Digital Production Buzz
January 15, 2015
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
(Click here to listen to this show.)
Matthijs Wouter Knol, Director, European Film Market
Jessica Sitomer, President, The Greenlight Coach
Kai Pradel, CEO/Founder, MediaSilo
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Larry Jordan: Since the dawn of digital film making…
Larry Jordan: …one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals…
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Larry Jordan: …film makers…
Voiceover: Post production.
Larry Jordan: …and content creators around the planet.
Larry Jordan: From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: And welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for creative content producers covering media production, post production, marketing and distribution around the world. Hi, my name is Larry Jordan and joining us in audio and video today is the ever handsome Mr. Mike Horton.
Mike Horton: Was that new music?
Larry Jordan: That was new music for the pre-show, it was new music for the opening.
Mike Horton: That was awesome music. I loved it. I loved it. That was terrific.
Larry Jordan: Brianna did that for us.
Mike Horton: Did she? Are we going to have that music all the time or just high energy music every week?
Larry Jordan: We’re going to do that music all the time. It’s going to be really cool.
Mike Horton: All right, I’m going to wear my dancing clothes next week then. Here we go.
Larry Jordan: I thought you were in your dancing clothes now.
Mike Horton: Oh, I am. I hope we keep some of the same music, though, from, you know.
Larry Jordan: Did you notice the cameras are working tonight?
Mike Horton: Let me see. Holy cow, they’re all over the place here, and we have air conditioning in this place too.
Larry Jordan: Yes we do. The air conditioning…
Mike Horton: Are we going to do a show devoted to this entire place? Because it’s really quite…
Larry Jordan: Yes. We are. We’re wanting to get this entire place working and then we’re going to do a show devoted to it.
Mike Horton: This is tonight’s experiment, and so far it’s working. I can see myself.
Larry Jordan: In fact, if you’re listening on the live stream, join us on the live stream page and you’ll be able to see video and audio. Whether we’re going to post the video, we’re not sure yet, but we want to test the stream and see how it works.
Mike Horton: Yes, that’s going to be interesting and so far it’s so much fun.
Larry Jordan: We’ve got a great group of guests tonight. We start with Matthijs Wouter Knol. Knol is the Netherlands pronunciation. He’s the new Director of the European Film Market and we talk with him about what we can expect next month at the Berlinale and the European Film…
Mike Horton: Is that coming up already?
Larry Jordan: Yes, it’s the first week of February.
Mike Horton: And Jessica too? Oh my goodness me.
Larry Jordan: And then Jessica Sitomer joins us with new tips on job hunting, most specifically using social media; and Kai Pradel, the CEO and Founder of MediaSilo, which is a cloud based video sharing and media asset management platform, stops by with news on their latest products.
Larry Jordan: By the way, just a reminder that we’re offering text transcripts for each show, courtesy of Take 1 Transcription. Now you can quickly scan or print the contents of each show, as well as listen to it. Transcripts are located on each show page. You can learn more at take1.tv and thanks, Take 1, for making this possible.
Larry Jordan: You look very good under the lights, by the way, Mike.
Mike Horton: That’s because I’m wearing dark, actually I’m getting comments saying I need more light. If you get more light, though, my face turns red and everything looks like I’m having a heart attack.
Larry Jordan: We are using the camera filter on…
Mike Horton: Yes, we should actually just put a little net over my face and everything would probably look way better.
Larry Jordan: Or a ski mask, I think, either one would be perfect.
Mike Horton: Ski mask! That would perfect, that’s a great idea. Larry Jordan logo on the top ski mask.
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Larry Jordan: One of the things that we’re doing for the first time is we’re doing a live video stream of The Buzz and you can see it if you go to digitalproductionbuzz.com and then click on ‘Watch this week’s live show’.
Mike Horton: And I’m already getting a lot of comments.
Larry Jordan: And it is so cool. Tell your friends because we’re doing this…
Mike Horton: Not the kind of comments I want to read.
Larry Jordan: They love you anyway.
Mike Horton: They want Vaseline on the lens.
Larry Jordan: They’re making allowances. They are saying, “Now we understand why this is on radio.”
Mike Horton: Turn the lights up, you’re going to need more make up. Oh, come on, guys, give me a break. This is the first time.
Larry Jordan: I think the whole idea…
Mike Horton: Just be kind.
Larry Jordan: Anyway, we’ll be right back with Matthijs Knol after this.
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Larry Jordan: Matthijs Wouter Knol was born in the Netherlands, has studied in Rome and began working with some of the leading film makers in Europe. In 2007, Matthijs started working for the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam. Then, from 2008 to 2014, he was Program Manager at the Berlinale Talents and became the Director of the European Film Market in June of 2014. Welcome, Matthijs.
Matthijs Wouter Knol: Hello, nice to meet you.
Larry Jordan: Let’s start at the beginning. What is the European Film Market?
Matthijs Wouter Knol: The European Film Market is the business platform of the Berlin International Film Festival that takes place parallel to the festival. I think the festival’s a bit more well known worldwide than the European Film Market is. It is, though, one of the three big film industry events in the year, together with the markets in Cannes in France and in Los Angeles, the American film market. So basically it’s the biggest platform where the industry meet each other during the festival, selling and buying films, meeting, pitching new film projects, getting new ideas for the new year and we’re the first film market in the year, in February. So it’s an important place for people to meet straight after the holidays and after the dark and depressing month of January.
Larry Jordan: Is it owned by or attached to the Berlinale Film Festival or do they just happen to run concurrently?
