Digital Production Buzz
October 22, 2015
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
(Click here to listen to this show.)
Randi Altman’s Perspective
Tech Talk with Michael Kammes
Zane Pond, Actor/Comedian
Cas Anvar, Actor/Comedian
Richard Hatch, Actor, Director, Writer & Teacher
Larry O’Connor, President & Founder, Other World Computing
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we begin with Zane Pond. Zane is a successful LA-based comedian who likes to push creative limits in his act, but he only recently came to LA. Tonight, we talk with him about what it takes to create a successful career as a comic.
Larry Jordan: Next, we return to Club Nokia and the Geekie Awards with two more interviews. Our reporter, Madison Mills, talks with actors Cas Anvar and the legendary Richard Hatch.
Larry Jordan: Next, Larry O’Connor is the founder and CEO of Other World Computing. Tonight, Larry joins us to announce two new products and to explain how to maximize the life of an older laptop computer.
Larry Jordan: All this plus a Buzz Flashback, Tech Talk with Michael Kammes and Randi Altman’s Perspective on the News. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer #1: Tonight’s Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at macsales.com; and by Xen Data, at xendata.com.
Announcer #2: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking… Authoritative…one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals… Current…uniting industry experts… Production…filmmakers… Post production…and content creators around the planet. Distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now. 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 and marketing around the world. Good to have you with us. Michael, the big news this week is the release of the 10.11.1 update, the first .1 release for El Capitan. It came out yesterday.
Mike Horton: Really?
Larry Jordan: So the question I’ve got for you is…
Mike Horton: Where was I?
Larry Jordan: You were napping.
Mike Horton: Well, I haven’t updated because I have work on my computer.
Larry Jordan: Well, that’s what I was going to ask – when should people upgrade? Should they upgrade to El Capitan now?
Mike Horton: Haven’t you always said to wait at least six weeks or even longer?
Larry Jordan: Mhmm, I have.
Mike Horton: Because that’s at least how long I wait.
Larry Jordan: But nobody listens to me. They all listen to you.
Mike Horton: But I listen to you. I’m the only one who listens to you. No, I haven’t updated yet.
Larry Jordan: I haven’t either. My feeling is it doesn’t hurt to wait.
Mike Horton: In fact, I think we’re talking to Larry O’Connor today and there are some problems there with some external hard drives.
Larry Jordan: A big problem. Not external hard drives, but with RAIDs.
Mike Horton: Oh, with RAIDs?
Larry Jordan: With RAIDs, and we’re going to talk to Larry in the third segment specifically about some problems between El Capitan and the RAIDs.
Mike Horton: And there are a lot of problems with plug-ins with Final Cut Pro X and with Adobe Premiere. In fact, I haven’t heard anything from Adobe Premiere as far as whether you should upgrade to El Capitan or not. In fact, the last time I heard, no, don’t upgrade.
Larry Jordan: I would say that’s probably a safe thing. There’s no new functionality you get in Premiere, Avid or Final Cut by moving to the latest version and my feeling is wait at least three months.
Mike Horton: You get a different looking font.
Larry Jordan: If you’re a fan of San Francisco, it’s a wonderful font.
Mike Horton: Yes. Was it Megan that said it hurts her eyes going back and forth.
Larry Jordan: Between the two.
Mike Horton: Right, Megan? See. Told you. She gave me the thumbs up.
Larry Jordan: You know, the thing I like about you is that you are so font specific. Your knowledge of this stuff is amazing.
Mike Horton: Thank you, Larry. We should do a whole hour on this.
Larry Jordan: Before we move to our first interview, I want to remind you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproduction.com. This gives you an inside look at both The Buzz and the industry, plus quick links to all the different segments on the show. The newsletter is free and we release a new issue every Friday.
Larry Jordan: Mike and I will be back with Zane Pond right after Randi Altman’s Perspective on the News.
Larry Jordan: This is Randi Altman’s Perspective.
Larry Jordan: Randi Altman has been covering the post production industry for more than 20 years. She’s currently the Editor in Chief of her own website at postperspective.com. Randi, welcome back, it is good to see you.
Randi Altman: Hi, Larry, it’s good to be back.
Larry Jordan: I’ve missed you these last couple of weeks as you’ve been off, busy covering the world and writing incredibly great stories, but let’s get back into it. What’s the news this week?
Randi Altman: The news is that one of the things I’m busy preparing for is SMPTE, which is happening next week out in LA, in your neck of the woods. That is kind of a big deal. It’s where all these engineers come and gather and there are tons of sessions. There’s also an exhibit floor, but this year they’re celebrating 100 years in existence and their relationship with the HPA has also been cemented further, so you’ve got this organization that focuses on technology and this other one that focuses on the creativity, so they’re merging together and I think that that shows up in some of the conferences that they’re going to be presenting at the show.
Randi Altman: The first day – and I think you’re going to want to be there – is all about virtual reality and augmented reality and how that affects how the production post workflows need to be adjusted and also delivery, all angles of the R and AR; and then the following day has more traditional type of engineering conferences. They’re talking about compression, UHD, HDR, especially color and how that affects all of that, so it’s going to be a good show.
Larry Jordan: SMPTE, which is the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, is very much an engineering group and HPA, which is the Hollywood Post Alliance, is really focused on the process of editing. Where do they see the synergies between the two?
Randi Altman: It’s more than just editing, it’s the whole creative process, and they do also have technology awards which help creatives be more creative, takes the technology out of it and just lets them do their work, so they feel that this is a perfect combination of engineering and creativity. Going forward, they have their HPA Tech Retreat that happens in Indian Wells down in the Palm Springs area in February and that is also pretty intensive with technology but also creativity type panels.
Larry Jordan: Thinking about this, the HPA really represents the high end of the post market. These are people who are editing all the A level films. What’s happening in the industry to help mentor youngsters to help them get started and join the ranks of A list editors?
Randi Altman: There are a couple of different things that are going on right now. One is, and I think I’ve mentioned this on the show before, the Blue Collar Post Collective, which is an organization that’s grass roots, it started in New York and it is young people who might not be able to attend a SMPTE or an HPA Tech Retreat, so they started gathering at places around Manhattan and building it up from there. That’s one thing that’s kind of cool.
