Digital Production Buzz
May 21, 2015
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
(Click here to listen to this show.)
Larry Jordan & Mike Horton
Uwe Greunke, Director, Global Marketing/Brand Marketing, Sennheiser
Jeff Stansfield, CEO/President, Advantage Video Systems
Announcer: Tonight’s Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at macsales.com.
Voiceover: Rolling. Action!
Voiceover: Since the dawn of digital film making…
Voiceover: …one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals…
Voiceover: …uniting industry experts…
Voiceover: …film makers…
Voiceover: Post production.
Voiceover: …and content creators around the planet.
Voiceover: 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.
Larry Jordan: Our show starts with Uwe Greunke. He’s the Director of Global and Brand Marketing for Sennheiser, and recently Sennheiser launched a new microphone line called the ABX. This is the first of two segments in which we’re going to talk with Sennheiser about how they decided to market this new product. Today, we’re talking marketing and viral videos. Next week, we’ll look at it from a technical perspective.
Larry Jordan: Then Jeff Stansfield, the President of Advantage Video Systems, joins us in the studio to talk about a new on set image capture system they’ve invented called 4Kase. Jeff explains how this one unit can save you time on set.
Larry Jordan: Then editor Brady Betzel joins us to talk about how he’s using 3D modeling and animation for a variety of reality television shows.
Larry Jordan: And I should mention that our esteemed, affable…
Mike Horton: Excuse me, let me swallow this.
Larry Jordan: He’s a co-host, his name is Mike Horton. Hello, Mike.
Mike Horton: Hi, I’m the co-host.
Larry Jordan: Sorry, I did not mean to catch you in mid gulp.
Mike Horton: No, that’s all right.
Larry Jordan: It’s the coffee again, isn’t it?
Mike Horton: I like the Bradley or I like the Brady or whoever we’re having here. By the way, the German pronunciation of that guy’s name was very good.
Larry Jordan: I have a 50/50 chance of getting it right and that was my one out of two chances. Wait ‘til you hear it during…
Mike Horton: You know, we’ve been doing this for ten years, you’re finally getting it right, Larry.
Larry Jordan: You’ve got a special thing happening next week.
Mike Horton: And I just booked you.
Larry Jordan: Yes, well you did, that’s true.
Mike Horton: As you were coming out of your car, I asked you if you’d be a guru at Stump The Gurus.
Larry Jordan: I would be honored to be a guru.
Mike Horton: Yes, because you know who are going to be the gurus?
Larry Jordan: I have no clue.
Mike Horton: It’s going to be Randy Ubillos, who probably knows Final Cut Pro X better than you do.
Larry Jordan: And Final Cut 7.
Mike Horton: And Final Cut 7.
Larry Jordan: And Premiere.
Mike Horton: And iMovie and Premiere.
Larry Jordan: But other than that, he’s been doing nothing with his life.
Mike Horton: And our good friend Monica Daniel, who you know. She’ll be a guru; and also Kylie Wall, who’s now moved to Los Angeles, so there’ll be four incredible experts to solve everybody’s problems.
Larry Jordan: My question is why aren’t you ever a guru? We all want that.
Mike Horton: Because I know nothing. Why do you think you hire me? I know nothing. I’m here as the comic relief. But I did comb my hair. You see this?
Larry Jordan: And it looks stunning, and it’s just…
Mike Horton: And it’s getting grayer as we speak.
Larry Jordan: It is not our fault.
Mike Horton: Grade T. Ok.
Larry Jordan: It is not our fault that Mike’s hair is turning gray. Remember, you can read our text transcripts for every show, courtesy of Take 1 Transcription. Transcripts are located on each show page. You can learn more about the transcripts themselves at take1.tv and thanks, Take 1, for making it possible.
Larry Jordan: Remember to visit with us on Facebook. We’re also on Twitter, @DPBuZZ, and – and this is really cool – you need to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com for an inside look every Friday at both our show and the industry.
Mike Horton: That is a definite must do. I mean, I enjoy those, so please do that, folks.
Larry Jordan: And we’re getting better and better pictures of both of us. Have you noticed that? They’re now in focus.
Mike Horton: Well, the cameras are now closer, which is not a good thing for me but a very good thing for you because you don’t have all the Irish complexion that I do.
Larry Jordan: You look so good on camera. You’re the only person I’ve ever seen who doesn’t need to wear makeup.
Mike Horton: Yes, Larry and I are self deprecating.
Larry Jordan: Mike, by the way, because Uwe Greunke lives in Germany, we recorded our conversation with him a little bit earlier, which is why Mike is suddenly going to disappear.
Mike Horton: Yes, I’m going to get some more tea.
Larry Jordan: I’ll be back with our first guest right after this.
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Larry Jordan: Uwe Greunke is the Director of Global and Brand Marketing for Sennheiser, which is located near Hanover, Germany. They specialize in creating high end audio products and Uwe’s mission is to tell the Sennheiser story from a customer focused point of view. He was recently involved in a viral video campaign promoting their new AVX system and the movie was called ‘The Oracle’. Hello, Uwe, welcome. Good to have you back.
Uwe Greunke: Hello.
Larry Jordan: Sennheiser has been in the industry since, what, the late 1940s and their products are legendary for their quality and reliability – we use them here on the show on a daily basis. Why was it decided that a new microphone needed to be created that you were then charged with marketing?
Uwe Greunke: The new point is that we see a trend in the industry that the old… cameraman on the camera and a sound related guy only taking care of sound is not the truth any more. You have a lot of one man shows going out there and they have to do everything. It’s a one man show there, so we needed a new product especially to fulfill this need. There’s a strong desire from the market to have a simply, click it in, use it and relax.
