Digital Production Buzz
January 16, 2014
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
Leon Silverman, President & Co-Founder, Hollywood Post Alliance
Jerry Pierce, Vice President, Hollywood Post Alliance
Dom Bourne, CEO, Take 1 Transcription
Noel Cordero, Partner & Creative Director, The Timelapse Group
Ryan Neil Postas, Filmmaker, Elevated Minds Entertainment
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, our ever affable, incredibly handsome and incredibly talented – did I mention he has a contract coming up? – is our co-host, the bemused Mr. Mike Horton.
Mike Horton: I do.
Larry Jordan: You do.
Mike Horton: I do, I have a contract. Do I get two bottles of wine instead of one?
Larry Jordan: Oh Michael, Michael, our secret’s supposed to be between the two of us.
Mike Horton: Called my agent, had him negotiate the new contract for 2014 for the Digital Production Buzz. It is great to be back here and it’s nice to be affable.
Larry Jordan: And handsome, too.
Mike Horton: Thank you, Larry.
Larry Jordan: Affable and handsome are two things that are wonderful.
Mike Horton: I need a haircut, though.
Larry Jordan: Yes, well, both of us do. It happens as we get older. The hair keeps growing.
Mike Horton: Can you see how grey my hair, I mean, it’s…
Larry Jordan: It’s very white, very stylish now.
Mike Horton: It’s turning white around the temples too.
Larry Jordan: I think it’s because of the…
Mike Horton: It’s embarrassing.
Larry Jordan: It makes you look distinguished.
Mike Horton: We’re sitting next to our studio audience guest here who’s…
Larry Jordan: Wait a minute.
Mike Horton: …kind of salt and pepper kind of thing. I want to have salt and pepper hair.
Larry Jordan: All of our secrets.
Mike Horton: Just like you, Larry.
Larry Jordan: Will you just put a lid on it? Gracious.
Mike Horton: I want to be Larry Jordan. I just want to be like you, Larry.
Larry Jordan: Thinking about affable and handsome, we’ve got Ryan Neil Postas. He’s a film maker for Elevated Minds who recently created a project using more than ten cameras. Our first question is how and our second question…
Mike Horton: And there’s your budget.
Larry Jordan: …is why, and you’ll learn the answers tonight. Leon Silverman is the President and Jerry Pierce is the Vice President of the Hollywood Post Alliance, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. This week, we chat with both Leon and Jerry about what the Hollywood Post Alliance is and what their plans are to celebrate their anniversary.
Larry Jordan: Noel Cordero is a Partner and a Creative Director for the Timelapse Group. This past New Year’s Eve, they created a time lapse video using more than 18,000 stills. Tonight you’ll learn how they did it.
Larry Jordan: And Dom Bourne is the CEO of Take 1 Transcriptions, the folks that provide the weekly written transcripts for The Buzz. He joins us live in the studio a little later this evening to talk about the process of transcription and how it can benefit your projects.
Larry Jordan: By the way, I should mention that we are continuing to offer text transcripts for each show, courtesy of Take 1 Transcription. Now you can quickly scan or print the contents of each show, as well as listen to it. Transcripts are located on each show page and you can learn more at take1.tv and thanks, Take 1 for all your help.
Larry Jordan: Michael! Michael, are you ready?
Mike Horton: Yes.
Larry Jordan: Sundance opened today. Are you going?
Mike Horton: No.
Larry Jordan: What?
Mike Horton: I wish I could.
Larry Jordan: A film aficionado like yourself?
Mike Horton: I heard they actually have weather there, unlike here. .
Larry Jordan: And they have great movies and parties.
Mike Horton: And they have great movies and parties, yes.
Larry Jordan: And why you’re not going is because…? You’re just too dedicated to your job, aren’t you?
Mike Horton: Because I don’t have any money for the hotel room. You know the hotel rooms, even like a Motel 6, will cost you $500 a night to stay there. It’s ridiculous.
Larry Jordan: You should go and bring me.
Mike Horton: One of these days, I’m going to have a movie that opens in Sundance and you’re going to interview me.
Larry Jordan: It would be an honor to interview you for any movie that you care to open. I think that would be fun.
Larry Jordan: By the way, thinking of fun things, remember that we’re on Facebook, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Upstairs in our upstairs studio, Patrick is tweeting his little heart out. Join the live chat, either on digitalproductionbuzz.com or on Twitter and Facebook and stay in touch with what The Buzz is doing throughout tonight’s show. I’ll be back with Ryan Neil Postas right after this.
Larry Jordan: The latest version of Da Vinci Resolve 10 is now shipping from Blackmagic Design. This new version includes innovative tools to speed on-set color grading, support for open effects plug-ins and simplified integration of Final Cut Pro, Avid and Premier Pro projects, which allows moving timelines in and out easily in Resolve. You can even tweak your edits inside Resolve without wasting time switching back to your editing software.
Larry Jordan: New editing features include full multi-track editing with 16 channels of audio per clip and unlimited video and audio tracks in the timeline. Da Vinci Resolve 10 can finish online from the original camera files for dramatically better quality. The latest version of Resolve 10 is a free upgrade to all Resolve users and, if you’re looking for ways to make your pictures look great, download the free version of Da Vinci Resolve 10 from blackmagicdesign.com. That’s blackmagicdesign.com.
Larry Jordan: Los Angeles based film maker Ryan Postas works as a cinematographer, editor, producer and director frequently with music videos. He’s been on The Buzz before, but this time he’s set a new record. Hello, Ryan.
Ryan Neil Postas: Hey, how you doing?
Larry Jordan: We are talking to you, we’re doing great. How are you doing?
Ryan Neil Postas: I’m doing great as well, thank you.
Mike Horton: Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way.
Larry Jordan: Yes, you know, if you don’t start with that, what are you supposed to say? I want to know about this latest project that you did. What were you doing?
Ryan Neil Postas: I was a cinematographer on a feature film that was shooting the Mojave Desert. We’ve shot five weeks of principle photography so far.
