Digital Production Buzz
August 25, 2016
Sebastian Sage, Musician, Composer
Ryan Neil Postas, Film Maker, Elevated Minds
James DeRuvo, Senior Writer, DoddleNEWS.com
Laura Blum, Curator/Journalist, Thalo.com
Jonathan Handel, Of Counsel at TroyGould & Contributing Editor at The Hollywood Reporter, Website
Scott Page, CEO, Ignited Network
Larry Jordan: Sebastian Sage is a musician, and an actor. Tonight on The Buzz he shares his creative journey from musician to composer, to actor to teacher. Producer and director Ryan Postas shares his experiences using Arri cameras on his latest shoots and how they’ve affected his editing workflow. Next, Laura Blum, contributing writer for Thalo.com begins a two-part series on disability in films and TV. Tonight, she looks at how film makers are responding to this issue.
Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel, the entertainment labor reporter for the Hollywood Reporter, looks at how Hollywood is responding to diversity issues. Musician and serial entrepreneur Scott Page has developed a five step process for growing a successful, creative business. Tonight, we begin a five part series that takes you through each step of his process and as always, James DeRuvo has a DoddleNEWS update. 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. Hi, this is Larry Jordan.
Larry Jordan: We are deep into the quiet days of August, but we have a very exciting show tonight. One of the changes that we’re making to the Buzz is to add a live news component, and expand the areas of film making that we cover. To this end, we’ve partnered with the team at DoddleNEWS which publishes industry news stories every day, to produce a weekly summary of the most important news affecting video production and post. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the DoddleNEWS websites, you owe it to yourself to check out their news and product review articles. Heath McKnight, James DeRuvo, and Danny Santos make up the core editorial team of DoddleNEWS along with a long list of guest writers.
Larry Jordan: Second, we’ve added two regular commentators, Laura Blum and Scott Page to look at film making from two new perspectives. Laura looks at content, while Scott looks at the business side of creativity. Both Laura and Scott start multi-part series tonight that I think you’ll find very interesting.
Larry Jordan: Before we get too far into the show though, 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 quick links to all the different segments on the show, and curated articles of special interest to film makers. Best of all, every issue is free.
Larry Jordan: It may be the middle of August, but IBC, the second largest trade show in our industry, is just around the corner, and starts September 8th in Amsterdam. Which means my email inbox is starting to fill up with new product announcements, and thinking about news and new product announcements brings me to James DeRuvo and the DoddleNEWS update. James is currently the senior writer on DoddleNEWS and hello James, welcome.
James DeRuvo: Hi Larry. Thanks for having me.
Larry Jordan: So what’s the big news story of the week?
James DeRuvo: Today, Canon’s finally announced the 5D Mark IV 4K DSLR. It’s got a 30 megapixel CMOS sensor, and a DIGIC 6+ processor. So, it can shoot in ultra-high definition at 30 frames per second, or 1080p at 60 frames per second. Honestly, I think it’s a very conservative design but the camera does come with some high dynamic range features, and a special still shot autofocus called dual pixel RAW. But having come out a few years after the competition, and at nearly twice the price, honestly one has to wonder if Canon has given us the mid-range DSLR we really deserve, and I think the biggest loser here is probably the 1DX Mark II which cost $2,000 more, and has almost the exact same features.
Larry Jordan: Have they announced when this one is going to ship?
James DeRuvo: Pre-orders are now and I’m not really sure about shipment time, but I’m guessing it’s going to be in the fall.
Larry Jordan: Well it’s probably a good guess. So what else we got that’s hot news this week?
James DeRuvo: Well, Ang Lee’s latest new film is called ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ and it’s the story of a whacky war veteran who is adjusting to life at home. And what’s interesting about this movie is that it was shot in 4K on the Sony F65, and at the high frame rate of 120 frames per second. Now we decided to debut this film at the New York Film Festival because the AMC Lincoln Square Theater where they’re showing most of the big releases during the festival, has a new state of the art projector that can show the film not only in 3D, but also at the high frame rate of 120 frames per second. And Sony and Lee are calling it ‘immersive digital.’
Larry Jordan: What’s the advantage of the high frame rate?
