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SUGARfx Releases Swoosh

Noise Industries is pleased to announce that SUGARfx Swoosh can give its users a large collection of light brush effects, titles and transitions for their projects.

Swoosh is available exclusively for Final Cut Pro X.

Click here to check out this Swoosh tutorial on YouTube.

Click for more information about SUGARfx’s Swoosh.

Sound Devices Showcases Increased Functionality of PIX 260i Production Video Recorders at IBC 2013

At IBC 2013, Sound Devices, specialists in portable audio and video products for field production, will introduce the newest functionality for the PIX 260i Production Video Recorder (Hall 8, Stand 8.D74). PIX 260i seamlessly replaces tape-based video decks in production and post-production environments and its latest firmware, version 1.03, brings increased functionality to the end-user.

The PIX 260i brings the features and tools needed by production companies and broadcasters looking to migrate to file-based recording and playback environments. It records QuickTime files in either Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD video formats. Files recorded in these intra-frame codecs are ready for editing directly from the recorder in common editing environments, such as Avid, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Premiere, eliminating time-consuming transferring and transcoding. For color-critical applications, the PIX 260i supports Apple ProRes 4444 through its 12-bit, 4:4:4 3G-SDI I/O. Users can also play out files from the PIX 260i for real-time applications.

Files are recorded simultaneously on up to four separate, 2.5” SSD storage devices via two front panel PIX-CADDY slots and two rear panel eSATAp connections. This redundancy in local, removable storage devices, coupled with standard, Ethernet-based file transfer features further reduces steps in the production workflow. Recording to multiple drives offers immediate file backup, eliminating time-consuming post-record copying. Gigabit Ethernet network ports enable remote access to recorded files and the ability to transfer these files quickly into a post-production environment.

Another key feature of the PIX 260i is that it can be controlled from browser-capable computers and tablets. When connected to a data network, transport controls and setup menu controls are available on PIXNET, which offers control of one or multiple PIX 260i recorders. Multiple units can be grouped for simultaneous control.

Continuing the company’s heritage in production sound, Sound Devices infused the PIX 260i with 32-track record/playback capabilities. In addition to 16 channels of embedded SDI audio and eight channels of HDMI audio, the PIX 260i also accepts eight channels of line-level analog I/O and eight channels of AES digital audio. Using Dante, the PIX 260i can accept and transmit up to 32 channels of audio over Ethernet.

Version 1.03 firmware, which is available as a free download to existing PIX 260i users, provides support for the new Sound Devices PIX-CADDY CF accessory. The PIX-CADDY CF allows the PIX 260i to record polyphonic WAV files directly to removable CompactFlash cards (audio poly mode only). In addition, v1.03 enables users to record and playback Mono Audio Wave Files (audio only mode with SSD and HDD) and supports RS-422 locate to timecode, cue point commands and device type ID (Sony BVW-75 emulation). Version 1.03 also provides added scene increment shortcut feature from main screen and added options for displaying smaller audio meters in various parts of the main screen.

Existing PIX 260i users can download version 1.03 for free.

Click for more information about Sound Devices’ PIX 260i Production Video Recorder.

Digital Production Buzz — September 12, 2013

  • The Geek Groom Captures his own Wedding
  • Autodesk Announces Rental Pricing – Is This The Future?
  • The Making – and Controversy – of “Unclaimed”
  • “Studio City” – Wacky, Irreverent, and Fascinating

GUESTS: Michael Kammes, Marc Hamaker, Michael Jorgenson, and Nick Howell

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

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

Join Larry Jordan and co-host Michael Horton as they talk with:

Michael Kammes, Director, Technology & Marketing, Key Code Media

What makes a wedding unique? A bride, a groom and a POV camera. Buzz Regular Michael Kammes taped his wedding from the groom’s point of view and the video exploded on the web. Discover what its like to be “The Geek Groom” when we talk to Michael about what he did… and why.

Marc Hamaker, Senior Manager Product Marketing, Autodesk, Inc

This week, Autodesk announced “Pay as you go” pricing on their popular video products. This closely follows the subscription model first announced by Adobe with their Creative Cloud release. Is software rental the wave of the future? Marc Hamaker, Sr. Mgr. of Product Marketing at Autodesk gives us the details.

Michael Jorgenson, Writer, Producer, Director, “Unclaimed,” Myth Merchant Films

Moving, emotional and controversial, the documentary “Unclaimed” is set to open Westdocs next week. Written, produced and directed by Emmy-award winner Michael Jorgenson, Michael joins us this week to describe the production.

Nick Howell, Producer, “Studio City”

Comedy works on the web and Nick Howell has been editing the wacky, irreverent and completely silly series, “Studio City.” He joins us this week to explain how each show is created.

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!

Adobe Updates Video Tools in Creative Cloud

Adobe has announced plans to significantly update the video tools in Adobe Creative Cloud. With over 150 new features, this upcoming release is packed with new capabilities in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Adobe After Effects CC, Adobe SpeedGrade CC, Adobe Prelude CC , Adobe Media Encoder CC and Adobe Story CC Plus redefining how video professionals create, collaborate and deliver high quality productions across multiple screens. Important updates will also be added to Adobe Anywhere for video, which enables large virtual teams of talent to efficiently shoot, log, edit, share and finish video productions together. Today’s announcement signifies Adobe’s commitment to providing continuous innovation for Creative Cloud members and builds upon the huge customer momentum Adobe video is experiencing across the broadcast and post-production industries. These major updates, expected in October, allow broadcast and media professionals to extend their creative toolset and streamline their editing environments.

Adobe will demonstrate its new solutions, highlight key customers and partner focused initiatives during the annual IBC 2013 Exhibition at its stand (Hall 7, Stand 7.G27) in the RAI Convention Center, Sept. 13-17. Adobe professional video and broadcast tools will also be presented in more than 60 partner booths throughout the IBC exhibit.

New Innovations to Creative Cloud for Video

Creative Cloud offers video professionals a membership-based service that provides users with unlimited access to download and install flagship Adobe professional video desktop applications as well as the full range of Adobe desktop applications for design, Web and photography. With Creative Cloud membership, users also have access to publishing services to deliver apps and websites, cloud storage and the ability to sync to any device, and new products and exclusive updates as soon as they’re released. This offers more efficient ways to share work with colleagues and the creative community; and enables more innovation, collaboration and efficient productions from post to broadcast. Key new updates include:

  • A new Direct Link Color Pipeline between Adobe Premiere Pro CC and SpeedGrade CC provides an integrated workflow that allows users to move multi-track timelines seamlessly back and forth; open Adobe Premiere Pro CC sequences in SpeedGrade quickly; and see the results as effects in Adobe Premiere Pro CC that are managed by the Lumetri Deep Color Engine.
  • Expanded native support for UltraHD, 4K and higher resolutions, high frame rates and RAW formats, enables editors to work with footage from the hottest new high-res cameras natively – without having to wait to transcode and re-wrap files.
  • The Mask Tracker in After Effects enables video professionals to create masks and apply effects that track automatically frame-by-frame throughout a composition to save countless hours of tedious work.
  • Editing is streamlined in Premiere Pro CC, with improved multicam, enhanced closed captioning capabilities, new monitor overlays and audio monitoring features, enabling editors to work faster.
  • Performance enhancements punctuate this release with support in Premiere Pro CC for OpenCL, providing editors with the speed and power they need for the most demanding projects; and new GPU debayering of the Cinema DNG file format for real time playback.
  • A preview of the upcoming Prelude CC Live Logger iPad app, which enables users to log notes, events, and other data on their iPad while shooting, including the ability to sync with timecode on set via supported wireless timecode generators, and then sync metadata to footage via Creative Cloud for faster editing.
  • Advanced color grading with the new SpeedLooks in SpeedGrade CC offers dedicated camera patches. This allows users to match the color spaces even across different camera formats. New multiple masks and linked mask layers capabilities also enable SpeedGrade users more control over complex looks.
  • New Sync Settings in Adobe Media Encoder CC let users now sync application preferences between multiple computers via Creative Cloud.
  • New production planning features in Adobe Story Plus provide powerful scheduling and reporting tools for managing productions efficiently, making it easy to modify and share lists between productions and users.

The Next-Generation of Adobe Anywhere for video

Adobe also announced important updates are planned to Adobe Anywhere, the modern collaborative workflow platform that empowers users of Adobe professional video solutions such as Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Adobe Prelude CC to work together using centralized media and assets across standard networks. Adobe Anywhere complements Creative Cloud applications and enables deep collaboration for large organizations working with video, including broadcasters, educational institutions and government agencies.

  • Early access to After Effects CC Support: Adobe Anywhere now enables visual effects and motion graphic artists using After Effects CC to collaborate with other production team members, without the need to learn new software.
  • Growing File Support: Users can now edit media in Premiere Pro CC while it is recording to a file – a capability important for sports and live broadcasters.
  • Complementary iPad App: Adobe is previewing an upcoming Adobe Anywhere iPad app, that enables users to view productions and play back sequences on the Anywhere server from the field or a remote location.