Matthijs Wouter Knol: No, we’re part of the Berlin International Film Festival, so we’re 100 percent part of the festival. We do have our own team, though, and as you can imagine the festival’s really focusing on presenting and premiering new films. The Market runs parallel and has a very different aim, so we do deal with the same people but we have very different aims and activities, basically, at the two events. But, no, we’re one company. We’re even in the same offices.
Larry Jordan: So you get to visit with each other from time to time.
Matthijs Wouter Knol: Absolutely, yes, yes. No, absolutely, no problem.
Larry Jordan: What are your goals for the Film Market? What are you trying to do, both short term and long term?
Matthijs Wouter Knol: That’s, of course, a good question. I joined the European Film Market, which has been running already for quite a few years. Actually, this is the 26th edition of the Market and in the meantime, as I said, it has become one of the leading markets for the film industry in the world. The question what would be good to change and how can the Market improve, not only compared to the other markets, but also what could we do to make the Market still attractive? How can the Market also adapt to changes that are going on in the film industry.
Matthijs Wouter Knol: Now, changes that are going on are sometimes quite visible, sometimes not so visible, but one of the things that’s really changing very quickly is that we want to make sure that the things that are being made in the film industry are reaching the right people, are being sold to the right people. To give an example, one of the new initiatives that we have for 2015 that I’m personally very excited about is the fact that we’re not only focusing on film any more, but we also will include high end drama series. This was not really the case before. Of course, people who were both producing film and drama series came to the Market and officially only talked about their film projects and sold them in Berlin as well, but maybe on the side also talked about their drama series that they were also currently producing.
Matthijs Wouter Knol: Now we’ve made that officially part of the Market as well, so that means the Market will also screen television series for industry only. We don’t sell tickets for audiences to go there, but basically industry can go there and see if it would be something for their channel, for their online platform, and that is one example, I think, how a film market like EFM, where the majority of people are of course working and looking for cinema, also acknowledge that the industry is changing and audiences are as much going to, looking at or watching film as they are drama series these days. At least, I do and I know many other people do and, to be very frank, many people working in the film industry, many directors and producers, have made the switch and have also produced and come with ideas for great drama series that we’re all watching, so we felt that should be part of the Market as well.
Larry Jordan: One of the challenges, not only as the film industry changing, but the distribution industry is changing. Just with the recent announcement of amazon.com hiring Woody Allen to do a series for them, we’re seeing all new players suddenly emerge. Is the film market picking up on that as well?
Matthijs Wouter Knol: Yes, absolutely. We’ll have people from Amazon or people from Netflix, for example, but also representatives and buyers from channels like HBO, the AMC Sundance channel. They will come to Berlin and not only give attention to the series that they have been producing and some of them will even show content that they have been producing in the European Film Market for buyers, but of course also for us, being a European film market, we want to make sure that the European industry that is attending our event also can lure in, exchange thoughts and ideas with people from outside of Europe, and see how the European film and drama series industry can connect better to series or films that are being produced abroad. So in that sense, we are very keen on welcoming people that are not working only in the traditional or classical distribution companies, but also those who are looking and developing ways or having very different platforms to show content. So yes, that’s absolutely part of our reality.
Larry Jordan: It seems to me that you really are the fulfillment end of the film maker. They’ve spent all this time and effort putting their program together, but it’s for television or for film, and it’s the film market that allows them to turn that into money so they can realize the benefit of all their work. Is that a true statement?
Matthijs Wouter Knol: Partly, yes. It’s an interesting thing because nowadays, of course, we’re all so well connected. You might say, “Just send me a link, I’ll watch it tonight and I can let you know tomorrow if it’s something for me,” and the channel, if I would work for a channel, “if we would be interested in airing it later on this year in the territory I work in.” But at the same time, I think the Film Market is extremely important not only to build trust and get a better overview, not only of the thing that you’ve just seen, but also to compare it to other things that are being presented at the same time and I think a film market, as is a festival, but the Film Market in this case is specifically a very good place to meet people a few times a year, starting in Berlin, seeing, hearing, smelling, getting a bit of a good sense of what’s in the air, what the new trends are, what kind of topics are being used and you get it all in a few days just attending an event like the Film Market, so it’s a bit of a combination of both. So yes, your statement is true, but I think film markets are necessary, even though they might sound a little bit old fashioned, that you have to travel all the way to another country, if you’re not living in Germany, to go and watch and get a feeling for new content that is being produced.
Larry Jordan: What film makers can participate in the Film Market? Do they have to be exhibiting at the Berlinale?
Matthijs Wouter Knol: They don’t have to specifically. Even though the Market is a part of the Berlinale, the festival screens, let’s say, around 400 films in the different program sections. These are curated programs, meaning programmers have selected films and they get a spot at the festival, which I would say is the best you can get. But there are a lot of films that have not been selected or maybe not even been submitted to the festival because people know they’re not films that should be screened in a festival curated program, but they might be very attractive for buyers because they perfectly suit their needs for specific slots they’re looking for which might not be films that are normally showing at festivals. The Market shows a double amount of films, around 800 films, and this year 11 new television series that are all world or international premieres. The films are not all festival premieres, some of them have been screened already in their home country, but we do have new films that have not been screened at other Markets that much before. Some of them might have been in America, for example, but not been in Europe, so we screen them. For buyers, it’s very interesting because they might not have seen the latest American content or content from Asia or Latin America.
Larry Jordan: How does the system work? Let’s say that I’m a film maker. My film is done, I would like to sell it into the European market. How do I get it to the EFM?
