events.  Hello Paul, welcome.

Paul Stewart: Thank you Larry for having me.

Larry Jordan: How would you describe multiCAM Systems?

Paul Stewart: MultiCAM Systems essentially allows radio stations to produce visual radio in a very easy, very seamless and very automated fashion; so we’re not building a product for video experts, we’re building a product for people that want to create a nice looking show without all the video expertise.

Larry Jordan: What is visual radio?

Paul Stewart: Essentially, it’s adding a visual element to a traditional radio station; so, as an example, many sports shows on television are visual radio in that they have the radio style microphones, the radio style console in front of them and it’s set up in a very talk format type of room and yet there’s cameras in the studio to capture what is happening and put that on either television, or web stream, on mobile app, so on and so forth.

Larry Jordan: Paul, we’ve talked about your broadcast products, what other markets do you serve?

Paul Stewart: We serve a variety of different verticals, such as conference centers, conference capture, lecture capture for e-learning and distance learning; as well as surgery simulation, which is for teaching hospitals and medical facilities.

Larry Jordan: Well it also seems, one of the key differentiators is that you’re fully automated; you don’t need to have people running the equipment or picking the shots, it’s automatically switching cameras.  Is that a true statement?

Paul Stewart: Correct, yes, we rely upon external hardware and software that’s being used to conference, as an example.  If you have a current audio conference system, we interact with that, we take cues from the audio conference system and that tells us, you know, which cameras should be placed on the air, which camera angles should we be using; so on and so forth.  We’re following what’s happening and switching to video and making the compositions accordingly.  There’s really no need to have an operator sitting in front of the machine, doing much of anything; but, of course, we do offer a manual alternative to the automated system.

Larry Jordan: Why was the company founded?

Paul Stewart: The company was founded, you know, around the multiCAM product, because there wasn’t something at the time that was easy to use, but also served that purpose; something that would be easy to use and nothing at the time really existed.  That sort of gave way to the creation of the company and the development of this product.

Larry Jordan: Does the company make hardware, software, or provide services?

Paul Stewart: Both.

Larry Jordan: Are you providing a wirecast service, where you’re doing the compression and streaming?  Or are you more like a grass valley, where you’re providing switchers?  What does your stuff do?

Paul Stewart: We do a little bit of everything.  We are the switcher, we are the graphics engine; so we’ll add graphics to the final output and we have an integrated streaming and recording functionality as well.  The bottom line, what I tell people is, this is the only system that you need for producing the high quality videos for visual radio.

Larry Jordan: You would be competing with the New Tech, for instance.

Paul Stewart: That’s correct.

Larry Jordan: What did you announce that’s new at IBC?

Paul Stewart: We announced a couple of new hardware units for our system at IBC this year, one of which is a nine input HD SDI unit, the other is the IP unit; which actually has no SDI capture card and the cameras that we interface with the IP unit are full IP cameras; PTZ cameras.  What that’s going to allow the operators to do is have, you know, multiple cameras on the network; more cameras than what would be traditional available in a SDI system and be able to switch those inputs for various rooms.  If you have multiple studios, there is rooms throughout the building, you could feasibly use one multiCAM system and control multiple cameras in different locations to produce the show that you want to produce.

Larry Jordan: Given the fact that New Tech is out there and wirecast and one beyond, why would somebody consider your system?

Paul Stewart: Our system is an all-in-one package and very, very simple to use.  Other systems are excellent in terms of, you know, television production and producing visual radio in maybe a more manual sense.  We integrate with the audio over IP environment to get mic levels and fader levels.  The automations are meant to get metadata as well as composition information; so basically, you know, what are we doing graphically to match what the broadcast automation software is doing on the audio side and we use all that input in our artificial intelligence engine to create something that looks really good in a completely automated fashion.

Larry Jordan: I would normally hesitate to ask this question, but the multiCAM System’s website is a mess, there’s typos, there’s pages that are just filled with place holders; why should customers take your product seriously when your website is so poorly done?