Larry Jordan: Ok, well that doesn’t sound so difficult. What was the challenge?
Ryan Neil Postas: Well, the challenge was it was a sound footage film and in that obviously we’re staging a lot of the action and what’s happening. However, when the audience sits down to view it, they need to think that this was something that really happened, so as a cinematographer and the director of photography, that was my challenge. It was to make everything seem authentic and as believable as possible.
Larry Jordan: Now, I assume you shot this with a single camera?
Ryan Neil Postas: You would think that we would, but the nature of the show calls for quite a bit more than that. At one point, our biggest days, we had upwards of 18 to 20 cameras.
Larry Jordan: Wait a minute, wait a minute, how many cameras?
Ryan Neil Postas: We had 18 cameras one day, I believe 20 was our top day. It’s kind of a little hard to keep track.
Larry Jordan: Why?
Mike Horton: Wouldn’t you hate to be the script supervisor on this? I mean, it would just be ridiculous.
Ryan Neil Postas: Yes, that’s probably why we didn’t hire one.
Larry Jordan: So why so many cameras? And what cameras did you use?
Ryan Neil Postas: Well, for the majority of the show we were using Sony Action cameras, we had a dozen of those, and then we also had a handful of GoPros, the Heroes, and then for part of the show we also had three Canon 5D Mark IIIs. Each camera lent a specific purpose to scenes and to the drama of the show.
Larry Jordan: It seems that, because you’re using GoPros and the Action Cams that you needed a camera that was both small and relatively cheap, so it sounds like you were doing a lot of action.
Ryan Neil Postas: Correct, and it was just mostly the inherent way that we had to shoot it to get our coverage with a group of people who are basically actors and the people living in the world of the film. They had cameras with them that I was responsible for, we had GoPros acting as our ‘motion activated’ cameras and I was operating a Mark III; we had another Mark III on a jib one day and we had a second operator for two days.
Mike Horton: Give us an idea of the prep on this. Obviously, you knew you were going to have to use all these cameras.
Ryan Neil Postas: Right.
Mike Horton: Tell us about the process of preparation.
Ryan Neil Postas: Well, once we narrowed down how we were going to approach the shoot and once we knew which cameras we were going to use, the biggest issue that came up after that was monitoring our footage while we were on set, while we were shooting, after we shot for playback and things like that, and these cameras are not meant to be used for narrative work in the sense of what we were doing.
Ryan Neil Postas: Thankfully, they have wifi signals built into them and they can send a wifi signal of the video that you’re seeing to a device that can read wifi, in this case we were using Nooks, and logistically very difficult to keep those all in sync. At any given time, we probably would have six of the Action cameras in sync to six Nooks and then I had the GoPros usually monitored on my iPhone and just trying to stay on top of everything.
Mike Horton: We all have our ideas and visions here of what the video village must have looked like. Did you even have a video village? I’m assuming you didn’t have the budget for 20 monitors.
Ryan Neil Postas: Exactly and that was one of my first discussions with the producers, was monitoring and if we were going to have a pro DIG set-up that would come out. If we would have been on a stage in typical circumstances, I’m sure we could have gotten something that would have worked. However, we were in the middle of the Mojave and anything that we would have used, you have to be able to carry it. It can’t be a cart or something that’s 50 to 80 pounds that you’re going to lug over the sand dunes of Dumont Dunes.
Ryan Neil Postas: So there was a lot of research on my part to think about what we were going to do and what we were going to use and thankfully we discovered the Nooks and they were affordable. I believe that iPad Minis would have been really great. Apple just seems to work really well and it just always works, but the iPad Minis were a little bit more expensive.
Mike Horton: I was just thinking about iPad Minis. That would have been really cool.
Ryan Neil Postas: Yes, absolutely. During rehearsals and also just during prep, I would use my iPad and never had any issues with the wifi signal being disconnected or things like that, but I think the issues were just the amount of cameras, the signal being sent out – we would lose signal from the cameras if we stepped away more than five to eight feet.
Ryan Neil Postas: In prep I had a lot of help from my first assistant, Sara Garth, who is just the hardest working person I probably could have brought onto the show and she really just kicked butt at everything she was doing and we just got together and we sat down with all of these cameras and got them prepped and synced up and just really tried to cover every single corner of what could possibly go wrong, what we would do for back-ups, how we would stay on top of memory and storage and batteries.
Ryan Neil Postas: We had a good couple of weeks of prep where we just got organized and went over everything and made sure we thought of any possible thing we could run into while we were out in the middle of the desert.
Larry Jordan: Half the challenge is the cameras, the other half is the lighting. How did you handle lighting? The Mojave Desert has got some serious contrast.
Ryan Neil Postas: Yes, absolutely, and one good thing about the script was that it lent itself to be very real and to exist how it would if there were no tools for you to use. The sun is the best tool you can have as a cinematographer, it’s the best source of light, it’s just beautiful, and I just got an app on my iPhone that tracked the sun, it would tell me when it would rise, where it would rise and its path, and so on our scouts and even in the days before we’d go out to shoot, I would go out with this app and I would stick it up in the sky and it would tell me where the sun was going to be and we would plan our day based on the best positions of the sun or the best positions for not using the sun, things like that.
Mike Horton: I’ve heard of that app. What’s the name of it?
Ryan Neil Postas: It’s called…
Mike Horton: It’s like a Scouting thing or something like that.
Ryan Neil Postas: Yes, it’s escaping me at the moment. Actually, I can look on my phone real quick if you really wanted to know.
Larry Jordan: We’re just going to keep talking at you until you look up this, because otherwise Michael’s going to be unlivable for the rest of the show.
Ryan Neil Postas: Sun Surveyor app.
Mike Horton: Sun Surveyor. Oh, cool.
Ryan Neil Postas: It was great.
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, Ryan, that you’re in the middle of the Mojave Desert and you’ve got a film crew and a film cast. What were the living arrangements like?