Uwe Greunke: This was the proposal for the new device, for the new microphone, and you can see a shift in the whole industry that, especially as a German manufacturer, they like to talk about their products. But if you see very successful companies like GoPro, for example, they talk more about the user experience – their game is be a hero. They’re not talking so much about the camera, they’re talking more of the user experience.
Uwe Greunke: That’s why it was the end user… for our new device that result in front, so you want to be relaxed and concentrate on your setting and not playing around with all the sound details. This is a strong trend in the market with an emphasis on the end user experience and we really appreciate that and put it together from the product, but also from the communication and AV side.
Larry Jordan: You’re responsible for brand marketing at Sennheiser. How do you define the difference between brand marketing and just general marketing?
Uwe Greunke: That’s a good point. For me, the brand lays the strategy, the overall framework, the big picture – where do I want to see the brand in two, three, five years from now? The marketing is more the technical fulfillment of this strategy. The brand is the framework, the marketing fulfils it with the key initiatives, the things we want to emphasize. This is the relationship, more like a tool from the marketing side and the brand lays down the strategy of where we want to be with the brand.
Larry Jordan: When you’re looking at brand marketing and you’re talking about it from the customers’ point of view, it seems that one of your big challenges is dealing with cultural differences between, say, Germans and French or Americans or Australians. How do you compensate for those differences?
Uwe Greunke: That’s a very good point. First of all, I think it’s a target group related thing. If you look into the Chinese or Asian market, and at Sennheiser we are quite strongly in the Asia region, by 2020 you will have nearly one billion people living in the urban cities. If you go to Shanghai, you’ll hardly find a difference to an urban setting like London, so for me it’s more a cluster of target groups that I can find in different spots worldwide where you have a Chinese customer or a US customer.
Uwe Greunke: Maybe it’s more like what do you propose? What do you intend? You’re a videographer, you need a device that… suggestion it can do a relaxed film setting, but you like to enjoy your spare time and then you want to listen to high end music and you need high end headphones. It’s more the setting you’re in, the kind of peer group, the kind of…you want to achieve – relaxation or consumption of high end music, this kind of thing. It’s rather this than the cultural differences.
Larry Jordan: That’s a very interesting thought, that people who do similar tasks in different parts of the world are similar in personality or similar in points of view, as opposed to looking at it demographically where you have an Asian market or a European market. I hadn’t considered that before, that’s a very interesting thought.
Uwe Greunke: Yes.
Larry Jordan: The new AVX system – which, by the way, for those who are watching or listening, ‘The Oracle’ is available on YouTube, just do a search for Sennheiser or a search for ‘The Oracle’. It’s a three minute short film and highlights a brand new microphone system from Sennheiser called the AVX – you’ve talked about the fact that the AVX was designed to simplify the filmmaker’s life, especially with one man bands going out to do both production and sound. What was the charter that you gave to the production company in putting this film together?
Uwe Greunke: Good question. We spent quite a lot of time in the… background looking at what the driver was. Generally, you have a strong driver in fear – people have fear to not fulfill tasks, so they have to do a little something and maybe there are some issues, some problems coming up, so you have the fear not to deliver something. Or you want to have more, more awards, more recognition, this kind of thing, and you have to understand what drives our target group so… the target group is.
Uwe Greunke: We really took a deep look into the setting of this target group and had really intensive discussions with the agencies, rather than sending them just the brief and say, “We need a new spot. What’s your… goals, this percentage you want to achieve?” It was more intense discussion about the target group, about the setting, about the brand proposed and about the mission we like to support from our end user, and this took us quite a while, a couple of weeks. I think we had three sessions with the agency and then they came up with several positioning sentences.
Uwe Greunke: I don’t remember all of them but there were five to six sentences positioning the new device… of the complication in different kinds of areas. The one that jumped in our face most was a relax in AV because it was very promising. It was the campaign and only a couple of words and this was the thing that attracted us most and amazed us and from there on we developed, in a certain kind of sense, the campaign itself, the pictures, the casting. But it was started by a device coming from the brand proposal, coming from the target group, with different kinds of settings, simply positioning statements, and from there on they developed the whole setting, the whole scene.
Larry Jordan: Well, it seems to me that you’ve got a very delicate balance because you work for Sennheiser, which makes a wide variety of different audio products, and you want to be careful not to say that AVX is easy, which then implies that all the rest of the Sennheiser products are hard. How do you try to balance marketing one product with another?
Uwe Greunke: Simplification is always the hardest part. This is one thing I learned in marketing. If you can put it very easily at the end, in an easy sentence, it is most likely the result of hard work. Same with Sennheiser. If you put on an HD800… this is easy, you can plug it in and listen to it and you’re filled with the sound of music. The effort it takes to make this kind of high end listening experience is immense. It took us years, maybe decades.
Uwe Greunke: So simplification at the end is a very nice tool to get a key into the end user’s mind to position ourselves in the relevant… but the knowledge taken to get there is huge. If you take our digital…, this is one of our best sellers, they are very high end, it’s a huge complex system but you don’t bother the people with, “Ok, this is the most sophisticated and complex system you can buy on the market.”
Uwe Greunke: Also, the high end system, the Digital 9000 which are used for most of the big events worldwide, the sound engineers want to have the same kind of experience. Hopefully it’s simple, hopefully it’s easy to understand and if you run a show with more than 100 people in a television setting, hopefully it’s easy to understand and notice your… It’s the same kind of setting. It’s not a difference between an AVX and a Digital 9000 and an HD800. You need leadership to bring it in this kind of direction, but at the end it must be simple.
Larry Jordan: Ok, let’s put your filmmaker hat back on again. You’re getting ready to create the film for ‘The Oracle’. From a marketing and planning point of view, what’s the difference between planning a film that’s just a straight, say, television commercial and planning a film like this one, which you want to have go viral, and planning a simple video which describes how to use the product? How does your thinking change?
