Digital Production Buzz
October 2, 2014
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
Luis Barreto, Producer/Director
George Olver, Founder, Movidiam
Oliver Meiseberg, Product Manager, Cinema 4D, Maxon
Voiceover: The 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; and by shutterstock.com, a global marketplace for royalty free images and videos. With over two million royalty free HD and 4K video clips, Shutterstock helps you take your creative projects to the next level; and by Other World Computing, providing quality hardware solutions and extensive technical support to the worldwide computer industry since 1988.
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: Welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast covering digital media production, post production and distribution around the world. Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. Our ever-handsome co-host, Mr. Mike Horton, joins us as well.
Larry Jordan: This is a very special day in The Buzz history. We are in the Moviola Studios and we are videotaping – filming, if you were – today’s episode. It’s going to be broadcast on November 6th and we are delighted to be sharing both video and audio with you for The Buzz.
Larry Jordan: Our first guest is Luis Barreto. He is amazing. Look at this. Have you seen his… I mean, it’s amazing.
Mike Horton: He’s got a resume this long.
Larry Jordan: Unbelievable. He’s built a career creating reality TV programs and tonight we want to learn more about how he does it. Then, George Oliver is the Founder and CEO of Movidiam, a creative network that allows film makers and clients to collaborate around the globe; and finally, earlier this month, Buzz producer Cirina Catania took our microphones to IBC in Amsterdam, where she interviewed some amazing visual artists in the Maxon Cinema 4D booth.
Larry Jordan: Just a reminder that we are offering text transcripts for this show, courtesy of Take 1 Transcription. Now you can both search and print every single word from every single broadcast. You can learn more at take1.tv and thanks, Take 1, for making these transcripts possible.
Larry Jordan: Mike.
Mike Horton: Larry.
Larry Jordan: You look different on camera. Who knew you had color in your face? I’m very impressed.
Mike Horton: This is different. By the way, the lighting makes you look a lot younger. A lot younger and I love your hair. This is the first time a lot of people have ever seen you.
Larry Jordan: And it’ll be the last time they ever look, too. I can see now. And look at this, a black shirt and a black jacket against a black background. What is this floating head business?
Mike Horton: This chair is a little uncomfortable though. But other than that… we’ll talk to the producer afterwards.
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, Moviola’s a place you hang out a lot.
Mike Horton: I do, I do, and it’s nice to be back here.
Larry Jordan: What are you doing at Moviola when you’re not with The Buzz?
Mike Horton: I do the webinars there, which I know you do every week at the Maytag Museum, but I do them at Moviola every Tuesday and so this is comfortable. It feels just really nice. I know everybody.
Larry Jordan: You’ve been in front of the camera for more years than we want to talk about.
Mike Horton: Yes, but I haven’t been in front of the camera in a long time, so this is a little different. You’ve been in front of the camera, at least the computer camera. Now we’ve got real cameras here. In fact, we ought to do a show one time just to show everybody what we have here. We have these gorgeous…
Larry Jordan: What’s interesting, have you looked out there? We’ve got a crew of 75 people. 75 people. I’ve never seen such a mass or mess, actually, in my life.
Mike Horton: Yes, it’s a mess. There are a lot of boxes back there.
Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to remind you to visit with us on Facebook, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. You can also hang out with us on Twitter, @dpbuzz, and whenever you want information about the show between the shows, be sure to visit our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. We are going to be talking reality, and it’s going to be amazing, with Luis Barreto, right after this.
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Larry Jordan: Luis Barreto is an Emmy nominated producer, director and editor. He specializes in creating reality television, which is what we want to spend today talking about. Luis, thanks for joining us today.
Luis Barreto: Very welcome.
Larry Jordan: What was it that got you involved in media in the first place?
Luis Barreto: It really is I love television, I grew up watching TV and I think that when I was younger I used to sneak in NBC and watch them make all these TV shows and I just became completely engaged and enchanted with the whole process and really from junior high school, since I started sneaking into NBC I wanted to do it, so it’s really been a lifelong journey.
Mike Horton: Seriously, you snuck into NBC? You got through the gates? Back in the ‘80s, it was actually pretty easy.
Luis Barreto: I was a big boy in junior high school and I’d have a clipboard, I’m serious, and I’d walk by the gate and wave to the guard and walk right in and they’d wave back and just let me in.
Larry Jordan: Are you serious?
Mike Horton: I used to do that at Universal.
Luis Barreto: Yes. Well, that’s the way, yes.
Mike Horton: Yes.
Luis Barreto: Pre-9/11, life was sweet.
Mike Horton: A lot of us did, a lot of us snuck in. It was a great way to get started.
Luis Barreto: Mhmm, and you met people and, you know, if you were smart and engaging, people gave you the time of day. It was really a magical time.
Larry Jordan: Ok, so now we’ve got you sneaking into NBC, all right? And you’re crawling along the floor trying to meet people. What made you decide that reality television was the career you wanted to pursue?
Luis Barreto: Ok, that’s a great question. What ended up happening is I eventually fell into editing and I became an Avid editor and I had a friend who was at a company called Bunim Murray, who really started the whole reality business, and they were looking for a Spanish speaking producer to go and do a series called Road Rules in South America and my friend said, “Oh, I know somebody,” and he called me and said, “Listen, you’ve got to try this out.”
