Digital Production Buzz
December 17, 2015
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
(Click here to listen to this show.)
Randi Altman’s Perspective
Tech Talk with Larry Jordan
BuZZ Flashback: Jessica Sitomer
Joseph Tully , Founder, Tully & Weiss Criminal Lawyers
Kendall Eckman, Regional Manager, Western North America, Blackmagic Design
Lynette Kent, Author, Artist, Educator, Photographer
Larry Jordan: Last week, a police helicopter had to abort a stolen car chase in the San Francisco Bay area town of Martinez. Why? They were on a collision course with a drone gone rogue. Tonight on The Buzz, we talk with the pilot of that drone and his lawyer about the perils of flying drones and what you must know to protect yourself.
Larry Jordan: Next, how do you pick the right camera for your project? And as a hint, it isn’t necessarily the camera that you own. Kendall Eckman, the Regional Manager for Western North America for Blackmagic Design, explains what key camera specs mean and how to find the right camera for your next film.
Larry Jordan: Next, Lynette Kent is a professional photographer who travels the world recording amazing landscapes. She’s also an unconventional computer guru and one of the leaders of the Adobe Technology Exchange of Southern California. Tonight, she talks about traveling with Profoto gear, taking pictures and the art of being a pro.
Larry Jordan: All this plus Tech Talk, a Buzz Flashback 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 Blackmagic Design at blackmagicdesign.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 the creative content industry covering media production, post production and marketing around the world. Our co-host, Mike Horton, has decided to hang out at home. Can you believe this? I mean, hello, Mike, are you there?
Mike Horton: Yes, I’ve got more important things to do. I’m hanging out at home there, Larry. That’s pretty much the bottom line.
Larry Jordan: I was thinking, we’re about a week away from Christmas. Are your holiday decorations up?
Mike Horton: Well, yes. Now, do you do Christmas trees?
Larry Jordan: Yes we do.
Mike Horton: Ok, well I do a Christmas tree and I do a Christmas tree probably like most people, it goes up about three weeks before Christmas, I don’t know why everybody does that, or two weeks before Christmas. Most sane people do it the night before.
Larry Jordan: Well, no-one has ever accused you of sanity.
Mike Horton: No, so we do it, like, three weeks before so we can panic during the entire Christmas season and this year we decided, for some silly reason, to put it right in front of the fireplace.
Larry Jordan: Ok. That strikes me as a real problem.
Mike Horton: And, of course, we don’t have a fire this year because we’re just not going to put a fire because the Christmas tree’s right in front of the fireplace. No, this is true. We usually put it out in the living room and we’ve never used the living room since we moved into this place 30 years ago. In fact, all we do is pass it going through the front door and say, “Hi, living room,” so we put it in the family room, but the only place in the family room is to put it in front of the fireplace.
Larry Jordan: But that means you can’t have a fire.
Mike Horton: No, and we still panic about the whole dryness thing and the Christmas tree exploding. You hear of all these exploding Christmas trees, I don’t know how that happens, but next year for sure – we keep saying that – let’s just put it up the night before and then take it down the day after.
Larry Jordan: You know, I had no idea there was so much trauma associated with your Christmas tree.
Mike Horton: And there’s a lot of science too, so there you go. Going into the garage and we’ve got five containers of Christmas decorations and all these wonderful Christmas ornaments that go back 40 years to the little babies and all that other stuff and that sort of thing is really, really fun to do.
Larry Jordan: Oh, it truly is.
Mike Horton: But it is a lot of work, especially putting lights on a Christmas tree. Who does that, you?
Larry Jordan: Oh yes, about 17 strings of lights and our ornaments go back 80 years, so I know exactly what you mean.
Mike Horton: And that’s, of course, more trauma because it usually says do not attach more than four strings together, and it’s always 17 strings.
Larry Jordan: I’ve never, ever paid attention to that.
Mike Horton: Yes, that’s a good thing.
Larry Jordan: So I’m going to go back home and discover the smoking remains of my house after today’s show is over.
Mike Horton: It will, it’ll explode.
Larry Jordan: We’ve got a great show today and I’m glad to at least say hi to you at the beginning of it because we’re going to be talking with a guy that was flying a drone, lost control of the drone, the drone chased off a police helicopter causing some air traffic control issues and got arrested by the police for flying a drone and causing all kinds of chaos. So we’re going to find out what the laws about drones are, so I’m looking forward to our first guest.
Mike Horton: Yes, they’re changing all the time, and there are so many idiotic and confusing laws out there right now. And now, of course, if you’ve got a drone, you’ve got to register it.
Larry Jordan: That’s very true, starting December 21st. Michael, thank you, we’re going to see you next week on our Christmas Eve show, so thanks for joining us today.
Mike Horton: Great, and happy holidays and I don’t have to wish you a Merry Christmas yet, but I will.
Larry Jordan: Not yet. We’re going to do that next week. By the way, I want to remind you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue every week gives you an inside look at both The Buzz and industry, plus quick links to all the different segments on the show. Best of all, every issue is free.
Larry Jordan: I’ll be back with Owen Ouywang and Joseph Tully right after Randi Altman’s Perspective on the News.
Larry Jordan: This is Randi Altman’s Perspective.
Larry Jordan: Randi Altman has been writing about our industry for more than 20 years. In fact, she’s the editor in chief of her own website at postperspective.com. Hello, Randi, welcome back.
