Digital Production Buzz
March 20, 2014
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
Sean Safreed, Co-Founder, Red Giant
Ela Thier, Writer / Director / Producer, Ela Thier
Misha Tenenbaum, Founder, EditStock
Jeff Pickard, CEO, President, Lucion Technologies
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 and Podcast Studio in beautiful downtown Burbank, it’s the Digital Production Buzz.
Voiceover: Production, post production, distribution.
Voiceover: 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 world’s longest running podcast covering creative content, producers and tech news from media production, post production, marketing and distribution around the world. My name is Larry Jordan and our ever affable co-host – you know, it doesn’t even apply…
Mike Horton: It doesn’t.
Larry Jordan: …Mr. Mike Horton.
Mike Horton: You’re making that up, aren’t you?
Larry Jordan: I can’t even read it. How can I make it up?
Mike Horton: I am grumpy.
Larry Jordan: You are grumpy. Why are you grumpy?
Mike Horton: Because I was in traffic. But I still made it, Larry, just for you. I was in traffic forever.
Larry Jordan: The sacrifice you made. Like, were you going quickly?
Mike Horton: No, Larry. In fact, I was reading a book while I was in traffic, it was that bad. And I finished the book.
Larry Jordan: That’s the scary part. You left yesterday afternoon and three miles later you got here. Thinking of people who are making the sacrifice to be on the show, we’re going to start with Sean Safreed. He’s the Co-founder of Red Giant, which has announced an online community called Universe. They announced it last week and Sean joins us to explain why this is such a big announcement.
Larry Jordan: Then writer/director/producer Ela Thier has successfully financed a feature that’s available on Netflix, Hulu and most other digital platforms. She joins us this week to explain how she did it.
Larry Jordan: Misha Tenenbaum is an Assistant Editor on such shows as ‘Jobs’ and ‘American Horror Story’. He’s also the Founder of EditStock, an online service that allows editors to download professionally shot film footage so that they can practice editing. I want to chat with him about how editors can learn the craft of storytelling.
Larry Jordan: Finally, Jeff Pickard is the CEO and President of Lucion Technologies, a go-to source for document management and Paperless Office software. Paperless Office has such a nice sound that…
Mike Horton: Doesn’t it?
Larry Jordan: …we wanted to talk with him about it this week.
Larry Jordan: By the way, just a reminder to check out the text transcripts for each show, courtesy of Take 1 Transcription. Now you can quickly scan or print the contents of every show as well as listen to it. Transcripts are located on each show page and learn more at take1.tv and thanks, Take 1, for making this possible.
Larry Jordan: Michael…
Mike Horton: Hmm?
Larry Jordan: …The Buzz is covering the 2014 NAB show like a blanket.
Mike Horton: I know, there’s a giant, giant window in the top of the larryjordan.biz website that says so.
Larry Jordan: And we’re doing seven live NAB updates during the day, eight…
Mike Horton: Seven?
Larry Jordan: …NAB special reports every night. I mean, we are taking the biggest production team ever with all the details available at nabshowbuzz.com, so are you doing anything at NAB this year?
Mike Horton: I am.
Larry Jordan: Oh, tell me more.
Mike Horton: You won’t have any time to go there because you’re doing 15 episodes a day. The Supermeet, which is on Tuesday, if you can actually stop by, at least for a little bit, on Tuesday night. Doors open at 4.30, Larry, and they’re all going to be looking for you. That’s supermeet.com.
Larry Jordan: Yes, but it’s expensive to get in the door, isn’t it?
Mike Horton: Yes, right. It’s $15, that’s it. Well, it’s $20 if you don’t buy a ticket online. You’d better buy a ticket on line because it’s just the last day. We have sold over 150 tickets since yesterday. Just in one, yes, just in one day. I have no idea why. All of a sudden, everybody’s started buying them.
Larry Jordan: Your family.
Mike Horton: Yes, I guess.
Larry Jordan: Whatever.
Mike Horton: They all say Jordan.
Larry Jordan: Have you got anything on the agenda?
Mike Horton: We do, but it’s all super secret. It is.
Larry Jordan: So you can’t tell people what they’re going to see? It’s just going to be great.
Mike Horton: Yes, it’s going to be good stuff. It’s going to be brand new stuff.
Larry Jordan: We’re going to be back with more from Sean Safreed, right after this.
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Larry Jordan: Red Giant Co-founder Sean Safreed has a very strong tech background. He was on the QuickTime team at Apple and also worked with SGI and Pinnacle. Now he spends his time developing plug-ins and apparently websites for all our favorite editing software, plus something brand new called Universe. Welcome, Sean.
Sean Safreed: Thanks, Larry.
Larry Jordan: You know, I read the announcement last week, I read the press release and what is Universe?
Sean Safreed: Well, to start off with, it’s a set of 50 plug-ins for your favorite video editors – Final Cut Pro X, Motion Premier Pro and After Effects and there will be more in the future but we’re starting with those – and it’s a variety of tools, some transitions, glows, blurs, distortions and some of the tools that we’ve built over the years in Effects Suite that we’ve used into Universe as well, like Toonit, Knoll Light Factory and Holomatrix.
Larry Jordan: All right, but why? I mean, you guys have been selling high quality plug-ins quite successfully via your website forever and all of a sudden now you’ve got this new thing. What’s the new thing?
Sean Safreed: Well, let me back up and give you a little of the back story. About a year and half ago…
Larry Jordan: You’ve got plenty of time. Give us all the back story.
Sean Safreed: Ok. We were looking at the maintenance problem we have with all the tools we have on the website and they’re all built off of different code bases by different engineers over the years, and it had become a real mess to try and update and advance any one single product. So we decided to try to make a new architecture that would allow us to really accelerate the time to delivery for the tools, instead of us taking four to six months to deliver a single tool, and we wanted to cut that down to days.
Mike Horton: Isn’t going to happen.
Sean Safreed: Well, you say that, but six months ago I wasn’t doing any scripting. I know quite a bit about the underlying technology of 3D graphics and image processing and all that, but I definitely wasn’t doing programming and I probably wrote, I would say, at least 15 to 20 of the scripts that are in the current Universe software.