Luis Barreto: I called Bunim Murray, they said, “We’d love to hear from you.” I had to write three missions, so that weekend I watched a bunch of episodes of Road Rules, I’d never seen the show, and became an expert and then Sunday I sat down, I started writing three missions and I submitted them on Monday. Wednesday, I was part of the staff.
Larry Jordan: Wow.
Mike Horton: What’s a mission?
Luis Barreto: Mission was what they had to do to receive what they called a handsome reward. Each episode would involve a mission that the kids would have to do. If they accomplished the mission, they would move forward to the next place. They always accomplished their mission, and then at the end they would receive some sort of prize, a $5,000 to $7,000 prize of some sort.
Larry Jordan: So that becomes essentially the dramatic hook for the show, which is can they make the mission? Are they going to do it in time? So that becomes what you hang the suspense on.
Luis Barreto: And it was fish out of water, because this particular season was a South American season which we started in Chihuahua, Mexico and went all the way down to Costa Rica. Finished in Costa Rica; and then the next year we did an around the world trip with Semester at Sea, which was phenomenal. I mean, that was just an amazing experience. Went to Cuba, went to India, went to…
Mike Horton: It’s like your first gig, reality gig, you travel all over the world.
Luis Barreto: Yes, it was phenomenal.
Mike Horton: You wrote a couple of missions and, oh man, what a nice thing. Was everything downhill from there?
Luis Barreto: You know, it’s hard because there were 18 of us managing seven cast members. That never happened again for me.
Mike Horton: And these are kids, right?
Luis Barreto: Yes. I did The Mole after that for ABC. That was 75 people on set with a lawyer and it was much more controlled. We didn’t have anybody whisper in our ear saying, “Listen, that mission’s really dangerous. You can’t do that.” I mean, I had them bullfighting without anybody calling me and saying, “Are you sure you want to have them bullfighting? These kids don’t even know how to tie their shoes, practically,” and it worked out really great.
Mike Horton: And these kids are still alive today.
Luis Barreto: Absolutely.
Mike Horton: Ok.
Luis Barreto: Absolutely.
Larry Jordan: I was looking at some of your titles. Let’s see, we’ve got American Jungle, which was in Hawaii, Turn and Burn, which is auto reclamation, Texas Ranch House, which is the punishment of Tenderfeet, Los Golden Boys, which is boxing I think.
Luis Barreto: Yes.
Larry Jordan: From Beyond, which is paranormal. What is it that people find so fascinating about reality TV?
Luis Barreto: You have to create something that people can relate to. The key to really…
Larry Jordan: Digging old Chevys out of mud is something people can relate to?
Luis Barreto: Yes. Here’s what it is. What you can relate to is the possibility of finding your uncle’s car buried under the garage and saying, “You know what? I could make a lot of money off of this,” and it’s the notion that you can find things and turn them into money in this economy that really, I think, appeals to people.
Luis Barreto: A lot of these shows are really built on turning trash into gold, basically, and I think that that’s something that people want to see. You have to find a hook, not just with characters but the actual format of what you’re doing to engage people. But really, it’s all about people. At the end of the day, I don’t care what format you talk about, it’s the people.
Larry Jordan: But some of the people are a little odd, you know? I’ve decided that the only person that stars in reality TV programs are people that have beards that are about a foot and a half long. Is this a casting requirement, that if they don’t have a long beard – and clearly, Mike, you’re out of luck – but you don’t have a long beard, you don’t make it in the show?
Luis Barreto: Beards are definitely a requirement.
Mike Horton: That’s the casting process.
Luis Barreto: No, I mean, I think it’s the in vogue thing, but you take the beards off, they’re still the same people, you know? I’m pitched probably three or four shows a day, people send me a reel or whatever, and the first thing I do is look at the people that are in the reel and I realize, “Oh, they’re stiff. I can’t even hear them talk.”
Luis Barreto: I don’t know who these people are. The thing you’re trying to do is really, at the end of the day, you sell people. I’m trying to pitch a show right now about these writers that go to the North Pole on motorcycles. My reel isn’t about the North Pole, it’s about these three people and it’s really my interviewing them and getting them to give me the sound bites I know the network wants to hear.
Luis Barreto: I’ve done enough shows to understand what beats the network wants to hear from a cast member in order to say, “That person can represent me. I see him on a billboard. I can see how they can make a show because how they speak and what story they tell makes sense for me and my viewers.”
Larry Jordan: It sounds like the two key things to successful reality shows are casting and mission.
Luis Barreto: Yes, in that order.
Larry Jordan: Really?
Luis Barreto: Yes.
Larry Jordan: And is the casting the leads? Or is the casting all the people that revolve around them?
Luis Barreto: Everything. I’ve got this kid who wants to do a jewelry show. I said, “Who’s the Chumlee in your group?” If you know Pawn Stars, there’s one guy, Chumlee, who’s kind of like the butt of every joke and the two leads are smart, the dad and the son and the grandpa, but Chumlee really is the comedy that kind of sets everything off.
Luis Barreto: You need that element, so it’s really finding three or four people that your viewers relate to. Not everyone’s going to like Chumlee. They’re going to like the grandpa or the father or the son and thus we had a multi-generational split so that I can sit with my dad and my son and watch the show and all three of us will love it.
Mike Horton: These three guys that want to ride their motorcycles to the North Pole, it’s got you excited, you want to pitch it. Is it because of those three guys?
Luis Barreto: Yes. Absolutely.
Mike Horton: Not because of the three guys just going to the North Pole?
