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Digital Production Buzz – February 1, 2018

Media creates tens of thousands files in every size, format and description; with file sizes extending into the terabytes. All of which we need to safely store, track, find and manipulate. Current storage technology is overwhelmed; perhaps Object Storage can help? Tonight, we talk with industry leaders about what Object Storage is, how it works and whether it can help us manage our files.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Tom Coughlin, Alex Grossman, Adrian “AJ” Herrera, Erik Weaver and James DeRuvo.

  • What the Heck is Object Storage?
  • Bringing Object Storage to the Desktop
  • Object Storage in Media & Entertainment
  • Our Storage Technology Needs to Change
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Guests this Week


What the Heck is Object Storage?

Tom Coughlin
Tom Coughlin, President, Coughlin Associates, Inc.
Tom Coughlin, President of Coughlin Associates and organizer of the Creative Storage Conference, is an expert in the field of storage. Tonight we talk with him about what object storage is, why it is increasingly important to media companies, and what we need to know when setting up our systems.


Bringing Object Storage to the Desktop

“Alex
Alex Grossman, CEO, Symply, Inc.
Object Storage has been around for a while, we just didn’t know we were using it. Tonight we are joined by Alex Grossman, CEO of Symply, Inc., who walks us through what object storage is, why we need it and when we might NOT need it.


Object Storage in Media & Entertainment

Adrian "AJ" Herrera
Adrian “AJ” Herrera, Vice President of Marketing, Caringo, Inc.
Caringo has a variety of object storage solutions and tonight we are joined by Adrian “AJ” Herrera, VP of Marketing for Caringo, to discuss what object storage is and how Caringo applies it to the media industry.


Our Storage Technology Needs to Change

Erik Weaver
Erik Weaver, Luminary of the Future of M & E Storage, HGST, a Western Digital Brand
HGST has been creating storage solutions for a very long time. Tonight we are joined by Erik Weaver, Luminary of the Future of Media and Entertainment for HGST, who talks with us about why it is now necessary for us to change how we store, track and access our files.


The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo
James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, DoddleNEWS.
James DeRuvo Editor-in-Chief at DoddleNEWS.com, has a multi-faceted career spanning radio, film and publishing. With experience covering technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James joins us every week to present the latest industry news.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – January 25, 2018

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Maxim Jago, Director, MaximJago.com
Chuck Parker, Executive Director, Art Directors Guild, IATSE Local 800
Mark Andrew Reyes, Lead Theatre Technician, Hillcrest Center for the Arts
Marti Romances, Creative Director, Territory Studio (San Francisco)
Jayse Hansen, Fictional UI Designer for Film, jayse.tv
James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, DoddleNEWS

==

Male Voiceover: The Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by KeyFlow Pro. Media asset management software, designed to meet the needs of work groups at an affordable price.

Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we are looking at set design, with a side trip to Sundance. We start with Chuck Parker. He’s the Executive Director at the Art Directors Guild in Hollywood. This group represents Production Designers, Art Directors, Set Designers and the entire team of people that design and build sets. Tonight he explains who they are, what they do and what filmmakers need to know, to give their projects a sense of place.

Larry Jordan: Next, Mark Andrew Reyes is the Lead Theater Technician for the Conejo Recreation and Park District Cultural Unit at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts in Thousand Oaks, California. Tonight he shares his thoughts on the challenges of set design in a non-professional environment.

Larry Jordan: Next, Marti Romances is the Creative Director for Territory Studio. They create digital visions for on set effects like monitor walls, user interfaces and holographic images. Their film credits include Blade Runner 2049, The Martian, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Tonight, Marti explains what they do.

Larry Jordan: Next, Jayse Hansen is a Fictional UI Designer for Film. If you can think of a big name movie, Jayse has probably worked on it. Tonight, he talks about creating those holographic and virtual set pieces that enhance a movie. All this, plus a special report from the Sundance Film Festival, from filmmaker Maxim Jago and 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’re going to start with the news, then spend the rest of the show talking about production and set design. For news, we have our weekly doddleNEWS update, where James DeRuvo reports on the top stories of the week. Then, Maxim Jago reports from someplace warm, as he attends the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. This evening, he shares his impressions of the show.

Larry Jordan: Then we shift gears to look at set design. This is a subject we don’t cover very often and I’m excited to meet tonight’s guests. We’ll have a chance to talk about physical sets, virtual sets, production design, interface design, all the different elements that go into creating a believable reality on the screen. This will be a fun series of conversations.

Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue, every week provides quick links to the different segments on the show, plus articles of interest to filmmakers, and 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: January is almost over.

Larry Jordan: It is almost over. There is hope, however, that Spring is on the way.

James DeRuvo: Oh yes indeed.

Larry Jordan: So, what have we got that’s news today?

James DeRuvo: Well, if you have been trying to upgrade your editing computers, by getting a more powerful, high performance graphic card, you may have trouble finding them.

Larry Jordan: Really?

James DeRuvo: Yes, because there’s a current crypto currency craze which includes Bitcoin. People are building these crypto currency mining custom rigs and what they’re doing is, they’re buying up all the high performance video cards out there, like the NVIDIA GeForce and the AMD RadeonPro, they’re buying them all up and so there’s none of them available for regular people who want to use them for video editing and gaming. It’s just the craziest thing.

James DeRuvo: These custom crypto currency mining machines are used to solve these complex mathematical problems pertaining to the block chain verification when you’re using Bitcoin or Ethereon to pay for stuff and so, therefore, with the current value over $20,000 per Bitcoin, is it any wonder this is happening. But nobody has any graphics cards and if you wanted to buy one used on eBay or Craigslist, they’re actually going for more than they sold brand new. It’s the craziest thing.

Larry Jordan: Well, it almost feels like we’re back in the Wild West again, I’m reminded of the 1880s.

James DeRuvo: You know what? We are experiencing a 21st Century version of the Gold Rush in California back in 1888. The websites and stores are sold out of these high grade video cards and what are available is fetching top dollar, so you’re not going to get one on sale either. Even Kodak is getting into this game with their own crypto currency and a machine that you can rent for $3,400 for two years and you have to give them half of your profits.

Larry Jordan: Alright, I’m going to hang onto my graphic cards.  What else have we got that’s in the news?

James DeRuvo: Well, you know, you should get into the crypto currency mining gig, I know a guy Larry. But, what else is going on is DJI introduced a new drone this week called the Mavic Air and calls it the perfect aerial filmmaking tool. It’s about half the size of the current Mavic Pro and this new drone fits in the palm of your hand and so it’s very similar in size to the DJI Spark, but with retractable rotors, landing feet and a 21 minute flight time. It shoots 4K video at 30 frames per second and it has a redesigned three axis gimbal that’s recessed into the drone’s body, to keep it even more stable than the Mavic Pro.

Larry Jordan: Well, is this size reduction typical of what drones are going through today?

James DeRuvo: That seems to be the trend. Drones are getting faster, smaller, have longer battery life and better cameras. The Mavic Air is really what the DJI Spark should have been when it was announced nine months ago and with its super-smart features like gesture control, advanced pilot assistance and a cool new asteroid quick shot mode, which starts at a tiny planet and then zooms in right to you, like it’s an asteroid about to hit you. It makes to where almost anyone can capture that perfect cinematic aerial shot.

Larry Jordan: Okay, that’s the DJI Mavic Air Drone. What other stories are you following this week?

James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following include, Apple may stop making the first generation iPhone 10 by next summer, RED provides more details on their hydrogen mobile phone and it looks like it’s going to be a game-changer, and the future is bright, literally, for SmallHD, as they’ve announced the 582 Bright external video monitor.

Larry Jordan: James, where can people go on the web to keep track of everything going on in the industry?

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

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the Editor-in-Chief at doddleNEWS and joins us every week. James, thanks so much, we’ll talk to you next Thursday.

James DeRuvo: See you next week.

Larry Jordan: Bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: In addition to the industry news that James just reported, there’s another big event going on this week, the Sundance Film Festival. Filmmaker Maxim Jago is at Sundance and shares his thoughts on this event. Hello Maxim, welcome.

Maxim Jago: Hello there Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: I’m talking to you, it’s a great way to start any show. What brings you to Sundance?

Maxim Jago: Well, actually, I don’t have a film in the festival this year. I came to raise finance for film and to just get a sense of what’s going on, what people are interested in. But also, you know, Sundance is one of those festivals where you really do form new collaborations, you meet like-minded filmmakers and you create new projects, so it’s a great opportunity to connect with fellow filmmakers.

Larry Jordan: You could do that at almost any film festival, what makes Sundance different from other film festivals, such as Cannes?

Maxim Jago: Part of it, I think, is that it’s so cold. You know, everybody’s so glad to be out of the cold that you’re instantly friends. But certainly, I think, as an industry, there’s a tendency for people to hold back. You know, if you go to the Cannes Film Festival in France, it’s very VIP, there’s a lot of not being able to access things. In fact, last year, they were even giving away badges that said, “I wonder if they’ll let me in”.

Maxim Jago: But at Sundance, it’s a much more open-handed festival. I’ve heard lots of stories of people being on the bus into the town just bumping into famous A-list stars, who are taking the bus with everybody else, because it’s the best way into town. That closeness, as a community, I don’t know if I want to say it’s unique to Sundance, but there’s certainly a lot of it here. You know, the presentations, the talks.

Maxim Jago: If you want to know about how the industry’s working, there’s a lot of talk at the moment, at the festival, about financing films, because the new tax bill actually brings quite beneficial opportunities for filmmakers and so there’s a lot of discussion about new approaches to financing films and a lot of talk about international co-productions. It’s a good time for the film industry.

Larry Jordan: Well that’s a good overview What are some of the other highlights you’ve seen at the festival?

Maxim Jago: For me, the most exciting part is the release of new VR and AR and immersive filming experiences. You know, there are some great reviews of films that will make it into the world at large, but I rarely come to see films at film festivals, what I really want to see is about the ground-breaking use of technology and what we’re seeing, interestingly at Sundance is, VR experiences that are creating buzz as creative works. Not creating buzz because they’re VR, not doing so because it’s a new test of the technology but because the way the story is told is excellent.

Maxim Jago: There’s one place in particular that a colleague of mine at Adobe, Chris Bobotis, he’s Head of Immersive there, he went to see a film called Hero and what’s amazing about it is that, anyone who saw the film got a little gray tartan ribbon tied around their festival badge and the rules are that you cannot say anything to anybody unless they have one of those ribbons.

Maxim Jago: It’s a beautiful way to create buzz at a festival and a unique way, I think, of making it feel like you’re really participating in a project. People are really being moved by this stuff, the sense of personal presence within VR is now really being used, creatively and in storytelling, in a way that we just cannot do with 2D or stereoscopic cinema. That for me has been really exciting.

Larry Jordan: You are at the festival, not just to watch films, but also to participate in some of the sessions and you in fact spoke at one of the sessions. What did you talk about?

Maxim Jago: I was talking about some of the high-end workflows. You know, we’re moving towards 8K film production now. You know, importantly, you can be assigning a look and a feel for your media on location and the workflows are taking that look, those colors and bringing them right the way through post-production to your output. We were looking at how do you deal with these really high-end massive frame sizes and work with hardware to get them to play back?

Maxim Jago: We also had a lovely presentation by Vashi Nedomansky, who has a film here called 16 Below and he was talking about some of the challenges of producing that film, which is all in a very snowy, cold environment, but also it was shot in 6K and it was an end-to-end 6K production and that was pretty interesting to see how they overcame the technical challenges.

Larry Jordan: But isn’t 6K and 8K just an excuse for not framing your shots properly in production?

Maxim Jago: Well normally, yes, and as a filmmaker I’m a big fan of shooting maybe 5K for a 4K frame. It means that you save time on those debates on location, where you’ve got 200 people waiting for you to make a decision. You know, it can really help. But, actually, what Vashi did is make a 6K delivered film, so he actually shot 6K and delivered it that way and so, yes, it was pretty impressive.

Larry Jordan: If there was one take away that you had from Sundance, what would it be?

Maxim Jago: What it would be is that, there is hope for the industry. I think that, you know, I’ve been here mentoring some film students and talking to them about how to handle the festival and my number one piece of advice is, turn your head and look at the nearest stranger and ask them, are you enjoying the festival? Because everybody’s here to meet, talk, engage and network and I think that the tone of that engagement, during the festival, has been so lovely. There’s so much optimism, there’s so much of a feeling that storytelling and media really has an impact in the world, so I would say that. My takeaway would be optimism.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to keep track of your work and your writing, where can they go on the web?

Maxim Jago: Probably the easiest option is my website, maximjago.com and if you Google me, I pop up with that. All the usual suspects.

Larry Jordan: It will probably not come as a surprise to anyone listening that that is, in fact, Maxim Jago, Filmmaker, Producer, Author and Speaker and, Maxim, thanks for joining us today.

Maxim Jago: Thank you very much Larry.

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Larry Jordan: Chuck Parker is the Executive Director of the Art Directors Guild, based in Los Angeles, California. The Guild represents Production Designers, Art Directors, as well as a wide variety of artists working in film and television. Chuck is a professional Production Designer himself, with over 20 years experience in the industry. Hello Chuck, welcome.

Chuck Parker: Hey Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: I’m doing great. How would you describe the Art Directors Guild?

Chuck Parker: Well, the Art Directors Guild is probably the pre-eminent representative of visual artists who work in film and television, both domestically and worldwide. Our jurisdiction, however, is in the United States and Canada, but we have members who live and work wherever a production takes place.

Larry Jordan: I can believe that’s true. Tonight, we’re looking at set design, however that’s defined. But, before we do, could you clarify the typical roles of a Production Designer, an Art Director, or even a Set Designer?

Chuck Parker: Well, a Production Designer’s responsibility is to work cohesively and hand-in-hand with the Director and the Producer and the Cinematographer to realize the vision of the creator of the project and the Director’s vision. Now that can be done many different ways, usually it’s by a combination of stage work and shooting on location. That involves selections of palette, whatever elements of design they want to use, to be representative of character and moving this story forward.

Larry Jordan: Well, does that just translate into creating the physical environment within which the actors work, or is it more than that?

Chuck Parker: It’s more than that and it involves mood, as much as anything.

Larry Jordan: How so?

Chuck Parker: Well, there is that je ne sais quoi aspect about it that is different for every project, depending on what it is. For television, you know, we spend a lot of time in a van scouting for locations, trying to figure out the most effective way to realize the showrunner’s vision. Feature films, you have a little longer time to prep. You know, the Production Designer is working cohesively with costume designers as well, not just the Cinematographer. We’re overseeing props, the decoration of sets and overseeing the Locations Department.

Larry Jordan: Okay, well let’s just focus on stage work, where we have to build a physical set, or where construction of a set is involved. Does the Production Designer do that, or does somebody else on the art team do that?

Chuck Parker: The Production Designer oversees that. Now the Production Designer’s key person is usually his Art Director or, if it’s a larger project, his Supervising Art Director. These Art Directors will have teams of Assistant Art Directors and Set Designers working with them. Now the Set Designers are the ones who do the actual drafting, the real construction drawings. There’s also Illustrators involved, Storyboard Artists, who are working closely with the Director and taking information from the Set Designers. From these visions that the Storyboard Artists are determining, helping to translate what’s in the mind of the Director, to put onto two dimensional vision onto the page, so that we can see what is needed.

Chuck Parker: You might not have to design the whole set, you never know until you get it down there, until you get drawings and sketches.

Larry Jordan: What does an Art Director do?

Chuck Parker: An Art Director is the person who makes sure that the Production Designer’s vision is disseminated to all the important members on the team and follows through, to make sure it comes to fruition. They are more of the left brain to the Production Designer’s right brain, if you know what I’m saying.

Larry Jordan: Very, very clear. I understand that now. Well you’ve done a lot of production design yourself and I’ve looked in a lot of college catalogs and I don’t see Cinematic Production Designer listed as part of a major anywhere. What got you interested in this in the first place?

Chuck Parker: Oh gosh, I had no idea it was even available to me growing up. I came out here and I had a skill as a carpenter, you know. I had been a hippy carpenter and I had done some historical preservations, so that’s somewhat theatrical. I fell into a situation with some friends and I started building sets. We were doing primarily commercials. I came in to get hired by a company and they had some caves that they had built out of foam and I said, well what are these for? They said, these are caves, these are for Lucas. This is when the third Star Wars movie was being done and I thought, oh my goodness they’re doing Star Wars, so I’m going to go to work for this company.

Chuck Parker: I had to go back to San Francisco to finish up some contracts I had, I came back down, I said, well what happened to Lucas and what happened to Star Wars and they go, well what are you talking about? I said the caves. They said, oh that wasn’t Star Wars, that was a commercial for a serial called C3PO. You know, so I fell into doing commercials and advertising for two or three years, before I finally found my way into movies and television.

Larry Jordan: What are some of the projects you’ve worked on, before joining the Guild?

Chuck Parker: Well, before joining the Guild, I worked on The Abyss and then I worked for a bit on The Hunt for Red October and then Hook. That was as a builder. Just a couple of short years later, then I went from Hook and worked on The Player, the Robert Altman movie. Then, about a year later, a friend of mine asked me if I was ready to start art directing, he was a successful Production Designer. I joined up with him and started art directing and, within a year, I was a member of the Guild.

Larry Jordan: Well that is a perfect transition to tell us about the Guild. What does it take to become a member?

Chuck Parker: It’s not easy and it takes some people many years. You know, to be working on a non-union show, to be art directing, or set designing on a non-union show that flips, that becomes union, that gets organized, is a good way in. Now, there is less and less non-union work, so that is problematic. We do have a portfolio review and we also have a PA Apprentice program to get in. That’s pretty much it for right now. There is a side letter to our contract that allows for hiring of what’s called Off Roster Assistant Art Directors, if they have worked for a certain number of days, you know, in a craft that we represent already. That is a way that many people come in.

Larry Jordan: Do Guild members get royalties from the films they work on?

Chuck Parker: No we do not, sadly.

Larry Jordan: I can understand that.

Chuck Parker: I directed an episode of Monk, you know, which is a show I did in its entirety and Monk’s a gift that keeps on giving my friend, so you do enjoy royalties. Through the years, it gets lower and lower, it’s not as generous in the subsequent years as it is in the initial years. But no, we do not have that. Now the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employers, our mother union, we do have what’s called an IAP, which is an Individual Account Plan, where a certain percentage of everything you make is paid by the AMPTP into your account, so, in the end, when you retire, you have a lump sum of money, in addition to your pension. It’s the closest thing we have to royalties.

Larry Jordan: What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a Production Designer and ultimately join the Guild, but mainly to start to practice the craft?

Chuck Parker: I would advise them to really pay close attention to art, the history of art, the history of design. Hone their skills, be able to communicate two dimensionally. Even the most simple form of drawing can be very valuable. To express depth, scale and proportion. I also studied folklore, you know, some material culture, just being aware of things out there in the world, objects, whatever, you know, it’s just important to be aware of physical reality. Also, master the elements of design, color, form, shape and texture and be well versed in the psychology of color.

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

Chuck Parker: Well, they can go to adg.org. Art Directors Guild.

Larry Jordan: That’s adg.org and Chuck Parker is the Executive Director at the Art Directors Guild and, Chuck, thanks for joining us today. This has been fascinating.

Chuck Parker: Thank you Larry, my pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: Mark Andrew Reyes is the Lead Theater Technician for the Conejo Recreation and Park District Cultural Unit at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts, and he’s been there since 1998. He designs sets and that’s exactly what we want to talk about. Hello Mark, welcome back.

Mark Andrew Reyes: Thank you very much, glad to be here.

Larry Jordan: In my intro I’ve described what you do, but how would you describe your job?

Mark Andrew Reyes: Basically, I work with the local theater groups that rent the facility and also I’m the Technical Director at our in-house children’s theater. They bring their designs to me and I help them realize their vision on stage, always understanding their budgets and suchlike. Then, for the children’s theater, the young artists ensemble, I am one of the Set Designers and Lighting Designers that also do the shows here.

Larry Jordan: We just heard from Chuck Parker, who’s with the Art Directors Guild, about creating sets for professional productions like film and TV shows. You create sets for education and non-professional projects. Is there a difference?

Mark Andrew Reyes: I would say there’s a big difference. I deal directly with young actors and their parents, so I think the level of working with the parents, that kind of sets a different bar than working in the pro sector.

Larry Jordan: But is there a difference in the set itself? Do you view set design differently?