Randi Altman: Hi, Larry. How are you?
Larry Jordan: It’s about a week until Christmas, the excitement around here is just palpable and, I can imagine, even more crazy at your place, so before we get hung up on the holidays, what’s been happening this week?
Randi Altman: Well, earlier in the week I was having some fun watching social media blow up about this whole – and I’m sure you’re aware of it – Beats by Dre, which is owned by Apple, how they had this ‘Help Wanted’ Ad for a non-Final Cut Pro editor, they wanted some Avid editors, so I had a really good time reading all the comments on all the different social media platforms and what I’ve discovered is it’s like editing wars.
Randi Altman: It’s crazy. People latch onto a particular editing system and they hold on tight and there are others who are just like, “You know what? Whatever works for the job,” No-one ever commented, “Oh, that was edited in a great way on that system in the theater or watching on their TV screen,” so it’s been very interesting. Then a couple of Final Cut Pro editors were like, “Good, more work for me. You guys do what you’ve got to do and I’ll take those jobs,” so it’s been pretty interesting.
Randi Altman: I think it goes throughout the industry in terms of even the professional editors, because I’ve read some interviews with Kirk Baxter, who admittedly is not overly technical when it comes to his editing system, he relies on his assistant editors and he gets creative, and that’s what he likes. So he’s not necessarily platform agnostic but he’s willing to work on what works for him.
Larry Jordan: I did some homework on that Beats situation. Beats is a separate company from Apple, it’s not part of Apple HQ, so they’re totally independent. Apple HQ still is full Final Cut 10 but Beats, because it’s a separate entity, it would be as though you were deciding to edit with Premiere or Avid or Final Cut. It affects what you and your company do but it doesn’t affect what Apple does. Also, if you look at the headline, that was definitely written to generate clicks, so it blew up. I got a lot of emails about that one myself. What else have we been seeing going on this week, just before everything shuts down for the holidays?
Randi Altman: Well, RED introduced a new camera. They’ve been spitting them out pretty regularly, haven’t they? It’s the Scarlet-W and it’s part of their Dragon line, so that’s new. Then just getting back to the editing thing for a second, I heard today that Bandido Brothers, so Jacob Rosenberg and those guys, they actually purchased some Avid gear and they’re talking about using Media Composer as well. So a company that had been historically an Adobe based platform is opening itself up to more, so they’re using Avid and Adobe products. I think that that’s how the world is going. I think that you’re going to be using multiple.
Larry Jordan: Well, one of the interesting things you said that I’ve felt for a long time is that all too often we define ourselves in terms of our editing tools as opposed to what we create with those tools. We define ourselves as a Premiere editor, an Avid editor, a Final Cut editor, which is why these flame wars exist, because they challenge our existence as a Final Cut or an Avid person, whereas I think a lot of editors need to define themselves as storytellers and, as you were pointing out, what tool do we need to use to tell the story that needs to be told? That’s something that I don’t think the industry’s ready to shift over to yet. We still want to be hung up on the technology and to find ourselves in terms of the technology not in terms of the results. What do you think?
Randi Altman: I think part of that is true. I do see more people, though, willing to embrace other types of technology and lose the whole technical aspect and just dive into the creative, at least some of the people that I’ve been talking to, so hopefully that will be a trend for the upcoming year.
Larry Jordan: Well, thinking of the upcoming year, I know that you’ve got plenty of stuff to do because your newsletter’s about to publish and I don’t want to interfere with that, but I want to bring you back Christmas Eve and take a look at what trends you’ve spotted for 2015, to look back at the year and give us a high perspective of what you’ve noticed. Can we invite you back then?
Randi Altman: Sure, I’d like that. Thanks.
Larry Jordan: We’ll talk to you next week. Randi Altman is the editor in chief of postperspective.com and you can visit her website at any time for some of the finest interviews in the industry. Randi, thanks for joining us today.
Randi Altman: Thanks, Larry.
Larry Jordan: To read more from Randi Altman, visit postperspective.com.
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Larry Jordan: Last week, a police helicopter had to abort a stolen car chase in the San Francisco Bay area town of Martinez. Why? They were on a collision course with a drone gone rogue launched by a student who’s now in the midst of a police FAA investigation. Tonight, we’re joined by Joseph Tully, founder of the California criminal law firm Tully & Weiss and author of California State of Collusion. He’s consistently named among the top 100 criminal trial lawyers in America and holds a certified criminal law specialist designation by the California Bar Association, an honor held by less than one-tenth of one percent of lawyers. Hello, Joseph, welcome.
Joseph Tully: Good evening. How are you?
Larry Jordan: And joining us as well is Owen Ouywang, the Chinese exchange student who was flying the drone at the time. Hello, Owen, welcome.
Owen Ouywang: Hello. Good evening, how are you?
Larry Jordan: Glad to have you both with us. Owen, I want to start with you and start with something simple – how long have you been flying drones?
Owen Ouywang: I’ve been flying drones since I was really a kid, so I was flying remote control helicopters since I was eight or nine.
Larry Jordan: And tell us what model you were flying and what you were filming when this drone runaway occurred.
Owen Ouywang: The model that I was flying was a DJI Phantom 3 advanced model and I have to clarify that I was not trying to get pictures or videos at the time. I was just trying to fly the drone.
Larry Jordan: So explain the situation. Start at the beginning, what happened?