Luis Barreto: No. It would take me a long time to find these three. What I have is I have two guys and a young lady, basically, so I’m covering a lot of different demos in that regard. The leader of the expedition’s in his early 50s. The wounded warrior guy is in his mid-30s and my lady, what am I going to I call her? The…
Larry Jordan: Female lead.
Luis Barreto: Yes, the American sweetheart, she’s 29 and so I’ve got this great spread of demo that will cover a wide swath that a network can say, “Wow, I could really have a lot of different viewers on this one project because I’ve done a great job of casting them.” But to find those three people on my own, that would have cost me a lot of money. Lots of money, and that’s the key. I mean, the companies I compete with, they’ve got the resources to go out and find the right writers and they can spend, 50, 60 thousand dollars just finding one person, literally.
Larry Jordan: This opens up a different question. How real is reality TV? Is it really as much of a misnomer as I think it is?
Luis Barreto: Absolutely. I’ll give you an example. I did a show…
Mike Horton: Don’t be political here.
Luis Barreto: No, no, no. This is an example. I did a show where we were supposed to find people that found models, ok? So agencies have these scouts that go out and scout for models. Before we left the office here to go on location to find these people, the network wanted to see who our cast was going to be. So you see, that’s…
Larry Jordan: You’ve got to know the answer before you start.
Luis Barreto: Yes. The whole concept just went out the window, because I’d have to present to you who they are. Now, the thing is I could present them to you, you can approve them, but when I get out in the field I’m not going to tell them what to say. They’re going to say whatever they say and we’re going to deal with that as a story element. That’s where the reality really comes in.
Luis Barreto: We no longer have the time to really set up these extended eight to ten week shoots like Real World, where you live with the kids 24/7, out of all that media you find story, you comb through all that and you find the stories and you build. Now we’re shooting that in three weeks, so you have to compress everything. The way you compress everything is by creating situations where the people deal with them and that is the reality, is how they deal.
Larry Jordan: But creating a situation is very similar to giving them a storyline, isn’t it? You’re playing the bad guy, you’re playing the good guy?
Luis Barreto: No, not in that sense. In the sense of, let’s say, tomorrow we’re going to go meet a guy who’s training horses, ok? Well, I’ve never been on horse. Ok, well, we’ll find out how that goes tomorrow; so tomorrow we show up and there’s the guy training the horses and the guy gets on and he’s talking all kinds of stuff about how the horses are, I’m not telling him what to say, I’m not telling him how to react. That’s all him.
Luis Barreto: He’s come to me and said, “I’m willing to be on your show and be open to the situations you bring to me,” and in the casting process that’s what you have to vet out. It’s like how open is this person to what I set up so that when I do set it up, I have something to…
Larry Jordan: So you’re really looking for people that are good at improv.
Luis Barreto: No. I’m looking for narcissists.
Larry Jordan: You’re looking for?
Luis Barreto: Narcissists.
Larry Jordan: Ah.
Mike Horton: But are the situations, though, when it gets dull, manipulated into being dramatic? Otherwise we have no drama, we have no conflict.
Luis Barreto: Yes, but we as producers don’t have to manufacture that. That’s human nature. It’s totally human nature and, because we’ve always been around…
Mike Horton: A lot of people start whining and bitching and moaning on reality and they always do it in this kind of situation.
Luis Barreto: Yes, because they’re preloaded.
Mike Horton: And commenting on what the situation is.
Luis Barreto: Right. I know, because they’re…
Mike Horton: Is that real? Which goes back to the question.
Luis Barreto: Yes. No, it’s real because they’re preloaded. Reality’s been around so long now, a full generation, that people grow up and they are seeing the conventions of what reality TV is. Again, getting back to people pitching me ideas, “I got this great dramatic group of people. They’re real, they’re dramatic.” Well, I run from those people. I don’t need that because they think they know what I want.
Mike Horton: Uh-huh, because they’ve seen those reality shows.
Luis Barreto: It gets back to narcissism. See, here’s the thing with narcissists. They don’t care what they sound like. They’re too self involved to really care and edit themselves. That’s the gold right there, a person in whatever situation they happen to want to step in, that will step in as themselves, that are so good, and that’s what good casting is about, that you know that that person is going to be themselves. That’s different than somebody who says, “I’m dramatic, let me be dramatic. I know what you want.”
Luis Barreto: I don’t want that person because they’re going to give me plastic, they’re going to give me the stuff that I’m absolutely going to look at and go, “Oh, that’s blocked and staged. Who wants to see that?” I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to be in a situation where I’m telling my participants what to say. They’re not cast members either, they’re participants. They’re not stars, they’re participants. They’re participating in my experiment.
Larry Jordan: Let’s come back a step. You were talking about the fact that when you were pitching a show, you need to pitch the concept of a mission, a task or a goal, which involves writing. Where does writing factor into organizing a team of self absorbed narcissists?
Luis Barreto: Writing would be that I would have to initially write the concept and then, in pre-production…
Larry Jordan: Pick one of your shows. Texas Ranch House.
Luis Barreto: Texas Ranch House is perfect.
Larry Jordan: Walk me through that concept.
Luis Barreto: Ok. A British company’s hiring a producer, they hire me, and they hand me literally a book about this big that is their research on what it takes to run an circa 1867 cowboy ranch, so I look through all the junk they give me and I go, “Ok,” then I sit down and I take a board of cards, just like any other producer does, and I produce, based on their research, how the flow is.