Uwe Greunke: You mean from the marketing team or from the…?
Larry Jordan: From the marketing point of view, because that’s the part that you know the best.
Uwe Greunke: Yes, yes. I think it needs openers. In such a development, the old method is coming from a waterfall device, so you are building the concept and you go into development and your testing etcetera. In the new age, you go for an agile approach, more like a strong message. You come in with something of an idea, of a vision. You put on a team, you go into speak phase and you think, “Ok, where we are now, this is really… so do we have to change the approach?” and this was something similar.
Uwe Greunke: We gave the idea to…. They’re coming up with the…, they’re coming up with the treatment. Then we gave it to the film production company and they came up with some different kinds of elements, more like an agile project approach, like software development, and we saw that it was very cool and especially on set. Where we did the filming, we have this kind of key scene where we have this, before they go into the… ok, you’re ready, you know what you’re putting on your backs and they get this… there with their hands… in the scene, so it was something where we were really open and this brought us more.
Uwe Greunke: It opened new horizons for us and I think this is the difference. If you do a commercial, you have 30 seconds in mind and you must push the product. In this kind of a viral setting, you’d better be open to new ideas, new inspiring things, and just push it further. I think this is the big difference.
Larry Jordan: How far in advance of the product launch did you create the video? Or has the product launched and the video was created after the fact?
Uwe Greunke: The product idea was there. We were in development and the launch was nine to ten months away, so we started in late summer of last year with the positioning of the production, almost in Q4 last year, and then did all the preparation, the seeding and all the stuff, the PR preparation, so it was almost ten months before the launch.
Larry Jordan: That’s a fair amount of time planning a very short film.
Uwe Greunke: That’s the story.
Larry Jordan: Put your marketing hat back on again. There are a number of excellent audio companies out there, Sennheiser is one of them, and each one of them makes a variety of excellent microphones and Sennheiser makes a huge variety. As a filmmaker, how do we decide what microphone to pick? I’ll give you a specific example. Three weeks ago, our company needed to buy some more Lavaliers for our studio, so I went to a local audio post house, rented six different microphones, we brought them back here and just did tests to see which one sounded the best of the six that we rented.
Larry Jordan: But Sennheiser doesn’t have six, it’s got closer to 20 or 30 different microphones, and that’s just one company. How do you help us as filmmakers to make the right decision, aside from the fact that it’s a reliable product and you can relax when you use it? Microphones sound different, how do we pick?
Uwe Greunke: Very good question again. I think a kind of trend coming from simply the manufacturing view is that today you can use the community and the experts within the company. Neumann is owned by Sennheiser and we write in discussions what we do to develop the Neumann brand into the future. Neumann is the recording microphone for professional studios. You hardly find any production of the top 100 of all time high recordings done without a Neumann. It is good.
Uwe Greunke: There is respect to have the song heritage, but you have to know how to bring it into the future and I think the community, with all the… qualified and skilled sound engineers, could bring the knowledge into it with our experts to say you will reach the best results with this kind of setting, with this kind of different microphone. The world’s more complex and to make it simpler we as a manufacturer have to be open to the community and integrate their knowledge and combine it with ours to find the best answer.
Uwe Greunke: I think that the sound engineer of the future will tap it into Google and say, “What is the best setting for this kind of pose I have, because it’s never been done before and I want to do a recording in a new setting?” If it’s never been done before, what do you do? You need a combination, maybe also testing, and try different things and then come to the best solution. So again, be open, integrate the knowledge, provide more knowledge – that’s why we not only produced ‘The Oracle’ video as a commercial, but also we also provided three different kinds of little feature films to explain how to best use the camera.
Uwe Greunke: I think tutorial videos will become more prevalent, but also integrating community knowledge with our knowledge and giving more advice to the questions out there for things that have maybe never been done so far.
Larry Jordan: I was just reflecting, thinking about your planning this video for release on YouTube and other social channels – the job of marketing has changed a lot over the last five years. In the past, you’d be debating between doing a television ad or a magazine ad, but how would you describe the challenges of your job and getting the message out today?
Uwe Greunke: The first challenge is reading the change. First you have to convince the organization. Normally, the product engineers are really nerds about the product, they love the product, they spend years developing it and now we come in with a different kind of approach and they’re normally not used to it. They say, “Ok, no, let’s talk about the product.” We said, “No, let’s talk about the end user and bring these two perspectives together.” This was the first challenge. Your first client is your internal organization which is at the beginning very hard because you can’t convince people with results, so you have to spend quite some hours with them and convince them and open up to them.
Uwe Greunke: The next thing is how to reach the… especially for these kind of specialized devices, so you use a new combination of the channels, new suppliers, they are very specialized to getting the best out of a YouTube setting, so we also opened up to a lot of specialized suppliers helping us to bring the core of the message to the people.
Uwe Greunke: The next thing is to be flexible in the output, so not thinking about only one commercial and sending this via a lot of channels rather than having a main video, a tutorial video, making of video, emotional story about it, these kind of interviews we’re doing now.
Uwe Greunke: There are a lot of different kind of pieces put together making up the campaign, but it’s not simply only one spot you send to the world and that’s it, it’s a 20 second spot and the job is done. You have to be more alternative. It’s a different kind of puzzle which you have to bring together in a flexible steering mode, which at the end somehow is the overall campaign.
Larry Jordan: I was just reflecting about the challenges that you minimized when you say you have to convince your product-centric company to focus on the end result and not the product specifications themselves. I can just imagine how hard those meetings must have been.