Ryan Neil Postas: We were going back and forth between tents and a couple of RVs. It was made very clear early on by the producers what the living arrangements were going to be like and it ended up not being as bad as we were told it would be. They understood how it is and how tiring film making can be, and especially having to hike in sometimes a couple of miles to get to the set, and so any time that we were even remotely close to a hotel, they would spring for some rooms for us, at least just to shower, and then we’d take turns going back out to base camp.
Larry Jordan: How big a crew and how big a cast?
Ryan Neil Postas: The cast in general, I would say there are six leads and then several supporting around them; and then the crew, I would say it was roughly 20 to 30 people, I believe, at the most. Very run and gun, very specific people. My whole camera crew was literally Sara and I and then obviously people would help out if we needed a bounce brought in and things like that and everybody was a team player and that’s the way that it had to work and it did.
Larry Jordan: Cool. Were you doing logging on set? How were you keeping track of all the different cameras?
Ryan Neil Postas: When we were doing our pre-production, Sara and I came up with a system where we basically took a label maker and we labeled all of the cameras based on character initials and numbers and then we coordinated with the memory as well and so Sara was just always on top of that. Every time she popped in a new memory, it had a label on it – very, very tiny writing because the Sony Action Cameras take the micro SD cards – but she was on top of that system.
Ryan Neil Postas: She also acted as the DIT for the majority of the show. When it got a little bit hectic, we brought in an assistant for her and just really focusing on the organization, just really making sure that in prep we were on top of storage, trying to figure out how much storage we were going to use each week, we had a back-up for everything once we dumped it, so we had a lot of 18 hour days out there. Everybody would be wrapped up and around the camp fire and we’d still be in the RV dumping footage and logging everything and just making sure that everything we had shot was safe and good to go.
Larry Jordan: So how long is post going to take and when are they going to tell us the name of the picture?
Ryan Neil Postas: Well, this kind of show, with the amount of footage that we shot, I think it’s going to be a little bit longer than usual, I would imagine. We still have to do some second unit things where it’s minimal crew and just a couple of the actors. Right now, the director’s probably going through with the editor and they’re trying to see what they have and if we have to do any kind of pick-ups or re-shoots, because I’m sure he wants to do everything at the same time. I’m expecting late spring, but at the same time I’m sure we’re not going to try to go back out into the desert during the summer to do any re-shoots.
Larry Jordan: You want people to live through the shoot.
Ryan Neil Postas: Exactly. The time of year – we shot from October until just up to Thanksgiving – the weather was absolutely beautiful. It was great out there and I never knew California and Nevada had such amazing places.
Mike Horton: By the way, where you were shooting, was there 3G? 4G? LT?
Ryan Neil Postas: No, no.
Mike Horton: Nothing?
Ryan Neil Postas: The first week, the ADs were trying to get the wifi going and it just wasn’t going to happen so, yes, we were just out of range for the majority of the time. It’s awkward and at the same time freeing, you know?
Mike Horton: Ok. Yes, sure.
Ryan Neil Postas: You want your family to know how you’re doing and everything, but at the same time… I believe we had a satellite phone for production.
Mike Horton: Well, we’re going to bring your post production team in in the next couple of months to talk through what they’re doing and it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m sure they’re going to be very frustrated.
Larry Jordan: Ryan, where can people go on the web to learn more about what you’re up to?
Ryan Neil Postas: My website is ryanpostas.com and it’s just finished being revamped and cleaned up and getting things ready for the new year.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, ryanpostas.com. Ryan Neil Postas is the DP of this 20 camera shoot. Ryan, thanks for joining us today.
Ryan Neil Postas: Thanks for having me again. Appreciate it.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Talk to you soon. Bye bye.
Ryan Neil Postas: Ok, bye.
Larry Jordan: Leon Silverman is the President and Co-Founder of the Hollywood Post Alliance. He’s also the General Manager of the digital studio for Walt Disney Studios, where he oversees the digital studio services team, providing digital infrastructure, post production services and workflow expertise as part of studio operations. Hello Leon, welcome.
Leon Silverman: Hi, it’s good to be part of The Buzz.
Mike Horton: All right!
Larry Jordan: We are delighted, because sitting next to you is another handsome gentleman named Jerry Pierce. He’s the VP and a board member of the Hollywood Post Alliance. He’s also the Technology Advisor for the National Association of Theater Owners and the Chairman of the Inter-Society Digital Cinema Forum. Hello, Jerry.
Jerry Pierce: Hey, good to be here. I think we’re just tired listening to those introductions.
Larry Jordan: You know, you guys have got to work for…
Mike Horton: And that’s all the time we have tonight.
Larry Jordan: Leon, I’m going to start with you. Tell us what the Hollywood Post Alliance is.
Leon Silverman: Well, the Hollywood Post Alliance is a broad based industry group that looks after what we like to think of the science and business of post production. Our members range from people who make their living in post as individual contributors, all the way up to the large post facilities and people who provide tools in our industry. It’s a group that’s actually about to celebrate its 20th anniversary of its HPA tech retreat in Palm Springs this February and it’s a great place for the industry to get together and trade ideas.
Larry Jordan: That gets me to my first really big question. What is the difference between the Hollywood Post Alliance, which people call the HPA, and a user group?
Leon Silverman: Well, we think of the HPA as a kind of user group for post production in our industry, but for the most part we’re a trade association and we represent interests around a number of events and represent our constituency through things like the celebration of creativity of HP awards or technology through the tech retreat and we have a number of other sub-groups, including the sales career resource group, which looks after the folks who are trying to sell their services in the industry, as well as a women in post sub-group, so we represent a number of interest groups within the larger tent that is the HPA.
Jerry Pierce: To add to that, I think a user group doesn’t necessarily run a conference with three or four hundred people for four days in desert and that’s a keynote part of HPA. We provide deep, in depth knowledge on lots of different topics, some of which people are interested in and some of which they’re not so much but others in the group are, so it’s a much broader group than a user’s group.
Larry Jordan: Jerry, I’m going to continue with you for a second and I do want to come back and talk about the HPA retreat, but I want to focus a little bit on the post industry for a second. Post production has changed substantially in the past few years. As you look back on it, are the biggest challenges the post industry has to deal with it technical or are they related to running a business?