Randi Altman: In terms of mentoring, I interviewed the editor Mick Audsley recently – he cut ‘Everest’ and he’s cut ’12 Monkeys’ and ‘Goblet of Fire’ and a ton of other really impressive films. He is based in London and he and some other filmmakers have started something called Sprocket Rocket Soho and what they want to do is bring young talent and some of the veteran talent together to learn from each other, especially in this digital age when everybody is sort of in their own little pocket, so they’re going to be doing that with a website – sprocketrocketsoho.com – and also some events that are going to happen to get people in the room teaching, mentoring and building on that.
Larry Jordan: Randi, thanks for joining us today. Randi Altman is the Editor in Chief of postperspective.com. Randi, as always, a delight chatting with you.
Randi Altman: Thanks, Larry. Take care.
Larry Jordan: To read more from Randi Altman, visit postperspective.com.
Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Zane Pond, Cas Anvar and Richard Hatch, Larry O’Connor, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.
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Larry Jordan: Zane Pond is a successful LA-based comedian who tends to explore creative limits in his comedy as he performs it regularly at The Comedy Store. He’s also a newcomer to Los Angeles, which can be a challenge in itself. Hello, Zane, welcome.
Zane Pond: Hi, how are you?
Larry Jordan: We are talking to you, we are already having a better day than we did before this conversation started. It’s good to have you with us.
Zane Pond: Thank you, thank you.
Larry Jordan: Zane, would you describe yourself as an actor or as a comedian? And do you see a difference between the two?
Zane Pond: Oh, of course. In answer to the first question, I would have to say I definitely identify more as a comedian than as an actor and the reason I say that is comedy is my way to be free, to take all my emotions and put them into words and spew them out in front of people. With acting, you’re taking upon someone else and presenting… and I feel comedy is definitely more who I am and I really enjoy it. As far as acting goes, it’s something I’ve just started to do and I want to learn as much as I can before I say, “I’m an actor.”
Larry Jordan: If you’ve got a laptop, grab the top of it and pull it towards you just a bit. Oh, look at that, he has a face.
Mike Horton: That’s a little better. Ah, that’s perfect.
Zane Pond: I already feel better.
Mike Horton: Almost. We’ve still got a couple of sun spots there, but that’ll do it.
Larry Jordan: We are doing much better.
Zane Pond: …sunscreen, I probably wouldn’t have the sun spots.
Larry Jordan: As you look back on it, what was it that helped you to decide that you wanted to be a performer? What was the triggering moment?
Zane Pond: For me, it was getting up the courage to get on a stage and be in front of a group of people. I remember the first time I did comedy, it was in front of about 20 very close friends. I cooked a meal so that I could get them to come, because whenever I cook people come, and then I surprised it on them that I was going to do a comedy show. I made fun of all of them one by one. Some of these are online, some of them aren’t. I just loved the laughter.
Zane Pond: Robin Williams used to say that he hated performing in front of just a camera, but when you have 20 people feeding off their energy, there’s nothing better than that and that’s what really drives me. I love going to a show where the room is dead or they’re not responsive and going in and waking up the entire room. There’s no better feeling than that in the world.
Mike Horton: What was it like that first time that you went to that room without the 20 friends there, with lots of people who were not your friends?
Zane Pond: My favorite thing is to see people’s faces who I mortify the most. You always see that one couple somewhere in the middle of the crowd and the woman’s just like… and I love watching them, because as much as you hear the laughter you don’t really see it. You can only see the people that you probably piss off the most. But that’s The Comedy Store. The Comedy Store’s where you go and you get people who enjoy comedy, listening to comedy.
Zane Pond: Another comic told me once, “If you go more than 30 miles outside of LA, you get a real audience. They laugh at everything you say and they think everything’s funny,” but in LA and at The Comedy Store, you’re dealing with people who love comedy and you can’t just go up there, say a few jokes and expect people to laugh. You really have to bring your A game and that’s what I love about it. It’s like university for comedians.
Larry Jordan: I want to talk about how you move your career forward, so there’s a career component to this conversation, but I just want to follow up on one thing. Your comedy emulates Don Rickles – he’s the first person who comes to mind – and there’s a fine line between comedy and insulting people, between making them laugh and making them feel uncomfortable. How do you balance on that line? It’s so easy to go over.
Zane Pond: One of my favorite techniques is to make fun of myself first. My comedy comes from being a young, gay, fat kid growing up, which is one of the hardest things you can do, and always seeing the brighter side of things, the lighter side of things really helped me through a lot of that. I didn’t really understand it at the time, but it’s all about perspective and it’s about being able to make fun of yourself as well.
Zane Pond: If you say something that’s borderline offensive but they think you’re just saying it to say it, they’re not going to laugh. But if you really bring the audience through your eyes and how you look at things before you do something like that, it really makes them understand it and they can feel a brighter side, the funny side about it.
Mike Horton: Were you the funny guy in high school, though?
Zane Pond: I was the class clown, yes. I cannot sit in front of 30 people and just be quiet. It’s either my… and my knees tapping against the bottom of the desk or just making funny comments. I can’t focus unless there’s something fun going on with it.
Mike Horton: Did you come out as gay in high school and make fun of that?
Zane Pond: No, no.
Mike Horton: You didn’t? But you were the class clown.
Zane Pond: Well, there are lots of things you can make fun of besides being gay. For me, coming out in high school was as scary thing. The first couple of years of being gay, you don’t want to be gay, you want to be normal and in high school, especially when you have feminine qualities – they used to tell you guys can’t cry and I would always cry and I wouldn’t really understand why guys couldn’t cry but, wow, how is a girl going to like me, how is somebody going to like me if I cry?
Zane Pond: I’m not masculine – so I tried to project as much of a masculine image as possible and I really didn’t feel comfortable coming out in high school. But the second that ended, I got out of high school, it just came out of me quicker than a fart after a Burger King.
Mike Horton: Awesome.
