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Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – March 10, 2016

Digital Production Buzz

March 10, 2016

[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]

(Click here to listen to this show.)

HOSTS
Larry Jordan
Mike Horton

SEGMENTS
Randi’s Perspective
Tech Talk
BuZZ Flashback: Jessica Sitomer

GUESTS
Tim Dashwood, Founder, Dashwood Cinema Solutions
Mike Woodworth, Founder, Divergent Media
Rollo Wenlock, CEO, Founder, Wipster

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Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, Tim Dashwood is a director, a DP and an editor with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. He’s also the founder of Dashwood Cinema Solutions, creating new technology tools for post production. As such, he keeps his eye on what’s coming to help us get ready for it. Tonight, Tim shares his thoughts on what trends we can expect to arrive later this year.

Larry Jordan: Next, Mike Woodworth began his career as an editor and post production supervisor. Currently, he’s the founder of Divergent Media, a post production tools company creating software such as ClipWrap, EditReady and ScopeBox. Tonight, he explains what his tools are and how they work.

Larry Jordan: Next, Rollo Wenlock is the founder and CEO of Wipster. Wipster is a cloud based digital media review and approval platform designed for content creators, media teams and anyone creating short form video projects. Tonight we discover how to use Wipster for our client.

Larry Jordan: All this plus Tech Talk and a Buzz Flashback. The Buzz starts now.

Announcer #1: Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at macsales.com; and by imagineproducts.com, the workflow experts.

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.

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. Mike, it has been a long time since we were both sitting in the same room at the same time. It is good to have both of us back.

Mike Horton: It has been a long time. How long has it been? It’s been about a month?

Larry Jordan: Yes, almost, three weeks.

Mike Horton: You were in London.

Larry Jordan: And you were goodness knows where.

Mike Horton: I was here in Chatsworth.

Larry Jordan: No, no, no, you were traveling somewhere.

Mike Horton: Was I?

Larry Jordan: Yes you were.

Mike Horton: No I wasn’t. No, you always go to really cool places, I stay in Chatsworth. That’s all I do.

Larry Jordan: You were looking at elephant seals or something.

Mike Horton: No, I wasn’t, no. Did I?

Larry Jordan: Wherever it was, you were gone first.

Mike Horton: Well anyway, welcome home, Larry.

Larry Jordan: Thank you, it’s good to be home. Listen, I understand that NAB is coming up, which means Supermeet. What’s going on? We haven’t talked about that at all.

Mike Horton: We are working on the Supermeet. Do we have an agenda yet?

Larry Jordan: Do you have an agenda?

Mike Horton: No.

Larry Jordan: Why not?

Mike Horton: Because we never do. It’s all super secret until you get close to the event date, because we’re dealing with a lot of people and they’re going to be showing a lot of new things and they can’t talk about the new things until we get close to the…

Larry Jordan: You’re just disorganized, aren’t you? It’s really because you’re not getting any work done.

Mike Horton: Yes, that’s exactly what it is, Larry. I’m disorganized.

Larry Jordan: Do we know where it is?

Mike Horton: It is at the Rio Hotel on Tuesday April 19th and Early Bird tickets, by the way, in next week, so get them now so you can save $5.

Larry Jordan: Well, how much does it cost if you don’t get one of those?

Mike Horton: $10. That’s all it costs, $10.

Larry Jordan: You are so cheap.

Mike Horton: I know.

Larry Jordan: And you’re not even going to give us a hint of the agenda? Not even a small guess?

Mike Horton: No, no. No.

Larry Jordan: Michael.

Mike Horton: No. Are you coming, by the way? Are you going to NAB?

Mike Horton: You haven’t invited me.

Mike Horton: No, come on, seriously, I can get you a free ticket to the Supermeet. I’m producing it. I can get you in free.

Larry Jordan: I think I’m going to make a one day trip to NAB…

Mike Horton: In fact, we ought to give a bunch of people who are checking into the chat right now a free ticket.

Larry Jordan: Anybody that checks in the chat will get a free ticket.

Mike Horton: Craig’s in here. Craig, want a free ticket?

Larry Jordan: 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 The Buzz, comes out on Friday and has quick links to all the different segments on the show and curated articles of special interest to filmmakers. Mike himself has printed every issue and keeps it in a thrilling binder next to his desk, because that way he can refer back to it and learn what the industry was doing a year ago.

Mike Horton: I’m so smart.

Larry Jordan: Mike and I will be back with Tim Dashwood right after this.

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Larry Jordan: Tim Dashwood is a director, a DP, an editor and a stereographer with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. He’s also the founder of Dashwood Cinema Solutions and now Tim has a new technology that he wants to talk about. Hello, Tim, welcome.

Tim Dashwood: Hi, Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: Mike and I are doing great.

Mike Horton: Hi, Tim. Horton’s here.

Larry Jordan: Tim, I was just thinking, you’ve been a director, a DP and an editor. What got you interested in developing software, which is an entirely different mindset?

Tim Dashwood: Necessity. That’s it. I wasn’t trained in software development at all. I went to film school. It really started, here I was with 3D stuff and the software just didn’t exist for what I wanted to do, so I taught myself how to program… That was it.