Luis Barreto: I’ve got to build a ranch, I’ve got to hire the blah, blah, blah and every show has ten or 12 cards with beats on them. You know, episode three, I cast one woman who was the maid. I knew by episode three she would be to here being the maid. She was Upper East Side, well educated, from New York City, she loved horses, but I knew that she was way too smart… By episode four, I was off by one episode, she made her own chaps and started riding horses bareback, which drove my cowboys nuts. They were like, “Well, she can’t do that. She’s the maid,” you know? And then they were apoplectic, they couldn’t deal with it, and she was a great rider and she ended up riding the round-up, because they needed her.
Luis Barreto: But it was something that I knew in my heart was going to happen because I’d been around reality enough to know, but I never told those people what to say. I learned how to build an adobe ranch house, hired a guy to make the bricks to make the adobe ranch house. I learned that those ranch houses are built with stone in the first room and then after that comes the adobe.
Luis Barreto: If you look on Google maps and find the house, you’ll see it exactly like that. The corral was built out of raw materials. Everything we did was 1867. They ate beans and jerky for two and a half months. They wore scratchy clothes. I mean, everything was, but I had to learn all that on my own and then write all the episodes, turn them into the network and say, “Here’s what the show is probably going to happen.” Now, no-one’s holding my feet to the fire saying, “Well, that didn’t happen,” but now they feel comfortable.
Luis Barreto: Now everyone goes, “Ok, here’s a guy that understands how the show’s going to flow and he gets what the beats are. He doesn’t have to write beats.” I know I’m going to get something and that’s what they’re looking for. They’re risk averse. They’re looking for guarantees of what’s going to happen. The same thing with anything I pitch. I have to write scenarios of what I think is going to happen in order for them to feel like there’s somebody that understands what the property is and how they’re going to deliver it.
Mike Horton: So each of these cast members each day knows what’s going to happen? Or, here, this is what’s going to happen…
Luis Barreto: No, I don’t reveal to them what it is that is going to happen. I don’t show my cast members what I’ve written out. All that stuff is just between myself and the network. The cast members don’t see the pitch, they don’t see any of that stuff. They’re literally participants who are coming and saying, “Listen, I love what you’ve cast me for. I’m ready to go, whatever that is going to be,” and I can’t stress enough, it gets back to narcissism. They want to be on TV. Right now, we’ve shifted our society, I think, from manufacturing to celebritydom. Everyone wants to be a celebrity. “I want to be a celebrity. I want to be on a reality show.”
Luis Barreto: Some people go, “Oh, I’ve got a great company, it’ll make a great reality show.” What? How does that figure? “Well, my guys are so funny in the back, it’s great,” you know? Or I get the…
Mike Horton: Look at the Kardashians, for God’s sakes.
Luis Barreto: You’d be amazed how many people come to me and say, “Listen, I’ve got the next Kardashians. Me and my boys were hysterical,” and you get there and they start talking and they’re laughing and you’re like, “I don’t get it.” There are all these inside jokes that we have as we grow up and stuff, but they’re our jokes, they’re not everyone’s jokes. No-one gets it.
Larry Jordan: So the writing really is to help you organize the flow, but the writing is not shared with the participants?
Luis Barreto: No. No.
Larry Jordan: Let’s go back to Texas Ranch House. How much time do you have for pre-production before you start to roll camera?
Luis Barreto: Seven months.
Larry Jordan: Seven months. You need that much?
Luis Barreto: I had to buy 25 ponies, I had to buy 100 head of longhorn cattle, I had to build a ranch house. Well, I had to find a ranch first. Finding the ranch took me a month and a half because I had to find a ranch that was big enough so that they could not take a horse and ride out off the ranch. I leased a 75,000 acre parcel inside a 400 square mile ranch, ok? So they were really marooned. There’s no way they can go anywhere. They found the outhouse eventually that I had for my crew and they used that, but…
Mike Horton: And, yes, 1867, there’s no electricity, there’s no…
Luis Barreto: There’s no paper, there’s no toilet paper.
Mike Horton: No paper? Oh my gosh. You wouldn’t get me on that show.
Larry Jordan: I was gone at the scratchy clothes part. I was not going to show up.
Mike Horton: I don’t ride horses, I don’t wear chaps.
Luis Barreto: One of the most amazing things was the women of the ranch didn’t clean very well and within maybe 12 hours, they were overcome by flies to the point where you walked in the house, if your mouth was open, they would fly in. It was just like a gray cloud, you know? It was just really crazy. But, again, I never shared any of that stuff with them. Never, ever, ever.
Larry Jordan: Seven months of preparation and you’re ready to start to roll cameras.
Luis Barreto: Then I had to cast the people, that took me three months, so between finding the ranch, building the ranch, finding the vendors to actually execute the ranch, finding the horses, finding the cattle, finding a wrangler that was willing to believe we could turn pedestrians into cowboys in 12 days, that’s all I had in the budget for the boot camp was 12 days, so literally I had guys that walked off just regular jobs, never been on horses, that were turned into cowboys in 12 days. We did it.
Larry Jordan: And they were saddle sore for weeks after.
Luis Barreto: Oh, it was precious. It was so wonderful, yes.
Larry Jordan: Luis, there is so much that I want to talk about with you. I’d like to invite you back for a second time. Can you come back and join us again?
Luis Barreto: Oh, absolutely.
Larry Jordan: And for people who want to learn more about the work that you’re doing, where can they go on the web?