Membership Plans and Availability:

This major update to the video tools in Creative Cloud is expected to be available in mid-October 2013. Current Creative Cloud members receive all of this innovation as part of their existing membership, at no extra cost. Special promotional pricing is available to existing customers who own CS3 or later. Individual, education, team, government and enterprise membership plans are available.

New enhancements for Adobe Anywhere for video are expected to be available in mid-October.

Click for more information on Adobe Creative Cloud or Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, SpeedGrade CC and other tools available in Creative Cloud.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz September 5, 2013

Digital Production Buzz

September 5, 2013

[Transcripts provided by Take1.tv.]

[To listen to this show, click here.]

Hosts:       Larry Jordan

Michael Horton

Guests:      Peter Hamilton, Founder and Editor, DocumentaryTelevision

Shawn Griffith, Broadcast Studio Producer, CLZ-TV, Channel 39 (The Child Life Zone)

Chuck Braverman, Co-Founder, The WESTDOC Conference

Tim Clapham, Director, Luxx

Philip Hodgetts, President, Intelligent Assistance

Voiceover: This Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Blackmagic Design, creators of the world’s highest quality solutions for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries.

Voiceover: Live from Ralph’s Maytag Museum at Podcast Studio in beautiful downtown Burbank, it’s the Digital Production Buzz.

Voiceover: Production, post production, distribution. What’s really happening now and in your digital future.

Voiceover: The Buzz is live now.

Larry Jordan: And welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the leading internet podcast covering digital video production, post production and distribution around the world. My name is Larry Jordan and joining us is our co-host, the ever-handsome and affable, Mr. Mike Horton.

Mike Horton: Hello, Larry.

Larry Jordan: It’s good to see you again.

Mike Horton: It’s good to see you. It’s been a week.

Larry Jordan: A week?

Mike Horton: Since the last podcast.

Larry Jordan: It seems like we haven’t seen each other since, like, forever.

Mike Horton: Yes, these things are really going fast. I mean, we’ve been doing this now since, what, the late 1800s and it’s just, every Thursday is just coming around way too quickly.

Larry Jordan: Well, you know, we started when they just had kerosene lamps.

Mike Horton: And we were doing it very well. Edison used to stop by and… “How do you do that?”

Larry Jordan: You know, we’ve got a special focus to our show this evening.

Mike Horton: It’s all-Aussie night, I think, isn’t it?

Larry Jordan: Well, between Australia and documentaries, we’ve got it covered. We’re going to start with Peter Hamilton. He’s the Founder and Editor of documentarytelevision.com and he joins us to talk about finding distribution and making money with documentary and reality programs, and if you haven’t visited documentarytelevision.com, if Peter hasn’t had them as a client, they’re not in the industry. He is incredibly well connected and I’m looking forward to chatting with him.

Larry Jordan: Then Shawn Griffith, Broadcast Studio Producer for CLZ-TV, with an amazing story of hospitalized children creating daily live television programs.

Larry Jordan: Chuck Braverman returns, he’s the Co-Founder of the WESTDOC conference. He comes back with insights on how the industry is changing the business of creating documentaries.

Larry Jordan: Shifting over to a live phone call to Australia, because Australia’s well represented on this week’s show, Tim Clapham is the Creative Director of Luxx, an Australian-based visual effects company with insights on what it takes to run a successful VFX business, both creatively and financially.

Larry Jordan: And then Philip Hodgetts, the President of Intelligent Assistance, returns with a first look at IBC, plus two new pieces of software – the Producer’s Best Friend and Change List X. If you’re awash in media, you need to learn about both these programs. And thinking about things to learn about – Michael, you may not know this ­– IBC is starting next week.

Mike Horton: I do know this, Larry. I’m very well aware of it and for those of you who do not know this, Larry is going to be at IBC. In fact, he is going to be at the SuperMeet headlining.

Larry Jordan: We are delighted. Michael finally got…

Mike Horton: Yes, I booked you into a nice hotel and…

Larry Jordan: A wonderful hotel in downtown St. Petersburg and I have to walk to Amsterdam from there.

Mike Horton: I’m paying for your cab fare. But, no, Larry is going to talk about “Is Final Cut Pro X, Ready for Professional Use?”

Larry Jordan: You know, we have a lot…

Mike Horton: And, of course, the answer is up to you but I think, once you hear Larry talk about, you’ll have a good idea of the answer.

Larry Jordan: You know, one of the interesting things we’re going to talk about is that Final Cut lives as part of what Apple calls an ecosystem and we’re going to talk not only about Final Cut, but the ecosystem it lives in, and if you’ve got points of view, we’re going to have a Q&A session at the end…

Mike Horton: Absolutely, it’s going to be raucous.

Larry Jordan: It’s going to be great and nobody can cause a raucous Q&A session quite like Michael.

Mike Horton: There’s not a better audience in the world than the European at IBC, they’re awesome.

Larry Jordan: It’s going to be fun time. When it is, Michael?

Mike Horton: It’s September 15th and go to SuperMeet.com for all the info and to buy tickets, and I would suggest you buy them quickly.

Larry Jordan: Because they are…

Mike Horton: Selling fast.

Larry Jordan: And that’s all we ask. We’re going to be back with Peter Hamilton right after this.

Larry Jordan: The big news this month is Blackmagic Design lowering the price of their landmark cinema camera for both the EF and the MFT models. The new low price is only 19.95. The Blackmagic Design cinema camera still has its legendary 13 stops of dynamic range, a 2.5k image sensor and a monitor and menu system that’s easy to set up by mere mortals with normal eyesight and large thumbs. Plus it still includes Da Vinci Resolve, which makes all of your images look great. And the Pocket Cinema is now shipping and, in fact, Blackmagic released a new software update that allows you to focus the lens by pushing the focus button, which makes accurate focusing a lot easier. Double touch the focus button to turn on auto-peeking and double touch the ok button to display a new focus zoom feature. Learn more at blackmagicdesign.com. That’s blackmagicdesign.com.

Larry Jordan: Peter Hamilton is a senior consultant who works with the non-fiction industry on their marketing and business development efforts. He’s a former CBS executive, his clients include the A&E Networks, the BBC scripts, National Geographic, Smithsonian and so many others that just reading it on his website leads to eye strain.

Larry Jordan: Peter lectures frequently at industry conferences, including his upcoming masterclass at WESTDOC and shares his expertise at documentarytelevision.com. Peter, it’s wonderful having you on the show. Welcome.

Peter Hamilton: Yes, it’s great to be here. Thank you so much for bringing me on board, Larry and Michael.

Larry Jordan: It’s our pleasure. I love reading your client list on your website. It’s a who’s who.

Mike Horton: Yes, no fooling.

Larry Jordan: Just about everybody in the industry. But for those who haven’t read it, please give us a capsule description of your background.

Peter Hamilton: Thanks. Well, I was actually a teacher in Australia back in the day, back in the ‘70s, and I discovered that working with film and television was a way of inspiring my otherwise totally uncontrollable students to learn and that created in me just an absolute passion for non-fiction television, educational and documentary and news related programs, and I was lucky to come to the States and clawed my way into the lower middle ranks of management at CBS and developed a lot of expertise then in managing rights, which became incredibly useful when cable and satellite took off, and I started working with Discovery when they could barely meet payroll and they’re now, what, a $30 billion company? So I was really blessed at being, you know, a small but sometimes kind of wise, I guess, or whatever, I was blessed to be an actor in this whole launch of all these non-fiction channels one after the other.

Larry Jordan: I have a sneaking feeling some talent was involved and it wasn’t just blind luck.

Mike Horton: Yes.

Peter Hamilton: No, it was a lot of luck but, you know what? Luck and hard work and a bit of talent can get you a long way in this country and… so it’s been a fantastic career and I have been blessed to work with lots of leaders in the field.

Larry Jordan: Well, that’s what gets me to the website that you run. Tell us about documentarytelevision.com.

Peter Hamilton: So, you know, I’ve always squirreled away knowledge about our field and I guess, like, and I would give lots of presentations at industry conferences like Real Screen and, you know, History Makers, Sheffield and all these big industry markets that dealt with documentaries and reality TV, and people would come up to me afterwards and say, “Listen, Peter, you’re the one that tells the truth about the economics of the industry,” because a lot of it was just, you know, being held back by the networks or there was a real reluctance to share information about deals and price points and so on. They said, “Oh, why don’t you put out a newsletter?” and I realized as, you know, as I got a little older, that it would be great to have such a vehicle to keep me interested and engaged in the world, you know, for a long time, because I had no interest in retiring, and it would be a great supplement to my consulting career.

Peter Hamilton: So I launched this blog-based newsletter, like, four years ago and it’s really taken off and I’ve got, like, 16,000 subscribers now in about 120 countries and it’s free and it generates lecture fees and consulting engagements for me, but most importantly it gives me a vehicle to express my passion for a really wonderful sector of the TV industry.

