Digital Production Buzz
January 9, 2014
[Transcripts provided by Take1.tv]
Sheldon Laube, CEO, Artkick.com
Steve Dispensa, Producer/Director, DDI Productions
Marcel James, Director, Sales & Marketing, Antelope Audio
Larry Jordan, Host, Digital Production Buzz
Cirina Catania, Producer, Digital Production Buzz
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: Welcome to The Digital Production Buzz with a weird introduction, the leading internet podcast covering digital video production, post production and distribution around the world. My name is Larry Horton and joining us is our co-host, the bemused Mr. Mike Horton.
Mike Horton: I am bemused. Welcome to 2014, everybody. It’s a good way to start off the new year.
Larry Jordan: Let me know when you’re done.
Mike Horton: I’m done.
Larry Jordan: I thought your voice sounded perfect.
Mike Horton: People in the live chat say it’s sounding better than it ever has, ever.
Larry Jordan: That’s just because they like the sound of your voice and people that we like also start with Sheldon Laube. He’s the CEO of Artkick.com, a company that specializes in streaming artwork to your television. He joins us this week to explain why.
Larry Jordan: Steve Dispensa is the Director of a new web series, Hitting Home. He joins us to tell us about why he decided to create a web series.
Larry Jordan: Marcel James is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Antelope Audio. Recently, he worked with William Close to record the Earth Harp, probably the largest instrument ever constructed. It’s a fascinating audio story and we’ll talk about it this week.
Larry Jordan: Earlier this week, I participated in Storage Visions 2014, a conference devoted to the latest storage technology. I have a series of reports recorded at the conference on new trends and new products that we need to watch in storage.
Mike Horton: I’d like to know what kind of parties they have.
Larry Jordan: You should see the kind of parties they have. It’s amazing, actually. And Buzz producer Cirina Catania is attending CES this week in Los Vegas. She joins us tonight with an update of what’s hot at the show.
Larry Jordan: By the way, we are offering new text transcripts for each show, courtesy of Take1.tv. Now you can quickly scan or print the contents of every show, as well as listen to it. Transcripts are located on every show page and thanks, Take1.tv, for making it possible.
Larry Jordan: Next week, Michael, I myself am conducting a seminar on high resolution media and Final Cut Pro 10 in Burbank.
Mike Horton: I know. That’s going to be huge. It’s going to be a like an all star cast there, aside from you.
Larry Jordan: It’s amazing. It’s going to have both demos and panel discussions, we’re going to help you understand what high resolution and ultra HD and 4K media actually mean. You can learn more and sign up at larryjordan.biz/event. We’d love to have you there, we still have a few seats left.
Mike Horton: Yes, hurry, everybody. This is going to be good.
Larry Jordan: It’s good to see you, by the way. I missed you last week.
Mike Horton: Well, I was in Cambria, where my wife got food poisoning.
Larry Jordan: No way!
Mike Horton: Yes.
Larry Jordan: I’m so sorry.
Mike Horton: Yes, it was a bummer, but I left her in the hotel room and went out and looked at the seals.
Larry Jordan: You’re such a guy.
Mike Horton: There was nothing I could do.
Larry Jordan: Remember to visit us on Facebook, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. We’re also on Twitter @dpbuzz, and subscribe to our weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com for all the latest news on both our show and the industry.
Larry Jordan: And 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 timelines to be easily moved both in and out of the application. You can even tweak your edits inside Resolve without wasting time switching back to your editing software just to make a simple change.
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: Sheldon Laube co-founded four successful start-ups, starting when he was in college. Since then, he’s served as the first Chief Information Officer of Pricewaterhouse, the Chief Technology Officer of Novell, the co-founder of US Web and co-founder of Center Beam and the Chief Innovation Officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers, which just makes Mike and me feel just completely insignificant.
Larry Jordan: Tonight, we talk with him about his latest venture, called artkick.com. Welcome, Sheldon. Good to have you with us.
Sheldon Laube: Thanks so much, guys. Good to be with you.
Larry Jordan: I was looking over this resume that you’ve put together. What got you started in this side of the industry in the first place? What caught your attention?
Sheldon Laube: You mean in terms of the computer industry?
Larry Jordan: Yes.
Sheldon Laube: Oh, well, when I was in high school, which was really a long time ago, I fell in love with programming. It’s as simple as that, you know? I was originally going to go into biology and through a strange set of circumstances I learned how to program and I was just captivated by it and that changed the whole course of my life.
Larry Jordan: That’s pretty amazing, and changed the course of your life starting in college. Your first start-up was in college, if I remember right.
Sheldon Laube: Yes it was and I actually put together a little software consulting firm that hired students to do software development projects and so my love affair with computing and software development goes back a really long time.
Larry Jordan: That’s pretty amazing. I could spend probably the rest of this interview talking about your past history, but I want to know what got you involved in starting up companies, because that’s sort of a high risk endeavor for the fearless. That’s not something that most people would like to do.
Sheldon Laube: Yes, well, I give most of the credit to my wife.
Larry Jordan: Ok.
Mike Horton: Always.
Sheldon Laube: Who happens to be a psychiatrist, just as an interesting aside. But she said, “Don’t look back at all of the things you should have tried to do.” She said, “If the opportunity is there, go ahead and do it. You don’t want to spend your life looking backwards at all the opportunities you passed by,” and as I came up with ideas of new companies to start, she said, “We’re going to make it work.”
Larry Jordan: Now, that’s a heck of a vote…
Sheldon Laube: You know, “I’ll work more, I’ll try to make more money, we’re going to make this work.”
Larry Jordan: That is very cool.
Mike Horton: That’s a heck of a wife.
Sheldon Laube: Luckily, we’ve been more successful than failure. I’ve had some of both.
Larry Jordan: So tell us about Artkick. What is it and why did you decide to start the company?
Sheldon Laube: Well, it’s really a very simple idea. When you guys go home tonight and all of your listeners, go look around your house or apartment and count the number of black screens, which are TVs, and ask yourself the simple question – when you’re not watching TV, why are they black? Why are they eyesores taking up space prominently throughout your home? Why aren’t they displaying beautiful images, beautiful pictures of art, beautiful photography?
Larry Jordan: Ok, why?
Sheldon Laube: And that’s what Artkick is about. Artkick changes and turns the TVs from black screens into interactive picture displays.
Larry Jordan: That is such a cool idea. So we have to have an internet connected TV, though, to be able to make that work, correct?
Sheldon Laube: Yes. Well, you either have an internet connected TV or you have to spend 50 or 60 dollars on a Roku box, which is a little streaming box that turns any TV into an internet connected TV, and hopefully in the next month or two you can spend just $35 on Google Chromecast and that too turns your existing TV into an internet connected TV.
Larry Jordan: So what are you using for art sources? Where are the pictures coming from?
Sheldon Laube: Over 2,000 museums around the world and literally hundreds of photographers. We have a library of over 50,000 images that range from the great masters like Monet and Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci all the way to modern photography of Paris and the great wonders of the world to images from the Hubble space telescope. It runs the entire gamut of bringing beauty into people’s homes.