Mark Andrew Reyes: I don’t think so. I think the idea is to realize the Director’s vision. You’re always having to work within the idea behind the original concept of the production, the director’s vision and the realities of budgets. I think, whether your budget is $20 or 20 million, I think you have to still follow the same procedures.

Larry Jordan: Well you’re not working with a $20 million budget, so what is it about your job that appeals to you? What do you like?

Mark Andrew Reyes: I love working with the kids. I have been with the Park and Recreation, off and on, since 1998. Just the energy you get off these kids, we work with them from ages ten through 19. We also work with them, trying to teach them technical aspects, so we have kids that are up and coming Set Designers, Lighting Designers and Sound Designers that work on our productions as well. I think that would be the main focus for me, I’ve always loved working with that aspect.

Larry Jordan: So, a bunch of eager young students and their parents have walked up to you and dropped a whole bunch of hand-drawn sketches on your lap, how do you determine what needs to be built?

Mark Andrew Reyes: We look at the sketches and we are fortunate in that we do have a lot of stock, platforms, flat, walls, set pieces and we have a lot of generic furniture pieces, so we’re very kind of very fortunate in that aspect. I see what can be done with our existing items. Then I see, okay, what do we have to build, what might we have to rent, what might we have to rethink as we go along those lines. Again, it always comes down to, do we have the time and the money and the resources to complete the project.

Larry Jordan: How do you convince a 15 year old that their idea is incorrect?

Mark Andrew Reyes: Oh, that’s really hard. Gently as possible and as tactfully as possible. We’ve had some times where we’ve had not just 15 year olds but young directors, any directors come in, and they have a great clear vision, they want to do this production in a certain way and they want these elements emphasized, this period style, or they love something about the overall look of the show. We just basically say, okay, this is what we can do, I can give you this, this this, this. What I try and do is tell them what I can give them, not what I can’t give them. It’s trying to let them down.

Mark Andrew Reyes: There’s also considering, we’re in a black box facility, so basically it’s an open stage. We have a lot of creativity, we have a lot of wiggle room there, but there’s also fire codes to consider, safety codes to consider and that’s a lot of times where we run into problems. When we deal with that, when we’re able to tell them, we would love to be able to do that but no we can’t have a giant bonfire in the middle of the set, no matter what you’re thinking of doing there. It just doesn’t work in Ventura County, no.

Larry Jordan: That gets to a bigger point. Who’s responsible to make sure that the cast and crew remain safe, when they’re working on stage or building a set?

Mark Andrew Reyes: If it’s our in-house production, ultimately I’m responsible for those. I’m basically responsible for the safety and making sure that everything is done properly. I come in and visit with the incoming productions. We have community theater groups that rent the facility and generally, through correspondence, emails, we get their drawings and their ideas and we work with them in that way. We also have a set of what we call a Tech Writer, which is a basic rules and regulations, what is allowed and what isn’t. There we spell out very clearly, so they understand, fire codes, restrictions. A big thing usually with theater is, are they using firearms or swords? Both things require special rehearsals, both things require special permission and consideration and safety regulations.

Larry Jordan: How much time would you recommend for a cast to get comfortable with a set?

Mark Andrew Reyes: I would say two weeks, that would be perfect, three would be fantastic. If the cast has three works to work on a set, there’s pretty much nothing that can’t be done. No matter how good a draftsman you are, or how great you use a computer program, a drafting program, or CAD drawings, there are directors that just cannot see what’s on paper and translate it to a rehearsal space that’s half the size of the theater. That’s nothing against them. They’re all working with trying to get the different levels and ideas of how high the platform is, how many steps that is. There’s only so much blue tape on the floor can really tell you. That would be the biggest thing there.

Mark Andrew Reyes: Several times you will see, when you go to a rehearsal space, they literally will have the set taped out. We’re fortunate here, like in our summer production, when we do our big teen summer musical, we actually are able to strip the theater bare, tape out the exact space and sometimes actually build the exact set, in advance, while the rehearsals are going on. Now that’s unique for us and we’re very blessed with that. Most of the time, theaters will move into a theater and the set that they’ve rented from Civic Light Opera halfway across the country will show up and they are praying and hoping that it is the same right set that they rented.

Mark Andrew Reyes: There’s a very famous story about a local theater group that rented a set of the Sound of Music and, when the truck arrived, it was the wrong set and they were opening within, like, six days. That was some quick thinking on their part.

Larry Jordan: Oh my goodness. What do you do with the set after the show’s closed?

Mark Andrew Reyes: If it’s standard stuff, most of our flats and walls are either four by eight, or four by ten, we keep them, we store them. I’ve got a shop area that’s kind of jam packed, as well as two storage containers that are full of stuff. I currently have the car from Grease, that we built for last year’s summer musical. We have people now call us up and like to rent it out. So for some things like that, we can re-utilize them, especially items like that.

Mark Andrew Reyes: We just recently did A Christmas Story the musical here, and there are some specialty props for that show, the leg lamp, the BB gun and stuff and now we’re looking at making those available to other productions as well. It’s just finding some place to store them while we’re waiting. Otherwise, a lot of times, that’s when the dumpster gets used and you have to say goodbye to things. It’s a hard choice.

Larry Jordan: It’s always a hard choice. Mark, for people who want to learn more about what you and your creative team are up to, where can they go on the web?

Mark Andrew Reyes: The website would be www.hillcrestarts.com and that provides information on our facility, on our programs here, as well as links to the Conejo Recreation and Park District and our own youth theater group, The Young Artists Ensemble.

Larry Jordan: That website is all one word, hillcrestarts.com. Mark Andrew Reyes is the Lead Theater Technician for the Conejo Recreation and Park District Cultural Unit at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts and, Mark, thanks for joining us today.

Mark Andrew Reyes: Well thank you very much, a pleasure to be here.

Larry Jordan: Marti Romances is the Creative Director of Territory Studio. Based in San Francisco, they specialize in motion design, visual effects and digital experiences for film, games and brands. Some of their film credits include Blade Runner 2049, Ghost in the Shell, The Martian, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Guardians of the Galaxy. Hello Marti, welcome.

Marti Romances: Hi Larry.

Larry Jordan: How would you describe what Territory Studios does?

Marti Romances: Well we do specialize in graphics that most of them are futuristic, or for real life technologies. Those graphics live on set and whenever we have a graphic that is not possible to recreate physically, we do upgrade on the post-production phase as well. Our niche, let’s say it’s creating those interfaces and all those visuals that they are playing on set.

Larry Jordan: Give me an example.

Marti Romances: A good example on set, surely you’ve seen The Martian, where they’re looking at those big screens in mission control. Those screens were three by three meter panels and they were big, big visuals that they were giving lots of cues and they were telling a lot of the narrative for each different scene. Those graphics are what we produce and sometimes it’s in a mission control, sometimes it’s in a spaceship cockpit, sometimes it’s in a CIA monitoring room. There are plenty of different contexts where we have to use those graphics and, as you said, Blade Runner, Avengers, each one has its different intricacies and different styles as well.

Larry Jordan: Do the actors see these, or are these all added in post?

Marti Romances: They see those and sometimes even we create interactive pieces, where the actors can touch and can interact with that, so the continuity and the narrative is tied to the script. Sometimes, also, there’s more background screens that help the context of each set. Also, what we hear from the actors and actresses, when they arrive on the set and they see that everything looks like it’s real and it’s working. It really helps for them engaging on their action and for each scene.

Larry Jordan: Who do you work under the direction of? I mean, the Director’s responsible for the whole film, but are you working under production design, or set design, or are you a standalone department?

Marti Romances: Usually we’re mixed with the art department and we are under the direction of the Production Designer and we also end up showing things to Directors. That’s especially in pre-production, when we are establishing the styles for each set and character. I would say the Director and Production Designer and, therefore, the Art Directors for each different part of the film.

Larry Jordan: What’s the process for creating one of these inserts? Walk me through what you do.

Marti Romances: First of all we read the script and we identify whatever we will need to create graphics for in the scenes. What we do is, we go through a research process, for whatever we have to create graphics for. If it’s for a Marvel character, we try to dig into all the background story and what kind of technology this character will be using. Then we start doing a bunch of references and mood boards with the Production Designer and Directors, to start narrowing the style and to see the looks that they are after.

Marti Romances: Sometimes those references come from all sorts of different things, not specifically user interfaces, but sometimes we just show things like undersea creatures, if they’re looking for a more organic look and feel, something we did for Prometheus, for example, that ends up defining lots of our graphics and also the color palettes.

Marti Romances: We start defining the style with the different elements that we’re going to be using in our designs, color palettes, typography, graphics, some Directors really want to go very real life, like we did with Ridley Scott and The Martian. Other ones, they really want us to approach it in a more futuristic and fantasy world that they’re trying to recreate and that’s usually what Marvel asks us to do.

Larry Jordan: Once we’ve done this exploration we start designing, we start bringing some of our work in front of the Director and Production Designer and when they agree that that’s a good direction, then we start producing the volume of screens. We design all those screens, or all those projections or holograms and then we animate them to live on set and holograms that are not possible to recreate in real life, then we save that for the post-production process.

Larry Jordan: What’s your deliverable? Is it a series of still images, or an application, or a movie or what?

Marti Romances: For the on-set graphics, on background screens that are not tied to any narrative, we deliver looping videos that simulate those systems working in the background. For more hero screens, that have to be tied to a narrative, they have to tell the story. Then we deliver either cue points on the animation, so that they can trigger those whenever they need to happen during shooting, or interactive pieces, if the actor or actress needs to interact with them.

Marti Romances: Sometimes we’ve produced over 500 screen designs for a film. We were around 500 screens for The Martian, for Avengers, but maybe for Blade Runner, Denis wanted less screens on set, he wanted to keep it a bit more real, so we ended up producing 100, but they were all very thoughtful. The process that we go through is very thoughtful, we don’t do things just because we try to elevate that set design. At the end, the Unit Lights and the Directors of Photography, they really like to be able to put the lens here and there and so that the screens are also part of the lighting of the set. It’s a bit of a mix, depending on who you work with.

Larry Jordan: It’s an interesting blend of both visual design and technology, it seems to me.

Marti Romances: It is and we’re very happy. With this process, especially when we’re trying to create something for the future, it’s almost like sometimes we see how our designs later on can influence new ideas. We can influence new technologies that may be coming a bit after, when these technologies are available to us and we can relate to lots of things we’ve seen in movies, like all the touchscreens and the screen gestures we see in the iPads and iPhones nowadays. We see how Minority Report, back in the day, was starting to introduce these ideas before we even had like touchscreens and multi-touchscreens.

Marti Romances: We really like to be in that middle ground between technology, what could be done in the future, how we imagine it and how we push this technology to the next mile, to see how that can end up affecting and influencing our real life technology that we may be using in 20 or more years. We’re just trying to help Directors tell the story. Sometimes they will need to spend a couple of minutes with two actors, talking about what they’re going to do to try to solve these problems, by showing a screen or a graphic that tells how we’re going from A to B, however, the audience need to understand that in a second.

Marti Romances: That’s very useful for Directors to get a shortcut to telling that story and those narratives through graphic design. That’s our main focus, just to make sure that we can help them with their creations.

Larry Jordan: Marti, for people that want to keep track of what you guys are doing, or maybe hire you for their next project, where can they go on the web?

Marti Romances: They can go to territorystudio.com and there we have examples of the work that we’ve created, both for real technology, for sets, for VFX, title sequences. They can look there and we’re more than happy to talk. We have an office in London and in San Francisco and we keep expanding and growing.

Larry Jordan: That’s territorystudio.com and Marti Romances is the Creative Director for Territory Studio and, Marti, thanks for joining us today.

Marti Romances: Thanks Larry, it’s my pleasure. Amazing show.

Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to, doddlenews.com. doddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. doddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management 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: Jayse Hansen is a Visual Storyteller who creates fictional computer user interface designs for blockbuster film franchises like The Hunger Games, Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars and many more. Whether designing and animating R2D2’s holographic map to Luke Skywalker or Tony Stark’s J.A.R.V.I.S holograms and heads up displays, Jayse has created iconic interfaces that help tell the stories we love and shape how we view the future. Hello Jayse, welcome.

Jayse Hansen: Hello Larry, how you doing?

Larry Jordan: I am really excited to be chatting with you, because you make the impossible magical. It’s really, really cool. How would you describe what you do?

Jayse Hansen: That’s always a hard question and it’s basically a super niche in the visual effects world of feature films. It has to do with anything that actors are interacting with, little devices, little computer devices or computer displays, on up to holograms that are in the scene, like R2D2’s hologram and stuff like that. Also, heads up displays, so when Iron Man slips on his mask and he’s got all these graphics, all that stuff needs to be designed, animated, composited and so there’s usually a small team on that. I lucked out and tended to get jobs where I was designing a lot of that kind of stuff.

Jayse Hansen: I’m like the fan boy still. Every job that I do I’m like the geek fan and I totally geek out on it.

Larry Jordan: What first got you interested in creating real looking stuff that doesn’t exist?

Jayse Hansen: I mean, I started out doing like print design and then doing kind of commercials and stuff and I met a guy named Mark Coleran, who does this type of work and he’s done it for all kinds of films, like The Island and Mission Impossible. When I saw his reel and all that crazy cool stuff, which I’ve always loved, I guess I just never thought that that was somebody’s day-to-day job. Basically, after I saw that, I did not sleep until I made sure that was my day-to-day. For the past eight or nine years, that’s pretty much all I’ve done and I love it. Like I said, I have a fun time doing it.

Larry Jordan: Well, not only do you have a fun time doing it, you’ve got a passionate fan club that’s following along behind, that’s coming up with kinds of comments on our live chat.

Jayse Hansen: Oh that’s awesome. Yes, I pay them.

Larry Jordan: They’re cheering for you in the background. How do you coordinate your work with the Director, the Production Designer and the Art Director?

Jayse Hansen: It often depends on where we come in during the filmmaking process. We can come in anywhere from, where it’s in concept phase and it’s that time where we’re usually working with the Art Director, or we’ll come in while they’re filming, which is also a lot of the Production Designer. Then, a lot of times we’ll come in after the fact, after everything’s been filmed and we’ll do it as a post-production process, where we’ll work with the Visual Effects Supervisor mainly and the Director and the Editor.

Larry Jordan: Well, are your set elements available to the actors to use or see on set, or are they having to imagine what it looks like because they’re all going to be added in post?

Jayse Hansen: A lot of times it’s both. We try to give them as much as possible on set and actors, obviously they love that, so, like on Mockingjay, we came in, I worked on that with Cantina Creative and, also, Phil Messina was the Production Designer on that. You know, trying to get everyting on set for the actors to work with and explain the thought behind the UI, so they kind of feel confident using their advanced computer system.

Jayse Hansen: Then, sometimes, it’s the hologram, it’s kind of really hard to do that on set. So what we’ve done sometimes, like on Robocop, we did a bunch of designs where they printed them out on these large nine foot tall acetate pieces, they hung them up and then the Director could kind of shoot through the hologram to plan his shot, the actors could work with it, then they’d take away the acetate and they’d film it with nothing there and then, in post, add it all back in.

Larry Jordan: Let’s go back to Mockingjay, just to give us an example. What were you creating, what scene was it in and what did the actors have to look at?

Jayse Hansen: Okay, for instance, in a lot of the scenes, especially Mockingjay One, we did Mockingjay One and Two almost at the same time, but this was all filmed in Atlanta on a lot of sets there and stuff. They lit pretty much the entire scene with our monitors, which were anything from small iPads, I think they had about 23 iPads that they snuck into different things. You know, you put a different bezel on it.

Jayse Hansen: The Set Designers are amazing, you know, they had such detail on it. You’d have this thing that looks like an old school, you know, Cold War era kind of thing and behind it it’s just an iPad. So we had everything from iPads to these large rear projection screens that were like 50 foot wide. In Mockingjay One they kind of told the whole second half of the story through these large projector screens, so Katniss and evil President Snow, they’re doing it all between these screens that have these UIs around them and so it was very important that, you know, with this very emotional scene going on, that they have something for them to react to. Also, you know, there’s glitching on the screens and stuff like that, that’s all got to be reflected when they’re filming close ups on their faces and stuff like that.

Jayse Hansen: That’s pretty much, you know, an example of how we would do that. A lot of times we’ll do temp graphics and then we’ll finish on that one. In particular, we do a lot of temp graphics as well and then, in post, replace them out through some smoke and magic visual effects, with more detailed versions.

Larry Jordan: Okay, well let’s take a step back. You’ve now been locked into a room which has no air, no water and no food and the script to the soon to be produced Star Wars is now sitting on your lap. What creative process do you go through, as you’re reading this script and trying to decide what you’re going to do?

Jayse Hansen: Oh you were there. Star Wars: Force Awakens, Episode Seven was my dream project, I hunted it down for like a year, trying to find out who was working on it and then finally got a call. I got to work on it with my buddy Andrew Kramer and Navarro Parker, some really good guys. The scenario was kind of like, okay, we’re going to reinvent the look of Star Wars, but we’re not going to reinvent it completely. We need to really tie it into that 70s kind of retro vibe.

Jayse Hansen: We’ll get these kind of directives often from the Director and from the Visual Effects Supervisor, we’ll read through as much as we can. In that case we had a lot of footage that was already filmed, so I’ll study that and go through it. Then I’ll sit down with pen and paper and just sketch it out. I’m not a very good artist, so the first rule is, allow yourself to draw really badly and just get the ideas out. Then I’ll try and tighten it up and show that to usually the Visual Effects Supervisor and get a read on it. Then I’ll go in and start making it real in Illustrator and Cinema 4D and After Effects.

Larry Jordan: What happens when you disagree with a creative decision a Director has made, or that they’ve got a vision that’s impossible to create?

Jayse Hansen: Oh I never disagree. What I usually try to do is try to do both scenarios, I’ll try to do exactly what they ask for and I’ll try to do, you know, my version that I think is better and, of course, try to make the version they ask for look not quite as good. You know, I’ll add a flash frame here or there, I’ll desaturate it a little bit. That often will have them go for my version. That’s one technique.

Jayse Hansen: The other way is, you know, sometimes with things like on Avengers, we had a request for fitting a bunch of 3D models into the graphics that would have to be reduced really small and that makes it hard to read. But, to compound that, they were 3D models of aliens, so it was something that we just can’t recognize that easily, especially really tiny. I kind of just did it with graphics instead and then explained why I didn’t do it with the models. Luckily, they really liked the way I did it, with symbols basically, with graphics.

Larry Jordan: Jayse, for people that want to hire you for their next project, although I suspect you’re probably booked for the next 30 years, where can they go on the web?

Jayse Hansen: They can go to my website, jayse.tv.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, jayse.tv and Jayse Hansen is the Jayse himself, maker of the impossible and making it look believable. Jayse, thanks for joining us today.

Jayse Hansen: Larry, thank you for having me again, appreciate it.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking, a set provides the geographical center to a film or a video, but a set is more than just four walls and a floor. Think about the last time you were looking for a house to buy, or an apartment to rent. Walking into the empty room defined by floors and walls and ceiling gave you a sense of the space, but it wasn’t a home. It wasn’t until you filled it with furniture and all the small things we collect throughout our lives, that converted that space into a home, a place that represents us. It’s the same for a set, simply putting up a wall, or putting a chair in the middle of an empty room doesn’t make it personal. It isn’t until we fill that space with the things that represent that character, that a space looks lived in and believable.

Larry Jordan: Too often, we allow the technology to drive our thinking, but we aren’t truly defined by our technology, instead we’re defined by the small objects on our desk, or the art on our walls, or the colors of our rooms. It’s the design of what’s in the spaces that we inhabit that breathes life and believability into our characters. That’s where the magic of set and production design live, in making the spaces our characters inhabit look lived in and believable. In fact, the first things we notice about any actor is where they are, what they’re wearing and the objects around them. This forms a picture of their character before any words are spoken, or any plot points developed. Walls are good, furniture is better, but we can understand a character simply by looking at the room, even without any people in it. Just something I’m thinking about.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week, Chuck Parker with the Art Directors Guild, Mark Andrew Reyes with the Hillcrest Center for the Arts, Marti Romances with Territory Studio, Jayse Hansen, Fictional UI Designer, Maxim Jago, Filmmaker, 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. 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.

Larry Jordan:  The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2018 by Thalo LLC.

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Digital Production Buzz – January 25, 2018

Whether it’s a movie set or theater stage, there is so much more that goes into it than just putting pieces of wood together. Tonight we talk with production designers, art directors and visual artists about creating and working with physical and digital sets.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Maxim Jago, Chuck Parker, Mark Andrew Reyes, Marti Romances, Jayse Hansen, and James DeRuvo.