Matthijs Wouter Knol: Every film maker can do it, but normally we deal with producers because producers know markets better and they know how to deal with contracts, they know better which sales agents or distributors to contact, which financiers to contact. So it’s not so usual that film makers contact the Film Market and book a screening of their film at the Market, which in principle everybody can do. People can submit a film to the Market and we can program when the film is screened at the Market. The big difference with the festival is that producers pay for screenings. People can buy a screening at the European Film Market, then invite buyers who might be potentially interested in their film. The Market helps to identify those buyers or might even recommend certain buyers, and then when the film is screened and the buyers are there, the people who have bought and offer the screening can have meetings with the buyers that have seen the film and discuss with them if it is something that they would be interested in buying.
Matthijs Wouter Knol: As I said, producers are normally the ones that get in touch with us, but also distributors and sales agents, because many producers prefer not to do the selling of the films they have produced themselves because it’s a lot of work and it’s a very specific industry, so many producers do contact sales agents. The majority of the people we deal with, and that’s quite far away, I would say, from the film makers, are sales agents. But sales agents sometimes have very specific profiles. They have, for example, sold most of the films of well known film makers but sometimes also emerging film makers and they are normally in touch with the producers or with the film makers who actually have made the film. So it might be, for example, that if you’re a film maker and a film that you just made has found a sales agent already, that the sales agent will of course contact you and say, “Listen, we’re planning to go to Berlin. Do you feel that would be a right place for you? Do you have any context there that we might be paying attention to?” and then see what that leads to when the film is actually here in the Market.
Larry Jordan: Ok, well let’s flip that around. We’ve got film makers who have product to sell, film makers, producers, sales agents. Now we’ve got to find buyers. Who are typical buyers and who tracks them down? And if somebody wants to be a buyer, how can they become one?
Matthijs Wouter Knol: We have a number of different buyers at the Market. A buyer can buy for specific spots or locations, even. We have buyers, for example, who program cinemas and basically release films in their cinemas. If we’re talking about the bigger change of cinemas, they might be very big ones, so we’re talking about Pathe or some of the British ones, but there are small ones, so we even have cinema owners coming to Berlin and, while they might not buy films, they at least want to get an impression of the films that are new on the market so that when they’re approached by distributors with a question as to whether the cinema wants to screen their film, they might have seen the film already in Berlin or any of the other markets.
Matthijs Wouter Knol: Other buyers we have are, of course, TV buyers. Many TV channels air films as well and they have buyers that travel to film markets to watch films and see what could be a good film for the slot they have on Thursday late night, for example. Another group of buyers is increasingly – you mentioned them before – buyers for online platforms that are collecting films for their online platforms and making them ready for people to stream online. That’s just a few of the buyers that we have, but that’s quite a bunch of people. In the end, we have between 100 and 200 buyers worldwide who come to Berlin and basically buy things for sometimes one channel, sometimes for a whole bunch of channels in their countries, sometimes for a number of online platforms and sometimes also for a number of distributors.
Larry Jordan: EFM runs the first half of February which means, by the end of February, all the noise and shouting has ended. What keeps you busy for the rest of the year?
Matthijs Wouter Knol: That’s a good question. I get that question actually quite a lot. As you can imagine, the EFM is a very big market, so to make sure to keep up with trends and to also know that all the exhibitors, for example, people who have stands at the Market, it’s a huge fair with almost 200 different stands of people presenting new content from all over the world, to keep in touch with them, to see what their needs are, how business is going in different parts of the world, what changes might be in different parts of the world because of new ways of financing, new government policies, new developments in specific areas. If we look at Asia, for example, where a lot is happening in the online video platform industry, we need to keep track of that and also make sure that we can adapt to that for next year. That means that a year is sometimes a little bit too short to implement all the changes that are going on worldwide in the film industry. Apart from that, we have a couple of partnerships.
Matthijs Wouter Knol: We also support, for example, an initiative that we partnered on for this year, which is the European Chinese initiative for Chinese and European producers who are willing to work together. The European Film Market is a partner of that initiative – it’s called Bridging the Dragon – and we want to basically foster and help support co-production between China and European producers. That means we’re not only doing that during the ten days of the Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival and the Market here, but we’re also active in China this year and will participate in one or two events that we’re organizing in collaboration with Bridging the Dragon. Then there are the other Markets, for example Cannes and the American Film Market, that we are present at to meet with our clients. They’re also working there and doing business there and for us it’s vital to know firsthand how business is going for them, because it will directly influence the business they will be able to do or are planning to do in Berlin. So that keeps us quite busy, I can tell you.
Larry Jordan: You’ve already mentioned that one of your goals, now that you’ve taken the Directorship, is expanding what the Market covers to high quality dramatic series. What other trends in the film/television industry are you watching? In other words, where is the market going in the future, do you think?
Matthijs Wouter Knol: Well, the EFM is planning to expand in that sense, but we’re quite picky when it comes to which direction we want to expand into, so it doesn’t mean that we’re just going to grow and grow or that we want to become the biggest film market in the world. I think the main thing and the most important thing for us is to always keep the link to first of all what audiences are expecting when they visit the Berlinale, which the Market is part of. That means the Market is not planning to become a television market or an entertainment market, because there’s better specified Markets for that in North America, Europe and Asia. We’re always looking for the link to high quality cinematic content that we’d like to screen as part of the European Film Market and that also counts for the drama series that we’re talking about. We’re not keen on showing or presenting everything.