Paul Stewart: We just recently launched a new website and we were sort of hurrying up to do that prior to the show.  There is definitely some work that needs to be done and that’s something that we’re all working on still, you know, to this day; so we’re still working on it and adding content and that type of thing.  I would say, we are focusing on the development of the product and the website is, you know, falling behind.

Larry Jordan: How is your system priced?

Paul Stewart: Our system is actually priced quite a bit lower than a lot of competing systems.  What is nice about the price of the multiCAM is that, we give you one single price that contains everything that you would need.  Ultimately, it’s very simple to understand, both from a technical aspect, but also the pricing of the unit.

Larry Jordan: If I have a small radio station and I only need one or two cameras, what would be an entry price?

Paul Stewart: One or two cameras, we would be talking probably somewhere in the $15-20,000 range.

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

Paul Stewart: For more information, you can please visit multicam-systems.com.

Larry Jordan: It’s multicam-systems.com and Paul Stewart is the Director of Business Development for North America for multiCAM systems and, Paul, thank you for your time today.

Paul Stewart: Thank you very much Larry, I appreciate it.

Larry Jordan: Stefan Karle founded DoPchoice in 2008 to create high quality lighting tools and accessories.  Based in Munich, his company has since invented snap bags and snap grids and butterfly grids; among many others.  Hello Stefan, welcome.

Stefan Karle: Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan: How would you describe DoPchoice?

Stefan Karle: DoPchoice is a company that is mainly producing light shaping products, but it’s kind of accessories for LED lighting.

Larry Jordan: What got you so interested that you started the company?

Stefan Karle: Basically I was a cinematographer.  I was a little bit sick about the existing products that had been on the market; perhaps it’s my German engineering background.  I tried to make it better and I found a way and I had invested already so much money and I wanted to try it out and see if it’s working as a product.  Finally, nine years ago, we sold our first product and it’s a nice growing company at the moment.

Larry Jordan: Well let’s talk about that growing company.  What new products have you shown at IBC?

Stefan Karle: At the IBC we have showed our two new products; one brand new product group that is called the ‘Snap Boxes.’  These are mainly made for light tile products or all these kind of flexible tiles that are now getting more and more popular in our market.  With tiles, when you look into them, they’re really a bright and you need to diffuse them.  VF made some boxes that collapse simply together, where you can set it up in a very simple and quick way; as all of our other products.  When you have a nice diffused soft light that you can hang, so you can fly it across, in a little studio; or you can just put it over frames or over flags and you get full control of your light by changing all of the sides of these soft boxes.

Larry Jordan: For people that may not know lighting, why are these lighting grids so necessary?

Stefan Karle: Soft boxes are so important because you don’t want to have little … lights, you want to have a diffused one source light that is wrapping nicely around a face or your actor or your object that you’re filming.  With soft light, needs to be also directed in a way; therefore, we have also the grids that control these kind of soft lights.

Larry Jordan: What are your most popular products?

Stefan Karle: The most popular product is getting more and more the snap bags; so these are our soft boxes mainly for LED lighting.  We started these really early, six-seven years ago, with our first collaborations with LED manufacturers, to introduce these soft boxes that do not need any poles or … and to be really quick and easy to set up on your LED features and the market response is amazing on that.

Stefan Karle: We have grown the family over the years and this was also the second new product that we have made in collaboration with ARRI; so that you can mount two ARRI S60 Skypanels that are really popular in the market, together as a huge light source, with a special bracket.  Then you can put our Octa 5 or Octa 7 in front of it; so as you have a huge light source that has really a huge punch; that is getting more into this range of HMI lights that was not possible before.  By being controlled easily now, in the color temperature, in the whole color range and easily going on any household power plug.

Larry Jordan: Do you have any tutorials on your website that explain how to use your gear?

Stefan Karle: In every product section, you have always the product videos that are linked directly on our product site.  If you go on products, you have the snap bags and the snap grids and so on and on each section you have the tutorial videos for these products.  Also, in each and every product we have some more descriptions and pictures.