Jerry Pierce: Well, the post industry has always been changing. It almost reinvents itself every five or ten years as it goes along and some of it is caused by technology, in fact most of it’s caused by technology, and what we’ve seen is a shift to desktop solutions and a change to places where the brick and mortar are not as required for production. We’ve seen post production move essentially much closer to the production itself, so the main change is business but it’s technically driven for the industry.
Leon Silverman: Yes, I think that’s what’s exciting about post production and a lot of people are concerned about the future of post, but if you think about it, there never has been more post production than there is today. It’s just done in different ways – we’ve seen the evolution – and I think there are a lot of businesses out there that are trying to understand how to serve the needs of film makers, whether they’re making something for television, the web or theatrical motion pictures.
Leon Silverman: The change has been driven by the transition from the comfortable 100 year old technology of film and video to a more digital file based world, and so that’s had everybody focused on this notion of the world is changing but the world is changing our entire industry because of the new types of distribution platforms and the new sorts of technologies in which we shoot, post produce and distribute in our films.
Mike Horton: We’re talking about change a lot and, as you know, in the entertainment industry, a lot of creative people are very slow to change, although the people that we’re talking about now are very, very savvy. Do you see them still slow to change? Do you see them gravitating to whatever the change is out there and then pushing it forward?
Jerry Pierce: I don’t know that anybody can be slow to change in a world of transformative dynamic change.
Mike Horton: Ok, that’s a good answer.
Jerry Pierce: I think that the people who are familiar with the workflows that work for them will use the workflows that work for them. I’ve been quoted on this phrase that I’ve been using for a while that I refer to as ‘snowflake workflows’, meaning that the industry’s changing so rapidly that, for the most part, we don’t do the same project twice in the same way because of the options that film makers have and I think it’s less of a resistance to change than the pace of it and the options available to film makers to use the very latest technology, the ones that are most comfortable to them.
Larry Jordan: One of the ways that we cope with change is to understand what’s happening inside the industry and, Leon, I was hoping you could explain what the HPA retreat is about.
Leon Silverman: The HPA retreat is about 400 of the smartest people that you absolutely want to know and that you don’t necessarily know and aren’t necessarily in the same exact discipline getting together in the desert. An example of the commitment of the HPA tech retreat is that Palm Springs is surrounded by a lot of golf courses, but 400 people get up at 7.30 in the morning to do round table breakfast on extraordinarily diverse topics, everything from industry telecommunications law to broadcast file based workflow stuff, archive to what’s happening now.
Leon Silverman: The tech retreat is really about a broad base of the industry coming together to learn from and teach each other, but for the most part it’s about putting people together who wouldn’t ordinarily get together except for their love of technology in the industry.
Larry Jordan: Couldn’t that also be the definition of a trade show?
Leon Silverman: It would be if it was a trade show, but we don’t sell booth space per se. We have a demonstration room that you’re invited to participate in if you have some very cutting edge technology. It’s a conference that has a full conference program, that has some year after year regular features like the Washington Update, Mark Schumann is our host and he does his year end review; Pete Putman does his consumer electronics overview; Jerry and I do our Jerry and Leon wrap-up. We’re doing a super session that really is about the impact of the changes in distribution and how it impacts every aspect of the industry.
Leon Silverman: It could be a trade show in somebody’s vernacular, but the people who attend the tech retreat take pride in the fact that it’s really not about sales pitches. In fact, you can get yanked off the stage if you start to go into marketing speak. We run this train on time. Mark Schumann makes sure that if you have a 49 minute presentation – and some of them are that length – at the end of the 49th minute, he honks the horn and you’re off the stage.
Leon Silverman: The demo room really is not about sales pitches. It is about sharing technology with the industry.
Mike Horton: And that’s the way it should be.
Larry Jordan: Who should attend? Who would you love to be at the event?
Leon Silverman: I think it is about the people. We get all walks of the industry life, from senior executives who work in movie studios in the production side of it to the technicians on the floor. It’s a wide collection of people who are wonderful to talk with and you get these different opinions. It’s a wide group of folks from the entertainment industry with a technology bias.
Jerry Pierce: Anybody’s invited to attend because it’s a full immersion class in what’s happening right now at the moment, and has been since its inception, but what’s interesting to me about who does attend – it’s a lot of people at the top of their game, it’s a lot of the people who are really successful at what they do and they come to learn themselves but, importantly, they come to share also. So many people say, “I can skip this event or that event, but if I only had to do one event a year, it would be the HPA tech retreat,” and that’s a quote that more than one person who I really respect has said before.
Larry Jordan: And, Jerry, where can people go on the web who want to learn more about what the HPA retreat is about?
Jerry Pierce: Hpaonline.com is the website and there’s a tech retreat button right there and it’ll give you the program as it’s planned and when you get out there, you’ll find out it’s the program that gets delivered.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, hpaonline.com. Jerry Pierce is the Vice President and a board member and Leon Silverman is the President and Co-Founder of the Hollywood Post Alliance. Gentlemen, thank you so very much for joining us today.
Leon Silverman: Thanks for having us.
Mike Horton: Yes, you guys do a great job. Thanks.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.
Leon Silverman: Take care.
Larry Jordan: I want to introduce Noel Cordero. He’s the Partner and Creative Director of The Timelapse Digital Production and Brand Film Agency, which is a New York based film agency. Hello there, Noel. Are you with us?
Noel Cordero: Hello, Larry. Thanks for having me on The Buzz. It’s great to be here.
Larry Jordan: We are delighted. Tell us what the Timelapse Digital Production and Brand Film Agency is.
Noel Cordero: Well, we’re a media production agency that of course focuses as of right now on time lapse photography, but we do other video production as well. For instance, by trade I’m a director of photography; my associate Brandon Carter is a screenwriter and director and Hector Villegas is our sound engineer. We’re all pretty much well rounded as far as time lapse goes.
