Digital Production Buzz
April 28, 2016
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System
Carey Dissmore, Principal, Carey Dissmore Productions
Heath McKnight, Editor-in-Chief, DoddleMe.com
Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor, Creative Planet, Ned Soltz Inc.
Michael Kammes, Director of Technology, Key Code Media
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we look back at last week’s NAB show. We start with Phillip Hodgetts, as he describes the latest new technology revealed at the show. Next, Carey Dissmore and Mike Horton discuss the Media Motion Ball, the Supermeet and the current status of user groups and communities. Next, Heath McKnight is the Editor in Chief of Doddle News. He and his team interviewed exhibitors across the show floor and tonight he shares the highlights. Next, Ned Soltz loves cameras and cameras were all over NAB. Tonight, Ned explains what’s new in camera technology. Finally, Michael Kammes looks at workflow and the companies creating new ways for us to manage media and projects. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer: 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, we’re going to talk about NAB, Supermeet and the Media Motion Ball and every single new announcement that was made at the show.
Mike Horton: And I know them all, Larry.
Larry Jordan: I know you do, but before we start…
Mike Horton: Every single one of them.
Larry Jordan: What I was curious about is what did you find most memorable about NAB?
Mike Horton: You know what? I didn’t get to the show floor much. I was holed up at the Rio Hotel, but I did get to the show floor on Monday morning for the Blackmagic press conference and what I found really memorable was leaving the press conference and going over into the Central Hall and seeing all the bzzzzzzz drones. There was lots of bzzzzzz and so that was memorable. I really wanted to get out of the Central Hall because there was all the bzzzzzz and it drove people nuts.
Larry Jordan: Did you manage to make it to North Hall and look at all the VR?
Mike Horton: I did and I saw a little bit of the VR. In fact, we had a lot of VR at the Supermeet, which we’ll talk about a little later.
Larry Jordan: We will about it a little bit later. It was interesting about the Blackmagic announcements. There was nothing world shattering.
Mike Horton: There were no camera announcements.
Larry Jordan: Yes, which caused everybody else to take a deep breath and say, “Good, we can survive the show.”
Mike Horton: No, but their duplicator looked really, really cool.
Larry Jordan: Oh yes, I’m very interested about that.
Mike Horton: But you want to have Philip talk about the duplicator because H.265 is, I think, a little ahead of its time.
Larry Jordan: Yes. I was talking to Blackmagic about that. They think so too, but they’re positioning it for the future, which makes sense.
Mike Horton: And it’s shipping.
Larry Jordan: Also, before we introduce our first guest, Philip Hodgetts, 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, with quick links to all the different segments on the show and curated articles of special interest to filmmaker. Best of all, every issue is free.
Larry Jordan: Thinking that we want to spend our time looking at NAB in tonight’s show, I can’t think of a better person to start our conversation than Philip Hodgetts. Philip is the CEO of Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System. He’s also involved with technology in virtually every area of digital production and post and, even better, he’s a regular contributor to The Buzz. Hello, Philip, welcome back.
Phillip Hodgetts: Hi, Larry. At least we escaped Las Vegas successfully.
Larry Jordan: Yes we have. Well, it’s not a question of escaping so much as surviving, I think.
Mike Horton: You sit a lot, you don’t walk a lot because of what you were doing, you were doing the interviews and stuff, but my feet are actually in pretty good shape. It’s the shoes and the socks.
Larry Jordan: Thank you.
Mike Horton: If you choose good socks, you’re ok.
Larry Jordan: This foot report comes to you from Mike. Philip, we’re taking an extended look at NAB in tonight’s show. Before we talk specifics, what bigger trends caught your attention? Anything earth shattering?
Phillip Hodgetts: I think there are a couple of mega trends that we’re seeing play out over NAB. Like you and Mike were saying a few minutes ago, I’m very pleased that this was taking a deep breath and not have anything revolutionary this year, let’s have a chance where all the products that we’ve been promised can actually ship so we can test them out and we can have workflows that can be battle tested and that we know work.
Phillip Hodgetts: That said, there are a couple of things that are going… over the next couple of years, particularly the high dynamic range Ultra HD wide color gamut move in image quality, which is certainly going to have an effect on people on post; and, of course, VR, virtual reality, was extremely hot, as again you mentioned with Mike earlier.
Phillip Hodgetts: These are important trends; and the drones, I couldn’t help feel like I needed some mosquito repellant going through that Central Hall because, like Michael said, the drone noise is fairly annoying.
Mike Horton: It is.
Phillip Hodgetts: But the potential of what these aerial camera platforms give us, particularly as the software gets smarter and smarter and smarter – one man players can have a drone follow them, orbit around them and it’s all done in software just because you’ve got the controller with you. There’s a lot there.
Phillip Hodgetts: These are probably the mega trends. I’m sure Michael Kammes is probably going to mention setting the video over IP standards, which is going to replace SDI. I feel that Michael is going to be able to talk through … alliance in a little bit more detail than I could.
Larry Jordan: I was waiting to see if that was a comma or a period.
Mike Horton: It was more of an exclamation point.
Phillip Hodgetts: That was a not very solid period.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that I spent a lot of time between shows looking at at NAB was HDR. It’s surprisingly complex. That high dynamic range video, every time I turn around there’s something new that makes it really impossible to bring it to market and the biggest issue is a lack of standards. I met with the UHD Alliance, which is trying to come up with a way to sell television sets with both 4K and HDR, and was amazed that it’s still not nailed down. Are you getting the same feeling or am I misreading this?