Larry Jordan: I want to shift gears. You’re relatively new to Los Angeles and probably the classic Hollywood story is they come to LA and they become an instant star, whereas the reality is people come to LA and they disappear without a trace. How do you grow a career in LA?
Zane Pond: You work really hard. For me, it’s all about building up a fan base, building a brand. If you do 20 shows and after 20 shows you don’t even have two people coming back to see you or two people that recognize you, you’re not doing your job. You have to leave a mark. When I go into a show in The Comedy Store, I want to be the best comedian in that room. I want to take a room and I want to take it through a journey and I want people to feel that.
Zane Pond: I feel that if I you can do that on a good stage, there’s nothing more important than that, and even as hard as I’ve worked I still have so much more to do. There are so many people that have worked a lot harder than me and they don’t really understand the concept of branding. I know that if I work just as hard as them, as long as them, I can go very far.
Mike Horton: Can a good joke kill 100 percent of the time, no matter what the audience is?
Zane Pond: No.
Mike Horton: Ok.
Zane Pond: Actually, I take that back. Do you want to hear one?
Mike Horton: Sure.
Zane Pond: If Donald Trump was black, he would be Kanye West – obsessive, narcissistic and married to plastic; and I opened my show for about a month with that joke and what’s funny is I used to say that before the whole Kanye West ‘I want to be President’ speech at the VMAs. I had said that for the first time about a week before that and that joke always kills. But it’s very rare that it’s the same joke.
Zane Pond: I remember I did two shows in the Main Room about two months ago and the first one I did, I had the entire room under my spell. The second one that I did, I only got about half the room. Same set, same thing, different audiences. It’s really important to understand your audience before you go onstage.
Mike Horton: It is so hard being a comedian. It is so hard. Those nights where you’re just going to kill and the other nights where you’re just going to die.
Zane Pond: I bomb sometimes, everybody bombs. The key is, just like anything else in this life, you can fall hard, you can fall soft, but if you don’t get back up and keep going, no-one cares. No-one cares. Seriously. I think I bombed last Saturday in a show. I just went off and I insulted everyone and got about two minutes of laughter and then I started relating LA to Vietnam.
Mike Horton: This must have been in Orange County.
Zane Pond: After that joke, the crowd turned on me and for the rest of the show I had dead silence. I got offstage, I had a drink, I bomb… I went back up and I said, “Now I know what I need to work on – the last two and a half minutes of that set – and if I work on that last two and a half minutes, I won’t have to do this again.”
Mike Horton: Man, you picked a tough life.
Larry Jordan: Yes it is. Let’s go back to your career again. When you’re marketing yourself, is what you do onstage most important or is it positioning yourself to get the next gig? How does a comedian get themselves started?
Zane Pond: You bring people to shows. That or you do countless numbers of open mics. I have friends who do ten, 15 open mics a week. They can’t get booked at The Comedy Store because they’re newcomers and they don’t know how to bring people. A lot of comics hate on it, but the truth is if you have a crowd of people who love you enough to come out every week and see you, that tells you something; and it also shows The Comedy Story something, it shows, hey, you can build something. I’m not even doing this three months and I can bring ten people to every show.
Zane Pond: I did a show in the Main Room, I brought 20 people. I think I brought more than anyone else in that night and that’s how I like to keep it, because it’s money. At the end of the day, it’s money. They don’t want to develop new people, they don’t want to spend money on you, but if they know you generate money they’re going to want to invest in you, so it’s really a combination of being smart business wise and funny wise.
Mike Horton: Do you have an agent?
Zane Pond: No.
Mike Horton: You will.
Zane Pond: I know, I know. To tell you the truth, I don’t think it’s important for me at this stage.
Larry Jordan: How come?
Zane Pond: Because I don’t have a brand. The best thing for my career right now is to go on the road with another comedian.
Mike Horton: Well, I saw that YouTube video that you have up which talks about, “Do I sound gay? Do I look gay?” that kind of stuff, which is somewhat of a brand.
Zane Pond: It is, and for me I’m a very interesting gay, as you call it, I’m very masculine but I can always go off like this and… feminine with you. I love to do both and for me it’s a character. I want to build that character, but the things is agents don’t want to talk to you unless you’re making money and the most important thing you can do is have exposure and to hone your craft.
Zane Pond: This is my time to hone my craft. This is my time to get exposure. An agent might want to work with me, but how are they going to market me? How would I be able to market myself? You need to really find someone who believes in you and then wants to invest time in marketing and branding you and I think that’s much more…
Mike Horton: What’s going to happen is you’re going to kill one night and there’s going to be that right person in the audience and that person in the audience is going to take you on and then you’ll be alright. It’s just, like you’re doing right now, you’re just honing your craft and one of these nights you’re just going to kill and somebody’s going to be there.
Zane Pond: Thank you.
Mike Horton: Well, it’s the way it works.
Zane Pond: Yes. I actually have had something like that happen to me, I won’t say the name or the agency or anything, but hopefully down the road I can work with someone that really believes in me and wants to take me to that level. There’s nothing more that I want to do than promote positivity through comedy and, believe it or not, positivity through insult comedy.
Mike Horton: Well, Don Rickles did it.
Zane Pond: And he’s my idol. He is the one I look up to the most and I feel he bridged a lot of gaps. In this generation, we need someone like that.
Mike Horton: Well, I think we all love confrontational comedians. We love confrontation and we respond to that.
Zane Pond: A lot of people, though, especially right now with racism in LA and political correctness, it’s really a big deal and it was big back then, I’m sure, I don’t know, I wasn’t around for it, but now it’s really, really big in LA and I don’t like it.
Mike Horton: Nobody does, nobody does. We need to talk more about that too.
Zane Pond: Believe it or not, I don’t even like white guys.
Mike Horton: Neither do I. Neither does Larry. I’m speaking for him.
Larry Jordan: Zane, for people who want to be able to join the posse that follows you from one gig to the next, where can they go on the web to learn more about you?
Zane Pond: Facebook, Instagram, Zane Pond.
Mike Horton: Yes, go to his Facebook page, folks. That’s where you’ll find links to his YouTube videos and everything else.