Larry Jordan: I’ve had the pleasure of visiting your website and enjoying both the tutorials on how to use your products, but also the range of products that you have.  For people that want to learn more about what kind of light shaping tools DoPchoice makes, where can they go on the web?

Stefan Karle: It’s on our website, it’s dopchoice.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, dopchoice.com and Stefan Karle is the Founder and CEO of DoPchoice and, Stefan, thanks for joining us today.

Stefan Karle: Thank you very much Larry.

Larry Jordan: I want to introduce you to a new website; thalo.com.  Thalo is an artist community and networking site for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity.  Thalo.com features content from around the world, with a global perspective on all things creative.  Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works.

Larry Jordan: 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: Jess Hartmann has over 36 years of experience in creating technology solutions and, currently, he’s the CEO of ProMAX Systems.  Hello Jess, welcome back.

Jess Hartmann: Thank you Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: I’m talking to you, I’m doing great actually.  Let’s start with a couple of really basic questions.  How would you describe ProMAX?

Jess Hartmann: You’ve known ProMAX for a lot of years, you know, we’re a media technology solutions company that has been in this space, I want to say, forever and I took over in 2008 with the company.  But we are here to help people be more creative and get back to being creative using technology.

Larry Jordan: Now, does that mean software, hardware, or both?

Jess Hartmann: It means both; it means we create solutions to make it easier for people to get their jobs done and not have to worry about the technology.

Larry Jordan: One of the things that you’re known for is your shared storage systems; you have a variety of products, in fact, we’re going to be talking about some of your new announcements at IBC in just a minute.  But I want to take a second.  Why is shared storage such an attractive market; because there’s got to be eight billion firms that are chasing that market?

Jess Hartmann: Yes, there really are and it’s interesting, because there’s more coming into that market all the time.  I think it’s been attractive for so many vendors because of the demand growth in this space.  You know, as you know, over the last four or five years we’ve just really started to see organizations moving to a shared storage type of environment.  But prior to that, so many people were working independently on their machines and just carrying drives back and forth.

Larry Jordan: Why can’t I just take a Mac Mini and throw a couple of hard disks at it?  I mean, suddenly I’ve got servers, I’ve got NASs and then, just to confuse us, we spell it backwards and we’ve got SANS.  What’s a SAN, what’s a NAS and what’s a server?

Jess Hartmann: SANs started as a certain type of technology, which is called a block mode device and it was designed originally, or early on, so that you could get a fast enough speed that you needed for editing back to your Mac Pro and be able to actually stream video.  The fun part about the difference between a NAS and a SAN is that, a SAN requires, I think you remember in the old Apple ex SAN environments, it requires something called a metadata network and a direct connection to the storage.

Jess Hartmann: SAN environments, theoretically, can be faster than NAS’, but because technology has gotten so quick with the ten gigabit interfaces, generally there’s no practical difference between them anymore.  Quantum still sells a SAN environment With their StorNext; but the rest of the world and I mean the rest, including even Avid, has moved to more of a NAS architecture.

Larry Jordan: So SANS came first, but NASs are easier to use?

Jess Hartmann: Yes and they’re certainly much more predominant now than they were and they can absolutely produce the same type of bandwidth.  We get over four gigabytes a second on our SSD system.

Larry Jordan: If I’m editing off-shared storage, do I have to have ten gig Ethernet?  Do I need to re-cable my plant?

Jess Hartmann: Generally no.  Let’s say you’re still a 1080 user and you are the typical ProRes 422.  You know, that is only going to require 18-20 megabytes a second.  On a one gigabit connection, your standard Ethernet connect, you can get five streams of that on our server.  So there’s really no need, if you’re still in 1080, to be going to ten gig.

Jess Hartmann: Why can’t we just take a Mac Mini and hook a bunch of hard drives to it?  Well, the truth is, you can, but it doesn’t always work well and it doesn’t always work consistently and you end up being an IT administrator when you build your own systems like this.  You can make them work and many people have; but they find after a while that the effort is probably just not worth it.