James DeRuvo: The concept of high frame rate was that it would make a movie more immersive, because it would look ultra realistic. But when Peter Jackson tried this with ‘The Hobbit,’ he shot ‘The Hobbit’ in 48 frames per second, and unfortunately, it looked too real. The props actually looked like props and the CGI looked awful and so at the end of the day, it was kind of a misstep back them to shoot in 48 frames per second. But there’s a very committed cadre of film makers out there that think that the future is in high frame rate because of the ultra realistic feel of it, and they think that it’s going to take some time for us to overcome 100 years of watching something at 24 frames per second. But once we do, this will be the state of the art from now on.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of state of the art, we’ve got a little bit of time left. What’s happening with DaVinci Resolve?
James DeRuvo: This is a really cool little project. A Finnish film maker by the name of Julius Koivistoinen created his own hardware interface for color grading in DaVinci Resolve, and he did it using a disc jockey MIDI controller and a free Mac utility called ControllerMate. He used ControllerMate to actually program this MIDI controller which is designed for mixing music, and what he’s able to do with it for under $300 is have a hardware interface to do color grading and it comes in three different levels so he can control luminance and color and dynamic range and every single feature that DaVinci offers. He’s created a step by step instructional on how to do it.
James DeRuvo: The only downside is that it’s only for the Mac, but there are PC alternatives to the ControllerMate software, and he’s working on a procedure for PCs which should be released soon. And when you consider that hardware interfaces run between $1000 and $30,000, for the one man band this is a very attractive option.
Larry Jordan: That’s very cool. James, where can people go to keep track of all the stuff that’s happening on DoddleNEWS?
James DeRuvo: These stories and more can be found at DoddleNEWS.com.
Larry Jordan: And James DeRuvo is a senior writer for DoddleNEWS.com. James, as always, thanks for joining us, and we’ll chat with you next week.
James DeRuvo: Alright, Larry we’ll talk to you then.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Larry Jordan: I want to introduce you to a new website, Thalo.com. Thalo.com is an artist community and networking site for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. Thalo.com features content from around the world with a global perspective on all things creative. Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works. Thalo is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers, from photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts and everything in between. Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Visit Thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed. That’s Thalo.com.
Larry Jordan: Sebastian Sage is an actor, composer and musician based in Los Angeles. He currently teaches at Cal State, Channel Islands in the performing arts department. Hello Sebastian, welcome.
Sebastian Sage: Hello Larry. How are you today?
Larry Jordan: I am delighted to be talking to you and I’m curious, what first got you interested in music all those years ago?
Sebastian Sage: Well I’ve been playing music my entire life. I don’t know what got me interested. Honestly, I think it’s a little bit of an obsession and so much to maybe the demise and the wishes of my parents, to get a real job. They got me started in lessons and I don’t think they realized what they were getting themselves into once I started to want to do a degree in music. I finally got a full scholarship to go to USC to do my doctorate in music, and then my dad was like, “Maybe you’re going to be OK?”
Larry Jordan: They have too many visions of penniless musicians I think.
Sebastian Sage: I agree, and how many musicians do you know that make a career out of this?
Larry Jordan: A lot of musicians want to, but not a lot of them succeed. We’ll talk more about that a little later in the show. We’ve got a segment from Scott Page talking about how to run a successful, creative business which I think could be useful for a lot of people.
Sebastian Sage: Oh terrific.
Larry Jordan: Do you prefer performing, recording or teaching music?
Sebastian Sage: Honestly I really enjoy all of them. I love performing. Being on stage feels so good, I feel at home. I sometimes feel more comfortable on stage than I do off stage honestly. And then recording and composing, that was something relatively new. I didn’t realize that I could do that and I was just like I’m just going to do something simple. I’ll write a real simple song and I felt like I opened Pandora’s Box and I just couldn’t stop. And now I have stacks of recordings and books, and lyrics and scribbling on papers. It became an obsession. And then teaching, it’s just a wonderful way to share your love with others, and sometimes it also inspires your music to be around people that are so interested in it. Like minds, people who want to do music, are inspired by it. The more you get together sometimes the more stuff can come out of it. I love collaborating with people in song writing or composition or anything.
Larry Jordan: Well I think there’s a story in how you got composing, because it wasn’t “I’m going to be a composer” was it?