Luis Barreto: I’m a big believer in networking and electronic networking particularly, so LinkedIn would be the best way to keep track of what I’m doing and the best way to communicate with me, also LinkedIn. I really believe in that network and use it. Exclusive.
Larry Jordan: Luis, thank you. This has been great.
Luis Barreto: You’re very welcome.
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Larry Jordan: George Olver is the Founder and CEO of Movidiam, a creative network that allows brands, agencies and film makers across the globe to connect, collaborate and create files. Welcome, George, good to have you with us.
George Olver: Larry, great to be here.
Larry Jordan: What is Movidiam?
George Olver: Movidiam is a creative network that allows brands, agencies and film makers to connect, collaborate and create films, so it’s really simplifying the process of collaboration.
Larry Jordan: So it’s a place where everybody sits round and talks to each other?
George Olver: There’s one element of that, Larry, and we’re asking film makers across the globe to build profiles and display their work and connect with each other and share what they’re up to, and so there’s the social profiling element to it and then there’s the project management side of it.
Larry Jordan: Would this be like Facebook for film makers?
George Olver: There are some really interesting social networks out there, but what we’re looking at is making something very, very bespoke for film makers. We’ve all used various networks and various tools to make the processes more efficient and what we’re looking to do is put these tools and things all in one domain, custom built with the film maker in mind.
Larry Jordan: Is the website live? Or is it still in beta?
George Olver: The stage we’re at at the moment is pre-registration, so we put out some films which explain what Movidiam is and how it’s going to work and we’re really excited about the interest and enthusiasm from the global community of film makers that have pre-registered. We’re working round the clock to bring a beta version to market and to start showing people and inviting people onto the platform and we’re really determined to get feedback from film makers and understand exactly the pain points that they have in the processes that they do on a daily basis and then try and iterate and build our program around those needs.
George Olver: Obviously, we’ve had ten years of experience producing corporates and commercials for various businesses around the world and we’ve taken that insight and that understanding and we’ve mind mapped that into a technology platform which we believe is going to really service the needs of many film makers.
Larry Jordan: The cynic in me has to ask, I swear every week another ad agency who’s looking to expand their business says, “We’ve been doing ads for the last X years and we realized that we need to put a website together,” and everybody and his cousin is doing websites to enable film makers to make films. Why did you decide to go to this effort and what makes yours unique?
George Olver: That’s a very good question, Larry, and I think the barriers to entry to make a website are very low. That’s part of the joy of the web. Alex, my business partner, and I have been film makers from the very grass roots of film making so we’ve been around post production houses, making coffee and building up an understanding of how the editorial process works, building up an understanding of the editing systems, building understanding of the camera, so we’ve really been through the whole process of making films.
George Olver: I think what we’ve really focused on is a very, very design-centric approach, really trying to drill down on what a film maker as a visual person wants to see and where they want to hang out and operate. Many of the sites that we see out there are gray in their nature and list based. What we’ve tried to do with some exciting new technologies which have only recently become possible because of the nature of Web 2.0 Plus is really build an immersive experience for film makers to profile and really connect with others who are looking for their skill sets.
Larry Jordan: Film makers encompasses a wide range of work from people that are doing weddings all the way up through hundred million dollar feature films and all kinds of stuff in between. How would you define your typical customer?
George Olver: I think, certainly to begin with, the typical customer is a team of three to ten people wanting to crew up quickly to create a film. Yes, Hollywood has many established routines and practices etcetera and obviously initially we’re not going to be focusing on that. But really what we’ve looked at is throughout the whole process of making films, whether you’re an agency or whether you’re a single shooter or whether you’re a business that wants a film made, there’s a place for you on Movidiam to find talent or, indeed, to profile your offering and your skills. Across the board, it will be a very useful tool.
Larry Jordan: Is this a website that a client would come to to find crew to create a corporate video? Or is this a place where a director would post a reel to find crew? Or is this a place where a crew member would try to find projects they can become a member of? Help me understand a scenario here.
George Olver: Again, I think it’s very wide reaching. An editor, a cameraman, a DOP, a director, a stuntman, all people involved in the production mix can register and build a profile for free, showcasing their activity, showcasing what they do and also referencing themselves in a credit and testimonial system which validates their involvement in that production. That’s the profiling bit of it and the validation of the credit bit of it.
George Olver: If we look at the Hollywood Cinema, the last 100 years, the white lines have gone up at the end of the film. They are not dynamic, they’re not pickable and you can’t see who else was involved very easily. With Movidiam’s profiling system, we have the ability to quickly build a visible transparency on who’s worked on what and what skill sets might be transferrable to other films and other teams.
Larry Jordan: It sounds like, and again I’m trying to get my brain wrapped around this, it sounds like this is principally a website geared toward crewing a production. Is that true?
George Olver: Yes, indeed you can certainly find talent. I think if we go back a little bit and think about the incredible thing that’s happened in the production industry with ultimately quality of cameras going up and costs going down, it’s meant that there’s a great range of incredibly talented people now that have the ability to make films and, really, we’re trying to build visibility on those people, whether they’re producing stuff for Burton snowboards or Red Bull, or whether they’re producing stuff more locally in a small town, perhaps in the wedding space.
George Olver: Really throughout the whole spectrum of producing films, there is a position for you here and we’re just looking to try and streamline the processes and the production management that you need to go through to deliver those films.
Larry Jordan: As part of this, does Movidiam keep track of contracts and deliverables? Or just staff?
