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Producer’s Corner: February 28, 2013

Richard Symons, founded a company called Spirit Level Films in 2001. In true independent fashion, the company makes films that they want to make on their terms

photo courtesy of Spirit Level Films

and in their own way.  This preserves the creative vision, allows them to tell stories that are compelling and important to them, but also makes life very challenging as they are completely self-financed.  Their two-film endeavor, Price of Kings, has received critical acclaim from all corners of the globe.  It was not easy to produce, however, and interviewing Yassar Arafat and Shimon Peres took many months of planning.  The team persevered and the results are classic documentary filmmaking at its finest.  Richard joins us to talk about how it was accomplished, what he learned during the process and what he might do differently next time.

Bruce Nazarian, CEO of Digital Media Consulting Group has been a long-time friend and contributor to the BuZZ.  I was speaking with him a couple of weeks ago and asked him if he would  clarify his take on the continuing discussion many of us have been having about the  “death” of flash, the rise of HTML 5 and how best to use H.64.  He wrote a great post about what is happening to each of these in all aspects of our production and post-production lives and Larry talks to him on the show so we can more details.

There are many unsung heroes in our business, some of them are tech experts, creative gurus and consultants who are buried several levels behind the front lines and who work behind the scenes with major companies on major projects.  Because they are consultants, however, we don’t often get to meet them and we certainly don’t see their names up there in the credits.  Mistika post production solutions have been used recently on films such as,  The Hobbit, Prometheus,  and The Amazing Spiderman.  Nicholas ‘Nico‘ Recagno is an online stenographer, with SGO Mistika and tells us more about what it is like to provide technical support for some of those award-winning projects.   

I’ve been privileged to have been involved for a very long time with the Producer’s Guild of America Diversity Committee. Each year for the last few years, the Committee announces a Call for Entries and accepts applications from people around the globe who wan to vie for a chance to be accepted into the Diversity Workshop.  Ten lucky people are chosen each year to attend a nine-week series held at the Guild offices in Beverly Hills.  Guest mentors have included such notables as Marshall Herskovitz, Damen Lindelof, Ali LeRoi, Luis Barreto, Shonda Rhimes, Mark Gordon and more.  Subjects covered include story development, pitching, packaging, financing, marketing and new media in the areas of tim, television, docs and web.  It is a veritable master class.  We want all our BuZZ listeners to know that the 2013 Call for Entries opens on February 25th and invite you to submit yourself and your projects for consideration.  If you have a project that you believe might be appropriate for a diversity workshop, act now, as you only have until April 15th to apply.  You can go here for more information.

Tonight’s show has been pre-recorded because Larry Jordan is on his way to London to speak at the BVE.  We are looking forward to hearing how the trip went and what new information he will be gathering while he is there.  Visit this link to see the list of seminars the Larry will be conducting from 26-28 February, 2013, at the BVE in London!


Don’t forget to contact me with suggestions for guests: – please put The BuZZ in the subject line!

See you on Twitter at @Cirina and @DPBuZZ

Thanks for listening!

Cirina Catania
Producer, Digital Production BuZZ

Digital Heaven releases DH_CounterX for Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5

Digital Heaven, one of the leading third party developers for Apple Pro Apps, has announced the release of DH_CounterX plug-in generator for Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5.

DH_CounterX is the fast, flexible and easy way to create an animated counting display over video footage in Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5. Ideal for creating a countdown timer to the start of an event or for coverage of sporting events such as races and against-the-clock challenges.


  • Choice of over 100 standard Mac fonts.*
  • SS, MM:SS or HH:MM:SS display formats.
  • Show or hide leading zeros.
  • Count up/down to/from custom time.
  • Show subseconds as frames, tenths or hundredths of a second.
  • Optional shadow and outline styles with adjustable color, opacity, softness and width.
  • Optional box background with adjustable color, opacity, stroke, size and position.
  • Static display mode for creating start or end holds.

System Requirements:

Final Cut Pro X (10.0.6 or later) or Motion 5.