Mike Horton: Can we configure this to just show one particular piece of art or a slideshow or how?
Sheldon Laube: It’s all of the above. The whole idea is we want to put you in control of what the images look like and so the easiest way to think about Artkick is if you’re familiar with Spotify for music, Artkick is a streaming service for images and it has all the same characteristics of something like Spotify. So for music you can have play lists; we have view lists, which are your favorite images. You can say play them and you can say play them automatically, which means change it every hour, every morning, every three hours or every minute, or just leave it there until you decide you want to look at a new picture. You can create your own view lists so you can say, “Here are my favorites,” and you can share them with friends on Twitter and Facebook.
Larry Jordan: I’m boggled.
Mike Horton: This beats the fireplace or the aquarium.
Larry Jordan: Yes, true. I’m boggled by the licensing, though, because some of these images are pretty wrapped up in licenses. How did you manage to get clearance?
Sheldon Laube: Well, the answer to that, it turns out that all art falls into the public domain 100 years past the death of the artist, so that’s why you can have a T-shirt with the Mona Lisa on it, just for example; and so many of our images are already in the public domain and for those that aren’t, we’ve arranged licensing agreements with more contemporary artists to make their works available.
Sheldon Laube: For new emerging artists, they’re excited to work with Artkick because it gives them exposure for their art and allows literally millions of people, hopefully, to be able to enjoy art, because that’s why artists create it. They create it to enrich people’s lives, that’s the purpose of art, and we want to bring that beauty into the homes of millions of people on the TVs they already have sitting there taking up room, looking like an ugly eyesore.
Mike Horton: But what does this art look like on a non-calibrated television set that most of us have?
Sheldon Laube: It looks amazingly good. Now, since you’ve mentioned the calibrated television set, obviously so we can talk technical for a few seconds, it turns out that overblown colors look really good in art. Because remember, we’re not looking at flesh tones here. You’re looking at some pastoral scene and all of a sudden the greens are greener and they pop.
Sheldon Laube: But I’ll tell you another thing about looking at art on a TV. If you think about the pictures in your home that I’m sure all of us have, they’re not very well lit because who can afford putting in track lights to custom light everything? And so most of our art is sort of in the dark. But when you put art on a TV, it’s backlit so it sort of just really pops out. People look at pictures they’ve seen, like the Mona Lisa and other famous pictures, and they say, “It looks better on my TV than it ever did when I saw pictures of it.”
Mike Horton: I’m always wondering if that’s the way it should look.
Sheldon Laube: Well, these are not movies and we’re not trying to recreate the director’s vision. We’re trying to put pretty pictures in your environment. It’s as simple as that. We want you to wake up and see a pretty picture and bring a smile to your face and if that happens, we’ve succeeded. We don’t need to quibble about exactly what the light balance is and whether our gamma is exactly right. Did you like it? Was it pretty? Did you enjoy it? I can sleep at night with that.
Larry Jordan: So partly you can sleep with that, but you also have bills to pay. It’s a free service. Where’s the money?
Sheldon Laube: Well, like Spotify and Pandora, it’s a freemium service and what that simply means is the basic service is free, so all of your listeners can download the Artkick app right now, it’s free, it’s in IOS and Google Play, and then they can download the app for their Roku or Samsung Smart TVs and others and start playing with Artkick and enjoy it.
Sheldon Laube: In 2014, we’ll introduce a premium version that’ll go from between $5 and $9 a month, sort of the price of Netflix, and that will unlock new features. One of those will be the ability to integrate your own images into our library. Not just ours, but yours. You could create a view list that has the Mona Lisa and pictures of your daughter and pictures of your dog and then other famous pictures, if you will, and share those with your friends and family.
Sheldon Laube: The second feature is the ability to tap more than one TV, so you can have five or six around your house and you can control all of them. You’ll be able to show the same thing on all of them or different things on all of them. The third thing is, if you have the premium service, you won’t get advertising, which is, of course, one of the other ways we’ll make money. Just like everybody else, we do have to eat, we have to pay for all those computers and there’ll be advertising in the free version, so occasionally when you’re looking at a set of images, an ad might fly by. But if you don’t like it, you can slice it away by using your Smart device and away you go and you can move onto the next image.
Larry Jordan: This is definitely designed for consumers. How are you marketing it and what marketing seems to work the best?
Sheldon Laube: Well, right now our marketing is around public relations. It’s getting the word out, doing viral marketing on Twitter, on Facebook, talking to good folks like you. Hopefully your listeners will hear about this and say, “Hey, I’m going to give it a try,” and if they like it, they’ll share it with their friends. But, you know, as a raw start-up, we can’t afford big advertising campaigns. I’d love to do that great Superbowl ad and I can see it in my mind but we’re not there yet.
Larry Jordan: Yes, I can identify with that feeling exactly.
Mike Horton: I tell you one thing, if you go to the front page of the Artkick website, it’s got the coolest TV console setup there and I want that thing. It’s absolutely beautiful.
Sheldon Laube: Well, that’s actually in the home of our co-founders. That’s his family room.
Mike Horton: Oh wow. It’s absolutely gorgeous.
Sheldon Laube: It is, it’s really fun.
Larry Jordan: Before we run out of time, Bill Gates tried this a little bit ago and it didn’t work. Why do you think it’s going to be successful now?
Sheldon Laube: Well, remember, it did work. In Bill Gates’ house, he does all of this. It just happens to cost tens of millions of dollars.
Sheldon Laube: The reason is, is when Bill started with this idea, which was back in the late 1980s, a high definition TV cost $100,000 and it wasn’t digital photography and there wasn’t even an internet coming into people’s homes. Those three things have changed. Everybody has a high definition flat panel display today and they’re incredibly inexpensive. Just as a matter of interest, you can buy a 30 inch internet connected TV for about $280. It’s about the price you would pay to frame a picture of similar size.
Larry Jordan: Yes, true.
Sheldon Laube: So the cost of the TV has just plummeted and everybody already has one. The second is digital art exists. When Bill started, there weren’t digital versions of all of these great versions of art. Now they’re all over and museums have made those digital versions of their masterpieces available to the public.
Larry Jordan: And Sheldon, I’m going to run out of time, where can people go on the web to learn more?
Larry Jordan: And that’s artkick.com. The CEO of Artkick is Sheldon Laube and, Sheldon, thanks for joining us today.
Sheldon Laube: Take care. Thank you.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.
Sheldon Laube: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Steve Dispensa is a producer/director with more than ten years’ experience in television and feature films. His new TV web series pilot, Hitting Home, is what we want to learn more about tonight. Hello, Steve.
Steve Dispensa: Hi Larry, how are you?
Larry Jordan: We are talking to you and thrilled to do it. What is Hitting Home?
Steve Dispensa: Hitting Home is a show about a hit man. Due to some financial pressures, he has to move back in with his parents and he winds up having to take on some pretty crummy jobs in order to pay off his student loans.
Mike Horton: I love that idea.
Larry Jordan: That is a great concept. I think that’s fabulous.