Matthijs Wouter Knol: When it comes to other areas that we’d like to expand to, one thing, for example, the European Film Market has acquired exceptional status. We basically take place in a huge metropolis, which is Berlin, and there’s a huge festival taking place during the Market. If you compare it to other markets, there are not so many big markets as the EFM that take place in a metropolis and parallel to a very big film festival with lots of audience. The advantages for the EFM is that we actually like to tap a little bit more into what Berlin itself has to offer. Berlin has, for example, quite a high number of start-up companies. The EFM and the film industry are looking to find ways to create a bridge between creatives who work for start-up companies with innovative ideas that actually the film industry might really benefit from when it comes to new strategies, when it comes to how to approach an audience, when it comes to maybe implementing new technical developments that might be really interesting for people working in production or post production.
Matthijs Wouter Knol: We know, we’ve done our research in the past months, and we know there are loads of people working on that in Berlin who are actually very keen and interested in not just only linking to the entertainment industry or the music industry, but also to specifically bridge the gap between their innovative ideas and sometimes rather the traditional film industry that is gathering in Berlin in February. We’re quite keen, of course, being based in Berlin, on creating that link. We haven’t done that before. The focus was really on the film industry coming to Berlin, but from this year on we’ll open up a little bit more to what’s happening in Berlin and bringing the right people to the Market and creating those, or at least making sure that those matches take place.
Larry Jordan: I was just listening to the enthusiasm in your voice as you started to describe where you want to take the Film Market. What is it that gets you most excited about your job?
Matthijs Wouter Knol: What gets me most excited about my job is actually what always has got me very excited. I was working as a producer before in Amsterdam. You said at the beginning, I’ve been in Amsterdam working for a documentary film festival, running a co-production market there. I’ve been working in Berlin for six years already, running the platform for emerging film makers to get together, and what really gets me going is basically bringing the right people together and convincing them that, well, things have been working quite well for them so far and maybe things are challenging or a bit scary even because industry is changing, but to make sure people communicate and get new ideas and I think also get less scared about how things might be changing for them and if it might influence their work in a negative way. I think there are lots of opportunities and, by bringing the right people together in Berlin, even if it’s with a commercial purpose, I think it’s quite a nice thing to work on to make sure that the right people end up in the same corner and might be able to leave their meeting feeling that something just happened that they really get enthusiastic to work on in the next year.
Larry Jordan: Matthijs, where can people go on the web to learn more about the EFM?
Matthijs Wouter Knol: We have a new website from December onwards where we present all the new initiatives. People can find it under efm-berlinale.de and we update the website quite regularly. During the festival and during the Market, people can really get an impression of what’s going on daily there.
Larry Jordan: That’s efm-berlinale.de and Matthijs Knol is the Director of the European Film Market. Matthijs, thanks for joining us today.
Matthijs Wouter Knol: Thank you.
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Larry Jordan: And Jessica Sitomer is a job coach who helps people find work. She’s also a regular on The Buzz and she’s the President of The Greenlight Coach. But what we like best about Jessica is that she is really good at providing really helpful career advice. Hello Jessica.
Mike Horton: And helping you find work.
Larry Jordan: Welcome back.
Jessica Sitomer: Thank you for having me.
Mike Horton: Hi, Jessica.
Larry Jordan: We are delighted. Now, where in the world are you now?
Jessica Sitomer: I’m in, I hope I can say this right, Valdosta, Georgia.
Mike Horton: Hey, I actually worked, I did a television show in Valdosta, Georgia, back in, I think it was the ‘90s. It was some television series and I can’t remember what it was, but I know Valdosta.
Jessica Sitomer: Well, that’s really cool.
Mike Horton: Yes, sure is.
Jessica Sitomer: I had no idea.
Larry Jordan: Well, welcome to Georgia and I hope you have a wonderful time. In the meantime, while you are celebrating there, we thought we would talk with you a little bit about social media, what’s working and what isn’t. Give us your thoughts on social media – what is working that we can use to help us build our business?
Jessica Sitomer: What is working these days is primarily, in the entertainment industry, Facebook for relationships, Instagram for images and getting yourself seen and LinkedIn for more of a business type, if you’re trying to reach executives at different places, and then Twitter would be if you’re trying to have conversations with people who are generally hard to reach, you can sometimes start a Twitter conversation. But Facebook is always my favorite. Also Stage 32 is a good one.
Larry Jordan: Now, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
Mike Horton: Oh, never heard of it.
Larry Jordan: Slow down. Why is Facebook your favorite? And then explain Stage 32.
Jessica Sitomer: Ok. Facebook is my favorite because there you can really create relationships on a business side as well as a personal side because most people lead with, “How can you help me? Give me work. I know you’re working, give me work,” whereas with Facebook you can see, “Oh, this person likes to go fishing. This person is into NASCAR. This person plays tennis on the weekends,” or this person has a family or likes dogs and you can start commenting on things other than work and then you start getting to know the people as people. What’s amazing is you meet people from Facebook and it’s like they know who you are. It’s a little disconcerting. I was at the Apple Store once and a guy walks up to me, and this was in Florida, and he’s like, “I know you, you’re The Greenlight Coach,” and I was like, “Yes,” and he was like, “Oh, how’s your dog? Oh, that meal the other night looked terrific,” but it makes you feel connected to people. It’s very, very good for creating relationships and networking.
Larry Jordan: Well, it gets back to your point where you want all of us to build relationships so people see us as more than just one dimensional.
Jessica Sitomer: Correct.
Mike Horton: Jessica…
Larry Jordan: I was waiting for the rest of the sentence to come.