Larry Jordan: Shifting gears now, you’re a well established developer, your CinemaTools has got all kinds of tool kits that editors can use and one thing I’ve noticed about you is that you tend to follow new technology, especially as it relates to video. Stereoscopic 3D comes first to mind, but stereoscopic 3D is last year’s technology. What new techniques are you watching now?

Tim Dashwood: I feel that stereo has progressed and that’s how it happened for me. It was very natural. I was working in 3D – I’ve been working in 3D for a really long time – and just kind of moved into virtual reality, what we call cinematic 360. This is spherical video where we’ll shoot a complete 360, look up, look down, a complete sphere and we needed tools to be able to actually edit this stuff, so that’s why I started programming these tools this time.

Larry Jordan: Let me get a definition before we get too carried away, because I want to explore this 360 a bit more. What’s the difference between virtual reality, augmented reality and 360 degree video?

Tim Dashwood: That’s a great question. Virtual reality is pretty much anything that is a virtual reality, like a video game, for example. When we say VR, we usually mean an immersive experience where you have a headset, like I have an Oculus Rift here. You’d be wearing this and you’d be looking around. But in a video game, which is a complete virtual reality, you can walk around, you are seeing computer generated images in real time, so it takes a lot of processing power obviously.

Tim Dashwood: In augmented reality, you would have, for example, a video camera on the front of the headset, so you’d be seeing the real world with something augmenting that real world image, so wherever you look it would be like a heads up display. If you think of The Terminator’s point of view in the Terminator movies, that would be augmented reality where he sees all that heads up display stuff.

Tim Dashwood: Then cinematic 360 is obviously real world video, it’s spherical but as it is right now the viewer can’t control where he goes. The director of the content is the one who decides where the camera placement is, so it’s kind of like playing a video game but only being able to control the head of your character. That’s the basic difference between the three.

Mike Horton: Tim, I’m looking at you and the background. You look like you’re in a motion capture studio.

Tim Dashwood: Oh yes, we have a late night session going on. I’ll show you guys what’s going on. We do a lot of video game type stuff. Can you guys see that screen there?

Mike Horton: Yes we can.

Larry Jordan: Yes, loud and clear.

Tim Dashwood: Ok, so you can see that the two guys here – we’re working on a video game tonight – are motion capturing one particular move. For a video game project, when we have a client come in, generally we’ll build a library of moves and those are the moves that the character does. The team that I work with here is one of the leading fight and stunt coordinating teams and we’re up in Toronto. Basically, anything that comes through Toronto, whether it’s feature film that needs virtual stuntmen or real stunts, or video games that are done up here, chances are we’ve had our hands in it. We’re the only commercial mocap studio in Toronto.

Mike Horton: Seriously? Really?

Tim Dashwood: Yes, and we also specialize in Hong Kong wirework. These guys are working on a move right now which involves a wire, so they’ll do a slight fight move and then someone’s going to get pulled on the wire. We also have like a zip line here as well, I don’t know if you can see it.

Mike Horton: We can see it, yes we can.

Tim Dashwood: Our volume here, we have 20 feet by 30 feet by 16 feet high, so it’s not the hugest mocap volume in the world but it’s pretty good for doing fight action and that’s primarily what we do. This is just a typical day here. I’ve also converted this studio into a virtual holodeck, which is a lot of fun. We’ve done demonstrations where we’ve actually had high school physics teachers come in on their professional development days. They’re the greatest to work with because for the holodeck I loaded up the bridge of the Enterprise. They’re all ‘Star Trek’ fans.

Mike Horton: How fun.

Tim Dashwood: Yes, so I’ll set a chair in the center of the room and they won’t necessary know what the model is that we have loaded and they’ll put the headset on and then we’ll turn on the simulation and suddenly they’re sitting in the captain’s chair. But then, because this is a room based virtual reality, they can stand up and walk around the volume in the room and all of our cameras – we have 20 motion capture cameras which basically transmit infrared light and get a reflection from these little balls, so it’s much better tracking in an Oculus Rift. We wouldn’t even use this for our room size virtual reality, we use different headsets because all we need to do is put markers on the head mounted display and we know exactly where the person is in 3D space and where they’re looking.

Mike Horton: I’m just curious about the motion capture cameras. Are they GoPros? Are they DSLRs? Or what are they?

Tim Dashwood: Oh, no, no, they’re completely proprietary.

Mike Horton: Oh, they are?

Tim Dashwood: Yes, we have two systems. This is an OptiTrack system, which is actually our new one. Our old system is by a company called Vicon. They both basically work in the same way, but we had a big flood and lost half the cameras of our Vicon system, so it’s now for small movement, for example if we want to facial capture. It’s basically set up in a small array and so we can just have an actor sitting there and doing the small work.

Tim Dashwood: They’re working on this move now, you can see on the wires there. I just thought it’d be more interesting to do the interview here instead of my office with whiteboards and mathematical equations on the wall.

Larry Jordan: I just want you to know that nobody’s paying any attention to you. We’re all watching the guys behind.

Mike Horton: No, I know. We’re all just watching the background. It’s so much fun.

Larry Jordan: Tim, I have a question, though, because you’re a director, so put your director’s hat on for a second.

Tim Dashwood: Sure.

Larry Jordan: One of the challenges that we have as directors in storytelling is that we want to direct the attention of the audience or, more importantly, many times we want to misdirect the attention of the audience, especially in mysteries, where they think they’re seeing but they’re not really seeing. That seems to be impossible in a 360 video environment because there’s no direction. You would argue it’s like theater in the round, but even with that the audience is in the round, the actors are not in the round. How do we story tell in a 360 video environment?