Larry Jordan: And the person’s name that we’re talking to is Zane Pond. Zane, thanks for joining us. This has been a great chat.
Mike Horton: Good luck to you, my man.
Zane Pond: Thank you, thank you.
Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Cas Anvar and Richard Hatch, Larry O’Connor, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.
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Larry Jordan: Last week, The Buzz crew attended the Geekie Awards with live reports direct from Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles. This week, we wrap up our Geekie coverage with two more interviews. Let’s go back to Club Nokia, where Madison Mills is talking with actor Cas Anvar.
Madison Mills: I’m here with Cas, who is a voice on Assassin’s Creed. Cas, tell me a little bit about your work on one of the most popular video games out there.
Cas Anvar: I play the character Altaïr in the Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, part of the franchise. He’s like the Captain Kirk of the franchise, he’s the first assassin out of many assassins, he’s the one who started it all off. He’s a Middle Eastern assassin, he’s Turkish, Syrian born, and he’s a very intense and very interesting character. I really love him, actually. He’s one of the most fun roles I’ve got to play.
Cas Anvar: The game itself is incredibly popular. It’s in every country in the world, it’s been translated and when I go and do signing autographs at different Comic-Cons, I’m always mobbed. Of all the things I’ve done – I’ve done some Spielberg movies, I’ve done lots of television, I’ve been on Lost before – everyone’s all about Assassin’s Creed. It’s pretty amazing.
Madison Mills: Obviously you’ve done great work in the past, but what do you have going on right now with your new sci-fi show?
Cas Anvar: Right now, my big geeky thing that I’m excited about is this new sci-fi series called ‘The Expanse.’ Syfy is rebranding itself as a hardcore real sci-fi network now and they are bringing back sci-fi like the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ type thing. The Expanse is going to be premiering on December 14th and 15th, a bit two part thing, and it’s based on these novels by James S A Corey, hugely popular, bestselling novels.
Cas Anvar: We’ve just shot the first season and I’ve seen a few of the episodes already and my mind is kind of blown. I’m so excited because they look so good. We showed them at San Diego Comic-Con, we showed them at Toronto Comic-Con and New York Comic-Con just last week. The audiences were cheering and on their feet and nobody can wait to get this thing on the air, including myself and we’re really excited about that.
Cas Anvar: I’ve also got a big feature film coming out called ‘Room,’ with Brie Larson, William H Macy, Joan Allen and Jacob Tremblay, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and it was a tiny little movie that we were doing based on a bestselling novel of the same name and it has blown up. Brie is getting the buzz for Oscars and Globes and Spirit awards, and the movie, everyone’s saying it’s one of the best movies they’ve ever seen, so I’m really excited and thrilled and honored to be part of it and can’t wait for the next few months to see what that brings us.
Madison Mills: Tell me a little bit very quickly about why you’re here tonight.
Cas Anvar: Why I’m here is because I’m a huge geek. I’m one of the biggest geeks around. I’m a huge comic book collector, a video game player long before I used to voice them, and I love fantasy, science fiction, all of that. So as a result, they figured, “Let’s let this geek give an award,” so I’m going to be giving out the Best Podcast award.
Madison Mills: Well, thank you so much for chatting with us, we appreciate it.
Cas Anvar: My pleasure.
Madison Mills: I’m here with Richard tonight. Richard, can you tell me a little bit about why you’re here at the Geekie Awards?
Richard Hatch: I’m actually in two shows. One is called ‘Prelude to Axanar,’ which is a groundbreaking Trek indie film, and I say that because there have been fan films of very famous genres like ‘Star Trek’, ‘Battlestar Galactica’ ‘Firefly.’ Fans are getting together, forming independent productions and putting together shows online. They can’t make money, they can’t sell it, but ‘Axanar’ is something totally different. It’s made by professionals from top to bottom. They’ve raised a million three and it is on the level and quality of a studio film.
Cas Anvar: It’s going to be groundbreaking because there’s never been anything like this, so the question is how will the networks and studios deal with something on the level and quality of this? There could be revenue sharing, there could be licensing, it could open a whole new door for how quality indie productions can take some of the shows like ‘Firefly,’ ‘Babylon 5,’ ‘Farscape’ that the networks don’t want to do any more and actually do it under a different business model and be able to put it out there for the audience.
Cas Anvar: There’s definitely a very definitive, very dedicated audience for those kinds of shows but the networks don’t want to serve that agenda any more. So we’re here the Geekies and the Geekies is all about indie producers, directors, writers, actors developing a whole alternative network system of raising money, producing shows and delivering them to the audience not via the old distribution pipeline with networks and studios, but actually using a whole new process of having a more intimate, more personal relationship with the fans. So we’re entering a new day.
Madison Mills: Sure, and can you tell me a little bit about the project you’re talking about? What’s your new day? What are you working on?
Richard Hatch: I’m working on many things. Right now, this Axanar thing I love because I’m getting to play this phenomenal character and it’s very well written. The way they’re orchestrating the special effects, integrating all the elements of what should have cost $100 million but they’re making it for far less money than that. But just to watch the business model of what they’re creating is blowing me away, of what’s possible. People don’t realize you can make quality projects for a lot less money than the studios do.
Richard Hatch: Again, the whole new industry that’s developing right now, instead of making a two hour pilot, you make a 20 minute extended trailer and you pitch that to the networks, to Hulu, to Netflix, to whatever other stations are out there. You can develop it, turn it around much faster, it doesn’t take you so long to produce it, you can test the marketplace, see if people are interested and see if it works, so it’s a whole new day of producing things and opening up a door to all these wonderful indie producer/writer/directors to be able to develop new ideas, new stories, new concepts and pitch it out there to the world, pitch it out to the marketplace, see what hits and then the networks and studios look at this and if they see something that really works they want to option it, maybe pick it up.
Richard Hatch: But I think the day is coming when independent productions are no longer going to go to the networks or the old distribution round. They’re going to go develop their own relationship to the marketplace, build a new business model and do their own programming. We’re in a whole new day in the entertainment field.