  • Report from the Sundance Film Festival
  • The Art of Production and Set Design
  • Set Design for Nonprofessional Theater
  • Make a Set Look Believable
  • Creating Holographic and Virtual Sets
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Guests this Week

Report from the Sundance Film Festival

Maxim Jago

Maxim Jago, Director, MaximJago.com

Held each year in Park City, Utah, the Sundance Festival has been around for 33 years. Tonight we are joined by filmmaker Maxim Jago, who is at Sundance and shares his thoughts on the festival and how to make the most of it.

The Art of Production and Set Design

Chuck Parker

Chuck Parker, Executive Director, Art Directors Guild, IATSE Local 800

Tonight, we are talking about set design. And what better place to start than at the Art Director’s Guild. Chuck Parker, executive director, joins us to talk about set design, what it is, who does it, and what filmmakers need to know to give their projects a sense of place.

Set Design for Nonprofessional Theater

Mark Andrew Reyes

Mark Andrew Reyes, Lead Theatre Technician, Hillcrest Center for the Arts

Continuing our look at set design, Mark Andrew Reyes is the Lead Theatre Technician for the Conejo Recreation & Park District Cultural Unit at the Hillcrest Center for The Arts in Thousand Oaks, CA. Tonight he shares his thoughts the challenges of set design in a non-professional environment.

Make a Set Look Believable

Marti Romances

Marti Romances, Creative Director, Territory Studio (San Francisco)

A set is more than just the walls and furniture that the actors interact with – there are a lot of other “accents” that go into making a set realistic. Tonight we talk with Marti Romances, Creative Director from Territory Studios, about all those little additions that make a set believable.

Creating Holographic and Virtual Sets

Jayse Hansen

Jayse Hansen, Fictional UI Designer for Film, jayse.tv

If you can think of a big name movie – our next guest has worked on it! Jayse Hansen, Fictional UI Designer for Film, talks about creating those holographic and virtual set pieces that enhance a movie.

The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, DoddleNEWS.com

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief 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 and showcases his thoughts on what he expects for 2018. As well, James shares his thoughts on “Best of Show from CES 2018.”

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – January 18, 2018

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Maxim Jago, Director, MaximJago.com
David Tillman, Documentary Producer/Editor
Hoyt Richards, Actor/Writer/Filmmaker/Public Speaker, Tortoise Entertainment
James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, DoddleNEWS

==

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Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we are looking at documentaries.  What they are, how they’re produced and how they’re edited.  We start with Maxim Jago, award winning filmmaker who shares his thoughts on what makes documentaries different from narrative fiction.  His process for producing and scripting a doc, and how he organizes his media after the shoot.

Larry Jordan:  David Tillman is a documentary editor with more than 20 network docs to his credit.  Tonight David shares his production process and how he edits a doc.

Larry Jordan:  Hoyt Richards is deep into his first documentary after creating two award winning feature films. Tonight Hoyt tells us about his latest project, why he created it, and how he intends to release it.

Larry Jordan:  All this, plus James DeRuvo with this week’s of DoddleNEWS update.  The Buzz starts now.

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

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

Larry Jordan:  Hi, my name is Larry Jordan.  This evening we’re looking at documentaries.  Docs are a way many of us first got into the business.  They’re easy to start and very difficult to finish.  So tonight we thought it would be interesting to chat with people who create docs for a living.  We structured the show to first describe what documentaries are.  Maxim describes that, plus how they’re different from narrative fiction, how he produces a doc, and what subjects work and which don’t.

Larry Jordan:  Then we get deep into the technical side of editing a doc.  David explains how he organizes his media, the NLE he uses, how he manages his media well enough to extract a story from all of it, and all of this under very short network deadlines.

Larry Jordan:  Finally, we look at the experiences of a narrative filmmaker.  Hoyt is creating his first documentary, and translating what he learned about narrative into documentary, along with his plans for promotion and release.  I’m looking forward to these conversations.

Larry Jordan:  By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletters at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Every issue, every week, provides quick links to 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:  Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Always good to hear your voice.  You know, today I would like to do two things if it’s OK.  One is, I want to get a sense of what’s happening in the industry, our news update, but I also would love your opinion on what happened at CES, does that work for you?

James DeRuvo:  Yes, that sounds great.  There was not a lot of really great stuff at CES but what I did like I really liked.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s talk news first.  What’s your lead story?

James DeRuvo:  Next month the world is going to descend upon PyeongChang, South Korea for the 23rd Olympic winter games and NBC is going to be broadcasting it for the first time in 4K HDR and virtual reality.  They’re going to have 1800 hours of live coverage, this isn’t tape delay, they’re going to be doing it live.  They’ll also broadcast about 50 hours of live virtual reality coverage, through their NBC Sports app.

Larry Jordan:  Well do you think this is the start of something bigger?

James DeRuvo:  Well that’s what I’m thinking, because while NBC’s Quiver channels broadcast their programming in 1080i, the Peacock Network could be using this to cut their teeth on a transition to Ultra High Definition and they would be leading the charge into 4K because many other channels are still stuck in 1080i and 720p.  As for virtual reality, you know, I’ve made it no secret that I think that from a cinematic storytelling perspective, virtual reality is basically a non starter.  But when it comes to experiencing an event live, VR is the next best thing to being there.  So if NBC and the IOC can pull off a live virtual feed that you can watch on your mobile device, sitting on top of your head, I say who wouldn’t want to be a part of that experience Larry?

Larry Jordan:  Pretty amazing.  NBC and the winter games in just a few weeks.  OK, what’s your number two story?

James DeRuvo:  This is kind of bad news for content creators on YouTube.  YouTube has once again revised their monetization policy and disqualified thousands of content creator accounts.  In an effort to get rid of what they call bad actors, the streaming video portal has revised those monetization policies for Google ad sets to make it harder for content creators to make a living creating videos.  Users will have to have a minimum of 1,000 followers, and have watched at least 4,000 hours in the last 12 months to be considered for the YouTube partnership program, and that’s a tough row to hoe for most.

Larry Jordan:  Well, what is it that really upsets you about this new policy?

James DeRuvo:  I understand what they’re trying to do.  They want to get rid of all these controversial videos that aren’t advertiser friendly.  I get it.  But what really stinks about this policy is that the users who are currently qualified under the previous criteria of 10,000 overall views, will now have their ad sets accounts canceled rather than being grandfathered in.  Additionally, the average video link of a YouTube video usually runs between three and five minutes.  Content creators will have to get 280,000 views or 28 times normal, in 12 months, before YouTube will even consider them for the YouTube partnership program.  While it’s true that 99 percent of YouTube’s creators make less than $100 a year, this is going to be a huge blow to those seeking to carve out a career as a content creator on the portal.  At the very least, they’ve made it incredibly hard.

Larry Jordan:  That’s YouTube.  What’s our third story this week?

James DeRuvo:  Kodak at CES announced a Super 8 film camera.  It’s the first film camera that they’ve made since 1982 and it’s a part of what Kodak’s calling the analog renaissance.  The Super 8 film camera has a pull out digital LCD screen, and can record audio digitally on a separate wave file, and then users will take the exposed Super 8 millimeter cartridge along with that Super 8 millimeter wave file that they’ll just upload, and then they’ll send it to Kodak for processing and receive a digital download as well as the developed film back.

Larry Jordan:  That sounds like a great idea.  What’s the problem?

James DeRuvo:  The problem is the price.  The Super 8 camera itself will cost between $2500 and $3,000.  I could buy a Panasonic GH5 for that.  You can still buy the Canon Super 8 cameras on eBay and elsewhere for less than $300.  Then there’s the processing.  It’s a great idea to offer Telecine services built in as part of their new dark room service, but the cost of processing a three minute film cartridge will be somewhere between $50 and $75.  So I really don’t think Kodak will be able to wake anyone up to this new renaissance other than those experimental filmmakers with money to burn.

Larry Jordan:  That’s Kodak.  What else are you watching this week?

James DeRuvo:  Other stories we’re following this week include a filmmaker believes that TV networks are ruining movies that they broadcast by still relying on pan and scan techniques.  You can turn a set of friction arms into a magical multi-purpose camera rig, and GoPro may be up for sale.

Larry Jordan: Very interesting.  That news is available on doddlenews.com, but James, before I let you go, let’s shift gears.  You know CES just wrapped up.  What are your thoughts on CES?

James DeRuvo:  Well now that the lights are officially off at CES, I thought we’d review Doddle’s best of CES awards for 2018 especially with the best camera that we saw, the best audio product we saw, and the best editing product that we saw, and that one is going to surprise you.

Larry Jordan:  Alrighty, well let’s tackle best camera first.

James DeRuvo:  Well the best camera is pretty much a given.  While there are other offerings out there, the Panasonic GH5S gave the larger splash.  Aimed squarely at film and video production, the latest generation of Lumix micro four thirds mirrorless cameras was more of a major dot update than an upgrade.  Panasonic basically replaced the 20 megapixel micro four thirds sensor with one half its size, but it’s a multi aspect design that offers larger pixels.  Larger pixels means double the light gathering capability, and an ISO of 51,200 and it also records hybrid log gamma in ten bit 4.22 4K internally.  Sadly though, they had to leave behind its popular in camera image stabilization feature, but it’s a fabulous camera.  I’ve seen some of the footage and it’s just beautiful.  So that was my best camera.

Larry Jordan:  That’s the Panasonic GH5S for best camera.  What’s best audio product?

James DeRuvo:  You remember that Zoom H1, digital audio recorder?  That was my very first digital audio recorder that I recorded with my camera, and I’m still using it to record backup audio tracks on my video shoots and for interviews.  But you know, it’s pretty long in the tooth, and it needed an update, and Zoom has given us an updated Zoom H1N.  The basic cuts of the H1N are similar to its predecessor but it has improved 24-bit recording, and up to 96 kilohertz in wave with adjustable playback speeds, and audio slate for syncing to your video in post.  And it can even over dub with an unlimited number of layers.  It’s a fantastic improvement over an already solid digital recorder, and that was my favorite audio product of CES.

Larry Jordan:   That’s the Zoom H1N, which brings us to your choice for best editing product.

James DeRuvo:   Best editing product.  Now this one’s kind of outside the box but go with me on this.  There were plenty of laptops on the showroom floor this year, and frankly with all the talk about the Spectre security flaw affecting computers in the last ten years, I think it’s going to pay to wait to upgrade your hardware until Intel and AMD and others plug that gaping hole in their processor architecture.  But even then, there really just isn’t that much of a performance boost to laptops and computers to make you think, “I got to get this.”

James DeRuvo:   So that left me to think about accessories, and Asus has a new product that they’ve released through their gaming unit, called the Republic of Gaming.  It’s called the Bezel-free Kit, and what this is, is if you have three computer monitors, it separates all three of them together, and makes one seamless wide aspect angle monitor out of it.  The separators fit in between the two monitors and cover up the bezel and they have these mirrors embedded into them so it causes the video from one display to merge into the video of the next display and the next display so it looks like one continuous display all the way across from left to right.  It’s not perfect, you can still see the bezel a little bit as it’s opaque and it shines through.  But it’s an interesting technique that uses optical refraction to merge those ends and hide the bezels that separate them.   For all its simplicity, I couldn’t help but give it the best editing product, but I also gave it the best in show accolade Larry.  It’s really clever.

James DeRuvo:   Right now it’s only designed to work with Asus Republic of Gaming monitors, but they have said that as time goes on, they’re going to open up the design to other monitors so that anybody could use these things, and it’s probably only going to cost a couple of hundred bucks.  It’s going to be a great little feature, and I think as we get more into virtual reality editing, where you need to line up seams of cameras and everything, that continuous real estate is really going to come in handy.

Larry Jordan:  OK, that’s the Asus bezel free kit.  Have you seen anything else that caught your eye, even if it didn’t make the best category?

James DeRuvo:  Well other great technology we saw included the pair of gimbals that we saw from DJI, the awesome 02 smartphone gimbal that will cost $129 that I’m going to buy the second it comes out.  They also have the Ronin S for DSLRs.  It’s a single handheld gimbal for DSLRs and micro four thirds cameras.  There was also Yuneec’s heavy lifting 4K hexacopter, a six bladed quadcopter that can shoot video 360 degrees in the round.

James DeRuvo:   It wouldn’t be CES without Razer’s crazy design technology and they had what was called Project Linda, a laptop that was powered by a smartphone.  You slip the smartphone into the laptop and it runs on Android.  You’ll probably never see it in the stores, but it wouldn’t be CES unless Razer put out something crazy.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to keep track of what was happening at CES, as well as throughout our industry, where do they go on the web?

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

Larry Jordan:   James DeRuvo is the Editor in Chief of Doddlenews.com and James, as always, thanks for joining us this week.

James DeRuvo:  See you next week.

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Larry Jordan:  Maxim Jago is a film director, screen writer and author who splits his time between filmmaking, and speaking as a futurist, especially at events celebrating creativity.  Hello Maxim, welcome.

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

Larry Jordan:  It is always fun to have you on the show, and today we’re talking about documentaries.  How would you define a documentary?

Maxim Jago:  Wow, well you know when I was studying at film school, they described it as actuality media, actuality content.  Anything that is intending to convey real events.  But that of course could be a dramatization or even just an educational piece of media, not just live events unfolding as they happen.

Larry Jordan:   Well how would you differentiate, if at all, between say a documentary and a reality program?

Maxim Jago:   I don’t know that I would.  I think that I would classify a reality program in the same category as a documentary, it’s just a different type of content.  I suppose that you could have talk shows, you could have presenters, you could have thought pieces, and a classic documentary is more a specific idea that you want to inform an audience about or an understanding you want to give an audience, either about a specific event or just a specific concept.

Larry Jordan:   OK well let’s look at one more differentiator.  How would you differentiate a documentary from say narrative fiction?

Maxim Jago:   Fiction in theory isn’t real.  That’s why you get, even when they say that a film is based on real events, they’ll have a little disclaimer at the end saying the characters are fictional and not based on anybody, and it’s something that is there to just convey ideas and not intended to convey something that has really occurred in the world.  And it’s very interesting that as a species we have a fantastic capacity to distinguish between fantasy and reality.  There have been lots of studies into the impact of fantasy violence on peoples behavior, and it turns out that if we know that what we’re witnessing is fantasy, then it does not impact our behavior very much.  If you have violent tendencies, you might be inspired by what you’ve seen, but you won’t become more violent.  But if we do believe what we’re witnessing is real, it does have an impact on human behavior.   It’s interesting that we’re kind of hard wired to recognize the difference, but that recognition can be manipulated.

Larry Jordan:  Well let’s put a more personal hat on this.  Tell us about one of the documentaries that you yourself have done.

Maxim Jago:  I’m actually working on two documentary projects right now.  Historically, I made a documentary about an abstract theater director called Richard Forman, who is actually based in New York, and he’s a fascinating character because he intentionally tries to create unease for his audience.  So the challenge for us in producing the documentary, we documented one of his projects, was capturing that feeling of unease for the viewer so they could understand what he was doing.  It was fascinating because at the beginning of the process we had this local troupe that was working with him, had a lovely interview with one of the guys there, saying “I know that this is fake, it’s too bizarre, I know you’re just doing this for a comedy film, and you’re trying to make us look stupid, and I just want it on camera today that I know this is fake.”  And then a week later into the process, the same guy was saying, “I get it, this guy’s a genius, he’s really changing my perception of theater.”

Maxim Jago:   The beauty of a fiction film is that if you have a lead character that the audience empathizes with, they literally go on that emotional journey with the lead character.  The beauty of documentary content is that you really have the opportunity to educate the audience because of that reality tone.  You teach them about real life, not just emotions and concepts.

Larry Jordan:  I think that gets to a core question.  What elements make for a successful documentary?

Maxim Jago:  You know, the BBC charter, they have it in a very specific order to inform, educate and entertain.  I’ve always felt that that was a good guide for documentary content.  It’s true that attention spans are shrinking, and if you look at some of the really short form content that people are putting online now, it’s 90 seconds, or under two minutes, and the recommendation for social media is that it’s under three minutes.  But many people might be surprised how much information and understanding you can put into 90 seconds.  I think the rules still apply.  A good documentary will empower the audience.  Certainly, I’ve found from speaking on stage to audiences, it’s not about impressing people, it’s not about wowing them.  It’s about giving them more energy, more understanding, more power than they had before they watched your documentary.  They should enjoy the journey, they should enjoy the experience, you want the cinematography to be good, the soundtrack to be high quality.  But a really great documentary will not just give you a crazy experience, it will change you.  It will change your perspective, it will educate you, and it will deepen your understanding of something in a way that empowers you as a person, allows you to be more than you were before you watched it.

Larry Jordan:   When you’re putting a documentary together and you’re writing the script, how does a documentary script vary from say narrative fiction?

Maxim Jago:   It’s a fantastic joke really I think in the industry that when you’re making a documentary where you’re supposed to be capturing something that is, something that already exists, you still have to go into it with a script.  It really is important that you do that, even if you’re going to work with a family who’s dealing with a particularly traumatic time, and you don’t know the details yet.  You’re going to go there, record the interviews, capture the location, and discover the story.  You really still need to go there with a story in mind because otherwise you’ve just got nothing to guide the way that you’re going to approach the story.

Maxim Jago:   Of course, what’s critical is that when you get there, you’ve got ideas about how you’re going to use the cameras, and what you’re going to do with the sound and who you want to get interviews with, and all that is thrown out of the window as soon as you arrive and you discover another story, a different one than the one you were expecting.  It is really important that you go there with an expectation because otherwise, what kit are you going to hire?  What lights do you need?  Who are you going to have interviewing?  You’ve got to have something in mind.  You have to have a plan so that you can then break it.  But of course, the key is to be fluid and very often when working on documentary content, you’ll get there thinking that you’re covering one angle, and there’s one story that’s important, and it’ll turn out to be a completely different story and you have to be very fluid about that.

Maxim Jago:  The one danger I think though is, because cameras are so much cheaper now, storage is so much cheaper, there’s this tendency to do what they call spray and pray where you just turn the camera on constantly and don’t turn it off, in the hope that maybe you’ll capture something useful.  That’s a way to an early grave for your editing team.  And of course you don’t get any more time to edit it.  A friend of mine, Christine Steele, she’s a fantastic editor, was saying that in her experience for a high end project, for every one hour of additional source material, for a fiction piece, you’re probably looking realistically in total at about three days of additional work from beginning to end of post production.  So for documentary though, there is no way you could go through that amount of material.

Maxim Jago:   I really think it’s critical if you’re producing a documentary, particularly if you’re going to be fluid in this way, that you have a team that know how to get a good shot.  It’s critical that you have a great location sound recordist, and also that you have an interviewer that can put people at ease quickly, so that they feel comfortable sharing their stories, and lots of camera logs, because you’re going to get back to base and the more you can pre-structure the story for your editor to discover, the more easily they can navigate your content.  Very often the story will change in the cutting room but you have to be open to that, after having one in mind to begin with.  It makes no sense, but otherwise you’ve just lost.

Larry Jordan:  To avoid getting lost, once you’re back at base, how do you organize your media so you can keep track of and find the stuff you need?

Maxim Jago:  I think for a documentary content, it’s especially important that you have a good assistant editing team.  That you have a system in place to manage your content.  Metadata’s critical.  If you can use an on location system to acquire metadata, that you can assign to your media in post, that’s great.  Lots of notes from the location.  But ultimately, what’s going to happen is the same for documentary content as it is for any other kind of content.  You’re going to watch what you’ve shot.  They say 90 percent of video editing is looking at video clips and making creative choices about them.  A lot of that creative process in documentary material, is organization.  I would say more than with fiction film, because with fiction, everything’s sort of pre-structured anyway, you know the scenes, you know the media that’s intended to serve particular scenes, and once you’ve got the rough structure of the film, you can start playing with it as you wish.  But with documentary content, how do you get that through line without a deep familiarity with your material?

Maxim Jago:   I’m a great believer in having additional bins in your editing system that you just put cool stuff in that you don’t know what to do with yet.  And as you’re going through the process of organizing your media, an organizational system’s going to emerge so there’ll be one character that comes up a lot and you’ll just start making bins to do with that character.  The more content you have, the more you fragment that organizational system to make it easier to locate specific content.  But in amongst all of that, you’re going to come across just a really cool shot of somebody’s foot walking through a puddle, or a sunset, or a rainbow, or a bird on a wall, that’s just going to be a really good shot, B roll stuff that the camera team got that you don’t know what to do with, and you don’t have a use for yet but you could just put it in a specials bin to use later.