Owen Ouywang: It was 8.30 or nine in the evening and I took out my drone to have a test flight, so I took it off from the front yard of my house. Then I started to fly the drone in an east direction and then I realized that there is a power line in the direction that I was trying to fly the drone, so I took the drone to the south direction. Then I believe there was some interference between the power line and my joystick and then I lost the signal of the drone. That activated a steer forward function which is a called a return to home function and that raises the altitude to a preset altitude and starts to fly it back and I believe that is where the near collision happened.
Larry Jordan: And the incident, as I understand it, was the drone was about 750 feet in the air, give or take a little bit, and started to interfere with a police helicopter which was in pursuit of a stolen car. Am I hearing that correctly?
Owen Ouywang: Yes, this is what I heard from the news as well.
Larry Jordan: So how did the police connect you with the drone?
Owen Ouywang: After the return to home function activated but the drone itself, the drone started to fly back from where it lost its connection with me. I heard a helicopter flying over my head after the drone got close to me. However, I did not know that was a CHP helicopter until the police officer started to talk to me about it.
Larry Jordan: Well, that’s got to be a scary moment. Joseph, what’s the current law on flying drones and was Owen obeying the law as you understand it?
Joseph Tully: Actually, he was. The scary thing about this situation is that this isn’t a situation where you have somebody who’s uninformed or being negligent or being reckless. Owen is a student pilot, he’s flown six or seven different types of aircraft including a helicopter. Before he flew the drone, he had looked up the FAA guidelines and was doing his best to be safe and fly within those guidelines.
Joseph Tully: To answer your question about the current law on drones, there’s no real law about drones so the situation is very analogous to automobiles. When automobiles first came out, there were no laws about vehicular manslaughter or anything like that and, as a society, we had to develop a body of law around this new technology, and that’s where we’re at now.
Joseph Tully: There could be maybe a battery – if I punch you, that’s a battery, if I throw a baseball at you, that’s a battery, if I flew a drone at you, that would be a battery – or assault with a deadly weapon, something like that. We could use those laws to apply them to this situation. However, we fully cooperated with the police and with the US Department of Transportation. They determined that because this was in return to home function, there is no criminal intent or criminal negligence on Owen’s part and therefore there’s no criminal liability. As I understand it, he’s been cleared of any criminal charges at this point.
Larry Jordan: Now, the one thing that puzzles me is that there’s a 500 feet limit to altitude with a drone and the drone went up to 750 feet. Was this a problem with the manufacturer?
Joseph Tully: It’s a default setting in the drone, so it can be increased and in this instance Owen was in a situation where he’s on a hill, there are other houses on that hill, there are other buildings in the area and there are power lines, so he actually – being safety minded – increased the default so that if it ever did go into the return to home function, it would fly up to a safe height and then return home, so it wouldn’t hit a building or a power line and fall down on somebody and hurt them. Owen knows, being a pilot, that most pilots fly above a thousand feet – is that correct?
Owen Ouywang: Yes.
Joseph Tully: Ok.
Larry Jordan: Well, one of the things I want to point out is that Owen had been very proactive in stating what the problem is, stating what he did, stating how this has come out and is serving as a role model spokesman to say, “Hey, pay attention to this,” so that there’s been no attempt to hide the fact this occurred, so Owen, thank you very much for joining us and explaining this today. I want to make that really clear. But, Joseph, is Owen still responsible for flying the drone, even though the drone has gotten out of his control?
Joseph Tully: That’s a really difficult question and the answer is probably maybe. Again, this is a new field in law. It was in autopilot mode. He lost connection with the drone through no fault of anything that he did. Would it be your fault if your cell phone lost connection with somebody while you were guiding them someplace and they got lost? In this case, the drone lost connection, through no fault of Owen’s, and because it lost connection it went into this return to home safety function.
Larry Jordan: Based upon this, and especially because he interfered with a police helicopter, what charges if any is Owen facing, or what penalties, if any?
Joseph Tully: Right now, he’s been cleared of any criminal liability, so there are no federal charges, there are no state criminal charges. There are guidelines that you’re not supposed to fly within five miles of an airport and there’s an airport nearby, within five miles of where this was, so there may be a penalty with that. But it’s my understanding that there are no clear fines or penalties. Again, there’s no real body of law around drones right now.
Larry Jordan: My understanding is that there is new drone legislation pending. Can you describe what that is?
Joseph Tully: Well, I’ve had a chance to review it very briefly and it seems to be focused on just registration. So any drones between half a pound up to 55 pounds have to be registered with the FAA and if you don’t register you face very stiff civil penalties of up to $27,500 and perhaps some criminal liability as well. But the regulations seem to be dealing with registration itself and not how to fly the drone or flying irresponsibly.
Larry Jordan: We have a live chat going on right now and, Owen, you answered this question earlier but Eric is asking why you were flying the drone if you weren’t filming at the time.
Owen Ouywang: I was just trying to test the flight of the drone. People get a drone, they do not fly it only when they want to film. I was just trying to fly it around. That’s what I wanted to do.
Larry Jordan: Basically practicing.
Owen Ouywang: Yes, exactly.
Joseph Tully: And actually he has a passion for flying. Again, he’s a student pilot, he’s close to getting his license, he flies any kind of aircraft he can and he’s going to school to become an airline mechanic, so he loves flying.