Larry Jordan: Well, one of the things that both Mike and I believe in, is taking what we know and sharing it back with the community and you’ve done an outstanding job of sharing your expertise through documentarytelevision.com.

Peter Hamilton: And you have too. I mean, it’s the theory that giving out or reaching out always gives back. I’ve always believed that. If you squirrel away stuff and try and keep it secret, it won’t do anybody any good. And I’d rather give it away than wait for the million dollar subscription or buyout deal, and that’s been the truth since I launched my newsletter. My whole consulting practice has become so much more vigorous and interesting and I get incredible speaking engagements and I meet amazing people and it all kind of builds on itself.

Mike Horton: Well, to be honest with you, Larry and I are still waiting for that one million dollar buyout deal.

Peter Hamilton: Yes, me too. Well, if I get one that will include both of us…

Mike Horton: Yes, would you please?

Larry Jordan: Yes.

Mike Horton: Give us a call.

Peter Hamilton: Yes, well I will split it 50/50 and I’m sure we’ll both be, well, maybe three ways and we’ll all be happy.

Mike Horton: Yes, absolutely.

Larry Jordan: Peter, one of your strengths is understanding distribution. How has the industry changed in the last five years that would affect content providers of documentary reality or other non-scripted programs?

Peter Hamilton: Boy, you know, that’s really the million dollar question and it’s kind of dangerous to generalize.

Larry Jordan: No, no, the million dollar question is the next one. This is the half million dollar question.

Peter Hamilton: All right, I’ll go for it anyway. Well, you know, my first kind of way of clarifying the question is that it depends on the content area and, you know, I have this kind of framework that I think is really helpful and it’s a kind of a pyramid of non-fiction content and the little sector at the top of the pyramid – let’s call that signature programming – and that’s the kind of high priced, you know, documentary specials, limited series that are the basis of the quarterly or annual promotions of the networks. So they’re the big spends around which the big promotions campaigns are organized.

Peter Hamilton: So, you know, you could ask yourself what’s happening there? I think that first of all there is a move away from non-fiction to fiction in this section.

Larry Jordan: Really?

Peter Hamilton: Whereas networks like Discovery and A&E and, well, sorry, Discovery and History and NatGeo were pretty much 100 percent unscripted non-fiction documentary channels, they’ve all taken a leap into scripted series that are related to their core themes. So History just did a Bible series that’s kind of great moments of the Bible and they did Hatfields and McCoys, huge success, as was The Bible, and another series on the Vikings, all dramatized but still kind of related to the historical themes for which the network History is branded.

Peter Hamilton: NatGeo stepped out into a fictionalized film about the assassination of President Lincoln and Discovery is also testing the field with some quality productions. So I think that’s the kind of big step right now, that the big non-fiction channels are becoming a little bit more like classic broadcast networks in that they’re feeling the confidence to put big scripted projects into their mix.

Peter Hamilton: That’s really my big takeaway at that top level. Then the next level below that is the character-based series, you know, your Duck Dynasty, your Pawn Stars and all those repeatable series and I would say that the trend is ever towards big characters. I think in that category, there’s a trend towards more comedy. As we’ve got further away from the really dour, dreadful, you know, post-Lehman collapse time when, you know, a series about kind of thrift, about a pawn shop, was the hot show, we’re now moving into a kind of a, almost a scripted unscripted show, which is Duck Dynasty, where they actually have a script room, you know, where the characters in Duck Dynasty, these Louisiana hillbillies, are kind of scripted. Their antics are scripted episode by episode, they’re so heavily planned.

Larry Jordan: Peter, let’s ask the million dollar question, because Mike is ready to take notes.

Mike Horton: I was going to ask that question, but go ahead, Larry.

Larry Jordan: One of the topics at your masterclass is why do some producers seem to get all the green lights and others don’t? So what’s the answer?

Peter Hamilton: Great question and, you know, by the way my partner, my co-presenter in my workshop which is in Los Angeles at WESTDOC on Sunday week, is Ed Hersh and Ed Hersh is a veteran executive and veteran producer who’s worked with Discovery, ID network – which is the crime-based network – ABC and many, many other channels, so Ed and I will both take a crack at this and other questions and he’s incredibly knowledgeable.

Peter Hamilton: So listen, to address that question is that in every industry, whether it’s manufacturing umbrellas or cameras or buying asphalt for an airplane runway, every industry always congregates around a handful of industry leaders and approved vendors. And these preferred vendors in every category have the benefits of strong management teams, good lawyers to do deals with, negotiations that people have sat in the room and done together in the past, so they’re all comfortable in getting past the difficult points in the negotiation. They have good accounting departments so that they can deal with accounting regularities and they have creative teams that can execute on the creative side. So networks, you know, just like WalMart, you know, they don’t want to buy umbrellas from 20 umbrella manufacturers. They’d rather keep it simple and have two. Networks like to keep their lives simple by working with proven, established people that they have good relationships with and that’s the big driver. It’s just fundamental economics that applies to almost every enterprise.

Larry Jordan: Yes, that’s been my life. I mean, anything that makes my life easier and then I’ve got a reasonable chance of making it successful, I’ll go with that and that’s, you know, sometimes it’s not necessarily the right thing to do, but that’s the way human nature is.

Peter Hamilton: Yes. If you want to go out to a restaurant, there are many nights where you want to know where you’re going to get a really great meal and there are others where you want to try something fresh. Well, networks do try fresh producers and I guess the caveat is that the big network groups like Discovery and A&E Networks and others, they have minor league. They have their digital channels and their digital channels aren’t fully distributed like their big franchised channels, but that’s where they try out producers and they try out new stuff and so they’re the minor leagues. That’s where new talent can come in.

Larry Jordan: Peter, what are you presenting at your masterclass at WESTDOC?

Peter Hamilton: So some of the questions that we’ll cover are how do networks use filters? What are the specific filters that they use to…

Larry Jordan: Oh Lord.

Peter Hamilton: …sort out the content that they want or don’t want? Series versus one-offs, you know, what you need to know about how to develop a series and what opportunities do you have for your one-off ideas; and then, for the individual networks, we’ll talk about the structure of networks, what are their audiences, what are the demographics they target, how they drive their programming strategies and how important it is to be really expert in all that stuff before you start to pitch.

Larry Jordan: Is there still room? Can people still register?

Peter Hamilton: Yes, absolutely. Go to westdoc.com and we’d really love to see you, last year we had a standing room only and we’re close to that this year. There are still a few spots, but it’ll be a fantastic event.

Larry Jordan: I bet, yes.

Mike Horton: I would love to be there.

Larry Jordan: Peter, what website can people track you on?

Peter Hamilton: So for the WESTDOC masterclass, go to WESTDOC, register, it’s $199; and to track me, I love to have readers and great to get their comments, and I’m on documentarytelevision.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word – documentarytelevision.com

Peter Hamilton: You’ve got it.

Larry Jordan: And for the workshop, it’s westdoc.com, and Peter Hamilton is the Founder and the Editor of documentarytelevision.com and, Peter, thanks for joining us today.

Peter Hamilton: Oh, it’s been my honor. It’s been great chatting. Thank you so much.

Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Well, let’s see. Take a deep breath here and wonder what happened to our music yet again and…

Mike Horton: Well, I need to push this, right?

Larry Jordan: No, you’re doing great, so we’ll just keep on keeping on.

Mike Horton: Oh shoot.

Larry Jordan: And we’ve got to just work at this.

Mike Horton: I don’t know which buttons to push. I’m an actor, not an engineer.

Larry Jordan: Shawn Griffith does know what buttons to push. He comes from a feature film background, he’s taught film and video production at the college level and worked with many large names in the industry, but it was the kids at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas that changed his life. Now with the help of organizations such as Panasonic, he’s the Broadcast Studio Producer for the Child Life Zone at CLZ TV, channel 39, where kids are creating original programming. Let’s see, do we have Shawn? Stand by, we’re going to chat for a second and…

Mike Horton: I probably hit the button that turned him off. I mean…

Larry Jordan: It’s all your fault.

Mike Horton: I know, it is. Everything is my fault, so…

Larry Jordan: Hello, Shawn, are you with us? Hello?

Shawn Griffith: How are you guys?

Mike Horton: There we go. Sorry about that, I think it was probably my fault.

Larry Jordan: We just gave you an incredible introduction, bragging about how wonderful you are, but start with telling us about what Cooks Children’s Hospital is.

Shawn Griffith: Well, Cooks Children’s, there’s one Cook and lots of children, that’s kind of how we word it. That’s kind of the way it is. Cooks Children’s is a nationally renowned medical facility for children for pediatric care, we only take care of kids. It’s got over 50 plus brick and mortar buildings in the state of Texas that make up the Cook Children’s network of healthcare and it’s kind of defined well in our promise.  Our promise is just to deliver solid healthcare to, you know, all the kids, all the children, no matter what race, creed, color, religion. And it’s pretty much an all around advanced medical treatment facility.

Larry Jordan: So what’s CLZ TV?