George Olver: Talking about the project management side of it, I think this is where it gets really interesting, and this is what is, I think, very different about Movidiam. Not only have we got the social and the profile and the community side, but we’re very focused on the project management side, again, looking at the experiences that we’ve had in project managing a whole range of different films. There is a process for reviewing final films and we’ve developed some technology to review and have a very concise review platform.
George Olver: We’ve developed a call sheet feature which can be dynamically populated, so a location can be dynamically populated with the local taxi companies, the local hospitals. Anyone can contribute to that and so we’re trying to bring the call sheet into the new tablet based world.
Larry Jordan: An interactive call sheet. How does it work?
George Olver: It works much in the same way as the traditional call sheet, as in you populate it. But again, with our team system and having visibility of people’s profiles, you can quickly populate them in and their contact information and website and data about them is auto-populated. Locations, postcodes and zip codes will automatically generate maps into the system, so again the process of creating the call sheet will be a lot more streamlined and data will be pulled out and give you much more visibility and options. It will no longer be a list based thing which is crumpled up in the rucksack with coffee spilt on it.
Larry Jordan: Ah, but where would we put the coffee if we can’t spill it on a call sheet?
George Olver: It’s actually very essential, I agree. Coffee’s very essential on a film set.
Larry Jordan: You’ve mentioned the fact that the profiles are free, so how does Movidiam make money?
George Olver: A key part of it is that people coming to access project management tools will pay a subscription of $25 per month to run the project management element, so project managers, if you like to call them that, are going to pay a subscription to access the project management features such as the call sheet, storyboard, file review etcetera.
Larry Jordan: Now, is that per project, per month? So I could have ten projects going for 25?
George Olver: It’s on a monthly basis and people who pre-register with us are going to receive two months of that for free.
Larry Jordan: Ok, so regardless of how many projects I’ve got going, it’s a flat $25 fee?
George Olver: Yes, exactly.
Larry Jordan: I was looking at your website. What is Project Pro?
George Olver: Project Pro is very much that, the subscription opportunity to have access to more features and more project management tools. That’s the feature set that we’re offering which is behind the subscription.
Larry Jordan: What I think I’m hearing – let me make sure I’ve got this right – is that we’ve got two sides. We’ve got people who are involved in production, loosely termed crew at all of its different levels and ramifications, who are able to post profiles so they can expand their visibility to an international audience to say not only, “Here I am,” but people can then endorse them and say, “This guy’s a really good camera guy because I worked with him,” so we get the endorsement of a person who’s listed, and that part’s free.
Larry Jordan: On the other side, we’ve got the project management, where people who are putting projects together can keep track of all the different elements that are involved. Do I have that right?
George Olver: You’ve got that spot on, Larry, yes, exactly that. I think if we look at those two sides, film makers use a lot of different tools for the project management side of it and we want to build a centralized place which will streamline that, so one home destination to produce the film, and also visibility on talent.
George Olver: A lot of freelancers – we use the term freelancers in Europe – work very, very hard on their skills and buying their equipment and refining their natural talents and abilities as film makers, but in doing that perhaps it’s more difficult to focus at the same time as to how you find opportunity and how you find work. We’re really trying to raise their visibility by building searchable information around their skill sets, around their equipment, around their profile offering and the films they’ve made.
Larry Jordan: You’ve mentioned the fact that you’ve got a preview up but you’ve not yet launched the site. What can people do now and when do you expect to turn this into an ongoing operation?
George Olver: Right now, people can come and enjoy the films that we’ve made. We’ve created some films with some outstanding film makers across the globe to come and explain what Movidiam is doing. We’ve shot in America, we’ve shot in Europe and that’s a real explanation of what Movidiam plans to do, and we’ve got the brand, the agency and the freelancer film there, so please do go and investigate those films and see if Movidiam is something for you.
George Olver: As I said, we’ve had a very positive response to that. What we’d encourage people to do is pre-register for the Movidiam service. This will give you access to two months free of Project Pro; and then later on this year, we’re going to be inviting you to get on board and come and trial out this application as it comes live later on in the year.
Larry Jordan: If they pre-register, are they on the hook for any money?
George Olver: No, certainly not at this stage. Pre-registering is notifying us that you’re interested and you’re engaged and enabling us to reach out to you and invite you in to have a look at what we’ve developed.
Larry Jordan: George, where can people go on the web to learn more about Movidiam?
George Olver: www.movidiam.com. That’s our website and it’s very much open for pre-registration.
Larry Jordan: That’s movidiam.com and George Olver is the Founder and CEO of Movidiam. George, thanks for joining us today.
George Olver: Larry, it’s been wonderful.
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Cirina Catania: This is Cirina Catania reporting from the 2014 IBC for The Digital Production Buzz. I’m here with Oliver Meiseberg in front of the Cinema 4D, our favorite Maxon booth, and there have been a lot of artists here demonstrating how they use the product. Oliver, can you tell us where we are and what’s happening here today?
Oliver Meiseberg: Thanks for having me. We just announced R16, so we’re pretty excited that IBC is the first show where we can showcase R16 publicly. We have a bunch of artists here from around the world, like Ryan Summers from Imaginary Forces. He’s coming from LA. We have Pingo van der Brinkloev who’s just presenting now from Norway and a bunch of guys from Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Oliver Meiseberg: It’s really great to have all these wonderful artists at the booth. But we’ve also had a lot of partners at the booth this time. We showcased Houdini Engine for Cinema 4D, which is coming later this year. We had the guys from The Foundry, who presented Colorway… which is a great tool for designers. Yes, it’s been a pretty good show so far.