Uwe Greunke: Yes. It was also fun. We started with the… campaign that you loved in America last year, a completely new approach. There’s a man we put in a headphone costume and he loves ears. It was completely new to a manufacturer, but this opened up the mindset that… groups resolve a complication and drive a difference and now we get strong support from the organization, it really loves this spot and want to develop it further.
Uwe Greunke: We had a fear in the… where they took this kind of Oracle idea into a box… and asked the box questions and this box answers you and gives you some advice about the future, but this… once the organization jumps on… is in development, so this is what I mean by putting together the overall campaign but it wasn’t maybe as straightforward as five years ago.
Larry Jordan: Uwe, where can people go on the web to learn more about your products and the AVX specifically?
Uwe Greunke: It’s simply sennheiser.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s sennheiser.com and Uwe Greunke is the Director of Global and Brand Marketing for Sennheiser. Uwe, thanks for joining us today.
Uwe Greunke: Thanks a lot.
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Larry Jordan: Jeff Stansfield is the President and CEO of Advantage Video Systems, which he launched in 2001 to provide technology solutions to the media industry. Jeff has served as a general board member, treasurer and secretary of SMPTE – that’s the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. He also holds certificates in cabling systems, including fiber, and offers expertise in cameras, lighting, shared storage and asset management solutions. He’s an all around geek. Hello, Jeff, welcome.
Jeff Stansfield: Hey, Larry. Thank you so much and, Mike, good to see you again.
Mike Horton: Good to see you. I don’t recognize you without the hat.
Jeff Stansfield: I know, I haven’t got…
Mike Horton: You should go back to your car right now, get the hat and come on back.
Jeff Stansfield: I should go back and get the hat and come back. There you go.
Mike Horton: We have, what, eight minutes to go, so hurry up.
Jeff Stansfield: There you go. By the way, it is a beautiful studio.
Mike Horton: Isn’t it?
Jeff Stansfield: Really nice.
Larry Jordan: Yes, it’s really nice.
Mike Horton: Well, you helped build it.
Jeff Stansfield: Did I? Oh yes, we did it.
Mike Horton: You helped build it.
Jeff Stansfield: We did, we had a lot of fun doing this studio.
Larry Jordan: Jeff, how would you describe what Advantage Video does? What kind of work do you do?
Jeff Stansfield: Well, technically we’re systems integrators, but we really call ourselves solutions integrators. Clients come to us and say, “We have this solution,” like you came to us and said, “We want to build this studio. We have all this equipment we’re getting and we need somebody to put it together.
Jeff Stansfield: We have all these needs and we have this,” and so we came in and said, “Ok, let’s build this lighting grid for you,” and instead of going out and spending tons of money on a pole from Matthews, we would go out and find better ways to design the grid, better ways to hang lighting, better ways to design the studio so in the limited space that you have in your control room, to be able to do everything you want to do and accomplish everything you need for the budget that you have.
Jeff Stansfield: We go out and create solutions for clients’ needs, whether it’s for cameras, lighting, editing systems or streaming systems. We build custom streaming systems to TV studios, we’ve upgraded over 200 TV stations in the years that we’ve been working and we do constant projects and have a lot of fun doing it.
Larry Jordan: Are you often walking in like you did here, you walked into an empty space and put the whole thing together, is that more typical or is it more typical that you’re doing a particular system to an existing facility?
Jeff Stansfield: Well, it’s a little bit of both. We’ve done a lot of walking into an empty room and people say, “This is what we want to do,” and we sit down with them and work it all out. Every client is different. Some clients, like you, get equipment from other manufacturers because you get discounts from them and stuff like that, so we work with that.
Jeff Stansfield: Some clients come and say, “Here’s a bunch of money, we need everything,” and we go out and do it. Some clients come to us and say, “We have some old equipment that we want to work. We want to build it and we want to do this,” and so we incorporate some of that stuff and we develop a solution that works with whatever our clients want to do.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that you’ve developed recently is a box called the 4Kase. Tell us what that is.
Jeff Stansfield: 4Kase came out of a need that a lot of on-set production, people who are moving the sets, from doing post houses, moving everything on set, an on-set editorial, on-set DIT. We had a client who came to us and said, “We want to work with this new Mac Pro that Apple’s coming out with and we also want to be able to take this DIT up on top of a hill,” and their current DIT system that they were working with weighed 695 pounds, had these big giant wheels and there was no way that they could do it, so we built this thing, we took this case, we built a metal framing around it, we built shock mount handling in it.
Jeff Stansfield: We put a 28 inch 4K 10 bit color monitor in the lid that has shockproof, bullet proof lidding. You could bang on it and bang that monitor and it won’t break. We put the Mac Pro in it, we put six expansion slots in it, we put 16 drive bays and with the new fixed R-Drive that we’re working with, the six terabyte, you can get 96 terabytes of solid state storage in the case. Two LTO drives. Dual JBL speakers. Headphone jack, a power switch, everything we designed in the case is top of the line.
Jeff Stansfield: We didn’t just put a switch where you push a piece of plastic and it pushes a spring and pushes the button. We built an electrical satellite switch. We’re geeky engineer guys and we just love to make things top notch and make things work and this case, we designed it so that it weighs 142 pounds, which is important because the cutoff for regular shipping is 150 pounds, so that way you can ship it regular shipping and you don’t have to freight it. Most of our clients, they do it anyways, but we designed this case to meet all our clients’ needs so that they can take it on top of that mountain just by carrying it up the hill.
Mike Horton: So you can ship this all over the world and it’ll get there safely?
Jeff Stansfield: It’ll get there safely, you can bang on this, you can hit it, whatever you want to do to it, and it’ll stay safe. All the equipment stays in there safe. It has a UPS in the bottom of the case to give you backup power. Everything that you need in a DIT case is in this case for a third of the weight and twice the performance.