DH_CounterX is available for immediate purchase from the Digital Heaven online store. For the first 30 hours after release, customers can get a 30% discount on the plug-in by using the coupon code shown on the Digital Heaven website. A watermarked trial version can be downloaded from the website.

* Due to current limitations between FxPlug plug-ins and Final Cut Pro X, DH_CounterX uses a fixed list of standard fonts which are installed by default with OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8. Custom installed fonts will not be usable by DH_CounterX.

Click for more information about Digital Heaven’s DH_CounterX.


Switronix Releases EX-L96UD

Switronix has announced the release of the EX-L96UD. An updated version of the EX-L96, the UD can power any Sony PMW 100 or 200 without a need to plug a cable to a DC port. It is the perfect solution for those seeking extended runtime as it provides 50% more power than the Sony OEM EX battery.

The EX-L96UD comes equipped with a reinforced DC cable that will prevent it from being frayed or pulled out. The power tap on the UD was moved to the face of the battery to avoid interference when plugging in the battery and also includes a cable for plugging in EX1/1R and EX3.

The EX-L96UD features a 4-LED gauge as well as an unregulated powertap to power any 12-volt accessory.


  • Capacity: 95wh (14.8v, 6.3ah)
  • Size: 1.6″ x2.75″ x 5.1″
  • Weight: 1.3lbs
  • Nominal Run-time: 5hrs

Click for more information about Swiftronix’s EX-L96UD.


Digital Production Buzz — Feb. 28, 2013

  • Making a Politically Sensitive Film
  • Explaining the Latest Web Video Technology
  • Editing 4K Uncompressed Stereo 3D Film
  • PGA Launches Diversity Workshop Sign-Ups

GUESTS: Richard Symons, Bruce Nazarian, Nicholas Recagno, and Deborah Calla

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This week we are looking into the future of technology.

New interviews every show! Join Larry Jordan this week as he talks with:

Richard Symons, Filmmaker, Spirit Level Films

Spirit Level Films is an independent studio the handles both production and distribution. Recently, they spent two years working on a multi-part documentary series called “The Price of Kings.” The series features in-depth interviews with Presidents Yassir Arafat, Shimon Peres, along with other political leaders in the Mideast. We want to learn more about how they created this series on global leadership.

Bruce Nazarian, The Digital Guy

Bruce Nazarian, The Digital Guy, joins us this week with a look at the rapidly changing world of digital video on the web. How has the shift away from Flash toward HTML/5 changed how movies are compressed and distributed. Can HTML/5 replace Flash? And what about this new-comer: H.265? If you want your movies to look great on the web, you need to listen to what Bruce has to say.

Nicholas Recagno, Online Stereographer, SGO

There are the stars, then the people behind the stars, then the technical people that support them. Nicholas Recagno, Technical Consultant for SGO, helps filmmakers work with Mistika, a high-end finishing tool that was used in The Hobbit, The Amazing Spiderman, and other films. What we find fascinating, though, is Nicholas’ understanding of the challenges in 4K, 5K, even 8K images, stereo 3D, and whether our computers can even edit this stuff. This will be a fascinating interview.

Deborah Calla, Chair, PGA Diversity Committee

Just a few days ago, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) opened online applications for their annual Diversity Workshop. Here, 10-12 lucky producers will be personally mentored in how to bring their projects to life. Deborah Calla, Chair of the PGA Diversity Committee, joins us to explain what the Workshop is, who can participate, and why it even exists.

The Buzz is all the information you need now to know what’s coming next!

The Digital Production BuZZ airs LIVE Thursday from 6-7 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Ask questions during the show on our Live Chat, listen live, download an episode from the archives, or subscribe to the podcast either through iTunes or our website. Whatever you do, DON’T miss this week’s show!

Chrosziel Supports New Sony Cameras PMW F5 and F55

New Sony cameras PMW F5 and F55 met with enthusiastic response at recent roadshows. Chrosziel offers customized light-weight supports for both, and a special 4k digital cinematography package for the PMW F55.