Shawn Griffith: CLZ TV is a brainchild of a group of people that got together and said, “Healing happens at play. Kids that are playing and laughing are healing faster. Distraction helps the healing process,” and so we created a thing called the Child Life Zone, where there’s actually a couple of different hospitals in the nation that have zones and the Child Life Zone is a no ‘ow-ie’ zone, so a place where kids can go. If you want to have, you know, your temperature taken you have to go back up to your room. The kids will be, you know, ball pushing, IV pulls having just come back from their second bout of chemo, come in there. They have the ability to play with some high tech equipment in a recording studio, Pro Tools, electronic drums, a gentleman named Sonny Burgess, I don’t know if the name rings a bell or not…

Mike Horton: Yes.

Larry Jordan: Oh yes, a little bit.

Shawn Griffith: Pretty prominent music composer and songwriter with some major names. He’s actually full time there. I have been blessed to come out of a film career and be able to be there full time now and so we have the broadcast studio as well, surrounded by Panasonic cameras, full broadcast quality, HD, full resume. If you walked in there, you would see studio peds and TriCaster 850 with eight camera inputs and we produce 24/7 programming that goes throughout the entire building specifically made for kids by kids. We have patients that come down and switch; we have patients that come down and control cameras; we have patients that come down and put the Clear-Com on and do their deal, right I’m going to hold the Panasonic, either 370 or a 250 or a 200 and they’re making their own stuff and it’s amazing what an impact it’s had.

Larry Jordan: So you’re saying these kids actually, if you can get them to do it, they run this stuff? I mean, we’re talking about some complex pieces of software like Pro Tools and then running the cameras and switching and…

Shawn Griffith: We do, we made it into play.

Larry Jordan: Wow.

Shawn Griffith: What we do is, like, we do live show every day, game shows where the kids can call down and actually participate in a game show and then they get an answer right or they turn over two tiles that match and then we are able to take a prize card up to them and they get prizes in their room.

Larry Jordan: Oh, that’s awesome.

Shawn Griffith: Well, they’re able to see it in the entire building, every TV in the building, as well as we’re now broadcasting to our first building outside of our building over View IP; our video over IP. We’re able to actually broadcast to other buildings and our one year goal is to have it in every brick and mortar Cook Children’s building in the network, all 50 plus buildings. But, yes, kids come down and if you go to our website – cookchildrens.org – CLZ is the Child Life Zone. Actually, I think you guys have a link up on your website, correct?

Mike Horton: Yes.

Larry Jordan: Yes we do.

Mike Horton: I’m looking at it right now.

Shawn Griffith: Yes, click there and scroll down a bit, you’ll see some pictures and it’s kids operating the cameras and it’s pretty phenomenal. What I do is sit them down and say, “You can push the red button. Why don’t you push all the red buttons?” I mean, we’ve had situations where we had an eight year old on an IV operating camera A with the Clear-Com on, sitting behind the Panasonic 370 on a ped; another child, 11 years old on the other camera with their Clear-Com on; two kids that are brother and sister that are going through similar situations in the one chair behind the switcher and saying, “Ok, push the red number one.” They push it and they’ve got their headsets on and I’m talking to them through headsets and I’m staying in the corner, I could go to sleep, these guys, you know, run this place.

And the fun thing is they’re doing this and, in the process of doing this, it’s blowing from a half hour to an hour to two to three hours of time for them while they’re receiving whatever it is they need to receive, whatever the waiting period is or until they get their next blood draw and so forth and it’s a complete distraction and it works.

Larry Jordan: Yes, right.

Shawn Griffith:  Two stories, if I could just waffle on for a minute.

Larry Jordan: Go ahead.

Shawn Griffith: We’ve only been open since November 1st of last year. We’ve got over 120 hours now, about 100 hours, I shouldn’t exaggerate, about 100 hours of programming that we’ve produced, some of which is videos that the kids do. The kids have requested coming down to record their own songs, so one young lady, Faith, and if you go to our YouTube page – youtube.com/childlifezone – you’ll be able to see a little sample of her work too, she came down, she recorded a song. She had I think a second or third bout with cancer and so she came down and she was fighting cancer with a friend upstairs and her friend lost the battle and so she wrote a song to him, just sort of as closure for her. And so we recorded it in the recording studio with Sonny and then she wanted to make a music video out of it, so she came, you know, around the corner and came into the broadcast studio and made a music video of it and it’s one of those things where it brought closure to her and her family, it helped out the family of the child that had died, you know, that wasn’t successful in his cancer treatment and then turned around and we actually used it as a video piece in her memorial a month and a half later.

Larry Jordan: Mmm. That’s just great.

Shawn Griffith: It’s something that has, and that’s happened a couple of times, where we’ve had to rush getting the editing done so that we could use it for a memorial for a child that’s been in the videos.

Mike Horton: Wow.

Larry Jordan: Mmm.

Shawn Griffith: And if parents come to us and say, “Thank God that we did that. That was the last time…” Sorry. “That was the last time they looked good”…

Larry Jordan: Mhmm.

Shawn Griffith: …what memories. “Boy, she was smiling, she had so much fun. Thank you for making that part of her life a success,” I mean, otherwise, if we weren’t doing these things, where would they be?

Mike Horton: Yes.

Larry Jordan: Are you the only facility that are doing these things? Or are they all over the country?

Shawn Griffith: No, there are other children’s facilities that are doing it. We have a network called Team H for Kids, it’s a non-profit called Team H for Kids, it’s Roy Ackerman and Garth Brooks that have put this together and there’s another Child Life Zone in Mount Sinai in New York that also has a television studio. There are a couple of others that are coming online with the Team H group. They were instrumental in getting ours up and going. We have kind of the state of the art because of the support and the donor base that we have. We really put together – if I may brag – it’s a remarkable facility. I mean, we’ve got Channel 8 and Channel 11 and NBC coming in, you know, to cover an opening, let’s say, and they look around, they go, “We don’t have this in our studio.”

Mike Horton: All right, you need to start streaming this stuff worldwide and, you know, Larry can teach you how. He’ll just come down there for a weekend and he’ll do it.

Shawn Griffith: That’s actually a goal. I need to get some tips from you all, get a call goin on that, because one of our major goals after the first of the year is one year goal is to have it outside in all of our 50 plus buildings in the Cooks Children’s network.

Mike Horton: And it’s a piece of cake and it’s also affordable.

Larry Jordan: And Shawn, where can people go to learn more about the work that your team is doing?

Shawn Griffith: They can go to cookchildrens.org or they can go to your website and click on the link below and our picture on the first page there or they can go to cookchildrens.org.

Larry Jordan: That’s cookchildrens.org and Shawn Griffith is the Broadcast Studio Producer for CLZ TV and, Shawn, thanks for joining us today.

Shawn Griffith: Thank you guys so much for taking the time. We really appreciate you helping us out.

Mike Horton: And our appreciation for everything you do.

Larry Jordan: You do great work. We’ll talk to you soon.

Shawn Griffith: Bye.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Shawn Griffith: Take care.

Larry Jordan: Chuck Braverman has directed just about everything that makes pictures, from TV series like Baywatch, to documentaries like Curtain Call and High School Boot Camp, which won an Outstanding Directorial Achievement Award from the Directors’ Guild of America. He’s also the Co-Founder and partner of WESTDOC, which you heard about earlier from Peter Hamilton. This is a conference now in its fourth year which brings together filmmakers, network executives, program buyers and production companies. Welcome, Chuck, it’s good to have you back.

Chuck Braverman: Hi, it’s good to be here, thank you.

Larry Jordan: You know, a lot has happened regarding WESTDOC since you were on our show a month ago. What’s the latest news?

Chuck Braverman: Well, I think the latest news is that we have a very special guest in Rory Kennedy that’s coming and is going to talk about her latest documentary, Ethel. I think Rory has really established herself as a fabulous documentary filmmaker and we’re very pleased to have her.

Larry Jordan: You know, we were just talking with Peter Hamilton in the first segment about how the industry, especially when it comes to documentaries and reality shows, is shifting away from a truly unscripted show into partially scripted and more fully scripted shows, the Hatfields and McCoys was an example that he used. As you look at the industry over this last year, how have those industry changes affected WESTDOC?

Chuck Braverman: Well, you’re really talking about three different elements. I mean, if he’s talking about the Hatfields and McCoys, that’s a completely different kind of show, of course. That’s a completely legitimately scripted show.

Larry Jordan: Ok.

Chuck Braverman: It’s the reality shows. We’re not dealing with the Hatfields and McCoys type show. We’re dealing with the non-fiction documentary and reality shows and, ironically, those shows are also slipping into this scripted mode. I mean, it’s sort of a little secret of the reality shows that, you know, Honey Boo-Boo and Pawn Stars and all those shows are, “produced”, you know? And scripted really means in this case they’re given situations where they’re asked to do certain things.