Larry Jordan: Wow.
Mike Horton: Really?
Sean Safreed: And I could sit there and describe all the things in it to you and you’d be, like, “Oh, ok, I get it. That’s a slider. That’s the thing that does a blur. That’s the thing that does a composite. I get it.”
Larry Jordan: Wait, wait, wait, I’m confused now. Are we uploading our files to Universe and having it process them? How does this interface…
Sean Safreed: No. Well, I’m talking about all of the behind the scenes here. What we’re offering to customers is traditional plug-ins. The stuff that I’m talking about is purely the back end design tools that we created to make it easier for us to manage all of the different tools that we want to build, and I should also add that we moved our looks engine into this new architecture as well, and the color processing that’s being done in Bulletproof is also using the same framework.
Sean Safreed: It looks like any traditional plug-in that you run inside of Final Cut X or After Effects or Premier. You just go to your effects browser, bring it up and there’s a category for your glows or stylizations like color matrix or distortions, and you just apply them on your footage, just like any other filter would.
Mike Horton: Well, I downloaded the free beta last week, like everybody in the world did, and your servers must have crashed or something. You get no Light Factory EZ. You get Holomatrix and you get Retrograde, and I haven’t been able to actually fool with this, but this is the free beta so you get to use all this stuff for free.
Sean Safreed: Yes, that’s right.
Mike Horton: Which is really cool and I haven’t used it yet because I’m doing the Supermeet and stuff, but that’s what’s pretty cool about this. But looking down the line, this is going to be some sort of subscription service.
Sean Safreed: Yes, it will be. We are trying to make it acceptable to everyone. We’ve definitely heard over the years that people can’t afford to buy a $200 or $300 plug-in set and they want to be able to get it on a low monthly payment, so for ten bucks a month you can get the set of Premium tools that we’re offering for Universe, which includes things like Light Factory and Holomatrix and these sort of advanced tools that we’ve built, and I should be clear that 31 of the 50 tools that we put out there, including a bunch of cool Keno style transitions and Glow-Fi, which is a great tool for creating glows on text, and some distortion tools, those are all free and if you just download them, they’re free and they’re free forever. There’s not any cost to it, you just go to our little link utility, sign in and it downloads then you get free tools.
Larry Jordan: Ok. Allow me to be confused. Is this an interface similar to what FX Factory does, where I’ve got a menu to choose from inside an application and I click which ones to energize and which ones not? Or is this just simply going up to the Universe website and downloading the specific plug-in that I need?
Sean Safreed: Well, right now it comes as a group of plug-ins. There aren’t any selectors for saying, “You know what? I only want the glow tools, can I just have those?”
Larry Jordan: Oh, so I get all of them or I get none of them.
Sean Safreed: Exactly, so you get everything installed inside of Final Cut or Motion or whatever, inside of the little Universe sub-menus for each of the categories. We will add the ability to let you pick and choose if you decide that you only want specific tools installed, but for this particular launch we’re going out of the door with a big group of 50 tools that you can use that group. You don’t choose, you just say, “Give it to me” and in one click you’re done.
Larry Jordan: So for right now in the beta, we’re getting the entire suite and we get access to everything.
Sean Safreed: Exactly.
Larry Jordan: As the beta ends, this then switches to subscription pricing and I’m struck with Adobe’s pricing last May, when they went to subscription pricing with the creative cloud. Was the idea for subscription pricing born at that same time?
Sean Safreed: Well, at the same time people were asking us to do subscriptions across all of our products and we really didn’t have the delivery technology to be able to do that, so that’s something we’ve built in Link, to be able to deliver it, and Universe is definitely the guinea pig for us to start trying that.
Sean Safreed: Now, one thing we are doing, we know that some people hate subscription and they don’t want to pay monthly, they’d rather just own it outright.
Larry Jordan: I do remember the screaming about that, yes.
Sean Safreed: Yes, exactly, so we do have a lifetime option for 399, which basically gives you all the tools we’re doing today, and any tools we deliver in the future all at the same price.
Larry Jordan: Which is $399?
Sean Safreed: Yes.
Mike Horton: That’s lifetime.
Sean Safreed: Forever, yes. Lifetime means lifetime, not anything else.
Larry Jordan: Now, Sean, as an end user I think both of these prices are phenomenal. As a business offering something with free upgrades in perpetuity, it’s really hard to pay the rent five years on. How are you guys going to make money at this?
Sean Safreed: Well, we are playing a little bit of the freemium game. We’re trying to create a lot of tools that we know entice users to check us out and so we’re basically hoping that we’re going to get a much bigger crowd of folks to come and try these out, and we’ll make the money for the things that we need to support Red Giant on the premium tools that we build in the system.
Sean Safreed: We’re going to continue to add to the free tools. We have a number of them on the drawing plate already to go into the next offering, so it will get richer and richer and that’s just part of our plan.
Larry Jordan: We’re in mid crapshoot, in other words.
Sean Safreed: That’s part of it. It is a crapshoot for us.
Mike Horton: With this new change in the subscription model and all that, are fixes coming much faster than before? And with the new architecture, with the new engines and things like that, is that going to make little bug fixes much faster, new updates much faster?
Sean Safreed: Absolutely.
Mike Horton: You won’t have to say every six months, “Ok, we’ve got Magic Bullet 14.”
Sean Safreed: Right. We’re planning to actually do six releases this year for Universe. We already have a plate of about 35 plug-ins that we have planned. Some of those are actually already done, and we’ve just held them back because we didn’t have the time to test them and make sure that they were all up to snuff, but we have a bunch that we’re already planning to do and these aren’t just presets. We have more glow tools, more transitions that we’re going to build off of some of the distortion stuff that we’ve done with things like Holomatrix, some extensions of Light Factory into transitions, so there’s a bunch of tools, along with the guys at…Pop that are building some of their Final Cut X specific tools now in Universe so that they can get into Premier and After Effects.
Larry Jordan: Sean, we’re getting a question from Don on the live chat. He wants to know if the tools are modified or support the new Mac Pro and what specific editing platforms you support.