Richard Hatch: I want to add one last thing – I’m developing a sci-fi project that I’ve done for the last 15 years called ‘GWOM’ – Great War of Magellan – and we’re doing an electronic game, a new series of graphic novels, a novelization and I’m doing a very high end web series to launch the novel. That’ll be coming out next year. Again, we artists have to learn the business of the art, learn how to market it, learn how to put together the business agenda to raise the money and be able to put it all together, which unfortunately has never been done in the past. I wish schools taught the full equation of filmmaking, but again we’re in a new day, it’s very exciting and I can’t wait to see what we have tonight. It should be a really exciting show.
Madison Mills: Richard, thank you so much.
Richard Hatch: Thank you very much.
Madison Mills: Thank you, Richard, we appreciate it.
Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Larry O’Connor, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.
Larry Jordan: My focus for this class is not to teach you how to design with Photoshop – design is beyond my skills – but I can show you how we can take existing images and edit them. I’m talking about digital photography and still images, and manipulating them in Photoshop is what today’s session is all about.
Larry Jordan: Welcome to Tech Talk, sponsored by Keycode Media.
Michael Kammes: Logging footage has always been a buzz kill before you edit. While it does help you get familiar with the footage, it can be extremely tedious. But what if there was a tool to help autolog media and, as a bonus, subsequently help to find media based on the actual dialogue taking place in the clip as opposed to someone’s interpretation of the content? Fear not, my logging friends, I’ve got a great tool to show you – Dialogue Search by Nexidia.
Michael Kammes: Many of you know Nexidia because of Phrase Find, an immensely popular add-on for Media Composer that was shipping several years ago. Phrase Find allowed an Avid user to search content based on the words and phrases spoken in the audio tracks of the media files. While Phrase Find is for now not currently shipping for Media Composer, its core technology is shipping inside Dialogue Search.
Michael Kammes: How the underlying technology behind Dialogue Search and Phrase Find works is pretty darn cool. Nexidia’s technology analyzes the audio tracks in your media files and creates a database of the phonemes in your speech. These phonemes are the tiny sounds that make up every word coming out of our mouths and, because Nexidia searches a database by phonemes and not by words, you have the ability to search for names or even slang.
Michael Kammes: Also remember, a majority of logging is based around subjective terms as the logger perceives the media. Dialogue Search allows users to search on the actual spoken content, the reality of the shot, as opposed to an interpretation of it.
Michael Kammes: Dialogue Search to the end user works in a basic webpage. In this basic webpage, the user can search by not only the aforementioned words, but also by the other common metadata such as the creation date or date range, the frame rate, the duration or even aspect ratio of the media file, or even by where the media may reside – assuming, that is, you already have your media physically organized on your disc. Dialogue Search also allows you to save searches or even review previous searches.
Michael Kammes: Great, so that allows you to find prospective matches on your word or phrase, but now what? I’m glad you asked. When your search results are presented to you, clicking them loads them on the same page inside of Media Player, along with a listing of all of the phonetic results within that file if there are multiple hits. Dialogue Search also gives you a confidence rating on how accurate it believes the match is. Clicking on the match previews it for you in the Media Player.
Michael Kammes: You can then utilize the search results out of Dialogue Search in several different ways. First, you can export a .csv or .pdf or simply copy the data to your computer’s clipboard. You can also get into your NLE by exporting as an .aaf or as an .xml. Once you load the .aaf or .xml into your NLE, you can then re-link to the media or simply import it and link.
Michael Kammes: I personally like tying this into an automation or asset management system, like a CatDV or even larger Enterprise solutions like Avid Interplay, Dilect or Vizrt so media management is handled under the hood without you needing to worry about it. Plus most asset management solutions can generate web proxies to view the clips in a webpage and still retain the relationship between the original media and these web proxies. However, if you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, there is in fact a JSON based REST API so you can dig into it relatively easily.
Michael Kammes: Dialogue Search runs on a Windows server hosted in your facility. The faster the server, the faster you can certainly index media. Index times of 40 times real time or better per core are not uncommon. This is infinitely faster than the index time with Phrase Find inside Media Composer, as the speed on Phrase Find was intentionally throttled. Many folks have asked, “If Dialogue Search is so accurate, why not use it for automated closed captioning? That’s a massive expense,” and that’s a great thought, I’m totally on board.
Michael Kammes: However, the requirements surrounding the accuracy of closed captioning in the broadcast realm are very strict and poorly recorded audio won’t always yield clean captions. For example, when I was working back in Chicago, we’d often record scenes outside near the L tracks in the loop. No dialogue was ever usable during these shots because a train always drowned out anything of use. Like the old adage – garbage in, garbage out.
Michael Kammes: I’m sure all of us have seen reality shows where often they need to subtitle what’s been said already. Dialogue Search can’t really search through that. However, for projects that may involve semi-controlled spaces with clean sound, like interviews or news reports, Dialogue Search is an excellent choice.
Michael Kammes: Nexidia Dialogue Search starts at $49.95 for the software and the license for one Dialogue Search engine to run on one server and includes two user seats and a thousand hours of searchable media. Each additional seat runs $5.95 and Nexidia has a tiered structure for adding on additional hours of footage, starting at $2 an hour.
Michael Kammes: A good trick to reduce costs for unscripted shows is to simply remove the previous season from the searchable database. No reason to keep it sitting there when the season is over. Keycode Media has a demo server of Dialogue Search running and we invite you to get in touch with us so you can test run it for yourself and even test it out on your media. Interested? I’m Michael Kammas at Keycode Media.
Larry Jordan: Larry O’Connor founded Other World Computing, which is also called OWC, in 1988. Their website, which you may know better, is macsales.com. OWC is both a reseller and a developer, supporting all things Mac for more than 25 years and, as you may have noticed, they’re also a sponsor of The Buzz. Hello, Larry, welcome back.
Larry O’Connor: Hey, good evening, Larry. How you doing tonight?
Larry Jordan: Mike and I are looking forward to this conversation because every time we talk to you, we learn something new.
Mike Horton: Hey, Larry, I’ve always wanted to ask this question – why do we have to go to macsales.com instead of owc.com?
Larry O’Connor: Well, somebody beat us to the punch on owc.com by about three years. We registered macsales.com in 1995, but owc.com was registered about three years prior.