Chuck Braverman: But on the other hand, there are more and more really wonderful, fantastic documentaries being made. There aren’t as many outlets for them but I’m a member of the Motion Picture Academy in the documentary branch and in the last year or two, they’ve changed the rules where all the documentary members that want to see them get to see all the docs and I’m bombarded with about 100 docs alone that are trying to qualify for an Academy Award. And I’m telling you guys, there are some, you know, fabulous documentaries that are being made out there and some are getting theatrical distribution and some are ending up on HBO and some are ending up on CNN and some are ending up on PBS. There are more and more great docs being made too.

Larry Jordan: It’s interesting, because I would say just over the last five years, with the explosion of documentaries now in film festivals such as Toronto and Venice, which are going on, what, now or something and Telluride, that documentaries in the trade papers and in the newspapers are getting just as much attention as the feature films are.

Chuck Braverman: Well, it’s because, you know, there are great films being made and you can’t make this stuff up, you know, what happens in some of these documentaries is too bizarre to believe, but except the fact that they really are true. And look at Alex Gibney, you know, for example, who is like a documentary factory right now. He just keeps pumping out terrific doc after doc. He won an Oscar a couple of years ago for Taxi to the Dark Side; he’s doing the Lance Armstrong doc now; he did the Enron, you know, Smartest Guys in the Room doc and I’ll bet, I mean, a dozen more than I can’t think of in the last couple of years.

Chuck Braverman: And Kirby Dick, you know, keeps making great documentaries – The Invisible War and This Film is not Rated and so, you know, Errol Morris and the list just goes on and on. We’re building up an establishment of great doc film makers.

Mike Horton: Yes, poor Errol Morris just got hammered in Venice on Rumsfeld.

Chuck Braverman: Yes.

Mike Horton: Yes, I just read the article today.

Larry Jordan: But if you’re a new documentary producer, Chuck, where should you look first for distribution? I mean, you’re trying to build the credibility and the track record, let’s assume you’ve got a good doc – where do you go?

Chuck Braverman: Well, that’s the $64,000 question for somebody up and coming. But I’ll tell you, if you can make a good doc without spending a lot of money – and you can these days if you’re smart – I think there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an oncoming train. I think it really is happening on the internet, where you can start. I mean, for example, you know, Vimeo. You can have what’s called, I think, a professional account on Vimeo…

Larry Jordan: Right, you can charge for your…

Chuck Braverman: Right, and so you can put it up and they only take – I say only, but I think it’s actually very small compared to what other distributors take – they only take ten percent of the gross, as I understand it, so you can charge anything you want, $1.99 or, you know, $10 or whatever you think the market will bear and you’ll get 90 percent of the money and here you have a potential worldwide audience.

Chuck Braverman: Now, of course, the key here and in almost every product is, marketing, marketing, marketing and if a tree falls in the forest, nobody hears it, doesn’t make any sound, so you have to get some PR and some press and win some festivals or something. But to me, that’s even better than iTunes in a way, where they take a larger percentage.

Larry Jordan: Yes, but let’s be fair, the last time we talked to you, this isn’t the way you do it. You kind of get your money up front.

Chuck Braverman: Yes, I like that concept, I do. And that way is difficult too. I’m working on a couple of shows right now and what’s changed in the last four, five, six years, I used to be able to go to Discovery Channel or, you know, A&E with a concept and a reputation and an idea and say, “Here’s my idea. I want to make a show about a bunch of kids in a paramilitary camp in Florida and call it High School Boot Camp,” and explain them and write up two or three pages and they said, “Ok, go do it. Here’s, you know, six figures and go make the film and come back in six months.” You can’t do that any more. Now, what’s happening at just about every network for almost everybody on almost every project, you have to have what’s called a sizzle reel and a pitch. So you really basically have to go out there, you’ve got to shoot something, you’ve got to show them who’s going to be in the cast and show them what the show’s going to look like.

Chuck Braverman: And that’s one of the things that we do at the WESTDOC, by the way. We have a pitch fest on the last full day, on Wednesday, and we’re going to be featuring 13 short videos and new concepts for television shows and series and one-off docs.

Larry Jordan: Where can people go to learn more about what’s happening at WESTDOC? And do you still have room for people to sign up?

Chuck Braverman: I’m glad you asked that question, Larry. You go to www.thewestdoc.com  and just click on registration; and yes, we are filling up fast, but people for some reason which I don’t understand always wait until the last week or two and I feel like…

Mike Horton: Drives me crazy.

Chuck Braverman: …that scene in Rebel Without A Cause when James Dean is in the car racing… and that’s how we are as producers.

Mike Horton: It drives you crazy.

Larry Jordan: I know Mike produces his own shows and watching him pace the room before the show each week.

Mike Horton: Is anybody going to show up? Then they all do at the last minute.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, thewestdoc.com. Chuck Braverman is the Co-Founder, the WESTDOC now in its fourth year and, Chuck, it’s always a delight talking. Thanks for taking the time.

Chuck Braverman: I just wanted to say what a big fan I am of you guys and thanks very much for having me.

Mike Horton: Thanks Chuck.

Larry Jordan: Oh, you are very kind. Thank you.

Mike Horton: Back at you.

Chuck Braverman: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.

Chuck Braverman: Bye.

Larry Jordan: One of the things, Michael, that I want to do right now is we are going to turn our intergalactic switchboard loose and we’re going to call all the way across the Pacific Ocean to Australia.

Mike Horton: Yes, hope it works.

Larry Jordan: So we are dialing the numbers extra slowly, because we want to get our next guest on. He’s the Creative Director at Luxx, his name is Tim Clapham. He’s a multi-disciplinary animator and compositor. He’s an industry recognized expert in both Cinema 4D and after effects and a renowned trainer with a meticulous attention to detail. With over 14 years of industry experience, Tim has worked with a wide range of global advertising agencies and broadcast networks, producing world class content that is both technically challenging while maintaining innovation and high quality. That’s what it says on his website and his website is never wrong. Welcome, Tim, good to have you with us.

Tim Clapham: Hey, thanks for having me on the show.

Larry Jordan: Well, so far we are batting about 1,000 on Australians. We started with Peter Hamilton, who began in Australia and you’re from Australia and Philip Hodgetts, who follows, is here in the States but is also Australian, so I thought we had a documentary theme but obviously we’re saying that there’s a ton of creative people Down Under.

Tim Clapham: Well, actually, I don’t want to ruin that for you, but I’m originally from the UK. I’ve only been here five years. But it’s a great country and there’s a great industry over here.

Larry Jordan: Well, they’ve adopted you as a native son, so you’re qualifying as Australia for the next, oh, half hour or so.

Tim Clapham: Awesome.

Larry Jordan: What got you started in visual effects?

Tim Clapham: Originally, I started working creating CDs in Director, actually, and Lingo and stuff, but we were working for, like, L’Oreal, doing a lot of animations for shampoo and things and I was using Infini-D at the time, I think it was – it was that long ago – and I just fell in love with it and I studied film at university, but as soon as I found, like, non-linear editing, then there was no stopping me.

Mike Horton: So you were at that time where it would take you days and things to render stuff, right?

Tim Clapham: Yes, and it still takes days now.

Mike Horton: Well, yes, but everything you were doing was not real time and at least not that feedback, that real time feedback, that you would get now in Cinema 4D.

Tim Clapham: Oh, that’s right, absolutely. No, it was definitely a lot more of a laborious process.

Mike Horton: You had a lot of patience.

Tim Clapham: That’s it, yes. I mean, you know, it was overnight renders for ten seconds of animation if you were lucky.

Mike Horton: Exactly.

Larry Jordan: Oh, I remember back just as recently as 12 years ago, you would add a blur to a clip and it would take 30 seconds for the blur to be applied. I can’t imagine doing some of the compositing that you’ve done. We’re going to talk about your work in a second. Tell us what Luxx – or is it Luxx? How do you pronounce it?

Tim Clapham: Luxx.

Larry Jordan: And what is it?

Tim Clapham: It’s Luxx.

Larry Jordan: So tell us about Luxx.

Tim Clapham: Well, Luxx is a 3D animation motion graphics company. Originally, I used to run a company called Hyper in the UK and then I fell in love with my wife and she lived in Australia, so I moved over here and me and my business partner went our separate ways – he decided to go off and produce… so that’s when I started Luxx. Probably been in the industry for about ten years and Luxx was born when I moved to Sydney and, to be honest, we hit the ground running and we haven’t stopped since and we work with broadcasters and we also work with agencies, but the other thing that we do a lot of is we work in collaboration with studios, so if they need some technical assistance, some 3D work done, then we will go and work in-house with them or very often we work remotely too.

Larry Jordan: Well, your visuals are – oh, by the way, for people that want to check out your website, it’s luxx.tv and the demo reel is, although it hasn’t been updated in about five years, the demo reel is absolutely worth watching.

Mike Horton: Yes.

Larry Jordan: It’s luxx.tv. Your visuals, Tim, are incredibly complex and I’m thinking specifically about the work you did for HBO’s Action Nation. Where do you get your ideas from and, more importantly, how did you develop that kind of complex imagery?