Tim Dashwood: In all honestly, we’re still learning how to do that. The point that we’re at, 2016, we’re right at the beginning of the filmmaking process that’s going to happen and I feel like we’re not there yet. We’ve seen some interesting stuff, but most of it is stationery camera, which gets really boring really quickly. We can put a stationery camera, the director can tell the actors what he wants them to do and it’s like we go hide somewhere, we can’t even really do proper lighting, we have to hide all the lights and everything, and you just hope for the best.

Tim Dashwood: The type of VR that I like to work in is where we’re actually starting to move the camera, create something dynamic. For example, how do we do close-ups? We don’t have different focal lengths of lenses because our field of view is always 360 degrees, plus we never know where someone is going to be looking, so we could have some action over there and hope that they’re looking over there, but they’re actually looking over there.

Mike Horton: Have you seen a film that has been done in VR that you would say, “Hey, watch this. This is the one that we want to emulate”? All I’ve seen out there is stuff that’s not that good.

Tim Dashwood: Yes. I’ve seen some interesting things. Most of them are short subjects. You have directors like Doug Liman, who is working on a series. I have no idea what that series is about but I’m really curious.

Mike Horton: And they’re using your plug-in.

Tim Dashwood: Yes, I guess go.

Mike Horton: Oh, they are.

Tim Dashwood: A lot of people are using our plug-in. We were the first ones to do this stuff. Like I say, I write this stuff for myself and then we decide, “Well, we might as well release it,” but back to your question, what I really like to tell people is there are some music videos that Vrse out of New York did. There was one for U2 but the one for Muse I really, really like and I think they did just a fantastic job on it.

Mike Horton: Say that again. How do you spell that?

Tim Dashwood: Muse, M-U-S-E.

Mike Horton: Oh, M-U-S-E, ok.

Tim Dashwood: Yes, the company Vrse is V-R-S-E and I believe they did those for Apple Music, I think it was a promotion with Apple Music. Man, they just did a really great job. The VR that I like is stereoscopic VR and a lot of people are at the moment just shooting monoscopic VR, which is really just six cameras pointing in six different directions and you stitch them all together. It’s much more complicated to do stereoscopic 3D, but that’s what I’ve always concentrated on and, like I say, it was a natural transition into this from stereo 3D.

Larry Jordan: Ok. You said something that caught my attention. You said that you’ve created some plug-ins for 360 video. Why do we need plug-ins? What problems are we fixing?

Tim Dashwood: Once we stitch all of the outputs from the cameras together, we get what’s called an equi-rectangular projection and this has been around for hundreds of years. The cartographers figured this out when they needed to make a map of the world that would lay flat. If you look at a map of the world, the North Pole, the South Pole and Antarctica look gigantic, look huge, stretches basically through the whole projection and that’s the equi-rectangular projection, so that actually is what you’re looking at when you’re editing video. It looks ok in the center but as you approach the Poles, it’s all stretched out. Someone could be standing there and their legs start doing this, so it’s very difficult to edit that stuff together and know what the end product is going to look like.

Tim Dashwood: I was working on this stuff and it was very trial and error – we’d have to edit it together, we’d have to export it and we all know as video editors that takes time – and then we’d have to look at it in a viewer and that’s why I got frustrated one day and I said, “There has to be another solution,” so we built an app and a plug-in that takes the output from Premiere Pro, After Effects or Final Cut Pro and we send it directly to the Rift in real time and it’s running at 60 frames per second, there’s zero latency, so when a cut happens on your timeline, it happens in the headset. It’s extremely important.

Tim Dashwood: But then we also have tools, let’s say you want to rotate the whole sphere to match up an actor who’s in one position, so let’s say he’s at zero degrees and someone else is at 45 degrees in the next shot and you want to do a cross dissolve between those two actors, well, I have tools that can do that. You want to add blur? You can’t add a normal Final Cut Pro filter that you just throw on there. I had to design special filters that affect the poles and don’t create a seam where it wraps around on the sphere.

Tim Dashwood: It just goes on and on. If you want to place a logo, I had to create a new virtual camera system that basically does slit scanning, so it takes a little tiny slit at every degree of rotation, but it’s actually even more than that. If you have a 4K file, it takes 4,096 little slits per eye.

Larry Jordan: Wow.

Tim Dashwood: Per frame. You can imagine, it’s pretty heavy duty on the GPU, but this is working in After Effects, it works beautifully in Final Cut Pro.

Mike Horton: Do you have a favorite camera? There are several cameras out there. There’s a high end camera such as Nokia. What is it, the OZO? Then there’s the Jaunt, which has 24 cameras.

Tim Dashwood: Those types of cameras are working in stereoscopic 3D, but instead of pairing up cameras – typically you’d see GoPros where you’d have 12 cameras which are basically six pairs pointing in six different directions – what these cameras do is they’re essentially volumetric, so they’re taking a whole lot of images and in post production software, their own proprietary software, they’re running an algorithm to figure out the depth, where everything is, and then they’re producing the left eye and right eye that you work with at that point.

Tim Dashwood: Those are very expensive systems, they’re proprietary. Well, the Nokia I guess you’ll be able to buy but I think it’s $60,000.