Larry Jordan: Joseph, should drone manufacturers provide a different kind of programming for their drones to help solve this problem? Is this a manufacturing issue? Is this a regulation issue? An airspace issue? Where do you think the boundaries lie?
Joseph Tully: I think there is a technological fix. I think the emerging technology of vehicle to vehicle communication, the internet of things where different objects can talk to each other, should be implemented into drones as a fix to this. Also, when I’m in cruise control in my car, if somebody pulls in front of me, my car will slow down and adjust with the laser assisted cruise control with the radar installed in it. I think the drones having radar or vehicle to vehicle communication would have avoided this incident.
Larry Jordan: Joseph, if you were to give guidance to other drone operators who want to fly their drones responsibly and avoid the kind of problem that Owen’s going through right now, what advice would you give them?
Joseph Tully: First and foremost, I would say that a drone is not a toy, so everybody who gets a drone under the tree at Christmas, don’t wake up and just start flying it right away. Be very responsible with it. Again, Owen’s situation is somebody who’s intelligent, who’s knowledgeable and was trying to do the right thing and yet still ended up in a bad situation which could have been really bad, so I would say treat it extremely safe, go to a waterfront, go to a place where people fly kites, where you can have visual sight with the drone at all times. Stay away from crowds of people and objects, so a nice open, flat area where there aren’t a lot of people would be the place to fly a drone.
Larry Jordan: Another legal question for you, Joseph. What are the liability rulings on drones? If damage is caused, who’s liable?
Joseph Tully: I think we would have to go back to cars or aircraft and use existing law and start applying it by analogy to drones. If I fly a drone through the window of your house and I purposely do that or I negligently do that, then I would be responsible for it. If I’m flying a drone responsibly and you are – I don’t know why somebody would do this – but you’re piloting erratically maybe an airplane or something like that and you hit the drone just because you’re flying erratically, that would be your fault.
Joseph Tully: Then I think there’s probably going to be a big body of law relating to manufacturer’s liability. For instance, had something happened here, as you pointed out, there’s not a clear liability situation. The drone was in autopilot mode, it has been programmed to be safe and yet there’s no vehicle to vehicle communication and there’s no radar installed in the drone where it could have avoided hitting an object, a building, a tree or another flying vehicle.
Larry Jordan: Owen, I can just imagine the stress you’re under and I very much appreciate you coming on this show and explaining the situation, so I hope this gets resolved successfully from your point of view.
Owen Ouywang: Thank you very much.
Larry Jordan: And Joseph, for people who want to learn more about your law practice, which is amazing, what website can they go to?
Joseph Tully: They could go to tully-weiss.com.
Larry Jordan: And Joseph Tully himself is speaking. Joseph and Owen, thanks for joining us today.
Joseph Tully: Thank you very much.
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Larry Jordan: Have you ever tried to figure out how to pick the best camera? Or wondered if you were using the right gear on your project? Well, our next guest can help. Kendall Eckman is the Regional Manager for the Western North America section for Blackmagic Design and we invited him here to answer that very question. Hello, Kendall, welcome.
Kendall Eckman: Hi, how are you?
Larry Jordan: To put our conversation into perspective, how would you describe your role with Blackmagic? What do you do?
Kendall Eckman: As you said, I’m the Regional Manager for Western North America, so I handle the territory and I try to oversee pretty much everything that’s going on in there, whether it’s the resellers that sell our products, events, trade shows, even meeting with churches, schools, some of the high end corporations and even the studios.
Larry Jordan: I’m going to give you the question that I get probably three or four times a day and I know no-one has a better answer for this than you do. In fact, you are the world’s leading expert in answering this question. Are you sitting down?
Kendall Eckman: Yes, yes.
Larry Jordan: He said with a panicked look on his face. Here’s the question – what is the best camera?
Kendall Eckman: Well, that would be Blackmagic Design, of course.
Larry Jordan: Well, yes, but that’s the wrong answer as well, you know.
Kendall Eckman: Well, we have a number of cameras, as you know Larry, so for me to pick one out of the eight that we carry, that would all depend on what kind of work you’re doing, probably.
Larry Jordan: Now, that is the right answer. The best camera is not necessarily the camera you own, it’s the camera that’s best for the project. This frustrates the heck out of everybody that sends me this email. They say, “What’s the best camera?” and I say, “It all depends upon what you’re doing,” so let’s spend some time thinking about cameras. Every camera has a ton of specs associated with it. Which specs should we pay attention to? What are the most important?
Kendall Eckman: I’d say the ones at the top of my list would be the format that you want to present everything in, whether you need to go to high quality, you need something like a CinemaDNG RAW if you needed to get it out to RAW, or we have flavors of ProRes, so depending on how much time you want to put on a single card, maybe, and the footage that you’re going to do, you can go all the way down to the low proxy settings or you can go all the way up into HQ on the ProRes.
Kendall Eckman: Then I would say even lens mount, as much as that doesn’t sound like something you would look at. I know a number of people who have come to us at all the different shows and they’ve said, “Oh, I have a number of Canon lenses so I need the EF mount,” or “I’m using PR lenses, so that comes into play,” and now, of course, we’ve got into the B4 and a lot of people have B4 glass laying around so they want to use those B4 lenses, so that might be something that you’d look at also.
Larry Jordan: Is there a quality difference between the different lens mounts?