Phillip Hodgetts: No, there’s certainly a problem. There are three different ways of achieving high dynamic range – Dolby Vision, of course, Sony have their own approach and the BBC want to do a hybrid approach, as they always do. What the Alliance is trying to achieve is to have a super set that everyone can meet, but the other issue with high dynamic range is that, even if you’re working with one of these, there are not a lot of sets. Dolby has a lovely high dynamic range 4,000 nit unit – you can’t buy it. It would be 30,000 if you could, but you can’t buy that. There’s a $6,000 video you can get from Costco, but now you’ve got an option with Atomos.
Phillip Hodgetts: There were a few announcements at NAB about high dynamic screens for use out in the field. Those high def values in the sunlight are going to be very, very nice.
Larry Jordan: Yes, but I think there are two issues. What the UHD Alliance is focusing on is the end user, the consumer’s experience with 4K and HDR. Even more gnarly is trying to be able to display HDR for color grading at a high end suite, and this one there are actually six different standards in terms of how we can look at video.
Phillip Hodgetts: Six? Oh. I didn’t realize there were six. I thought three was bad enough.
Mike Horton: Terri Kern was saying something about five or six different kinds of standards for HDR and I did see three monitors – Sony, Canon, I didn’t get to Dolby – but they’re all very expensive. But, my gosh, the picture’s just gorgeous. It’s extraordinary.
Larry Jordan: And Flanders Scientific came up with something new for their monitor. It isn’t HDR, it’s called Near HDR.
Mike Horton: Oh, really?
Larry Jordan: Yes. Standard HD is 100 nits bright – think of them as 100 gremlins. It’s 100 gremlins bright for HD, 1,000 nits for the UDH spec and Flanders Scientific are showing 300. Even at 300 it just looks wonderful. Philip, on a different subject, what’s your take on virtual reality?
Phillip Hodgetts: I think virtual reality is a thing. In games, it’s going to be absolutely brilliant. It’s going to be for remote presence, for all sorts of experiences. You can put yourself in all sorts of interesting places. One of the most interesting experiments that I heard of while at NAB was using a VR rig while on a rollercoaster. That was my initial response too, strangely enough, but it makes sense because what you’re seeing inside the virtual reality rig is a flying experience where you’re traveling through space or through a city and so the stressors aren’t from… All of the body stresses that you’re feeling on the rollercoaster are matching what you’re seeing, even though what you’re seeing is not that actual rollercoaster.
Mike Horton: Whoa.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that I’ve learned over at NAB is that VR is going to be really strong in games, but I think a bigger market is going to be augmented reality because that’s where we use our cell phones to show a scene and then graphics lay on top of that. What’s your take?
Phillip Hodgetts: Could not agree more. I agree completely, yes. I’m actually excited in the short term for augmented reality, this ability to have games where you can only see the prize through the camera or even translating signs automatically – we have software already that does that – so, yes… reality, something that I think is going to be very, very interesting.
Larry Jordan: I was struck by how storage is expanding in multiple directions. We’ve got greater capacity, up to a petabyte now, greater speed with Thunderbolt 3 and greater flexibility. StoreNext is now migrating into media. Are you seeing storage starting to become cool again?
Phillip Hodgetts: To be honest, I didn’t have much a focus on storage this year. I even let the Thunderbolt 3 go by, by and large, until I got back, so I’m probably not the best of your guests to come up with the current picture on storage. Storage is always one of those topics that is there, it’s not terribly sexy but it’s very, very important.
Mike Horton: Simply is a new company that just launched.
Larry Jordan: Alex Grossman.
Mike Horton: You know, the old guys from Quantum. It scales from individual up to a gazillion people. I haven’t seen it.
Larry Jordan: I have, I’ve seen it. It ships in July and it uses Thunderbolt sharing, so you can have up to eight people plugged into the same storage file sharing via StoreNext. The company’s called Simply. By the way, you were at the Final Cut X Pavilion. What was going on there?
Phillip Hodgetts: The FCP works there. The FCP… got together to sponsor an FCP exchange, a Final Cut Pro X centric area where they focused on workflow presentations rather than product demos. Last year, we focused a lot on product demos and this year we looked at case studies and workflows and a few new products. Wes Plate announced his XSend Motion to be able to send from Final Cut Pro X to Motion, so a feature from the old ecosystem that makes its way back into the new ecosystem.
Phillip Hodgetts: There were announcements from Color Finale, where they announced what they’re calling the, the Academy Color Space – again, Final Cut Pro X – which for some people is going to be incredibly important; and my own Lumberjack, we added onto our previous announcements last year of incorporating transcripts into Final Cut Pro X by doing magic keywords extracted from the transcripts.
Larry Jordan: Philip, where can people go to learn more about the products you and your team are working on?
Larry Jordan: And the Philip Hodgetts himself, the CEO of Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System, as well as the owner of his own blog, is who we’ve been listening to. Philip, as always, a delight. Thanks for joining us today.
Mike Horton: Thanks, Philip.
Phillip Hodgetts: My pleasure. Thank you. Bye.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
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Larry Jordan: Carey Dissmore is the co-Chair of IMUG, the International Media User Group, and the founder of the Media Motion Ball every year at NAB. Mike Horton, in addition to co-hosting this show, is also the co-producer, along with Dan Berubi of the Supermeet, also at NAB and held at other fine cities around the world. Tonight, I wanted to have a conversation about user groups and communities and the special events that cater them. Hello, Carey, welcome.
Carey Dissmore: Thanks for having me, Larry.
Larry Jordan: It’s been a while since you were on the show. I’m looking forward to our conversation, so thanks for joining us.
Carey Dissmore: Glad to be here. Thanks for the invite.
Larry Jordan: And, Mike, you get to wear a different hat for a few minutes. Take off your co-host hat and put on your guest hat.