Mike Horton: Yes, but you can rent it.

Tim Dashwood: Yes, I think you might.

Mike Horton: Well, somebody’s going to rent it.

Tim Dashwood: Yes. Jaunt is a production company that services other production companies, so you can rent their camera; and Google also has their rigs, I think the Odyssey is 16 GoPro cameras in a ring. I don’t think they’re shooting the Zenith and the Nadir, but they are doing a full panorama. Oh, there are some stunts going on back there.

Mike Horton: We could watch this all day.

Larry Jordan: Tim, for people who need more information on 360 video and your plug-ins, where can they go on the web to learn more? Because there’s a lot to learn.

Tim Dashwood: Yes. Our website is dashwood3d.com and it’s pretty easy to find the plug-ins there. Of course, we still have our stereo 3D plug-ins, we have my editor essential plug-ins, everything is there. That’s the best place to go, really. I am starting to do more blogging on there, so there should be more videos and instructional things.

Mike Horton: And Tim will be at the VR Pavilion at NAB, so you can actually talk to him in person.

Tim Dashwood: And the Supermeet.

Mike Horton: And the Supermeet.

Larry Jordan: And Tim Dashwood is the founder of Dashwood Cinema Solutions. His website is dashwood3d.com. Tim, thanks for joining us today.

Tim Dashwood: Thank you Larry and Mike.

Mike Horton: Thanks, Tim.

Tim Dashwood: Goodnight.

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Larry Jordan: Mike Woodworth started in our industry 15 years ago as an editor and post production supervisor. Then, he launched Divergent Media, a post production software company based in San Francisco and he’s the creator of ClipWrap, EditReady and ScopeBox. Hello, Mike, welcome.

Mike Woodworth: Hey, Larry, how you doing?

Larry Jordan: Mike, how would you define Divergent Media? What do you guys do?

Mike Woodworth: We are a tools company in production video. Our goal is to solve video producers’ problems.

Larry Jordan: So why did you decide to start the company?

Mike Woodworth: Because I had lots of problems when I was producing.

Larry Jordan: What were some of the problems you wanted to solve?

Mike Woodworth: Our first product, ScopeBox, which came out almost ten years ago was… my needs as a colorist and finishing editor at the time, so it was right around the transition from SD to HD and hardware scopes were just too expensive and so making a software solution was a cost effective way for everyone to get a set of scopes to produce better looking video.

Larry Jordan: I didn’t realize that ScopeBox was your first product. That’s very cool. And then what, what came next?

Mike Woodworth: Next we introduced a product called ClipWrap, which was our AVCHD and HDV rewrapper. We coined the phrase rewrapping. Any time you had a transport stream and wanted to get it into QuickTime format for editing, it was the simple tool for doing that.

Larry Jordan: Ok, now you’ve left off one. What’s that one? We’ve got ClipWrap and we’ve got ScopeBox and then there’s what?

Mike Woodworth: Our new tool is EditReady. That came out about two years ago and the whole goal with that was to create a tool that would do the same things that ClipWrap did but for all of the new cameras coming out, anything from an iPhone to an Alexa. The goal was to have a soup to nuts tool that could take any of these cameras that you’re going to see in the field now and get them all into an edit ready format.

Larry Jordan: Wait a minute, we can do that now with Media Encoder or Compressor. Why should we get a third party program like EditReady?

Mike Woodworth: Well, we really are trying to position the tool in that transition from production to post production. Media Encoder and Compressor, those are general purpose transcoding tools. We’ve positioned EditReady specifically in this stage when you’re trying to take all of your camera footage and bring it into editorial. We have a bunch of tools to make an easier workflow and we have features such as file renaming based on metadata, a full metadata editor, you build your preview with LUTs easily, simple drag and drop matching.

Larry Jordan: You mentioned that this is wrapping. I want to try and get an understanding of the difference here. Are we simply changing the container that holds the media? Or are we actually transcoding it into a different format? For instance, would I use EditReady to take, say, an AVCHD or an MTS file and transcode that to ProRes? Or is that above and beyond what the application does?

Mike Woodworth: We can do both. ClipWrap, the earlier tool, was designed principally for rewrapping. EditReady will do both and it really is designed for these mezzanine codecs – ProRes, DNx. We will rewrap as well, so if you bring in an AVCHD media or HDV media, we can easily rewrap that. We can also rewrap media like H.264 based MXF media, so if you just need to get that into a container that you can upload to Vimeo, say, we can pull the essence out of the MXF and put that into a QuickTime wrapper.

Larry Jordan: How would you define the difference between wrapping and transcoding, for people who like me get kind of confused about that?

Mike Woodworth: There are two technical issues at play when you’re trying to support a media format coming off of a camera or out of an editing host. There’s the codec that the media’s encoded in and then there’s the wrapper, which is the format that that codec is placed into a file. QuickTime, MP4, MXF, AVCHD, those are all container formats. H.264, ProRes, DNxHD, those are codecs and that is just determine how the video information is stored inside one of those containers. Every file is a container of some kind. It contains either compressed or uncompressed media that is the codec.

Larry Jordan: Ok, so then ClipWrap would change the container and EditReady has the option of changing the container or transcoding the media inside it.