Sebastian Sage: Not at all. I was playing a lot of classical music and of course a lot of pop and rock. Playing Bach on the classical guitar and then playing Beatles and all these rock and roll bands, and they just became so amazing and great and I wondered, how could I do something like that? So I just started writing some simple songs and one my colleagues at USC who was making a film asked another one of my friends to compose, and asked me to play to all the guitar on that. My friend wrote a solo guitar piece, and he apologized to me when he gave it to me, saying, “I don’t know how to play guitar or how to compose for guitar, so just do your best.” I sat at home and I was stressed out of my mind. I could not play this piece, and I couldn’t make it sound good. And then the day of the recording I didn’t say anything to them because I just felt there was something wrong with me or my guitar abilities. And the morning of the recording session I sat down and I did this weird tuning on my guitar and this song just roared out of my guitar and I’m sitting there going, “Oh my goodness, this is incredible.” I thought it was anyway and so I sheepishly went to the studio and I said to the guys, “I tried to learn this piece you wrote for a solo guitar, and it just wouldn’t work so I wrote this instead” and I played this song for them and when I looked up all their jaws were on the floor and saying “That’s incredible. We would love to have you use that piece.”
Sebastian Sage: That was my first in to writing music for movies. And the next film that one of my other friends made, they asked the two of us, the composer from the first movie, they asked us to write together. It took my friend about a month to write the score for the first feature length film he did, but when we got together, which is why I love collaboration, we wrote probably 80 percent of the score in three days. It was just fireworks going off and he would play something on the piano and I’d say, “That’s perfect.” He’d say, “Yes it was, but I can’t remember what I played.” I’d say, “Move over” and I just played exactly what he played and he said “How did you do that?” I was like, “I don’t know.” So we just had this great relationship and from there, I really got into writing music for movies and that led to other things as well.
Larry Jordan: When you’re composing, do you have a story in your mind, an emotion in your mind? A color in your mind? What’s driving the composition?
Sebastian Sage: Well honestly I think when it comes down to it, I can’t really come up with a crystallized idea other than its just intuition. I have this one friend, he doesn’t know anything about music or anything about music theory. He’s never studied music seriously, but he’s a good musician. He said to me he just does things on the guitar or turns knobs on his amp until the hair stands up on the back of his neck. And I was like, “Wow. That’s it.” It’s that kind of thing you can’t always explain what you’re trying to do. What it is exactly you want to have. You just have a feeling and a hunch and you just keep playing with it. So I was just working on a pilot for a reality show, and it was the same thing. Sometimes I would just start out with a tone or a sound, and I’d be like, “OK I like that.” And then I would just build on that feeling I had. If that makes sense?
Larry Jordan: No, it makes perfect sense. It’s, it’s like trying to describe creativity. It’s obvious when you see it, but it’s hard to describe the process.
Sebastian Sage: Right, you can study it and pick apart something that’s not even done, but when you’re going into it, it’s sort of unknown territory. It’s like you’re exploring and going into new areas. Again, there’s that feeling that “I like this, I hope someone else likes it as well.” And I think that’s what you’re always trying to do as a musician is find those people that like what you like. Not everyone is going to like your music. I met this one woman that doesn’t like the Beatles, and how can you not like the Beatles? She’s entitled to her opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinion about music. It’s a very personal and passionate thing.
Larry Jordan: You’ve composed for both television and film. Is there a difference between them, and do you approach them differently?
Sebastian Sage: Well, you know, I think the approach is the exact same way. Sometimes the genres or the styles can be more different. When I did the reality show, I was using more electronic music most. I would probably say 80 percent of the music done was all electronic based. When I’ve done some other films and stuff, I find myself maybe using more real instruments and violins. I don’t know if I can say that there’s definitely a rule, because you’ll see movies where there’s a lot of electronic music, and you’ll maybe see some television shows where there’s a lot of more real instruments. Generally I might say that that has been my experience.
Sebastian Sage: Mind you though, I did a sitcom and that I’d say it was 50/50, so it all depends on the emotion or the feeling I guess you’re trying to convey musically, and the way you’re trying to accent what is going on in the film.
Larry Jordan: I’m looking back here at your bio and it says you’re also an actor. Where does acting fit into all of this?