Maxim Jago:  I think, very often, you just have to begin at the beginning.  Throw some shots onto the timeline and start feeling the story emerging as you go through your content.  In that sense I think that media management with a documentary is closer to that idea of creating a statue from a big piece of stone.  The sculptor will chip away at the stone and allow the sculpture to emerge.  I think there’s a lot more of that creative process with a documentary than there is with fiction for obvious reasons.

Larry Jordan:  Documentaries often take years to produce.  How do you stay focused and even more importantly, funded?

Maxim Jago:  Lots of naps and a day job.  It can be extremely difficult, and there’s this mythology that out there somewhere there are kind, angelic, wealthy investors that just love the understanding being shared with the world.  You know, it’s like a patron for an artist who will just support them.  I haven’t met one yet, but I believe that they exist, just as I believe unicorn tears must exist somewhere.  But I think you have to keep going, you’ve got to believe in the subject, you’re really got to have a passion for it and you’ve got to love it.  I think film production in general, unless you’re born into a family of filmmakers and you’ve got access to the industry, in any way that you want to work into the industry, you really have to love it.  You have to have that feeling when you’re on set that it’s such a privilege to be there, that you keep thinking that someone’s going to notice that you’re doing it and stop you.  That you shouldn’t be having that much fun earning money.  And if you feel that way about filmmaking, particularly if you feel that way about documentary, you will stay driven.  In particular, when you’re working on one documentary project, I think that you can tell if it’s worthwhile because when you tell people about it, their eyes light up.

Maxim Jago:   I’m working on a documentary now led by a Park Avenue psychiatrist, Anna Yusim, who’s exploring the ways that peoples’ minds are connected via Non-Newtonian physics, telepathy, not just non-verbal signals, but also a kind of spiritual journey to people’s psychological wellness.  And along the way we’ve interviewed NASA scientists and all sorts, and we’re finding a lot of evidence that people are more connected over a distance than we thought.  This is a fascinating subject, and interestingly, the big challenge we found with the documentary was trying to find a skeptic.  We just couldn’t find a single person that would say they have not had an experience of connection over a distance with people.

Maxim Jago:  The other project I’m working on that’s really interesting is the hunt for the lost clipper.  We’re actually going to Micronesia in a couple of weeks to search for the bones of soldiers that were shot down before the Second World War and we’re actually looking to re-write history and re-write the way that America became involved in the Second World War.  The guy that’s leading that, Guy Noffsinger, has had a passion for this for years and his passion is so infectious you can’t help but be carried along by it.  It’s a good opportunity to go on an expedition as well.

Larry Jordan:  Maxim, for people that are interested, where can they go on the web to learn more about you and your work?

Maxim Jago:  I believe I’m a Google whack.  If you Google Maxim Jago, you will find me.  My website’s maximjago.com, I’m on Twitter, Tumblr, everywhere.

Larry Jordan:  Well just to keep it simple, the website is maximjago.com and Maxim, as always, it’s been a delight.  Thank you for joining us.

Maxim Jago:  Thank you so much Larry, have a great afternoon.

Larry Jordan:  David Tillman is a documentary editor whose credits include more than 20 major TV documentaries for networks such as MSNBC, National Geographic Smithsonian and PPS.  Hello David, welcome back.

David Tillman:  It’s great to be here Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan:  David, editing a doc requires a huge investment of time.  How do you decide which projects to accept?

David Tillman:  That’s a great question.  I mean, I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of projects come my way, especially in the history realm.  History subjects tend to fascinate me because usually I don’t know much about the subject going in.  I love it because I get to dive in for a few months, become a mini expert in the topic, and then move onto the next project.  So as long as I feel like there’s an important story to tell, a way to tell a story differently, that maybe I can lend my skills to, I feel like it’s always pretty much any story can be a good challenge.  I don’t usually turn down much if something comes my way and it interests me.

Larry Jordan:  Why is it necessary for you to become an expert in order to edit a piece?

David Tillman:  I think if you want the final product to reflect a level of expertise or encompass everything that’s important about a topic, then the first thing you have to do is educate yourself in that topic.  You know, you want to be informed and you want to make sure that as you edit the piece, the decisions you’re making are coming from a place that’s well thought out and educated.

Larry Jordan:  Who’s responsible for developing the story, based on the footage you have available?  Is it the producer, the director, or you?

David Tillman:  We’ve been working on a number of projects at 1895 films, the company I work with, and those projects vary with the series ‘The Lost Tapes’ that we’re working on right now for Smithsonian Channel.  It’s a big team effort so we do have story producers that are kind of helping to pass down the story and make outlines, and figure out the key story points.  But then I think at a certain point it’s up to the editor to assess what material they actually have to tell those story points, and to some degree I think the material you have can help in a way dictate the story because I always feel it’s best to play to your strengths.  If you have great material for a certain scene or a certain story point in your documentary, it makes sense to weight the film a little more toward that scene and use your best material.  So I think it varies from project to project.  Sometimes I take on a big role in sifting through everything and coming up with a story structure.  Other times there’s a story producer that’s helping do that initial story pass, and then it’s up to me or other editors to take it from there.

Larry Jordan:  Got a few technical questions, so put your technical hat on for a minute.

David Tillman:  Hold on a second, that’s over here.  OK.  It’s on, I’m ready.

Larry Jordan:  How do you organize yourself and your media when you start a project, because documentaries just have vast amounts of stuff?

David Tillman:  That’s a great question.  I’ve been using Final Cut Pro X for the last two and a half years which I think has a number of organizational tools that can really help, especially in documentary and cross reference over a number of different categories, but we do a lot of archival documentaries, so there are a few very key pieces of information.  One is the source of the archival material, so we might have stuff from networks like NBC archives, places like Critical Past or National archives.  So it’s always very important to categorize using that source which we usually do within the file name itself.  Another very key piece of information for us is the date at which something took place because to a large degree, we’re assembling things chronologically, so everything comes in out of order, but as best we can we try to organize it so it’s easy to put it back into chronological order.

David Tillman:  Besides that, I do find it helpful to split up things by story beats.  Like I mentioned earlier, if we have an outline for a particular documentary, we might then organize it by act, depending on the act structure of the show.  So if it’s a five act structure, we might have four story beats in act one, and we would then go and start labeling footage with a key word for story beat 1A, 1B, 1C and that gives us a very clean way of grouping together different pieces of material to help tell specific story beats.

Larry Jordan:  Are you organizing media based on folders in the finder?  Or are you organizing it based on bins or are you organizing it based upon key words?  In other words, is the NLE doing the work or are you grouping stuff before it even gets into the NLE?

David Tillman:  Our process is ongoing because we start editing and then we’re also constantly getting new media as we’re editing. So the best way we figure how to deal with that is, we kind of have an initial folder structure before the edit starts where everything’s organized by the source and maybe within a footage folder, sometimes sources have both footage and a still photo or both audio and video.  So, we might split it up by stills, footage, audio, and then within that, each source.  But once the edit starts what we’ve found easiest is to then just create a folder with the date that the new media is being ingested, and then within that we have folders for each source.

David Tillman:  It becomes a lot easier once the edit begins, when you’re importing new media to have a date to reference on when that new media was ingested or was brought into the master folder structure.  We’re using Final Cut Pro X so what we’ve found is a good workflow for us is we will have a story producer or assistant editor take that new footage with that new date, and then they do any logging, key wording etcetera they need to do that particular footage.  Then we have the media on a server and the editor is able to download the media, the story producer will export an XML file of the event with that date, and then the editor can just import that XML.  It brings an event into their library, and then they can just relink to the media they’ve downloaded from the server.  So it might sound like a lot of steps, but it’s actually pretty simple and enables multiple people to be collaborating.  It enables us to seamlessly bring new media into the edit.

Larry Jordan: Do you use any media asset management software?

David Tillman:  No, I know about KeyFlow Pro which I’ve heard is great, but we basically add all the metadata in Final Cut Pro.

Larry Jordan:  You’ve done a lot of editing.  What’s the difference between editing say a narrative fiction and a documentary?

David Tillman:  That’s a great question.  One of the things I love about documentary editing is I feel like there actually is a lot of freedom, a lot of room for creativity.  Some of my favorite documentary filmmakers like Errol Morris and Brett Morgen have found really unique ways to provide visuals for the story that’s being told.  One of the things about most narrative films is essentially there’s a script.  Everyone goes to set and they shoot the script, line for line and then in a way the assistant editors and the editors editing that film are just piecing together the scenes based on how it was shot.  Obviously there is room for creativity, there is room for the editor to make their mark, but to me it’s a lot more structured and I think documentaries in a lot of ways, can take on more forms.  They can be more experimental, they can tell the story without narration or interviews the way a lot of our documentaries do.  So I think in a way they’re both like putting together a puzzle but with documentary filmmaking, that puzzle is much less defined, there’s a lot more decisions to make in a way about what pieces of media to use and it’s a free flowing process that I really enjoy.

Larry Jordan:  When you’re setting up a project, again we’re shifting back to technical, are you guided by the format you’ve shot, or the format you need to deliver?  In other words, when your project settings are being set up, what determines what you’re going to edit?

David Tillman:  For most of the archival documentary projects we work on, we always have to worry about the deliverables for the television network that we’re delivering to.  Most of the time that’s fairly flexible.  Obviously it has to probably be in HD or 4K delivery, but beyond that the frame rate often times you can choose.  So an important step is to figure out at a certain point what the majority of the footage is, what frame rate it is, and then to assign your project frame rate to match with the majority of the footages.  Sometimes it’s hard to know what that’s going to be early on in the process, but that’s one decision that we make based on the media that we have.

Larry Jordan:  What’s a typical editorial team for a documentary?

David Tillman:  Most of the documentaries I’ve worked on, I’ve had an associate producer, or story producer, and an assistant editor.  Then I work with a director and typically if we shoot interviews, then a DP will be hired for the shooting days that are necessary to shoot everything needed for that particular documentary.  Then usually, once we lock picture, we send the audio out to a sound mixer and we send the picture out to a colorist, an online editor.  So again depending on the scale of the project and the research that’s necessary and the budget, you could have more than one assistant editor, more than one associate producer and maybe you would need a post production coordinator to also help.  In my experience, that’s been the typical roles necessary.

Larry Jordan:  I know that every project is different, but how much time does it take to complete a doc?

David Tillman:  A lot of the documentaries I’ve worked on, we’ve been on a schedule with a delivery date.  Typically, those from the pre-production, research stage all the way through to delivering the show, I’d say usually range from four to six months, although I worked on a documentary for National Geographic channel called ‘Diana: In Her Own Words’ last year, that’s out on Netflix right now.  Luckily we had a lot more time.  We were working with a subject in Princess Diana that there’s a ton of archival media to research and find, and we were really trying to find rare and unseen images of her, so luckily we had a much longer schedule for that documentary.  I think from beginning to end it was closer to a year.  So the editing stage of that was still only about I think around 20 weeks or at least the offline edit schedule was about 20 weeks.

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

David Tillman:   The best place to connect with me is probably on Twitter, I’m @davidtillman, and my website is davidjtillman.com.

Larry Jordan:   David Tillman is a documentary editor with credits just about everywhere, and David thanks for joining us today.

David Tillman:   Great to be here, 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 platforms specifically designed for production.  These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.  DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers.  From photography to filmmaking, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed.  Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go.  Doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan:  After a highly successful modeling career, Hoyt Richards became an award winning actor, writer and filmmaker whose last two indie features, Dumbbells and Intersection have won over 175 awards in the film festival circuit.  Hoyt also coaches actors and writers in between projects, and is working on his own documentary.  Hello Hoyt, welcome back.

Hoyt Richards:  Thanks Larry, great to be here.

Larry Jordan:  Tell us what you’re working on at the moment.

Hoyt Richards:  It’s a personal project, I’ve actually never done a documentary before, but I’ve always loved documentaries.  This is my personal story.  I’d been involved with a religious cult for 15 years and for 12 of those years I didn’t see my parents, and most of my family.  That all fractured and came apart, and then basically around 2000, I finally escaped the group and so now that I’ve had enough time between that event and life happening and the recovery process, I decided I’ve got enough perspective to tell that story.  So the documentary’s covering that journey of mine.

Larry Jordan:  Why turn it into a documentary?  Why not make a narrative based on true story thing?

Hoyt Richards:  You know what, that’s a great question.  A lot of people have asked me that because when I’ve had this conversation with people telling them my story, they’ve said, “My God, it sounds like a movie.  You’ve got to make the movie.”  It’s very challenging when you’re talking about a 15, or almost 20 year period of my life when you track it all the way through, to try to tell that in a 90 minute narrative.  Whereas I found the documentary has been much more of, for lack of a better description, kind of a love letter to my family and friends for sticking by me in an incredibly struggling and tough time of my life.  So it just worked to be a better way to tell the story at this stage, and maybe down the road I will tell a narrative version but this felt like the right step to do right now.

Larry Jordan:  How difficult was the decision to actually turn this into a film?

Hoyt Richards:  It wasn’t a difficult decision in the sense that on some level I felt like this is a pet project, and something I almost had a duty to tell.  I think anytime you’ve gone through any sort of survival type story there’s almost an obligation to share your story, because I certainly know in my life, when I’ve had those days where you think “Oh I’m having such a bad day, and things are rough.”  Then you hear what someone else has gone through in their lives, and it puts things in perspective.  So I feel like these type of survivor type stories are so useful to all of us to hear at different times in our lives.  What’s the point of going through something like that if you’re going to keep it to yourself?  I think you really need to share it.

Larry Jordan:  Shifting gears into the actual creation of the documentary, how do you keep control of the story thread when you’ve got so much, you’ve got 20 years of life to live, and media and all these different elements?  How do you decide what to focus on?

Hoyt Richards:   It’s a challenge for sure.  It’s not like a narrative where you really have a blueprint going in, like this is the script and this is what we’re going for.  Obviously when you shoot a narrative you end up with a version of what you wrote, and then obviously the final rewrite is the edit.  With a documentary it’s kind of a little bit in reverse from the point of view that you have an idea of the material you want to cover, but the story takes on evolution as you start gathering the material.

Hoyt Richards:   What I mean by that is, obviously I had a lot of different things that I knew I wanted to include in the film, like I had old footage of the cult leader when he had his own TV show, so I had like 60 hours of that footage.  I had all my dad’s home movies, that he had accumulated over 50 plus years to use as resource material.  Family photos, my own personal photos and then obviously all these interviews with my family and friends and other key players in the story.  You’re trying to accumulate as much as you can, and then have some sort of process where the story starts talking back to you what it wants to be, because initially I would say my objective had been, I just want to be as transparent and as authentic to this experience I had, to really represent how does someone get involved with something like this?  And how do they not only get out of it, but how do they put their life back together after something like this?

Hoyt Richards:  But in many ways the story’s now become like I said earlier, this love letter to my family and friends for sticking by me during this time that I really didn’t know what was going on at all, and the fact that they’d been able to be the safety net that I’ve fallen into after I’ve come back, has just been something beyond what I ever could have imagined would have happened.

Larry Jordan:  The first two films you created were narrative.  Now you’re working on a documentary.  How does the process of putting a documentary together differ from putting a narrative fiction piece together?

Hoyt Richards:  With the narrative you’ve got usually a set shooting schedule.  You’ve got a limited amount of time and a limited amount of money to spend per so, so it’s a very tight ship I would say.  Where with the documentary, because I didn’t have any formal game plan of how long it would take, or how much money I could or would spend, it’s been more or less a piecemeal approach of I know I want this interview, I know I want to talk to this person, I know I want to go there and get this kind of footage.  Just as you’re accumulating it, figure out what’s the next step I’d like to do.  Figure out if I had the finances to pull it off, and just let it evolve on its own pace.

Hoyt Richards:  I’ve heard of documentaries lasting sometimes seven, eight years, and I’ve never understand that until I started going down this road.  I’m like, now I get it now, because it just kind of takes on its own life.

Larry Jordan:  You mentioned the finances.  Is there any money in documentaries?  I know this is a labor of love for you, but other people need to pay the rent.

Hoyt Richards:  You’re right, and there is money, just not a lot of money.  I think you’ve got obviously a pie in the sky type of opportunities, like HBO I think releases a documentary every week.  So they’ve got approximately 50 slots that you’d like to pop into, and I think they’ll pay you a decent amount of money.  I think it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe on the lower scale.  But you’re not going to have the same expenses in a narrative.  You’re not paying movie stars, you don’t need a large crew.  A lot of times, the crew that I’ve been operating with has been myself, maybe another producer, the sound and camera guy and that is it.

Larry Jordan:  Are you still in production?  Or are you heading into post?

Hoyt Richards:  In post right now.  I’m editing right now.  The tricky part is, as you’re editing, you sometimes think, “Oh I need another piece.”  So we’ll see how it turns out.  Right now I’m hoping I’ve completed all the footage I need, but there’s always the opportunity that somebody you tried to reach out to wasn’t able to, and now they are available, or whatever.  Things can happen.  So I’m letting it take on its own pacing, and we’ll see where I end up.

Larry Jordan:  I don’t know of any film that’s ever complete.

Hoyt Richards:  That’s right.  They say you’re never finished, just at some point you do have to abandon the project and stop.  That’s true, that’s exactly right.

Larry Jordan:  What are your release plans?

Hoyt Richards:  Well I’ve learned in the past from doing the film festivals, that they’re very helpful and really useful, but I also have learned you don’t do yourself a service if you try to set an artificial deadline based on a film festival that doesn’t work on a timeline that’s best for the project.  So it’s great to have deadlines to push you to move faster, but then you don’t want to move so fast that you actually hamper or somehow impede the project coming together to its ultimate benefit, you know what I mean?

Larry Jordan:  So does that mean you’re not going to take this to film festivals, or are you going to get this to theaters or release online, or what are your thoughts at the moment?

Hoyt Richards:  I definitely want to take it to film festivals.  My dream would be one of the big ones, like a Venice or Toronto or Tribeca, those type of places.  So it just really depends when I have a version of the film that I feel really strong about, then I’ll definitely start presenting it to those type of venues.  I haven’t really been able to submit to those type of venues in the past, because as an independent filmmaker if you don’t have movie stars, you’re really not going to get a lot of attention from those larger festivals.  It’s not that they don’t want to give the little guy a chance, it’s just the economics of the way film festivals work that when you’re pulling in 100,000 people like Sundance does, unfortunately you need star power to drive that crowd of that size.  You can’t expect these little films from first time filmmakers or unknown cast to really be able to measure up against these so called indie films with movie stars, just not made by studios.  So the documentary is the only format where there’s no longer a need for the movie star, so if you’ve got a great documentary film you’ve got a shot at one of these bigger festivals.

Larry Jordan:  For people who want to keep an eye on what you’re doing, and the status of y our film, where can they go on the web?

Hoyt Richards:  Well you can always follow me on my Twitter @hoytrichards.  I’ve got an Instagram @hoytrich.  I’m just building my website, hoytrichards.com.  So those are the best ones.  There will be a website for the documentary.  My tentative title for it right now which I don’t know if it will stay that way, is Blind Spot in the Mirror: the Hoyt Richards story.

Larry Jordan:  And Hoyt Richards himself is the voice you’re listening to.  He’s an award winning actor, writer and filmmaker, and Hoyt, as always, thanks for joining us and I wish you great success.

Hoyt Richards:  Thanks Larry.  I love what you’re doing, and you give a voice to us artists out there fighting the good fight, so I appreciate it so much.

Larry Jordan:  You know, I was just thinking.  Yesterday I had a very interesting conversation with Sam Bogach, the CEO of Axle Video. They make a media asset management system that’s geared for the small work group.  There’s three asset management systems that are designed and priced for smaller video teams, Kyno from Lesspain, KeyFlow Pro from Malgn, and Axle from Axle Video.  All three of these can simplify the challenges of managing the massive amounts of media generated by even a small video project.

Larry Jordan:   But as you heard David explain earlier in the show, he doesn’t use a separate media management system.  He tracks all of his clips using Final Cut Pro X.  Now granted, the key word function in Final Cut is powerful and easy to use, but a dedicated MAM system can do so much more.  Still, many editors are reluctant to use them, or once they’re installed, they don’t continue to use them.  It was this conundrum that Sam and I were discussing yesterday.  I realized a few years ago that using a media asset management system requires a different way of thinking when compared to video editing.  For this reason, many editors have a hard time wrapping their brains around a MAM.  The hardest part of any media asset management system is getting started.  Deciding how to organize your clips, what metadata to track, who’s responsible for logging and maintaining the system, then actually cataloging all the clips, is just a massive amount of up front work.  It’s hard, boring, tedious, yet painstaking and essential work.