Mike Woodworth: Correct. EditReady is basically our replacement for everything that ClipWrap did. We do a number of other cameras as well; ClipWrap just did HDV and AVCHD. EditReady, we support movie files, MP4s, MXFs. The goal behind it is to make it really simple. Nowadays, lots of productions will say they’re going to shoot on an Alexa and then the day of the shoot comes and your assistant camera person has a DSLR and they shoot some echo shots, the producer shoots one or two things on their iPhone, and so what we want to do is make it really simple as an editor to throw all this stuff into EditReady, say, “I need ProRes for my edit,” and we’ll take everything, we read the metadata in those files, transfer all of it into common formats.

Mike Woodworth: We also know that the best way to get from iPhone footage to ProRes is to do this to the frame size, the best thing to do to get it from an Alexa to ProRes is to do this, and so for each file there’s a path inside the app that sort of hand encodes the best possible format. The goal is to get your media into a single format at the highest quality for each source format.

Larry Jordan: I want to shift gears, because my codecs are my life and Mike falls asleep during them, but…

Mike Horton: Did you see the graphs where EditReady just kicks butt over Compressor?

Larry Jordan: But I want to shift back to one of your first toys, which is ScopeBox. I understand you’ve got some news here on ScopeBox that we should pay attention to.

Mike Woodworth: Yes, it’s actually news for both apps. The big thing we launched a week ago was integration between the two apps. If you are an EditReady user and you load a bunch of footage, using the technology that we built a number of years ago called ScopeLink, you’re now able to scope your footage. So as you play footage in EditReady, you can watch that in ScopeBox with a full set of scopes, so wave form vectorscope, parades, a number of custom tools that we have.

Mike Woodworth: Then just yesterday we announced a new integration with a third party, Pomfort, the DIT tools company out of Germany. We’re supporting their Silverstack application as a ScopeLink source as well. For a number of these media ingest platforms now in the DIT toolkit, you’re able to load your media in either EditReady or Pomfort Silver Stack and get a full suite of QC tools there on set without having hardware scopes or having to transcode things into some sort of format that other software scopes accord.

Larry Jordan: That’s very cool. Tell us about Pomfort. This is a company that I haven’t heard a lot about.

Mike Woodworth: Pomfort’s out of Germany. They make DIT tools. Silverstack, the one that we’ve integrated with at this point, is a camera offloader, it’s a series of color management tools. It’s really designed for on-set camera offload, look management, things like that.

Larry Jordan: One of the things that we were chatting in the last segment about with Tim Dashwood is some new technology that’s coming. One of the new technologies that I’d like to get your take on that we’ll probably hear a lot more of at NAB is HDR. Have you had a chance to experiment with that at all and do you have any opinions? Or is it too early for us to even think about that?

Mike Woodworth: HDR is going to be interesting because we’re getting to a place now where scopes are not longer about legality, per se. This is something we’re going a lot of research into at the moment and having a lot of conversations with people from ASIS and HDR, wide gamut, all of these various technologies. What they mean at this point is that a scope is more of an artistic tool than a broadcast legality issue.

Mike Woodworth: When we launched, the whole point of having scopes was to make sure that you stayed below 100 IRE and that your color was hit in the vectorscope and nowadays they’re artistic tools and so we’re finding that most of our ScopeBox customers are colorists now who are going to E3 or Wreck 20/20 or film, even, laying back film, and so it’s not an issue of broadcast engineering any more, it’s an issue of camera matching, frame matching, stylistic decisions, knowing whether you’re crushing your shadows or whether or not you’re losing detail or banding, and so that’s really something we’re starting to look at a lot more in the scope arena – how we’re all going to manage these artistic decisions.

Larry Jordan: I think that’s an incredibly important issue, especially because HDR is such a different visual environment from what we’ve been used to all these years. Mike, where can we go on the web to learn more about the products your company offers?

Mike Woodworth: Our website is divergentmedia.com. You can also check us out on Twitter, it’s Divergent_Media or on Facebook as well.

Mike Horton: And Mike, congratulations on the baby.

Mike Woodworth: Thank you. I think it’ll be the first time in 15 years I won’t be at NAB.

Mike Horton: It’s going to be awesome. It’s going to wonderful. Yes, I’ll miss you at NAB but it’ll be awesome.

Larry Jordan: And Mike’s website is divergentmedia.com. Mike Woodworth is the founder and CEO of Divergent Media. Mike, thanks for joining us today, this has been interesting.

Mike Woodworth: Thanks, Larry.

Larry Jordan: Welcome to Tech Talk.

Larry Jordan: Philip asks, “Could you please discuss the correct positioning or stacking of effects in the inspector? For example, should the broadcast safe filter be placed at the top or the bottom?” I’ll show you. If I have a clip here and I apply, say, the color corrector to it for whatever reason – I’ll just drag the color corrector, notice the color corrector is right here in the top right – the broadcast safe filter – let’s just find it, click all – should always be at the bottom of the effects stack, always at the bottom of the effects stack.

Larry Jordan: The effects process from top to bottom, so the first one that gets processed is color correction, then the output of color correction goes into broadcast safe, then the output of broadcast safe goes into all of the video inspector settings. Effects flow from top to bottom.