Cirina Catania: What makes these artists so good at what they do? Obviously, they have a knowledge of the product, but can you tell me why they stand out?
Oliver Meiseberg: Because they’re very different, I would say, to the normal artists. We have exceptional artists in VFX and design. Pingo is doing, for example, a lot of really advanced production techniques and he also runs the c4dapt.com, which is the Cinema 4D advanced production techniques training session. We had guys from Munich, from Aixsponza which have done a huge high level work on all the Red Bull stuff. They showcased and they presented Dreadnaught, which is a VFX shot. It’s more the high level stuff we show here to show the users what Cinema can do and what it’s capable of.
Cirina Catania: Maxon has a whole group of very creative people around them all the time. How do you feel about that?
Oliver Meiseberg: I’m proud of all these people. It’s great to see the different flavors, the different artists. Also that they use some of our features that it’s not made for. It’s great to see all these exceptional designs and also meet all these people.
Cirina Catania: And IBC in general, why is this an important marketplace?
Oliver Meiseberg: We do three shows per year. The important shows for us are NAB… and IBC. IBC is the counterpart to the NAB here in Europe, so this is where most of our customers are. Our main market is motion graphics and so this is, let’s say, the home base for most of the motion graphics and TV guys and this is why it’s such an important show to us. Luckily, we have a bunch of new features. The big one, it’s really a full motion tracking system included into R16, which gives you a 3D… of your track footage.
Oliver Meiseberg: We have a complete new reflectance channel that gives you multilayered reflections. This is something that people have asked for for so long. Also, team render server to extend our team render that we announced in R16, now by a server application that can run on a separate computer managing all the jobs. We have a ton of smaller improvements. The solar button is also something that people have asked for. It’s a minor feature but a big thing for the workflow. It’s a really great release.
Cirina Catania: Thank you for taking the time. I know you’re rushing to the airport. Have a great trip home and wonderful success with all the new products.
Larry Jordan: The Cinema 4D website is www.maxon.net. That’s maxon.net. Cirina, who are you talking with now?
Cirina Catania: I’m here with Günter Nikodim, one of their amazing artists, and I’d like to just have him tell us a little bit about what he does. Günter, tell me where are we and what’s going to be happening here in a few minutes today?
Günter Nikodim: Hello, very pleased to meet you. We’re here at the Maxon booth at IBC and, yes, in a few minutes I’m going to start my speech.
Cirina Catania: Describe for our audience the type of art that you do and the tools that you use.
Günter Nikodim: Well, I’m a 3D generalist, so that means that I do basically everything starting from character animation to motion graphics, visual effects for film, retouching, painting, dynamic simulations, everything.
Cirina Catania: Well, I can hardly wait to hear what you’re going to have to say, but tell me the tools that you use. Obviously, you use Cinema 4D.
Günter Nikodim: Yes. My main tool really is Cinema 4D. I use it for modeling, animation, texturing, all that stuff, and for some special tasks I also use other tools like RealFlow for fluid simulations, a little bit of CBrush, but not that much any more because Cinema 4D now has a sculpting system, and of course for compositing I’m using After Effects and mainly Nuke, maybe Photoshop for some painting. These are my main tools, I would say.
Cirina Catania: You’re going to be showing us some of your art. Can you pick one of the pieces you’re going to be discussing and describe what it is and the tools that you used to create it?
Günter Nikodim: Yes, I’m going to talk about two films that I have done the visual effects for throughout the last year and I’m going to show some nice little workflow tricks for Cinema 4D that really open up new possibilities. I’m going to show some tools that are there for years, but if you combine them you get to know some really cool stuff.
Cirina Catania: Give me an example.
Günter Nikodim: Particle sculpting, for example. That means that we have, for example, in Cinema 4D, a very, very basic particle system, but with the combination of MoGraph and Deformers and all that stuff, we can enhance it and, yes, I’m going to show you some things that you might not have thought were possible.
Larry Jordan: That was Buzz producer Cirina Catania talking with Günter Nikodim. There is one other artist that Cirina wanted us to meet.
Lars Scholten: My name is Lars Scholten. I am a 3D producer. I am a CG artist, a freelancer, and I’m also a trainer for the College of Multimedia in Amsterdam and, as a freelancer, I create all kinds of motion graphics, I create all kinds of rigs for animators to work with. I can show you a little bit of my work. I always work in teams with other motion graphics artists and just create all these kinds of flying logos, animations for motion graphics, bumpers, leaders, trailers and just being part of a group in a very cool studio.
Lars Scholten: Besides that, I do training in Illustrator but mostly Cinema 4D. Cinema 4D is a software package in 3D animation and I’ve been using that for, well, about 15 years right now. Currently on the show, I’m presenting a presentation about using Cinema 4D in motion graphics and just in a more teacher way, so not just showing off some really, really cool stuff, but really getting into it and making sure the audience understands how they can use different kinds of techniques for their productions.
Cirina Catania: There’s some beautiful stuff here. Let’s pick one that you really love and maybe you could tell me some of the secrets of how you produced it.