Tim Clapham: Well, the Action Nation piece, I worked directly with the Art Director with HBO and he had this vision that he wanted to create a Steam Punk style type and that was for a whole toolbox that we created for HBO, so it was print as well and we gave them all the source files. But he sent me like a rough layout that he’d done in Photoshop, where he’d collaged it together, and then we worked together and built all the parts in 3D. And because it was so intricate, I thought it would just make a really amazing camera move, to travel inside all of the letters, like, in the gearing etcetera as it assembled. So, I mean, it was a pretty daunting project once it was complete, but Cinema managed to keep the workflow nice and smooth.

Larry Jordan: How often does a client come to you and say, “Well, I’ve got this idea,” and he pretty much gives you a blank slate and just lets you go off and figure it out?

Tim Clapham: Yes, I mean, that happens sometimes. It really does vary from project to project. Sometimes you’ll have a client come to you and they’ve got a very specific idea and they’ll even have boards and stuff like that and, you know, you need to match what they’ve done very precisely; but other times, you know, they just have some pencil sketches and a concept and it’s all about brainstorming between us and bouncing ideas until we come up with something that we both kind of fall in love with and then we just develop it from there.

Larry Jordan: Yes, I’m just looking at it right now as we’re speaking and looking at Tom Clancy’s The Division, the Ubisoft thing. It’s brilliant.

Tim Clapham: Thank you. Yes, well, I’ll be going to IBC next week.

Larry Jordan: Hey, so will we. We’re going to be…

Tim Clapham: Oh, well, we should catch up when we’re there. I mean, I’ll be presenting on the Maxon booth every day and I’ll be going through the work that we did for the Tom Clancy’s Division. I’ll be outlining some of the workflow, the procedures and things that we did; and I’ll also hopefully have a new reel by then as well.

Mike Horton: Hey, you’ve got to come to the SuperMeet, because Maxon is going to be there and Larry’s going to be there and I’m going to be there. It’s going to be awesome and I’ll buy you a beer.

Tim Clapham: Ok, cool. That’s it, sold.

Larry Jordan: Listen, given the idea that Mike doesn’t buy beers for that many people, you should take him up on it and maybe try and hit him up for two.

Mike Horton: Yes, exactly.

Tim Clapham: That sounds like a plan.

Larry Jordan: What tools do you use in creating your visual effects? What software?

Tim Clapham: Primarily we use Cinema 4D and we use the studio edition, so we’ve got all of the mobile syncing particles. Also we use RealFlow. We do the majority of our comping in After Effects and a bit of a Final Cut Pro user as far as editing is concerned. I do have my Creative Cloud subscription, but I haven’t actually installed Premiere yet, but I’ve been using Final Cut Pro since version one, that’s actually when I first got introduced to Cinema 4D, because when they released Final Cut Pro, they bundled Cinema 4D to go with it, which is like a really cut down version; and at the time, we were using Lightwave, and it was a bit problematic, it was crashing a bit because we were on a Mac, and when we got Cinema 4D, that was it, you know, that was our choice.

Larry Jordan: I think Premiere has a light version of Cinema 4D, doesn’t it?

Mike Horton: After Effects does. It’s After Effects that has…

Larry Jordan: It’s After? No. It is?

Mike Horton: Mhmm.

Larry Jordan: No it isn’t. I think it’s Maxon’s. Oh, never mind.

Mike Horton: No, no, Maxon’s Cinema 4D has a light version which is bundled with After Effects as part of Creative Cloud. It’s After Effects, not Premiere.

Tim Clapham: That’s right, yes.

Larry Jordan: Oh, ok, never mind, never mind. Just slap me.

Tim Clapham: Yes. It’s a cool integration. It’s called Cineware and it allows you to open Cinema 4D directly in your After Effects timeline, so it’s pretty revolutionary and I think that it’s definitely going to be going places as they continue to develop that. It’s a great partnership. I mean, without the integration between After Effects and Cinema, my workflow would be horrendously difficult, but we can just bring our cameras and everything straight into After Effects’ 3D space and, with things like The Division, it meant comping all the atmospheric effects, we could match our camera with Trap Pro Particular and we could add in all of the typography etcetera and it would match with the 3D moves perfectly, so absolutely awesome partnership there.

Mike Horton: Yes, your reel has a lot of particles. Oh my gosh, that must have been difficult.

Larry Jordan: Tim, put your business hat on for a second. There are VFX houses, especially here in the States, that are closing every day and there’s a lot of discussion in the industry about how the VFX industry is pricing themselves out of the market, especially where feature films are concerned. How do you manage to stay in business and earn the money that you need to earn to keep the lights on and the people paid?

Tim Clapham: Well, it’s a tricky question. I think all the years ago when I first started out, the desktop wasn’t such a powerful system. Thankfully now, you know, back then, everyone was using, like, silicon graphics and I think that the prices that they were charging, like, for flame sweeps were so high, but now the competition is so much greater because you’ve got a lot of kids coming out of school, they’ve just got a Mac or a PC and they can sit in their room, they’ve go the internet for all the tutorials. So with that in mind, customers and clients are demanding more and, like, budgets definitely aren’t going up, so I think the trickiest thing is managing client expectation and obviously managing staff and time. You know, you don’t want artists being overworked and underpaid, which is a bit of a bad tradition in this industry, unfortunately, so it is a case of managing what your client expects and hopefully exceeding their expectations.

Tim Clapham: But yes, I mean, it’s not an easy task for sure, but thankfully the work that we do is enjoyable and it’s a great buzz when you get it out there so, you know, that takes some of the pain away.

Larry Jordan: You know, thinking about those kids coming out of school with a laptop, as you look back on your career, what project was it that was the springboard for you that took you from just an average VFX person into the top quality work that you’re doing now?

Tim Clapham: Wow. I suppose we were really fortunate. Before I started working full time in this industry, I was running like a bureau doing digital photography and scanning and a friend of mine was running a production company and I freelanced with him and we produced five Lego adverts. They were TVCs, they were ten seconds, and that was the first sort of introduction of working with big agencies. We worked with Publicist London and that was it then. There was no stopping me, really, to be honest, and although I look back now, the work is a little bit cringy perhaps, considering, but it was definitely an inspiration to get me started.

Larry Jordan: One of the things I’ve discovered in my career is the projects that I’m proudest of are the ones that don’t have any record any more, the tape has been erased, so it lives only in my imagination and there, of course, it’s perfect so I can identify with that.

Tim Clapham: That’s it, yes.

Larry Jordan: What are you most proud of as an artist? What products make you smile every time you think about them?

Tim Clapham: At the moment, The Division that we did with Tom Clancy. I mean, technically it was an incredible amount of work to get done. I think it’s a three minute trailer and it took us about 12 weeks to complete that, which was a pretty fast turnaround; and the project went so smoothly and it’s absolutely unheard of in this industry that we didn’t have any late nights and everyone that was involved, they were incredible artists. It was really humbling to work with such amazing people and we all got on really well, there was a great atmosphere working together, client loves the result and it’s getting lots of exposure. So there’s not really much bad that I can say about it, so that’s definitely one of my top favorites.

Larry Jordan: So given the fact that you’ve got artistic skills oozing out of your elbows as well as your fingertips, what new challenges are you looking to tackle?

Tim Clapham: Well, we have launched a website, helloluxx.com, and what we’re trying to do is create a community of artists and we offer loads of free training and also some commercial training there and what we’re going to try and do there is bring more experts in so we can share the knowledge; we’re hoping to publish a kind of quarterly .pdf magazine, where we can go out and interview different studios and just provide inspiration for people starting in the industry and knowledge, so I just want to carry on what I’m doing, keep working with Luxx, keeping working with great people and hopefully keep making great work.

Larry Jordan: And the website, that new website is what? What’s the URL?

Tim Clapham: It’s helloluxx.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, helloluxx.com and for people that want to get in contact with you, what other website should they use?

Tim Clapham: We have luxx.tv and helloluxx.com and you have the opportunity to contact me on either of those places, and I’d love to hear from you; and if you want to follow me on Twitter, it’s @helloluxx.

Larry Jordan: And that is luxx.tv and Tim Clapham is the Creative Director for Luxx and, Tim, thanks for joining us today.

Mike Horton: Yes, see you at the SuperMeet next week.

Larry Jordan: Take care.

Tim Clapham: I will, and I’ll catch you up for that beer. I look forward to it.

Mike Horton: Absolutely. Find me.

Tim Clapham: Thanks for having me on the show.

Mike Horton: All right.

Larry Jordan: Take care, Tim, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Michael, you may not have paid attention to this, but there’s been a lot of mention in this show about…

Mike Horton: Australians?

Larry Jordan: IBC.

Mike Horton: Oh yes.

Larry Jordan: Which is in Australia and…

Mike Horton: It is.

Larry Jordan: …one of the people that’s going to be at IBC is…

Mike Horton: I know. This is going to be so much fun.