Kendall Eckman: To a degree. I think that you get into the micro four-thirds and they’re there maybe on the lower scale, but much more inexpensive and reasonable for people to get into the market and start shooting with. And then, of course, you can always do the different mounts on there, you can do different adapters, so you can take a micro four-thirds and you can move to a PL or an EF if you need to.
Larry Jordan: Now, you’re talking the micro four-thirds as the size of the sensor. Does sensor size affect quality or, more importantly, what does the sensor size affect?
Kendall Eckman: From what I understand, the larger the sensor – you take a Super 35, you’re going to have a shallower depth of field, so you could go in and maybe focus on someone’s face where everything in the background would be blurry and then it moves down to maybe a Super 16, like what is in our pocket camera or in our micro cameras, that type of thing.
Larry Jordan: If I’m looking at sensor size, do I consider the size of the sensor to be more important or the quality of the lens that’s in front of it?
Kendall Eckman: That’s probably equal. I’d say both. It just depends on what you’re shooting. Just for instance, a lot of people look at our little pocket camera that I mentioned and that’s a Super 16 size sensor but that’s been used in motion pictures and national commercials. A thousand dollar camera and a lot of people come up at shows and say, “What would you really shoot this with? Corporate videos,” and I say, “Well, actually it goes all the way up the scale,” and I think on those they probably do get up into the higher lens choices, the most expensive lenses, when they’re doing that type of shooting, motion pictures.
Larry Jordan: Another question is frame size, whether we should shoot 720 or 1080 or 2K or 2.5 or 4K. How should you decide what frame size to shoot?
Kendall Eckman: I would say if you’re going to get up into something like 4K, that might be because you want to do some pan and crop and go around the image, so you have all of that room to work with, you might do that, but if you’re doing commercials or you’re doing corporate videos, then something in HD would probably be fine. We’re finding nowadays that a lot of people are shooting in 4K, primarily because some of the studios, I believe Netflix, I think even Sony is doing this with their on demand stuff, they want it all shot in 4K at this point and I believe some of that is – and with our customers too – that they want to come in and have 4K for the future, so some of them are shooting in that resolution right now. But as you know, HD looks very good too.
Larry Jordan: Next big question is frame rate. What frame rate should I shoot? I was reflecting, we used to have to only deal with three – we had 24, 25 and 29.97 – and now it seems like there’s an unlimited number of frame rates. What should be your driving criteria on which one to select?
Kendall Eckman: Well, again, it depends on what you’re shooting. If you’re shooting something in motion pictures, you’re going to get 24 frames, but of course what we’ve done is we’ve gotten into 60 frames. As you said, these weren’t available before. You can get even into 120, like on our URSA Mini you can do up to 60 in 4K and you can do 120 in the HD; and then our big URSA camera, you can do double that, you can do 120 in 4K and 240 in HD. The reason for that is then you can go back and you can give it more of a slow-mo look and that’s what a lot of people are looking for, especially if they’re doing sports or any action shot and they want to have some slow-mo in there, they’ll shoot in the higher frame rate.
Larry Jordan: Is another benefit of a higher frame rate sharper edges, in other words less motion blur because we’re shooting at faster frames so you get a greater clarity to your picture?
Kendall Eckman: Yes, from what I understand, that’s another reason, yes.
Larry Jordan: What’s the relationship, if any, between shutter speed and frame rate? How do you determine what shutter speed to shoot at? In fact, with frame rate, what does shutter speed have to do with anything?
Kendall Eckman: From what I understand, the shutter speed is more to do with the still cameras and we do shutter angle. So the shutter angle would be, for instance, we go from I believe 11 degrees up to 360, which is wide open, so if you went into about 180, it’d be half open and half closed.
Larry Jordan: Another big thing that we’re seeing more about is dynamic range. What’s dynamic range?
Kendall Eckman: It’s really what you’re going to get out of a camera as far as the color information, the shadows and highlights. The more dynamic range, you’re going to be able to see those shadows and highlights and pick up more information. For instance, our cameras right now, most of them have 13 stops of dynamic range and then if you get into our new URSA Mini and our bigger URSA camera with the 4.6K, that gets up to 15 stops of dynamic range. If you’re going to shoot a lot of low light shots, you’re going to shoot maybe directly towards the sun, things like that, you’re not going to have to go in and change as much, you’re going to have a lot color information and those shadows and highlights included in there.
Larry Jordan: Is dynamic range the same thing as HDR?
Kendall Eckman: Not from what I understand. We haven’t really gotten into the HDR. I’m just learning about it myself just recently. Seems like a hot ticket item right now. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to tell you if we were moving towards that anyway, but I haven’t heard anything so I don’t know. Usually I’m the last to know anyway, but that is a hot ticket item and I’ve heard a lot of people talking about it. But from what I understand right now, it’s really done after the camera process, more in post.
Larry Jordan: I’m not after trying to get you to preannounce products, because I really do want to keep you employed, but I just want to be really clear that, although a wide dynamic range gives us more latitude between the blacks and the whites, there is no Blackmagic camera today that shoots HDR. Is that a true statement?
Kendall Eckman: That’s true, yes.
Larry Jordan: I’ve had a chance to see a number of technical demos and HDR really is as cool as people say. I’m very, very excited by it. So by Tuesday could you release something to support it, please?
Kendall Eckman: Oh, of course. We’re right on that.