Sean Safreed: So right now we’re just doing Final Cut Pro X and Premier Pro, ES6 and CC. We will support other editors later this year, but we don’t have a specific schedule at this point for that. We’ve definitely already got a ton of requests for Avid and for Vegas and we have supported those tools in the past, but as we build out more and more host support, that definitely puts a big drag on QA to make sure that everything works.
Larry Jordan: And how about the Mac Pro?
Sean Safreed: Windows 7, then Windows 8 and all that.
Larry Jordan: And how about the Mac Pro?
Sean Safreed: Definitely supported already for Mac Pro. We have only gotten a Mac Pro in the last two weeks ourselves because we had to wait a while for the backlog, but it definitely works and at NAB we’ll be showing multi-GPU support, at least in a beta form, and we’ll have that rolled out some time in Q2 as well.
Mike Horton: Red Giant’s going to be at the Supermeet too with a table. We took all their money and bought extra cheeseballs.
Larry Jordan: Sean, pay him more money. I’ve had the cheeseballs.
Mike Horton: Hotel food.
Larry Jordan: When does the beta end and when does this thing go live and released?
Sean Safreed: We’re planning on the second half of April, right after NAB. We should be done at that point with little fixes we have for some performance things. You’ll actually see some performance improvements before we get this thing shipped, and then our next release is slated for either the end of May or the beginning of June, so not too longer after that either.
Larry Jordan: And for people who want more information, where can they go on the web to learn more?
Mike Horton: I think he left or you pushed a wrong button.
Larry Jordan: I have not pushed the wrong button.
Sean Safreed: Hello?
Mike Horton: Yes, you’re back, ok.
Larry Jordan: Ok. For people who want to know, where can they go on the web to learn more?
Mike Horton: He’s not back.
Larry Jordan: We’ve lost him again.
Mike Horton: At redgiant.com. It’s right there.
Larry Jordan: Redgiant.com.
Mike Horton: Download the free beta. There’s some really good stuff in there.
Larry Jordan: We had Sean for just a moment. That was Sean Safreed, he’s the Co-founder…
Mike Horton: It’s our engineer Adrian’s fault.
Larry Jordan: …Co-founder of Red Giant and, Sean, in spite of the fact you can’t talk to us, thanks for stopping by and we wish you great success with Universe.
Larry Jordan: Well, that was unnecessarily quick.
Mike Horton: Yes, I don’t know what happened.
Larry Jordan: I wonder where that music was coming from. There we go. Hello?
Mike Horton: Oh, buttons are all screwed up there.
Larry Jordan: It’s not the buttons. I think it’s the operator.
Mike Horton: It’s the sliders.
Larry Jordan: But for some reason we could not get them to work. Ela Thier’s award winning feature film, Foreign Letters, was released by Film Movement and available on Netflix, Hulu and most other digital platforms. She wrote ‘The Wedding Cow’, and I don’t even want to think about that, which won 18 international awards, and was a co-writer on ‘Puncture’ starring Chris Evans. She’s also the Founder and head instructor at the Independent Film School in New York City. Hello Ela.
Ela Thier: Hi.
Mike Horton: Hi Ela.
Ela Thier: Hope you don’t push the wrong button with me.
Mike Horton: Oh, I’ll do it. I’ll do it just to make you feel good.
Larry Jordan: You know, I didn’t intend to push the wrong button and I have no idea where that was coming from.
Mike Horton: The problem is, there are just too many buttons.
Larry Jordan: Yes, well, we are surrounded by a couple more buttons than usual tonight. Ela, you’ve produced a number of feature films. I want to talk about money. How did you get them financed?
Ela Thier: Well, I produced one, the other two I wrote. ‘Foreign Letters’ is the one I produced. That one was entirely crowd funding and I can talk about that. The film I’m in development on now, I put an investment package together and I’m part of the way there and have a way to go.
Larry Jordan: The first film, you say, was crowd funded? Or all of your films?
Ela Thier: ‘Foreign Letters’, yes. I have three features and one of them I produced and that was crowd funding. I’ve also produced a whole bunch of shorts, all of which are crowd funded. The crowd funding I can talk about with some confidence in terms of raising financing, like going to people who can actually finance films more substantially. That I’m learning as I go, I’m learning on the job, a lot of trial and error. Mostly I’m learning from mistakes and every once in a while I figure something out that works.
Larry Jordan: Well, let’s talk both. I would much rather learn from your mistakes than my mistakes, so talk crowd funding. How did you get the money in crowd funding? What was it that got people to shell out the money you need for your film?
Ela Thier: Well, with that too, a lot of mistakes before anything worked. The first time I put the word out about raising money, I had a newsletter at the time, I think I had 2,000 and some people on it and that’s where I put the word out, in the newsletter. I got one donation for $100 and that donation came from my sister.
Larry Jordan: I’ll take money from wherever it comes, I don’t care who it is.
Ela Thier: So that was the first attempt. Really, it was an exercise in persistence and in learning how to endure humiliation and keep trying things anyway.
Mike Horton: That’s everybody, because I’ve done a crowd funding thing too and you find out that it’s almost a 24 hour a day job. It’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears and a lot of tears. It’s really difficult.
Ela Thier: Yes, and what I’m learning now with an investment package and I’m going to financiers, it’s really not that different a job. They all come down to relationships, and they all come down to people wanting to invest in you and support you. I don’t know if there’s anybody out there who’s investing in a film because they think they’re going to get rich. Maybe there is. If you’re out there, call me.
Mike Horton: They’re on Wall Street.
Ela Thier: Yes. Yes, they’re not financing films, so it’s about relationships, and it’s about persistence, and being willing to make mistakes, and feel like an ass and try again.
Larry Jordan: Well, now, you’re moving to a different form of funding. I know you’ve got one film in development. Help me understand how you’re funding it now.
Ela Thier: Ok, let’s see. I’m in development on two features. On one, I have someone attached who’s a popular TV actor and so I’m able to go to financiers with some kind of a package in place. I don’t think I would do that unless there was some kind of a name attached, because it’s just near impossible to get any kind of substantial distribution. Even with a name actor, at this point in time as far as how the market goes, the odds are against you.