Mike Horton: I would watch it just for that.
Larry Jordan: Is it your idea or did somebody else write it?
Steve Dispensa: It was my idea, I wrote it. The project actually came about back in 2007. I had the initial concepts for it. But, you know, trying to find an excuse to do a TV pilot on spec, it was a little tough. I ended up going to a graduate school at the Brooklyn College Department of TV and Radio back in 2011 and I went about creating the show for my Masters thesis, so wrote it there in class and wound up producing it somewhere between my first and second year.
Larry Jordan: Why did you decide to create it as a web series?
Steve Dispensa: Well, it could play on TV as a traditional series, but I think it’s a type of show that the actual plans we have for it as a series, it’s highly serialized and it’s the type of thing that an audience would want to binge watch. We know how popular that is with Netflix and everything these days and Hitting Home was designed to just kind of end every episode on some sort of cliffhanger, moving you onto the story to the next part.
Larry Jordan: How long is each episode?
Steve Dispensa: Well, the pilot is about 54 minutes, but moving forward in the series, I would say each episode, based on the outlines we have right now and what we think the page counts would be if we actually go to script, would be between 35 and 45 minutes.
Larry Jordan: Do you think that’s enough to hold the audience? That’s a fair length of time, especially for somebody that’s relatively new to film making. Can you pull it off?
Steve Dispensa: Oh, absolutely. There are a lot of different ways to go about it, but what’s nice now as opposed to maybe when I first came up with the idea back in ’07 is that there are so many other platforms to watch a show like this on with people getting things through their Roku boxes and YouTube on other devices such as your X-Box or your Playstation and I think that when you have that living room experience, you can really hold the audience for a longer amount of time.
Mike Horton: Absolutely. I agree and I think all this ADD talk is nonsense. It does come into play when you’re watching it on a computer, but when you stream it to your TV, it just doesn’t come into play and 54 minutes is fine.
Steve Dispensa: Yes and, you know, I’ve got to tell you, I really have a great example of it. There was a web series that came out about a year or two ago called H+ and Yahoo was promoting it and they were running for about two to three minutes an episode. It was a great show, great concept, acting, production, everything was top notch.
Steve Dispensa: But the numbers that they were getting, you could see the views right there on the page, they were only getting in the 25,000 to 50,000 mark on a lot of the episodes and I just think for real dramatic content, you really need kind of the longer form to really make it work as opposed to a two minute video of your cat playing around. Obviously, that can get a million views no problem.
Larry Jordan: See, that’s what I’m missing, Mike. We have to have a video of our cat playing around.
Mike Horton: Well, if you want this to go viral, just put a cat in it.
Steve Dispensa: Or label it and make sure that that’s the icon for it.
Mike Horton: Exactly.
Larry Jordan: Steve, what’s been the reaction so far? You’ve got the pilot posted, correct?
Steve Dispensa: Yes, the pilot is available online and you can watch it on www.hittinghome.net and that will just link you to my YouTube channel which has the pilot on it right now. But it’s been very positive, the reaction so far. We had a very nice write-up on Film Threat a couple of months back. It’s played in a film festival over in Ireland, which was a lot of fun, and we’ve just been getting generally very, very good feedback on the show. The one thing about it that people keep saying to me, which I love, is, “I turned it on and I see that it’s 54 minutes long and I said, “Ok, you know, there’s no way I’m watching this whole thing,” and so I was like, “I’ll just watch five minutes,” and then all of a sudden the hour was up and I was wanting to see more,” so that’s been really nice to hear.
Larry Jordan: Oh yes. How are you funding it?
Steve Dispensa: Well, we actually funded it through an Indiegogo campaign that we ran in the summer of 2012. We raised I would say about 7,000 on Indiegogo, we were trying to raise 10,000 but we only had two weeks to run the campaign because of the way the schedule was set up, and we wound up just outside of Indiegogo, a couple of people contributed independently and pushed us over that $10,000 mark and then I threw a bit of my own money into it as well, just for some of the finishing sound mixing, things like that.
Larry Jordan: So you’ve got the pilot. How are you going to turn this into a series, so you’ve got more episodes you have to shoot?
Steve Dispensa: So we’re using the pilot as a presentation piece for possible investors. What we’re really looking at right now is how do you take a show like Hitting Home that you want to distribute over the web, you don’t want to go to a regular network with it and jump through all those channels, because you know how long everything takes and with me not having experience producing dramatic television somewhere else, it’s very tough, obviously, to become a show runner on a network show.
Steve Dispensa: So we’re trying to figure out how you monetize it and I really think that the way to take shows like Hitting Home and make them profitable for people to say, “Ok, I can invest in this and get it done,” is to give away a portion of it and then charge for the next bit. You can imagine a situation where you have half a season available for free and then you’ve got to buy a season pass to watch the second half, just like you have… these big episodes, that’s the one you’re going to see as the first episode of the paid part of it.
Mike Horton: That’s a pretty good idea.
Larry Jordan: That is interesting.
Steve Dispensa: There are a lot of different options, but that’s kind of what we’re kicking around right now. We’re trying to develop this further to take it for some private investment.
Larry Jordan: How did you get your actors to commit, knowing that it was going to be a series but you couldn’t tell them when production was going to start?
Steve Dispensa: Well, the great thing about living in New York is there are so many people here looking to act and to get good pieces for their reel, so I spent about six months collecting head shots and resumes, I had postings on mandy.com and Backstage and all that stuff, and we saw, I would say, about 300 people from a list of I think 2,000 submissions that we got over that period. It was challenging, but we were able to whittle it down to some great actors and they committed to do the pilot pro bono and we wound up having some really great people in there, some of whom are friends of mine that I have done work for in the past, some of whom were just newcomers. We really had a great crew and really couldn’t beat it.
Mike Horton: Yes, well, the trailer looks pretty dang good.
Steve Dispensa: Thank you.
Mike Horton: I haven’t watched the pilot yet and I will, but the trailer looks pretty dang good.
Larry Jordan: Yes, the trailer has a wonderful look to it. It has a very crime drama kind of feeling and the hook, the hit man living at home, is just hysterical.
Mike Horton: Oh, it certainly resonates with a lot of young people out there who are…
Steve Dispensa: Oh, absolutely.
Mike Horton: …in the same situation. No Foreign Legion background, but that’s another story.
Larry Jordan: In the little bit of time we’ve got left, how are you marketing it? How are you trying to build an audience?
Steve Dispensa: Well, right now I’m trying to do as many podcasts as I can.
Larry Jordan: Well, we’re glad to have you on this one, that’s for sure.
Steve Dispensa: Yes, no, thank you. It’s great to be on the show. I was actually on the show once before back in 2007. I was promoting a feature film that I had done and I’ve listened to the show for years, so it’s always an honor to come on.
Larry Jordan: Oh, we’re always glad to have you. Where can people go to watch the trailer and learn more? And are you looking for contributors or investors?
Steve Dispensa: We’re looking for investors, moving forward. For the pilot, it was contributors, we did the cloud funding thing, but if we’re going to be able to continue making episodes, it’s going to have to be financially beneficial to everyone involved.