Larry Jordan: What questions should a filmmaker ask to decide what camera to get? In other words, what are the key three or four questions they need to have answers to to pick the right camera?
Kendall Eckman: I think again we can go back to dynamic range as a big one, how much information they need. Quality, if they’re shooting a corporate video or something that’s not a motion picture, they don’t need to shoot in 4K. That could be something else they could look at and maybe not have to go into that 4K world quite yet although, like we discussed, most people are at this point. Most of the HD cameras are 4K capable that are coming out nowadays. And then just the formats – what formats are easy to work? I’ve heard from a number of customers that if you want to get into the RAW, that CinemaDNG RAW that we have works very well. But, of course, all those flavors of ProRes are very easy to work and whether you’re going into an editing program or some like DaVinci Resolve to do coloring, just something easy to work in.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that RAW requires is not only more file size, but it requires you to do a color pass, so if you’re in a hurry and need to get stuff done quickly, shooting RAW would be a bad choice and ProRes would be a better choice.
Kendall Eckman: Exactly.
Larry Jordan: Are you seeing significant differences in quality between the various flavors of ProRes, or is ProRes fortitude good enough? What do you think?
Kendall Eckman: I think 422 is good enough and I’ve actually heard that from a number of our customers that shoot for national commercials, television shows and things like that. I have a few customers that tell me they only shoot in the ProRes format.
Larry Jordan: For people who want more information about the products that Blackmagic offers, where can they go on the web to learn more?
Kendall Eckman: Blackmagicdesign.com.
Larry Jordan: And Kendall Eckman is the Regional Manager for Western North America for Blackmagic Design and, Kendall, thanks for joining us today.
Kendall Eckman: Thank you, Larry.
Larry Jordan: And have yourself a great holiday.
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Larry Jordan: Welcome to Tech Talk.
Larry Jordan: If you haven’t spent time with Premiere’s libraries, you’re missing a treat. Libraries were added in a release a little earlier this year and libraries allow us to access, organize and share design elements between applications and, with Creative Cloud support, computers and team members. Libraries are automatically synced to your Creative Cloud account. Libraries can be shared between Premiere, After Effects and Photoshop, as well as all of Adobe’s print applications and new with this release is the integration of Adobe’s stock image library with improved searchability and the ability to add stock images to your library, which can then be shared between Premiere, Photoshop and After Effects.
Larry Jordan: At this time, libraries don’t support video, and at this time you can’t copy a clip from Premiere into the library. It’s more of an aggregating thing rather than sharing different elements, but the cool thing is libraries can be shared between projects, between computers, between applications, between collaborating team members. This is really neat. Let me show you how they work.
Larry Jordan: Here, I’ve created a brand new project and to access libraries, we go up to the window menu, go down to libraries and it opens up a free floating window. Now, I’ve already got a few still images built into my library. We can create as many libraries as I want by going up to this fly out menu and saying ‘New library’, but what I want to do here – let’s just close this – we can switch between libraries. I’ve got a webinar library, but we’ll work with My Library, which is the default setting. We can see thumbnails or we can see simply a list of clips, but I want to search Adobe stock.
Larry Jordan: Let’s find something. Oh, it’s near Christmas, let’s look for a snow scene. Snow and forest and now it goes out to the web and it starts to find snowy forest scenes and if I like it, I can click on it and it takes me to a website which tells me more about it and, by the way, the first time you sign up you can get ten free images, which I’m jealously guarding, I’m not going to use them for this presentation. Hold the control key down and when you control click on it, we can view details on the web, which is the same thing as double clicking, find similar shots on the web or I want to save a preview to my library.
Larry Jordan: Now let me just make my library a little bit bigger and there is that stock image. Well, this stock image is now sharable between all the different Adobe applications that I have on my system. To add this to a project, all I have to do is grab it and drag it, and it’s now added to my project. I can dock the library by grabbing it and just pulling it up to here and now I’ve got the library docked as part of my workspace interface.
Larry Jordan: If I want to add this to a scene, let’s just create something nice here and we’ll add this to a project by dragging it over, and we will right mouse click on it and we’re going to say set this to frame size. I don’t want to scale it to frame size, that gives up resolution. We learned that a couple of weeks ago on our 4K and Premiere project that we talked about when we were shooting iPhone video. We’ll go up to the effect controls. By the way, the cool thing about the effect controls is that the transform controls have now been GPU accelerated, which is just really nice because you don’t have to waste time any more. All this motion stuff is going to happen just unbelievably, ridiculously fast.
Larry Jordan: And so we’ve got this very nice winter scene. Now, the cool thing is this is a low resolution image, it’s got an Adobe stock watermark in it, but when I decide that this is exactly the image that I want to use for my project, because I can pull as many previews as I want without spending a dime, I just simply go up to Adobe Stock, buy the image, it’s swapped out, all the new resolution is added and any geometries, any transforms, any effects, all that stuff is applied to the new high res not watermarked image without me having to do anything. No reconciling of one file to another, it all happens magically in the background.
Larry Jordan: Lynette Kent is a professional photographer who travels the world recording amazing landscapes. She’s also an unconventional computer guru, a demo artist and one of the leaders of the Adobe Technology Exchange of Southern California. This is a professional organization for graphics designers, photographers and artists. Hello, Lynette, welcome.
Lynette Kent: Hello.
Larry Jordan: Lynette, what first got you interested in photography?
Lynette Kent: Oh gosh, that goes way back, just taking photos and my brother was a pro photographer so I started doing it as well.
Larry Jordan: By the way, for those watching, to see Lynette’s work, because we’re going to be talking about it, visit her website at lynettekent.com and view any of her galleries and you’ll be lucky if you’re paying any attention to us once you take a look at her photographs. Lynette, before we talk about your creative work, I want to focus on the business of taking pictures. You do a lot of international travel. What gear do you pack and how do you work around airline weight restrictions?
Lynette Kent: Oh, that’s a challenge. I started out wearing a vest with all these giant pockets and my husband was also wearing one, so we were filled with pockets, as well as both our backpacks and that would have worked except that I’m five foot three and with this big vest on with camera pockets that could hold a 70 to 200 28 lens, they kept stopping me, saying I was carrying an extra bag, and they wanted to weigh my vest. The last time that happened, we were coming back from Scotland and I finally agree, I said, “Ok, fine, you can weigh my vest in addition to my camera backpack.
Lynette Kent: However, you can see that it is a vest and I want to take out my personal items such as my passport and also my money, because your pounds in Britain weigh a lot.” Anyway, the lady behind the counter gave up and did not ask me to weigh my vest, which would have sent me way over the 12 kilo limit. So now I’m looking at what else we can do. We’ve got a new kind of vest that isn’t quite so obviously a bag and then I think one of the solutions is to really decide which lenses and equipment you’re taking and get yourself a Sherpa like my husband. A six foot one Sherpa really helps.
Larry Jordan: Well, remind him he’s not supposed to pack any clothing, it’s all supposed to be gear.
Lynette Kent: Oh no, the clothing goes in the checked bags. There’s nothing in the backpacks other than camera equipment.
Larry Jordan: Well, thinking about that, what cameras to you prefer to shoot with?
Lynette Kent: Right now, I’m shooting a Canon 5D mark four – mark three. Wishful thinking on the four – and just a variety of their L glass.
Larry Jordan: Which gets me to my second question, do you have lenses that you prefer in terms of manufacturers and/or focal length?
Lynette Kent: Well, actually I love the 70 to 200 from Canon except not the F28, which most people prefer. I like the F4 IS lens. It’s much lighter weight, so it’s easier for me to hand hold and manage everything and to get it in that bag, and it’s just easier all the way around. Actually, to me it feels sharper than the F28 lens. Then the other one I really love right now is my newest lens, my 100 to 400 version 2 from Canon. It’s got incredible reach and, again, it’s light enough weight that I can hand hold it.
Larry Jordan: Are you picking Canon because it’s from the same company as makes your camera or because of the weight or because of how it looks?
Lynette Kent: Well, looks are always really important but it’s probably because it’s L glass and the reputation that Canon has. I do have a Sigma lens and I have a Tamron lens, but you asked which were my preferred lenses right now, those were it. And then a 24, I’m still looking for what I want for a wide angle.
Larry Jordan: Well, I’ve looked at almost all the galleries on your website. Your Arizona cowboy is wonderful; the shots from Hawaii were wonderful, though I have a creative question for those; and the south of France just were liquid, which brought me to are you capturing these images in camera or is there massive Photoshop massaging going on after the fact?
Lynette Kent: Not really massive Photoshopping. I got very lazy when Lightroom came out and I don’t really work that much in Photoshop or even Lightroom. I take way too many photos so I have to sort and then I’m really just double checking the white balance, of course, but I usually do that in camera with a color checker passport from X-Rite and sometimes I create a profile for the camera, but it just depends. If it’s a sunset or a sunrise photo, I leave it as it was in camera as far as the colors go. I might remove a dust blur on the lens if I spot one, but I’m pretty careful with my lenses and try to keep them really clean, so try to avoid that. I try to avoid most post if I can.
Larry Jordan: Which is interesting, because there are a lot of people who prefer to work in post and just capture something and then manipulate it in post because they want more of a surreal effect, and you’re really trying to do hyper reality as far as I can tell.
Lynette Kent: Yes. Yes, I like traditional real painting and photography.
Larry Jordan: Thinking about that, your work tends to be outdoors. Do you do any lighting at all with your scenes? Are you’re shooting in HDR format? And if you are doing lighting, how are you lighting it?
Lynette Kent: I don’t like to shoot people, basically, because I’m just really bad at it and so I do like scenics and that comes from my painting background. I did landscape painting in watercolors and so I learned mostly to do that and that’s what I see when I look through the viewfinder, is I’m seeing what could have been or could become a painting, so I’m actually not lighting anything outdoors. I have used a reflector, but nothing that’s on those galleries at all.
Larry Jordan: I noticed in your image you’re still being able to retain shadow detail. I’m thinking of the window that’s looking out onto a landscape and some of your foreground shots, and you’re still holding detail in the sky. Are you using grad filters here or are you using HDR?
Lynette Kent: I don’t think there’s anything on the website that has HDR, although I have done it a few times. I did get into the graduated ND filters, as well as ND filters, especially for slowing water and stuff. I don’t know if you’re referring to one of the ones, looking through a window outdoors?
Larry Jordan: The windows were half open, the one on the right was a little bit more open than the one on the left, and we were looking through that and we were holding the shadow detail of the texture of the wood of the windows and still holding the light outside. It looked like there had to be some light there.
Lynette Kent: There was light outside and there was light in the room and it was very gray outside, so even though the light outside is much more powerful, because it was dark and gray and a gloomy day – if it’s the one I’m thinking of – the light from the inside actually helped and then that probably was a little bit of Lightroom lightening to the shadows use. Oh, I do do that a lot. I lighten up the shadows, but you have to be really careful because you end up with too much noise.
Larry Jordan: With the water shots that you’re doing, you have such a liquid, molten, soft flow to the water. Is that a time exposure or something else that you’re doing?
Lynette Kent: It’s usually a long exposure using some kind of an ND filter so that you can do a long exposure, obviously, and the trick there actually is learning how fast the water’s moving and then is that doing to be a ten second, five second, one second shot? What is it going to be? So that it doesn’t look like foam and yet you have water movement but it has a liquid flow, so I usually try about 20 or 30 of those shots and pick the one I like best. The old trial and error.
Larry Jordan: But it’s a fairly long exposure, five or ten seconds.
Lynette Kent: Yes it is. It depends. If it’s a waterfall and it’s just flowing, then you need to slow it. If it’s cascading really hard, you need to slow it more. If it’s a slow moving waterfall then you can go a little bit less.
Larry Jordan: Waterfalls are slower in some places than other places?
Lynette Kent: Well, it depends. If you’re at the base of a 300 foot drop, the water looks like it’s just pounding down and it seems like you can go a little bit faster than you can if it’s rippling over rocks, yes. It’s wrong to say that it flows at a different rate, but it actually feels like it.
Larry Jordan: With the shots that you did in Hawaii with the molten lava, there was almost a lack of scale. I couldn’t tell if I was looking at something which was macro or something which was huge. Was that intentional?
Lynette Kent: I was in a helicopter shooting with a 500 millimeter lens, so I was almost right on top of it.
Larry Jordan: Wow.
Lynette Kent: My legs were burning in the helicopter. We had an open door and, yes, it was hot.
Larry Jordan: Unbelievable.
Lynette Kent: We were about 15 feet above the flow.
Larry Jordan: I just realized, do you do your work principally on assignment or do you just love traveling?
Lynette Kent: I love traveling. Someday I’ll do some assignments, but most of these have been because I just enjoy creating them. I used to use a lot of my own photos in my books when I was writing for Wiley Publishing on Photoshop, so I would use either the good ones or the bad ones to illustrate a point on how to do something. But recently they’ve just been mostly for my pleasure.
Larry Jordan: Well, I should mention that you even sell these photos on your website and I encourage everybody to buy six or seven for Christmas.
Lynette Kent: Oh, that would be great, and a series of cards too.
Larry Jordan: Is there a market for photos online?
Lynette Kent: That I’m not sure of.
Larry Jordan: No, no, I’m just saying, are you able to make any money at all from selling your photos? Or is it really just a labor of love?
Lynette Kent: It’s more a labor of love right now. I would love to sell a few, I think there should be some very large ones put into some big conference rooms in some important companies’ walls. That would be great. But right now, it adds something to the travel. You have something you take home.
Larry Jordan: As souvenirs.
Lynette Kent: Well, yes, I never buy souvenirs and so I create my own souvenirs in a sense. But I think if you’ve taken a wonderful trip to some beautiful places around the world, including in this country, it just brings back the memories every time by looking at really great photographs that you took. I think that’s what excites me a lot.
Larry Jordan: Well, you have a spectacular, painterly look to your images and for people who want to learn more, what website can they go to to see your work?
Lynette Kent: To see my work would be www.lynettekent.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s lynettekent.com and Lynette herself is the person we’re talking to. Lynette, thanks for joining us today.
Lynette Kent: Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.
Lynette Kent: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: It’s time for a Buzz Flashback. Five years ago today…
Jessica Sitomer (archive): Since I can’t advise you, people out there, to breathe in order to relax, my offer to you is write me a letter and just write what’s going on, your frustrations, your fears, your loneliness, even your accomplishments, whatever it is, just write it, email it to me and I promise I will read it and then you can just relax a little bit more, knowing that a complete stranger is out there and knows how you feel.
Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.
Larry Jordan: It’s interesting thinking about the photographs that Lynette shoots and how it takes something in real life and transforms it into something totally different. They’re rich, they’re saturated, they’re very painterly, they’re a traditional landscape and fun to look at.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank this week’s guests, starting with Owen Ouywang, Joseph Tully, Kendall Eckman and Lynette Kent for some really interesting interviews. Also, starting next week, we have two very special shows planned. Our Christmas Eve program brings together all our Buzz regulars for a look back at the significant trends, hardware and software, of 2015. Then in two weeks, on New Year’s Eve, we’ll bring the gang back together again for some fearless future casting, looking at hardware and trends to watch during 2016. I think you’ll find both these shows well worth watching, as we talk with Philip Hodgetts, Randi Altman, Jonathan Handel, Michael Kammes, Larry O’Connor and Ned Soltz.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online and all available to you today; and remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter.
Larry Jordan: Talk with us on Twitter, @DPBuZZ, and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugie 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 producer is Cirina Catania; our production team is led by Megan Paulos and includes Ed Golya, Keegan Guy, Lindsay Luebbert and Brianna Murphy. On behalf Mike Horton, who is hiding in his house this evening, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for joining us for The Digital Production Buzz and a very happy holiday to you. Have a good night.
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