Ela Thier: So it was a matter of getting an attachment and then seeing who knows who, and who do they know, and who do they know, because I don’t have a fat Rolodex as far as financiers go.
Larry Jordan: Let me just interrupt. So right now, the only reason that you’re going to a finance person is because you’ve got somebody famous attached to it? And there’s no one resource, it’s really networking – who do you know as opposed to here’s a website that gives me a list of everybody I need to contact?
Ela Thier: There are websites. I’m using slated.com, which I would recommend, but you have to try everything, so using Slated the website is just one of many things I’m trying. The idea is to just keep trying everything and if one out of 50 things works, then you’re good.
Mike Horton: I’ve never heard of this Slated thing. This is nice.
Larry Jordan: What was the website before that you just tried?
Ela Thier: Oh, it’s an important website – Slated.com
Larry Jordan: Slated.com?
Mike Horton: Yes, I’m on it right now and, wow, holy cow. Where have I been?
Ela Thier: Yes, it’s a great website.
Mike Horton: How long has this been around? This is good.
Larry Jordan: Ok, so we’ve got Slated. Is there something else that you could recommend for somebody that’s maybe past their first feature and trying to figure out how to get something that’s got a higher budget?
Ela Thier: I’ll know more when I get there. My go to resource is Stacey Parks and her website is filmspecific.com. I should be getting commission. I did learn a lot from her about development and building a new business plan etcetera.
Larry Jordan: We are big fans of Stacey, yes.
Ela Thier: Yes, yes, everyone is. Yes, sure. She is excellent. She helped me with ‘Foreign Letters’ too, when I was looking at the distribution. She consulted me and helped a lot. But there is really no getting around it being a daily grind. It’s not a glamour job. You have to decide that every day for at least ten minutes you’re going to do something, reach out to somebody, a bunch of Hail Marys, you know, who knows? And you can’t take it personally when people don’t respond but you’re allowed to curse them out when you’re talking to your husband. So if you’re out there and you have not responded to my email, that has happened.
Larry Jordan: You know, I just realized that we’re pretty much out of time and we haven’t even begun to talk about the other thing you’re working with, which is the Independent Film School. We will bring you back, with your permission, and we’ll spend time talking about how people can learn more about the industry, but give us a website that folks can visit to learn more and decide to become your patron.
Mike Horton: Put up some money. Right.
Ela Thier: Sure, just don’t press any buttons. It’s theindependentfilmschool.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s theindependentfilmschool.com and Ela Thier is the Founder and head instructor at the school. Ela, thanks for joining us today.
Mike Horton: Yes, best of luck to you.
Ela Thier: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Our pleasure. Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Misha Tenenbaum is an Assistant Editor living in Los Angeles. His recent work includes ‘Jobs’, ‘The American Horror Story’ and Chris Carter’s ‘The After’. However, what’s even cooler is that he is the Founder of editstock.com, a place for people to download professionally shot footage that you can use to practice editing. Hello, Misha.
Misha Tenenbaum: Hi Larry, how’s it going?
Larry Jordan: You know, it’s wonderful to hear your voice. It’s been several months since last we spoke and you’ve been causing trouble since then. It’s good to have you on the show.
Misha Tenenbaum: Thank you very much. It’s good to talk to you too.
Larry Jordan: Put your assistant editor hat on for a minute. We’re going to move to EditStock a little later but, as an assistant editor, tell us what you’ve been up to recently.
Misha Tenenbaum: Well, I’m working on a show right now, a mini series for Fox created by M. Night Shyamalan called ‘Wayward Times’. It’s a great show, I’m telling you, it’s really cool. I don’t want to give away what happens, but I’ve been really enjoying it.
Larry Jordan: And what are you doing on it besides having a great time?
Misha Tenenbaum: A lot of sound effects. I’m one of the assistant editors, there are three of us. I came on with one of the editors from ‘Glee’, who is actually on the show performing, who I met when I was on ‘American Horror Story’.
Larry Jordan: Tell us what you’re doing on this show that you can’t talk about but is a really cool show.
Misha Tenenbaum: It’s a really cool show. I spend a lot of my day dealing with visual effects, sound effects, cutting a lot of temp music. I cut the recap for one of the episodes yesterday, so I guess the occasional editing. Our days are always busy and always action packed.
Larry Jordan: Ok, for people who don’t understand what an assistant editor does compared to an editor, how would you describe the details of what you do or the relationship between you and the editor?
Mike Horton: You know, his answer would be different today than if you asked him five years ago or even three years ago, right, Misha?
Misha Tenenbaum: Absolutely. I actually started out as an editor. I was working on shows for Speed Channel and Food Network and several other places, maybe Spike, I think. But it was a really big change to go from editor to assistant editor and to learn just a whole new dimension of what we do.
Larry Jordan: How so?
Misha Tenenbaum: There’s a very tight relationship between an editor and assistant.
Mike Horton: Assistant editors today don’t even sync dailies, which is weird but that’s the way it is. Like Misha says, he’s doing sound effects, he’s doing visual effects, he’s doing music and he’s taking care of all that metadata that comes in.
Misha Tenenbaum: You know what’s funny is a few years ago we had this problem where the union was giving out surveys saying the assistant editor’s job is the dailies. Now they’re stuck doing all this other stuff like visual effects and whatever, but nowadays actually all the other stuff is automated. The dailies are automated, so I’m doing all the other stuff.
Larry Jordan: So if you’re doing all the other stuff, what’s the editor doing?
Misha Tenenbaum: The editors just come in and edit. I mean, that’s the ideal situation. They literally just sit down and start working. There should be no impediment. Everything goes through me, a lot of the phone calls and most of the emails, unless it’s something like the director or producer. They’re sort of the only people who get direct access. Everything else goes through me and, yes, I mean, ideally the room is quiet for the editor.
Larry Jordan: So you’re basically setting up and configuring everything and they’re just telling the story?
Misha Tenenbaum: Ideally, yes.
Mike Horton: On a perfect day.