Larry Jordan: And the website is what?
Steve Dispensa: Www.hittinghome.net.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, hittinghome.net, and Steve Dispensa is the producer/director for Hitting Home. Steve, thanks for joining us today.
Steve Dispensa: Larry, Michael, thanks very much.
Mike Horton: Yes, best of luck to you.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.
Steve Dispensa: Thank you. Take care.
Larry Jordan: For the past eight years, Marcel James, well, actually, longer than that, he’s an audio expert and for the last eight years he’s worked with Antelope Audio as the Director of Sales and Marketing. Along the way, he’s consulted for some of the top audio engineers in the world and recently he worked on a very unusual project – recording the Earth Harp, which was designed and built by William Close. Hello Marcel, good to have you with us.
Marcel James: Hey Larry, how are you?
Larry Jordan: We are doing great. How about yourself?
Marcel James: Oh, we’re here at the CES show, actually talking to you from the Venetian suites in our room at the CES show and having a great show.
Mike Horton: Oh, I love the Venetian suites. You can walk down that living room, that sunken living room that all of them have.
Marcel James: That’s right. That’s where I’m standing. You’ve painted the picture perfectly.
Larry Jordan: Mike only sleeps in the penthouse suites.
Mike Horton: No, I’m usually at some motel not on The Strip.
Larry Jordan: Marcel, let’s take a step back. What got you interested in audio in the first place?
Marcel James: Oh my gosh. First, I played basketball, so they actually hired me to DJ our homecoming, so I’ve been a DJ since I was 17, 18 years old and then, when I joined the Air Force, I somehow found my way back in the clubs and kept DJing and was always around music and was interested in music and it just sort of organically happened and the more the years went by, the more I got involved and at some point it became impossible to just let it be a hobby.
Marcel James: It was just too much of an obsession and I had recording studios everywhere I went. I’d build a recording studio in my home and one day I just decided, “You know, I’m going to go work in the audio world,” and I went to work for Sweetwater in 2001 and I worked for three years for such an amazing retail operation and to this day I visit them three or four times a year and they’re Antelope’s largest dealer in the world.
Larry Jordan: That’s very cool. So what is Antelope Audio?
Marcel James: In the 1990s, there was a company called Aardvark and they made clocking devices and converters, but it was really their clocking that got super powerful. In fact, they’re still in use at ABC, Universal, NBC. Their clocks just became wildly popular in stabilizing systems with multiple devices and people found they liked the sound when they were connected, so they had this side benefit from the clocking algorithm that made the audio actually sound a little more clear, a little more focused.
Larry Jordan: For people that don’t perhaps know audio as well as you do, what is clocking?
Marcel James: Well, all of the digital audio that we listen to, the samples are recorded in a timed manner, so to reconstruct an audio wave form, you have to take several snapshots of that audio over time. With those snapshots, it paints a picture of a wave form. In reverse, when you go back and play back that audio, you have to again time those snapshots and play them back to reconstruct the wave form.
Larry Jordan: So clocking then affects the sample rate?
Marcel James: It’s very interesting what happens, because if you time that very well and very carefully, you can actually stabilize the signal in a way that sounds much better. But what’s unique about Antelope is over 20 years ago, Igor Levin, our inventor, came up with the concept of randomizing little bits of the audio, so what you’re trying to remove are errors in that clocking, which we call jitter, and jitter will manifest itself in that reconstruction, in that recording process I described with the snapshot. If you have errors in the clocking, they will manifest themselves as jitter or digital noise that we hear or artifacts.
Marcel James: If you stabilize it, you get rid of the jitter but it doesn’t always sound analogue or natural. Things that we like tend to have some little bits of harmonic distortion. It’s been proven over and over again that people like transformers, for example. They don’t have less distortion than a fully solid state circuit, they have a little more, but people like the sound of them. They like the sound of tape, they like the sound of tubes.
Marcel James: So what we did with the clocking, what Igor did is he surmised, “What if I just do very little amounts of carefully randomized jitter?” and what this does is it linearizes or naturalizes the sound of digital, and people like it.
Larry Jordan: It’s amazing that you can add a random signal and improve things as opposed to make it just sound noisy.
Marcel James: You know what’s interesting? We have to go way back. When they first discovered this, they built these radar systems in World War II in England and they put the radars on the planes and they found, oddly enough, that the radar systems were more accurate in the air than they were on the ground where they built them and for a long time they couldn’t understand why this was and they found out it was the noise of the aircraft that was dithering the operation of the radar.
Larry Jordan: Hmm.
Marcel James: You can look this up, but this was the first discovery of dithering and dithering is used in photography, it’s used in audio. It’s a very proven method for improving the resolution of any electronic or digital signal.
Larry Jordan: Now, is your gear used more in the studio or more for live sound?
Marcel James: Very good question. For many years, we were mostly in the studio. The people who wanted clocking were people who were looking for that extra five or ten percent. There were the mastering guys or the film scoring communities, so it was very widespread in those fields. Then, as time went on, it kind of worked itself down the chain, so the guys in the mastering house said, “Hey, you’re mixing, you should use this clock,” and then the mixing guys would say to the tracking guys, “Hey, you should try this clock,” and the more people that tried them, the more they liked them.
Marcel James: Aardvark did not survive, but out of the ashes of Aardvark, around 2005, came Antelope, which was the new creation and I came on board shortly after Igor founded the company. Everything is manufactured in Europe. I’m based in Los Angeles and have been the whole time and I used to take them under my arm and go from studio to studio, it was that kind of story, and once a year I’d have a little money and I’d fly to New York and so the same thing on the subways with a clock under my arm and here we are and suddenly overnight, as they say, a multi-million dollar company.
Larry Jordan: Well, not just a multi-million dollar company, but brag about who some of the live acts are that are using your gear.
Marcel James: Oh my gosh. The most amazing thing happened a year ago. What evolved from clocking is we decided to start building converters, so three or four years ago we started to build our own converters with our clocking technology embedded and, again, people liked them. A year ago, we introduced the world’s first 32 channel 192 converter called the Orion 32 and the Orion 32 became an instant hit and it was instantly interesting for the live sound guys.
Marcel James: Every major live tour has a playback technician with redundant rigs and he needs lots of channels and he needs them in a small package and so we got calls from all these artists and not only did they take the clocks on, but they endorsed the product, so we have endorsements and sponsorships with Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Korn. We’re going to be doing the Katy Perry tour. I’ll brag a little more – a couple of weeks ago I got a call from… He was a guy who worked on the Rihanna tour. He said, “You know, Stevie Wonder’s doing a Christmas show… the 18th year. We’ll invite you over and come say hello and meet Stevie,” so I got to meet Stevie Wonder, which, I mean, I had to pinch myself.
Marcel James: I never thought it would happen. I never thought it would come to this. You don’t dream about where it could go.
Mike Horton: By the way, did you actually get to see that show?
Marcel James: Oh yes, it was…
Mike Horton: Because he’s been doing it for years and years and years, but this year was apparently very special and it got a big write-up in the LA Times.