Mike Horton: Really? And they won’t give it up?
Larry O’Connor: They’re some multibillion dollar financier conglomerate that’s changed names many times over the years and we’ve attempted it but the long and straight of it they’ve never wanted to give up that name.
Mike Horton: Jerks.
Larry Jordan: Just don’t have any sense of humor.
Mike Horton: No, exactly.
Larry O’Connor: Yes, we only used it for email too. They never made a website there and it’s like darn it, oh well.
Mike Horton: Oh jeez.
Larry Jordan: Larry, the last time you were on The Buzz we were talking about problems between Mac OS 10 Yosemite version 10.10 and SSD drives. Now, apparently, there’s a problem with RAIDs and MAC OS 10 El Capitan. What’s the problem?
Larry O’Connor: Let’s actually hit it two ways. In my opinion, there’s always been a problem with… RAID… on any MAC OS version, just from the standpoint that once you trade a RAID with the Disk Utility, if you trade a RAID1 for example, if something happens to one of your two drives, unless you’ve gone into the Disk Utility and got more information on your RAID set, you have no information to even tell you that there’s a problem. One of your drives could fail and it continues operating just like every day until, well, the other drive fails, so one shoe is dropped and you only find out that there’s a problem when both of them have gone offline.
Larry O’Connor: That’s been the case for years. Apple hasn’t updated the RAID capability Disk Utility for more than five years, I think it may even be six or seven years. With El Capitan, they actually took away the ability to create a RAID with this utility. There are still ways to do it with terminal line commands, but there is no official RAID support now at all with 10.11 and later. As far as continuing the support of it has not been something that they really have done anything with for years and any of the current computers are putting out, they don’t have internal bays for drives.
Larry O’Connor: From Apple’s point of view, there’s nothing they ship that they should be supporting RAID on and if somebody’s connecting devices that can RAID, when you use Disk Utility, now it’s a support, there’s an issue. They’re supporting something that requires third party hardware and it puts them in the middle of things, so I can understand them not wanting to do it, so… they just took the functionality away.
Larry Jordan: I want to be really clear here. With Disk Utility, we can create RAID0s or RAID1s, that’s what it’s been able to do in the past.
Larry O’Connor: Up to ten times.
Larry Jordan: Ok, so my question is if I’ve created a RAID in OS 10.10 using Disk Utility and it’s a RAID0, will it work when I upgrade to 10.11 or does the RAID break?
Larry O’Connor: The RAID does not break, you just no longer have the ability to maintain it. It continues to function just fine, but it’s no longer supported via Disk Utility. And if you want to create a new RAID0, well, you can’t do so with Disk Utility under 10.11.
Larry Jordan: So existing RAIDs are fine, but creating a new RAID is the problem. Granted, fine in relative terms, but if you upgrade you haven’t lost your data, your RAID doesn’t die, you’re not totally screwed so you can keep your data. I just want to check how severe this problem is before we get carried away.
Larry O’Connor: Well, I don’t really call it a problem, it’s just removal of a function. The problem really is notification and disk health and monitoring, but it’s just a feature that was supported is no longer supported. Your existing Vines or existing hard drive sets are grandfathered in, but you can’t trade new Vines, not using Disk Utility.
Larry Jordan: Now, to create something else like a RAID5, we’ve never been able to create that in Disk Utility, which means that now we have to have some sort of a software tool that allows us to create a RAID0 or a RAID1 or a RAID5. Do you guys have something that fills that gap?
Larry O’Connor: Well, we have SoftRAID 5, of course, which gives a RAID0, 1, zero plus 1, 5. It also provides that disk helping, monitoring including the predictive analysis, so even before there’s an issue, it would trip smart and tell you that there’s something to worry about. SoftRAID gives really good information and is looking at a lot of information on the drive and how it’s behaving to give you a much earlier warning compared to what you otherwise get from Smart.
Larry O’Connor: I don’t want to bad mouth anyone, but one organization, when we explained how SoftRAID actually monitored and watched drive behavior and would tell you if there was a probability of failure, said, “Well, doesn’t that create more RMAs?” Well, technically if a drive’s going to fail, it’s going to fail and you could have a drive that’s starting to do things that lead towards failure with still six months or a year, or even longer, before it actually bites the dust, so technically it increases more warranty incidents.
Larry O’Connor: However, for us, we’d rather replace that drive than have a customer lose data or have a risk at being down because a drive has gone offline. If we can tell you that there’s something going on – hard drives fail, that’s just a fact, whether it’s a year, three years, five years, ten years. It’s a mechanical beast and you should have good backups – and there are a thousand things we could talk about there – but if there is a drive that’s starting to go south, it’s better to know that that’s happening sooner rather than later so you can swap that drive at your own discretion and not be in the middle of an important project, when something actually could otherwise happen.
Larry Jordan: There’s another issue I was thinking about. If we’ve created a RAID with Disk Utility, can I then switch over to SoftRAID without losing my data? Or if I use SoftRAID to take an existing RAID and upgrade it so I can monitor it, have I lost all of my data?
Larry O’Connor: No. First off, when you install SoftRAID onto your Mac, not only will it monitor the drives that it’s initialized, that it’s actually taken control over, it also will start monitoring all the drives that it has access to in your system, even your solid state drives. Whether it’s a Mac 2013 or their latest iMac, it’s irrelevant, the drives in that system will be monitored whether they’re a RAID volume or not.
Larry O’Connor: In addition, SoftRAID is able to take over an existing RAID. In taking over the RAID, it enhances its notification and its ability to really check out and know what’s going on, including certifying the drive. The other nice thing with RAID1, a lot of people use them because data’s important, you want to have that live redundancy. When SoftRAID takes over a RAID1, actually… performance on the… side is twice as fast as Apple’s RAID1, plus all of the live monitoring.