Sebastian Sage: Well it was one of those things. I was hard headed that I’m a musician, and I kept stumbling into all these acting roles. It happened in high school. The drama teacher asked me to come over and teach one of the cast members how to play guitar for his part, and then a few days before the actor had an accident and they asked me to step in for him. I said “Sure, I’ll do it” and I went on stage and I had a great time. I felt it was where I was supposed to be. But I had this set in my mind that I was a musician, so I went back to the music department and left that behind. But it just kept happening where I would go for some sort of little audition and I would get it, whether it was commercial work. I did some theater as well. I went into it more as a composer and a musician and I ended up getting a pretty big acting role in it as well. Finally I did a sit com pilot and the thing that I love about acting is the collaboration. A lot of times when I do my music, I find I’m in the studio alone or I’m at home alone, writing music and doing all this stuff, and it can take hours. And I love people. I love being around people, and that’s one of the things that I really love about acting.
Larry Jordan: But you’re also involved in the performance art of teaching, so put your teaching hat on for a minute. What advice are you giving your students about the future of music? Where can musicians make money today?
Sebastian Sage: One of the huge areas is video games and computer games. They are making millions. I think they’re set up to be making about $100 million or something projected for some of the online video games. Remember the video game, ‘Farmville?’ Everyone on Facebook that’s playing that. They made like $32 million or something like that in 2013 or 12 or something. So there’s a lot of money and there’s a lot of need for music and voiceover actors. You know, you have all of the big actors are doing voiceovers. Sigourney Weaver, Michael Keaton, Ed Harris, Ray Liotta, Samuel Jackson. They’ve done for the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Games or any of the video games that have dialog. They’re paying really good money to actors to do these voiceovers. And it’s great exposure for the actor, and it can pay their bills as well. I’ve heard a lot of stories of actors who do movies, even Glenn Close did a role in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ and there was a quote saying that she just did it so she could continue to do her theater acting which is her true love and pay the bills.
Larry Jordan: Interesting.
Sebastian Sage: I’m like, “Hey if it pays the bills.”
Larry Jordan: And Sebastian, for people that want to keep track of you and your school, where can they go on the web?
Sebastian Sage: Well they could check out CSUCI.edu, that’s Cal State Channel Islands. The performing arts department is what I’m a part of, but I also teach a part of the digital media, where I do some audio design and recording.
Larry Jordan: Thank you Sebastian for joining us today. We look forward to talking to you soon. Take care, goodbye.
Sebastian Sage: Thank you Larry, have a great day. OK bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Laura Blum is a film and events curator, as well as a Thalo.com contributing writer, film festivals.com blogger, and former film and television development executive with Sony BMG. She gives us a regular look at the intersection of the creative arts with film making. Hello Laura. Welcome back.
Laura Blum: Thank you Larry, great to be back.
Larry Jordan: Laura, you are very involved with the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability. What is it?
Laura Blum: So the full title, and it’s a big mouthful, is the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity, and we call it Pac Rim for short. And it’s presented by the University of Hawaii’s Center on Disability Studies. People come from around the world and that includes advocates and policy makers, and NGO reps and academics. And I have had the great honor for the past three years, of presenting a keynote that I call ‘Ten Films that Shook the World’ where I look at how disability is portrayed in cinema and how cinema impacts disability rights. I also program and present film festival.
Larry Jordan: Why should film makers even care about disability?
Laura Blum: Such an interesting question. Certainly the community is understanding that with diversity, more and more everybody’s got to get with the program. So part of it is just really that, to reflect a broader experience of humanity. And then there have been some very interesting initiatives over recent years by advocates in the disability community to really get the very powerful film industry to reflect the experience of disability more accurately, more appropriately, and we can talk about one of the aspects which is casting.
Laura Blum: The word disability itself can be a little bit of a controversy. Last year, I interviewed Danny Woodburn, who you’ll recall was the little person on Seinfeld. And Danny has a vision of unifying the whole disability community so that, for the 30th anniversary of the ADA, that’s the Americans with Disability Act, they can march on Washington and say, quote, we’re disabled. Say the word. So Woodburn and many others believe that it’s a powerful rallying cry and Woodburn told me quote, differently-abled downplays the importance of saying disability. So he really wants to embrace the term and he doesn’t want to be pre-judged by it.