Larry Jordan:   Once all your media is in, and you’re able to search for what you need, a media  asset system is close to magical.  You discover clips that you never knew you had, but getting to that point is really hard, especially if what you really want to do is just edit.

Larry Jordan:  New technology that Axle is adding to their system, allows machine learning to do the original logging of a clip.  But the problem is, AI generates massive amounts of metadata, only 20 percent of which is relevant to an editor.  So while the initial logging can be automated, all this new metadata needs to be reviewed by an assistant editor, for both accuracy and relevance.  Automation is, in general, a good thing, but I’m even more reassured that the roles of the assistant editor or the associate producer, are not going away any time soon.  Employment is always a good thing.

Larry Jordan:  As Sam and I continued to talk, I realized that what we need for media asset management systems to take off, especially in the small work group, is for us to create a partnership between someone with organizational and library skills, to get the system set up and handle the initial ingest, combined with someone with editorial skills to be sure that the system is adding and tracking the data that will be useful for the edit.

Larry Jordan:  Large corporations can afford these cross functional teams.  Now, as video assets multiply like Topsy, we need to find a way to create these teams affordably for smaller work groups especially for the short term ad hoc projects that are typical for most films.  When we do, the true value of a current indexed and extensive media asset management system will instantly become visible to the rest of us.

Larry Jordan:  Just something I’m thinking about.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank our guess for this week, filmmaker Maxim Jago, editor David Tillman, filmmaker Hoyt Richards, and James DeRuvo of DoddleNEWS.

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

Larry Jordan:  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuzz and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.

Larry Jordan:   Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com.  Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription.  Visit Take1.tv to learn how they can help you.

Larry Jordan:   Our producer is Debbie Price.  My name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan:  The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2018 by Thalo LLC.

Announcer:  The Digital Production Buzz was brought to you by KeyFlow Pro.  A simple, but powerful media asset manager for collaboration over a network.  Download a free 30 day trial at Keyflowpro.com.

Digital Production Buzz – January 18, 2018

Documentaries are a genre we don’t often cover, but there are all manner of things we need to bear in mind when we set out to make them. Tonight we talk to a variety of documentary filmmakers who have been doing this for a while to learn their thoughts and process on creating a successful doc.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Maxim Jago, David Tillman, Hoyt Richards, and James DeRuvo.

  • Producing a Documentary
  • The Process of Editing a Doc
  • Creating a Personal Documentary
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update
  • “Best of Show” at CES 2018

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Guests this Week

Producing a Documentary

Maxim Jago

Maxim Jago, Director, MaximJago.com

Maxim Jago has been making documentaries for years. Tonight we talk to him about what makes docs different, his process for producing and scripting a doc, and how he organizes his media after the shoot.

The Process of Editing a Doc

David Tillman

David Tillman, Documentary Producer/Editor

When you work on historical documentaries that are backed by a cable channel, the creative process is slightly different. Tonight we talk with Producer David Tillman about his production process and the difference between editing a fictional film and a documentary.

Creating a Personal Documentary

Hoyt Richards

Hoyt Richards, Actor/Writer/Filmmaker/Public Speaker, Tortoise Entertainment

Documentaries are often labors of love. Actor/filmmaker Hoyt Richards is creating a film about a very difficult time in his life. Working on a documentary that is close to your heart, is a special challenge. Tonight Hoyt tells us about his latest project, why he created it and how he intends to release it.

The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update, PLUS CES 2018 Wrap-up

James DeRuvo

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, DoddleNEWS.com

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief 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 and showcases his thoughts on what he expects for 2018. As well, James shares his thoughts on “Best of Show from CES 2018.”

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – January 11, 2018

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Boris Yamnitsky, Founder and President, BorisFX
Aharon Rabinowitz, Head of Marketing, Red Giant
Jim Tierney, President, Digital Anarchy
Pete Litwinowicz, Co-Founder, RE:Vision Effects, Inc.
James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, DoddleNEWS

==

Male Voiceover: The Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by KeyPro Flow, media asset management software, designed to meet the needs of work groups at an affordable price.

Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we are looking at plugins.  What they are, how they’re made and trends that plugin developers are watching for 2018.

Larry Jordan:  We start with Boris Yamnitsky, founder and CEO of BorisFX.  Their product lines include Boris Continuum Complete, Mocha and Sapphire.

Larry Jordan:  Next is Aharon Rabinowitz, head of marketing for Red Giant.  Their product lines include Magic Bullet, Trapcode, and Universe.

Larry Jordan:  Next is Jim Tierney is the founder and CEO of Digital Anarchy.  Their product lines include Beauty Box, Flicker Free, and Transcriptive.

Larry Jordan:  Next is Pete Litwinowicz is the co founder and CEO of RE:Vision Effects.  Their product lines include Effections, RE:Match and Twixtor.

Larry Jordan:  All this, plus James DeRuvo with this week’s doddleNEWS update.  The Buzz starts now.

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

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

Larry Jordan: Hi, my name is Larry Jordan.  Tonight we’re talking about plugins, those small but indispensible pieces of software that fit into your editing system.  There’s a whole industry devoted to creating them, and tonight we’re talking with four companies that solely exist to create plugins.  Most of them tend to be smaller companies, and all of them have fascinating stories.  This is a group of people that I always enjoy talking with.

Larry Jordan:   Also this week, CES opened in Las Vegas.  CES is mostly focused on the consumer market, but still, a few goodies for filmmakers were announced, and James DeRuvo will include them in his update in a minute.  Next week, James and I will spend more time talking about the significance of CES announcements to our industry, both in terms of products and trends.

Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Every issue, every week, provides quick links to 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:  Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan:   So what’s the news?

James DeRuvo:  Well this week is CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, and honestly the most exciting thing to hit the showroom floor this week may have been the power outage that knocked the show’s electricity out for about two and a half hours.

Larry Jordan:   Oh my goodness.

James DeRuvo:   Other than that, we had a few shining spots of light for filmmakers in a dark sea of Smart cars and virtual reality gadgets.

Larry Jordan:   Well let’s look for those shining lights for filmmakers.  What’s first on your list?

James DeRuvo:  Panasonic announced the GH5s.  This is an updated version of their current GH5 design.  It’s aimed square at film production, the updated GH5 offers fewer pixels, but those pixels are larger, so you get better low light performance.  It also has true ten bit Hybrid Log-Gamma HDR, and internal 4K 60 recording.  The part I like, there’s no recording limit now outside of the size of your SD cards and she takes two.

Larry Jordan:  Well what attracts you to this camera?

James DeRuvo: The thing I like about this camera is that Panasonic wasn’t afraid to dial back the megapixel count and focus on how to more effectively capture the light.  All too often the temptation is to stuff a sensor with more pixels thinking that more is better, but it’s easy for more  noise to get invited into the party.  So the trend towards fewer pixels being larger for more light sensitivity, makes for more accurate colors without having to deal with background noise that can muddy the image.  And that effectively undoes all the sensor’s trying to do to capture more detail.

Larry Jordan: OK, that’s Panasonic with their new GH5s.  What’s next on your list?

James DeRuvo:  DJI announced two new handheld camera gimbals this week.  The DJI Osmo 2 is a vast improvement over the previous handheld gimbal.  It supports smartphones with capture to either portrait or landscape mode, and we all know that portrait mode is evil.  Plus, button control for digital zooms, app setting adjustment and three times longer battery life.  Did I mention it’s only $129?  Then there’s the DJI Ronin-S which is a handheld gimbal that supports DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, and this one is really cool because it has a self balancing adjustment feature which corrects itself based upon which lens the user adds to the camera.  So if you make a lens change right in the middle of your shoot, the Ronin-S will rebalance itself.  Plus it works in concert with your camera’s image stabilization scheme, and both gimbals supported through the DJI Go app.

Larry Jordan: Well tell me what a gimbal does, and why these things are important.

James DeRuvo:  A gimbal uses a series of electric motors around the three axes of space that a camera occupies, and those gimbal motors make subtle counter movements to dampen out any camera shake that occurs when a camera starts to move.  Think of it as the next step in steadicam like technology.  It’s solid state, and it’s very small and a lot lighter.  You don’t have to wear that big gigantic rig anymore.  Gimbals are all the rage now because they’re handheld.  Perhaps even too much.  We speculated that the technology is perhaps overused, but I don’t see these gimbals doing anything but continuing the trend, and honestly, I think I may have to get one myself.

Larry Jordan:  OK, so those are two new handheld camera gimbals from DJI.  What’s third on your list?

James DeRuvo:  Sadly, GoPro’s getting out of the drone business.  With sales numbers that were the worst since the company went public in 2014, the action camera company has once again announced it’s laying off nearly 300 employees and getting out of the drone business for good.  CEO Nick Woodman stated that a combination of a saturated UAV market, and more restrictive regulations pertaining to drone use, contributed to lower sales of the GoPro Karma drone, and let’s face it, that recall two years ago didn’t help either.  Woodman is also reducing his CEO salary to a dollar a year, and confirmed that the company has hired Goldman Sachs to explore a potential sale or merger.

Larry Jordan:  Last week you said that perhaps the worst of GoPro’s troubles were behind it.  What happened?

James DeRuvo:  Well, I thought they were, I think everybody thought they were.  I had hoped that the worst was behind them for sure, and that maybe a smarter generation Karma drone would come out later this year as a result.  But sadly that’s no longer the case as the company is simply trying to turn around again in 2018.  Though the drone recall hurt any future for the Karma, I think that Woodman is onto something with these restrictive drone regulations affecting the sales of the drone category as a whole.  They’re not the first company to get out of this category, and they may not be the last.  The only question is, can GoPro survive 2018 intact?

Larry Jordan:  So that’s the latest news out of GoPro.  What other stories are you following?

James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following included Canon admitted that when it comes to cameras, they’re just not that into innovating.  Red Giant is teaming up with an indie music group for a music video contest, and Razer has a cool new laptop that merges your mobile device into it.  Are you ready to cut your next film on a smartphone?   But the question is, will it ever see the light of the saleroom floor?

Larry Jordan:  For these and other stories where can we go on the web?

 

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

Larry Jordan:  Well James that brings up a good point.  Last week we congratulated you on your new role with doddleNEWS as Editor in Chief.  What are your plans?  I know you want to be all singing and all dancing, but what are you concentrating on as you develop the site, say for the next quarter or so?

James DeRuvo:  Well Larry, I’m excited to have this opportunity and I have some pretty big shoes to fill because Heath was a fantastic boss.  I’m really going to miss his touch, but I’m confident that Doddle’s best days are ahead of it, and we have some pretty great plans for 2018 including expanding our readership, providing the same great combination of tech and movie reviews, coverage of NAB, and more.  There’s also our work here on the Buzz.

Larry Jordan:  Well when you say the combination of tech and movie news, what does that mean to you?

James DeRuvo: We cover the latest tech tools that filmmakers can use to streamline their workflow and make their shooting a lot more affordable, a lot better.  We also keep our pulse on movie news, as let’s face it, you’re not a filmmaker unless you’re a fan of movies, and your love of movies doesn’t end just because you make them.  So we like to give our filmmaker readers movie news as well but from a filmmaker point of view.  So that’s the reason why we do a combination of tech and movie news, but we also do the reviews of a lot of the tech gadgets that we highlight, so we’re going to be doing a lot more of those this year so if you’re looking to buy a new piece of technology, stay tuned because we’re going to be having some great stuff that we’re going to test and review in the near future.

Larry Jordan:  Very cool.   James DeRuvo is the Editor in Chief of doddleNEWS and joins us every week with the doddleNEWS update.  James, have yourself a great week, enjoy CES, and we’ll talk to you about it in detail next week.

James DeRuvo: OK Larry, take care.

Larry Jordan:  When you can’t find your media, you need a media asset management solution, KeyFlow Pro.  This simple but powerful software is designed specifically to help you organize, track and find your media.  Whether you work alone or part of a group, its intuitive user interface helps you easily store, sort, search, play, annotate and share your media using team based shared libraries over a network.  Its wide range of features are all at a very affordable price, and with the new 1.8.3 update, rescanning is up to ten times faster.  Plus, KeyFlow Pro is integrated with Mac OS notifications, enabling you to collaborate faster and smarter all in real time.  KeyFlow Pro is available in the Mac app store, or get a 30 day free trial at keyflowpro.com.  KeyFlow Pro, simple, elegant, and surprisingly affordable.

Larry Jordan:  Boris Yamnitsky is the founder and president of leading plugin developer, BorisFX.  Since 1995, BorisFX has created powerful, time saving, post production software tools and plugins for visual effects, editing, finishing and motion graphics.  Its award winning product line includes Continuum, Sapphire and Mocha Pro.  Hello Boris, welcome.

Boris Yamnitsky:  Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan:  How would you describe BorisFX?

Boris Yamnitsky:  Today BorisFX is a plugin development company comprised of historically three separate development teams, and product families.  One is the Boris Continuum which started in the 1990s, the other two are Mocha, coming from the Imagineer system, the award winning tracking and masking system for visual effects.  The third one is Sapphire, originally developed by GenArts which was merged with BorisFX in 2016.

Larry Jordan:  I want to talk about your acquisitions in a minute, but you’ve been creating plugins for over 20 years.  What changes have you seen as plugins have evolved over that time?

Boris Yamnitsky:  Oh many.  20 years ago, actually plugin development was very simple because the plugin market didn’t really exist, or was rather poor and software VFX were very limited.  So a lot of the fresh new plugins were quite simple and limited.  In the past 20 years obviously the plugin market and plugin technology matured, and the sophistication level is quite high.  There is a lot of image processing and a lot of sophisticated math that goes into plugin development these days. Today is the domain of what I think of as specialists.  The companies and teams that specialize in visual image processing, and specialize in very fine detailed VFX workflow.  For example, we were just now recognized by Advanced Imaging Society in Hollywood for our technology achievement and we’re picking up the award next week in Beverly Hills.

Boris Yamnitsky:  So what I’m saying is, it is very much a sophisticated field these days.

Larry Jordan:  You’ve mentioned that you’ve acquired a number of companies recently, Mocha and Sapphire.  When do you decide to acquire technology, and when do you decide to develop it on your own?

Boris Yamnitsky:  I tend to think of these events more as mergers rather than acquisitions because it basically is a meeting of like minded teams and like minded companies.  You know, the main drive here is to take the best out of the existing technologies and existing products and put them together and see how they make sense together.  For example, when we integrated Mocha tracking and masking into Boris Continuum three years ago, that was so significant and popular with our customers.  Same thing happened just a few months ago when we put Mocha into Sapphire.  That was of huge benefit for existing Sapphire customers, probably the biggest change in Sapphire product in quite a few years.

Boris Yamnitsky:  So that’s what basically drives me, that fact that you can roll up your sleeves, dig in and see what’s best in each piece of software, and see how you can leverage that best within a larger product family.

Larry Jordan:  How do you deal with the fear that the host application, Final Cut, or Premiere, or Avid, will add a feature that you’re currently selling or developing as a plugin?

Boris Yamnitsky:  OK, that’s a great question Larry.  Thanks for asking by the way.  This is the story of my life for the past 20 years, it’s absolutely exactly what’s happening.  I strongly believe that image processing is a pretty sophisticated field which is better left to specialists or companies and teams that invest very heavily in the field.  Companies who study the state of the art research, companies that put a lot of investment into development.  So you know, I’m always staying one step ahead of the game.

Larry Jordan:  How do you determine which plugins to create?

Boris Yamnitsky:  For the most part it’s user driven.  We obviously talk a lot to our customers, we do a lot of face to face interaction over user groups and internet and chat.  But also we’re trying to think one step ahead and just trying to predict what the next big thing in VFX is going to be and sometimes we introduce effects or features that no-one really expected.  Sometimes they become very popular.

Larry Jordan:  What’s the process you go through when creating a plugin?

Boris Yamnitsky:   First of all, it goes through market research or talking to customers as I mentioned, trying to understand what are their challenges, what are the difficult parts of it?  Then study state of the art research and study state of the art technology that’s available.  There are quite a few challenges out there arising from broadcast standards, from regulation.  For example, we recently developed a broadcast … for a filter that allows you to make a project broadcast … because like most of the visual treatment these days come with very heavy color and image treatment.  Sometimes we’re jumping outside of the little color range, it becomes a big problem, or like flash photography, or there are all kinds of challenges that modern video makers, broadcasters, post production is dealing with on a daily basis.

Boris Yamnitsky:  So we naturally research the area and respond with our best solutions.

Larry Jordan:  I know the process varies by plugin, but in general, how long does it take to create a plugin?  Are we talking a couple of months, or a couple of years or what?

Boris Yamnitsky:  Oh, that depends.  That depends on the magnitude of the challenge.  Sometimes we actually get lucky and sometimes we create something very interesting in quite a short period of time.  Other plugins, or other features, they may take many months.  More than one release cycle, we try to release products on about 12 month cycles, or like refresh and update our products in our family on a 12 month cycle.  But sometimes, like the … talk process where it takes more than 12 months to get something right and get it out there.

Larry Jordan:  Well, that brings me I think to the most obvious question, which is what are some of your latest products that have survived this whole development cycle?

Boris Yamnitsky:  We just completed in 2017 the V11 versions of Sapphire and Continuum, and that was actually significant because that was our first product release where the two teams were working together, sharing code and sharing know how.  So there was a lot of benefit on both packages from that.  As I mentioned, Sapphire got the excellent Mocha tracking and masking system, and Continuum actually recently acquired rights to the Primatte Chromakey, so that was a big boost to the Continuum users.  In addition to that, we jumped into the brand new VR space, so Continuum has the VR unit now.

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

Boris Yamnitsky: It is www.borisfx.com for all three brands, Continuum, Sapphire, and Mocha.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, borisfx.com and Boris Yamnitsky is the founder and president of BorisFX, and Boris thanks for joining us today.

Boris Yamnitsky: Thank you Larry, it’s been a pleasure.

Larry Jordan:  Previously a motion graphics and visual effects artist, Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing at Red Giant and the executive producer of Red Giant Films.  Hello Aharon, welcome back.

Aharon Rabinowitz:  Hey Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: How would you describe Red Giant?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  Red Giant is a software company that makes tools for artists, animators, visual effects artists, filmmakers, that kind of thing.

Larry Jordan:  Red Giant’s been creating plugins for a long time.  What changes have you seen as plugins have evolved over the years?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  The biggest thing that I’ve seen and become the biggest focus, is speed.  We’re always adding new features but if you want to see really where there’s kind of a change in the focus, was getting things done quickly.  I mean, we’ve always talked about that over the years, but with the GPU, suddenly everything has become much more focused on making things faster, and that’s obviously been a theme.  Once that came to Premiere Pro for example, everybody wants to jump on that and make editing crazy fast if they can.

Larry Jordan:  You have a wide range of effects and plugins that Red Giant has created over time.  How do you determine which plugins to create?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  The great thing about working at Red Giant is that a lot of us are people who actually do this stuff professionally, motion graphics, visual effects, filmmaking.  So we tend to just design the tools that we want to have when we go out there working.  So whether we’re making a film, which is something that Red Giant does regularly, or doing motion graphics, we kind of find ourselves saying, “Oh I wish we had this” and then we just put our brains together and working with an amazing engineering team, we make stuff that we want to have.

Larry Jordan:  When you think about it, plugins are like the tail of a very big dog.  You fit within the environment of an NLE, whether it’s Avid or Adobe or Final Cut or somebody else.  How do you deal with the fear that the host application will add the capability that you’re developing as a plugin?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  Oh my god, a lot of not sleeping.  It’s a big concern always because we are dependent on these bigger host applications and for Red Giant, especially Adobe because the stuff is very popular in Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro, we’re constantly trying to do our best to have a really good dialog with the various host application makers.  So whether it’s Avid or Adobe or Apple, we do our best to communicate often and early so that we can make sure that our stuff survives there and flourishes because at the end of the day, the people who are using it are the most important.  It’s not about us or the software companies we’re working with to develop this stuff.  We don’t want the people who are being creative to have an interruption in that process because our tools suddenly stop working from a new update.  It happens occasionally, but only because like small details can get missed between that communication, but we do everything in our power to make sure that we are always on top of these things.