Larry Jordan: …is our next guest and his name is Philip Hodgetts. He’s the CEO of Intelligence Assistance and is involved in technology in virtually every area of digital video. He’s a regular contributor here to The Buzz and, as always, we’re delighted to have Philip with us. Hello, Philip, welcome back.

Philip Hodgetts: Hello Larry.

Mike Horton: Hello Philip.

Larry Jordan: So Mike wants to know if you’ve got your suitcases packed for Amsterdam now.

Mike Horton: Hey, he’s going on my plane, the plane that I’m going on to Amsterdam. He’s going to be there. He’s going to be in first class, I’m going to be in coach.

Larry Jordan: I was going to say, you finally got someone to carry your luggage for you. Mr. Philip, so I want to find out a bunch of stuff from you, but first you’ve been releasing some new software and there are two that I have to ask you about before we talk about IBC. Tell us what the Producer’s Best Friend is.

Philip Hodgetts: Very simply, it’s a reporting tool. I mean, one of the great, wonderful tasks that producers or, probably more accurately, interns get to do is to generate all sorts of clip reports from the finished program, what stock footage you need to get in high resolution, what music have you used from each company, where it’s got to be reported. Some clients require you to report every clip that was used. You may want to track transitions and reports can be very, very tedious to do. You used to be able to export an .edl and then copy and paste a whole lot of other information and what Producer’s Best Friend does it take that .xml from Final Cut Pro X, from your finished product or from your event, and make a beautiful, gorgeous Excel spreadsheet of all the information from the project or the event.

Larry Jordan: Well, our producer, Cirina Catania, saw this and just about died on the spot. She thought it was the greatest invention since the invention of probably bread. But how are you flagging a music clip? Or how are you flagging any particular entry so it shows up in the right section of the spreadsheet?

Philip Hodgetts: Ah, because of those beautiful rolls and sub-rolls in Final Cut Pro X, so if you look for stock footage and a sub-roll for each stock house and tagged appropriately, you would get that beautifully reported accordingly in the spreadsheet, the rolls in Final Cut X are the secret.

Larry Jordan: So you could apply a roll to audio or to video? It works either way?

Philip Hodgetts: Yes, indeed, and you can play rolls and sub-rolls so, again, you can then have a sub-roll for each of your music stock footage suppliers.

Mike Horton: Wow.

Larry Jordan: I mean, I had a chance to… it sound simple to say, but it saves months of time.

Philip Hodgetts: Well, it saves days, generally. It could take somebody two or three days to produce these sorts of reports in the bad old days and that’ll do it in a couple of minutes. It does tend to make people feel that they have found a new best friend.

Mike Horton: Is this being launched with every roll and sub-roll you can possibly think of? Or is it just added on as the requests come in?

Philip Hodgetts: The sub-rolls are entirely up to the person using the video and we just report based on what is already there.

Mike Horton: Oh, ok.

Larry Jordan: In other words, you create the roll or the sub-roll inside Final Cut to meet your needs and whatever you create will be reported out to this spreadsheet.

Philip Hodgetts: Yes. We also do thinks like markers and comments and notes and things like that that are not roll related and transitions…

Mike Horton: No, I’m just going to say this doesn’t come with a list of common rolls and sub-rolls that you’ve already done the work for.

Larry Jordan: What are you trying to do, get him to take all your work away

Mike Horton: I think that would be a good thing. We’ve come up with 200 common rolls and sub-rolls and all you have to do is add what your imagination comes up with.

Larry Jordan: Well, we need to have a long conversation with how this works with Michael off the air.

Mike Horton: Like bagels. We’ve come up with bagels.

Larry Jordan: Just hush. There’s another really good question we need to find out. You also released a new thing called Change List X. What’s this?

Philip Hodgetts: Again, it’s a somewhat specialist tool and it’s almost really if you don’t know what it is, it’s probably because it isn’t something you’ll need. It’s a very specialized tool because final is never final, but in world of television production, a final cut or a locked cut goes off to audio, into visual effects for them to start their work and audio builds up multiple tracks around that cut and, of course, inevitably it has to change and what a change list is what you change from the first cut to add the new cut.

Larry Jordan: In other words, I could compare the contents of one project with the contents of a second and it would tell me what’s different?

Philip Hodgetts: It will tell you what have to do to project one to build it into project two step by step. I guess that’s a list of differences.

Larry Jordan: Yes, I mean, essentially, I mean, you can’t do a major motion picture without a change list and it just doesn’t exist.

Philip Hodgetts: Exactly, that was one of the very…

Larry Jordan: You just, you can’t do it.

Philip Hodgetts: Yes, and in Final Cut 7 world, of course, we had Cinema Tools to handle that role…

Larry Jordan: Right, mhmm.

Philip Hodgetts: …which Apple had bought from a third party back in the day.

Larry Jordan: I’m assuming the pictures that are being done right now, those big, big budget pictures that are being done with Final Cut X are going to be using Change List X?

Philip Hodgetts: It certainly isn’t a coincidence that Change List is ready now.

Mike Horton: Oh, I see.

Larry Jordan: And everybody should go to, what is it? I Love FCPX forum or group on Facebook and read Sam Messman’s post on the $100 million movie that he’s doing right now. He gives big kudos to Philip Hodgetts for his tools.

Mike Horton: Every time I turn around, Philip has got a new utility for us to work with, so obviously he doesn’t eat and he doesn’t sleep.

Larry Jordan: Yes he does.

Philip Hodgetts: He also has a very productive partner in Greg.

Mike Horton: In Greg. Yes, but Greg never wants the, he wants the attention.

Larry Jordan: Greg never sleeps either, I think. Philip, what are you looking for at IBC? What’s something that you’re looking to find out more about?

Philip Hodgetts: Well, I think it’s very much a… although I’m not a total advocate, I guess one needs to find out what’s being said. For me, it’s really just to find out what IBC is all about and an opportunity to go to Europe.

Larry Jordan: Yes, it’s so much fun, you’ll have a ball.

Mike Horton: You mean…

Philip Hodgetts: I expect to. I do.

Mike Horton: Philip, you don’t have an agenda?

Philip Hodgetts: Not really, no, no. It really is just to go and to suss it out. I mean, the first time I went to NAB, I had no agenda and this time I have no agenda, other than to find out what IBC is about. I’m going to the Maxon presentation on Friday, so I expect to enjoy that because they do some great stuff in 3D, but really… my agenda at all.

Larry Jordan: It’ll be exciting.

Mike Horton: You need to go to the museums. Go to the museums, go to the SuperMeet and you’ll be fine.

Larry Jordan: Or at the very least…

Philip Hodgetts: Yes, oh, of course I’ll be at the SuperMeet.

Larry Jordan: By the way, Grant on our live chat says Sony just made a consumer 4K camera today.

Mike Horton: Yes, I saw that.

Philip Hodgetts: Yes. That’s…

Larry Jordan: You can read more about it on…

Philip Hodgetts: That’s kind of what I was hinting at.

Larry Jordan: …Gizmodo. So anyway, Philip, where can people go to learn more about Producer’s Best Friend and Change List X?

Philip Hodgetts: At intelligentassistance.com, you can find links to both. They’re under the Final Cut Pro X carousel and I rant and rave about things at philiphodgetts.com that interest me.

Larry Jordan: All right, that’s intelligentassistance.com and philiphodgetts.com and Philip Hodgetts himself is the President of Intelligent Assistance and, Philip, as always, thanks for joining us today.

Philip Hodgetts: My pleasure.

Mike Horton: See you next Wednesday on the airplane.

Philip Hodgetts: All right, see you there.

Mike Horton: All right.

Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.

Philip Hodgetts: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan: You know, IBC is going to be a great show. There are two big trade shows every year – there’s NAB in the spring and IBC in the fall.

Mike Horton: Yes, they say that NAB’s the show that they announce stuff and IBC’s the show that they ship them, but I don’t know if that’s true or not.

Larry Jordan: Well, I don’t know if it’s true but, I tell you, the industry is gearing up to do announcements at both shows. They can do a spring announcement and a fall announcement. It’s going to be a…

Mike Horton: But the whole idea is just getting together face to face, meeting each other, seeing each other, talking to each other, learning from each other. That’s what these things are all about.

Larry Jordan: And working a trip to Europe in.

Mike Horton: And working a trip to Europe in.

Larry Jordan: So, for people that want to learn more about the SuperMeet, where can they go?

Mike Horton: Supermeet.com, you get a chance to hang out with Larry Jordan, so take that opportunity and it’s going to be a great show. Plus we’re giving away a Blackmagic Design Cinema camera.

Larry Jordan: Oh, I want that.

Mike Horton: Part of our raffle, and we’re also giving away a free lunch with Larry Jordan.

Larry Jordan: Two free lunches if you lose.

Mike Horton: Yes. Supermeet.com. Get your tickets.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests today. We started with Peter Hamilton, the Founder and Editor of documentarytelevision.com; Shawn Griffith, Broadcast Studio Producer for CLZ TV at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.

Mike Horton: Awesome job you’re doing, dude.