Larry Jordan: If, for instance, just to give you an example – do I have a border? Yes, and then I’ll do color. So if I have a border here and I select the border and I’m going to make this color green and we’ll make it really big because we want to see it, and then I have the color corrector. I’m going to take saturation and pull it all the way down. Notice that first I add the border and then I desaturate, I’ve lost the green color at the border. If color correction goes first, notice that I desaturated the image first, then the output of the color corrector goes into the border and now I see the green border.

Larry Jordan: So the stacking order of your effects changes the effect that you can achieve. The top effect is processed first and it flows from top to the bottom of the inspector.

Larry Jordan: Rollo Wenlock is an entrepreneur and filmmaker interested in helping us make better films. He’s also the founder and CEO of Wipster, which is a digital media review and approval platform designed for content creators, media teams and anyone creating short form video projects. Hello, Rollo, welcome.

Rollo Wenlock: Hi, and thanks for having me. How you doing?

Larry Jordan: I am doing great and I really want to learn more about Wipster. But before we get into all the latest news and gossip, describe what Wipster is.

Rollo Wenlock: Wipster is the singular place in the cloud where, when you’re producing video with clients or within your team, you have a singular visual spot to keep everything up to date. You can see what version you’re up to on your edit, you can see who’s involved with the review, you can remind people to join in on the conversation, and really what we’re doing is pulling all of the crafting and the creativity of video makers and clients and everyone into one place so that they can all have a visual review experience.

Larry Jordan: Well, why did you decide to create Wipster in the first place?

Rollo Wenlock: I come from a background of 17 years as a professional video producer and filmmaker and what it was like was everything was separate, everything was hidden. You’d be emailing someone, you’d be calling someone, and really if you’re a visual person and you’re working in the visual arts you need to have something very visual and something very simple. I was looking around, looking to see if there were other products that I could use and there were a few around but they were heavy going. They were not so visual, they were list based, you had to click a whole load of buttons and I thought why don’t we simplify that right down and go to the singular idea of saying if there’s a video being produced, make the conversation happen on top of that video while it’s being produced and invite everyone in and that has proven to be very successful.

Larry Jordan: Last week, we spoke with some folks with Arc 9 and Movidiam, both of whom make cloud based collaboration products. How would you distinguish Wipster from the other competition that’s out there? In other words, why would somebody consider using Wipster for their project?

Rollo Wenlock: The overarching difference that we have from almost every other collaboration product out there is that we’ve built the product for the use case of the customer, of the video maker, and what I mean by that is that a video producer, an editor is often quite a technical person, they can understand frame rates and codes and all those things, but they’re often working with people who sometimes it’s the first time they’ve ever worked with a video. It may be somebody in marketing, it might be the CEO of the company who’s coming in to review a video, and we’re absolutely focused on making their experience so simple that it’s like using Facebook or Twitter.

Rollo Wenlock: They can click a link in an email that they receive, the video opens, it already knows who they are so as soon as they start clicking on top of that video making comments, it’s got their name attached to it. They get these very simple email updates with all of the comments they’ve made, and the replies from other people, and people ticking off to-dos, and so we’ve really make this an incredible simple experience for video producers and their teams to invite non-technical customers and clients who can be involved at the click of a button.

Larry Jordan: I was just reflecting, Movidiam focuses on the Rolodex and getting people together for the crew and Arc 9 focuses on project management. You’ve really taken the idea that now we’re pretty much done with the editing and we’ve created the finished project and what you do is everything revolves around the video that’s been created, so you’re at the back end of the process where people are reviewing. Is that a true statement?

Rollo Wenlock: Yes, it’s close. What I’d say is we see so many customers going all the way from the very first what you’d call an animatic, so the first cut together or drawings or stills to give an idea of what the story is that they’re going to produce, and we’re seeing them use Wipster all the way from that point, which is in production, this is almost pre-production, and they have the project there and people are starting to converse and you will see people getting up to edit number 17, and some people get scared by that idea – “Edit 17? This must be so inefficient. What’s going on here?” – and what I want to say is there’s actually a change happening.

Rollo Wenlock: There’s a huge shift in the way that creatives work with clients and you see it across everything, you see it through agency, through video, through print, through audio, through anything. Instead of the creative and their agency being the siloed people who’d create great content and then give it to their customer, like a boss paying and someone doing the work, you’re seeing that these people are coming together and the creatives are viewing their customers as creatives, because everyone is, it’s just some people don’t think they are. They’re saying, “Join in. Join in all the way from the very beginning. We want to brainstorm with you. We want to do the first potential edit and we want you to talk all over it. We want all your ideas. We want to keep you involved every step of the way, all the way through to the end,” and what you see is that you have people uploading edits every day, sharing them out, getting new ideas and really getting into that engine of iterate, change, iterate, change and going through the fire of does this video work? Does it suck? Is everyone happy? By the end of it, you’ve gone through the creative slump and then you get to the creative genius.

Rollo Wenlock: The old way is that you think your clients don’t know what’s going on, you make stuff, you give it to them and tell them, “This is good because I know what’s good,” they feel a little bit unengaged from it, they publish it but they don’t really care and maybe there’s no repeat business. Our product is all about getting those people together, getting them all activated and then getting repeat business.

Larry Jordan: It could be said, there’s an old saying that a camel is a horse designed by committee. If you’ve got everybody’s and their cousin’s thumbs in this video, has it sort of lost its little energy?