Lars Scholten: Ok. Well, the first one I’m going to show here is what we call [FOREIGN DIALOGUE], which is a commercial for Sky Radio. What we did was a lot of research on paper craft and recreated a store, recreated a house, a car popping up and really wanted to give it some kind of paper look, so the first thing we did was, of course, looking at real paper craft and then I started to do all kinds of rigs, created rigs that could be animated by the animators. The secret about this is making it as easy as possible for the animators.
Lars Scholten: That’s really my job. They give me an assignment, we want to have a hand and we want to post this hand as a character animator and make sure we don’t have to use many sliders, just make it for us as easy as possible. That’s when I start working. I can show you a little bit if you want. As you can see, I just have a hand and instead of using all kinds of interface sliders and all the things I have created here, you can just click one finger and move it around.
Lars Scholten: It’s very easy for him to do all these kinds of poses without going into the technical stuff. My job is to let the artist be the artist and leave all the technical details to me. Some other stuff we do is, well, we have this clip for Radio Veronica. I can show you that as well. What we needed there was a photo of an astronaut, but the photo was too flat, so we decided to recreate a photo which was taken in the 1950s or so, and get it into a 3D space. I’ll show you.
Lars Scholten: We’ve got this nice image here of an astronaut and when we go closer with the camera, you can see we mapped the image of this photo on a 3D mesh. When I approach this, you can see it actually has some sense of depth in there. That was very nice, but it was still too static and we really didn’t want to create a static diorama, so I created a joint rig, which you can see right here. You can see, we’ve got all those little joints here. Those are like the joints of a real person and just by binding these together with a real character, we can add some movement.
Lars Scholten: You can see here, the astronaut can move his hand, which was impossible in the original picture. I’ll deliver this to the motion graphic specialist and he will composite it inside a video so we can create a cool video. You see right here, now we fly to the astronaut and he’s actually moving his hands. You see the flag flying.
Lars Scholten: We’ve got the Nirvana baby, which is also 3D; a guy who’s demolishing the Berlin Wall; Adele, of course; and some kind of weird Indian that’s flying flags. We can just composite everything together into one clip. It takes about five or six people to create something like this in, well, two weeks or so. It was kind of a hard deadline but together we created all kinds of stuff and it’s really a creative team that builds the entire animation.
Cirina Catania: I’m just very much impressed with the enthusiasm here at the booth with all of the artists. How did you get started with this and what do you like the most about it? Also, where are you from originally?
Lars Scholten: I am from Amsterdam. It’s a 20 minute bike ride from the IBC, so I’m very lucky, I don’t have to fly in. I started off in typography. I actually designed letters in a graphic art school, but something went wrong and they sent me and my internship to a different company and I came in contact with the internet, which was a very big thing then, and started to make graphics.
Lars Scholten: Then I was introduced to a little program called Extreme 3D from Macromedia, which was very blunt, to be honest. You could do some stuff in there; then I went to the College of Multimedia, the school where I’m currently teaching, did some courses and after that I just went into 3D and went mad, to be honest. Spent lots and lots of time just learning it with a lot of enthusiasm and after a while working for multimedia companies, I’d just about had enough of it. I took the first plane I could get to Australia.
Lars Scholten: I’d been traveling there for about seven months and during those months I went to a farm, which is quite a nice story because I didn’t have any money and the place where the farm was located was called Broke. It’s kind of fun. I was there and there was a very nice vineyard farmer and he asked me, “Can you build me a website?” so I was there sitting in a very big valley, middle of nowhere, and he just had a digital camera he borrowed from his neighbors 30 kilometers away.
Lars Scholten: We took some photographs of his wine bottles and I created a website for him. At a certain point I came back and said, “Yes, I really like what I’m doing but I should do it on my own so I can have these kinds of opportunities.” I started freelancing since about 2003, so almost more than 11 years ago that I started off working for myself. Then I also started teaching. The school I was working for just called me. They said they needed a teacher in 3D and I had some experience, so I started over there and got some connections with the students around there and a few of those students became really, really good and they’re now my colleagues. That’s how you create a network.
Lars Scholten: Today, I’m probably my biggest teacher. Just walk around, talk to a lot of people around, also here in the booth there a lot of excellent 3CG artists and just talk with them, see how they work, go there and see what they’re doing. It’s a really encouraging experience. If you’re very enthusiastic about your work, it’s hardly work.
Cirina Catania: And it’s beautiful work. Where can we go, where can our listeners go on the internet to actually see what you’ve been talking about here?
Lars Scholten: They can go to cybear.nl.
Cirina Catania: That’s cybear.nl and that’s the CD design and training site; and the other site is cmm.nl, the College of Multimedia, and you can see Lars’s work there. This is Lars Scholten and we’re here at the Maxon booth at IBC 2014 with some amazing artists. Thank you so much for your time.
Lars Scholten: It was fun. Thank you.
Larry Jordan: That was Buzz producer Cirina Catania talking with Lars Scholten, reporting from the 2014 IBC trade show in Amsterdam.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests, Luis Barreto, the Emmy nominated producer, director and editor; George Olver, the Founder and CEO of Movidiam; Oliver Meiseberg, the Product Manager for Maxon’s Cinema 4D; and visual artists Günter Nikodim and Lars Scholten.
Larry Jordan: I also want to thank our hosts at Moviola for making this week’s videotaping possible with a special thank you to Patty Montesion.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot happening at The Buzz between shows and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. 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: Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription, and, when you’re lonely, just email us at email@example.com. Our producer is Cirina Catania, our ever-handsome co-host, Mr. Mike Horton. My name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.
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