Larry Jordan: Then, if we’re a single person, we don’t really need network attached storage?  The network attached storage becomes valuable as we’re part of a group of people working.  Is that a true statement?

Jess Hartmann: That’s absolutely a true statement.

Larry Jordan: Let’s say I’ve got a small work group, say four to eight people, what criteria should we use when choosing a shared storage system; or, what questions should we ask?

Jess Hartmann: I think the biggest thing today to consider is, looking beyond a shared storage system.  I will tell you that, there are literally tens, if not a good 100 valuable good quality shared storage systems that you can get on the market.  Because shared storage has really become a commodity in our industry, like you can buy it very inexpensively and you can buy it from a number of great places, when you think of solving this problem, you should look beyond just getting shared storage.  You look at your workflow and ask yourself, how am I going to make that workflow more efficient; not just how do I get storage from my local device onto a network device.

Larry Jordan: Do we need to worry about how we connect our computers to the network?

Jess Hartmann: We absolutely do and this will get into a conversation about the Codecs and the Wrappers, etc, the types of files that we’re using and streaming from; which obviously comes from the camera etc.  We also need to know what size, bit rates per second  that are coming off of those Codecs and that will determine what type of connection we need to our shared storage device; whether that is a one gigabit connection, or whether it’s a ten gigabit connection, or if we need to go ten gigabit fiber.  All of those are a consideration for it.

Larry Jordan: If I were to do a takeaway from what you’ve just told me, there’s lots of choice and shared storage and while there are probably very few bad choices, there are better choices by configuring the shared storage to match our workflow.

Jess Hartmann: You know, that’s exactly correct.  As we all know, there’s so many more components to workflow design than just being able to access our videos and our projects; there is the ingest component, there is the transcoding or pre-transcoding component, there is asset management and being able to find and locate things, there is the post-transcoding and the rendering component and finally there’s the archiving.

Jess Hartmann:  When you look at that entire workflow process or life cycle, people buy pieces of technology for each one of those components generally.  They hook it up to a shared storage system and now they’ve got quite a bit of complexity that they’ve just introduced in their environment and then they end up having to have somebody allocate their time as an IT person; making sure all of that works together and continues to work together and solve all the problems associated with it.

Larry Jordan: Well thinking of solving problems, this brings us to IBC and in this show we are looking at some of the new stuff announced last week at IBC.  What did ProMAX announced?

Jess Hartmann: We announced a couple of different things.  The first is something called Platform Core.  To bring us back to that prior conversation, as you know, we’ve built something and have been selling and supporting a product called Platform Workflow servers and those devices are designed to take you all the way from the ingest process, all the way through the archive process, with one appliance.  It’s obviously shared storage, but it does other things, including asset management; rendering;  transcoding and archiving etc.

Jess Hartmann: What we found is, we’re getting great growth on that product worldwide, but there are conditions and there are situations where people are not really ready to step up to a full workflow server.  It does cost a little bit more when you put all of that stuff into one box.  At IBC this year, we’ve announced an entry level product, which is just shared storage and data management and these types of things and it’s called Platform Core.  This product is designed to really have very fast shared storage, at a much better price than what you would get if you wanted to get an entire workflow server.

Larry Jordan: What does it specifically contain?

Jess Hartmann: The Platform Core is really born out of our workflow servers, so it contains the same simple and easy interface, to be able to connect to shared storage, to create volumes, to be able to load your media onto the server, to be able to mount those volumes and stream that video back to your editing software; whether that’s Adobe Premier Pro or, you know, the Creative Cloud Suite or Avid or Final Cut Pro etc.  As well as a bunch of data management capabilities that are built in; so that you can make sure that you have mirroring and snapshots and all of the protection that you need in a standard shared storage device.

Larry Jordan: When you say mount volumes, am I able to have multiple users in the same volume at the same time?