Rollo Wenlock: That is a very good question because that is a fear that some people have and I think one of the things that we as a company are trying to overcome is this old idea of collaboration where anybody that you invite into the story is there as a slowing down mechanism versus a speeding up one. When we look at that, instead of anybody being able to say anything they like and everybody having to listen to every change that someone says, it’s the idea that you control the review process. You set a schedule, you set what’s being talked about at what time, you invite just the right people at the right time and you go through a process. You still end up with 17 edits and by the end of it it’s a fantastic film, but you as the creative are listening to the right people, the reviewer knows what they can and can’t say at what time and they know what sort of comments will be listened to and changed and what won’t.

Rollo Wenlock: What you see there is when everybody is conversing on top of this video and they can all see each other’s comments, there starts to be a creative respect that happens. With email chains and phone calls, things can be hidden, you can leave seven people out of it and say a couple of things and they don’t know what’s going on, and then you start to lose the thread. But because everyone’s there, they can all see what’s going on and it keeps people creatively honest and it keeps them in line with what the objective of the video is.

Rollo Wenlock: The video creative has to do a bit of work to keep their production online, it can’t just be throw some work out there, tell everyone in their company, a few thousand people start making comments. That is a crazy review process and I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone. But if you have your process and you use a… that makes a great visual and easy to use, I think you’ll have success.

Larry Jordan: One of the things that’s happening is Wipster’s been growing and recently you had a really big announcement. What’s the latest news?

Rollo Wenlock: The latest news is that we’ve been working with a big video company called Vimeo and we just announced an exclusive partnership with them where we are the video review and approval option inside the Vimeo platform. So anybody with a Vimeo Pro account can link from Vimeo straight to us, it’s all integrated in the back end, and you can bring any video into Wipster, do your review process, do iterations, upload new version and then publish it back to Vimeo in a seamless way.

Rollo Wenlock: If you have a Vimeo Plus account, you can also publish back to Vimeo but you can’t use the imports. We also have a special price at 20 percent off the price of our product when you integrate it with Vimeo. For us, this has been fantastic. We’re an early stage start-up, we’ve been around a couple of years, and to be validated by being connected with this company, the response has been enormous. We’ve had people from every corner of the globe coming through and seeing our product and loving it, which is really nice.

Larry Jordan: That is very exciting, congratulations.

Rollo Wenlock: Thank you.

Larry Jordan: Let’s take a step back. Where do people go to become a member of Wipster? What’s involved in signing up and how do I use the product? Walk me through that first time, I’m nervous, I don’t know what I’m doing kind of stage.

Rollo Wenlock: If you go to wipster.io, you can come straight to our site and the sign-up’s very, very simple. There’s a button on the front that says…

Larry Jordan: Hold it a second. It’s wipster.io, not wipster.com.

Rollo Wenlock: There’s wipster.com as well, but we use wipster.io. You can go to either.

Larry Jordan: Ok. Please go ahead.

Rollo Wenlock: The thing that we have there is that you can sign up to a free trial. You put in your card details so you don’t have to worry about that later, but you’re not charged for two weeks, and really when you come through it has a huge on boarding experience where it shows you exactly how to upload, how to invite people, how to make comments, how to set up a project, all those things, but it’s very lightweight. Really, if you’re in a production company or a team, the best thing to do is to come through, go through that on boarding, experience what it feels like, then add your team members so that you can start to activate everyone else in your company that needs to be in there, and that’s people like producers, production managers, editors, videographers, sometimes the head of the company wants to be involved.

Rollo Wenlock: Get those people in there, give them a seat, because that means they can see what’s going on. The great value is that when you have a Wipster account, you can visually instantaneously at any one time see where you’re at with all of your videos. Visually, you can see what stage they’re up to, you can see who’s involved, you can see who hasn’t joined the conversation yet, all those things.

Rollo Wenlock: So the first thing to do is get those people involved so that they understand that they all go through their own on boarding experience, and then just start uploading projects that you’re working on and start inviting clients. You’ll see that instead of a week passing where they’d send you an email, within the same day you’ll start seeing comments come straight through, you’ll start to see them pop up.

Larry Jordan: What was the thinking behind teaming with Vimeo? Why did you decide to pick Vimeo as your partner? Or did they come to you?

Rollo Wenlock: The thing with Vimeo is that when you look around online, the place that almost every video producer is is on Vimeo. Every single video producer I’ve ever met has got a Vimeo account. It’s the place where professionals hang out, it’s where creatives hang out. Unlike something like YouTube, where that’s much more of anything on the web, this place is a community. They’ve got over 700,000 paid video producers who have accounts with them who run their business on Vimeo. So for us it makes absolute sense that we would partner with the number one place for creatives, because we’re the tool that we want all those creatives to use to succeed even more in their business.

Larry Jordan: Once I’ve posted a video to Wipster and people have added comments – I assume they’re just typing comments – how do I pull the comments back and can I sort them and decide which ones I want to implement and which ones I don’t? What does that conversation look like at the back end?

Rollo Wenlock: Every single comment is put into an automatic to-do list and then that to-do list is available to anybody in your team. Then they can flick through, look at the thing, they can either reply and say, “Hey, I can’t change that because we don’t have the shot,” or “Do you mean this music?” and drag a file in there, and then from that point on you’re ticking off the changes or you’re joining the conversation and trying to find a better idea, and then you’re up to uploading version two. You drag it on top of version one, you end up with a stack and you invite them all again, or you invite the people you want and then you go through the process again.