Mike Horton: Yes, sure. Go ahead and ask me any question. Carey, do you have any questions for me?
Larry Jordan: Don’t start.
Carey Dissmore: What color is your hat?
Mike Horton: Black.
Larry Jordan: Carey, how would you describe the Media Motion Ball?
Carey Dissmore: Delicious.
Mike Horton: Yes. Really good food.
Carey Dissmore: The Media Motion Ball, for those who have not ever heard of it, is a networking event. It’s a user group event that was born out of this IMUG list community, which I joined back in the mid-‘90s, and it was a way to connect faces with names. Of course, it’s grown well beyond just that community to be pretty much for everyone who’s in production, but it’s a networking and sit down gourmet meal event always on the Monday night of NAB.
Larry Jordan: So then let me change over to Mike. How would you describe the Supermeet?
Mike Horton: I always like to describe it as a networking event. It is more of a stand up, where the Media Motion Ball is a sit down at the table and eat and talk. It’s a much more, I think, intimate and conversational kind of thing where the Supermeet has presentations on stage. However, if you don’t like the presentations on stage, you can go back out into the vendor room and talk to people, it kind of works that way. Both of them are very similar but very different and I’ve been to the Media Motion Ball a number of times, but then I always have to race back to the room because you’re doing so much prep for the next day. I missed it this year because I just had too much prep for the Supermeet.
Larry Jordan: Carey, how would you describe the differences between Supermeet and Media Motion Ball?
Carey Dissmore: I see them as highly complementary. I always go to the Supermeet every year on the Tuesday of NAB. I enjoy the Supermeet very much; I enjoy the stage presentations, I enjoy the environment. It’s a larger scale event, there are more attendees at the Supermeet than the Media Motion Ball, no doubt about it. It’s a different sort of event. It’s more accessible. There’s just more, I don’t know, more presence and the whole stage show thing is not something we’ve gone for at the Media Motion Ball.
Carey Dissmore: We’ve focused on having a keynote speaker and presentations from our sponsors and basically that whole sit down meal thing. I think a lot of people really enjoy the sit down meal at that event. It runs the cost up quite a bit, but we’ve decided that’s who we are and that’s what we stand for. Bringing people together, the whole idea was to connect faces with names and users, but that really in my opinion needs to extend not to just power users to power users or accessibility to even newbies or whatever, but to the vendors who make our tools. I’ve been in this business a long time, as you guys know, and what really matters is the human to human relationship between you as a user of tools and the vendor who makes your tools, and I see that as a really, really important connection to have.
Mike Horton: That’s a great line. I’m going to use that. I’m going to steal that. I’m writing it down right now. I like that.
Larry Jordan: Kerry, that’s what a whole trade show’s about, is the face to face communication between the end user and the vendor. Why did you decide to start the Media Motion Ball?
Carey Dissmore: It was just about a just us kind of thing. It was essentially a chance to get off of the noise and the craziness of the trade show floor; as much as you like that, your feet start to hurt and you get hungry and I don’t want to say disparaging remarks about convention center food, but I think I just did. There’s something about a nice high quality sit down experience after the first big day at NAB, walking the show floor, all the big announcements have happened, everybody’s buzzing and you want to get together with people who do what you do and a lot of our people in our audiences are either corporate in-house, education or small production company people and they want to talk about how all the day’s announcements and all the new tech relate to them in their own businesses and sort of bring it home.
Larry Jordan: Michael, same question. At a trade show, there are stage presentations at virtually every booth. Why start the Supermeet?
Mike Horton: It started out as part of that whole digital revolution that was going on back in the early 2000s, where people founded Final Cut Pro and it democratized everybody, turned everybody into a filmmaker and now everybody could tell their story in an affordable way and they all felt like they were something special, and so we had this special event as part of NAB and it just grew from there. Again, it was all this networking thing, it was all people getting together, solving each other’s problems or meeting people that they could collaborate with and it’s been essentially that ever since day one. It really hasn’t changed. The whole spirit has matured, but there’s still a sense of I want to shake your hand, I want to tell you my story and I want you to maybe work with me. So that’s kind of what these Supermeets are all about, and the same thing with the Media Motion Ball.
Mike Horton: The nice thing about the Media Motion Ball, as Carey says, is that you can actually sit down and talk face to face in a more intimate atmosphere, where you can’t do that on the show floor. It’s just too noisy. Half the time at the really popular booths, you can’t even get close to the people that you really want to talk to, but you can at the Media Motion Ball or the Supermeet.
Larry Jordan: So you don’t see yourselves competing?
Mike Horton: Oh God, no. No. First of all, we have this unwritten rule that the Supermeet will never be on a Monday or the Media Motion Ball will never be on a Tuesday. We share a lot of the same people and so we would never do that to each other. Right, Carey?
Carey Dissmore: That’s right. No, that’s absolutely right, and the reason is it’s all about bringing people together.
Mike Horton: Right.
Carey Dissmore: Now, as great as the show floor is, it’s awfully salesy and it’s oriented towards product information and sales and that’s great, but every single year I hear people saying, “You know, I was thinking about skipping NAB this year, but I really wanted to see you all at the Media Motion Ball, so I’m coming to NAB.” I hear that every year from dozens and dozens, perhaps hundreds of people, that the thing that tips the scale is the opportunities to connect in a very human way with their colleagues and friends in the business and then also, oh, there’s this really great trade show going on. It all kind of fits together.
Larry Jordan: Carey, you help run one of the largest online user groups in the world, which is IMUG. In this age of constant connectivity and ever present Facebook, why is IMUG even necessary?