Larry Jordan: So give me a specific example of how a film maker or a television program is addressing this issue of disability.
Laura Blum: Well this Fall, starting September 21st, ABC will debut a sitcom and it’s called ‘Speechless,’ created by Scott Silveri of Friends. It’s about a family whose oldest son has cerebral palsy and uses an assistive speech device. What’s interesting is that the characters played by Micah Fowler, and he himself has CP. So, you could say that ‘Speechless’ has avoided the pitfall of casting an able bodied actor in a disabled role.
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking it would be useful for many of us to go into more detail about how different films and television programs are addressing disability. Can we talk about this the next time we visit?
Laura Blum: With pleasure.
Larry Jordan: Laura Blum is a film and events curator as well as a Thalo.com contributing writer, and Laura, thanks for joining us today.
Laura Blum: Thank you Larry.
Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel is an entertainment and technology attorney, of counsel at Troy Gould in Los Angeles, and he’s also the contributing editor on entertainment labor issues for the Hollywood Reporter. And best of all, we get to talk to him regularly on the Buzz. Hello Jonathan, welcome back.
Jonathan Handel: Larry, as always it’s a pleasure.
Larry Jordan: Well I hope you can say that at the end of your segment as well, because you’ve been hob nobbing with the famous again. You recently interviewed both Gabrielle Carteris and David White regarding diversity issues in Hollywood, and for folks that don’t know, who are these people?
Jonathan Handel: Well Gabrielle is the President of SAG-AFTRA, and David White is the National Executive Director of a relationship where the difference is that David White is the top paid staff member whereas Gabrielle is the top elected official of the union. And that’s the way SAG, AFTRA, and now SAG-AFTRA, Writer’s Guild East, Writer’s Guild West, and the Director’s Guild are all structured. Separation between the elected and the executive director.
Larry Jordan: So what was the purpose of the interview?
Jonathan Handel: Well it really was to touch base with them, particularly since it’s been five months since the prior SAG-AFTRA President, Ken Howard, unfortunately died while in office. And Gabrielle who was then the executive vice president took over from him and was elected by the board to fill out his term until next fall. And so we wanted to touch base and see what is going on with the union, on diversity issues as well as a variety of other issues.
Larry Jordan: So what did you learn?
Jonathan Handel: Some key things, some of which we’ve talked about in the past. The commercials contract was finalized a few months ago, one of their big contracts. The health plans are going to merge starting in January so the separate SAG and AFTRA legacy health plans will now be a single health plan. That will make healthcare more accessible and more available to SAG-AFTRA members, given qualifying earning levels for the plan, obviously can have a particularly strong effect on people with disabilities who may have medical needs in addition to those that other folks may not.
Jonathan Handel: Beyond that, we talked as well about voice actors. Voice actors in video games have been suffering from over work. It sounds frivolous to say well you’re going in voicing, how hard can that be? But when you scream and grunt for four hours at a time, it actually can damage people’s vocal cords, sometimes permanently. So it is a health and potential disability issue that the union has been inactive around.
Larry Jordan: Jonathan, recently you talked about Telemundo and age discrimination, which are both diversity issues. What’s SAG-AFTRA doing here?
Jonathan Handel: In the case of Telemundo and Spanish speaking actors, Telemundo refuses to sign a union agreement, whereas the sister company NBC of course has been a union signatory for a long time. So SAG-AFTRA is trying to organize Telemundo. On age discrimination, the particular issue is that there is a bill that is now past the legislature. It’s going to the Governor that would make it unlawful for subscription entertainment websites basically, IMDB and certain other websites, to include actors’ ages on those websites. That’s a source of discrimination and ageism that really flashes people in the face.
Larry Jordan: Is the government likely to sign it?
Jonathan Handel: We don’t know. I’m not aware that they’ve taken a position on it one way or another, but it was passed I think with pretty strong support in both houses. So people have their fingers crossed.
Larry Jordan: So for people that want to keep track of what you’re writing, where can they go on the web?
Jonathan Handel: They can go to THR Labor, The Hollywood Reporter Labor.com. And if they want to keep track of me individually, they can go to JHandel.com.
Larry Jordan: And J Handel is Jonathan Handel, of counsel at Troy Gould, and with the Hollywood Reporter. Jonathan, as always, thanks for joining us. We’ll talk to you soon.