Noel Cordero: For right now, our main clients are in the hospitality industry. We mainly currently work with Highgate, which is a hotel management company and they ask us to do interviews for them, B roll footage and promotional footage for their hotel properties.
Larry Jordan: Why did you decide to start the company?
Noel Cordero: Well, we decided to start the company mainly because we all pretty much are in love with film making. Because of our frequent client is, like I said, from Highgate, he asked us to do time lapse photography for his hotels and we pretty much took off from there.
Larry Jordan: Well, not only took off, but you did something incredible. Tell us about your 2013 New Year’s Eve shoot.
Noel Cordero: Well, we were approached by Shiseido to get B roll footage for his hotel management company. He wanted to shoot tons of B roll, slow motion, regular video and time lapse. He wanted enough footage so he could cut a 30 second promotional montage for his videos for next year’s ball drop, to be promoted on the hotel’s website, approximately ten hotels.
Larry Jordan: So what did you do?
Noel Cordero: In post production, we scouted these locations for about two to three weeks because, of course, time lapse is weather contingent, and we had to test out our lenses as well as our dollies and we have this little device called the Emotimo which allows us to do panning time lapse.
Larry Jordan: Wow. Who was the cameraman that helped put that together?
Noel Cordero: Who helped put it together? The group?
Larry Jordan: Yes.
Noel Cordero: It was Brandon Carter and I.
Larry Jordan: The two of you did all of this?
Mike Horton: That was it? There was only you two guys?
Noel Cordero: Yes, originally with the company, yes.
Mike Horton: Wow.
Noel Cordero: It was originally just Brandon and I. We met pretty much over the internet originally. We collaborated on some projects together and we decided to start the little group.
Larry Jordan: Is Brandon there?
Noel Cordero: Brandon’s with me, yes.
Larry Jordan: Can I talk to him?
Noel Cordero: Oh yes, sure, I’ll put Brandon on right now.
Brandon Carter: Larry? Hi.
Larry Jordan: Hey, Brandon, welcome. Congratulations. How many shots did you make for this time lapse?
Brandon Carter: For the whole shoot, between the two, we did about 18,000 shots altogether.
Larry Jordan: Wait a minute, wait a minute. How many shots?
Brandon Carter: 18,000 shots for the time lapse between the two locations put together. Now, the actual video after editing and everything, I think it was 3400 shots.
Larry Jordan: How did you edit 18,000 into 3400? Did you just pick every other one?
Brandon Carter: Well, no. What we usually do is first of all we organize the folders into specific shots and then I separate a sub-folder into the raws, then I make a folder called the light room and basically I import the raws into the light room, obviously, color them and then export them out as .jpegs or .tifs, depending on how much workload we have, and then we put those into either After Effects; if we kind of need to go faster, we do a direct import into Premier, which we like to use.
Mike Horton: Most people use After Effects, but you sometimes use Premier?
Brandon Carter: Yes. I mean, most of the time we use After Effects but sometimes we directly put it into, the reason why we like to do After Effects primarily is you can do…
Mike Horton: Some camera moves, yes.
Brandon Carter: Yes, different camera moves, but sometimes if we’re under the gun and everything, we do import it directly into Premier.
Larry Jordan: What cameras were you using to shoot the time lapse?
Brandon Carter: Noel, how many cameras did we do? We had, what, three 5D Mark IIIs, we had two or three 7Ds, two 60Ds, a Red Epic, two Rebels…
Mike Horton: Holy cow.
Brandon Carter: …T4I, all Canon DSLRs.
Mike Horton: Are these at two different locations or five different locations or ten different locations? Do you have a huge crew?
Brandon Carter: No, these were at two different locations – Manhattan Times Square and the DoubleTree Times Square.
Mike Horton: Man, that’s a lot of different codecs, isn’t it? Or is it?
Brandon Carter: Yes.
Mike Horton: Larry, help me.
Brandon Carter: Yes, there were a lot of different codecs and everything, but at the end of the day we exported at ProRes. We always do ProRes, the highest that we can do.
Larry Jordan: Walk me through the workflow. How did you get permission to be on all these rooftops?
Mike Horton: Yes, really, the security there is really tight.
Larry Jordan: And how did you get all the cameras rolling at the same time?
Brandon Carter: Well, as far as the permission went, how it happened, Shiseido is our main guy. I mean, he’s the liaison for us for Highgate Hotel Managing Company and he’s the one that kind of orchestrated it. He hired us to plan it and shoot it and he did the logistics of getting the right security, calling the Times Square Alliance, which was very helpful, and we suggested Systronic as well to help us out.
Larry Jordan: Can I talk to Noel again?
Brandon Carter: Yes, no problem.
Noel Cordero: Hello Larry.
Larry Jordan: Noel, is there a market for this? Can you make money doing this?
Noel Cordero: Well, I feel it’s become a saturated market since late 2012, because basically if you weren’t doing it for at least a few years prior, then you have a very, very hard time standing out. Most people who have been highlighted on Vimeo have either continued doing what they’re doing, like for instance [Togarachy], who does work for Netflix’s House of Cards, and he’s now doing that for the second year in a row.
Noel Cordero: You can also maybe make money from stock footage or, if you’re really lucky, then you could shoot for broadcast, like ESPN.
Larry Jordan: What are the rules on time lapse photography? Normally you’d have to get a model release for everybody who appears on camera.
Noel Cordero: Well, you could say the rule of time lapse photography is being very observant. You have to know your location. Take New Year’s Eve as an example. Brandon, I had managing DoubleTree and I was managing Manhattan Times Square, so for two to three weeks prior to the shoot, Brandon and I would be showing up to these locations, like I said before, testing out various lenses, taking a look at the weather patterns, staying on top of the weather channel, to pretty much find out what times exactly would be the perfect shots, because we could only shoot this just once. New Year’s is only once a year, so that was really the scary part.
Noel Cordero: We knew in the back of our minds that if we weren’t on our toes, everything could basically be sabotaged.
Mike Horton: Speaking of on your toes, and you talked about weather, what would weather have done and how would it have affected your final output?