Carey Dissmore: I hate to sound like I’m just beating the same drum, but it’s all about community and relationships. I can’t begin to put into words in a short appearance on The Buzz how profoundly our community was affected after we started meeting each other face to face. Now, not everybody’s able to come, but enough of us did connect face to face where it profoundly affected the depth and understanding of our online conversations with each other and really made for what I would absolutely say are lifelong, career long relationships.
Carey Dissmore: Companies come and go, businesses start and fail and new businesses start and people move around in this industry, sometimes they’re on the vendor side, sometimes they’re on the user side, but those relationships are forever and I’ve just seen that. In 19 years of doing this, I have seen so much movement but I’ve seen these relationships grow and mature and we really need each other in this business, so that’s why we do it and that’s why we keep doing it.
Mike Horton: That’s true. That’s for sure and each year we put an enormous amount of work into these things and it never gets any easier, but I think the rewards are that people still come back and also you get to meet all these new people, so each year I’m exhausted before I even start but after it’s over I’m really glad I did it.
Larry Jordan: Mike, you keep stressing in your user group meetings to get out and meet people.
Mike Horton: Yes.
Larry Jordan: Why?
Mike Horton: Well, it’s a lot different than meeting people online and you can meet people online, you do meet people online, but the moment you see each other face to face and shake the hand of the person, hear the tone of their voice, have a 15 minute conversation, you could become a lifelong friend because of just that little intimate meeting. I don’t think you can do that online so much. It’s just a different experience. It’s a human condition.
Larry Jordan: But user groups have had a hard time recently. There are very few clubs that are still operating. Is that because we don’t need the face to face?
Mike Horton: I think a lot of people think you don’t need it, but once they do it and experience it and have fun with it – because most creative people are much more at home in front of the computer than they are in situations where you have to talk.
Carey Dissmore: Can’t talk without a keyboard, right?
Mike Horton: Yes. It is. Creative people are usually somewhat socially awkward and it’s very hard for them.
Carey Dissmore: So the idea is to pack a bunch of them into a room together and force it.
Mike Horton: Well, you do. You have to practice and you have to get out of the house in order to practice, so you have to convince these people that it’s really important. Put a face to the text on the internet.
Larry Jordan: The fact that Carey locks the doors for about two hours doesn’t make a difference. Carey, where can people go on the web to learn more about IMUG and the Media Motion Ball and, in fact, to join IMUG itself?
Carey Dissmore: I’m going to point you to a couple of things – mediamotionball.com is our home base on the web, or to our Facebook page which is actually more current than the website right now with pictures from the event, which is facebook.com/mediamotionball.
Larry Jordan: Perfect; and Mike, where can people go to learn more about LAFCPUG?
Mike Horton: Lafcpug.org.
Larry Jordan: And Carey Dissmore is the founder of Media Motion Ball and the co-Chair of IMUG and Mike is the co-producer of Supermeet. Gentlemen, thanks for joining us today. Carey, best wishes, we’ll talk to you soon.
Carey Dissmore: Thanks, Larry. Thanks, Michael.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Mike Horton: Bye, Carey.
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Larry Jordan: Heath McKnight is the Editor in Chief of Doddle News. Heath has a long history as an independent filmmaker, a producer, editor and teacher and has produced and/or directed over 100 feature and short films. He’s also the President of the Palm Beach Film Society. Hello, Heath, welcome.
Heath McKnight: Hi, Larry.
Larry Jordan: Heath, before we start talking about the news at NAB, you’ve just heard Carey and Mike talking about the relevance of user groups and the need to create a sense of community for filmmakers. As President of the Palm Beach Film Society, would you agree?
Heath McKnight: I would definitely agree. I’m based in South Florida and the Palm Beach Film Society really reaches out not just to Palm Beach County but much of southeast Florida, and also an area just north called the Treasure Coast, and we work with other non-profits and we try to put on meet-ups, educational series like somebody coming in to show off some cameras. But the important thing is for people to network.
Heath McKnight: We’re at a time when people are one person bands, they’re doing a lot of the work themselves on their video and movie projects, but there’s something to be said about networking. Maybe somebody has a camera, maybe somebody has a piece of equipment that you can use, and that’s just the very basics. When I went to film school, there were no film groups but that was a great way for me to meet people. Somebody who I to this day still work with, 21 years later, is a co-writer of mine and I think if nothing else it’s a great way just to get inspired and meet other people that are in your industry.
Heath McKnight: If you’re doing it from a keyboard – and I’m just as guilty, I love getting on Facebook groups and message boards – but when you do the face to face and you can see these people who may have differences but you have this shared passion of video production or film production, it just always inspires me personally and a lot of others as well.
Larry Jordan: I think that, Mike, you would agree with that.
Mike Horton: That actually was really well put, Heath, and Carey and I forgot to use the word inspire, which is crazy because that’s what community does and that’s what getting out of the house does, you can be inspired by going to all these events. Certainly you can get inspired on the internet, but it’s like going to the theater – when you see it in person, it’s a whole different thing.
Larry Jordan: Yes.
Heath McKnight: It is.
Larry Jordan: Heath, let’s switch gears and talk about NAB. How big a team did Doddle News have covering NAB?
Heath McKnight: We had you and your team doing the NAB Show Buzz live podcasts and I thank you guys and your team for doing such a great job. We had two writers this year, senior writer James DeRuvo, who also co-hosted a few episodes with you, and Danny F Santos and both of them pretty much walked around and probably did almost 30 miles of walking over a three and a half day period. They met a lot of great people and talked to a lot of companies and the President of Doddle and Thalo, Stephen Roth, and I had a chance to go and talk to the companies as well, but we were talking more about what the things are that our readers want to know. The same thing as James and Danny were doing, but they were doing straight reporting. We wanted to talk about what can this do to benefit our readers and I think that’s a very key thing.