Misha Tenenbaum: Sometimes they give me projects they want me to work on within the cut, like for example picking music can take days and sometimes they’ll just tell the assistant, “Can you just pick me out five tracks for this section of the show?” and I’ll pick from there. It depends on how much trust and, you know, your ideal too is the editor, they all have different strengths and weaknesses and ideally you’re helping them out in their weak areas. Some people don’t like to pick music, some people don’t like to cut montages or whatever and sometimes they just want help, like, “Can you make me a sequence of all the best reaction shots or all the best footage from these series?” and then they’ll cut the montage from that, especially when we have five hours of footage a day.
Mike Horton: Does today’s assistant editor need to know more than just the non-linear editor? Does he need to know After Effects and these other audio programs and possibly Pro Tools and everything else?
Misha Tenenbaum: Yes, and to add to your list, they need to know Filemaker Pro and Excel and you spend a lot of time in those programs. Compressor, of course, but on a big movie the lead assistant, they’re kind of at their Avid, but a lot of times they’re just doing scheduling and delegating. On a TV show like the one I’m on now, we don’t really have a lead assistant. All the assistants kind of help each other out, even though we do have our own episodes and our own editors that we work with.
Mike Horton: So if you want to edit, you don’t really want to do assistant editing. Is that fair to say, Misha?
Misha Tenenbaum: You have to find an editor who is willing to give you stuff to cut and that varies a lot. Some people don’t give you anything, some people give you one scene, some people give you entire acts which, you know, I won’t say who but there’s a big difference and when you’re considering assisting, it’s not just some straight road that you’re guaranteed to become an editor some day. It really, really, really matters who your editor is, who your post supervisor is, what the environment is of the place that you work at – do they promote a lot? – because you could absolutely be a career assistant, which is a good job and a fine job, but if your goal is to edit, you need to be aware of this.
Mike Horton: Yes, but even if they give you scenes, you’re working so hard and such long hours, when do you even have time to cut the scene?
Misha Tenenbaum: Well, exactly, so some editors will give you the scenes at ten o’clock at night, and you don’t want to cut them, and it’s sort of strange that you pine for this opportunity and then at ten o’clock at night you don’t actually get to do it or you don’t want to do it then.
Misha Tenenbaum: But a good editor will know that. A good editor who’s come up through that system will give you the opportunity to cut stuff during the day and not bog you down.
Larry Jordan: On the other hand, it’s like a good boss. They’re hard to find.
Misha Tenenbaum: Exactly, yes, they’re very hard to find, yes.
Larry Jordan: We have a question on the live chat. Don’s asking, when the show is over, after it’s out of production, what do they store and where do they store it? In other words, what technology is used for archiving of production and how much stuff gets saved?
Misha Tenenbaum: Well, the short answer is everything.
Larry Jordan: Really?
Misha Tenenbaum: We save all the line scripts, all the paper scripts, all the camera reports and sound reports and for archival, you know, of course, the assistants will back up just onto regular hard drives dailies and things like that, you know, the transcoded dailies, but beyond that our show is archived, I’m sure, on LTO tapes and SR tapes and all those things are boxed up and sent back to the studio, which actually has a checklist requirement of the things that you need to provide and towards the end of the show I’ll get that checklist from either head of post or post supervisor and we literally call it, like, boxing out the show – put that stuff in a box.
Larry Jordan: Well, I want to get back to a question that Mike asked, because Mike actually asked a really good question.
Mike Horton: Hey, thanks, Larry.
Larry Jordan: And that is if you’re an assistant, you’re spending all your time buried in technology in various forms and scheduling and databases, and that’s important and I make my living teaching people technology, so I’m not minimizing that, but there’s also the craft of visual storytelling. How does someone learn how to tell stories with pictures?
Misha Tenenbaum: There is only one way and that is practice. Oh, actually, two ways but one coincides with the other – practice and then getting feedback on your work. That’s it. It’s like learning a foreign language, you know, no-one just watches enough movies and then is a great editor. You have to do it and you have to do it a lot and on an average day, if we’re getting two or three hours of footage, you have to think of how much footage an editor is cutting every year, every month, you know, hundreds of hours, so that’s why they’re good at it.
Larry Jordan: It’s practice and feedback.
Misha Tenenbaum: Practice and feedback. It’s like learning an instrument.
Larry Jordan: Where can people go to download footage they can practice with?
Mike Horton: Good segue.
Misha Tenenbaum: Well, I’m glad you asked.
Larry Jordan: I was trying to be subtle.
Misha Tenenbaum: Yes. I found when I was a teacher, when I used to teach Final Cut 7, that I was bringing in a lot of my own projects because the book projects either didn’t provide enough footage, or you couldn’t take them home, or you couldn’t post them on YouTube, or it was pretty obvious you didn’t cut leverage. So I made a website – editstock.com – which people can download scenes to practice editing with. They get the script, they get everything from slate to cut, and you can use it on your demo reel, and you can even upload it to the site for feedback.
Mike Horton: It’s cool. Film schools still today are still using ‘Gunsmoke’.
Larry Jordan: There’s nothing wrong with ‘Gunsmoke’.
Misha Tenenbaum: I know.
Mike Horton: My son goes to Santa Monica City College, took an editing class and they gave him ‘Gunsmoke’.
Misha Tenenbaum: I know. I know. By the way, it’s the only footage around. A little bit, of course, the schools are always looking for footage, but also that’s just all that exists in the world. I’ve called around, I’ve done lots of surveys with various schools to find out what kind of footage they’re looking for and basically the answer is anything else.
Larry Jordan: Well, what footage do you have?
Misha Tenenbaum: I get short films. I find that features, it’s a lot harder to get the rights to and people are sort of loath to hand them out. But short films have this great ring to them where they’re passion projects for a director but they almost never make money, so my directors actually earn a share of the sales, so they’re happy to contribute.
Misha Tenenbaum: A lot of my films were award winning short film festival or full film festival films. They’re great. One of them, my most popular, is ‘Bully’, which comes with a storyboard, it’s directed by a director, Ryan Spindell, who just had a film in Tribeca Film Festival. I mean, these are really great projects.