Jess Hartmann: Yes, Platform Core has all of the capabilities to include the ability to have many different users connected, with different permission structures; mount certain volumes for certain users and others don’t have access to that.  So we can really organize our data by project and set it up so we know, you know, which editors have access to what information.

Larry Jordan: When does this new toy ship?

Jess Hartmann: It’s shipping right now and we have 64 terabyte beginning server for just under 10,000; so 9,999.  That’s all the goodness of a platform workflow server, minus all those asset management transcoding features and we think that’s going to be very valuable in the market.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of that, who is your target market?  Who do you expect to buy the system?

Jess Hartmann: As you know, we specialized for media creators since this company was born; so, we look at organizations anywhere from four users on up; we have users in companies that have 200 plus users on our system.  But our sweet spot is probably between four and 40 users that are hitting the servers at any one time.

Larry Jordan: Well that’s the Platform Core, which is like an entry level shared storage; you also announced Hybrid Cloud, what’s that?

Jess Hartmann: Hybrid Cloud for us is our entry into what I would call our next phase of platform, which is a hybrid cloud environment and what Hybrid Cloud Backup does, which is what we just announced, it is a module that goes on our platform workflow servers and lets you use the same simple interface that you have into platform; but be able to back up your data to any one of the cloud based services; including Amazon S3 and Glacier and Azure and Google and about 25 different services.

Jess Hartmann:  You have the ability to just go by volume or go by project, right click on the space and say back that up or schedule it to be backed up on a particular schedule.  As long as you have the bandwidth and the space up on your cloud services account, it’s going to automatically copy it all up there, maintain it for you and also give you the ability through our searching browser to find it.  Whether you’re connected to the internet or not, you can find it because it’s all maintained in the local database.

Larry Jordan: Well this is essentially an extension of what you do now, because your platform system allows you to do archiving, but the archiving is local; now you’re archiving to the cloud.  But it’s basically just a checkbox but going in a different location.

Jess Hartmann: You couldn’t have said it better.  Today we have the ability to see what’s on the tape and now you’ll have the ability to see what’s on the cloud.

Larry Jordan: When does it ship?

Jess Hartmann: In Q4; so we’re looking probably around the November timeframe.

Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about both Platform Core and Hybrid Cloud, where can they go on the web?

Jess Hartmann: Just to simple promax.com.

Larry Jordan: Jess Hartmann is the CEO of ProMAX System and, Jess, thanks for joining us today.

Jess Hartmann: Appreciate it Larry.  Take care.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking, earlier in the day, I was talking with James DeRuvo, via Skype, to get the latest news about GoPro’s event this morning.  Now, in and of itself, that’s typical of most phone calls, except ours was being recorded for inclusion in tonight’s show.  James was walking through a conference center during the call and we could hear the voices of other people near him as he walked and we talked.  What struck me was how ordinary this has become.

Larry Jordan: I watch the news reports from Mexico after an earthquake, or Puerto Rico, in the middle of a hurricane and rather than be amazed that they’re able to get a signal out of that location at all, I’m complaining that the camera is shaky, or the focus is soft.

Larry Jordan:  In one way or another, I’ve been in news all my life and, while I hate to say that I can remember when, not only can I remember it, I was busy doing it at the time.  I’ve set up location feeds using satellites, microwaves and telephone landlines and probably others that I’ve forgotten.  In all the hurtling forward progress of technology, it is often hard to reflect on just how far we’ve come.

Larry Jordan: Events like IBC give us a glimpse of the future.  Phone calls like those with James remind us just how much technology has changed from the past.  Just something I’m thinking about and, as always, I’m interested in your thoughts.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank this week’s guests, Terry Hope from Promoviemaker magazine, James DeRuvo with DoddleNEWS, Philip Hodgetts with Lumberjack System, Paul Stewart with multiCAM Systems, Stefan Karle of DoPchoice and Jess Hartmann of ProMax.

Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online and all available to you today and remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Friday afternoon.  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner, with additional music provided by smartsound.com.  Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription; visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you.  Our Producer is Debbie Price, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz’s copyright 2017, by Thalo LLC.