Mike Horton: Ok, so there are a lot of other post houses doing this. Why should we go with your solution?
Jeff Stansfield: There are a lot of people doing different things, like Michael Connolly at White Iron has their Lilypads and they do great work. One of the things is we don’t really like to rent ours, we like to sell our cases. We will sell to a rental house or something like that, but we like to sell our cases because they’re relatively inexpensive.
Mike Horton: So you put top of the line equipment in this, but you still sell it?
Jeff Stansfield: Yes, and there’s another company called Edit Box, it’s another good solution. It’s a little bit smaller, it doesn’t have a UPS, it has a 22 inch monitor. The guys who make it are great guys, they do a good job at it, and it’s a different solution. Ours is built really for the full end, high end, people who want the same thing that Michael built with the Lilypad but wants it in a smaller, more portable case that can go anywhere you want to go and the customer or the rental house wants to own it, not just rent it.
Jeff Stansfield: But it’s a great case and we all do different cases. Everybody who does this solution does it in a different way and a client may want that solution from White Iron and they do a great job, or the other solutions that are out there. We designed ours for a specific client who has a specific kind of need and we do a really, really good job. We have it all on a website just for that, which is 4kase.com.
Larry Jordan: For DIT work, is there a big difference between working with, say, standard HD and 4K?
Jeff Stansfield: There’s not a lot of difference in how the workflow works and there’s a difference in workflows between the people who use our case. For instance, we had one client who had six RED cameras on set and so what they did is they shot some video with the RED camera, they plugged the RED camera into our case, brought it up on a 4K monitor.
Jeff Stansfield: Then the DIT and the director and the cinematographer were able to look at this case and set up the LUTs for the cameras and then they put that onto a USB drive and then all the cameras were calibrated exactly the way that the director and cinematographer wanted, which saved them tons and tons of money and time in that all the cameras were perfect. Then they were also backing up, so the cameras are shooting and they’re shooting to drives, but they’re also plugged into our case and they’re backing up onto the two LTO6 drives we have in there and they were ingesting.
Jeff Stansfield: At the same time they were ingesting, they were backing up onto LTO drives so that they can take those drives and send them back for better editorial and better color grade, so it’s more like a workflow time saving and then they can also use it as an on-set DIT for doing on-set DIT work. They can also do on-site editorial. A lot of our clients are using the new Resolve to edit with. The new Resolve 11 is being used a lot by our clients to edit on and this can run that really, really well.
Mike Horton: It is amazing. Six months ago, a year ago, could you even have conceived of this stuff? It’s just incredible and saving people a heck of a lot of money.
Larry Jordan: Jeff, where can people go on the web to learn more firstly about the unit and then secondly about your company?
Jeff Stansfield: The 4Kase has got 4kase.com as the website for that. It’s also on our website as well.
Mike Horton: You know the real spelling is C-A-S-E?
Jeff Stansfield: Yes, I know, but I’m dyslexic so I can’t spell.
Mike Horton: That’s right.
Jeff Stansfield: Then my website is advantagevideosystems.com, or 800-287-5095 is my phone number. Give me a call.
Larry Jordan: That’s enough because we’re going to wrap it up.
Mike Horton: And he will make your day perfect.
Mike Horton: Thanks, Jeff.
Jeff Stansfield: All right, guys.
Larry Jordan: Editor and writer Brady Betzel has been working in television for over ten years, starting as an intern on the daily talk show ‘On Air with Ryan Seacrest’. Today, Brady primarily works in Avid Media Composer at Symphony Systems and Adobe After Effects with a smattering of Cinema 4D. He’s going to be at the next Editors’ Lounge, presenting an interesting concept which is 3D modeling and animation for reality TV. Hello, Brady, welcome.
Brady Betzel: Hey, how’s it going?
Larry Jordan: We are talking to you, we are doing great. Tell us about what a typical editing project is for you, because I have a very hard time putting together the concept of 3D animation and reality TV. So talk to us – what are you doing?
Brady Betzel: It’s funny, when I was coming up as an assistant editor, I noticed a lot of shows had just plain slates and that kind of got me thinking, “I think there’s something better we can do,” and I also needed a niche to get myself in the door as a real editor and I worked on a lot of reality TV shows and I just thought, “You know what? I need to bury my head in After Effects, Cinema 4D and set myself apart,” and it seemed after about 100 tutorials I started making some cool titles and stuff people seemed to grab onto.
Larry Jordan: Well, cool titles with Cinema 4D is an understatement. That’s a massive piece of gear. But before we get into that, I want to come back to the whole idea of editing reality TV. These shows have got massive deadlines, way too much footage and not a whole lot of money to work with. Can you even afford to do any kind of special look with a reality budget and reality deadline?
Brady Betzel: You know, that’s funny. Budgets are getting really tight, as you probably know, and so they want interns to do Photoshop or whatever they want to do that’s crazy and a lot of editors who have been around a while don’t like. I’m in a weird spot because I’m in the between the stage where the older editors don’t want to do the graphics, the younger editors are so good that they’re better than almost everybody that’s out there right now, so I have to learn every day how to make this cool stuff and, like you said, the budgets are small so as an editor I need to learn the tools that are the quickest and Cinema 4D’s quick, but I also like to use a program called After Effects with Andrew Kramer’s Element 3D and that thing is how I do stuff fast.
Larry Jordan: Now, when we’re talking 3D, are we talking stereoscopic 3D, the special glasses, or are we just talking world building and creating entire environments? Or are we just looking at moving text in a 3D environment?
Brady Betzel: A lot of… environments, not stereoscopic. That would be really cool, though. …some 4D 3E stuff, that would be awesome.
Larry Jordan: And describe a typical project. Give me an effect that you work with and walk me through your workflow and the software you’re using and what you’re trying to achieve.