Larry O’Connor: All these things are great because it kills me to know that Apple’s RAID1, the whole point of having a RAID1 is to have redundancy. You set it up with the Apple RAID and the RAID1 itself is fine with Apple, it’s slower than ours – half the speed on the… – but a drive can fail and you’d never know about it unless the other drive failed and you find that both drives have bitten the dust. So SoftRAID will take over an existing RAID set, it doesn’t have to but there are certainly benefits for it to do so, and you do not have to start over and re-initialize and re-transfer the data. It will take it over non-destructively.
Larry O’Connor: Right now, we have SoftRAID 5, which is a $179 application. All the SoftRAID applications are Enterprise class solutions in terms of their data integrity, their checksumming. This is not a command line interface. This is some heavy duty stuff.
Larry O’Connor: This weekend, SoftRAID Lite will launch, which will provide all the great features in terms of the disk monitoring and such that SoftRAID 5 offers, but be limited to just providing the RAID0 and the RAID1 support, which covers a large percentage of what people’s needs are out there, so for $49 you have an application that will give you everything that Apple’s Disk Utility previously provided for RAID support, plus the faster RAID1, plus the drive monitoring, the actual health monitoring that, if you’re going to have a RAID set, especially a RAID0 set, to a certain degree it’s playing with fire not to have some sort of real health monitoring going on.
Larry O’Connor: People say, “Oh, I use Smart monitoring.” Smart is an industry standard and some of the testing, you would think, was driven by the hard drive manufacturers because by the time Smart starts to tell you that there’s maybe something up with your drive or probably up with your drive, you typically aren’t having system issues. You don’t want to have system issues if they can be avoided and, yes, Smart will tell you it’s time to replace the drive, but if that’s been after system lock-ups and crashes and probably data loss, it’s a little late.
Mike Horton: SoftRAID 5.1 is not shipping until October 26th for El Capitan.
Larry O’Connor: Correct.
Mike Horton: I just wanted to make that clear.
Larry O’Connor: Well, let’s take a step back.
Mike Horton: It says it’s shipping October 26th.
Larry O’Connor: Correct. It’ll begin shipping this Sunday, as will SoftRAID Lite, and just to take a step back, the version 5.07 of SoftRAID is El Capitan compatible, but the in-menu notification is disabled. Apple made a change between 10.10 and 10.11 and the… have changed.
Mike Horton: Do you use SoftRAID, Larry?
Larry Jordan: Yes, I’ve got four OWC RAIDs here and they’re all running SoftRAID.
Mike Horton: They’re all running SoftRAID, mhmm.
Larry Jordan: Now, to be clear, there is a difference between a software RAID and a hardware RAID. Other companies like Promise and G-Tech or even CalDigit are using hardware RAID controllers. Is a hardware…
Larry O’Connor: I’m going to stop you at CalDigit. CalDigit’s multi-base solution is not a hardware RAID.
Larry Jordan: Forgive me, I’ll restate that. Promise and G-Tech, which are two well known companies, use hardware. Are hardware RAIDs affected by this change? It’s only software RAIDs created by Disk Utility, correct? I’m just trying to get my arms wrapped around the size of the problem.
Larry O’Connor: Well, technically no-one’s RAIDs are affected by the OS update. What’s affected is an actual user’s ability to create new RAIDs moving forward under 10.11 and if you have a hardware RAID, you’ll be using your hardware RAID box to accommodate the problem. If you’re using a software RAID, then at this point you should have our SoftRAID.
Larry Jordan: Now, you chose to go to software RAID. Why do you like a software RAID better than a hardware RAID?
Larry O’Connor: Number one, it’s faster. It allows you to take advantage of multiple buses, you can create multiple RAIDs across the same solution, it gives you greater flexibility than you ever get from a hardware RAID and the other big thing is just the ability to properly monitor the drives. There’s really not a good solution, certainly in the competition. The kind of health monitoring that occurs is pretty well limited to what Smart reports and you’re in the same circumstance if you’re just using a Smart utility on your computer.
Larry O’Connor: There’s better health analysis from a software RAID because it’s looking at what those drives are doing and how they’re behaving, as well as using Smart attributes to give some predictive analysis and actually identify a problem before it becomes a visible problem. The other thing you can’t do with any hardware RAID, which I personally do and I think it’s just freaking awesome, is have multiple RAID sets across a single set of drives.
Larry O’Connor: If you want a scratcher, you could do a RAID0. If you want to have light redundancy, you could have a RAID5 on that set. For maximum redundancy and some protection performance, you can do a RAID zero plus 1. You can do a RAID1 across four drives and you can do all these different RAIDs at the same time on the same drive set so you can move your data from its effective editing space to its storage. That to me is a really nice thing.
Larry O’Connor: Then the other cool thing about software, when you set these volumes up, it will allow you to create the partition in a way that is used in the fastest part of the drive, for the kind of partition that you’re setting up for the work that needs that speed, so you’re archiving and in the case of spinning platters software will use the outermost tracks on those drives for your RAID0 portion; and it will use the tracks that are more inner for the RAIDs that are more for redundancy than they are for maximum performance, so you always know you have the fastest part of the drive when you’re doing that work.
Larry O’Connor: A RAID5 across two Thunderbays across two Thunderbolt ports also provides pretty darn amazing performance. It’s just…
Mike Horton: Larry and I at the top of the show were talking about when you should upgrade to the latest operating system and I came up with six weeks after. What do you come up with, Larry, and when should we upgrade?
Larry O’Connor: There are three points to when you should upgrade. Point number one is you have an application that absolutely requires it, that it can’t live without; point number two, perhaps, is when there is a feature that you really want to take advantage of, that that new OS brings to the table; and I suppose point number three would be even if there’s not a great new feature, maybe there are some things that appeal to you and you just want to bring it up to date. I’d honestly wait as long as I could to make sure.
Mike Horton: Yes, we’re talking generically speaking. I say six weeks. I still stick with that.
Larry O’Connor: …if you don’t have to, why upgrade?
Mike Horton: Yes, that’s true.
Larry Jordan: Larry, there are a bunch of other questions I just need short answers to because there’s some cool stuff you’re doing that doesn’t necessarily affect RAIDs. Tell me about this new mini version of the Envoy SSD. What’s this?