Heath McKnight: You mentioned I was a teacher; about a decade ago I taught film production and education is very important. Larryjordan.com and all the other training sites out there that I’ve gone to, the free resources, going to these user groups, and to be able to sit and talk and say, “Ok, this is awesome, we love this new product,” Blackmagic announced some awesome updates to their software, DaVinci Resolve, and it’s, “How is this going to benefit?” and you see the benefits. That was really exciting for us as well.
Larry Jordan: What were your goals in the coverage that Doddle News was doing? What were you trying to accomplish?
Heath McKnight: We wanted to make sure that we could meet as many big, medium and small companies as we could. We can’t meet everybody and, frankly, some of the companies are small and we try to do the coverage but it might be something that is so behind the scenes, like a network or something like that – and by network I mean a big shared storage that maybe would appeal to a very large company – and I’m not saying we didn’t cover that, we did, but we were trying to cover key companies like Blackmagic Design and AutoDesk and Adobe and Supermeet, key companies that are coming out with hardware and software or, in a lot of cases, updating and making them better, that can really benefit our readers.
Larry Jordan: What highlights from the show stick out to you now that it’s a week past?
Heath McKnight: It was interesting. On day one, James DeRuvo wrote a story which he called NAB 2016 Day One – The Dot Upgrade. He likened it a little bit to how Apple will put out an iPhone 6S, 5S where it’s the tick-tock upgrade cycle, tick meaning huge new hardware and/or software upgrade, tock being more there’s a lot under the hood or maybe not so much but a lot of it is also refinements to maybe the user interface of software or, hey, we’re going to be coming out with a new beta. We’re not going to give you a million bells and whistles, but we’re going to give you a lot of great stuff.
Heath McKnight: It made sense to really strengthen product lines and software lines across editing and cameras and stuff. RED showed off their WEAPON. No huge new camera announcements and we didn’t really expect them. Panasonic and Sony came out with some new 4K cameras that really probably appeal to the indie or maybe even event videographer. Blackmagic, we were hoping for a 4K pocket cinema camera – I think almost anybody would have – but they came out with a new camera OS upgrade for the URSA Mini and they announced a huge update for DaVinci Resolve, but it was more 12.5.
Heath McKnight: GoPro talked about omni and virtual reality, Drones were kind of dominant, and they’re still dominant, don’t get me wrong, but virtual reality was the hot, sexy thing this year.
Mike Horton: Yes, it definitely was the buzz.
Heath McKnight: Yes.
Mike Horton: No pun intended for drones.
Heath McKnight: I visited the North Pavilion, I believe is where they had it, and I took a look around and you know what? Virtual reality is pretty cool. For me, and I’m echoing James and several others, will it be something that we can really use? 3D was the hot thing in 2009 and 2010 until all of a sudden everybody realized you can convert 2D into 3D pretty well and it costs a lot of money to shoot 3D because you need about 30,000 lights. I’m over exaggerating here, but you need a lot of lights, you need a lot of money.
Heath McKnight: I believe that right now the only movie that is shot native 3D, if I’m not mistaken, is the new X-Men Apocalypse movie. Other than that, 3D became a gimmick again and most of these movies were just post converted.
Heath McKnight: Getting back to virtual reality, is that what is going to happen? I don’t know. We talked to some companies and they said that one of the greatest things is training. You can use virtual reality for training, you can use virtual reality for training for flying a plane, so on and so forth. Video games, but then again they said video games, the big thing would be 3D and it never really took off and 3D TVs came and went and 4K TVs are here. I bought a 4K TV about two and a half years ago and I don’t even think if I upgraded to Netflix 4K it would port on our old TV third generation, or even if I got another one.
Larry Jordan: Heath, there’s plenty of stuff for us to talk about, not just tonight but in general. Where can people go on the web to learn more about Doddle News and keep track of your coverage?
Heath McKnight: They can visit doddleme.com and specifically news.doddleme.com, and when you’re on the doddleme.com page, you can see what kind of tools we offer and then in the news section you’ll see we’re expanding it more and we do a little bit of training, mostly text articles, we cover all the news and we even do some movies.
Larry Jordan: Heath, take a breath. That’s doddleme.com. Heath McKnight is the Editor in Chief at Doddle News. Heath, thanks for joining us today.
Heath McKnight: Thank you very much.
Larry Jordan: Take care.
Mike Horton: Thanks Heath.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: You know, Michael, it’s interesting, I feel like blind man describing an elephant. There are so many different things to talk about with NAB and so many different aspects because the show is just so enormous.
Mike Horton: It’s so huge. And you’ve been to CES in January, right? Which is even bigger?
Larry Jordan: Yes.
Mike Horton: I’ve never been to CES.
Larry Jordan: CES is just ridiculous. Well, NAB is not small by any stretch of the imagination.
Mike Horton: See, I don’t even know how CES could be bigger. Where do they put more stuff?
Larry Jordan: With CES you’ve got toys in a way that you don’t, really with NAB. I want to introduce our next guest. Ned Soltz is an author, an editor, an educator and consultant on all things related to digital video. He’s also a contributing editor for Creative Planet, a moderator on 2-Pop and Creative Cow forums and, best of all, a regular correspondent here on The Buzz; and to show you, Mike, what kind of a trooper he is, Ned is recovering from a cold but he is still with us. Hello, Ned, welcome back.
Ned Soltz: Hello Michael and Larry and everybody else and, as you can hear with this wonderfully sultry voice right now, I could probably play a number of very good dramatic roles, but I still feel rather rotten, to say the least.