Mike Horton: Yes, not only is this really good footage, it’s good performances, it’s good stuff to practice on. It’s not just footage. I mean, you can get footage at a stock footage company, but this is fully fleshed out scenes that you can dabble with. It’s a great idea. I just think it’s wonderful.
Larry Jordan: Well, the thing I’m impressed with is that it’s got audio with it, because you can get pictures easy but getting audio is impossible.
Misha Tenenbaum: Yes. When I approached how to make the product, I decided that, instead of giving people the raw elements to put together, I sort of did most of the assistant work for you, so even if you’ve got iMovie, you literally just drag the clips in and start cutting. It takes less than a minute to get going and that’s true on any NLE. All the audio’s already synced up for you. Everything’s already sort of made in the correct format and you’re just ready to go.
Mike Horton: Speaking of NLEs, which NLEs does it support? Does it support all of them? Or does it depend on the codec?
Misha Tenenbaum: It’s better with some than others. We have two formats. One is H264 which, if this were five years ago, I’d have just slapped myself in the face for even saying that. But pretty much every modern NLE and every modern NLE that I’ve tested this with can just play it back and it works fine with it. That includes iMovie, of course, and Final Cut Pro X. It’s totally fine with Final Cut Pro X. Even Media Composer 7, which, I mean, Avid would have never been able to do this, but you can just add a link and start cutting them in a second if you want to in the background.
Larry Jordan: You said you had two formats, H.264 and…?
Misha Tenenbaum: And ProRes Proxy and I made ProRes Proxy only if you’re cutting in Final Cut 7. The reason that I kept ProRes around, one, you have to be a little careful because it’s Mac only but there are a lot of people out there, millions of people out there, still cutting with Final Cut 7 and I still have it and use it occasionally as well, so I wanted to make that choice available.
Misha Tenenbaum: But for some of these scenes, if you have four gigs of footage to download at H264 and ProRes, that’ll be eight gigs at least, or at least significantly larger, so I can’t make everything available in a download that’s ProRes Proxy, but I think people will be happy with the performance they get out of H264.
Larry Jordan: And Misha, oh, oh, oh, quickly, because I’ve got no time left, what webinar are you doing and how did you get Horton involved? What’s happening?
Mike Horton: He called me and I said yes.
Misha Tenenbaum: This is just going to be the best idea ever. I’m so excited about this.
Mike Horton: It is.
Misha Tenenbaum: We are going to have a webinar where we give away a scene of footage to cut to hundreds of people. Everyone who wants to can cut the scene, submit it and then Norm Hollyn from USC will pick five scenes randomly and review them on the air.
Mike Horton: And he’s not going to rip people apart, Larry.
Larry Jordan: Norman doesn’t know how to rip people apart. When is this? This is really cool.
Mike Horton: Well, right now it’s slated for May 13th, but I think Misha’s going to be announcing this thing with all the rules and the instructions on what to do, but I think it’s just a brilliant idea and I’m really looking forward to it.
Larry Jordan: And how did you get involved?
Mike Horton: Hey, Misha came to me with the idea and I said absolutely. I mean, how could you say no to an idea like that? It’s great.
Larry Jordan: Sounds wonderful. Misha, where can people go on the web to learn more about the stuff you’ve got available?
Misha Tenenbaum: They should visit my site at www.editstock.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s editstock.com. Misha Tenenbaum is an assistant editor and the Founder of EditStock. Misha, thanks for joining us today.
Misha Tenenbaum: Thank you, Larry. Thank you, Mike.
Mike Horton: Thanks Misha, talk soon.
Larry Jordan: Take care, good luck.
Misha Tenenbaum: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Jeff Pickard used to be a lawyer. Then, in 2005, he founded Lucion Technologies, which focuses on document management and paperless office software. Hello, Jeff, welcome.
Jeff Pickard: Hello, how you doing? Good to be here.
Larry Jordan: We are talking to you. We are doing great. What is Lucion Technologies?
Jeff Pickard: Well, Lucion Technologies is a company we founded a while back that focuses on paperless office solutions, which pretty much includes scanning, file management, editing the file, searching files, the whole umbrella.
Larry Jordan: So what products do you guys make?
Jeff Pickard: Well, our main product is called FileCenter and, again, FileCenter allows small offices and home users to better organize their files from paper to digital in a very easy fashion.
Larry Jordan: Now, Jeff, I hate to bring this up because I know it’s probably a sore subject, but you used to be a lawyer and lawyers live for paper. I mean, why did you decide to develop software for a paperless office?
Jeff Pickard: Yes, well, I guess working in the law and seeing all the paper that they go through helped me realize there’s got to be a better way to manage files and to convert paper to digital and to do the whole paperless thing. Beside that, I got tired of billing hours for a living.
Larry Jordan: Ah, so tell us more about what FileCenter does.
Jeff Pickard: Well, FileCenter’s a great solution if you’re really interested in going paperless. That’s kind of a buzz word these days, and whether you’re going to be successful or not, I think, depends on what your expectations are. But the main thing with paperless, at the heart of it is basically managing files. We’re inundated with files on a daily basis, we get them from many different sources. There are paper files that we need to convert to digital files to better organize; we open up our email every day, we get attachments; we go to the web, we download files.
Jeff Pickard: FileCenter is really designed to make your life easier by allowing you to manage this inundation of files which we receive on a daily basis, and it does soon a very clean interface. We kind of take an electronic filing cabinet view of things, so you’re presented with our software with kind of an electronic filing cabinet. Most people understand the paper concept of a cabinet – you’ve got drawers, folders and files. We take that same view with our software and it really resonates with many of our users.
Larry Jordan: What operating systems does this run on?
Jeff Pickard: FileCenter runs on Windows operating systems only.
Larry Jordan: So as a Mac user, is there a chance you guys are going to port this over to the Mac?
Jeff Pickard: Well, it’s always on our radar, but currently we don’t have anything for the Mac. It’s just for Windows users.
Larry Jordan: Ok. Here’s the question I’ve got – creative people are frequently accused of being messy and disorganized and, if you saw my office, you’d understand what I’m talking about. How does this software motivate us to actually do something about all the paper that’s flooding across our desk?