Marcel James: You know what he said? He said last year he had a cold and so he really wanted to pull out all the stops this year, that he felt like he owed it to the audience to make it up.
Mike Horton: Yes, well apparently he did, because it brought everybody to tears.
Larry Jordan: There’s a recent project you did which is fascinating to me called the Earth Harp. You were involved in recording that. What is the Earth Harp and what was your role with that?
Mike Horton: I just Googled it. It’s awesome.
Marcel James: Oh my gosh. When you see the audition that he did for America’s Got Talent and the show appearances, you get goosebumps. It’s just such an amazing instrument and an amazing guy, an amazing story. The Earth Harp was built and is performed by William Close, who has been building instruments for many years. He was an art student who was just fascinated by sound and music and he built and performs these amazing thousand feet of string instruments.
Marcel James: As a matter of fact, the size of the instrument changes depending on the venue and the venue becomes the resonant space for the instrument, so every venue he sets up becomes part of the instrument.
Marcel James: I got into mastering – and I do this, I moonlight and I’ve been lucky enough to do some big projects. It’s not something I advertise, but word of mouth spreads – and I wanted to build a demo space in a studio to demonstrate the analogue gear, so over the last five years I’ve built, quite honestly, a very amazing mastering space in… City and I started to do some projects for bigger and bigger clients and one of them is a film composer who does a lot of TV and film stuff and his producer, I mastered a record for them, and he was working with William on his record and he said, “You’ve got to use Marcel for your record,” so they brought it over.
Marcel James: I was halfway done before I realized who the artist was, and then in one of the emails they sent me this message that had William Close’s name in it and I, like you, Googled him and was just stunned. I tell you, I started mastering it over and over and over just to make sure I got that last ounce of it, and it really paid off. Everyone was really happy with the final result. When you get a chance to listen to the music, Behind the Veil is the album by William Close and the Earth Harp Collective, and it did get picked up recently by Network Records and he’s going to do a couple more albums for them as well.
Larry Jordan: Now, you were involved in the mastering or the recording of the instrument?
Marcel James: I did the mastering. Now, the project came to me and, you know, was mixed well but quite frankly it wasn’t a huge budget project and so I was able to use the magic of mastering and the special EQs, the sound tech EQs that I use and various other tools, basically a very simple rig but a lot of Antelope – Antelope conversion, Antelope clocking, Antelope monitoring – and ATC speakers, which I’m a big fan of and we’re sharing the room with here at the Venetian and…
Mike Horton: Wait a minute. What speakers? What was the brand?
Marcel James: They’re ATC. ATC are very well known speakers and they’ve had a very good run the last couple of years but Billy Wagner with ATC has designed speakers for, I think, 30 years. He’s designed transducers and his company founded 15 years ago and it’s just grown in market share. We had Doug Sax here, the mastering legend, at the show and has espousing the benefits of ATC the past couple days here at CES, which went over very well. They just help you to hear exactly what’s going on with the music in a nice presentation.
Marcel James: I didn’t just use Antelope clocking and converting on this project. I used a special converter that we have coming out, a thing called the Rubicon. This is marketed to the ultra high end. It’s a $40,000 product that’s shipping in the next three, four months and it’s a remarkable device and it has an integrated atomic clock in the converter and this was the first album we used this product on to capture it.
Larry Jordan: That’s some amazing stuff. When you’re mastering, what’s the one thing you keep in mind?
Marcel James: You know, I always go back to the… mix. I think that’s your home, that’s your base. Everyone wants it louder and these days there are tools to make it louder, but are you making it better? You want to always go back to mix and match the levels and see if you’re going forward in other respects.
Marcel James: The second thing that’s equally as important is to make sure that the product will play on a wide variety. At the end of the day, that’s the function of a good mastering engineer, is to make sure that product plays well on everything. It needs to play well on everything from a phone, computer speakers to the best hifi speakers and headphones as well. There’s a different thing that happens when you put a set of headphones on, as you guys know. You hear suddenly the top or the bottom. There’s a roundness that you want to hear that encompasses you in the music and that’s something I always do, is put a set of headphones on as well because I want the master to play well across the board, everything from an expensive headphone to a cheap ear bud.
Larry Jordan: Amazing stuff. What website, Marcel, can people go to to learn more about the products that you represent?
Marcel James: Antelopeaudio.com. Very straightforward.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, antelopeaudio.com and Marcel James is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Antelope. Marcel, thanks for joining us today.
Marcel James: Thanks so much for having me, guys.
Mike Horton: Thanks, Marcel. That was great.
Marcel James: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.
Marcel James: All right, bye bye.
Larry Jordan: I’m at the Riviera Hotel here in Los Vegas at a Storage Visions 2014 conference, which is sponsored by Tom Coughlin & Associates. Tom is a long time expert in storage and technology, doing research in the industry, and his conference is celebrating its 13th year this and I was delighted to be on one of his panels.
Larry Jordan: But Tom did a kick-off speech this morning which looked at the future of storage which I thought was fascinating and, Tom, thanks for joining us today because I want to talk about that with you for just a bit.
Tom Coughlin: Thank you much, Larry, I appreciate the opportunity.
Larry Jordan: Storage is going in all directions as fast as it possibly can. What is happening? What do you see as happening in the future?
Tom Coughlin: What’s happening is that, because of the value of storage in doing so many things that people want to do, that we have enormous ingenuity going into the technologies. We have very, very fast storage technologies, we’ve got solid state devices all the way to very long live storage, for instance, in tape and optical devices and combinations of all these different technologies in order to provide the kind of things that people in the professional media and entertainment field need to do the sort of workflows that they’re now being asked to do.
Larry Jordan: Well, it seems to me there are two sides to this equation. One is the amount of storage you’ve got available and the second is the bandwidth to get the data back and forth between the two.
Tom Coughlin: Exactly, yes.
Larry Jordan: I want to look first at the amount of storage available. I mean, we’re now throwing around terms, gigabytes are, like, last century. We’re talking terabytes and petabytes and exabytes.
Tom Coughlin: Petabytes are the new terabytes. But I see that within ten years. We could be looking at professional video projects that could approach an exabyte in size, which is a thousand petabytes.
Larry Jordan: You’re not cheering me up here. An exabyte for a standard project?
Tom Coughlin: This is going to be a rather expensive project in ten years, yes. But someone’s going to do it, I think.
Larry Jordan: Well, you gave a chart this morning which I found fascinating. You showed that there’s growth in direct attached storage, the Thunderbolt devices of the world…
Tom Coughlin: Yes, for instance.
Larry Jordan: …but there’s also growth going in network attached storage and cloud storage. What’s driving all three of those?
Tom Coughlin: The direct attached storage and the very fast speeds are excellent for moving data around locally with a local device, so the unit numbers on those are having very good growth, particularly for these media entertainment applications with things like Thunderbolt or the USB 3.2 interface, the faster interfaces. But there are a lot of people who also need to collaborative work and so there are a couple of things that are happening as a result of that.