Mike Horton: You sound somewhat like Othello.
Ned Soltz: Oh yes, I’m kind of sounding a little masculine. I should only feel it.
Larry Jordan: Pushing toward the Barry White spectrum of voice work here. Ned, what happened with cameras? What’s new?
Ned Soltz: The great thing about NAB this year was what wasn’t new. The fact that we didn’t have lots of massive announcements with long range promises. We’re seeing refinements of existing cameras and we’re seeing some new cameras. For example, Panasonic has introduced two new $3,000 and $4,000 respectively little 4K cameras, the UX180 and the UX90. These are one inch cameras. They introduced them; they’re still under glass, so who knows when they’re going to come along.
Ned Soltz: I tell you what’s impressive, although it was introduced before NAB, I’m putting a lot of hopes in that midrange camera in the Varicam LT. I think that’s got a lot going for it and I’m very anxious to get one in here and put it through its paces.
Larry Jordan: What are your thoughts on resolutions greater than 4K? 4K clearly is owning acquisition, whether distribution or something different, but everybody and their cousin’s shooting 4K just to protect themselves; and then RED is showing 5 and 6 and 8K.
Ned Soltz: With RED, with the Kinotehnik shooting 5K and 6K, I think we’re going to see people shooting those higher resolutions but these are strictly at this point for down res purposes. Now, 8K will come along in TV because it’s the Japanese that are pushing that through MHK. Even several years ago, Hitachi was showing 8K solutions. Canon showed the C500 8K rig, which was a C500 with eight auto C7Q+ attached to it to give 8K and they had an 8K theater.
Mike Horton: Did you see the image in the theater? Did you get to the Canon theater?
Ned Soltz: Oh, I did, yes. It was a magnificent image.
Mike Horton: Because they’re already using it at the Olympics, right?
Ned Soltz: Yes, that’s the plan. The plan is to use that at the Olympics. I dare say in Japan, through MHK, there may be some 8K broadcasting. There’ll unquestionably be 4K, mostly likely over IP, of the Olympics and that 8K camera, if anything else, is going to window 8HD windows for purposes of framing, so I think that’s got tremendous value. Where we’re starting to see value of interest is what the little guys are doing. The trainees come to me from Kinotek Now, the question is there are 6K cameras that are going to run between $8,000 and $12,000 plus all accessories.
Mike Horton: Jeez.
Ned Soltz: Are you going to put that kind of money into a start-up by some talented and well meaning engineers, but is that the kind of investment you want to put into it?
Larry Jordan: First, Craig on our live chat’s saying ‘Strange that you guys never seem to talk about ARRI,’ and I don’t want Craig to feel unloved. Has ARRI done anything that we need to talk about?
Ned Soltz: ARRI’s had some software updates. To me, there’s no reason to talk about ARRI because there’s nothing like it. I have an inherent prejudice to ARRI. I think it’s the best image but I think at the same time, because they don’t have that 4K sensor, ARRI’s losing out on the Netflix world and production and I think it’s really bean counters looking at numbers rather than at the quality of the camera. Sooner or later, ARRI’s going to have to come up with that true 4K sensor so that it can snagging the Netflix productions. And as I say, we have seen some firmware updates for ARRI but you look at Alexis, you look at the…, what a wonderful image. You can’t begin to question that and I think you come to the point where the numbers, the statistics, the pixel cap are really so irrelevant because of the games that we’re playing electronically with these pixels anyway.
Larry Jordan: Another issue that I’m wondering about is are the traditional camera companies in danger of being overwhelmed by all this new competition? I saw JVC is now JVC Kenwood and those two guys have come together. They’ve always been together but now they’re marketing under a joint name.
Ned Soltz: Right, this is just how the corporate restructure and branding is, because Kenwood and JVC were always the same company and somebody decided to call it JVC Kenwood and I have no idea what the marketing and so forth rationale is behind that. I don’t know, consumer and professional meets consumer, maybe that’s what that means, because Kenwood is certainly to a high end consumer of audio brand and GPSes and things, but JVC is a small manufacturer and what I admire about JVC is they know their niche. It sounds terrible to say, but they know their place and they stay in it, which is very good because they’re not aspiring to deliver 8K camera, 12K cameras and make all kinds of promises.
Ned Soltz: They’re in the educational market. They’re in a lot of VENG market and they make their niche with particularly their connectivity, like this new 660 camera. That has an intercom channel that’s built in that will stream to the truck, that will stream over a modem back to the station. They’re geared for ENG work and they do it very well and they work seamlessly, so you’ve got to admire somebody that knows their market, that does it well and that produces a very, very good quality camera, but you’re not going to use that 660 to make the next 4K or 8K epic cinema because that’s not what that camera’s designed to do.
Larry Jordan: I saw a lot of stuff where we weren’t just talking micro cameras, but there seemed to be a big raging debate on gimbals and stabilization. Did you notice that?
Ned Soltz: Yes I did and I’ve played with some of the cheaper gimbals and stabilization and I’ve got to say, a lot of the cheaper things that I’ve played with, I’m not horribly impressed. There’s one particular gimbal that I played with I had for a loan to evaluate a product which I did not like and couldn’t get the review published because my article was so scathing about it. I never say bad things, so this was really totally out of character.
Ned Soltz: I used a gimbal from a US repackager of Chinese stuff and the thing gets out of balance and then it starts shaking and so you ask the manufacturer, “What do I do?” and they say, “Oh, reboot.” I looked at the same one at NAB with supposedly a later firmware revision and it does the same thing. So if you want to start getting into a higher quality sort of thing, like some of the DJIs and the like, even their low end, you’re in a better quality product. I would be really careful about that. They can be good with small cameras but in this case I was trying it with a Sony mirrorless camera and it was really right at the weight limit for the camera and it was too much.