Jeff Pickard: Well, files are kind of the currency of business. They contain a lot of important information that helps you with your business, so I guess you first have to be motivated to get yourself a little bit organized and we can help that along by giving you a piece of software that will help you organize things in a little bit easier fashion.
Jeff Pickard: The big problem with organization of files is, again, we get them from so many sources, so even if you came up with a good organization structure, you are forced to go grab and create files from various sources. Let me just give you an example. You might have a great organizational structure on your file system that you know where your files are, but when you open up a Word document to open a file or to save a file, you’re presented with an interface for a file structure and it may or may not come up in that particular position where all your files are.
Jeff Pickard: FileCenter tries to alleviate that and gives you kind of a centralized place to open and save files as well as to scan files and to get files into the system.
Larry Jordan: One of the thing that I was reading on your website is there’s a difference in point of view between searching for files, and keywording and all that sort of stuff and the technique that you use. How does your software help us find the document that we need when we need it?
Jeff Pickard: Yes, I should make clear that our FileCenter program runs on your Windows file system, so anything you do with the files inside of FileCenter will always be there, even if you remove FileCenter from your computer.
Jeff Pickard: What we try to do is, we try to make the organization and management of the files so easy that you’re going to be able to know where these files are so you can quickly access them in your applications, which cuts down on the need of searching for a lost file. But in the event that you do need to search for files, our paperless office solution offers the ability to index and search files, so that you can search the content of the files in case something does get misplaced.
Larry Jordan: So we get documents into the system how?
Jeff Pickard: Well, various sources. For example, if you go into an email attachment, someone sends you a file, you will click on the attachment and you’ll get an opportunity to save that to a location. The great thing that FileCenter does, and I would encourage anyone to look at this if they really want to be organized, is it kind of intercepts your normal Windows Explorer save dialog box that would pop up and replace it with one that looks like our interface.
Jeff Pickard: By doing that, any time you open and save a file, you’re always using the same interface and this cuts down on misplacing files quite a bit, because you’re always presented with the same interface and the same structure.
Mike Horton: I’m always misplacing files, quite honestly because I can’t remember the name of them, so how do I search if I can’t remember the name of the file that I’ve saved?
Jeff Pickard: Well, that’s where some of your indexing and searching of files can come into play. If you can recall some of the content that is in that file, you’re able to do a search for that file. But if you’re careful about your organizational structure, typically, let me give you an example like a doctor’s office, they will probably have a cabinet, in our methodology, for their patients, and then they would have a drawer which would have a name on it for each of their patients.
Jeff Pickard: They probably know that this file relates to a particular patient, so they could quickly go to that patient drawer in our software and at least narrow down many of the files that they would have to search for.
Mike Horton: Boy!
Jeff Pickard: If they still can’t find it, they can use the comprehensive search that’s in our software.
Mike Horton: Do you realize how many doctors are still working with paper and folders? I’m serious. I am serious. There are just a ton of them out there. Oh, I wish they would just take your system. It would make life so much easier for us.
Jeff Pickard: Yes, doctors’ offices are a prime target for our software and we find many of them that are trying to go paperless, so it’s a good sign.
Mike Horton: Yes, you can change the world. No, seriously. I mean, it’s awful.
Larry Jordan: Jeff, where can people go on the web to learn more about this software?
Jeff Pickard: Well, you can go to our company website, which is www.lucion.com or just do a Google search and type in ‘FileCenter’.
Larry Jordan: That’s lucion.com and the product is called FileCenter. Jeff Pickard is the Founder and President of Lucion and, Jeff, thanks for joining us today.
Jeff Pickard: Thanks for having me.
Mike Horton: Thanks a lot, Jeff.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: You know, Mike, it’s interesting. Trying to keep track of all the documents we need for production, anything that helps us find stuff is a good idea.
Mike Horton: The biggest problem I have almost every single day is searching for something and I can’t remember what I’m searching for, because I don’t remember the name. I mean, the search – what do you call that on the Mac?
Larry Jordan: Yes, Spotlight.
Mike Horton: Spotlight, which is excellent, and if you can remember some content it’ll find it, but half the time I can’t even remember the content. “I think it has something to do with Supermeet” and it comes up with 7,000 things.
Larry Jordan: Probably more than we need, but I think I need to turn you back into the vaults and have you find us a Pick Our Brains question.
Mike Horton: I do have one. It’s a very weird one.
Larry Jordan: We’ll be right back. Hang on, we’ll give you a chance to take a breath. We’ll be right back.
Larry Jordan: Mike is back in the stacks, shuffling through thousands of sheets of paper because he hasn’t got it organized in his own mind.
Mike Horton: I’m searching for the question. I can’t remember the question. I’ve found it.
Larry Jordan: You’ve found it?
Mike Horton: Yes.
Larry Jordan: Are you ready?
Mike Horton: Had something to do with Premier.
Larry Jordan: Ok. Here we go. Mike now steps up to the microphone, takes a deep breath and says that it’s time for…
Mike Horton: Pick Our Brain.
Larry Jordan: The only person that enjoys that is me, but I thought that was especially meaningful.
Mike Horton: Well, yes, that was actually a real long kind of delay. Pick and then came off five seconds later.
Larry Jordan: I’ve called it the pregnant pause delay.
Mike Horton: Which has something to do with this, because this person is having problems with the lag.
Larry Jordan: Oh now, that was smooth. That was very smooth.
Mike Horton: He says, ‘I have run into a really weird problem in Premier Pro CC. If I’m zoomed way in on the timeline, the performance in GPU responsiveness is great. But the further out I zoom, the worse it becomes. If I zoom all the way out of a ten minute timeline, Premier Pro beachball goes for five, ten seconds every time I give it a command, it play five to ten second lag before footage plays. Click on the viewer, five to ten second lag before the viewer becomes active etcetera, etcetera. So just doing nothing while zoomed all the way out of a timeline, and my CPU load is 100 percent, if not higher. But if I zoom all the way in, the CPU load drops to two percent.’ Hmm. Is this a bug, Larry?
Larry Jordan: Give me a more dramatic reading on the last line.