Larry Jordan:  Red Giant has been known for making standalone plugins for years.  Recently you branched out to create Universe.  What’s Universe?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  Red Giant Universe is our fastest growing adopted product.  It’s 76 tools for editors and motion graphics artists that runs in pretty much every popular host app like Premiere Pro or Avid or DaVinci Resolve.  It’s a series of visual effects and motion graphics tools and also transitions and they are GPU accelerated because again, coming back to that theme of fast.  We wanted to create a set of tools that could be just used by editors to get stuff done fast and probably the thing that we come back to again, is this idea of creating stuff we wanted.  These are all the tools that I’ve always wanted but couldn’t have because the development cycle for so many of our other tools takes a year, as we go through these big things.  In Universe we get to make little tools that we really love, and they become very popular, so it’s kind of a pleasure to see this stuff cranking out constantly.  We’re constantly updating it, and then seeing them out there used by editors and motion graphics artists.

Larry Jordan:  Well is Universe Effects in the cloud?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  It’s not in the cloud any more than I guess Adobe After Effects or Premiere Pro are in the cloud.  Your licensing I guess is in the cloud, but the tools exist on your computer.  If you disconnect from the cloud your tools still work.  They’re just a set of tools that we license through subscription, and it’s actually been a real eye opener.  It’s the first set of tools that we’ve done through subscription and the amount of people jumping on that has been huge.  So it makes us think maybe that’s the kind of thing we might want to do more of in the future, but it’s been pretty amazing.

Larry Jordan:  Aharon, Red Giant makes a wide variety of products.  It used to make plugins that you could purchase by themselves, and now you’ve got Universe.  Does that mean that all of your software is now available for subscription or can we buy plugins standalone?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  You can buy most of our products as standalone or what you’d call the old licensing way where you buy the license and then you have it.  Red Giant Universe is our only subscription product.  It’s been incredibly popular, so obviously it’s the kind of thing we think about for all of our products, but that’s the only one that’s available by subscription.  Everything else is perpetual license.

Larry Jordan:  What happens with our access to the plugin when we no longer subscribe?  Say we have a legacy project, are we losing access to that data?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  Yes.  I mean, the same way that you’d lose access to After Effects or Premiere Pro, it’s the same kind of thing.  But again if you needed to reactivate that for a project, if you had a change of a project and you’re being paid by your client, for $20 you can just reactivate that for the month and go from there.

Larry Jordan:  Shifting back and putting your development hat back on, what’s the process of developing an effect for Universe?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  Oh it’s great.  It’s probably the most artist friendly from a design perspective.  This is something that when we created, we tried to find a way that would let artists like myself, because I’m not really a coder, I know a little bit, be able to create stuff.  So we used a system where we built hundreds of building blocks of like different, very small effects, and then using code to call one of those effects in, we basically say, “Bring me the blur, bring me this glow, let’s add them together, let’s do a couple of other little things, let’s add some mathematics into it, to make these things more random.”  We end up with a tool that from the development side is very friendly for us to develop the tools we want without having to go through the full engineering process that we would normally go through for something like Magic Bullet for example.

Larry Jordan:  So what’s your turnaround time?  Is development days, weeks, months or years?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  You know, it really depends.  The thing is more testing than anything else.  We can turn around a plugin in a week, after internally messing with it and having fun with it.  But of course we want to test it internally then we want to go through a beta process where people start asking for features.  So that process takes a little bit longer, but it’s not being held up by resources where engineering isn’t available, it’s being held up more by the process of us wanting to do the best version of that product that we can do.

Larry Jordan:  What trends are you keeping an eye on for 2018?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  The funniest thing I think about the fact that we’re in this industry where we’ve worked so hard to create visuals that are cutting edge and high quality, high resolution.  We’re finding that the most popular thing right now in terms of tools as far as the kinds of things editors are doing for example is, they want looks that are retro type looks.  I’m not saying that this is like our focus as a company, but it’s always interesting to see that people want to make their awesome new footage look like it’s old and more legit in its weird way.  We can see the metrics on Universe what people are using the most, and it’s pretty amazing that people want to make their awesome, high res footage look like it was shot on a VHS camera.  It’s just amazing.  But we’re also seeing again, we come back to speed.  Universe is built on speed.  We’ve released a new version of Trapcode that is GPU accelerated for particular and we’re hoping to expand that to other Trapcode tools.  But people want less to do more, then they can do faster.  Yes, everyone always wants to do more, but speed is the turnaround times that everyone has so we keep an eye on that.  What is it that people are doing?  What are they trying to get done faster, and just try to answer that?

Larry Jordan:   Earlier this week you announced a contest.  What’s your contest?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  My favorite band of all time is They Might Be Giants, and I noticed that they were running a contest to have a music video made from their fans, and I reached out to them and said, “Your fans are awesome, I’m one of them, so I guess I’m awesome, but they’re not filmmakers.  I think we can help you because I think our audience is the same kind of audience that you guys like.  Quirky, technologically interested and fun people and maybe we can get our audience to help you.”  They were super stoked by the idea.  I have to say that John Flansburgh who called me, he made this joke about liking our company name, Red Giant, They Might Be Giants.  It took me four hours before I got it.  I was so focused on the work aspect of it, and I was like, “Oh I totally missed that.”  I don’t know, but we talked and it just made a lot of sense to do this contest together and maybe do another one a little bit later too that’s even more focused on visual effects.  But right now, we’re just trying to help bring our audience to help them make an awesome music video, so head over to their site, theymightbegiants.com and you can just apply to enter the contest and you can win $3,000 plus everything that Red Giant makes as a part of that.

Larry Jordan:  And for people that want to go somewhere on the web to learn more about the products Red Giant makes, where do they go?

Aharon Rabinowitz:  Head over to redgiant.com.

Larry Jordan:   That’s all one word, redgiant.com and Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant.  Aharon, thanks for joining us today.

Aharon Rabinowitz:  Again, thanks so much for having me.

Larry Jordan:   Jim Tierney founded Digital Anarchy in 2001 specifically to develop plugins to simplify creating visual effects, and as always he’s always working on a new version of something.  Hello Jim.  Welcome back.

Jim Tierney:   Hey Larry, how you doing?

Larry Jordan:   I’m doing great, and we’re talking plugins tonight, so how would you describe Digital Anarchy?

Jim Tierney:   You know, we’ve been creating visual effects plugins for the last 17 years and we try and bring cool tools that are powerful and easy to use to video editors.

Larry Jordan:   As you’ve been doing this for so long, how have plugins evolved since you started?

Jim Tierney:   It’s still mostly the same type of thing, because we’re plugging into different host applications so the host applications have changed now.  FCP 10 definitely wasn’t around 17 years ago, but the act of it is mostly the same.  I think one of the big changes is that we’ve tried to make the plugins much easier to use, simplifying things, realizing that most editors don’t have time to spend ten hours learning how to use a plugin.  Making sure that it does what it’s advertised to do, and does it simply is a big deal for us.

Larry Jordan:   How do you deal with the fear that the host application will add the capability that you’re currently developing or selling as a plugin?

Jim Tierney:   I think we just ignore it.  You know what I mean, because you just don’t know what they’re going to do and it’s just part of doing business that the host app could potentially add that functionality.  Hopefully they come talk to us if we have the best solution for that and they want to add something like that.  But it’s just another one of the business risks that you deal with.

Larry Jordan:  Adobe doesn’t share their road map for the next three years with you?

Jim Tierney:  Not really.  They share a little bit of it, and of course Apple doesn’t share any of their road map with us ever.  So you get some sense of what’s happening and what’s important to them but sometimes stuff comes out of the blue.  So far we’ve been mostly fortunate that there hasn’t been too many of our products that have been made obsolete by built in features.

Larry Jordan:  How do you determine what plugins to create?

Jim Tierney:  A lot of it comes down to what needs we see, and what we’re capable of doing.  There are certain things that we don’t have the expertise in, like 3D stuff.  We just don’t have that, that’s not in our wheelhouse.  A lot of times we’ll have ideas, and say “Alright that’s an amazing idea, how do we do this?” and then it sits on the shelf for a year or two before some of the technology comes along that enables us to do it the way we want to do it.  There’s no point in doing half assed products so we really need to be sure that whatever you’re harnessing is really going to solve the issue that you’re trying to fix.

Larry Jordan:  Well what would you describe as in your wheelhouse?  What are your strengths?

Jim Tierney:  Two dimensional, 2D image processing, that’s what Beauty Box is.  Flicker free.  So just image processing generally.  Then we’re always looking for ways to broaden what we do and that’s where Transcriptive came out of.  It’s similar to what we do but it’s definitely not image processing, so it’s a little bit of a departure from our normal stuff.

Larry Jordan:  Well that gets me to some of your new products because I know Transcriptive has been evolving quickly over time.  Tell us what the latest releases are.

Jim Tierney:  We released 1.0 in September, and we’ve just been doing small revs, and we just released 1.03 which adds the ability to use YouTube as a speech service.  They’re super accurate and it’s free.  It’s a pretty slow process to do it that way but that’s one option and listening to what people keep telling us what they want and just trying to wrap that into the product as fast as we can.

Larry Jordan:  How should editors determine which plugins to add to their system?  I mean, clearly they should buy all of yours, but what criteria should they set?

Jim Tierney:  It really comes down to what do you do?  If you’re doing compositing, there’s no point going off and buying Transcriptive.  It’s not the appropriate thing there.  But if you’ve got 100 hours of video that you’re trying to sift through, then buying something like Transcriptive makes total sense.  It just really comes down to what do you do the most often, and what kind of products are out there that will make that easier for you?  Everybody’s got a different workflow and a different thing that they specialize in, so it’s tough to say, “You need to have this tool, that tool and that tool.”  You just have to look at like, “What do I do all the time and are there plugins out there that will make my life easier?”

Larry Jordan:  Thinking of making my life easier, what trends are you watching for 2018?

Jim Tierney:  For us, the big thing is just artificial intelligence and machine learning.  That’s what Transcriptive came out of.  I think the big thing for us is how do we make searching video easier?  Transcriptive’s a big part of that, turning all the dialog into text so you can search it.  Some of the stuff that’s on our roadmap is object recognition to go through a video and find key words to all the different things in the video so that you can usually search it and find it.  So for us I think that’s one of the bigger trends.

Larry Jordan:  And for people that want to keep track of both Transcriptive and the rest of your products, where can they go on the web?

Jim Tierney:  digitalanarchy.com.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, digitalanarchy.com and Jim Tierney is the founder and president of Digital Anarchy, and Jim it’s always fun to talk to you.  Thank you for sharing your time.

Jim Tierney: Alright, thanks Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Take care.  Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:   Here’s another website I want to introduce you to.  doddlenews.com. doddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries.  It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry.  doddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production.  These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.  doddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, 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:   Pete Litwinowicz, along with Pierre Jasmin, cofounded RE:Vision Effects in 1998.  Prior to RE:Vision, Pete worked in the advanced technology group at Apple, and before that, he worked at Aurora Systems where he helped support and develop early digital paint and 3D animation systems, which is really cool.  Hello Pete.  Welcome.

Pete Litwinowicz:  Well thank you, hi Larry.

Larry Jordan:  How would you describe RE:Vision Effects?

Pete Litwinowicz:  Well we’re a company who makes plugins which is add ons to your favorite compositing and editing apps, and our goal is to fill in the holes where the host apps can’t get to what we can fill in to help you out.

Larry Jordan:  So why did you and Pierre decide to start the company?

Pete Litwinowicz:  Well, we had been working on a movie together, and we decided that we wanted to start a company and sell software to people who make movies because the process of making a movie, while incredibly fun, was very stressful and so we decided to start a business which of course wasn’t at all stressful, I kid.  We just like making software and making pictures with software, and we work really well together, so we decided to start a company.

Larry Jordan:  You’ve been creating plugins for almost 20 years.  How have plugins evolved over time?

Pete Litwinowicz:  Oh gosh, I think there were a lot more companies doing plugins because there were more holes in the host applications.  As we have matured as a video and post production industry, those holes get slowly filled in, so what I see is people filling in niche areas that are either very difficult mathematically, I think that’s what we do best, or just in ways that people aren’t thinking about including as features to their software, you know, being able to read files off the internet and do interesting things with spreadsheets and turn that into motion graphics, or turn that into some kind of animation.

Pete Litwinowicz: I think the plugins themselves have gotten more sophisticated because the holes that were present 20 years ago, have been filled in by the host apps because they’re really good at what they do too.  They’ve had time to fill in those gaps.

Larry Jordan:  Well you’re dancing in the same room as a crazed elephant.  How do you deal with the fear that the host application will add the capability that you’re developing a plugin for?

Pete Litwinowicz:  That’s a constant, I’m not going to say fear because I feel comfortable in that space, but it’s a constant stress element.  One way is that we’re really good at what we do in terms of math, particularly our company.  So we dance in that space by trying to be better, faster and sometimes the host app providing a similar feature than what we provide as a plugin is actually a boon, because what happens is the host will expose a feature, say retiming using optical flow which After Effects did many years ago.  And we thought, “Oh, gosh, we’re going to see sales of our Twixtor plugin go down the tubes.”  Actually it was just the opposite.  What happened was people were exposed to the idea, and then found that they wanted something better, so you know there’s many ways that these holes can be filled in, not just whether it’s a feature check box, you know what I mean?

Pete Litwinowicz:  But at the same time, we do worry about those things.  For instance, we’re playing in a space where doing slow motion is being suddenly filled in by cameras that can do slow motion.  You don’t need to do it as much in software.  Of course you always need to do something in software because your DP or the director may not film it the way you like, and you need to change it in post anyway.  But there are more options if you have more frames.  We’re playing with space on both hardware and software.  But we like it, we like being there.

Larry Jordan:  You like the stress.

Pete Litwinowicz:  Yes, like I said it’s minor stress.  It’s not major stress any more.  It was major stress maybe ten, 15 years ago when we were still trying to earn enough money to eat, you know what I mean?  So we’re doing OK.

Larry Jordan:  So how do you determine which plugins to create?

Pete Litwinowicz:  A number of factors.  One is we tend to gravitate towards things that we like to do.  If we want it, we assume someone else wants it.  That said, we also do look at trends, and we look at what people are doing today.  For instance, there’s a lot of 360 workflow, and we said, “Well how do we get in that space?”  We don’t want to do what everybody else is doing because that’s covered.  So we try to find the holes once again, whether it’s by other host apps or other plugins or other pieces of small software and we go, “If we do this, I would use this.”  That’s number one.  Two, if it has a lot of math in it, we love those problems because that’s what we like to do, try to take away the math from the people who are going to use it of course, make it easier to use for them.  We like math and we like making pictures, and we always use our own software because we always have some kind of project that we want to do and we go, “Wait, there’s nothing out there that fixes this.  Maybe we should do it.”  So it’s very self gratifying at the same time.  We do it for us and for the community at large at the same time.

Larry Jordan:  Well there’s a lot of plugins out there from lots of different companies, and if plugins are in addition to the editing software, whether it’s from Avid, or Adobe or Apple, what recommendations do you have for us as filmmakers to decide what should be in our basic kit of plugins?

Pete Litwinowicz:  Well I think it somewhat depends on what you’re doing.  If you’re doing something that’s advertising, you may want something that allows you to do prettier pictures, something that’s a little more obvious.  Glints, glows, in 1990s language.  But I would also choose to look for things you’re always going to have a problem with. If you’re doing some kind of editing job or compositing job for somebody who’s given you footage that is not what it needs to be, so you need also tools to do denoising, you need tools to do things that are fixing things.  Sure, the host apps have that too, but there are other options out there that sometimes are better.

Pete Litwinowicz:  And then there’s stock footage.  I always recommend to people “Don’t overlook stock footage, you may not consider that a plugin, but in a sense it is.”  If you’re doing 3D kinds of motion graphics, look for things that make your 3D job easier.  Because there are lots of tools out there that in addition to full on 3D apps there’s Motion that can produce some motion graphics for Final Cut Pro, there’s Cinema 4D that comes with After Effects.  Look for things that can help you with that workflow in addition to what has already been provided to you by the major host app makers.

Larry Jordan:  You mentioned before that one of the things you use in your development process is watching trends.  What are some of the trends you’re keeping an eye on for 2018?

Pete Litwinowicz:  For the last few years we’ve seen cameras doing more and more resolution, and different ways of viewing, 360, virtual, kind of world view kinds of things.  I believe that being able to have a higher resolution and higher bit depth, HDR footage, is really exciting and we’re just at the cusp of what kinds of tools are going to be needed to really take advantage of the extra bit depth.  4K’s pretty much a standard.  People say, “Why do you need more?”  Not just for pan and scan, there’s other ways to manipulate the footage that you may need more resolution, which is related to maybe VR output or maybe not.  Maybe it’s just being able to reframe it in other ways just than pan and scan.  These are the kinds of trends I see.

Pete Litwinowicz:  And then with higher frame rate, there comes another host of problems.  If you’re indoors and you have LED lights, you’re going to get flicker.  So while we may lose some clients because they can shoot their footage in higher and higher frame rates, there’s other problems that come with that.  There’s more noise, there’s more flicker if you’re using electric lights.  So I’m answering two questions at the same time which is, I see the hardware getting more sophisticated, but at the same time it opens up doors for more software to fix those things.  That is the trend that I see.  We’re trying to stay ahead of the problems that people are going to be seeing, even before they have them in their hands to see those problems.  We’re trying to educate ourselves what might people be needing in a year or two because this has become so pervasive, these higher frame rate and higher pixel depth.

Larry Jordan:  Which gets me to the products that you’ve got now.  What are some of your latest products that we should pay attention to?

Pete Litwinowicz:  Well the latest thing we have, Final Cut Pro and Motion just came out with 360 support, so we now have a 360 equiangular stabilizer for Final Cut Pro and Motion which is an automatic one so you don’t have to go in and align points and do those things.  It works in the entire spherical realm so it does things other than just shift pixels up and down and left and right.  It actually tries to move them around on the sphere that you might see, because you have this complete wrap around footage.  We already have it available for After Effects but we just came out with it this week for Final Cut Pro and Motion.  We hope people will want to use that.

Pete Litwinowicz:  And then our other product that we have is called RE:Match which is, probably you’ve had a shoot where you have multiple cameras on the scene, or you turn off your camera and turn it on and the lighting has changed or the sun has moved and you need to match the shot.  We’re trying to help people, when they have similar shots, at least something in the scene that’s represented in both shots, to try to allow them to match them up more automatically, if not completely automatically.  We have this product called RE:Match that we just came out with a version 2 for After Effects and Premiere Pro.

Larry Jordan:  And for people that want more information, where can they go on the web to learn more about RE:Vision’s products?

Pete Litwinowicz:  Come to our website, revisionfx.com.  And we have demo versions, trials, tutorials, demo movies.  Just take a little gander around.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, revisionfx.com.  Pete Litwinowicz is the cofounder of RE:Vision Effects and Pete, thanks for joining us today.

Pete Litwinowicz:  Thank you.

Larry Jordan:  You know, I was just thinking.  Just as the iOS app store allows us to customize our iPhones, plugins allow us to turn our editing system into something much more customized for the way we edit.  When I first started editing all those years ago, I couldn’t figure out why plugins existed.  Why didn’t Adobe or Apple or Avid simply include all these features in their software?  What I discovered is that these larger developers pick features that target the largest number of users.  It isn’t worth their time to create something that only a few editors need.  However, what Final Cut proved back around version 1.2 or so, was that when an application allows other developers to connect their software into it, the host software becomes much more flexible and attractive.  This is one of the reasons Final Cut exploded into an editing behemoth.  It was extremely easy for other developers to create small programs called plugins that filled the gaps left by Apple.

Larry Jordan:  This lesson was not lost on other developers.  Now APIs, which is what these connections are called, are now standard on almost all major software.  Plugins are vital to the long term success of any program.  Most of these plugin developers are smaller companies.  Some focus on effects or transitions, others on utilities or conversion software.  But all of them are looking for ways to make our editing faster, or easier, or more interesting or just more fun.

Larry Jordan: If you haven’t purchased a plugin recently, make a point to look around and see what’s out there.  These companies need our financial support as well as our feedback.  Plugin developers survive based on their sales.  They don’t get any money from Avid or Apple or Adobe.  Everyone benefits from an active and growing plugin market.

Larry Jordan:  Just something I’m thinking about.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank our guests for this week, Boris Yamnitsky with BorisFX, Aharon Rabinowitz with Red Giant, Jim Tierney with Digital Anarchy, Pete Litwinowicz with RE:Vision Effects and James DeRuvo with doddleNEWS.