Light-weight supports for Sony PMW F5 and F55

Chrosziel camera accessories offer many advantages over similar brands in terms of material, machining and design quality. With Chrosziel light-weight supports for Sony‘s brand-new PMW F5 and F55 for example, it is exceptionally easy to switch fast between 15 mm support systems and 19 mm studio base plates. That is because both light-weight supports also serve as an adapter for base plate Digi Cine (401-F235) featuring 19 mm studio rods.

LWS Sony 5 Series (401-96) comes with a pair of 15 mm rods (length is 205 mm) for matte boxes, follow focuses, handles and other types of accessory – as demonstrated in Chrosziel’s kit for the F5 and the F55 (456-20F5LKIT) which is geared towards using lenses with 114 mm outer diameter.

LWS Sony 5 Series HD (401-96HD) adds an extra pair of rods for carrying accessories at the rear of the camera. The rods are 310 mm and 190 mm long, respectively. This LWS also is a perfect match for the new Chrosziel shoulder pad which will be available as of March. No tool is necessary to mount the new shoulder pad, which means switching the camera between shoulder and tripod has become a matter of seconds.

Within certain limits, LWS 401-94A can also be used for the F5 and the F55. Chrosziel originally developed this 15 mm light-weight support for the Canon C Series (100/300/500), for which it serves as an adapter for base plates with 19 mm rods. You can add various combinations of shoulder pads and handles.

Special kit for 4k digital cinematography with PMW F55

Chrosziel has assembled a special kit optimized for producing digital cinematography in 4k quality with Sony‘s PMW F55. This kit (product code 602-4kP1) contains Chrosziel‘s flagship matte box MB 602, a bridge plate with 19 mm diameter rods, a base plate, and bellows and intermediate rings for all relevant lens diameters.

The PMW F55 kit‘s contents in detail:

  • MatteBox MB 602 with four-filter stage (which can be adjusted extremely precise even during filming), a foldable french flag with a pair of adjustable side wings, a 165 mm diameter rear plate, and a 165:142,5 mm intermediate ring (610-14)
  • Two 5.65 x 5.65“ filterholder inserts (610-01-565)
  • A 114 mm diameter rubber bellows ret. ring (610-66)
  • A 110 mm rubber bellows ret. ring (610-11)
  • A 136 mm diameter ring (for typical Digi Cine zoom lenses) (410-58)
  • Complete bridge plate DigiCine with 19 mm diameter rods made of steel or carbon fiber (no extra costs) (401-F235)
  • Base plate LWS Sony F5/F55 (401-96-01)

Similar kits with adapters for Canon C 500/300 and Red EPIC/Scarlet are available upon request. For the Sony F65, no adapter is required, as it fits directly onto the Digi Cine base plate.

Click for more information about the Chrosziel PMW F55 kit.

Telestream Announces Flip4Mac 3.1 Is Now Available

Telestream has announced the 3.1 release of both Flip4Mac and the included Flip Player. This is a free update for 3.0 users, and requires OS X 10.7 or above.

  • New! Retina display support
  • New! Export AVC/H.264 video to iTunes from Flip Player
  • New! Export AAC audio to iTunes from Flip Player
  • New! iPad mini and iPod Nano scaling presets
  • Fixed a bug that prevented Flip4Mac from playing ASX files with a bad first entry but a valid second entry.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented exports from the Mac App Store version of ScreenFlow due to a sandboxing violation.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause Flip Player to crash if a movie was closed while being loaded for trimming

Click for more information about Telestream Flip4Mac 3.1.

Inside Insight: In Depth: Waveform Monitor & Vectorscope Plug-ins for After Effects by Michele Yamazaki


Question: Could you please advise me as to the choices I have for videos scopes, and other means to measure my color and luma levels within After Effect. I want to be assured that I am within legal standards” for broadcast.

Answer: Having video levels in a broadcast safe range are so important when working with broadcast video. Back when I worked at Postworks, there was a client who would always want to push the whites a bit whiter and the reds a bit more saturated, into unsafe territory. We warned him but he’s the client, right? I’d see his spots on tv and the buzz in the audio channel from the whites would make me cringe!