Brady Betzel: Sure. Like I was saying earlier, a lot of opening titles to shows a few years ago were very plain and I just thought that a lot of people hadn’t seen what you could do with 3D text and 3D elements inside of the reality shows, so typically it would be a cold open to a show where they would need to either introduce characters or reveal the storyline of the last episode.
Brady Betzel: Some of the shows I’ve worked on allowed for a lot of leeway in terms of creativity, so I can come up with crazy, huge text which people on green screens could walk in front of and it was really up to my imagination. Typically, I would watch some footage that they wanted me to use and my crazy brain would just go into After Effects and start creating my own world of text and, using Rampant Design Tools, just throw in some crazy lens flares and dust and fire. I’m kind of oversimplifying it, but it is just me, a kid, playing with some crayons and markers in the end.
Mike Horton: Yes, but speaking of playing with crayons and markers and doing all those wonderful things that you are doing, do you ever get stopped by the producers that you’re working for saying, “Yes, maybe a little bit less is more”?
Brady Betzel: Yes. It’s funny, these days, the budgets are so small that you don’t really have much time for notes, so it’s either, “Yes we like it,” or “No we don’t.” When they say, “No we don’t,” that obviously kind of sucks. Once I had to start from scratch, but usually you can get by.
Larry Jordan: You were talking about the fact that you start with After Effects and start to play in your sandbox until something shows up. When do you use After Effects and when do you use Cinema 4D?
Brady Betzel: Cinema 4D isn’t as quick. I’m not as quick in Cinema 4D. As you know, it’s a complex program. You can do some amazing stuff and if I have maybe two to four weeks to do something, then I’ll jump in Cinema 4D. If I have an hour or maybe a day, then I use After Effects just because it flies.
Larry Jordan: What are some of your favorite effects inside After Effects? What do you grab first?
Brady Betzel: I love Element 3D, the plug-in, like I was saying, from Video Co-Pilot, but a lot of text, a lot of Sapphire plug-ins are pretty awesome, Boris obviously has some great stuff, but just glows and Element 3D really is it, because Element 3D allows you to bring 3D models, like in Cinema 4D, into After Effects and use them very quickly and put some material on them and it really can make a boring title or a boring bumper or a boring lower third really zing.
Mike Horton: How important is it for young editors to know everything? I mean, you know After Effects, you know Cinema 4D, you are familiar with all the wonderful plug-ins out there and you can edit. You know everything and they expect you to know everything, they expect you to know sound, they expect you to know music, they expect you to know After Effects and all these other things that you know to get that leg up. How important is that?
Brady Betzel: It’s actually very important and it’s weird, because I got talking earlier, a lot of people don’t like me doing what I do because it diminishes the craft of editing, I guess. It’s tricky, though, because you have to know everything or else the guy who doesn’t want to know After Effects or doesn’t want to jump in and use Photoshop is going to be out of a job when… on YouTube making stuff that’s way better that’s on TV.
Mike Horton: Mhmm. Boy, I’m glad I’m not starting out nowadays. I want to tell stories, I don’t want to have to do all that crap that you’re doing. I mean, it’s not crap, but it’s…
Jeff Stansfield: Yes, a lot of people talk like that and I also agree that story is king, always. Unfortunately, though, with budgets being so tight, there’s no room for graphics departments, so if you really want to become the lead editor or become an editor from being an assistant editor, you’ve got to show your worth and for me that was where I was.
Larry Jordan: But, Mike, I was just thinking – it isn’t that he is telling stories with 3D, he’s capturing the viewers’ attention with the open. You’re trying to use 3D…
Mike Horton: No, I’m not saying that what he’s doing isn’t creative but, I don’t know, I wish you didn’t have to know all this stuff.
Larry Jordan: Well, he hasn’t mentioned audio. He’s mentioned Cinema 4D, so there’s hope for people that just do audio.
Mike Horton: All right, do you have to do sound design too?
Brady Betzel: Typically, yes. It’s a big weird world. If you send out a rough cut that doesn’t sound good, the producers could think you’re not a good editor, so you clearly have to know how to ride levels on your music and your sound effects and this and that and dialogue has got to punch through and you want stereo music. Some editors I’ve seen are using music centered so it doesn’t sound as good if it’s stereo, or the dialog’s centered. You’ve got to know a lot.
Mike Horton: Oy-yi-yi.
Brady Betzel: But that’s not to discourage anybody, because it’s fun.
Mike Horton: Ok, so long as you’re having fun, as long as you think it’s creative, that’s terrific. That’s absolutely terrific.
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, listening to you, why would you not describe yourself as a visual effects artist? Why do you describe yourself as an editor? Because aren’t you really concentrating on the artistic side of putting these titles and 3D things together?
Brady Betzel: Yes, kind of. It’s funny, though, because there’s not as much room for visual effects departments at reality companies or docu-drama, whatever you want to call it, and so you have to be the editor and, like you said, know everything else. I just have to know a little bit more about visual effects than a lot of editors and I have friends who do visual effects for a living and… what they do. But they’re amazing.
Larry Jordan: By the way, there’s been a great discussion between Caesar and Eric and Grant in our live chat for the last couple of minutes, but Grant writes that it’s very important that editors know more than one application. It happens to him every day. He has to know everything from lighting to sound to camerawork, editing, post production, delivery issues, as well as be a script editor and director, so wearing multiple hats exists all over the world, because Grant’s based in Australia.
Brady Betzel: Oh yes, and if you want to get crazier, system editors have one of the hardest jobs in the world right now because they’re DITs, they’re trying to be creative editors and it’s a mess.
Mike Horton: Yes, and they need to know spreadsheets and FileMaker Pro. Oh my goodness.