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

Larry Jordan:  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuzz and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.

Larry Jordan:   Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by smartsound.com.  Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 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 2018 by Thalo LLC.

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Digital Production Buzz – January 11, 2018

Plug-ins can be enticing, exciting or simply a necessary part of our editing and effects toolbox. Tonight we talk with key plug-in developers about how plug-ins have changed over the past few years, how they cope with the constant pressure for change, and what they have now that’s new.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Boris Yamnitsky, Aharon Rabinowitz, Jim Tierney, Pete Litwinowicz, and James DeRuvo.

  • CES 2018 Update
  • Plug-ins from BorisFX
  • Plug-ins from Red Giant
  • Plug-ins from Digital Anarchy
  • Plug-ins from Re:Vision Effects
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Guests this Week

CES 2018 Update

James DeRuvo

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, DoddleNEWS

CES is THE trade show for anyone interested in consumer electronics. It opened on Monday this week. Tonight, James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief of DoddleNEWS, shares the latest news coming out of Las Vegas that looks to impact filmmaking.

Plug-ins from BorisFX

Boris Yamnitsky

Boris Yamnitsky, Founder and President, BorisFX

Boris Yamnitsky, Founder and President of Boris FX, joins us tonight to talk about the process of developing a plug-in: from determining what it needs to do, how long it takes to create and the role of The Cloud in their new tools. Plus, he shares news on their latest plug-ins.

Plug-ins from Red Giant

Aharon Rabinowitz

Aharon Rabinowitz, Head of Marketing, Red Giant

Continuing our look at plug-ins for editors, Aharon Rabinowitz, Head of Marketing for Red Giant, joins us to talk about their latest updates, why they created Universe and their plans for 2018.

Plug-ins from Digital Anarchy

Jim Tierney

Jim Tierney, President, Digital Anarchy

Jim Tierney, President of Digital Anarchy, shares his thoughts on what it takes to develop a successful plug-in, then talks about their latest products and plans for 2018.

Plug-ins from Re:Vision Effects

Pete Litwinowicz

Pete Litwinowicz, Co-Founder, RE:Vision Effects, Inc.

Re:vision Effects specializes in figuring out what you need before you realized you need it. Tonight we talk to Co-Founder, Pete Litwinowicz about his company, their products, and how to decide which plug-in is right for you.

The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, DoddleNEWS.com

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief 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 and showcases his thoughts on what he expects for 2018.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – January 4, 2018

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor, Red Shark News, Ned Soltz Inc.
Randi Altman, Editor-in-Chief, postPerspective
Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney & Labor Reporter, TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter
Michele Yamazaki, VP Marketing, Toolfarm
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System
Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media
James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, DoddleNEWS

==

Male Voiceover: The Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by KeyPro Flow, media asset management software; designed to meet the needs of work groups at an affordable price.

Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we take a look at what we can expect in 2018, from a variety of experts and perspectives.  We may not always be right, but it makes for some very interesting discussion.

Larry Jordan: We start with Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor for RedShark News, who looks at 2018 from the perspective of cameras and production.  Next is Randi Altman, Editor-in-Chief of postperspective.com who shares her thoughts on leading trends in post-production.

Larry Jordan: Next is Jonathan Handel, Entertainment Labor Reporter for the Hollywood Reporter, who brings his legal and labor point of view to the discussion. Next is Michele Yamazaki, VP of Marketing for Toolfarm, who brings us solid background in visual effects and the business of our business to her preview of 2018.

Larry Jordan:  Next is Philip Hodgetts, CEO of Intelligent Assistance, who looks at the New Year as a developer.  Next is Michael Kammes, Director of Technology for Key Code Media, who shares his thoughts on the upcoming year from the perspective of large media workgroups and enterprises. And, as always, James DeRuvo, Editor in Chief of doddlenews.com presents 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 and Happy New Year.  Last week we looked back at 2017, to spot the trends and technology that most affected our industry.  Tonight we turn 180 degrees and look forward into 2018.  We’ve assembled the same team of analysts as last week; each of whom represents a different perspective on our industry.  What impresses me is not only the breadth of their opinions, but how often they disagree with each other.  This will be a fun chance to compare your opinion with theirs and, at the end of the show, I’ll share my thoughts as well.

Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Every issue, every week, provides quick links to 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:  Happy New Year Larry.

Larry Jordan: A very Happy New Year to you as well.  By the way, before we get started I wanted to congratulate you on your promotion to Editor in Chief of doddlenews.com.  Congratulations and well deserved.

James DeRuvo:  Well thank you Sir.  I’ve got to tell you the ten year old in me was screaming, this is the best Christmas ever.  It was just before the holiday.

Larry Jordan: You got any special plans as you settle into your new role?

James DeRuvo:  My goal is going to be what it’s always been, which is to make doddleNEWS the go-to site for independent filmmaking news, tutorials and product reviews.  That’s my goal.  I want it to become the best it can possibly be and even better.

Larry Jordan: Well I wish you great success and we’ll do what we can to help out at this end.

James DeRuvo:  Yes and vice-versa.

Larry Jordan: Now I want to shift gears James, because in this show, I want to have us focus on what’s going to happen in 2018, so I thought I’d ask what your thoughts are as you look ahead.

James DeRuvo: I think we’re going to see a lot of the same; we’re going to see some more disruptive technologies, but I think we’re also going to see artificial intelligence have a greater impact on technology in general, but maybe even in our industry, when it comes to post-production workflow.  It’s something that’s going to affect our everyday life.  Most of the time we won’t even know it either.

James DeRuvo:  There’s been some dabbling with artificial intelligence to do automatic edits in non-linear editing and even writing screenplays.  GoPro has an automatic edit feature within their mobile app setting.  It’s basic at this point and there’s been some dubious results; but, as AI gets smarter, we may see a film get edited by a computer rather than on it.

James DeRuvo:  Then there’s also virtual acting.  We saw some incredible work that was done to bring Peter Cushing back to life in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; but last year, for Blade Runner 2049, the post-production crew made Sean Young appear like she hadn’t aged a day and that shows that, with time, money and a lot of computing power, an actor’s career could be practically indefinite.

Larry Jordan: James, what do you see as the downside, if any, of AI?

James DeRuvo:  I think AI’s going to have a long development road.  I mean, we’re not talking Skynet here.  It’s going to take a long time for an artificial intelligence to get smart enough to avoid common mistakes that we see a lot down the road.  I think it was last year or the year before, they used an AI to write a screenplay and then they filmed it and it was complete word salad, it made absolutely no sense; so, it’s going to take a while before this actually has a huge impact.  But I expect to see a lot of development in 2018.

Larry Jordan: Okay, that’s AI, what’s next?

James DeRuvo:  I think virtual reality is going to continue to go bust, in favor of augmented reality.  2017 made it kind of a flavor of the month for some filmmakers, but VR has had difficulty finding an audience, due to high cost of gear and a limited amount of content.  Then there’s that queasy feeling you get while watching virtual reality for extended periods of time.  Augmented reality, however, has been gradually overtaking VR, thanks to its real world attraction of putting fantasy elements into it.  I’m not saying that virtual reality is going to die per se, but I think that augmented reality has a much more practical and enjoyable interactive element that keeps audiences rooted in what they’re watching and, from a practical aspect, I think it’ll be even bigger, while VR will go the way of 3D.

Larry Jordan: I can see the benefit of AR to consumers, but, do you see a benefit to filmmakers for AR?

James DeRuvo:  I don’t think filmmakers will be able to benefit from it on set; maybe in post.  But I really don’t see how a filmmaker could benefit from it other than maybe he’s looking through the camera image and he sees all the camera settings on his augmented reality glasses.  It may make it convenient, but I don’t think it’ll have a measurable impact.

Larry Jordan:  OK, that’s AR, what’s another on your list?

James DeRuvo:  Ultra high definition will continue to become the mainstream, and we’re going to see 5G supplant maybe even our internet connections.  2017 was the year that found filmmakers finally leaving 1080p behind in favor of 4K.  The higher end cinema cameras have all moved beyond 4K now, but it’s all the rage in smartphones and we may even see higher resolutions make it into those lower end camera platforms, so are you ready for an 8K GoPro, or an iPhone 10S shooting in 8K?  Well maybe not that much, but 6K could definitely happen.  There’s also a next generation wireless spec known as 5G.  We’re currently at 4G LTE, and as more cell phone providers make the transition to LT, 5G is going to make us connect even faster and just about everywhere.  So that means users could decouple their internet access from the home, and solely rely on mobile phones as a blindingly fast hot spot.  So you could be streaming your next binge watch through your mobile cellular subscription and cancelling your home internet access altogether.

Larry Jordan:  Very interesting.  What else do you see happening in 2018?

James DeRuvo:  Well I think we’re going to see more computer security issues affecting all of us.  Just recently there was an exploit that hit every single Intel based chip made in the last ten years, and the fix is going to slow down your computer by as much as 30 percent when patched.  I think we’re going to see more pain when it comes to living our digital life.

Larry Jordan:  Amazing series of projections.  We’ll just have to see what happens.  James, for people that want to keep track of what’s happening in our industry, where do they go on the web?

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

Larry Jordan:  James DeRuvo is the Editor in Chief of doddlenews.com, and James, I wish you all success, and talk to you next week.

James DeRuvo: Talk to you next week Larry, Happy New Year.

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

Ned Soltz:  Hi Larry, great to be back after a week’s absence.

Larry Jordan:  It is always good to have you back, and last week you led off our discussion of what happened in 2017. You did such a great job you’re leading off the discussion of where we’re going in 2018.  So what do you see as the trends that we need to pay attention to?

Ned Soltz:  I spoke last week about the trend to high dynamic range video, and I want to amplify on it this week because I think that really is one of the major directions that I see us heading in 2018.  All the stars are converging for this.  For several years now, we’ve had cameras that can shoot 12 stops of dynamic range or 14 stops or 15 stops, or 16 stops, whatever the manufacturers are advertising.  However, we’ve really had no way of practically displaying that entire range, so with the advent of new high dynamic range standards for acquisition, editing, and viewing, with the advent of now inexpensive consumer sets for high dynamic range, I was seeing LG sets this past holiday season and Sony sets, for $400, $500, $600 that display high dynamic range, all the way up to some extraordinarily high quality OLED displays that still are in the $2000 price range which is what we were paying for HD TVs a few years ago.  And with video on YouTube this is going to be the year for high dynamic range.

Larry Jordan:  I am a huge fan of HDR and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens, but the other hot buzz words that we’re seeing this past year was 360 VR and augmented reality.

Ned Soltz:  Augmented reality, absolutely.  Even though Nokia has discontinued this high end camera, there just obviously wasn’t the market for it, we’re seeing 360 cameras still in reasonable price points to more professional price points, and with Final Cut Pro X 10.4, now adding VR as a one of its editing options, it’s already been there in Adobe Premiere, we’re going to see easier ways of editing.  Delivery is already something that we can achieve via the web in a 360 case, and with goggles, you’ll see more of that at more popular price range, and the augmented reality with dropping things into this.  So, this is going to be a real year for this.  The software is catching up with it, the hardware is accessible, even just viewing 360 on a computer, manually rotating the image with a mouse, you don’t even really need specialized equipment necessarily to take at least partial advantage of it.

Larry Jordan:  What’s your thinking on artificial intelligence slash machine learning?

Ned Soltz:  I think we’re going to see it this year more and more, and particularly in acquisition and logging.   That’s where it’s going to be of tremendous value of various artificial intelligence software hardware combinations which are really able to do a lot of the logging and metadata tagging for us.  In a way, I’m not as happy with it as others, because I’ll confess to being an old timer here.  I loved the good old days of logging and capturing tape and why did I do that?  Despite the fact that probably being about as adult ADD as one could be, and rushing and wanting to do things in a hurry, I always looked at that as a getting to know your footage.  I really liked actually logging through a tape and actually looking at that footage, sometimes in detail, sometimes just enough to get an in point or an out point, and that was just such a benefit for me in editing.

Ned Soltz:  Yes, it’s wonderful to have metadata, it’s wonderful to have voice to text recognition where I can just click a phrase and go right to that segment of the clip.  There still was something about actually physically acquainting yourself with the footage.  That world is gone.  I’ve got to learn that standard definition and non electric cars are a thing of the past.  So I’ve got to move on, and as such now it’s going to streamline the process.  We’re a metadata world and if automated and automated artificial intelligence fashion, we can end up with clips that are already tagged with metadata put into the proper bins and then start editing, it will indeed be a time saver, and for those of us billing on the clock, it’s going to be a money saver for clients and delivery as well. I see that really going places this coming year.

Larry Jordan:  You know, your system of logging makes the assumption of reasonable shooting ratios.  As shooting ratios hit one, two, and 3,000 to one, it becomes almost impossible to look at all that footage.

Ned Soltz:  You can’t do that anymore right?  That is to say those days are gone. Because tape we rationed because we just can’t carry that many tapes. You can carry as many cards as can fit in a pocket or fit in your card carrier, so the shooting ratios are as you say, absolutely absurd right now.  And yet you have to use artificial intelligence.

Larry Jordan:  What do you see happening with 8K?  And should anything happen with 8K?

Ned Soltz:  I think it should.  I think we’re probably reaching the point now of storage limits and they’re really reasonably dealing with footage.  I think for the moment 8K in its earliest implementation is probably going to be very much like 4K was in its early implementation.  Really more for framing and moving around a frame, and deriving multiple shots out of one shot.  But yes, it’s there, the technologies have been there for a few years, and give it three or four more years before it starts to move mainstream.

Larry Jordan: Last question before I let you go.  What do you see happening in cameras?

Ned Soltz: I think the manufacturers are very wise now in not releasing cameras at the rate that they released cameras.  The market just can’t keep up with it and it’s not there.  I think what we’re going to see is a continuation of building on firmware updates or existing cameras.  Anything that we see now camera wise is certainly going to have that ability to output varying types of high dynamic range footage, and we’re going to still be all over the board here in terms of the lower end of the spectrum.  I suspect we may start seeing things that are in the mid range once again.  Sony’s FS7 which I own two of, has been around for a while and you know, the chip set’s getting a little long in tooth and while I have no information from Sony about it, and if I did, I couldn’t say anything about it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that in line for some kind of refresh or update along with the F5, F55 lines.  Panasonic’s already thrown out its salvo with the Eagle One and we’ll see what they decide to do with varicams, and maybe this’ll be the year Avid will finally go 4K, who knows?

Larry Jordan:  It’s always fun to speculate.

Ned Soltz:  It is indeed.

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

Ned Soltz:  Go to www.redsharknews.com and there you’ll find the latest and greatest of what I’ve been ruminating about.

Larry Jordan:  Ned, even the old stuff is worth reading.  Ned Soltz is a contributing editor to RedShark News, and a welcome guest on the Buzz.  Ned, thanks for your help both last week and this week, and have yourself a good year.

Ned Soltz:  Thank you Larry, and a good year to all our listeners as well.

Larry Jordan:  Continuing our look into 2018, we’re joined by Randi Altman.  She’s the editor in Chief of postperspective.com, she’s been writing about our industry for a long time.  She’s an expert on what’s happening in post production.  Hello Randi, welcome back.

Randi Altman:  Hey Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan:  And a very happy holiday to you.

Randi Altman:  Right back at you.

Larry Jordan:  Randi, last week we took a look back at key trends in 2017 so what I’m curious this week is how you see them playing out in 2018.  What’s coming?

Randi Altman:  Well we’ve seen a lot of AR, VR, mixed reality, 360 video happening in 2017, and I think that will continue in 2018, but I think as more people are working in VR, workflows are starting to be hammered out.  Again I don’t know if there’s any standards to be had but I do think best practices are being distributed among professionals, workflows are becoming more streamlined. But again, I don’t know how much narrative story telling we’re going to see with VR.  That might actually shake out in 2018.  In 2017 we saw people telling stories, maybe selling product, maybe it’s a music video or a concert experience, but for the most part, I think VR, AR, that was being used to sell product.  So I’m curious to see what’s going to shake out in the new year.

Larry Jordan:  Do you see VR being a replacement for what we’re doing now or an adjunct?  Are you seeing it being as big as 3D or bigger?  What’s your take?

Randi Altman:  I see it being used alongside, so feature films being released and they’re going to release VR experiences that take people on a different journey than the film itself, and maybe they could pick different ways they wish the story played out.  But I don’t think it’s going to replace it.  Is it going to be bigger than stereo 3D?  Yes.  I think it already is.  I think people have already embraced it.  Now with the headsets people could watch VR anywhere, they don’t have to go to a theater and experience it that way.  It’s a very solo experience, VR, and people could do it pretty much anywhere.

Larry Jordan:  Well it’s a year of the Rs.  We’ve got VR, and AR and HDR.  What’s happening with HDR in your mind?

Randi Altman:  Well it’s going to continue on.  I mean, people like telling stories that way and it enhances the picture.  I think more so than 8K which people will be, I think, experimenting more with, but I don’t think it’s going to be a regular way.

Larry Jordan:  You don’t think it’s going to be real big?

Randi Altman:  No, I don’t.  I think that there’s going to be steady gains and more and more manufacturers are introducing 8K products so there’ll be some experimentation, there’ll be some projects done with it, but I don’t really see it becoming the norm.

Larry Jordan:  Do you even see 8K as a real thing, or is it just marketing hype?  Because we can’t physically see an 8K image.

Randi Altman: That’s right.  I mean, Dell has an 8K display monitor, but is it true 8K?  People debate that.  So, I don’t know what 2018 is going to hold for displays, I’m assuming that some companies will have some stuff but until then, you’re right, it’s very hard for the everyday consumer to see anything in 8K.

Larry Jordan:   Hollywood from a staffing and diversity point of view has been in complete turmoil the second half of 2017.  What do you see happening in 2018?

Randi Altman:  Well there’s been a lot of news in that respect, and it’s not been good.  But, what I see in 2018 is a lot of people, women, they’re going to have the opportunity to be in different positions within the industry and I hope within the world itself, but in terms of our industry, women have typically not been in the overly technical positions, and it’s not because they aren’t qualified, it just hasn’t been.  And I’ve moderated a couple of panels on this with women in VFX and women in post, and nobody has a real answer other than maybe they’re intimidated in a way.  So there’s a ton of female executive producers and there’s more female colorists.  There are more female editors, and more female directors.  Are there enough?  No.  That has to change, and I do think that we are going to see that change this year.

Larry Jordan:  If you had one thought to wrap up 2018, is it more of the same, radical change, changes in technology, or changes in people?

Randi Altman:  I think it’s going to be a combination of all.  I don’t see any one thing coming and changing the industry.  I think little steps ahead, and we’ll see the change in small increments, but I don’t expect to see any one giant thing come and change the industry, no.

Larry Jordan:  Randi, thank you so very much for your time.  Randi Altman is the Editor in Chief of postperspective.com, that’s all one word, postperspective.com and it is always a delight talking with you.  Thanks for joining us today.

Randi Altman:  Thanks Larry.

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

Jonathan Handel:  Larry, it’s a pleasure to be back.

Larry Jordan:  Jonathan, last week we took a look back at 2017 and some of the highlights, or more importantly, the lowlights of the last year. What trends are you watching for 2018?

Jonathan Handel:  Well of course the big story that continues to have traction, have legs, is the sexual harassment stories that started with the Harvey Weinstein allegations, and have continued apace.  I don’t see that stopping any time soon.  The industry is setting up a task force to be headed by Anita Hill, that will try to come up with some method for dealing with these kind of allegations and reducing the occurrences, and I think that’s going to be a very big and dramatic piece of what goes on.

Jonathan Handel:  This is a little beyond the entertainment industry per se, but inevitably will have an effect.  We’re heading into the midterm elections, we won’t get into politics here, but suffice to say that those are going to be heavily contested and the industry will take its various stands there.  There’ll also be the outcome of several deals that we talked about last week or attempted deals, involving consolidation in the entertainment industry.  AT&T Time Warner is going to court because the Justice Department is trying to block that.  Disney acquiring large parts of Fox may happen and Sinclair Broadcasting is likely to successfully acquire the television stations owned currently by Tribune.  So we will see consolidation in the new year, probably see an increase in interest rates, that’ll have an effect on the industry and on consumers generally, and I would also expect that we will see video on demand.  In other words, movies that are in theaters that while they’re in theaters, or just shortly after they’ve left the theater, they’ll be available at a premium price in the home.  It’s likely that there will be at least one company with that sort of product offering this year.