Jonathan Handel: Thanks so much Larry.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
Jonathan Handel: Bye.
Larry Jordan: Scott Page is a musician, technologist and serial entrepreneur. He currently is the CEO of Ignited Network, which is a start up music accelerator focused on teaching artists how to think like a start up. And, as a musician, he’s widely recognized as a saxophonist and rhythm guitarist for Pink Floyd, Supertramp, and Toto. Hello Scott, welcome back.
Scott Page: Hi Larry. Thanks for having me on again, I love doing your show.
Larry Jordan: We love having you here. I was just thinking, you and your company are focused on how to enable creative artists of all types to become more successful at business.
Scott Page: Yes.
Larry Jordan: You’ve described this process as SPACE. What does SPACE stand for?
Scott Page: SPACE stands for story, plan, army, conversion and education. And those I believe is really the winning formula. I f you can figure out those pieces, especially when you’re trying to build your own director consumer business which is wonderful today, because I believe this is the greatest time in history for the independent artist. But they have to get educated and they have to start learning how to use these tools to basically rise above the noise and build a successful business.
Larry Jordan: I want to spend the next few weeks talking about exactly that. Each of these five letters on their own. And today I want to start with story. What story are you talking about?
Scott Page: It’s really about your brand story. We all know story is such a compelling part of getting peoples’ attention. What we’re finding now today is that the model has really shifted where the story has to be much more than just about your product or what it is. If you look at companies like Starbucks, you don’t hardly ever hear them talk about coffee any more. They’re always talking about things like diversity or things that they’re doing in the community to be very helpful. We’re at a time right now where especially with a lot of the millennials and things, they really care about what’s going on with the environment and things that are happening with diversity and bullying. All these things, so they really care about this stuff. So it’s really a great way to not only be passionate about what you care about as far as the content of things that you’re making, but by finding your passion in other areas where you can be helpful.
Larry Jordan: What’s the difference between your story and a typical elevator speech?
Scott Page: Well it is an elevator speech, but it’s just really about what is your brand purpose? It’s like really thinking more about that, because especially a lot of the content creators today, a lot of artists, they get online and talk about buy my record, come to my shows, me, me, me, me, when it’s really about we. It’s about we first now. So it’s like how do I find a niche area where I’m passionate about other things? So let me give you an example. We have an artist that we work with that I started asking her about, what can you do besides? What else do you care about? She cares about the environment, and plastics. So I said, “Oh that’s interesting” the whole issues of plastics polluting the planet. So from that we’ve built a whole thing around this passion that she has to try to solve this problem. She’s now connected up with the Plastic Coalition and a whole bunch of people, and she’s now working gigs in that community, because she’s now found a community that she’s passionate about. So a lot of what she talks about today is not just my music, but it’s the purpose of what she cares about. So combining those passions is a great way to find your base.
Scott Page: One other thing I wanted to talk about story that’s really important, is story now gives you the key words and the phrases that we can now use to growth hack through data analytics and scraping technologies, to find your exact audience. Because you know, and any business knows, if you have your product in front of people that really care, the chances are you’re going to be able to sell your product to those folks. So the story is more than just your story to rise above the noise, it also gives you data points that are very important for you to find your audience.
Larry Jordan: Scott, I want to invite you back next week to talk about the rest of the steps in your process, would that be OK?
Scott Page: Love this, one of my favorite topic.
Larry Jordan: And for people that want to learn more about what you are doing, where can they go on the web to learn more
Scott Page: You go to ignited.network.
Larry Jordan: And Scott Page is the CEO of Ignited Network at ignited.network, and thanks Scott for joining us.
Scott Page: Thanks Larry.
Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. DoddleNEWS.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals. DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers. From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals, or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go, DoddleNEWS.com.
Larry Jordan: Los Angeles based film maker Ryan Postas is a cinematographer, editor, producer and director. For the last couple of weeks he’s been shooting mostly with Arri cameras, and we’re curious about the results and his workflow. Hello Ryan, welcome back.
Ryan Postas: Hey, thank you for having me.
Larry Jordan: So tell me what projects you’ve been working on recently.