Click here to read more.

Producer’s Corner: February 21, 2013

Michael Cioni, CEO of Light Iron. was on the BuZZ a few weeks ago to let us know that he was going to have some “big news” in the very near future. Sure enough, he wasn’t kidding.  Shortly thereafter, Light Iron purchased Off Hollywood and Michael moved to New York City, where he is loving life in the Big Apple and creating more post production magic.    

Norman Hollyn, Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts has some very interesting things to say about directing comedic productions.  It isn’t as easy and not always as funny as you think!

Michael Kammes, Director of Technology and Marketing at Key Code Media tells us about Nexidia’s Dialogue Search and a cloud-based editing service from Forescene.

Our  legal expert, Jonathan Handel, Entertainment Labor Reporter for the Hollywood Reporter takes a step back and looks at what SAG and AFTRA have scheduled on their calendars for the year.  He maintains that we can predict what is going to happen with these guilds by what he sees there.  Interesting concept and we tend to believe him. You can read a recent article in the Hollywood Reporter and then tune in tonight for more information!

And Jessica Sitomer, The Greenlight Coach is back with more career advice.


Don’t forget to contact me with suggestions for guests: – please put The BuZZ in the subject line!

See you on Twitter at @Cirina and @DPBuZZ

Thanks for listening!

Cirina Catania
Producer, Digital Production BuZZ

Digital Production Buzz — Feb. 21, 2013

  • The Start of the “Post-Studio” World?
  • How to Keep the “Funny” in Comedy During Editing
  • Three High-End Systems to Watch
  • Looking Ahead to Guild Negotiations
  • Turn that Job Offer From “Maybe” to “YES!”

GUESTS: Michael Cioni, Norman Hollyn, Michael Kammes, Jonathan Handel, and Jessica Sitomer

Click to listen to the current show.
(Mobile users click the MP3 player underneath image.)

*Right click on Download and “Save Link As…”

This week we are looking into the future of technology.

New interviews every show! Join Larry Jordan this week as he talks with:

Michael Cioni, Founder/CEO, Light Iron

Michael Cioni, Founder/CEO of Light Iron, runs a high-end post-production facility based in Hollywood. Recently, they acquired Off Hollywood in New York City. Seeing as post facilities are on the endangered species list, we asked Michael why he did it. What we discovered is that Michael has a vision of the coming “post-studio” world. This will be a fascinating look into the future with one of our industries leading technologists.

Norman Hollyn, Professor, USC School of Cinematic Arts

Last week, we spoke with Jeremy Hunt about his comedy short film called “Fix It In Post.” This week, we continue our discussion about comedy by visiting with USC Professor Norman Hollyn. Norman has edited a number of major feature film comedies, and we want to chat with him about how we can keep the “funny” in our films.

Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, KeyCode Media

One way to judge what the future holds is to look at the high-end of the market. This week, we asked Michael Kammes, Director of Technology for KeyCode Media, to give us his perspective of what’s happening in the high-end that’s likely to trickle down to the rest of us. Michael found three companies that he wants to talk about.

Jonathan Handel, Entertainment Labor Reporter, The Hollywood Reporter

Jonathan Handel believes you can get a good idea of what’s happening with labor by simply looking at the calendar. So, we asked him to look over the next 18 months and let us know if we are in for a rocky ride; labor/management-wise?

Jessica Sitomer, President, The Greenlight Coach

The best way to get a job is to nail the interview. But, what’s the best way to do that? Jessica Sitomer, President of The Greenlight Coach, stops by to share her thoughts on how to turn “Thanks, we’ll put you on the list,” into “Glad to have you with us!”

The Buzz is all the information you need now to know what’s coming next!

The Digital Production BuZZ airs LIVE Thursday from 6-7 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Ask questions during the show on our Live Chat, listen live, download an episode from the archives, or subscribe to the podcast either through iTunes or our website. Whatever you do, DON’T miss this week’s show!