Rollo Wenlock: The comment session is just rolling and it rolls through versions and it rolls through ideas and it rolls through changes until at the very end, when you say, “This is the final,” you upload a high res file to us, we keep hold of the high res file, you send it out for approval, all the clients click approve and then they can download the high res file or you publish the high res file through Vimeo and then send it out to the world. We take care of all of the back end of encoding and sending of high res files so you don’t have to use anything else, you don’t have to worry about Dropbox or any of those things because the whole thing is taken care of.

Rollo Wenlock: Really soon, we’re going to announce that we have a great play-in Adobe, which means that in Adobe Premiere we’re going to have a plug-in right inside the product where, from the timeline, one click publishing to us, one click inviting people straight from the timeline, and then all those comments that they make come straight back to the timeline and you can make changes from there, upload another version and then publish directly to Vimeo again. That’ll mean that your whole process is ten clicks shorter again, which will be really fun.

Larry Jordan: We can’t go a day in the States without reading about some new company that’s been hacked or have security issues and all of the videos are being stored in the cloud. How are you making sure that our stuff stays both secure and private?

Rollo Wenlock: Every single account is under SSL 256 security, which is the same as a bank. The chances of someone cracking that is very low. We take the security very seriously and we audit ourselves every month to make sure that everything is top notch. With our Enterprise customers, the bigger companies that need a lot more from us, we also offer things like authenticated share, which means videos can only ever be shared with somebody who already has an authenticated account, which means that a link can never be sent to anyone else. We also have things like links can expire or you can just cancel a link, which means if it gets into the wrong hands you jump into your account, hit ‘gone’ and they can’t access it any more.

Rollo Wenlock: Everything is encrypted, so even if somebody somehow got access to something, they can’t read it anyway, so really the security is very, very high. If somebody gets your log-in information, that’s a problem that every app in the whole world has, but if you look after your log-in information, no-one’s getting access to your media.

Larry Jordan: And Rollo, where can we go on the web to learn more information about your company?

Rollo Wenlock: You can go to wipster.io.

Larry Jordan: That’s wipster.io and Rollo Wenlock is the founder and CEO of Wipster. Rollo, thanks for joining us today.

Rollo Wenlock: Thanks for having me. It’s been fun.

Larry Jordan: It’s time for a Buzz Flashback. Five years ago today…

Jessica Sitomer (archive): What’s happening is the entertainment industry is somewhat on the tail end of this because we don’t understand how it’s put together to work. But I want you all to remember if you were on that tail end of getting a reel together, you were on the tail end of putting up a website with your reel, you know that you lost jobs because of that, so take that as a warning because social media is getting people in entertainment jobs now.

Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.

Larry Jordan: You know, Mike, I was just thinking, the show tonight was about new technology, whether it’s cloud based collaboration with Wipster or we’re looking at new ways of working with ClipWrap and ScopeBox and virtual reality with Tim. I know that you’re looking at virtual reality for the Supermeet. What are you finding out?

Mike Horton: Well, Tim and I have actually been talking for about the last two weeks and he’s been very, very kind, very, very sweet to get me up to speed on virtual reality. I’ve also been educating myself as much as I possibly can and I know you feel that virtual reality is kind of like the buzzword, like 3D, but…

Larry Jordan: I think it’s like stereoscopic 3D. You’re doing a theatrical film, you can do nice 3D, but it’s not going to be made for market. I think VR is going to be beautiful for games, but I’m not sure it’s going to expand into the main market. But you might disagree?

Mike Horton: I tend to agree with you, but I think that maybe we’re both wrong.

Larry Jordan: It wouldn’t be the first time.

Mike Horton: No, and I only say that because the people that I talk to, the people that are doing this kind of thing are so excited, like it was 15 years ago when the whole digital revolution started. I never saw that with 3D, but I’m seeing that with VR or 360 video or augmented reality. All this stuff, of course, is different but I think there is money to be made here and it’s just a matter of seeing what happens. These people who are doing it right now, these people who are much smarter than us, I think they’re doing some really wonderful things.

Larry Jordan: I think we’re going to learn more at NAB. I think we’re going to see a whole explosion of VR.

Mike Horton: We are, and hopefully at the Supermeet. We’re trying it. We’re trying to do it at the Supermeet. It’s really hard.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests for tonight, Tim Dashwood, the founder of Dashwood Cinema Solutions; Mike Woodworth, founder of Divergent Media; and Rollo Wenlock, the founder and CEO of Wipster.

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 that comes out every Friday and gives you all the details you need on this show and shows past.

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 Supervising Producer is Cirina Catania; our show producer is Debbie Price. Our engineering team is led by Brianna Murphy and includes Ed Golya, Keegan Guy and James Miller. On behalf of Mike Horton – that’s the handsome guy on the far side of the table – my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for joining us for The Digital Production Buzz.

Mike Horton: Goodbye, everybody.

Announcer #1: The Digital Production Buzz was brought to you by Other World Computing, providing quality hardware solutions and extensive technical support to the worldwide computer industry since 1988; and by imagineproducts.com, specializing in workflow applications for over 25 years.

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BuZZ Flashback

March 10, 2011


Jessica Sitomer, President of The Greenlight Coach, highlighted the growing influence of social media and how creatives can use it to get work.