Ryan Postas: I have several music videos that have been shot that are in post production. I also have documentary work, something you’d call a EPK, an electronic press kit for a new band that has not had their debut yet. Those are the few that I can think of off the top of my head.
Larry Jordan: That’s not doing too bad for a summer when things tend to be slow. Why did you decide to use Arri cameras?
Ryan Postas: Well lately I’ve been falling in love with the look of the Arri ProRes with ultra-prime lenses that I’ve been using. And I’ve also used the AMIRA for some of my run and gun work that is a great camera for a single operator if I don’t have the luxury of having a first AC. Then it’s set up to be easier for me to just do things on my own. But most importantly, it’s the look that I’m happy with.
Larry Jordan: Well how would you compare the Arri with especially a RED camera?
Ryan Postas: Well the RED has the new Weapon out. And I’ve only been able to use that as a test. I’ve been wanting to shoot with the Weapon but haven’t had the luxury of the budget for it. So the RED Dragon was a camera that I used a lot. I just shot a group of concepts, scenes for a feature we did a few days back east. And we shot that with anamorphic and I love the resolution of the REDs. I feel that now that I’ve seen a lot of the work, a lot of my work with the areas, that I’m really loving the color separation. There’s a clarity to the image, but there’s also a beautiful softness to it as well. I’ve just been falling in love with playing with color correction. I’m actually getting ahead of myself in the color grading … the edit.
Larry Jordan: That’s alright, we’ll get to editing in just a minute. I want to go back to the issue of resolution. It sounds to me that resolution, in other words how many pixels you’ve got in the frame, isn’t the most important part of the image to you?
Ryan Postas: Resolution actually has been becoming more important to me the more time that I spend editing because I’m really digesting the footage. I’m really being hard on myself with the way that I’m lighting, the way that I’m working with the camera. Resolution is something that is giving me a lot more clarity in my images. If I look at something that I’ve done in 1080, and I stare at that all day and then jump over and I cut something that is in 4K the clarity and the integrity of the image is just there. And I think that the debate about whether resolution is important versus HD, I think that that should be coming to an end. I think that people should be really accepting of higher resolution. I think the higher the resolution the better because…
Larry Jordan: Yes, but you were just saying not seconds ago, that you were falling in love with the Arri because it had a softer image, you were falling in love because the color separation. Never once did the word resolution escape your lips.
Ryan Postas: That’s true. I mean I think that that’s because to me 4K is the base. I think 4K is the standard. So I wasn’t even thinking in terms of resolution for that. At the end of the day, you have to make a gorgeous image right? People aren’t going to judge it by the resolution. They’re not going to say, “Oh they didn’t shoot 4K”. That doesn’t matter really. It comes down to how the image looks.
Larry Jordan: I’m going to flog 4K just one more second. If you’re posting stuff to YouTube, are you going to be able to see the difference between an HD source master and a 4K source master when you’re looking at it inside a web browser?
Ryan Postas: If you have the latest retina Macbook, or if you have a 4K TV or anything that actually can display those images, then yes, because you’re going to see that the 1080 image is being stretched to fill that nice resolution of your monitor and I believe you’ll see it. Does the average viewer care or pay attention? Probably not. But to me, I’m very particular about it.
Larry Jordan: As you’ve been working with the Arri, let’s go back to the camera for a moment. What quirks have you found that you need to pay attention to?
Ryan Postas: You mean as an upgrader? Or in regards to exposure?
Larry Jordan: Well, stuff that’s specific to the areas. Is there anything that you run into that’s a gotcha, that you need to pay attention to from an operational point of view?
Ryan Postas: No, I would say that the menus are probably a little bit more in depth. There’s a lot more that you need to learn, whereas I love that RED displays everything right on the monitor for you. Anything you need to change, it’s right there. The Arris, you have to dig in a little deeper and kind of understand how they have things set up. But that just comes with learning right? That just comes with use and experience.
Larry Jordan: That’s just most things in life I think.
Ryan Postas: Yeah.
Larry Jordan: You said you were shooting ProRes. Which flavor of ProRes?
Ryan Postas: I am shooting 4444. Mostly to get a little bit more color depth in there. But I have been researching some of the ALEXA SXT cameras with the Arri RAW which I have yet to shoot on my own projects. And I have something coming up, fingers crossed, that would allow me to shoot with that camera, and that would be the first time I’m shooting with Arri RAW and I’ll be able to compare the difference between the ProRes and the Arri RAW.