Noel Cordero: Oh, perfect example. I’m telling you, I was honestly traumatized by the fear of New Year’s. I was completely traumatized.
Mike Horton: I’d like to hire guys like you because you just worry about everything.
Noel Cordero: Well, we have to worry about everything. Like I said, it’s once a year.
Mike Horton: Absolutely. Exactly.
Noel Cordero: Oh, and like Brandon just mentioned, snipers. There were snipers on the roofs near. Shiseido had to keep in constant contact with NYPD, just so we wouldn’t get picked off by the snipers. Yes, it was pretty scary.
Mike Horton: I hope you got them in the shot, in the time lapse.
Noel Cordero: So a perfect example of how weather is very important and how it could pretty much sabotage everything was we have what’s called a holy grail gramping shot, which is basically the change between light and dark. So there’s a particular shot that we have overlooking where the ball drops and you see a gold hue. To get that gold hue, we had to use a system called the Promote Control, which allows bulb ramping. What that does is you keep the camera in bulb mode and it manipulates when the shutter goes off. You can set it at different increments of your sun down.
Noel Cordero: With that, I had set for a Mark III to be going down a particular amount in increments in the morning and it was very cloudy and overcast. Right before the sun hit the horizon, all the clouds sort of appeared out of nowhere and we got what we originally wanted, but since it changed so drastically, all of us pretty much freaked out. We just jumped on the phones with each other, all our phones were going off. We’re screaming, we’re crying, we’re like, “Oh my God, don’t tell me we lost this shot,” and that was just one of those moments where weather could really screw you up. I mean, that’s what sets your shots. It kind of makes time lapse interesting.
Mike Horton: I mean, I know you’re very good at this and you’ve had a lot of these kinds of incidents, but how do you choose your shutter speed and aperture, especially for all that night time stuff? Do you just take a good, educated guess and hope for the best and then correct it in software?
Noel Cordero: Well, in the beginning you kind of think that you can fix that in post production…
Mike Horton: Well, we all think that, don’t we?
Noel Cordero: Not everything you can fix in production. Not everything. You can’t just After Effects whatever you want, so pretty much when you’re shooting it, you should try to go for the best of your ability, you know? For instance, with night shots, we like to do long exposures. I myself am a fan of longer exposures. In the daytime, if I do a long exposure, what that allows me to do is it allows me to create a blur effect which looks beautiful, especially when people are walking by. It creates kind of like a trailing blur and that I would use a filter, an ND filter, and I would kind of fade it darker. That way, it controls the amount of light going in and I have my shutter speed set real slow.
Noel Cordero: So those all depend on the kind of shots that we want. With, for instance, the fireworks, the most important thing was that our shutter had to be very fast because we had to freeze that moment and our intervals had to be set at half a second, so that’s another thing, so it depends on what you want, the kind of shot you want to pull off, if you want a blur or if you want it to just kind of freeze and stutter along.
Larry Jordan: Is there a place people can go to see the results of your work?
Noel Cordero: To see the results of the time lapse video?
Larry Jordan: Sure.
Mike Horton: Yes.
Noel Cordero: Well, of New Year’s, they could search on Vimeo. They could type in The Timelapse Group.
Mike Horton: Timelapse Group, ok.
Noel Cordero: The Timelapse Group, yes.
Larry Jordan: Do you have a website that people can visit if they want to learn more about your company?
Noel Cordero: Well, right now we have a Facebook page. They could go on facebook.com/thetimelapsegroup or they could follow us on Instagram, @thetimelapsegroup. Our website should be up around the end of next month because we kind of got picky with it and we wanted to make it perfect and provide more content in there.
Mike Horton: The lighting was all off, it didn’t work so we’re holding it off ‘til March.
Larry Jordan: Noel, thank you for joining us. Go to facebook.com/thetimelapsegroup. Noel Cordero is the Partner and Creative Director and thank you for joining us today.
Noel Cordero: Thank you.
Mike Horton: Good work, guys.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: You know, Michael, one of the nice things about doing a show out of the studio is every so often we have a studio guest who can join us.
Mike Horton: You know what would be really nice? Is to have a studio audience, you know, bring in 15, 20 people and have them have questions.
Larry Jordan: Well, we’re working on a studio audience but we have to move the washing machines. But they could sit on the washing machines.
Mike Horton: They could, and I think they would enjoy that.
Larry Jordan: Dom Bourne is the CEO of Take 1 Transcription, a UK based transcription service that offers convenient and competitive solutions to any file based post environment. In other words, he and his company can translate all your lovely audio into readable, searchable text. Welcome, Dom.
Dom Bourne: Hi Larry, how you doing?
Larry Jordan: We are delighted to have you with us. Thanks for joining us today.
Dom Bourne: Thanks for having me.
Mike Horton: Hey, and thanks for the mug, by the way. This is really cool. He came all the way from London and he gave us both a mug. A Take 1 mug.
Dom Bourne: They were produced here in LA. I didn’t bring them in my suitcase.
Mike Horton: Oh, really? You didn’t put them on the plane? Because you’d have to pay for them then.
Dom Bourne: I’ve got boxes of these things.
Mike Horton: Oh well, thanks for the sentiment.
Larry Jordan: Dom, what is Take 1 Transcription?
Dom Bourne: Take 1 Transcription is really a one stop shop for transcription needs. If you’re making an unscripted show, a reality show for example or a documentary and you’re filming interviews or you’re watching people have an argument and then you want to find those soundbites later in the edit, you’re going to need some transcripts, so we’ve built a company that helps you get hold of those transcripts with timecode and they can add value to your editing workflow.
Larry Jordan: Well, what’s the benefit of getting a person to create a transcript? Why not just use computer automation?
Dom Bourne: Well, in our experience, voice recognition simply isn’t accurate enough for searching across that body of text. There are machine transcription solutions out there, but my clients certainly need something of a higher caliber in order to be able to pull soundbites with confidence.