Tom Coughlin: If you’re a thinner facility, you’re leading the growth of network storage, so the total storage capacity of network storage is increasing considerably. But also you’re seeing collaborations that go beyond a single facility into multiple facilities and that’s when you get into this idea of cloud storage that helps to create these collaborative workflows that can span continents, can span time zones, that allow people to interact all over the world in ways they’ve never been able to before, creating new types of workflows and new opportunities that have never existed.
Larry Jordan: Now, there’s another term that I’ve been hearing today that I need some clarify on. People are talking about Flash. Is Flash the same as SSD?
Tom Coughlin: NAND Flash technology is the storage technology that’s used in SSDs today.
Larry Jordan: If somebody says Flash, do we use Flash and SSD interchangeably?
Tom Coughlin: To some extent. The Flash is the technology that’s within the chip and the solid state drive, which is an SSD, is a general description of a device, in this case which uses Flash memory, so all of the SSDs available today, to my knowledge, are basically Flash based devices, current SSDs.
Larry Jordan: So storage is increasing, we’re getting greater density on spinning media, being able to squeeze more bits on the same amount of real estate, but now we’ve got to get that data from the hard disk to our computer and that’s called bandwidth. Is bandwidth keeping up with storage technology?
Tom Coughlin: In most cases, no. We have these new direct attached interfaces, which are very fast, like the Thunderbolt, for instance. 20 gigabits per second is nothing to sneeze at. But when you start getting into networking technology, you’ve got generally a lot more complexity in switching a lot of latency issues that, even within a facility, limit what you can often do without getting into a very complex, very redundant multiple path system. It gets fairly expensive and if you do stuff through the cloud or through traditional broadcast or distribution channels, it’s even more.
Tom Coughlin: Now, let’s led to some interesting things for the consumer side of things, where, for instance, to make these 4K TVs, get content to them they can actually use, we’re seeing development of new compression technologies which involve more complexity in terms of the processing power capability.
Larry Jordan: That would be like the H.265 codec.
Tom Coughlin: The H.265, HEBs, otherwise known as HEDC, which can get perhaps as high as 50 percent compressions, depending upon the content.
Larry Jordan: So the H.265 is the next iteration of H.264.
Tom Coughlin: The AVC H.264, it’s basically probably going to be the next generation for most people, although there are some competing technologies like the one that Google just announced, their VP9.
Larry Jordan: Why should we standardize on something? That would just make life too easy.
Tom Coughlin: Yes, that’s right.
Larry Jordan: Well, what do you see as opening up bandwidth to make it easier for us to get access to…
Tom Coughlin: What I think we’re going to see is that, with the development of some of these new technologies, the Flash memory and other things, integrated inter-storage systems, which will be Flash, also of hard drives, maybe we could have tape in the back end, that we will be able to bring down some of the cost, at least with today’s resolutions, to be able to do essentially conventional type of editing type applications.
Tom Coughlin: Now, when you get into high resolution stuff – 8K, 16K, 300 frames per second, 8,000 frames per second, whatever – then you’re probably going to be back up…
Larry Jordan: For film makers that have a check book and are trying to decide where to spend their money, what should they be spending money on this year? Is it buying more of the same or is there some new leading edge technology that we need to pay attention to?
Tom Coughlin: This next year, we’re going to see a lot of new technologies available, a lot of new combinations of technologies and, depending upon what exactly you’re doing in your workflow, for instance on the library side we have all these objects storage type systems, both hard disk drive tape and maybe even Flash based systems that store things in these object oriented approaches, which can give you very good redundancy potentially and lower cost storage options, all the way into high availability type situations with new types of technologies, could be Flash. Potentially eventually could be even other… storage technologies.
Larry Jordan: Is the blending of Flash with spinning media, what Apple calls their fusion drive, is that just a stopgap until Flash becomes affordable? Or are there some benefits to buying into that technology?
Tom Coughlin: It seems to me that you’ve got a trade off between dollars per IOPS and dollars per gigabyte and there are some things where I really need the performance and that’s where the dollars per IOPS predominate. Other things have got a lot of content and I want to store it as inexpensively as I can. In those cases, probably the dollars per gigabyte is an important factor, so it depends upon where you are and what you’re doing and, likely in any given workflow, I’ve got some places where I need the IOPS and some places where I need the dollars per gigabyte.
Larry Jordan: Now, IOPS means how fast it can perform a particular function?
Tom Coughlin: That’s right. It’s Input/Output Operations Per Second.
Larry Jordan: And gigabyte is just simply how much it costs to buy the unit to store a gigabyte of data.
Tom Coughlin: That relates to that and we probably should be talking terabytes now.
Larry Jordan: Tom, for people who want to keep track of what’s going on in this industry, which is changing hourly, what website should they check out?
Tom Coughlin: Well, I would recommend that they might take a look at my website, which is tomcoughlin.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, tomcoughlin.com. Tom is the Founder of Tom Coughlin & Associates and a noted expert on storage technology. Tom, thanks for joining us today.
Tom Coughlin: Thank you very much, Larry, it’s always a pleasure.
Larry Jordan: Another company exhibiting here at Storage Visions 2014 is a company I haven’t heard of before called Akitio. Richard Wright is the Director of Global Distribution. Richard, thanks for joining us today.
Richard Wright: Thank you for having me.
Larry Jordan: So what is Akitio?
Richard Wright: Akitio is a fairly new brand. The company started out as an OEM ODM company in Taiwan in 1992 and we’ve done OEM ODM projects for pretty much everybody in the storage industry.
Larry Jordan: OEM is Original Equipment Manufacture. What’s ODM?
Richard Wright: Design.
Larry Jordan: So you would design products and somebody else would build them?
Richard Wright: Just for example, we designed all of the Gtech stuff and we also manufactured it. We’re not currently doing the manufacturing of the Gtech stuff, but they’re still using our design.
Larry Jordan: It’s a very cool design.
Richard Wright: Yes.
Larry Jordan: I own more Gtech gear than I can shake a stick at.
Richard Wright: Right. That’s why our products look a little bit like the Gtech, as they’re the same designers.
Larry Jordan: So what do you guys make?
Richard Wright: We concentrate now on Thunderbolt storage. Like I said before, we’ve done OEM ODM stuff for pretty much everybody – Sony, Phillips, Gtech, all the big names – but about three years ago we decided to start our own brand, taking all the expertise that we got from making stuff for other people and use all the best things from that and make our own brand.
Larry Jordan: Well, there are two versions of Thunderbolt. There’s Thunderbolt 1 and there’s Thunderbolt 2. Which do you support?
Richard Wright: We do both.
Larry Jordan: Really?
Richard Wright: Yes. We have, I believe, four products that are currently certified with Apple and Intel that are currently available. We have a one bay Thunderbolt product, which is the fastest and the highest capacity Thunderbolt product, which is a BUS powered product. We go up to 512 gigabytes. No-one else has…
Larry Jordan: On a single drive?