Larry Jordan: Chuck Braverman, Co-Founder of the Westdoc conference; Tim Clapham, the Creative Director of Luxx; and Philip Hodgetts, the President of Intelligent Assistance. There’s a lot happening at The Buzz between shows, especially as we gear up for IBC. Visit digitalproductionbuzz.com and click ‘Latest News’. We update this several times a day with the latest news from our industry. Our producer is Serena Catania. On behalf of Mike Horton, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz.

Mike Horton: Goodbye, everybody.

Voiceover: This Digital Production Buzz was brought to you by Blackmagic Design, creators of the world’s highest quality solutions for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries.

Digital Production Buzz — September 5, 2013

  • A Master Class in Documentary Production
  • Video For the Kids, By the Kids, and Of the Kids
  • An Inside Look at WestDoc 2013
  • Making the Most of Cinema 4D
  • First Look: Producer’s Best Friend

GUESTS: Peter Hamilton, Shawn Griffith, Chuck Braverman, Tim Clapham, and Philip Hodgetts

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

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

[Show transcripts provided by Take1.tv.]

Join Larry Jordan and co-host Michael Horton as they talk with:

Peter Hamilton, Founder and Editor, DocumentaryTelevision

Peter Hamilton is the founder and editor of the leading industry e-newsletter DocumentaryTelevision.com. His upcoming Master Class in conjunction with producer Ed Hersh, at Westdoc 2013 will reveal what U.S. networks are looking for and how we can get our projects green lit. We’re happy to have him on the BuZZ to give us a preview!

Shawn Griffith, Broadcast Studio Producer, CLZ-TV, Channel 39 (The Child Life Zone)

Shawn Griffith comes from a feature film background. He has taught Film and Video production at the college level and worked with many big names in the industry. Then, he got hooked by the kids at Cook Children’s Hospital and, with the help of organizations such as Panasonic, is now immersed in the Child Life Zone at CLZ-TV, Channel 39, in Fort Worth, Texas, where the kids are creating original programming!

Chuck Braverman, Co-Founder, The WESTDOC Conference

Co-Founder of Westdoc and award-winning producer, Chuck Braverman, is back to update us on new speakers for Westdoc 2013. He’ll also discuss the new landscape for documentary content providers and network executives. Think you knew everything about docs? Guess again!

Tim Clapham, Director, Luxx

Luxx is world-famous for its VFX work using Cinema 4D. Tim Clapham, Director at Luxx, joins us to talk about creating visual effects, surviving in the business and what he looks for in his tools.

Philip Hodgetts, President, Intelligent Assistance

Philip Hodgetts is on his way to the IBC in Amsterdam, but before he flies out, we wanted to talk to him about his company‘s recent release of Producers Best Friend, an app that will save us many hours when creating reports for the networks.

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!

iZotope’s New RX 3 to Debut at CPUG’s September 15th SuperMeet

iZotope, Inc., a leading audio technology company, will be showcasing the new RX 3 audio repair suite at the CPUG Amsterdam SuperMeet during IBC on September 15th. In addition to personalized demos at the iZotope demonstration stand, Post Production Specialist Mike Thornton will conduct a 20-minute main stage presentation Rescue Bad Audio from the Cutting Room Floor.

Using real-world examples, Thornton will show how RX 3 can resolve common audio problems in post-production and broadcast applications, highlighting features like the new real-time Dialogue Denoiser, the revolutionary new Dereverb module, and RX 3’s powerful spectral audio editor.

Presentation Details:

  • WHAT: iZotope RX 3 product demonstrations and main stage presentation during CPUG SuperMeet
  • WHO: Presented by iZotope and Post Production Specialist Mike Thornton
  • WHERE: CPUG SuperMeet, Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • WHEN: Sunday, September 15th, from 19:00- 23:00 CEST, with product demonstrations starting at 16:00

iZotope RX 3 is an industry-leading audio repair solution for audio engineers, post production professionals, broadcasters, podcasters, archivists, forensic specialists, videographers and more. Work up to six times faster than before thanks to processing enhancements and a redesigned user interface. Remove or reduce reverb, clean up dialogue on the fly, recall session details with the new RX Document format, and much more with the new RX 3.

Click for more information on iZotope’s RX 3 and RX 3 Advanced.

 

AmberFin Announces New Transcode Farm Controller & Network Licence Server for iCR

At IBC 2013, on stand 7.H39, AmberFin, a leading developer of file-based media ingest, transcoding and quality control solutions for content owners, broadcasters, sports organizations and post-production houses will showcase new enterprise-class features for iCR, the company’s file-based content ingest and transcoding system.

Making its worldwide debut at IBC, the new iCR Transcode Farm Controller functionality builds on AmberFin’s market leading multi-format transcode capabilities. It significantly increases the flexibility and versatility of a multi-node transcode environment, bringing improved resilience and robustness whilst simultaneously bringing cost savings through more versatile network licensing capabilities.

The iCR platform makes intelligent use of a media facility’s resources, while making complicated workflows simple to operate for the end user. Visitors to the AmberFin stand will see how the iCR platform’s enterprise class features can increase efficiency and profitability throughout a media facility’s operation.

Transcode Farm Controller

In today’s increasingly file-based media workflows, file transcode operations have assumed critical importance. With media facilities both receiving and distributing content as media files, an efficient Transcode Farm Controller is essential. With the new iCR Transcode Farm Controller the transcode segment of the workflow is scalable, provides an appropriate level of redundancy to suit a specific application and enables a combination of high throughput and advanced system functionality.

The new iCR Transcode Farm Controller works by providing a single, reliable, redundant interface to the iCR Transcode capabilities. Jobs are sent to the iCR Controller and behind the scenes the system architecture is sized to achieve the required levels of redundancy and throughput required by that particular application. By combining the Farm Controller with AmberFin’s Network Licensing Server an even larger scale model can be created with pools of transcode nodes that can dynamically float across the underlying server hardware and no longer require fixed node-to-server relationships. This achieves even greater levels of redundancy and operational efficiency over a large-scale transcode network through efficient use of available hardware nodes, irrespective of node fall out at any given time.

The combination of the Transcode Farm Controller and Network License Server adds a third dimension in terms of enhanced network functionality. It provides floating software licenses for occasional functions, such as standards conversion, captioning, Dolby, audio processing and watermarking.

Network License Server makes European debut at IBC

First introduced at NAB this year and making its European debut at IBC, AmberFin iCR’s Network License Server enables facilities to use the same technology in both a single standalone Desktop PC running as the proof of concept as well as in a network of 100 or more servers / blades / VMs. Furthermore, each iCR node contains all the software required to implement the four main functions of media ingest, file transcode, playback and quality control. The license defines the functionality of a specific node at a specific time.

Another key feature of the Network License Server is its ability to ensure that a user’s full capacity is always on-line. For example, if one transcoder node encounters problems, the Farm Controller will seamlessly swap the required iCR operations to a back-up node and the Network License Server will ensure it is able to carry on. It is easy to tie together job queues and the Network License Server so that the network administrator is able to gauge how many jobs were delayed based on the licensing options available within the group. This feedback gives key capacity information to administrators, allowing them to manage both costs and capacity.

At IBC, AmberFin iCR also introduces new and sophisticated tools for adding, checking and inserting a user’s customer metadata through configuration and without requiring costly code customization. The iCR metadata plug-in wizard allows users to configure the metadata they need for their organization in such a way that ingest and QC operators can automatically update and validate this information as part of a QC workflow. This metadata can then be used to control segmentation workflows, versioning workflows and in simple wizards to perform the right process with the right media and right metadata at the right time.

For more information, please download the AmberFin white paper “Enterprise Level File-Based Workflows: Merging Technology with Sound Business Sense”. http://info.amberfin.com/whitepaper-enterprise

Click for more information about AmberFin’s Transcode Farm Controller & Network Licence Server for iCR.

 

Discover Lower Pop, A Collection of Lower-Third Titles for Final Cut Pro X

Noise Industries is proud to present Lower Pop, a collection of lower-third titles for Final Cut Pro X.

Click to watch a demo of Noise Industries’ Lower Pop.

Click to watch a tutorial on Noise industries’ Lower Pop.

Telestream Initiates Open Source x265/HEVC Project

Telestream, the leading provider of digital media tools and workflow solutions, has announced the public availability of an open source H.265 (HEVC) encoder. The new x265 project is aimed at the creation of the world’s most efficient, highest quality H.265 codec. Conceived by Telestream, the x265 project was co-founded and is being managed by the company’s development partner, MulticoreWare Inc. The H.265 initiative is being introduced under both an open source and commercial license model.

Interested individuals and companies are encouraged to contribute to the project and are invited to learn more at x265.org. As an open source project, access is free under GNU LGPL licensing, and commercial licenses are available for companies wishing to use the resulting implementation in their products.

Telestream will demonstrate HEVC transcoding at the International Broadcasters Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam, September 13-17 in stand 7.C12.

Click for more information about Telestream’s Open Source x265/HEVC Project.