Mike Horton: I want to go back to this Facebook thing, because I’m talking to a lot of young people and a lot of young people are going away from Facebook, not using it very much and turning usually to Instagram and texting as a form of communication and networking and things like that. Have you found that to be the case?
Jessica Sitomer: With the younger generation, absolutely. They’re definitely into their Instagram and you can comment on Instagram as well, so that’s why I was saying you want them to see you, because it’s more of a visual, it’s not as much about status and links and things that you can really share, other than pictures. It’s still fine if you’re sharing your personal photos there as well, but for those people who are in the entertainment industry, look, we’re storytellers and we want to really get to know people and know their story, and Facebook is best for that. It’s not so much about being trendy and what’s cool and what’s hip, it’s a business tool and as a business tool I think Facebook is better. But Instagram, it’s definitely number two and they’re owned by the same people.
Mike Horton: Yes, but if you want to reach the millennials, they’re not there. They’re not there on Facebook. At least it seems to me they aren’t.
Larry Jordan: One of the thoughts that I’ve had is that people, young people especially, spend more time looking at pictures than they do reading words. It’s visual communication rather than text communication. What do you think?
Jessica Sitomer: Yes. Well, that’s exactly what my newsletter is about that went out today. It’s about creating these visual focuses for yourself. It leaves an impression. They say a picture tells a thousand words and that’s why people are more drawn to pictures. Again, you want to be branding yourself. I use Instagram and, when I do, I’m branding myself in a certain way so that people are getting to know me. I’m not just taking pictures of any old thing, I want them to see different sides of my personality because even though we can’t really have a major conversation, you can. I mean, you can go back and forth a little bit on there, but at least those pictures are talking about me and I’m specifically choosing which pictures to put up there. I’m not just taking a picture of anything. Again, I’m using it for work.
Larry Jordan: If you’re seeing, and the phrase that I’ve got is social media fatigue, where people are just sort of tired of being on social media, if you’re seeing that things like Facebook are starting to develop a fatigue factor, how much time should we spend on social media? How do we decide where to allocate our time? You’ve already mentioned five different sites between Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and you haven’t even defined Stage 32, for heaven’s sakes. Mike is just really devastated.
Mike Horton: I have no idea what that is.
Jessica Sitomer: Well, let me introduce one more, then.
Mike Horton: Thanks.
Jessica Sitomer: Hootsuite is where I go.
Mike Horton: Oh, for goodness’ sakes.
Jessica Sitomer: I’ll go there once a week and I will post once, but then I will connect it to my Twitter, my LinkedIn, my Facebook and my Facebook business page and I schedule it so it will go out, so I only have to do it for 30 minutes once a week and then once or twice a day I’ll go on there and update it, just because that’s how I do it, that’s my choice as far as business goes, and then I try and get individual things that are more personal in between. As far as what Stage 32 is, it’s basically a Facebook strictly for the entertainment industry. Everyone on there is in entertainment, so therefore they have lounges in there, they have blogs that are going on there.
Jessica Sitomer: I’ve done a couple of classes for them because they have people all over the world and they have networking events in Los Angeles and I know they’re having a Sundance. They really aim to help people in the entertainment industry connect, so it’s very social there. They have challenges on the weekend – how many new people can you meet? – so it really encourages people in the entertainment industry to meet each other, and it’s just for them so you’re not sorting through and wondering; and you can search by ‘I want to meet directors and I want to meet them in Florida’, ‘I want to meet actors and I want to meet them in Michigan’ and you can do these searches, so you can really fine tune the types of people you want to meet and target them, which is why I love it.
Mike Horton: How long do you spend on social media per day?
Jessica Sitomer: Like I said, I’ll do 15 minutes in the morning and maybe ten minutes at night.
Mike Horton: With all these sites?
Jessica Sitomer: Well, I’ve got it down to a science. As I said, once a week I’ll spend 30 minutes on Hootsuite to set up my ‘Question A Day’, because I do a ‘Question A Day’. That I sometimes do three months in advance.
Larry Jordan: Yes, but Jessica, hold it. Jessica, the problem with that is that that’s viewing you as the communicator. You’re not necessarily being the receiver of all these communications. It’s easy to set up a week’s worth of communications in, say, 30 minutes on Hootsuite, but now when you’re starting to receive these or respond to them or become more interactive, that’s going to involve daily participation and how much time do you spend?
Jessica Sitomer: Right. That’s why I said I do 15 minutes in the morning and maybe 15 minutes at night.
Larry Jordan: Mmm. I have to work on getting that level of control over my life. Jessica, for people who are interested in learning more about what you’re doing and what you’re writing, where can they go on the web?
Jessica Sitomer: Thegreenlightcoach.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s thegreenlightcoach.com and the peripatetic President of The Greenlight Coach is Jessica Sitomer and, Jessica, as always, it’s a delight chatting with you. Have yourself a wonderful weekend. We’ll talk to you soon.
Jessica Sitomer: All right. Bye, guys.
Mike Horton: Bye, Jessica.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
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Larry Jordan: Kai Pradel is the CEO and Founder of MediaSilo, which is a cloud based video sharing and media asset management platform which he started in 2008. Kai also founded College Publisher Inc and was the Past President of Productorials, a marketing services firm specializing in video marketing and interactive media. Hello, Kai, welcome.
Kai Pradel: Hi Larry, thanks for having me.
Larry Jordan: It is a delight having you on. We are really curious about what MediaSilo is up to, but before we get to the news, tell us what MediaSilo is.