Ned Soltz: The other thing of interest is VR and then the VR cameras and accessories that we were seeing.
Larry Jordan: Ned, I could talk to you for probably the next three hours on cameras, but I’m feeling badly about your voice. For people who want to keep track of what you’re writing and where on the web they can go to learn more, where can they go?
Ned Soltz: They can go to two places – creativeplanetnetwork.com and I also write extensively now for redsharknews.com, so you can find my articles in both places, as well as contact information and, when I have a voice, I am very glad to talk to people; and when I don’t have a voice, I’m very glad to email people.
Larry Jordan: Well, go grab some hot tea, put some honey in and get yourself well because we want to talk to you soon. Ned Soltz, thank you so very much for joining us. We’ll join you shortly.
Ned Soltz: Thanks Larry and Michael. Bye.
Mike Horton: See you, Ned.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: I feel badly about Ned and his voice, Michael, because there’s so much more I wanted to ask him and every time I asked him a question my conscience hurt because the poor guy was…
Mike Horton: Are you kidding? It sounds really sexy and when you play it back to him, he’ll love it.
Larry Jordan: In his current role as Director of Technology and Marketing, our next guests works for a company called Keycode Media. His name’s Michael Kammes and he consults on the latest in technology and best practices in the digital media communications space. He also, Mike, has a strange love of workflow, codecs and process.
Mike Horton: Oh yes, codecs, codecs and codecs.
Larry Jordan: Hello, Michael, good to have you with us.
Michael Kammes: Good to be with you as well and it’s fantastic to hear the deep sultry tones of Not Ned.
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, we’ve got a nationwide call. We’ve had Philip, who’s in LA, you’re in Chicago, Carey is, whoever know where Carey is but he was there, and Heath is in Florida, Ned is in New York. We’ve covered the entire continent.
Mike Horton: Yes.
Michael Kammes: We’re conquering the world, starting with North America.
Larry Jordan: What was big at NAB this year from a workflow point of view?
Michael Kammes: I think, as several people have pointed out, it wasn’t a – and I hate using this phrase – it wasn’t a game changer year. It was a lot of under the hood and refinements and I saw a lot of widgets. I’ve always been a fan of workflows over widgets, but this year there were a lot of widgets.
Michael Kammes: The first one I saw was something that two companies were doing that were very similar. One you’ve probably heard of, Axle, they have Asset Management. They have something called Axle Pulse, which is very similar to a company called burst.com. This is crowdsourcing for news. If there were, let’s say, a fire outside your studio right now and you took your phone out there and you started recording it, you then could upload it to a website like burst.com and it could be curated by CNN, NBC, ABC, all the larger companies, and they could decide they want to buy it or they want to go live to you and they could then contact you and then it’s going live. You could shoot live. It’s crowdsourcing for news and the cool part is that there’s a monetization back end with the Axle portion, which allows you to then pay the person who’s doing it.
Larry Jordan: That is very cool.
Michael Kammes: It’s a very interesting paradigm. I don’t want to take away from what professional videographers and reporters are doing, but they can’t be everywhere all the time and when stuff happens you now have almost instantaneous access to this media for Johnny on the spot, and I think that’s just a fantastic paradigm.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that Philip mentioned that he said you were going to talk about that I thought I’d just remind you about is the new trend on video over IP. What’s happening there?
Michael Kammes: What’s really interesting, for those who haven’t looked into it, is video has always been traditionally a one way street, you use an SDI cable, you shoot via an SDI cable and if you want to ship video back, you either have to route it back on the same cable when you’re done sending or run a new cable. It’s always been a one to one or… paradigm. When we look at video over IP, we’re now converting that video to run over an ethernet cable, which can then be run on a traditional network topology… IP infrastructure they have. In terms of space, in terms of power it’s much more efficient and it allows for bidirectional video signals, which is just fantastic.
Michael Kammes: The problem we’re running into is, just like HDR, there are a lot of different standards out there and just because you adopt one doesn’t mean that the receiver understands that protocol, so that ends up being a massive headache. What we saw at NAB was a lot of manufacturers saying they’re curating these consortiums that are consulting on what the protocol should be and they’re adapting this one and maybe not the other, or they’re working towards one. A lot of manufacturers now have cards that can then take video over IP or at least convert base band video from SDI or HDMI over ethernet cat 5, cat 6 and then send it out as an IP stream.
Larry Jordan: The problem I’ve got with video over IP is I’ve got to rewire my entire facility, which is not trivial, and I’ve got to replace all the gear in it, which from a manufacturer’s point of view I can appreciate, but from my point of view that’s a huge expense. Is there an option?
Michael Kammes: I’m in complete agreement. I think it’s great for… working with NewTek, with the Tricaster. It’s portable, it’s… handful of cameras, it’s full self contained broadcast. When you look at the larger infrastructures, I almost am saying, “You know what? Don’t worry about it until, Mr Engineers, you have to reengineer the whole facility,” that the five or ten year cycle has come up and you have to upgrade your whole facility, now we’ll look into it because it’s changing so quickly I’m not sure there’s a need for it. There really isn’t, and I feel like an old man saying this, you really don’t need to burden yourself with worrying about that portion because if your infrastructure isn’t going to move to IP any time soon, base band’s going to be just fine.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of another big announcement, DVDs are dying – even though all of us who are in the industry would like them to stay, DVDs are dead – but Blackmagic Design announced a brand new thing, which is an SD card duplicator. Did you see it and what did you think?