Larry Jordan: ProRes 4444 is a beautiful format. I use it a lot myself, especially for stuff that’s screen captured. But it generates fairly large files, and I’m being polite, it generates really big files. So what changes did you need to make either to media management or workflow to successfully edit in this format?
Ryan Postas: My workflow, I could tell my iMac isn’t processing the footage as well as it used to. I think that could just be a sign of a time to upgrade. Or it could be the 4444 color depth. But in terms of onset media management, it doesn’t change things. You should always have a DIT, you should always have somebody there that’s got your back with the media. I mean yesterday I just did something running on that I had to manage the media myself. So I had the opportunity to have a break and take care of that. Every four cards I went to offload everything and then get back to it.
Larry Jordan: OK talk about color grading. What’s happening there?
Ryan Postas: Color grading is something that I feel like comes from my passion for photography, has gone over to the cinematography side, and I jump back and forth between Resolve and Premier, depending on the project and depending on what I’m looking for in the color. Sometimes the Rec 709 is great and it’s going to be exactly what the client wants to see but I like to kind of push it a little further and see what I can do with just new visuals. Just adding a nice flavor to what I’ve already done in the camera. And playing around with that more actually puts ideas in my head for when I’m shooting the next project of what I could do better, or how the lighting will benefit what is happening in the grades. I love to emulate film stocks so I’m always looking for, you know, I find quite a bit of plugins and LUTS and things that I see online.
Larry Jordan: Are you shooting pretty much clean into the camera and you’re doing all your tweaks in post? Or are you making stuff look unusual in the camera itself?
Ryan Postas: With the RED, I can dial in my own settings. With the Arri you have to basically create a look and put it into camera, which I played a little bit with that as well for my own creative stuff. Clients usually don’t want us to go too crazy with looks while you’re on set. But I like the fact that I can put a look into the camera and get an idea of what I’m going to get while I’m shooting. It’s pretty cool.
Larry Jordan: Yeah, I’ve always worried that if I shoot something that looks a little bit too outrageous on the camera, I can’t go back and fix it. But I can shoot clean on the camera and get crazy in post and if I change my mind, I haven’t painted myself into a corner.
Ryan Postas: Yes, I mean the good thing about recording in Lock C but you can set the SPI and your monitors to feed. You can set that to Rec 709 or you can set it to a look. And so the client’s not seeing the raw image on set. They’re seeing a stylized image but when you get it into post, you’re back to Lock C, you’re back to very flat images and then you can go from there. You can put that look on a footage and you have the look right away, or you can start fresh.
Larry Jordan: Very cool.
Ryan Postas: Yeah.
Larry Jordan: Ryan, for people who want to keep track of the stuff you’re doing, or hire you for their next music video, where they can go on the web?
Ryan Postas: They can go to www.ryanpostas.com or they can actually find me on Instagram at just Ryan Postas.
Larry Jordan: That’s R Y A N P O S T A S, Ryanpostas.com. I had to look it up to make sure I got it right. Ryan, thanks for joining us today.
Ryan Postas: Thank you so much, I appreciate it.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye. And you know, it’s interesting as we look at the range of work that’s being done, and the comments from Laura on diversity and Scott on running a creative business, and then talking with people that are in the trenches like Ryan and Sebastian, it’s an interesting experience in time in our industry, and it’s only going to get crazier with IBC getting closer.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week, Sebastian Sage, musician, composer and actor. Ryan Postas, cinematographer and director. Laura Blum, Thalo.com, contributing writer. Jonathan Handel, entertainment labor reporter for the Hollywood Reporter. Scott Page, CEO of Ignited Network and James DeRuvo, senior writer for DoddleNEWS.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of industry to talk about and it’s all posted to our website at Digital Production Buzz.com, and remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Friday.
Larry Jordan: Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at DigitalProductionBuzz.com. Our theme music was composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com. Text transcripts provided by Take1 Transcription. Visit Take1.tv to learn how they can help you. Our supervising producer is Cirina Catania with assistance from Debbie Price.
Larry Jordan: My name is Larry Jordan and thanks for joining us for the Digital Production Buzz.