Kai Pradel: Sure, sure. MediaSilo, as you said it very well in the introduction, is an asset management and collaboration solution that’s cloud based, which means there’s very little software to install and it’s really a tool that’s taken a creative first approach in terms of providing a toolset to editors, producers and anybody who’s part of the media supply chain who is looking for tools to cut down on steps and time that it takes to bring a post production project forward.
Larry Jordan: But why the combination of both video sharing and asset management?
Kai Pradel: Well, they really kind of go hand in hand and that’s a great question, because asset management as we’ve known it so far, I would argue, has really been relegated to a four walled approach. It’s not been a very democratic toolset so far. In most cases, asset management means you’re storing media on the server… where it’s clearly only accessible to a few people in the organization, archivists or people that really have intimate knowledge with the tool. But what MediaSilo’s really doing is democratizing this access to media and making it really simple to interact with your media library across geographical boundaries but also within an organization that’s maybe just in one building. Collaboration goes hand in hand with that, because once you have access to media, you have access to sharing tools… approval tools and it opens up the collaboration and the communication between the different stakeholders in a totally new way.
Larry Jordan: Well, I want to come back to media asset management a little later, because one of things we’re doing here at the studio is implementing a media asset system and it’s driving us nuts from a conceptual point of view and I want to chat with you about that. But before we do, I want to focus more on some of the new stuff you’ve been talking about, one of which is Edit Companion. Tell us about that.
Kai Pradel: We started working on Edit Companion, which is a panel extension for the Adobe trader suite about a year ago and we showed it for the first time at NAB in 2014. I’m going to tell you, since we started working on this, it’s definitely evident that people are very excited about what Adobe’s doing and what they’re seeing in terms of the Adobe world of tools bridging with tools like MediaSilo. Edit Companion is essentially a really simple panel that lives inside of Premiere – right now it’s primarily a Premiere plug-in but we’ll soon be releasing a version for After Effects as well – and they’ll ask the editor to access media stored in MediaSilo from Premiere itself, so there’s no more opening a browser, searching for files, downloading them and then importing them into a project. All that happens, by just dragging a project directly into Premiere and cloning it. The other thing that’s really exciting is…
Larry Jordan: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Hold on, hold on. Hold on one second, let’s just take this one step at a time. How do you differentiate between the media browser, which does exactly what you described, and the MediaSilo panel?
Kai Pradel: The panels are loaded in by selecting an extension and it’s just in a drop down bar, and then you can put the panel itself anywhere in the interface, so you can dock the panel anywhere you like. You can dock it right next to the projects tab, you can dock it really against any panel, so it allows for a great deal of customization, and that’s to Adobe’s credit – they’ve made this very, very easy.
Larry Jordan: Ok. But again, I understand the docking and the customization, but what do you get from the MediaSilo panel that you don’t get from the media browser? Because the media browser allows you to see all your files before you bring them in.
Kai Pradel: Yes, absolutely, another good question. What the panel does is it opens up to a world of media that may not be local. If you’re working within your office, you have access to your 20 terabyte array, you have all the media you want, that’s great. You probably wouldn’t need MediaSilo in that case. But if you’re on the road and you’re collecting footage or you’re in a hotel room and you need to put together rough cuts and you don’t have access to your 20 terabyte array, that’s when MediaSilo comes in. The media is ingested in MediaSilo, you have it available and then it’s acceptable anywhere with a very simple and quick import into Premiere.
Larry Jordan: Ok, so then let’s look at it a different way. How do you differentiate between what we get in MediaSilo and what Adobe gives in Adobe Anywhere?
Kai Pradel: Well, Adobe Anywhere is really a different beast on its own. It’s a very high end professional real time editing solution. It’s really aimed at a different market. It’s much more expensive, much more cumbersome to set up, but it does something that MediaSilo certainly doesn’t. MediaSilo is, I’d call it the inter-budget version of Adobe Anywhere in that it gives you access to all of your media and importing it, but you don’t have to stand up a server, you don’t have to provide the type of bandwidth that’s required for Anywhere. I see both of these tools really working hand in hand, especially when your media is coming from different sources and maybe collected in one place that is not an Anywhere server.
Mike Horton: I love this idea, because a lot of us know about Adobe Anywhere until we actually look at the cost and then we go, “It’s not for us,” so to have MediaSilo step in there and help us out, I really appreciate that.
Larry Jordan: I cut you off in the middle, because the very first thing you were talking about is that Edit Companion provides a panel that opens up inside Premiere which allows us to access files that are stored on MediaSilo; whether they’re stored locally or for on the road, it’s giving us essentially proxy files. But then you said there was another big benefit and I didn’t let you go there, so go there.
Kai Pradel: Yes. We’ve worked with a lot of editors over the years and our team is part creative video editors and part software developers, so we’ve witnessed where a lot of time is wasted in post production and especially in the rough cut stage. The first part is collecting all your media and pulling it all together and creating some sort of local organization of files, but the second is sharing out rough cuts with clients. Currently, that is really cumbersome. There are a lot of individual steps going into media encoder and then uploading it to a solution, then sending the link to it and so the other piece in Edit Companion is a direct integration with QuickLinks, which is our media sharing tool, and it’s as simple as two clicks. You essentially select the sequence that you’re working with and then you’re sending that sequence as a QuickLink and between you selecting the sequence and entering email addresses of the people that should get the new cut, there are two clicks and within just a few minutes they have the asset in a browser, remotely viewable in high quality without all the manual steps. The typical let’s shut everything down at five o’clock because we have to export the media and figure out how to get it to the client now becomes a casual click on a button and you know it will be delivered and you don’t have to handle the process. It’s really two tools that are built into Edit Companion that make an editor’s life a lot easier.