Michael Kammes: I saw it and I guess there’s a market for it. Actually, I was at Supermeet, Mike, and I was talking to Bruce from CHIFCPUG, Bruce Himmelblau, and we were talking about it and I said, “Bruce, I can’t see why this would really catch on,” and he said, “Weddings. Quite often we’ll do rough test at a wedding and spring out at maybe the ceremony or maybe just some shots of the bride and groom and we give those out to people, or… rock concerts where at the end they’re going to put the line cuts from where their live switch was and hand that out.” Ok, I guess memory sticks were fine, but I guess people want SD cards too.
Mike Horton: First of all, those standard SD cards are so cheap, and if you have enough of those duplicators, which are cheap, every single recital is going to have those things, school deals are going to have those, any kind of live event. Oh my God, it’s just going to be huge. The H.265 thing is an issue, though.
Michael Kammes: Yes, I completely agree on, dare I say, the more pedestrian usage. I’m not sure how much play it’s going to get beyond on the… arena but, as you pointed out, I’m sure that the recitals and whatnot… to the event videographers.
Mike Horton: Can you play H.265? You need, what, download the VCR player or something?
Larry Jordan: You need to download a player and you need to download the drivers. It’s not supported natively on the Mac yet, you have to install software to play it back.
Michael Kammes: And you need a BC system too.
Larry Jordan: Yes. If you think H.264 was complex, H.265 makes H.264 look simple. I totally agree there.
Mike Horton: Well, if you can play it on a TV set by just putting it into a slot, then you’ll have a massive huge seller.
Larry Jordan: But we can’t yet.
Mike Horton: But you can’t yet.
Larry Jordan: How about anything happening from Avid Nexis or Forscene or CineX inserts?
Michael Kammes: Yes, a lot of good stuff, and I’ll try to make it quick. CineX inserts. Those of us who are old enough to remember working with tapes and…to tape, if there was a mistake in whatever your program was, you could punch in and you could fix that one shot. With… files traditionally you haven’t been able to do that, you have to re-render and re-export the entire file. What CineX insert does from CineDeck, it allows you to actually insert an in to out point into that digital file. Let’s say you have fat fingers like me and you mistype a lower third, now you can fix that lower third, re-export that ten second clip and drop that portion into the… hour long exported file, so it makes fixes a heck of a lot quicker and it’s relatively inexpensive – 1500 bucks – which is a lot less expensive than the hours that add up over a year of you waiting to re-render a complete hour show and then export.
Larry Jordan: How about Avid Nexis?
Michael Kammes: Avid Nexis. Well, folks have been criticizing Avid for years because of their Isis naming convention for their… the Infinitely Scalable Intelligent Storage. That name came along first but the critics in the blogosphere, as they were, have been hammering Avid for years so they’ve changed their name to Nexis, which is next generation Isis. Aside from just a cosmetic name change, they’ve now gone to the more modular storage platform. They’ve got the… 2 and the… 4 which allow you to buy packs of storage, packs of ten and then scale your storage appropriately. They ultimately have a larger sized drive and they’ve dropped the price, so now you can get Avid… storage with even more throughput than you could with the older Isis system at a cheaper price and it’s more configurable, more scalable so your storage system is going to support your editorial ecosystem.
Larry Jordan: Michael, again, just like Ned, we could talk about all this stuff for hours and we will invite you back. For people who want to know what else is shaking, where can they go on the web to learn more?
Michael Kammes: A couple of different places. They can check out keycodemedia.com. They can also check out michaelkammes.com and lastly they can check out my web series on all things technical, fivethingsseries.com.
Larry Jordan: And the easiest place to go is the source himself, Michael Kammes, michaelkammes.com. Michael, thanks for joining us today. We’ll talk to you soon.
Michael Kammes: Oh, it was a pleasure. Thanks, gentlemen.
Larry Jordan: Take care.
Mike Horton: Thanks, Michael.
Larry Jordan: Michael, we’ve covered a lot of news tonight. What are you looking forward to…
Mike Horton: Actually, I enjoyed this because I didn’t get to half those places everybody was talking about, so it was nice to have that conversation.
Larry Jordan: What are you looking forward to in the next couple of months? Besides sleeping and recovering from Supermeet.
Mike Horton: Yes. Well, we’re having our local LAFCPUG meeting at the end of May and I think we’re going to cover more VR and hopefully the Blackmagic 12.5, we’re going to have those guys come down and do that, hopefully. Isn’t announced yet – I’m giving you a preview announcement right now, Larry. That’s what I’m looking forward to.
Larry Jordan: I will be there. By the way, Mike, next week The Buzz hosts the final episode of Doddle’s preeminent podcast Doddle Talks Technology. During 38 episodes, our Buzz co-host James DeRuvo has interviewed filmmakers about the technology and techniques they use to make their films. In this final episode, James talks to Stu Maschwitz, the co-founder of the visual effects firm The Foundry and author of the DV Rebels Guide: An All Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap.
Larry Jordan: Out of this series, we’re creating a new companion podcast called Buzz In Depth, which will premiere later in May and I encourage you not to miss it.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week – Philip Hodgetts, Carey Dissmore, Heath McKnight, Ned Soltz, Michael Kammes and a special thank you to our co-host and guest, Mike Horton.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online and all available to you today; and remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter.
Larry Jordan: Talk with us on Twitter, @DPBuZZ, and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Doogie Turner with additional music provided by smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription – visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you.
Larry Jordan: Our engineering team tonight is Brianna Murphy and Ed Golya. On behalf of Mike Horton, my name’s Larry Jordan and thanks for joining us for The Digital Production Buzz.
Mike Horton: Goodbye everybody.
Larry Jordan: Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2016 by Thalo LLC.