Larry Jordan: Well, I should mention that Take 1 Transcription creates the transcripts for The Buzz each week and we’re very grateful for your time and attention. What goes on behind the scenes once we send you the audio file of the show?
Dom Bourne: Ah, that’s a good question. So yourselves, or any of our clients, as soon as they send a file in, we receive notifications that they’ve hit our servers and we’ve got sophisticated scheduling tools that allow us to attribute that file to the next available typist. That file will then go to the typist…
Larry Jordan: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. So the file is automatically received, automatically logged and it’s flagged to go to the next available person?
Dom Bourne: Correct. We have an army of transcribers.
Mike Horton: Oh my. These are real human beings doing this stuff?
Dom Bourne: Real human beings.
Mike Horton: It’s not software?
Dom Bourne: It’s not software.
Mike Horton: It’s not like a bunch of Siri’s and things just transcribing it? Wow.
Dom Bourne: That would keep my costs lower, if we could pull that off, but no, we’re old school, we have real people transcribing with real hands and real feet.
Mike Horton: Wow.
Larry Jordan: Ok, so they’ve typed it up. Then what happens?
Dom Bourne: So they type it up, there’s a QC process, so the transcript…
Larry Jordan: That’s what I want to get into, because it’s the QC that makes the difference.
Mike Horton: Yes, because when they can’t understand my accent and they go, “What the hell did he say?” it’s like…
Dom Bourne: Well, a lot of the content we receive is specialist terminology. We have to make sure that that’s accurate so that it can be found and the person reading that transcript can actually be confident that we’ve logged it correctly.
Mike Horton: Specialist terminology means that you have to spell those words.
Dom Bourne: That’s absolutely right, yes.
Larry Jordan: For instance, if we take medicine or science or technology, all three of which are very jargon based and they’re very specific nouns that you have to work with, how do you make sure that your stuff is accurate? And if it’s just going to the next transcriber, they may not have any experience in that subject.
Dom Bourne: Well, the answer to that is that we hire very good transcribers from the beginning. They all have a lot of experience and, whilst we don’t have experts in every subject, because that’s simply not a manageable business model, we can provide them with vocab lists or jargon lists from the client’s end, so that when they’re transcribing the file they have something to reference and making sure that if they need to, they hop onto Google to double check a word, for example.
Larry Jordan:, I used to run a company that did nothing except work with transcripts and transcripts have a reputation for being very expensive. How much should producers expect to pay and what can producers do to help reduce their cost?
Dom Bourne: Well, we have a sliding scale which accommodates everybody’s needs, so if you don’t have much of a budget you can still use our service, it’s just that you may have to wait a little longer to get your transcripts, starting from around $2 per minute. That will get you a transcript in a couple of days and anything faster than that is possible as well, it just depends how much you’ve got in your budget for transcripts.
Larry Jordan: So what you’re paying for is not necessarily a difference in quality, but it’s the speed of the turnaround time.
Dom Bourne: Yes. Well, if you’re running into an edit, you need to have transcripts almost as soon as they’ve been shot at the camera. A lot of directors particularly in London, and I know it’s the same here in LA, they like to do a paper edit first to get themselves prepared so that when they go into the Avid or the edit suite, they know what they’re doing, they know which soundbites they’re looking for and they can hand the editor a highlighted list of transcription soundbites for him to start putting on the timeline.
Mike Horton: Now, we have some good questions in the chat, especially about spelling. I mean, I’m assuming that your company transcribes into different languages, not just English.
Dom Bourne: The transcription services that we offer are in British English and American English, but also in Spanish. We then also have a translation department which can take filmed content or recorded content and then translate it into pretty much any language, from Arabic to Zulu.
Mike Horton: In terms of spelling, if you’re dealing with UK clients and Australian clients and American clients, what about those spellings like the word color, for instance?
Dom Bourne: Yes, so depending on where that content has originated from, we’ll just flick a switch in the dictionary and make sure that it’s set to the right mode.
Larry Jordan: Do the transcribers work out of their home? Is this a home based business for them?
Dom Bourne: It’s a home based business for them. It’s an office based business for us.
Mike Horton: I would love to see these people. How do you hire these people? I would love to see the test on how quick they are with their fingers.
Dom Bourne: Well, we don’t tend to accept anybody unless they can type around 85, 90 words per minute.
Mike Horton: Wow! That’s Larry, Larry can do that. He can do 90 words a minute.
Dom Bourne: He would be great, Michael.
Mike Horton: Larry, when he gets done with this show, could be a transcriber.
Dom Bourne: All you need really is an internet connection and a computer and then we provide the software for playback. That means that we’re in control of any files that can be read. We have to make sure that we can take all files from all of our clients and that’s not always easy because there are new codecs coming out all the time.
Mike Horton: I honestly thought this was not done by real human beings. I thought it was done by software.
Dom Bourne: Well, that’s a common misconception. I think a lot of people are under the impression that you can just feed a file to a computer…
Mike Horton: This is a tough job.
Dom Bourne: …and out will come a perfect transcript.
Mike Horton: You should go to these people’s houses and give them a little shoulder rub every once in a while and say how much you appreciate them.
Dom Bourne: Yes, absolutely. We do occasionally throw parties for our staff and make sure that they’re valued and feel appreciated.
Larry Jordan: I think the biggest challenge in transcriptions is the quality control. That’s what separates one company from another. Do you guarantee 100 percent accuracy? How accurate should we expect a transcript to be when we get it back?
Dom Bourne: Yes, that’s an interesting question. I would have said that you’d be looking around 95 to 99 percent accurate. If you want to go for 100, if you’ve got the budget to go for 100, then fine, we can sit through it a hundred times, but most people don’t have those sorts of budgets and it’s not really a sustainable model. That’s significantly more accurate than you’re going to get from a computer, by the way.
Larry Jordan: What’s the most unusual thing you’ve transcribed? Is there a particular client or project that comes to mind?
Dom Bourne: Wow, there have been so many. We’ve been in business for 15 years, but off the top of my head, one of the most challenging projects we’ve done is Hell’s Kitchen.