Larry Jordan: Over the last year, I’ve heard a lot of announcements of people trying to enable collaboration inside video editing software. What is it that makes collaboration so difficult and why do you think you’ve got the best answer?
Kai Pradel: Well, I think first of all, working with video is always harder. I think drop box and box and many other tools have made collaboration with non-video files very easy. We all know Google docs and how you can edit together at the same time. Video’s really a very different challenge because you’re dealing with a work of art and you’re dealing with creative work that needs to be exposed in a certain way. So it’s very important that you’re not sending low quality proxies that have discoloration or pixilation or just don’t look the way that the creator intended it, so working with video inherently is a lot more challenging.
Larry Jordan: And why do you think you’ve got the best solution?
Kai Pradel: I think there are a lot of good solutions in the industry right now. If you’re a creative editor these days, you’ve got a completely new sea of tools that are available to you. I think what we do very well is we understand the entire process, the entire media supply chain. I’ll give you an example. Often first time customers hear about us because they were sent a QuickLink and they liked the QuickLink and they open it up and they want to get a tool that works just like that. They’re really not thinking about the long term implications of what happens to your media once you’ve uploaded it somewhere and that in three months you want to get that piece of media back and you want to re-send it, or you’ve lost your local copy.
Kai Pradel: What we see is that usually our relationship with a customer starts by solving this ‘now’ problem, which is QuickLinks and then, over time, evolves into this, “Wow, there’s a platform play here, they’ve thought about metadata, they’ve thought about file ingest, they’ve thought about distribution, they’ve thought about review the pool and they’ve thought about how I keep my stuff in a place securely so that I can run my business a lot more efficiently.” I would say that if you look at the whole life cycle of media production and the supply chain – and that’s why we work with small to medium sized production companies all the way to the major networks that have multi-thousand… with us, because the challenge is always the same and I think we understand that whole life cycle very well.
Larry Jordan: Is Edit Companion available or is it to be released at some point in the future?
Kai Pradel: Edit Companion is available now. It is actually one of the very few panels that is available off the shelf today without any customization for Adobe. I can’t stress enough how excited we are about the direction that Adobe’s taken to opening this up to developers like ourselves. But it’s available for free today, you can download it. It’s part of the MediaSilo subscription. There are a lot of other cool details in there that I think are probably best left to exploring, but we’ve looked at source file workloads, we’ve looked at proxy file workloads. Our next version of Edit Companion is also mapping comments as sequence markers on the sequence timeline so that you never have to leave Premiere as part of your rough cut reviewing and improvement process.
Mike Horton: Yes, this is a really exciting thing for MediaSilo, I’m sure, to get right there inside… ok, hold on, we’re on video. My headphones fell off, excuse me. No, but this is a pretty big deal. Now, MediaSilo is a great company but it’s not a huge company. What happens if this is a hit? What are you going to do for support? I mean, there’s got to be some support questions here.
Kai Pradel: Absolutely, absolutely. I think first and foremost you have to develop a product that is self-explanatory. We see this today more than ever that creatives are driving the decision making in organizations as far as toolsets are concerned, and creatives are the same people that use… tools like DropBox or tools like Gmail. It just has to work. So our mindset behind developing tools is to develop tools for the same audience that would be considered a consumer audience and many of the support questions, you would have with more technical products just… But for those who do, we take support very seriously and we have a three person support team that is standing by and does a great job at answering questions.
Mike Horton: Great.
Larry Jordan: Which gets me to another thought. One of the things that we’re wrestling with in our company here is asset management. We’re struggling to implement an asset management system and personally I’m finding it hard to figure out how best to organize all our media. Regardless of the software, it seems like the job itself is so big that it’s overwhelming just to start.
Mike Horton: Oh, I could do it, Larry.
Larry Jordan: I’ve seen you spell, Michael. Anyway, what’s the best way to start getting organized that avoids that feeling of being overwhelmed?
Kai Pradel: Yes, that’s a great question. What I think is most important is that you make an asset management some part of your daily workflow. As an example with MediaSilo again, you would start using QuickLinks as a product to send files to each other and to maybe upload files and get your feedback in terms of how the toolset works. I’m generally not a huge fan of planning things too far ahead because too much changes. I think the same applies to how you tag assets and how you handle metadata. There are companies that sit down and create… and I think there’s a place for that, but ultimately I feel the most successful way to jump into a toolset, and especially if you jump into asset management, is to start using the tools and the features that make you productive right away and that help you in your daily workflow, without really being relevant to asset management.
Kai Pradel: That could simply be let’s store a few things so I don’t have to worry about putting them on my hard drive, or let’s store them here so I can make them accessible to my editor or so I can work from home, and start with that and then over time build a way to categorize content. I would start by categorizing into top layers… projects and everything is contained within a project, so that helps you think about scopes of media, of projects, of customers. Below that many people find it comforting to use folders, but I think really what makes more sense is to look at describing your media, and that’s probably the biggest challenge, is being diligent about describing the media and adding tags to it. We thought about this feature a few years ago where you can batch tag multiple assets, so if you just uploaded ten or 15 clips that were all about one project, you batch all those clips and then you tag them as… project day. That’s all you have to do to get started on the right path and over time you become more diligent in adding metadata that then helps you later on discover files.