Mike Horton: I could. I could try to lower my octave of my voice, make it really dramatic. Larry Jordan would have read this very, very well. He’s using EX3 on a multi-cam, EX3s or FS700s synced with three or four tracks etcetera, etcetera.
Larry Jordan: Well, there are a couple of things that could be causing it. The first is, if it was not a problem and then it became a problem, then it’s probably due to corrupted preference files and Premier makes it really, really easy to trash and reset your preference files. You quit out of Premier, you hold the shift and the option keys down at the same time, and then from the dock or wherever you launch Premier, launch Premier. You hold shift and option keys down until Premier finishes launching and, as part of that launch process, it will trash your preference files and rebuild them.
Larry Jordan: Now, what this means is your preference files are going to reset back to factory defaults, but one of the things that I’ve learned is that Premier, although its preference files are more stable than Final Cut, still responds to problems in a preference file and holding shift and option when you start the application resets them.
Larry Jordan: If, on the other hand, this has always been a problem with Premier, now we have two other issues. It could be a corrupted project. There’s a point where your project could be too big – too many clips or too long a clip – so one thing you could do is to cut your project in half. Make a copy of it…
Mike Horton: Well, he has a ten minute timeline. That’s not…
Larry Jordan: No, ten minute would be fine; which gets to the third point, and that is there could be a RAM problem. Something is sucking up the RAM and the behavior is such that when you’re zoomed in, Premier is only looking at the clips that are available at that instant in the timeline, which is like one or two. When you zoom out, it’s got to pay attention to all the clips in a timeline and it may be that something else is running in the background and sucking up all your RAM, because the delay that you describe is a delay caused by not enough RAM to be able to handle the process that you’re running.
Mike Horton: I’d like to see if anybody else has this problem.
Larry Jordan: My first guess is it’s going to be preferences. That’s the first thing I would do. Second is lack of RAM and, because it’s a ten minute project, that rules out the project being too big, because you’d have to have something much longer to have a corrupted project.
Mike Horton: Minimum RAM is four gigs for Premier Pro, correct?
Larry Jordan: Well, no, you can actually get away with less. Depends upon which version of Premier you run.
Mike Horton: But he’s got ten minute timelines, he’s doing a multi-cam sequence. I don’t think he’s got any other sequences open.
Larry Jordan: Unless he’s got an old system and he’s running H.264 and he doesn’t have a fast enough GPU.
Mike Horton: Well, he’s running, he said, EXs and F700s but he didn’t say that. That’s XDCAM- EX, so that’s XDCAM.
Larry Jordan: That’s the one. I could not remember XDCAM to save my life. XDCAM-EX is an mpeg two compression, so it’s an old style compression, it shouldn’t be too hard. I blame you.
Mike Horton: Yes, so do I. Yes, because he even thought that maybe it’s a memory leak, but he says my RAM stays pretty constant at about three to four gigs and I have still plenty free, so it’s interesting. Wouldn’t it be just fascinating, maybe he’ll show up at NAB at your booth and you can interview him.
Larry Jordan: And we will interview him and then we’ll have him go to you to solve the problem, because it’s got to be…
Mike Horton: Right, because I know codecs.
Larry Jordan: …it’s a codec issue. I can see that already.
Mike Horton: So come to me, my friend. I will solve everything.
Larry Jordan: You know, there’s another thing it could be.
Mike Horton: And if I can’t, you can buy me a drink.
Larry Jordan: If he’s running Premier on a Mac and it’s not a Macbook Pro, earlier versions of Premier don’t support iMacs for the Mercury playback engine, so if he’s working with a really compressed piece of software, and multi-cam, and slow hard disk on an iMac, that could also cause a problem with preferences. Oh no, sorry, could cause a problem with performance.
Mike Horton: That part I don’t know. That wasn’t included in this…
Larry Jordan: Oh, and Grant wants to know, on our live chat, what his page outs are. I would get him to check how many page outs his RAM is doing. What page out means is how many times…
Mike Horton: Yes, what the heck does that mean?
Larry Jordan: You go to activity monitor and you open up activity monitor and you go on the memory section. What page out means is, it’s taking memory from RAM and storing it to the hard disk, and as soon as you get the hard disk involved in buffering back and forth, everything slows down because the virtual memory on the hard disk is a fraction of the speed of the memory that’s on your RAM.
Larry Jordan: That’s a great idea, Grant. Thank you.
Mike Horton: Ok, all right, thank you Grant. Only people who know that are people who live in Australia.
Larry Jordan: No, people who actually pay attention to things like performance and RAM and hard disks…
Mike Horton: Page outs. Have you ever done a seminar where you actually said, “Check your activity monitor page outs”?
Larry Jordan: The answer is yes.
Mike Horton: Oh, really?
Larry Jordan: Yes. And that is the cue, Michael, to have you tell us when is Supermeet?
Mike Horton: Supermeet is April 8th and, truly, buy your tickets very soon; and by the way, do you know how much we have in raffle prizes right now?
Larry Jordan: How much?
Mike Horton: $96,000 worth.
Larry Jordan: Are you serious?
Mike Horton: It’s, like, insane.
Larry Jordan: You’re going to try those in your car and you’re going to just get lost.
Mike Horton: It’s just nuts. $96,000 worth.
Larry Jordan: And you’re going to have a Final Cut X mouse pad from me.
Mike Horton: That’s right. Now it’s $97,000 worth. It’s just non-stop. It’s going to be awesome.
Larry Jordan: And where do people go to sign up?
Mike Horton: Supermeet.com.
Larry Jordan: And for people who want to keep track of what The Buzz is doing, you want to listen to nabshowbuzz.com. I want to thank Sean Safreed and Ela Thier, Misha Tenenbaum and Jeff Pickard.
Larry Jordan: We’ve got a ton of stuff happening, it’s all on nabshowbuzz.com. Our producer is Cirina Catania, our engineer, Adrian Price. The avuncular, cheerful but still grumpy voice on the other side of the studio table is Mike Horton. My name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.
Voiceover: This Digital Production Buzz was brought to you by Blackmagic Design, creators of the world’s highest quality solutions for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries.