Digital Production Buzz
January 21, 2016
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
(Click here to listen to this show.)
Randi Altman’s Perspective
BuZZ Flashback: Catherine Buresi
David Tillman, Documentary Producer/Editor
Rob Tharp, Producer/Cinematographer, Grijalva Films
Carlos Grijalva, Director/Producer, Grijalva Films
Nick Mattingly, CEO, Co-Founder, Switcher Studio
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, David Tillman is a documentary editor with more than 18 major documentaries to his credit. His most recent is ‘OJ Speaks: The Hidden Tapes.’ Tonight, David shares his thoughts on what it takes to edit a successful documentary.
Larry Jordan: Next, drones are really hot right now in filmmaking. Carlos Grijalva and Rob Tharp are co-founders of Grijalva Films, a fully fledged San Diego based production house that specializes in aerial cinematography. With all the interest in drones, we asked Carlos and Rob to share their thoughts on what works and what to avoid.
Larry Jordan: Next, Switcher Studio made news recently with their announcement of a live streaming solution for iOS devices. Today they are announcing that they can now integrate directly with YouTube. Nick Mattingly, CEO and co-founder, shares the details on how this process works.
Larry Jordan: All this plus a Buzz Flashback, Tech Talk and Randi Altman’s Perspective on the News. The Buzz starts now.
Larry Jordan: Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at macsales.com; and by imagineproducts.com, the workflow experts.
Announcer #1: 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.
Announcer #2: And welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for creative content creators covering media production, post production and marketing around the world. Mike, the Sundance Film Festival started today.
Mike Horton: Today.
Larry Jordan: How come you’re still here?
Mike Horton: I know. You know, I’ve never been there.
Larry Jordan: Are you serious?
Mike Horton: I have never been there in my entire life. Have you been there?
Larry Jordan: No.
Mike Horton: No, it’s one of those things I want to do before I die, but unfortunately I have yet to be there because the commitment I have to the Digital Production Buzz is so great, so high, that I wouldn’t be there even if I could be there, because I would be here talking about the Sundance Film Festival and I don’t have a winter jacket anyway, or boots. I have no boots.
Larry Jordan: I am so impressed with that sentiment that we will double your pay.
Mike Horton: Thank you. You heard it here, folks. No, seriously, there are a lot of really good movies out there, there are a lot of my friends who are there right now who are opening up some of their movies, some of my editor friends, and it’s a big, big deal for them, as it is every single year, and there are a lot of good movies that are going to screen this year that you’ll probably see at the Oscars in 2017.
Larry Jordan: We’re going to talk with Randi in her Perspective about Sundance, so I’ll say…
Mike Horton: Is she there?
Larry Jordan: No she’s not but she’s got reporters covering it, which is really cool. And our Supervising Producer, Cirina Catania, is one of the co-founders of Sundance.
Mike Horton: I know. I learn something about her every week. I’ve known her for years and I learn something about her every week that I did not know. Last week we learned that she was a senior executive at United Artists.
Larry Jordan: In marketing.
Mike Horton: Before that, she was President of Brazil. Didn’t know that.
Larry Jordan: And then there’s you and there’s me, the industry…
Mike Horton: Yes. I don’t know anything about you but I’ve learned a lot about Cirina.
Larry Jordan: You know, I’m really looking forward to seeing what Sundance is about because it’s all about independent films and that’s where the real stories are getting told these days.
Mike Horton: Absolutely. Although some of those independent films are, like, $25 million.
Larry Jordan: Yes, that’s very true. I also 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 the industry, plus quick links to all the different segments on the show. Best of all, every issue is free. It comes out every Friday. Mike and I will be back with David Tillman 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 runs her own website called postperspective.com and, as always, it’s a delight to say hello, Randi, welcome back.
Randi Altman: Thank you, Larry, it’s good to be back.
Larry Jordan: Randi, the big news this week is Sundance, which starts tomorrow. What are you hearing?
Randi Altman: Well, I’m hearing a lot of people getting on airplanes and heading out that way. There’s been a drain, at least here from the East Coast, heading west so they’re getting out before the big snowstorm and I’m jealous. I’m jealous of what they’re going to experience. There’s a lot going on there this year and it’s pretty interesting.
Larry Jordan: What was I reading? They had 4,107 submissions, people asking to get on, for 123 slots, more than 1700 from the US, more than 2100 from international. I mean, Sundance has never had that kind of an audience before. What is it that attracts filmmakers to Sundance?
Randi Altman: Well, I think it comes with a certain cache. There are a ton of film festivals that go on throughout the world, but Sundance is Sundance and that comes with a certain respectability. What they’ve been really good at is keeping watch of the emerging trends in filmmaking and just what people are doing.
Randi Altman: A lot of the folks that I’ve been speaking to from the post work that are heading out there are heading out for a few different reasons. One is maybe they’ve done some work on a film and they’re out there to promote it, but a big part of what they want to do is network. They want to get out there, they want to meet filmmakers. Some of them aren’t giant post houses and they need to work with more independent filmmakers so their budgets match up better, so that’s a big deal.
Randi Altman: Other people are going out because they want to tout their city or their state’s tax incentives, they want to bring the work home, so there’s a lot to do other than screening films and different projects. There’s this world of virtual reality that’s happening out there this year. Have you heard about that?
Larry Jordan: I have not. Not virtual reality, Randi, at Sundance? Have they descended so low?
Randi Altman: It’s part of their New Frontiers. I think it’s their tenth anniversary and they’re going to have, I think, 20 or so different virtual reality projects that people can watch on mobile headsets and they’re embracing it as well, imagine that. So narrative VR, documentary VR, it’s happening.
Larry Jordan: We had a great interview last week with Srinivas Krishna, talking about virtual reality for a museum and location based stuff, which was a really cool interview, so I’m sure there’s going to be other exciting stuff at Sundance in this regard too. But what is it that appeals to you about Sundance?
Randi Altman: Personally, I have people out there who are going to be sending me blogs from different perspectives. You’ve got the indie guys, you’ve got the bigger post houses. I want to see what they are saying. There’s also a branding session that’s going on, so they’re bringing in advertising and how a brand isn’t just a commercial spot but it’s a whole path, so that’s going to be pretty interesting as well. I want to find out what the films are that are going to be the hot topics of the festival, but also just something special might happen, you never know. Anything could happen at Sundance.
Larry Jordan: Are you going to be covering for postperspective?
Randi Altman: Correct, yes. I have a few people out there who are going to be reporting back to me.
Larry Jordan: Well, I want to hear more, and where can people go on the web to keep track of what you are doing and writing?
Randi Altman: Postperspective.com and you can follow us on Twitter at postperspective.
Larry Jordan: And Randi Altman is the editor in chief of postperspective.com. Randi, as always, thanks for joining us and we’ll talk to you next week.
Randi Altman: Thanks, Larry.
Larry Jordan: To read more from Randi Altman, visit postperspective.com.
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Larry Jordan: David Tillman is a documentary editor, most recently known for his work on the TV documentary ‘OJ Speaks: The Hidden Tapes.’ He also produced and edited the upcoming ‘Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes.’ His credits now include more than 18 major TV documentaries for networks such as MSNBC, National Geographic channel, Smithsonian channel and PBS. Hello, David, welcome.
David Tillman: Hey. Thank you so much for having me.
Larry Jordan: We are looking forward to talking to you, but before we talk about the OJ tapes, what first got you interested in documentaries?
David Tillman: That’s a good question. Actually, I went to film school at the University of Texas in Austin. I took a documentary class there that focused on East Austin, which is kind of the minority section of Austin with important stories that maybe weren’t being told, and I worked on some short documentaries for that class and I really fell in love with telling people’s stories.
Larry Jordan: Well, because you were just starting out, who was the most influential teacher you had, either in terms of teaching you the technology or teaching you storytelling?
David Tillman: Well, dating back to high school, we actually had film and television classes at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, where I grew up, so there was a guy named Frank X Mullen there who was an early mentor and in my freshman year of high school I was editing on linear editing systems, tape to tape, and then my sophomore year they got something called Avid Cinema, which was like a precursor to iMovie or something. So I actually started editing non-linear editing then, which would have been 1998, and took it from there because I always wanted to make my own films and naturally the easiest way to do that is if you can edit them yourself. So that was how I got into editing, just as a means to an end of trying to tell stories.
Mike Horton: Before you go on, talking about film schools, University of Texas is considered one of the best film schools in the country. Looking back on it, was it for you? I love people talking about their education experience in film and whether it was worth it.
David Tillman: For me, because I got into it in high school, there was really nothing else I wanted to study in college. I couldn’t wait to continue making films. I loved my experience at the University of Texas. I feel like there was a good vibe there in terms of it wasn’t ultra competitive like I hear some film schools are in terms of getting access to equipment and stuff like that, and everyone was just willing to work on each other’s projects and I had some great professors, so no regrets about that. In fact, there are a number of kids that I went to film school with who are out in LA now working. So I think when it comes down to it, that’s one of the most important things – the network that you create in college. If those people are going to work in the industry, those are going to be some of your contacts and that’s in a way one of the biggest things that comes out of film school, the people that you met there.
Larry Jordan: David, you’ve worked on over 18 major documentaries – at least, that’s what your website says. What are some of the projects you’ve worked on?
David Tillman: I started working with a filmmaker named Tom Jennings about five years ago and, like I said, that was something that actually came out of one of my friends from film school who’s working with him. Then he started a series called ‘True Crime with Aphrodite Jones’ for Investigation Discovery and I got a job working on that. From there, I moved up from assistant editor to editor and I’ve been working with him ever since. So I’ve run the gamut on different topics such as crime – I’ve done stuff on Ted Bundy and other killers like the I5 strangler. I did a legal documentary about the Casey Anthony defense.
Larry Jordan: I’m getting depressed just hearing the titles.
David Tillman: I think one of the ones I’m more proud of us was the ‘MLK: The Assassination Tapes,’ which won a Peabody Award in 2012, and then a Fidel Castro documentary for PBS last year that was nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy. I’ve been able to delve into a lot of historical topics, which has been great because I wasn’t really interested in history before I started making these kind of films, and I get to delve into a topic for three or four months and learn all about it and I really enjoy that.
Larry Jordan: Well, I want to shift gears to a specific project and drop a name. Chuck Braverman dropped into the studio about 30 seconds before we went on the air.
David Tillman: Oh really? Hey, Chuck.
Mike Horton: He was just here.
Larry Jordan: So he was telling us about a project that both of you were working on called ‘OJ Speaks: The Hidden Tapes.’ How did you get involved with that project and tell us about what it is.
David Tillman: That came to me because Chuck knows this guy Tom Jennings that I work with and I guess they were looking for a writer/producer to help with that project. When they checked in with Tom he said, “Well, I have this editor that I typically work with,” so they brought me in, so that was how I got involved and I was immediately very excited to work on it because I heard that there were going to be something like 30 hours of deposition tapes of OJ Simpson testifying about his possible involvement in the death of Nicole and Ron. As an editor, there’s nothing more enticing than knowing that you’re going to be looking at footage that few people have ever seen, and that was just the kind of thing that you dream of, just getting to sit back and watch through rare footage that few eyes have been able to get a look at.
Mike Horton: Speaking of all that rare footage, how much rare footage did you have to go through in order to tell that story? Are you looking at hours and hours of rare footage, or footage in general?
David Tillman: Luckily, for that there might have been something like 30 hours, but there were transcripts for all of it, so you could read through a little bit to key in on some interesting lines of questioning that we knew would be related to some of the material that we were presenting in the documentary. We definitely were looking for moments where OJ would show some emotion – anger, frustration, where he would be caught in a lie. We were looking for those kind of moments, but we were also looking for lines of questioning from the lawyers that supported the story we were telling.
Larry Jordan: Let’s talk about your workflow for just a minute. You’ve got way more hours than you can put into a documentary. How do you decide to narrow it down? Clearly on the emotional moments, but I want to switch to the technology for a moment. How did you decide to narrow it down, how many people on your editorial team and what software did you use?
David Tillman: For this particular project, it was my first chance to use Final Cut X, so that was interesting. I actually just wrote an article about this for fcp.co, which will probably be coming out in the next few days, but essentially Chuck Braverman wanted to cut this project on Final Cut X because they were already working on another documentary about the OJ Simpson trial where they had already been ingesting a lot of archival footage, logging it and keywording everything in Final Cut X, so even though I had no experience they said I could learn on the job and there’s this guy, Patrick Southern, who I know you guys know, who used to be a Final Cut X trainer for Apple. He was an assistant editor on the project and they said, “Hey, Patrick can sit right next to you and he can answer all your questions,” so for the next two weeks or so ‘Just ask Patrick’ was my mantra. I just asked him basically every little thing that popped into my head and luckily he didn’t get too frustrated with the repeated and simple questions that I had. I quickly learned to love Final Cut X…
Mike Horton: Wait a minute! What? You quickly learned to love it?
David Tillman: Yes, it didn’t take long.
Mike Horton: Really?
David Tillman: Yes.
Mike Horton: Oh, that’s great.
David Tillman: I knew Final Cut and Avid before that, I’d used both of those, but I had kind of a love/hate relationship with Avid and I found that Final Cut X, with some of the changes they made, it allowed the storytelling side of my brain to come out without being brought down by some of the technical stuff about editing that isn’t really my favorite aspect of it. You talk about workflow, luckily for this project Tom Jennings wrote a script, so they took interviews that had been transcribed.
David Tillman: We had this wonderful Lumberjack software that enabled us to marry all the transcripts to the interviews, so we could easily search, and quickly find sound bites and whatever we needed. Patrick helped with stringing out the script and at that point a lot of what I was doing was cutting out a lot of the repetition and cutting down some of the sound bites to make it move at a certain pace, covering stuff with B-roll and then of course cutting in these moments from the deposition to go along with what some of our interview subjects were talking about.
Larry Jordan: From start to finish, how long did it take?
David Tillman: I think I was on the project for about 22 weeks. It was a two hour documentary. But shooting was such an ongoing process, they were shooting more interviews, so I think by the time I actually had a script that I was working with and I was really cutting Act I, Act 2 – there were ten acts in the show – I’d say it was more like ten weeks that I really spent bearing down and editing the show.
Larry Jordan: What was your deliverable and where did it go?
David Tillman: Well, I wasn’t involved in the online editing part but I know that they finished the show in Resolve, did all the color correction and I think in the end they exported a full res ProRes 422 QuickTime file. Maybe not 422, but it was a digital delivery as far as I know and that played on A&E in October.
Mike Horton: Now, didn’t they say they had a problem with the Ken Burns effects or something when they exported it, but not much else, though, I don’t think?
David Tillman: Yes. I actually didn’t really use the Ken Burns effect.
Mike Horton: Well, somebody did.
David Tillman: Yes, because there were two different documentaries and they had a similar workflow but I actually liked Alex4D’s Grow Shrink plug-in, which is free, and I highly recommend it. I used that quite a bit for stills and I believe that translated to Resolve. I think one of the things we did was export some of the stills as QuickTime files with the animation already built in, so that some of that might have not had to be been done in Resolve at all, it was already in a QuickTime.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that I was struck with as you were describing the projects you worked on is they all are of a piece. They tend to be crime related more than anything else. What is it that appeals to you about the documentaries you decide to edit? How do you decide which ones to do and which ones don’t have a story?
David Tillman: I wish I could say I had my choice of five different projects all the time and I’m getting to pick which one I want to do. I think most of these have just fallen into my lap and I haven’t really been picking and choosing necessarily. What I like about doing these historical documentaries is I like to think that I’m creating this seminal work on the subject and I want it to be the be all and end all for that particular topic. For a lot of these, in some cases there are dozens of documentaries made on that topic over the course of years, but I think setting the bar high and saying, “I want this to be the best, I want this to encompass the whole story and leave nothing to be desired,” is something I try to hold myself up to.
Mike Horton: Well, do that. You care. Isn’t that nice? He cares.
Larry Jordan: Before we run out of time, I want to mention that you’ve also just worked on a project that you produced and edited called ‘Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes.’ Where can people go on the web to learn more about the Challenger program, as well as the OJ program?
David Tillman: Thanks for mentioning that. The Challenger documentary is actually airing on Monday January 25th at 9pm on National Geographic Channel. If you follow me on Twitter, my Twitter is @davidtillman, I’m shouting from the rooftops about this one so you’ll find all the info you need there. Obviously, you can also give it a Google. It’s definitely one of my proudest achievements, this documentary. I feel like we really did this subject justice and I hope people will watch it and learn about what was a terrible tragedy but ultimately it’s an important story.
Mike Horton: Yes, we actually learned a lot and everything’s much safer because of that.
David Tillman: Exactly, and those that died really were heroes and, as tragic as it was, I think there’s something there in terms of living your life to do what you can, achieve what you can and not worry about any potential consequences.
Larry Jordan: And David, we will check into that. The website is davidtillman.com. David is a documentary producer and editor. David, thanks for joining us today; this has been a fascinating visit and I wish you success going forward.
Mike Horton: Thanks David.
David Tillman: Thank you so much for having me. Thank you.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.
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Larry Jordan: Carlos Grijalva and Rob Tharp are co-founders of Grijalva Films, a fully fledged San Diego based production house. They specialize in aerial cinematography and unique camera motion using drones. They started their self directed production company right out of high school and continue to grow their business throughout the Greater Southern California area. Hello, Rob and Carlos, welcome back.
Carlos Grijalva: Hello.
Rob Tharp: Hello, how are you?
Larry Jordan: Well, we’re talking to you and excited about it, so good to have you with us again.
Rob Tharp: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: Rob, I want to start with you. We first spoke with you and Carlos about drones last September. What projects have you worked on since then?
Rob Tharp: We’ve been working on a lot of lifestyle and real estate videos and also some promotional commercial films that utilize drones as a tool to be able to enhance the production value and give a different perspective to tell the story.
Larry Jordan: Is it safe to say that all your projects involve drone work?
Rob Tharp: A good amount, yes. Of course, some are on the ground, some in the air, so yes.
Mike Horton: Before drones, what did you use? You didn’t use helicopters, right? Or did you?
Rob Tharp: We got into it right as the drone market was emerging a couple of years ago when the first gimbalized devices for stabilized footage came back, so we were at the forefront and the pioneering age of it, and everything’s still very new.
Mike Horton: Usually when you pioneer stuff, everything goes wrong. Or did everything go right when you were pioneering all this?
Rob Tharp: Things actually went pretty well.
Carlos Grijalva: One incident, but that’s about it.
Rob Tharp: Yes.
Larry Jordan: Let us hope that there are no more incidents.
Mike Horton: Yes, a drone crashing into a client.
Larry Jordan: What kind of drones do you fly?
Rob Tharp: For the majority, we’re a big fan of DJI products, so there’s the Phantom 3, the Inspire 1. For a lot of our projects from a safety standpoint, the Phantom 3 has been a phenomenal choice due to its size, the form factor and then the results of the footage of what you are able to obtain are astounding, so Phantom is our go-to.
Larry Jordan: Does the type of drone you fly make a difference to the image you can get?
Rob Tharp: That depends. The Phantom 3, it’s full 4K, the Ultra High Definition and the actual full 4K, so what you’re getting is astounding. They just came out with the Inspire X5R camera, so that actually shoots RAW, so there are different cameras that you can put on them and, of course, on larger platforms like the Freefly Alta with MoVI, you’re able to fly a RED Epic or a Phantom Flex with things of that nature. Depending on the budget of the production, we’ll bring in different tools to be able to tell the story.
Mike Horton: What cameras do you normally use?
Rob Tharp: For the majority of our projects, we’d actually fly the Phantom 3.
Mike Horton: And the Phantom 3, for those who don’t know the drones, has its own camera?
Rob Tharp: Yes, so essentially it’s a proprietary gimbal and camera and obviously the same device.
Carlos Grijalva: It’s not really about the drone itself, it’s about how you frame the shot, how you edit it, how you color it, the whole thing. It’s not really the equipment, it’s more the talent behind the equipment most of the time, but the equipment’s still pretty fun.
Larry Jordan: I want to just focus on the drone photography, because you’re absolutely right, every piece of video is enhanced by the editing and the color correction, whether it’s on a drone or not, but are you finding that some drone shots work better than others, where there’s stuff in the foreground and you’re moving over it or you’re low going high or always high? Are there particularly dramatic shots that you tend to use more because they are more attractive?
Carlos Grijalva: Yes, like going really far away, getting a really big frame and then just coming really close into your subject, so like a big push-in. That’s like a huge dolly move, if that makes any sense.
Larry Jordan: Yes.
Carlos Grijalva: That always feels very dramatic to bring something into a scene. Those big wide slider sort of movements across a city, those are always very beautiful. The 360 pan-ups…
Larry Jordan: Where it spins as it goes up?
Carlos Grijalva: …on the subject and then you’re panning the camera down to up, rotating around the subject at the same time. Those are great fun.
Rob Tharp: There are definitely some complex movements that can be integrated into the shots.
Larry Jordan: Now, how many people does it take to fly the drone? Is one person flying and the other looking at the shot? Or are you sort of guessing as how the shot works and you look at it later? Or are you able to monitor in real time to see if you got the shot you wanted?
Rob Tharp: We’re able to monitor in real time, so it’s essentially first person video. We’re able to see a live full 1080p stream of what we’re looking at. For the Phantom, it’s a single operator and typically you’d want two people for that, one flying looking at the footage in the camera, really just the up and down; then with the Inspire, the ideal team would be three people – one controlling the drone, another controlling the camera and then a spotter. So that’s what you’re looking at.
Mike Horton: I know you said you do a lot of real estate work, so that’s drones hovering over a lot of people’s houses, not only the house that you’re dealing with. What are the restrictions that you have to deal with?
Rob Tharp: The current restrictions on the aircraft, the main thing is keep it under 400 feet and a lot of the shots that we obtain are low proximity, low altitude, so they’re pretty close to the property. We try to have respect; a lot of it comes down to common sense to stay away from other people’s properties when we’re filming and just focus on the task at hand in order to get the shot concluded and move on.
Larry Jordan: At the end of December, the FAA started requiring registration for drones, I think it was on the 21st of December.
Rob Tharp: Correct.
Larry Jordan: If I remember correctly, 45,000 people signed up to register their drones in about two and a half to three days. Did you guys register and what’s the process like?
Rob Tharp: Essentially, you put in the information for your drone. We were registered with the FAA. I believe as of January 6th about 190,000 people have actually gone through this registration process and right now it’s pretty much based on an honor system. It’s not like if you’re purchasing a drone online there’s an automatic registration that’s sent to the FAA, so it based on an honor system but it’s a very straightforward process, costs $5. If you got your application in by yesterday, you were refunded the $5, but otherwise it’s a simple $5 registration fee. It’s essentially classified as an experimental aircraft.
Larry Jordan: Now, are you registering the drone or are you registering you?
Rob Tharp: Both. You’re registering the drone and yourself as pilot and you can register an unlimited amount of drones under you name.
Mike Horton: Does the drone that you use right now have software in it that will not allow you to fly it in, say, a state park or any no fly zone?
Rob Tharp: That was actually implemented on the DJI Phantom 2. It basically utilizes the GPS technology inside the drone that it uses to maintain the stable sense of flight, and then if you’re heading into a no fly zone, or you’re heading into a temporary no fly zone that could be updated at any time – for instance we’re located in San Diego, we were contracted for a job downtown, there’s a zone next to Petco Park where you can’t fly so we had to be within a certain proximity away from that and we were in between that and the airport, so it was a tricky flight but we were still within the boundaries.
Mike Horton: But how does that work, though? When you get into a no fly zone, what does it do? Does it stall out the drone?
Rob Tharp: It stops.
Carlos Grijalva: It stops, yes.
Mike Horton: Does it really?
Carlos Grijalva: Yes.
Rob Tharp: It knows exactly where you are and as you’re actually entering it, in some parts it may stop and then other parts, depending on the zone, getting into that radius, it’ll basically control your altitude, so it’ll start to descend.
Mike Horton: Jeez!
Rob Tharp: And when it gets close enough, it’ll stop.
Carlos Grijalva: And say you’re inside of the zone and you want to take off, it won’t even start the engines.
Rob Tharp: Yes, it won’t even start.
Carlos Grijalva: And the motors, yes.
Larry Jordan: Now, in December we interviewed a guy named Owen Ouyang who got in trouble for losing control of a drone, which then flew about 800 feet in the air and interfered with a police chase. He says that he lost control of the drone and it sounds like you don’t necessarily believe that.
Carlos Grijalva: No, not necessarily. The way it’s designed is that if it gets out of range, there is a setting on the app if you use an iPhone or an iPad, it’s very clear as you’re in the main menu, you can see ‘Return to home altitude’. So if this drone goes out of signal, it will come back to you and it’s at a specified altitude.
Rob Tharp: The parameters are from 20 meters to 100 meters, so that translates to 60 feet to 300 feet, so anything above that, that is essentially the negligence of the pilot. How it’s designed, if it loses control and let’s say you’re at 50 feet and you have it set at 100 meters, it’ll raise up to 300 feet to avoid obstacles or other…, will hover exactly over you and then descend.
Mike Horton: Are all these restrictions good for you guys or did you like it when it was like a crazy Wild West town type stuff about a year ago?
Carlos Grijalva: For us, the Wild West town stuff is better for us as professionals, but since so many consumers are going into this as a hobby and doing a bunch of stuff, it’s better to be more regulated because it is going to start getting more dangerous, more people are going to start flying, they’re going to start hitting stuff and then the business entirely is probably going to get banned or something like that.
Rob Tharp: The FAA is trying to foster a safe community for the drone pilots.
Larry Jordan: Given the number of fires in our area, because we’re in LA and you’re in San Diego, the number of drones that have interfered with firefighting, I’m all in favor of restricting the drones because I would like to have the fires get put out.
Mike Horton: Yes, we’ve found out a lot of those media reports were bogus.
Larry Jordan: Yes, but not all of them.
Mike Horton: Not all of them but some of them.
Rob Tharp: And the very interesting thing about the fly zones, DJI’s implementing geo-fencing, so that will essentially be live temporary restrictions. If there’s a fire or something like that, it can be put out on a push-up…, the same way it would work on a cell phone and as you log on and it gets that GPS signal, if you’re within that zone or you’re flying close to that zone, it won’t let you go near it. It’s as simple as that. It’s implementing those type of things that are temporary and will solve some problems.
Larry Jordan: One quick question before we run out of time. We have a live chat and Craig is asking about what insurance is like for drones. What kind of insurance do you need to carry?
Rob Tharp: It depends what type of aircraft you’re flying and the value of it. Under a policy, you want your general liability, your aggregate policy, and then insurance for the drone itself. It can vary from a thousand bucks a year up to 5,000 or 10,000 a year depending on what you’re doing.
Mike Horton: Jeez!
Rob Tharp: If you’re flying over water, if you’re doing more intense things, it’s on a per flight basis. There are a lot of different ways to structure it, but there are affordable policies for the average consumers who are looking to protect themselves from a liability standpoint. There are definitely some options.
Larry Jordan: And, guys, for people who want to learn more about what you and your company are up to, where can they go on the web?
Rob Tharp: You can go to grijalvafilms.com to stay updated with everything on what we’re doing.
Larry Jordan: And Rob Tharp, the guy on the left, and Carlos Grijalva himself on the right, gentlemen, thank you so very much for joining us. It’s been fun visiting.
Mike Horton: Yes, thanks guys.
Carlos Grijalva: Thank you.
Rob Tharp: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: I want to invite you to become a member of our video training library. Our training library is unique in the industry and includes more than 1400 in depth movies, each accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Every movie in our library can be streamed to any internet connected device and it includes production and post production hardware, software and techniques. It features current and past software releases from both Apple and Adobe and, unlike YouTube, all our training is complete and, unlike other websites, we focus exclusively on media production and post production.
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Larry Jordan: Welcome to Tech Talk.
Larry Jordan: Let’s say that this is the most perfect edit or I’m in the middle of something that’s really good and I want to make sure I don’t screw it up. If you right mouse click or control click on it, notice you have two duplication options – ‘duplicate project’ and ‘duplicate project as snapshot.’ Always choose ‘duplicate project as snapshot’ and the reason is duplicating project will duplicate your project but if you have compound clips or multicam clips, those compound or multicam clips are linked back to the original project, and if you change the compound clip or the multicam clip in the original project, all duplicated projects will have the compound or multicam clip change at the same time, which is not what you want.
Larry Jordan: When you select ‘duplicate project as snapshot,’ all compound clips are made independent and all multicam clips are made independent, which means if you change the original project you don’t change the snapshot. Snapshot is always the best choice and it’s easy to create, just right mouse click or assign a keyboard shortcut to it. Right mouse click, say ‘duplicate as snapshot’ and then keep on editing, and you can keep these snapshots until you know that you’re heading in the right direction; or if you need to back up, a snapshot makes it easy to back up to a particular point where you had an edit that you liked at that moment.
Larry Jordan: If I have a project – and let’s just select everything here – and I need to save space and I say, you know, I really don’t need proxy files, I really don’t need render files, go up to the file menu, go down to ‘Delete generated library files’. This allows you to delete render files, optimize media or proxy media. You can delete the render files that are not being used or you can delete all the render files. If you delete all the render files and Final Cut needs them, it’ll re-render so there’s no harm no foul here. Final Cut will fix if there’s a problem.
Larry Jordan: If you delete the optimized and proxy media, Final Cut will simply display camera native, so if you’re ever trying to save disk space, my recommendation is, delete unused rather than all – just saves you time – delete proxy media, because it’s a lower resolution, and the optimized media if you need to save space, and then click ok. Now select this clip here, shift F to find the source clip, there we go, and now if I go over to the inspector and go down to the bottom, find the clip, go to the inspector, go to the bottom, notice the camera original is there but the optimized media’s been erased, it’s now red, and the proxy media has been erased, it’s now red.
Larry Jordan: Nick Mattingly developed Switcher Studio, which is an iOS app that enables anyone with an iOS device and an internet connection to capture and deliver multicam events to online audiences. Recently, they added a director mode which records broadcast quality HD content and now he’s announcing a brand new product specifically for YouTube. Hello, Nick, welcome.
Nick Mattingly: Hey, how you doing?
Mike Horton: Hi Nick.
Larry Jordan: We are doing great. Before we talk about the cool new stuff, describe what Switcher Studio is.
Nick Mattingly: Switcher Studio is a mobile video app that allows you to record and stream video using your iPhone or iPad, and with that you can add photos, graphics, you can bring a computer in as a source and it’s a full TV studio using the hardware you already have.
Larry Jordan: Would this be similar, although running on an iOS device, to what NewTek has got with their gear?
Nick Mattingly: Similar, maybe not a replacement for your $30,000 rig, but we do have customers using it in tandem or in combination with their existing set-up as a way to bring in additional sources or to do productions in places where they normally wouldn’t take a Tricaster. In a lot of cases, those are permanent installations, although there are some mobile solutions there as well.
Larry Jordan: Let’s talk about Switcher Studio for a second. We can run it on an iPhone or an iPad, but I suspect an iPad is best for the running. But what do we use for cameras? And how many cameras can you have?
Nick Mattingly: With Switcher, starting with just one device, you can use the built-in camera on that iPhone or iPad and you can add graphics, overlays, you can have a really dynamic production with just that one device. If you want to add multiple cameras before you launch the app, just go into your general settings and make sure each device is on the same wifi network; or you can even do a pop-up production and pair them to the hotspot on your phone.
Nick Mattingly: Then when you launch the app, you’ll pick one device that’s the master switcher, the director, and from that device you’ll be able to select other iPhones and iPads on that network. When you sign up for Switcher Studio, you go to our website, you’ll create an account and you use those same credentials to log into the main mixing device. Connecting an additional camera is no extra charge. You could literally pull somebody off the street, have them download Switcher Studio and as long as they’re on the same network, they could be a cameraman for your production.
Larry Jordan: The cameras are talking via Bluetooth, they’re talking via wifi? How are they connecting and what kind of bandwidth are you requiring to make this thing look good?
Nick Mattingly: The cameras communicate over wifi. As long as they’re on the same network, they’ll be a part of your production. If you’re not streaming, you could plug a router into the wall and just use that as a way to create a bubble. You don’t have to have any outgoing connection, it’s doing that all on the local network, and we’re adapting the quality on those cameras as you’re doing your production. But with director mode, it actually triggers a recording on each connected device, so you have the raw full quality video from every angle, and you can make your edits on the fly. When you’re done with your production, it composites that entire video, working with those raw files, so you have full quality 1080p fixed frame rate video. Then in our new update, we’ve actually expanded on the director mode capabilities and you can even bump the bit rate up to 15 megabytes.
Mike Horton: Have you seen the video on this thing?
Larry Jordan: I have seen it. My jaw’s still on the floor.
Mike Horton: This thing is amazing.
Larry Jordan: So here’s what I think is happening – because you’re recording locally on each camera, you’re able to get really high quality and you’re feeding a lower quality signal via wifi for the live stream. I’m not saying poor quality, I’m just saying lower quality, so that way you’re not constrained by the wifi bandwidth that the phone is able to use. Am I getting that correct?
Nick Mattingly: Yes, and with the main device, if you have a good internet connection, maybe you have three Megs up, you could do an HD stream, maybe put out a 720 stream. If you don’t have great bandwidth, you could do an SD stream or bump it all the way to 240p, something that’s on par with what we’re starting to see on Periscope. It’s low quality, but it’s real time, so if you don’t have great bandwidth you could still put out real time video at a lower quality, a lower resolution bit rate, and still have a full quality video to upload for on demand playback.
Mike Horton: So you can use this with Periscope, then?
Nick Mattingly: Unfortunately not. Periscope and Facebook Live are still really new, they’re proprietary, you have to broadcast and consume within their own apps. But with the new Switcher update, we actually have direct integration for YouTube Live, so from your Switcher account you can sync with your YouTube account or log into Google and, with one tap, go live on YouTube. If you want to dig in deeper, you can actually manage events, you can select from previously scheduled events on YouTube within the app, you can create new ones, you can edit the description, titles and you can choose if a video is public, private or unlisted. This new release for Switcher Studio, we’ve gone all in and made YouTube very, very easy.
Mike Horton: Meerkat also too new?
Nick Mattingly: Meerkat, Periscope, Facebook Live, Blab, all these new players are doing their own thing, they haven’t opened them up for other platforms. You couldn’t even use Wirecast or a Tricaster to broadcast to those platforms. But looking at traditional services like UStream or YouTube Live and any RTMP platform that maybe uses Wowzer, where you can get an RTMP stream and URL, you can add those values to the app and broadcast.
Mike Horton: Yes, just for everybody to know, just go to their website and it tells you exactly what you support. I’m just throwing out the ones that I don’t see on you website, just to try to fool you.
Nick Mattingly: I was at the Periscope summit in San Francisco last week and we’re trying to start a dialog to see if that’s something that would be possible. We’re talking to some people to see if we can get in front of Facebook and eventually I think we’ll see an unbundling of these services, but YouTube is where video lives, it is the king of content traditionally and in the past ten years it’s been on demand and in the past year they’ve opened up to do live broadcasting and as far as using an iPhone or an iPad to stream on YouTube Live, I think we got it right and we’re really excited about it. So with the new Switcher Studio, you can create an account on our website, you get full access to the app for iPhone and iPad to desktop apps, where you can bring your computer in as a source or push files into Final Cut and have them synced and every cut and transition already show up; planned services, where you can remotely manage streaming channels or sync with your YouTube account and manage events and dedicated support. So you get all of that completely free for the first seven days and if you decide to stick with it, it’s just $25 a month and that allows you to log into that main mixing device, have access to all of those other tools. Using another camera is no charge.
Mike Horton: That’s awesome.
Larry Jordan: Now, you charge on a monthly basis. What are we paying for at this point? Because isn’t the app running locally?
Nick Mattingly: Well, with the app you also get access to cloud services, so from your online account you could manage streaming channels. If you’re using another service like YouTube or UStream, you can create those events from a computer and the person doing the production could be somewhere else out in the field. They don’t have to understand how any of that works, they can just select that end point and broadcast to it. We have speed tests built within the app that is a cloud service that actually pings your internet connection and will automatically assign the resolution and bit rate and quality, so there are things that are happening outside of the app as part of your online account.
Nick Mattingly: We also have desktop programs that are available with that service, so you could bring your computer as a source and do picture and picture. If you have a Powerpoint or a keynote, or you’re playing back a video on your computer, that could be part of your production. And then with director mode, we also have the flexibility to enable recording on each connected device, composite that entire project so you could upload it directly from your iPad. But if you want to tug at it and move things around, we have a desktop app for Mac where you can pair it with Final Cut and all of your angles are time synced and every cut and transition that you made on the fly is already available, so you can just move things around and tighten it up. There’s dedicated support that’s included. It’s so much more than just an app and we’re pushing out updates all the time, we’re making it better and better and you’re always going to get the latest and greatest Switcher Studio if you’re signed up for the product.
Mike Horton: You and I, Larry, have had this talk a lot and we have tried a lot in this Digital Production Buzz world, streaming live is really, really hard. You have this wonderful app that you’ve created, you’ve had all the software that you’ve created, but you’re still reliant on this UStream or YouTube Live or the internet connection or everything else that’s invariably going to screw up.
Nick Mattingly: Yes, there are a lot of things between us and where that video goes that we just don’t have control over, and that’s going to continue to be the case. But infrastructure’s getting better. There are rural areas that now have 4G LT coverage. About three or four years ago, that wasn’t the case, and it’s only going to get better and make us more and more accessible.
Mike Horton: But there’s no such thing as some sort of redundancy built into this whole thing that’ll just make this thing 100 percent effective. I guess there isn’t.
Nick Mattingly: From live streaming, there are always going to be issues. That’s just the nature of the beast. But with your recording capabilities, you’re guaranteed to have that full quality video available that you can upload on demand, and I think that’s something we’re starting to see, is that there’s a different expectation in what happens live and what we’re going back to watch, something that’s been produced or is available to watch at your leisure, and with Switcher you get both.
Larry Jordan: We have a live chat that’s going on and Ernesto’s asking a question about how old an iPhone you’ll support and are the features the same across all phones?
Nick Mattingly: On the website, there is a compatibility chart. We’ve made this really lightweight and it does work with many, many older devices. You can go all the way back to an iPhone 5 or an iPad 2. It can even support an iPhone 4. I don’t think it’s available in the App Store any more for iPhone 4 because of the operating system, you can’t get iOS 9 in an iPhone 4, but it’s really flexible. Older devices make great cameras and a lot of us have those laying around already. We do recommend newer hardware if you’re using an iPhone 6 or an iPad Air. iPad Pro is an awesome mixer. As we keep pushing this and making it better, those newer devices, that newer hardware is going to allow you to take advantage of new features as those become available.
Larry Jordan: I’ve mentioned before that the prices are subscription, but we didn’t mention what the price is. What’s the pricing for the service?
Nick Mattingly: It’s $25 a month or you can pay $299 for the year and then you get priority support with that as well.
Mike Horton: You’re going to be using iPhones and iPads for your cameras and things like that; have you determined how much money you would save over using a lot of professional equipment for your live stream?
Nick Mattingly: If you were to do a traditional single camera set-up, you’re going to buy a laptop, a capture card and a camera. You’re maybe $5,000 in to do a one camera set-up. With Switcher, you’re using hardware you already have. If you’re starting from scratch, you can get an iPad Touch for $200, an iPad Mini for $300. You could do a full three camera set up with some clips and tripods for less than the price of a computer.
Mike Horton: And let us remind everybody, these iPhones, these cameras, these iPhone 6 cameras are pretty darn good.
Larry Jordan: Yes they are.
Nick Mattingly: It’s incredible.
Larry Jordan: Really quickly, because we’ve only got about a minute left, how do we handle audio?
Mike Horton: Oh yes!
Nick Mattingly: Audio’s managed separately. As long as it comes through the main mixing device, it will match up with your entire production. So you can bring that in through the headphone jack or through the digital lightning port. Something that’s important to note with iPhone or iPad, it uses what’s called a TRRS connection, it has three rings on it, so you couldn’t take just an eighth inch microphone and plug it in, you’ve got to make sure that you have a microphone that’s made for iPhone or iPad or that you get the appropriate adaptor. There’s information available on the website. It also supports Bluetooth Audio, so you don’t have to spend $400 on a wireless mic.
Mike Horton: Jeez!
Larry Jordan: And where can people go on the web to learn more about your products?
Nick Mattingly: It’s switcherstudio.com and, as I mentioned before, there’s a seven day full access to everything that’s included with the subscription, so if you want to take it for a spin, just go to switcherstudio.com and get started.
Mike Horton: And we also should mention that Nick will be at NAB covering the entire show and the Supermeet with this application.
Larry Jordan: And Nick Mattingly is the CEO and co-founder of Switcher Studio, at switcherstudio.com. Nick, thanks for joining us today. Bye bye.
Mike Horton: Thanks, Nick. I’m looking forward to this.
Larry Jordan: It’s time for a Buzz Flashback. Five years ago today…
Catherine Buresi: But there are not so many free markets. Now all film festivals want to have markets, but actually real markets where you can really meet so many sellers and buyers, where films can be screened on big screens and not only in a digital library, for example, you don’t have so many.
Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.
Larry Jordan: Well, Mike, that’s it, we just give up the studio, we get at couple of iPhones, we go on the road.
Mike Horton: You know, if you could pan around the studio, we could put iPhones and iPads round instead of these Blackmagic cameras and could have saved yourself 20, 30 thousand dollars.
Larry Jordan: Don’t make me feel better.
Mike Horton: But no, Larry, you were way ahead of your time.
Larry Jordan: Well, you know, the other thing is you still want to have stuff that’s well lit and you want to have good audio, but this really makes it easier to have an instant studio. Imagine sports.
Mike Horton: Yes. I love their business model, I love the fact that you can rent this for $25 a month and then stop when you don’t need it.
Larry Jordan: Because you still have the media when you’re done.
Mike Horton: Absolutely, so I think he’s got a good product and we’ll see. He’s going to cover the Supermeet.
Larry Jordan: Ah, that’s a big challenge. You’re a very demanding taskmaster.
Mike Horton: Our conversation – “Absolutely. Show up, talk to everybody, I don’t care.”
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests today – David Tillman, documentary producer and editor; Carlos Grijalva and Rob Tharp, co-founders of Grijalva Films; and Nick Mattingly, the CEO and co-founder of Switcher Studio.
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
Mike Horton: You know, actually I think I’d look much better in an iPhone shot than I would with one of these Blackmagic cameras.
Larry Jordan: You can just stop now, that’s perfectly ok.
Mike Horton: So maybe next week? Talk to him.
Larry Jordan: You can just hush. We’ll get you makeup next week.
Mike Horton: Maybe he’ll give it to us for free. We won’t have to pay $25 a month.
Larry Jordan: Talk with us on Twitter, @DPBuZZ, and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.
Mike Horton: Nick, talk to Larry.
Larry Jordan: Our theme music is composed by Nathan Doogie Turner with additional music provided by smartsound.com. Mike’s microphone will be missing next week, we’ll have him be silent.
Mike Horton: Is this working? Hello?
Larry Jordan: 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 engineering team is led by Brianna Murphy – yay Brianna – and includes Ed Golya, Keegan Guy and James Miller. On behalf Mike Horton, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for joining us for The Digital Production Buzz.
Mike Horton: Bye, everybody.
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