Kai Pradel: Another thing that many asset management solutions have are safe searches or smug searches. Those can be really helpful too because you don’t have to think about putting content in particular projects, you can put tag content and smart search it and it will then you create these ad hoc organizational layers where everything that’s tagged Client A, everything that’s tagged Project A becomes accessible through those smart searches.
Larry Jordan: Is this a job that editors are really competent at? Or should we look just at hiring a librarian who’s focused on this kind of organization?
Mike Horton: Good question, Larry.
Kai Pradel: Well, if you can afford one, certainly. No, I think this is a problem that not only exists in the professional world, but think about how people manage their personal family photos. We’re all… family pictures today, you know…
Larry Jordan: I’m blushing right there, but go ahead.
Kai Pradel: I know, right? Every year in December, you are presented with the same challenge of creating a photo book and then wading through 8,000 pictures.
Mike Horton: Sure, I know.
Kai Pradel: It’s a real challenge and I think that, over time, the toolsets – and we’re definitely working on this seriously – are doing more and more to auto discover context and auto discover the relationship between assets so that it’s easier for you retrieve those. Ultimately, a really good organizational content and plan is valuable, but I would not over think it. I would start managing assets and capturing assets and then have it evolve over time.
Mike Horton: I just want MediaSilo to do all the work for me and that’s it.
Larry Jordan: That will probably be the next version.
Mike Horton: End of story, that’s it.
Larry Jordan: Kai, where can people go on the web to learn more about MediaSilo?
Kai Pradel: Well, just go to mediasilo.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s mediasilo.com and Kai Pradel is the Founder and CEO. Kai, thanks so very much for joining us today.
Mike Horton: Thanks, Kai.
Kai Pradel: Thanks for having me, Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, we’ll talk to you soon.
Larry Jordan: Well, Michael, it has been our very first video stream today and you yourself were here. It’s amazing.
Mike Horton: Let’s mark it down, January 15th 2015.
Larry Jordan: If you did it in European, it’d be 15/01/15. That’s a perfect symmetrical date, isn’t it?
Mike Horton: Hey, that’s right.
Larry Jordan: It’s amazing.
Mike Horton: It’s 15/01/15. Isn’t that amazing?
Larry Jordan: And I’m seeing on the chat people think you look marvelous. Marvelous.
Mike Horton: Yes, I’m under lit though. But next week, when I’m over lit, you’re going to see the reddest face that you’ve ever seen in your life.
Larry Jordan: You are going to have a halo that people are not going to believe.
Mike Horton: I’ll have my own color corrector standing by. It’ll be awesome.
Larry Jordan: Online Photoshop. It’s going to be great.
Mike Horton: Online Photoshop. We’ll have a tutorial.
Larry Jordan: It has been fun putting this studio together.
Mike Horton: Are we going to do an asset management thing for Larry Jordan Studios?
Larry Jordan: We do have an asset management…
Mike Horton: No, but are we going to do a tutorial or something like that?
Larry Jordan: We are going to, once we figure out and have the courage to get started.
Mike Horton: Are you going to do a webinar on that?
Larry Jordan: We’ve been sort of tap dancing around it, but we are going to figure it out. We are going to own asset management. It’s going to be great.
Mike Horton: You’ve actually got to take a camera into the server room.
Larry Jordan: Yes, we’ve got all kinds of blinking lights.
Mike Horton: For the server closet .
Larry Jordan: Server closet, yes, absolutely. Thinking of people who are wonderful to talk to, even today without understanding asset management, is Matthijs Wouter Knol, the new Director of the European Film Market.
Mike Horton: Nice pronunciation, Larry.
Larry Jordan: I’ve been working at it all day. Jessica Sitomer, the President of The Greenlight Coach; and Kai Pradel, the CEO and Founder of MediaSilo.
Mike Horton: I’m really happy for MediaSilo. This is a big deal, being a part of the Adobe thing which is integrated right in there.
Larry Jordan: Did you hear that it’s free? That’s the key thing.
Mike Horton: Yes.
Larry Jordan: You own MediaSilo, you get Edit Companion free.
Mike Horton: Yes, it’s pretty cool.
Larry Jordan: There’s lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com – hundreds of past shows and thousands of interviews, all searchable and available. It’s always interesting to see how far we have come.. Music on The Buzz is provided by Smartsound, Text transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription. Our producer is Cirina Catania, our engineers are Brianna Murphy, Ed Goyler and Megan Paulos. On behalf of Mike Horton, my name is Larry Jordan. Have yourself a very happy New Year and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz.
Mike Horton: And by the way, there are hundreds of people here working of this show… There are hundreds of them.
Larry Jordan: Half of them is your makeup crew. Half of them, Michael, is makeup and costume.
Mike Horton: They’re all running round like crazy. “Which button do I push?”
Larry Jordan: It’s always interesting to see what past shows contained…
Mike Horton: There are too many buttons.
Larry Jordan: Will you, I’m trying to talk here, guy. You’re not making my life easy.
Mike Horton: I’m sorry, but it’s fun. Point a camera to those guys up there.
Larry Jordan: You can visit with us on Twitter, @DPBuZZ. We’re also on Facebook, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Music is provided by Smartsound. Transcripts…
Mike Horton: Hey, it’s good music too.
Larry Jordan: …by Take 1 Transcription. Producer, Cirina Catania; our engineering led by Megan Paulos and Ed Goyler, Brianna Murphy and Alexia Chalida. On behalf of Mike Horton, that other voice, my name’s Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to The Buzz.
Mike Horton: Goodbye.
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