Larry O’Connor: Ah, the Envoy Pro Mini has been a great success. It’s a key sized drive, a little flash drive, but it’s an SSD in that small profile. We’ve been shipping 120 gig and 240 gig since May. Our 40 gig will begin shipping in about two weeks, so you now have 480 gigs in these little tiny key sized drive that also provides performance of up to over 400 megabytes a second.
Mike Horton: Oh my gosh. Jeez.
Larry Jordan: But how does that attach? Is it USB3 or is it Thunderbolt or what? Larry O’Connor: That’s USB3. There’s honestly no real reason to kick it to Thunderbolt. USB3 is bus powered, use it on a Mac, use it on a PC, transfer data between Macs and PCs with it, and it’s great for those quick data sets between different systems.
Larry Jordan: One of the other questions is the brand new iMacs that were released, both the 21 and the 27 inch. The RAM inside the 21 inch is soldered in. Can we get more RAM for a 27 and what’s the maximum we can get?
Larry O’Connor: The 21 inch, buy 16 gigs when you buy that machine. It’s a nice machine but 16 gigs is the max. If you skimp at the time you buy it, you can never upgrade it, as you’ve noted. The 27 inch, Apples offers upgrades up to 32 gig; we offer up to 32 gig sets as well, which are at a substantial cost discount versus Apple.
Larry O’Connor: But even more importantly, we offer up to 64 gigabytes and there are plenty of applications where that gap between 32 and 64 really enables a lot of performance to be unlocked, where you’re not processor bound as you are memory resource bound. These 64 gig kits, which is double what the Apple factory maximum allows – we offer 40 gig also as an option – really take this machine from a high end consumer machine and start to put it into that low end pro machine, somewhere between a Mac Pro and iMac that can only go to 32. Only the new model that Apple just began shipping last week can go to 64 gigabytes.
Larry Jordan: One last quick question – if you’ve got an older laptop and you’re debating about whether to upgrade the laptop or buy a new one and money does not grow on trees, can you upgrade the older laptop and what would you recommend?
Larry O’Connor: You can upgrade laptops and we can go further, but pretty much every MacBook or MacBook Pro from 2006 to 2012, every Mac Mini up until early 2014, every Mac Pro silver tower through 2012 has exceptional upgrade opportunities and these machines by and large have never been so much processor bound as they’ve been IO and memory bound, so putting the maximum memory in these systems, putting in a solid state drive is transformational.
Larry O’Connor: Things like DaVinci Resolve require powerful GPUs, which is a reason to get a new system, but for everything else, having memory, having an OWC SSD in your system – and our SSDs are built for these, built to take… especially the 3G machines are really specifically to give those machines the best performance…
Mike Horton: Yes, I’ve got a 2012 MacBook Pro in front of me right now with an OWC SSD drive in my DVD drive and use that as my boot-up drive. I’ve got the maximum amount of RAM. I’m ready to go. I’m set for the next three, four years. I’m fine.
Larry Jordan: Larry, for people who want to get the latest gear or find out the latest information, where can they go on the web?
Larry O’Connor: Www.macsales.com, and very important – all the videos are there to show people, even before… Not sure? You can watch a video to see how easy it is to do these upgrades. The last thing I’ll leave you with – a 2008 or 2009 MacBook Pro with an SSD and a memory upgrade will beat a 2012/13… It will beat those machines.
Mike Horton: What?! What?! What are you talking about? A 2008 will beat a 2012?
Larry Jordan: Larry, we’ll have to tend that later. Thanks, Larry. Bye bye.
Mike Horton: Really? Oh, for God’s sake.
Larry Jordan: It’s time for a Buzz Flashback. Five years ago today…
Unknown male (archive): So it’s really a production support vehicle and a safe, quiet place to process your media, which is your most precious commodity. We landed on a nice solid Kino Flo fluorescent lighting system, we have a nice ARRI HMI package for superior lighting and we have a lightweight battery operated LED system that’s fantastic new technology.
Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.
Larry Jordan: So what do you think? Was he blowing smoke? Can you really make a 2008 system…
Mike Horton: Did you hear him right? He said something about a 2008, they can make it better than the 2012 that I have right now with the SSD drive in my DVD drive with a maxed out RAM, with everything else. No, you were wrong, Larry. Don’t tell me that. I spent $1,000 more.
Larry Jordan: This is a quiz now – what was he saying that you could not upgrade?
Mike Horton: He was talking about the iMac.
Larry Jordan: He was talking about the MacBook Pro as well.
Mike Horton: I didn’t hear that part. I have early stages of Alzheimer’s. What was it, Larry? Is this a trick question?
Larry Jordan: It is a trick question. You can’t upgrade the GPU, so if you wanted to run software which is heavily GPU dependent – think DaVinci Resolve or Final Cut X…
Mike Horton: But we’re going to have external GPUs.
Larry Jordan: No.
Mike Horton: Why not? With Thunderbolt and…
Larry Jordan: The Mac operating system does not support external GPUs because the Thunderbolt is not fast enough, so we can’t do external chassis based GPUs.
Mike Horton: We will.
Larry Jordan: Hopefully, but not this week.
Mike Horton: Not the 2008s.
Larry Jordan: No, and while Mike is pouting I want to thank our guests for tonight, Zane Pond…
Mike Horton: You’re wrong, Larry, I don’t care what you said.
Larry Jordan: …and Cas Anvar and Richard Hatch, all actors, and Larry O’Connor…
Mike Horton: I spent $1,000 more. Damn 2012s.
Larry Jordan: …the CEO of OWC. Visit our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com while I console Mike. You’ll find thousands of interviews all available to you free; and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter as well.
Larry Jordan: Talk with us on Twitter, @DPBuZZ, and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Mike is inconsolable for the moment. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Doogie Turner, with additional music provided by smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription – visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you.
Larry Jordan: Our Geekie Award coverage was produced by James Castle Stevens; our producer is Cirina Catania; production team: Megan Paulos, Ed Golya, Hannah Dean and Brianna Murphy. On behalf of Mike, thanks for watching The Buzz.
Mike Horton: Yes.
Announcer #1: 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; and by Xen Data, who provides highly competitive digital video archive solutions.