Richard Wright: On a single drive, one bay, BUS powered product. The highest capacity anyone else has is 256 that’s completely BUS powered, so we’re pretty proud of that. On those same lines, we also have what we call our palm RAID, which is even smaller. It’s got two… SSDs inside, so it goes up to 512 gigabytes as well.
Larry Jordan: Now, you’re talking storage…
Richard Wright: This is storage.
Larry Jordan: …at Thunderbolt 1 speeds?
Richard Wright: At Thunderbolt 1 speeds. We also have two two bay units that are getting transfer speeds of 770 megabytes per second, which is, according to Intel, the fastest product out there right now.
Larry Jordan: And how about Thunderbolt 2?
Richard Wright: Thunderbolt 2, we’ve already created the products but they’re currently being certified by Intel and Apple. We have a four bay 3.5 inch as well as a new Thunder Dock that will also be Thunderbolt 2.
Larry Jordan: We’ll talk about the Thunder Dock in just a second, but why should people care about the number of bays in a unit and why should they care whether it’s a three and a half or two inch or five inch drive?
Richard Wright: The quick answer is two and a half, you’re not going to get as high a capacity, but using SSDs you’re going to get a lot better performance. Just for example, our four bay that uses four SSDs, we’re getting speeds of 1.38 gigabytes per second.
Larry Jordan: Off an SSD?
Richard Wright: Off SSDs, yes.
Larry Jordan: With what retail price?
Richard Wright: We haven’t actually come up with a retail price on it yet.
Larry Jordan: Because it’s still being certified and won’t ship until later this year.
Richard Wright: Correct.
Larry Jordan: And have you an anticipated ship date?
Richard Wright: We’re hoping some time in March.
Larry Jordan: So what’s this Thunder Dock?
Richard Wright: The Thunder Dock, we currently have a version with Thunderbolt 1 and the Thunderbolt 1 version was actually introduced to us by some people at Apple. They had the idea of providing people with a way of connecting their legacy storage devices. Obviously, the new Apple products have Thunderbolt and USB 3, whereas they used to have Firewire. That was the fastest way to transfer anything onto an Apple computer, but the new ones don’t have Firewire. A lot of people still have all these Firewire devices, so we created a product which connects to your computer via a Thunderbolt port, but it also has two ESATA ports, two USB 3.0 ports and a Firewire port.
Larry Jordan: Now, does it have two Thunderbolt ports? Can you do a loop through?
Richard Wright: Yes it does. It’s got two of those so you can daisy chain other items other than Thunderbolt products.
Larry Jordan: How much of a slowdown in throughput is there if you daisy chain through the Thunderbolt?
Richard Wright: Almost zero.
Larry Jordan: Really?
Richard Wright: Yes.
Larry Jordan: So the Thunder Dock allows you to attach existing peripherals – USB and Firewire – via a Thunderbolt and, because it’s got multiple ports, you don’t simply need that one Thunderbolt to Firewire converter cable that Apple sells. This gives you a chance to connect everything.
Richard Wright: Right. You connect the Dock to your computer via the Thunderbolt cable, which comes with the unit.
Larry Jordan: Where can people go on the web to learn more about your company?
Richard Wright: They can go to our website. It’s www.akitio.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, akitio.com, and Richard Wright is the Director of Global Distribution for Akitio. Richard, thanks for telling us about your products.
Richard Wright: Thank you very much for having me.
Larry Jordan: Continuing our conversation at Storage Visions 2014, Elaine Kwok is the Manager of Product Marketing for Promise Technology. She lives and dies Thunderbolt drives and I want to talk about some of the new announcements from Promise. Elaine, thanks for joining us today.
Elaine Kwok: Glad to have me.
Larry Jordan: You guys released the first Thunderbolt 1 drive a while back and you just announced Thunderbolt 2. Tell us about the new announcement.
Elaine Kwok: Really, right now everyone’s talking about 4K, how to be 4K ready, and Thunderbolt 2 really opens up the bandwidth for those types of applications, particularly people talking about how you work with uncompressed 4K data and this gives the versatility for editing, back-up, display all at once and that’s really the excitement behind Thunderbolt 2.
Elaine Kwok: In particular, a lot of the creative professionals have been waiting for the all new Mac Pro, really to reinforce the position that Apple would like to continue to see further developments in this space, particularly with Final Cut Pro X coming by. It’s the new revamp and they really want to show their emphasis in this space for creative professionals.
Larry Jordan: What’s the main difference between Thunderbolt 1 and Thunderbolt 2?
Elaine Kwok: So the data transfer speed is maximized at 20 gigabits per second, versus previously it was ten gigabits per second, and what we’re finding is a lot of the applications are going to need beyond that ten. There’s a wide range of different ways you can do 4K, but on average, so to speak, at least 15 gigabits per second is the range that we’re seeing a lot of these applications, so Thunderbolt 2 is what really opens up the doors for these kinds of new resolutions and formats that we’re seeing.
Larry Jordan: if I take a four drive Thunderbolt RAID from Promise, does that give me the full 20 gigabits data transfer rate? Or is there something else that determines the speed of how fast data moves between the computer and the RAID?
Elaine Kwok: A lot of it is dictated by the number of spindles, so your spindles are basically your individual hard drives, and how fast or quickly each runs or spins or reads and writes and there are optimal transfer bandwidths that are enabled through the number of drives that are accompanied through each of the Thunderbolt 2 configurations that we have.
Larry Jordan: So the more drives we have inside the unit, the faster it goes?
Elaine Kwok: Correct.
Larry Jordan: So it’s not just increasing the amount of storage, it’s also increasing the speed.
Elaine Kwok: Correct.
Larry Jordan: Should somebody still even consider buying a Thunderbolt 1 drive?
Elaine Kwok: For some time, Thunderbolt itself will still have a definite place, I mean, in terms of adoption and it’s probably sufficient for a lot of mainstream applications. But if you’re thinking about how you can be ready for a lot of the applications that are coming just around the corner, Thunderbolt 2 will definitely give you the versatility and capability for those kinds of applications, specifically if you are a creative professional who is directly involved with a lot of the latest higher frame rate types of workflows. That will probably be optimized for that kind of workload.
Larry Jordan: When do the Thunderbolt 2 drives ship?
Elaine Kwok: The Thunderbolt 2 drives are currently available. The Pegasus product line has already been launched, so starting mid-December folks have already been able to order either the drives or the units themselves and, like I said, we’re also offering an option where folks can actually migrate previous drives over to the current Thunderbolt 2 device.
Larry Jordan: So you could buy an empty enclosure and migrate the drives across?
Elaine Kwok: If you purchase a Mac Pro with it, then you can.
Larry Jordan: Cool.
Elaine Kwok: Yes.
Larry Jordan: Where can people go on the web to learn more about the products Promise has available?
Elaine Kwok: So they can visit www.promise.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, promise.com. You can do a search for the Pegasus products and Elaine Kwok is the Manager of Product Marketing for Promise Technology. Elaine, thanks for joining me today.
Elaine Kwok: Ok, thank you very much.