Brady Betzel: Yes, and deal with people like me.
Mike Horton: And deal with people like you, yes.
Larry Jordan: And speaking of people like you, Brady, I just realized that in addition to your editing and all of your artistic skills, you also are a contributing editor for Post Perspective. Am I remembering that correctly?
Brady Betzel: That is correct.
Mike Horton: Oh, cool.
Larry Jordan: When do you have time to write?
Brady Betzel: That’s a good question too. I really have to wake up early and fit it in. I commute about an hour to Hollywood from…, so if I get to work early enough I fit in ten minutes of reviews or on the weekends, if my wife and my children let me, I do an hour of testing here or there.
Mike Horton: Oh my God, you’ve got to do the 101 five days a week? Oh my.
Brady Betzel: I take the 118 sometimes.
Mike Horton: Oh, ok.
Larry Jordan: Brady was the lead story in this week’s Post Perspective. It was a review of a new piece of software, if I remember correctly?
Brady Betzel: Yes, and I love Randi, so I would do a lot for her.
Larry Jordan: Yes, she’s good folks, there’s no question.
Brady Betzel: Yes, sure is.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of mentoring, training and writing and stuff, you’re going to be speaking at the Editors’ Lounge coming up. What are you going to be talking on?
Brady Betzel: I’m going to be going over… discuss the visual effects in reality TV, because Cinema 4D has a cool new release that has some really easy things you can do, for instance a house builder, and you can quickly build a four bedroom house in Cinema 4D, put some textures on it and render it out. For those shows that design houses or do house walk-throughs, you can have it done maybe in two hours if you’re, moderately…
Mike Horton: Have you seen that, Larry?
Larry Jordan: No.
Mike Horton: Matthias showed me that at NAB. It is remarkable.
Brady Betzel: Yes, it really is.
Mike Horton: It is remarkable and you’ll see it on all these house and garden TV shows very soon, I guarantee you.
Brady Betzel: Yes, and that’s where some of my… If I know the house builder, I could have a job on those shows for months.
Mike Horton: Absolutely, yes. You could host them. You could be one of the property brothers.
Brady Betzel: Yes, right.
Larry Jordan: Are you going to be showing examples or are you going to be showing how the software works? Is this a training exercise for people to learn software or a chance to show and tell some of your work?
Brady Betzel: No, I’m going to be showing kind of how to build that house in Cinema 4D real quick and then probably jump over to After Effects and show just a few things that, if you’re the editor and you’re in two minds whether you want to do graphics because they take too much time, I can maybe show them, hey, in 30 minutes you can make something that is a lot better than a…
Mike Horton: How important is it for people out there not just starting out, the people who absolutely know something, to share their work like you do on sites that you share your work on? I think it’s hugely important.
Brady Betzel: I agree. I think paying it forward gets me further than any work I do or anything. Teaching interns or assistant editors or anyone anything I know, for some reason it reinforces it in myself and paying it forward helps the whole community.
Mike Horton: Yes, it’s like you learn so much by teaching.
Brady Betzel: Yes, I agree.
Larry Jordan: You also learn what you don’t know when you’re teaching.
Brady Betzel: Oh my God…
Larry Jordan: Brady, Caesar on the live chat’s asking what software you edit on?
Brady Betzel: Avid. I’ll say Avid. I do a little bit in Premiere and Final Cut I’ve dabbled in, but every job I’ve had has been Avid.
Larry Jordan: And the integration between After Effects and Avid is straightforward?
Brady Betzel: There is none. Basically, you would export a high res QuickTime and then… bring them along… Avid can’t import it, which it can’t do pre-multiplied, but that’s another discussion. Yes, it’s a little dicey.
Mike Horton: No, that’s a tutorial, isn’t it?
Larry Jordan: Yes it is.
Brady Betzel: There are some good ones if anyone’s looking for them. Kevin… does a few good ones and Andrew Kramer has a host of great, simple tutorials to take a look at.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of tutorials and learning and teaching, in the time that we’ve got left, what tips do you have for people who consider themselves editors to enhance their graphics skills without necessarily spending their entire life becoming a visual artist? What are the key things that you find the market needs that are skills that people should develop?
Brady Betzel: I think the easiest ones are watching the shows that have some cool cold opens with title cards, like History Channel and Discovery Channel. They have some amazing stuff if you really break it down. There’s a show called Naked and Afraid that has some, I think, day numbers that are composited over live shots that are really incredible and it’s really not that hard. If you find the right tutorials, you can probably accomplish learning it in one or two hours.
Mike Horton: Not me.
Brady Betzel: Yes you could.
Mike Horton: No, not me. No, no, it isn’t going to happen. I can tell a story, I can’t do Cinema 4D. I can’t do it.
Brady Betzel: You can do anything you put your mind to.
Mike Horton: Yes, that’s what they say. Ok. It’s like his 12 step program.
Brady Betzel: Yes, right.
Larry Jordan: Brady, what projects are you working on now? What’s got your attention?
Brady Betzel: At the moment, I’m on online editor and I’ve been trying to focus my reviews towards the color correction software, so I’m really interested in looking at DaVinci Resolve 12. I think they’re going to send me it at some point… been doing another facet of post production that I’ve never seen.
Mike Horton: Yes, well, you know, of course, DaVinci Resolve 12 now, you can just edit your own movie and do your color correction. You can do everything in that thing.
Brady Betzel: Yes. They gave me a little… and I’ll tell you what, that is starting to look like what Sin City should have become.
Mike Horton: Yes, and it’s free.
Brady Betzel: Yes, there’s that.
Larry Jordan: Brady, where can we go on the web to learn more about the kind of work you’re doing? Do you have your own personal website?
Brady Betzel: No, I don’t really do the personal thing. I tried that.