Larry Jordan:  Most of the major guilds negotiated contracts in 2017, do you see anything happening on the labor front?

Jonathan Handel:  On the labor front, a couple of things.  One key thing is that the Screen Actors Guild, SAG-AFTRA successfully attained recognition with Telemundo and they don’t yet have a deal, so that really reflects demographic change here, the importance and growth of Spanish language broadcasting.  I should mention also that there will be continued efforts to try and consolidate gains and increase unionization in interactive media, video games.  The SAG-AFTRA video game strike lasted around a year and ended last year.  So those are some of the labor issues.  IATSE also, the union that represents most crew of course, will be negotiating their deal this year.  The above the line unions did negotiate their deals last year, and so they stand pat for another couple of years or so.

Larry Jordan: If you were to look at it from a higher level perspective, it sounds like consolidation is one of the themes, and diversity is one of the themes.  Anything else?

Jonathan Handel:  Yes, I think that’s correct and those are probably the two most significant themes, and we are going to see continued interaction between the industry and the consumer.  On the one hand changing consumption patterns is a large part of what’s driving this consolidation and technological change.  On the other hand, the increasing diversity in the entertainment industry may have some effect on the larger society.  Finally, dialing back to the immediate future, I will be going to the Consumer Electronics Show the second week of January, and will see what’s on tap in terms of new technology.

Larry Jordan: CES is the world’s largest toy store, I always enjoy that show.

Jonathan Handel:  Absolutely it is.

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

Jonathan Handel:  Two places.  Thrlabor.com, the Hollywood Reporter Labor, and jhandel.com.

Larry Jordan:  Jonathan Handel is an entertainment and technology attorney of counsel at TroyGould, as well as a contributing editor for the Hollywood Reporter.  Jonathan, as always, thanks for joining us today.

Jonathan Handel:  Thanks very much.

Larry Jordan:  Michele Yamazaki is the VP of marketing at Toolfarm.  Now this is a company that specializes in plug ins and effects for video editors.  She’s written or co-written two books on plug ins as well as becoming the go to person on software and plug ins for our editing systems.  Hello Michele, welcome back.

Michele Yamazaki:  Thank you.

Larry Jordan: Last week you shared your thoughts on what the highlights were in 2017 so what I want to do this week is flip it around.  What are you expecting for 2018?

Michele Yamazaki:  Honestly, I’m expecting more of the same.  I’m expecting that new releases of software will add performance and more workflow features for users.  I think that the VR is going to be pretty strong, VR, AR, 360 video and all that.

Larry Jordan:  Now what does workflow features mean to you?

Michele Yamazaki:  Oh just better design of their user interface.  Some features in certain softwares have been a little clunky, going between different applications has been a little clunky sometimes.  They’re making it easier to work between different softwares.  We saw a lot of that in the last couple of years, and I think that’s going to continue to be a trend.

Larry Jordan:  What’s your thoughts on CGI?

Michele Yamazaki:  We go to the movies a lot, and I will admit that I’m not a fan of the superhero genre that you see a lot of effects.  I mean, pretty much the whole films are effects.  The CGI seems to really have gotten a lot better in the last few years.  The physics and all that seem to be a lot more accurate I guess to the eye.  It doesn’t stick out as like, “Oh my gosh, he just bounced off the ground in an odd way that looks so unnatural.”  It seems they’re really doing a good job of that, with uncanny valley as well.  You don’t notice it so much.

Larry Jordan: Let’s shift gears and take a look at the business side of our industry.  What do you see happening in 2018?

Michele Yamazaki:  Well in 2017, there were a lot of smaller companies that were bought up by larger companies, and that’s kind of a trend that we’ve seen in the last ten years, and I expect that to continue.  I’m not really sure what it will be, but there’s always some small company that comes up with a great idea, and then someone like Adobe or Apple or someone else will acquire them and acquire their technology, so who knows what that will be?  It’ll be a mystery.   As far as the average worker, someone who’s behind a computer every day, I see them getting calls for more 360 VR video and AR type work, and probably some advertisements for projection mapped things.  I know someone a couple of years ago who had a job for a projection mapped wedding cake which was pretty cool, and I think we’re going to end up seeing a lot of that kind of thing coming up.  Like, you’re not seeing just video on a screen any more, there’s other places where this video is going to end up.

Larry Jordan:  What is projection mapping?

Michele Yamazaki:  Projection mapping is when you create video, you can use specialized mats to map onto different objects, for example you could map onto a wedding cake, or you could map onto different shapes.  I’ve seen examples of Las Vegas shows that have like a big sphere and they’re mapping things onto a sphere, and then other elements in a scene, and it can be used for entertainment, or an art project.  I’ve seen it where they have it projected onto the sides of buildings.  It’s very interesting and I’d love to do some tests.  Oh, actually, my parents were at a Halloween thing and they had projection mapped faces on pumpkins.  These pumpkins talked and it was a cute little thing.  My mom took video of it, but I think it’s going to used all over the place because it’s a unique way to advertise, or to show your art, that kind of thing.

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

Michele Yamazaki:  They can go to toolfarm.com.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, toolfarm.com and Michele Yamazaki is the VP of marketing at Toolfarm, and Michele, thanks for joining us and have yourself a wonderful new year.

Michele Yamazaki: Thank you, you too.

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

Larry Jordan:  Philip Hodgetts is a technologist and the CEO of both Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System.  Even better, he’s a regular on the Buzz, and last week he talked about what was happening in 2017, but I want to know what’s happening in the future.  Hello Philip, welcome back.

Philip Hodgetts:  Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Alright, jump right into it.  What do you see happening as the key trends in 2018?

Philip Hodgetts:  The key trends will be a continuation of the hype around 360, which I remain somewhat skeptical about.  Of course high dynamic range will roll out affordable sets that’ll be coming into people’s lounge rooms all year, and affecting our production process because we have to future proof our material.  This is the year that we will see more and more of the machine learning start to have effects into our production processes.  It’s not so much taking them over, but as a smart assistance, I think is the direction I’d like to see us take.

Larry Jordan:  Give me an example.

Philip Hodgetts:  Speech to text takes over from human transcription, either the stuff that you’ve done yourself, or image recognition, for example instead of having to have an assistant organize all of your B roll into bins and tag it with appropriate labels, I think this year will be the first year we see software in the mainstream that is available to you and I and to every editor that helps categorize and search.  I know that Adobe have been working with IBM Watson on image search over the last year, they’ve previewed some stuff at NAB last year, and there have been ongoing demos in small groups.  So I expect that they will be the first to show us some sort of search your bins by actual image without having to search via key words that you’ve added and therefore the whole time consuming logging process I see being largely taken over by machines.  I know there will be people who say to me, “But I have to see every frame before I can make every decision” and great, if you’re in an environment where that’s possible, all the better.  I would love to be there, but I think most editors are in the environment where we need to get this done as quickly as we can, and we need to find the places where there is emotion in our material, we need to find the place where it’s a cat or a dog or a house, or Sam or Tom, and we will be able to do that without having to go through the time consuming logging phase that drives everyone nuts.

Larry Jordan:  Well the other problem is shooting ratios are skyrocketing.  In the past at ten to one or 20 to one, you could see everything but when you’ve got 1,000, or 2,000 or 3,000 to one, there’s no way.

Philip Hodgetts:  Yes, when an average Bunim Murray reality TV show clocks in at 68 hours of shot material per day of shoot, remembering there’s only 24 hours in each actual day, they’re shooting nearly three times the day rate, and to watch that alone is three days worth of work.  How can you watch three days of dailies, when there’s only 24 hours in a day, and presumably editors should sleep?  So this is where the artificial intelligence tools, image recognition, emotion detection, speech to text and therefore key word extraction, is going to make our lives so much easier, and I think a lot fewer projects will be left on the shelf because shooting it was fun, but all that organization before and editing has been the block, and that’s going to be alleviated by this new technology.

Larry Jordan:   Well in almost exactly four months, NAB will be upon us again.  What do you think the hot topics will be?

Philip Hodgetts:  I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot of machine learning coming around there.  High dynamic range obviously, and yes, we’ll see a lot of 360 VR.  I’m not sure where the other hot trend of augmented reality’s going to fit into a production world, because it doesn’t seem to me to affect what we do in the production side as it happens downstream of our edited material.  But you know, maybe my vision is too small and we will see augmented reality coming into the edit bay.

Larry Jordan:  It’s an exciting time Philip.  For people who want to keep track of what you’re writing, and what your companies are developing, where can they go on the web?

Philip Hodgetts:  Philiphodgetts.com is where I do my writing, and intelligentassistance.com is where you’ll find our software to make life working with Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro easier.  And Lumberjack System is the only logging and pre-editing tool for Final Cut Pro X.

Larry Jordan:  I like your commercial.  Philip Hodgetts is the CEO of both Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System and Philip as always, it’s fun chatting with you.  Take care and have yourself a great new year.

Philip Hodgetts: Thank you.  May 2018 be everything you want it to be and that extends to all of our listeners.

Larry Jordan:  In his current role as the director of technology at Key Code Media, Michael Kammes consults in the latest in technology and best practices into the digital media and communications space.  He’s also the executive producer and host of Five Things.  Hello Michael.  Welcome back.

Michael Kammes:  Hi Larry, good to talk to you again.

Larry Jordan:  Michael, last week we took a look back at key trends and things that surprised you in 2017.  So how do you see things playing out in 2018?  What do you see as the future?

Michael Kammes:  Well, I think consumers are going to have a really good year and the reason I bring that up is if you like acronyms like I do, you’ve probably been following SMPTE and ATSC 3.0 and now that that is becoming the law of the land as much as SMPTE can be a law, I think we’re going to see a lot of facilities moving over to ATSC 3.0 which means as consumers there’s going to be a lot more ways to consume broadcasting cable media.

Larry Jordan:  Translate that into English.  What is ATSC 3.0?

Michael Kammes:  ATSC 3.0 is, for lack of a better marketing term, a revolution in terms of how media can be broadcast and consumed.  Instead of just being over the airwaves, or being a cable provider, you’ll now be able to view a majority of the same media on almost any mobile device, over the air and via your wifi signal.  So it makes the content that’s been generated by the broadcast networks more easily accessible with better metadata, so it allows you to actually experience the media a little bit deeper.

Larry Jordan:  So it’s a standard to allow broadcast networks and stations to send their media out over the web?

Michael Kammes: Over the web yes.  More IP based, yes.

Larry Jordan:  The problem that broadcasters are in, and you know this even better than I do, is the budgets have cratered and they just don’t have the wealth they had for upgrades the way they did even ten years ago.  The cash just isn’t there.  So I think they’re hurting to be able to make this kind of conversion.

Michael Kammes:  I completely agree.  I think also when it was still SD, you weren’t upgrading for five or seven years.  You were upgrading and it was going to last for 15 or 20 years, because decks were decks, and tubes were tubes, and aside from a part here and there, you could use the same gear for over a decade.  Unfortunately, that’s just not the current landscape with disposable technology.  Heck, our furniture is disposable right, it’s all Ikea?  We buy Blackmagic gear, it’s disposable and the same thing is for broadcasters who were buying gear that unfortunately will be based on computers which will be out of date in several years.  So unfortunately, a lot of broadcasters haven’t moved to that paradigm of having to update more frequently.

Larry Jordan:  OK.  So we’ve got that to look forward to which means more program choices for consumers.  What else are you looking forward to?

Michael Kammes:  Well I think the rest of us who are, I don’t want to say Apple fan boys, but who like the Mac ecosystem, even with all its restrictions, I think are going to enjoy this year.  Obviously the iMac Pro just started shipping a few weeks ago.  The new Mac Pro should be shipping at some point this year, we don’t know if that’s going to be January 30th or December 30th, but we’ll get more of the Apple sauce.  I think what you’re also going to see is Apple with High Sierra has been dipping into the external GPU realm and although it’s very rudimentary right now, and there’s a lot of restrictions and hiccups, I think we’re going to see performance just shoot through the roof as third party manufacturers create more external GPUs that are NLE tools, and are encoding tools and graphics tools, can start using that.  So I think from a performance standpoint, we’re going to see a huge boost on that end.

Michael Kammes: I think for those of us who enjoy Netflix you’re going to see a lot of tools this upcoming year.  They’re going to be Netflix friendly and when I say that, I mean creating the media that Netflix wants, which is an IMF wrapper which is kind of like a glorified zip file with some enhanced metadata.  And I think you’re going to see a lot of affordable software solutions to create this, so it’s not just for the big folks, it’s now for the average creators, who want to create media for Netflix.

Michael Kammes:  I think what you’re also going to see is a lot of software companies continuing to jump on the subscription bandwagon.  Kind of like what Adobe did, which is you’re going to pay per month, you’re going to be renting the software instead of owning it.  I know a lot of folks don’t like that, they want to buy it and own it.  Unfortunately in the business realm, it makes more sense to have predictable income every quarter, every month, so I think you’re going to see more manufacturers who make software move to that model, I think much to the chagrin of folks in the industry.

Michael Kammes:  As we also talked about a few weeks ago regarding VR, I think we’re going to continue to see the decline of VR in terms of working with it for long form cinematic pieces.  I think we’re going to see it for more experiential, so we’re talking marketing and real estate and that sort of thing.  But I think we’re going to see more investment in the AR realm, the augmented reality realm, to aid people in the business sector as opposed to being a complete entertainment experience.

Larry Jordan:  You just got yourself invited back to about 12 different programs to talk about all this stuff.

Michael Kammes:  That’s my whole plan Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Aside from VR, do you think there’s any technology that’s going to slowly fade away in 2018?  Or maybe not fade away but become much less important?

Michael Kammes:  Pause.  Let me think that through because I was thinking about that earlier and I couldn’t think of anything besides VR that was really going to take a big hit this year.

Larry Jordan:  Michael, that’s some fascinating stuff to think about.  You got any more thoughts before we wrap up?

Michael Kammes:  Here’s one, and I have to preface this with this is not NDA, this is just the way I see things, is that Adobe I think is poised to really make a push into the remote editing paradigm.  At a consumer level.  Right now, Avid does it, but you need to have deep pockets.  I think Adobe already has storage in the cloud to some extent for smaller files.  I think they already have team projects and now with the late 2017 release of Shared Projects, I foresee at some point Adobe charging users more and allowing you to store your video media in the cloud which will then be distributed amongst multiple servers around the country so you can remote edit with video in the cloud.  I think that only makes sense.  I think the only thing that Adobe needs is an asset management system on top of it, but that’s what I kind of see in the tea leaves.  Again, I’m not revealing any NDA information, that’s just the writing on the wall as far as I see it.

Larry Jordan:  I think there’s going to be a push toward remote editing, but until we solve the whole internet bandwidth issue it’s going to not function because if I’m uploading two or three terabytes of data a day, there isn’t a pipe fast enough to be able to support that.

Michael Kammes:  I’d agree with that.  I think there’s probably going to be two paradigms.  I think there’s going to be you create the proxies on your own and you upload it to an Adobe shared folder, and you’re editing those low res proxies.  Or perhaps you’re leveraging Amazon S3 and their elastic transcoder, and if you have those fat pipes, you’re uploading the high res, and then letting the elastic transcoder generate those proxies for the end user in the cloud.  But you’re right, it really depends on how fat your pipe is up to the series of interconnected tubes.

Larry Jordan:  Michael, some fascinating things to think about.  Where can people go on the web to learn what you’re doing and thinking?

Michael Kammes:  Two places, you can track down my namesake, michaelkammes.com, or 5thingsseries.com.

Larry Jordan:  That second is the number 5thingsseries.com.  Michael Kammes is executive producer and host of Five Things, and Michael, as always, thanks for joining us.

Michael Kammes:  Happy new year, thanks a lot Larry.

Larry Jordan:  You know, I was just thinking.  This evening we’ve heard lots of opinions on where the future is taking us.  We’re pretty well agreed on the growth of machine learning and HDR and augmented reality, though AR doesn’t provide many opportunities at the moment for filmmakers.  And machine learning will take several years to find its place.  We’re split on the long term prospects for VR and 8K and hopeful that recent improvements in diversity will continue.  On the business side, software rental which is also called subscriptions, and business consolidation are likely to grow, neither of which are particularly good for end users.

Larry Jordan: In other words, this coming year will be a combination of good news and bad news, with much of what happened obscured until the dust settles a bit.  For me, there are three bigger trends that I’m watching.  First is the continued erosion of personal privacy, with ever on devices that constantly monitor what’s going on, and being said around them.  Second is our inability to keep digital data secure, especially devices attached via the internet of things.  Also witness the latest security crisis with Intel CPUs and cloud services.  Third is the continued use of technology to reduce the number of available jobs.  And it’s this last one that troubles me the most.

Larry Jordan:  The American economy today is founded on two contradictory pillars of support.  First is sustained economic growth through consumer spending, while at the same time, increasing the use of technology to reduce the number of employees.  We’re seeing a classic example of reduce the headcount behavior with the recent corporate tax cut.  In more than 90 percent of companies surveyed, that money didn’t go to wages or hiring, it went to stockholders.  What seems lost on industry is that consumers can’t keep spending if they don’t have jobs.  And automation in all its various forms, is claiming thousands of jobs every day.  We see this on set, in post, and throughout marketing and distribution, just in our own industry.  The mantra is, let machines do the repetitive work while consumers bask in their newfound leisure time.

Larry Jordan:  But leisure time is no fun if you don’t have money to spend during it.  This increasing reliance on technology is creating an underclass of unemployed and underemployed workers that has me deeply troubled.  In addition to cool new toys and features, technology also needs to find new and innovative ways of retraining workers and re-establishing them in the workforce.  We need a serious discussion of how to balance technology with employment, and we need to think more carefully about whether inventing new technology because we can, is the wisest course for society.

Larry Jordan:  Just something I’m thinking about.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank our guests for this week , Ned Soltz of RedShark News, Randi Altman of postperspective.com, Jonathan Handel of the Hollywood Reporter, Michele Yamazaki of toolfarm.com, Philip Hodgetts of Lumberjack System, Michael Kammes of Key Code Media, and James DeRuvo of doddlenews.com.

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

Larry Jordan:  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuzz and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.

Larry Jordan:   Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by smartsound.com.  Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription.  Visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you.

Larry Jordan:   Our producer is Debbie Price.  My name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan:  The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2018 by Thalo LLC.

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Digital Production Buzz – January 4, 2018

Last week, our analysts looked back at 2017. This week, they turn their attention to 2018 and forecast the trends they expect to predominate over the next 12 months. Their opinions will surprise you.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Ned Soltz, Randi Altman, Jonathan Handel, Michele Yamazaki, Philip Hodgetts, Michael Kammes, and James DeRuvo.

  • Soltz: HDR, VR and 8K
  • Altman: VR, AR and Diversity
  • Handel: Diversity and Industry Consolidation
  • Yamazaki: VFX, VR and Business Trends
  • Hodgetts: Smart Assistants, HDR and VR
  • Kammes: ATSC 3.0, OTT, New Mac Tech, and Subscriptions
  • DeRuvo: Artificial Intelligence, VR and Computer Security

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Key Trends: HDR, VR and 8K

Ned Soltz

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

Ned Soltz, contributing editor for Red Shark News, shares his thoughts on key trends in 2018 with a focus on cameras and production.

VR, AR and Diversity

Randi Altman

Randi Altman, Editor-in-Chief, postPerspective

Randi Altman, editor-in-chief of PostPerspective.com, shares her thoughts on the upcoming year with a focus on post-production.

Diversity and Industry Consolidation

Jonathan Handel

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

Jonathan Handel, entertainment labor reporter for “The Hollywood Reporter,” looks ahead at what expects for 2018 from his perspective of the law and labor.

VFX, VR and Business Trends

Michele Yamazaki

Michele Yamazaki, VP Marketing, Toolfarm

Michele Yamazaki, VP of Marketing for ToolFarm, shares her thoughts on what 2018 will bring, with her focus on visual effects.

Smart Assistants, HDR and VR

Philip Hodgetts

Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System

Philip Hodgetts, CEO of Lumberjack System, is less positive about VR. Listen as he shares his thoughts on what to expect in the coming year from his point-of-view as a developer.

ATSC 3.0, OTT, New Mac Tech, and Subscriptions

Michael Kammes

Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media

Michael Kammes, Director of Technology for Key Code Media, previews 2018 from his perspective with larger media organizations and workflows.

DoddleNEWS Forecasts 2018 Trends

James DeRuvo

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, DoddleNEWS.com

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief 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 and showcases his thoughts on what he expects for 2018.