Mike Horton: Oh really?
Dom Bourne: They’ve got four or five hundred to one shooting ratios, multiple cameras, multiple mics.
Mike Horton: And lots of people shouting.
Dom Bourne: Yes, we get people shouting across one another and that’s always fun, but we’re developing interesting tools for those sorts of shoots now where we can manipulate the transcript in a way where you’re able to sort by speaker or you’re able to dial right into a particular soundbite based on a keyboard.
Mike Horton: I had no idea all this was done this way, honestly. I thought everything was software.
Larry Jordan: No, I’ve been down that road. Software isn’t accurate.
Mike Horton: Well, I know that in terms of the NLEs we use, but I had no idea he used real people.
Larry Jordan: Yes. It’s one of the reasons we like working with them.
Mike Horton: Good for you.
Larry Jordan: Dom, where can people go on the web to learn more?
Dom Bourne: Well, they can head straight to our website, which is take1.tv and if you’re making TV shows in the States, it may be useful to know that we have preferred vendor arrangements in place with some of the major networks and we’ve negotiated rates on behalf of the content producers so that they can enjoy those rates for shows that they’re making for those specific networks.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, take1.tv.
Mike Horton: And we should say that the program uses Take 1…
Larry Jordan: We do.
Mike Horton: …and has a Horton filter which changes the name Horton to ‘moron’, which you really should get rid of, Dom.
Larry Jordan: And it uses English coming out of your mouth, which surprises the rest of us. Dom Bourne is the CEO of Take 1 and, Dom, thanks for joining us today.
Dom Bourne: Thank you, Larry.
Mike Horton: Thanks, Dom.
Larry Jordan: The lights go down, the microphone appears. Michael says it’s time for
Mike Horton: Pick Our Brains. That was a dramatic pause. It works for a lot of people.
Larry Jordan: A pregnant pause, truly.
Mike Horton: Dom here is very impressed.
Larry Jordan: Somebody’s got to be impressed.
Mike Horton: I’ve got it. I found the question.
Larry Jordan: It’s about time.
Mike Horton: I’ve got it. I still can’t read it very well because it’s not written very well. This is actually not transcribed very well. If Take 1 would have done this, it would have been perfect English. All right, so he says, ‘Like an idiot, I mistakenly unplugged – this is a Final Cut Pro 10 question – unplugged the external drive with the project media on it just before I shut Final Cut Pro down and I got it to open back up, but then it did not automatically find the media and I don’t know what to do. Can you please help me, Larry? I don’t know what to do. I can’t relink the dang thing, so what do I do?’
Larry Jordan: Are you done?
Mike Horton: ‘And I don’t know how to do it’. All he had to do was Google this or write in to us and…
Larry Jordan: You can stop now.
Mike Horton: …it’s really easy.
Larry Jordan: You can just stop.
Mike Horton: Go ahead. Go ahead.
Larry Jordan: The short answer is that Final Cut does not actually bring the media into the project. It creates what’s called a link. It’s actually called a symlink.
Mike Horton: Really? What does that mean?
Larry Jordan: It’s a special kind of high power alias. It’s like a better alias than an alias.
Mike Horton: Who came up with that name? Can I look that up in the dictionary? Is this actually there?
Larry Jordan: You can indeed and it’s a real word. It’s called a symlink.
Mike Horton: Oh wow.
Larry Jordan: Sometimes those links get confused when you have a crash in the middle of a project, so all you have to do is to select the media that’s offline, that’s got those red flags, go up to the file menu and say ‘relink media’. It’ll then present a dialog that says ‘This is the media that I can’t find’. You navigate over to where that media is and say link it up, click ok and all your media’s back online.
Mike Horton: Bingo, done.
Larry Jordan: Now, this points out a really interesting thing. In Final Cut 10.1, the latest version of Final Cut, there are two different ways that we can store media. One is called managed media and the other is external media. Managed media is stored inside the library.
Mike Horton: Are there different menus for this managed media and stored media or is this something in a textbook?
Larry Jordan: When you import media, you’ve got a dialog that says ‘Do you want to copy the files to the library or do you want to leave the files in place?’ If you copy the files into the library, the file is actually copied into the library and if you’re a single editor, this simplifies managing your media because it’s all stored inside that library folder and everything stays together, you don’t have unlinked media.
Larry Jordan: If, on the other hand, you’re sharing media between editors, you want to leave it linked or say leave it in place, and now the library will have a symlink that points to where the media is stored in a separate folder, which is outside your library. The advantage here is you can have two, three or four editors or more all accessing the same media at the same time without having to duplicate it and store it multiple times inside multiple libraries.
Mike Horton: I love that. That’s awesome.
Larry Jordan: There’s an article on my website – larryjordan.biz – called Final Cut Pro 10.1 Collaboration that walks through a lot of different scenarios on how you can share media and share projects between editors that I think would be very useful for people. But the short answer to the question is…
Mike Horton: Don’t you have a video tutorial out there too? On YouTube or…
Larry Jordan: On updating.
Mike Horton: Ok.
Larry Jordan: …on updating but not on collaboration. The collaboration article’s too new. But take a look at larryjordan.biz, Collaboration, and you can learn more.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of learning more, I want to thank our guests for this week – Leon Silverman, the President, and Jerry Pierce, the Vice President of the Hollywood Post Alliance; Dom Bourne, the CEO of Take 1 Transcription; Noel Cordero, a Partner and Creative Director for the Timelapse Group; and Ryan Neil Postas, a film maker for Elevated Minds.
Larry Jordan: There is a lot happening at The Buzz between shows. You can visit us at digitalproductionbuzz.com, click ‘Latest News’ and we update this several times a day with the latest news from our industry. You can visit with us on Twitter, @dpbuzz, or Facebook, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Music on The Buzz is provided by SmartSound. The Buzz is streamed by wehostmacs.com.
Larry Jordan: You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our producer is Cirina Catania; engineer, Adrian Price. Our ever affable co-host, Mr. Mike Horton, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.
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