Mike Horton: Oh, you should.
Brady Betzel: But, I don’t know, Twitter’s good and also if you just search my name on Post Perspective or Post Magazine, you can see some articles I do on there.
Larry Jordan: See, Mike, he doesn’t do everything. He doesn’t do web design.
Mike Horton: That’s right. I feel a little bit better that he doesn’t do everything.
Brady Betzel: I tell you what, though, Twitter takes up at least an hour a day in the morning of promoting myself. Holy moly.
Mike Horton: Yes? Well, put a website up and promote yourself there. But anyway, I will see you at Editors’ Lounge. I’m looking forward to seeing your presentation.
Larry Jordan: And when is the presentation for people who want to see it?
Brady Betzel: It’s going to be Friday May 29th and it’s hosted at Alpha Dogs in Burbank.
Mike Horton: And bring your own wine.
Larry Jordan: Oh, bring your own.
Brady Betzel: Apparently, yes. My wife was like, “BYOB? What is that about?”
Mike Horton: Yes, well that’s what it’s about.
Brady Betzel: Apparently I might have to…
Mike Horton: No, you’ve got to bring your own wine otherwise they won’t let you appear.
Brady Betzel: Oh. All right, I’m in, I’m in.
Mike Horton: All right, there you go.
Larry Jordan: Brady, thanks so much for joining us. Good success with your career and we’ll keep reading you in Post Perspective. Thanks for joining us today.
Brady Betzel: Awesome, thanks for having me.
Mike Horton: Thanks Brady.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.
Brady Betzel: All right, bye.
Larry Jordan: You know, Mike, it’s interesting, as we listen to the editors, as you say, people have to learn everything.
Mike Horton: I know you know everything, but how good are you at graphics?
Larry Jordan: You should see my graphics. When I teach graphics, I say, “This is why people don’t hire me as a graphics designer,” but I’m a really good editor. If you give me an existing graphic, I can modify it, but if I have to create it from whole cloth, I…
Mike Horton: But it all still comes down to taste, what works, what doesn’t work.
Larry Jordan: Mhmm. I’m a big fan of not…
Mike Horton: But you know how to do it. Do you know anything about 3D text, other than what Motion is doing now, which I love – you can take 2D text and click a button and it turns into 3D.
Larry Jordan: It’s called the Mike Horton effect.
Mike Horton: Yes, exactly. It was built for me. Says right there, ‘MH’, right there.
Larry Jordan: I do a lot of camera moves and do depth of field with 3D stuff, especially in Motion. I’m just a hacker at After Effects, but Motion…
Mike Horton: Have you gotten into Maya or anything like that and looked at the…?
Larry Jordan: No I haven’t, and the main reason I haven’t is because you really have to have a design sense to make Cinema 4D or Maya take off, to be able to see the design in your head, which is something I’ve never been able to do. I can modify but I can’t create.
Mike Horton: That is a sense of mathematics and geometry and all that other stuff, which is…
Larry Jordan: Which is a good thing, because otherwise you and I would have all the…
Mike Horton: I know what I want. See, I would hire somebody like Brady to do it. I know what I want, I think I know how to articulate what I want, other than, “Just make it better. It’s not right.”
Larry Jordan: What we’ve done here is we’ve hired several brilliant designers that are putting graphics together for this show and doing graphics for the other stuff.
Mike Horton: Oh yes.
Larry Jordan: So between Lindsay and…
Mike Horton: So what do you tell them? Do you say just, “Make it better”?
Larry Jordan: I don’t even generally give them that much. I just say, “Here, create this,” and I stand back out of the way and they turn out magic. It’s just amazing to watch.
Mike Horton: Oh, ok. So you say, “Brilliant. Oh, thank you very much.”
Larry Jordan: Yes, “Give me some magic,” that’s it, “and you’ve got half an hour.”
Mike Horton: Ok. Is that it? That’s the Larry Jordan line, “Give me some magic,” and that’s it. I like it.
Larry Jordan: Now I’m in trouble.
Mike Horton: I know how to run a business now. “Just give me some magic.” And they’ve done this to this room.
Larry Jordan: Well, the question is, remember, going back to Supermeet with Randy Ubillos, I was just thinking is there anybody that you can think of who’s had a more dramatic personal impact on the industry?
Mike Horton: No. You know what? I’m trying to write an introduction for him when I announce him next week and he’s a very humble guy, as you know, and I don’t really quite know what words to put together, but I will come up with something. But he changed the entire industry and I don’t think he knows it. I really don’t think he knows it.
Larry Jordan: He changed the world. He invented Premiere, invented iMovie, invented Final Cut, invented Final Cut X.
Mike Horton: I don’t think he knows his impact and the ecosystems formed around what he did.
Larry Jordan: Careers are built.
Mike Horton: Careers have been built around what he did and I don’t think he knows that.
Larry Jordan: Oh, it’s amazing.
Mike Horton: So let’s just tell him.
Larry Jordan: Yes.
Mike Horton: And we’ll buy him pizza later on.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests today: Uwe Greunke, the Director of Global and Brand Marketing for Sennheiser; Jeff Stansfield, the President of Advantage Video Systems; and editor Brady Betzel.
Larry Jordan: Our producer, the ever beautiful Cirina Catania. Our engineering team is led by Megan Paulos and includes Ailin Kim, Ed Golya, Keegan Guy, Lindsay Luebbert and Brianna Murphy.
Larry Jordan: On behalf of the ever handsome and affable Mr. Mike Horton, my name is Larry Jordan…
Mike Horton: Who combed his hair.
Larry Jordan: …and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.
Mike Horton: Goodbye, everybody.
Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz was brought to you by Other World Computing, providing quality hardware solutions and extensive technical support to the worldwide computer industry since 1988.