Larry Jordan: Cirina Catania is the producer of The Buzz and is a film maker, journalist and former senior executive with United Artists and MGM, as well as one of the founders of the Sundance Film Festival. We have sent her deep undercover on assignment to go learn more about what’s happening at CES this year. Hello, Cirina.
Cirina Catania: Hi Larry, how are you? I’m still a little bit hoarse, but I’m back.
Larry Jordan: You are a trooper for even making the trip, given the condition you are in, so congratulations and thank you for being on the show. What’s happening at CES?
Cirina Catania: Well, it was huge. There were over 3200 exhibitors. I guess, what is that, more than double NED; and over two million… exhibit space, so it’s crazy here. Mobile is everywhere. The internet is inter-connected, the internet is everything now and I think it’s affecting the way we do all aspects of our business, so there’s a lot of talk about wearables or cameras, Smart watches, computer trainers and help monitors. That segued into the health area. A lot about health. I think the baby boomers are probably driving a lot of that and the young kids that want to work out are driving that. Bluetooth, wireless, a lot of new pallet solutions. Talk again about 4K television and 4K in general and, of course, gaming is huge.
Cirina Catania: There’s a segment here that was interesting to me and that was office admin. There were a couple of interesting products there too.
Mike Horton: Office admin?
Cirina Catania: Yes. Like the new wireless cloud based neat scanner. You know how we all hate to do our bookkeeping when we come back? I had a pile of 53 receipts. You just zip them through it. It scans 15 pages of documents or up to 30, actually. It does receipts, it does business cards, but the interesting thing about this is the Smart technology, because there’s software to back it up. It’s web-based software and it takes all of that and scans it… OCR and then categorizes it for you so you can set out expense reports, you can set out automatic reports for your tax when tax time comes around. It really is like having an administrative assistant at your feet.
Mike Horton: And you can do this all with your phone?
Cirina Catania: No, this is actually a small desktop… There’s also a portable unit that comes with it, but it’s wireless. It’s completely wireless.
Mike Horton: Ok, you lost me. I thought it was with a phone.
Cirina Catania: No, no. There is a lot you do with your phone. You can monitor your home. There’s some new technology. We’ve been talking about monitoring our homes wireless for a long time, but now there are… that you can put throughout the house that will monitor for water, if the power goes out, if there’s a surge in power, that kind of thing, and it sends you a text message or an email to tell you you’ve got a water leak or the power is out, what do you want us to do? That was pretty interesting.
Cirina Catania: But these… are fascinating. Last year’s clunky mini computer that we were wearing on our wrist, looked like geek gone prom, they’re all slimmer and sleeker and they actually look like nice watches but they do everything from looking like jewelry to they track your, there’s a… V800 that I really like, that’s for serious athletes that you can even wear in the water. If you run a triathlon, it measures your heart rate, it tells you what your recovery period needs to be, if you’re over training, under training, so it’s really one step above what these watches used to be.
Cirina Catania: There’s something called the Sense Mother, where you can give cookies and you can implant them. For example, you want to put one in your child’s backpack so you know when your child gets home, that kind of thing.
Mike Horton: Holy cow.
Cirina Catania: Keep track of your… activities. There’s another one called the Sticker Tracker that you can attach to your phone. I’m always losing my keys. You can put it on your keyring and if the tracker gets too far away from your keyring, then it will beep and tell you where your keyring is… holding your remote or your phone.
Larry Jordan: Is CES still a gear show or are you seeing software and content creeping in?
Cirina Catania: Well, obviously it’s always going to be a gear show and everybody’s vying for best new gear, but what I see happening is the software is all moving to web apps. It started a few years ago, it crescendoed with when Adobe came out with their subscription model. Everything’s move to web based applications. It’s all wireless, it’s all Bluetooth, it’s all web based. It’s an internet of things, you know, all connected to the internet.
Mike Horton: I’ve got to get this in. Quickly, did you find one product that you absolutely must have if you have the money right now?
Cirina Catania: Oh my gosh, you’re asking me to choose between a thousand different things. I don’t know. Some of the gaming products were great. Oh gosh, I can’t choose.
Mike Horton: I know. I just figured that you saw something and you said, “I’ve got to have that.”
Cirina Catania: The Moverio BT200 glasses. It takes the Google Glass one step further, actually. It projects two images simultaneously and it can pair up with your HDMI displays. I want one of those for my gaming.
Mike Horton: Oh my God.
Cirina Catania: Ok? Can I have that, Michael?
Mike Horton: You and I are different.
Larry Jordan: Cirina, you need to write this up and include it in the newsletter this week under the Producer’s Corner.
Mike Horton: I want a cute robot with big eyes.
Cirina Catania: Actually, you can have the… He’s life size, interactive and he communicates, so if you need a date for the SAG awards, you could take the… with you.
Mike Horton: Oh, that would be cool.
Larry Jordan: Cirina, this is the last question because we’ve got to go. What companies are you looking to invite on The Buzz later this year?
Cirina Catania: Well, I’m going to bring Steven Mason on. He’s a creative destructionist. Gtech’s coming back on with some of their new mobile devices. There was a woman who has a new program that allows independent film makers to upload their films for free and you can tell her what you want to sell it for, if you want people to pay for the downloads or not. It’s called Indie Films On Demand. I really enjoyed meeting her. The folks from Liquid Image, with the new wifi enabled helmet cam, that was pretty wonderful; and Shure has a new… that also has a separate headphone port, which is nice because you can monitor the sound directly from the unit and it has a back screen LCD so you can read what’s going on and it’s wifi… It’s a nice little unit.
Cirina Catania: We’re going to have Borrow Lenses on and I think they may even hopefully give us all a discount if we want to rent some great equipment. There are so many people…
Larry Jordan: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. There’s just too much stuff to cover. The show is huge.
Cirina Catania: Yes.
Mike Horton: I think she ought to get Jerry Brown to come down and talk about the new budget.
Larry Jordan: I think so, but not tonight. Cirina, thanks so much for joining us today and we look forward to seeing who you bring on the show in the future. Cirina Catania is the producer of The Digital Production Buzz. Cirina, get some sleep after all that wild work that you were doing.
Mike Horton: Wild walking in the…
Larry Jordan: Wild walking and seeing, yes.
Cirina Catania: Oh you guys, thanks. I’ll write it up for you.
Larry Jordan: Thanks. Take care. Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests for this week – Sheldon Laube, the CEO of Artkick; Steve Dispensa, the director and producer of a new web series called Hitting Home; Marcel James, the Director of Sales and Marketing for Antelope Audio; and three people from Storage Visions 2014: Tom Coughlin, the founder of Tom Coughlin & Associates, Richard Wright, the Director of Global Distribution for Akitio and Elaine Kwok, the Manager of Product Marketing for Promise Technology; and Buzz producer Cirina Catania with her report from CES this year.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot happening at The Buzz between shows. Visit digitalproductionbuzz.com and click ‘Latest News’. We update this several times a day with the latest in news from our industry. You can visit with us on Twitter, @dpbuzz, and 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; our engineer is Adrian Price. On behalf of the ever handsome Mike Horton, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.
Mike Horton: Goodbye everybody.
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