Dave Colantuoni, Sr. Director of Product Management, Avid Technology
Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor, Red Shark News, Ned Soltz Inc.
Cirina Catania, Founder and Lead Creative, The Catania Group
Steven W. Roth, CEO, Thalo, LLC
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we will fearlessly prognosticate what’s going to happen to media in 2017. We start with David Colantuoni, he is the senior director of product management for Avid. Tonight we talk with him about the latest news at Avid, and their plans for the coming year.
Larry Jordan: Next, filmmaker Cirina Catania shares her thoughts on business and technology trends that she’s expecting to impact independent filmmakers.
Larry Jordan: Steven W. Roth, the CEO of Thalo LLC joins us to discuss his plans for Thalo Arts. This is the web network which includes the Digital Production Buzz.
Larry Jordan: Philip Hodgetts, the CEO of Lumberjack Systems stops by to predict what tech holds in store for the coming year.
Larry Jordan: Ned Soltz, contributing editor to Red Shark News takes a long look forward at hardware, software, VR, HDR and other key trends in media.
Larry Jordan: All this, plus James DeRuvo with our weekly 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, my name is Larry Jordan.
Larry Jordan: CES opened this week and the flood gates opened. We’ve been inundated with press releases on a full range of products from the very exciting to the very weird. James DeRuvo will have more details in just a minute.
Larry Jordan: One of the announcements earlier today was that AMD unveiled preliminary details of its forthcoming GPU architecture called Vega. With a development cycle that took five years, this new architecture is focused on gaming, professional design and machine intelligence. The Vega architecture enables GPUs to address very large data sets spread across a mix of memory types, and this new chip is half the size and eight times faster than current GPU chips, with the ability to address up to 512 terabytes of virtual memory. Now this was a technology announcement and how AMD plans to put this into specific products was not announced.
Larry Jordan: And thinking about new announcements, it’s time for DoddleNEWS and an update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.
James DeRuvo: Hi Larry, Happy New Year.
Larry Jordan: A very Happy New Year to you, and thinking of Happy New Year means CES and oh my goodness, what has happened this week?
James DeRuvo: Put your seat belt on friend, it’s going to be a bumpy ride let me tell you. Well, first up, we’ve got some more details about the new Panasonic GH5 and I’ve got to tell you, I just can picture thousands of DSLR filmmakers putting their cameras up on eBay right now, because the Panasonic GH5, it still records in 4K, but here’s the thing. The new chip is still micro four thirds, but it doesn’t have a crop factor anymore, so they get all of the chip for its 4K imaging. What I’m guessing they’re doing is it actually images in 6K and then processes down to 4K because it also takes 6K still images. So somewhere in the middle there, this hybrid 6K concept which could be paving the way for a GH5 mark II or a GH6 which will go into 6 or even 8K. It’s really amazing and it records 4K 60 with the new H.265 codec, and it’ll be available in March for 1999. Very exciting.
Larry Jordan: OK, what else?
James DeRuvo: We also heard that GoPro is resurrecting the Karma drone. They figured out what was wrong with it, and it’s actually a ridiculously easy fix. So they’re going to be reintroducing the drone later in 2017, and they also are heading in a new direction with their camera technology, basically marrying it to the smartphone. They’re going to come out with brand new software and all of their cameras and everything is going to be geared towards this whole live streaming and publishing onto Twitter and the whole nine yards. They’re going after SnapShot, they’re going after Periscope, and they are really doing an attack. They’re seed changing into a different way of looking at how to use the action camera in the market rather than solely rely on it.
Larry Jordan: What else?
James DeRuvo: DJI also announced new Osmo hand held stabilizers, this time wrapped around smartphones. They also have the new Zenmuse M1 which is a new gimbal that can go on older versions of the Osmo to future proof it so that they can use their smartphones.
James DeRuvo: Ricoh is coming out with a new Ricoh R 360 degree camera which will have live streaming capability and will stitch on the fly. We reviewed the Theta S last year and I found the stitching utility not to be ready for prime time, and so now it looks like they’re just going to have the camera do all the stitching ahead of time and you’ll be able to do live streaming as long as you have an internet connection. It’s not going to be available right now, they’re going to be creating development models to send out to developers in the spring, so that they can start working on connecting with apps like Periscope and Facebook Live and YouTube and things like that. That’s going to be a 2K image and that’s going to be pretty exciting.
Larry Jordan: Interesting. Well we’ve got a little bit of time left, let’s blow through some more announcements.
James DeRuvo: OK. Two more I think we can go for. SteadXP is a company that creates these little dongles that they can put on your DSLR or on the back of your GoPro Hero which has acceleramers built into it and what it does is, it records the camera movement data and then you merge the camera movement data with the video file in their software, and it takes out the camera shake. So you can add image stabilization to any camera you have, and I saw some of the video footage and it’s pretty impressive. It’s not perfect, but it does dampen out a heck of a lot of the camera shake. They had a GoPro connected up to a car and they were driving at about 80 miles an hour, and it was rock steady. Very impressive product.
Larry Jordan: Time for one more.
James DeRuvo: Finally, our favorite crazy, Razer, which is the company that usually puts out game products. They recently bought THX and showed a three screen laptop in 4K.
Larry Jordan: A three 4K monitor laptop?
James DeRuvo: Three 4K screen laptop. Basically the left and the right screens look like they’re on a sliding rail which also doubles as the screen connector, and so you open it up, slide it out and you have three screens. It weighs 12 pounds, it has the latest Nvidia 1080 GPU and it’s supposed to come out later this year. I really hope it does, because this could change gaming for sure, but in post production this could change the way laptops are envisioned, and that’s from Razer.
Larry Jordan: That’s very cool. James, for people that need more information, where can they go on the web?
James DeRuvo: All these and other stories can be found at doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer for doddlenews.com, and returns next week with a weekly DoddleNEWS update. Good luck surviving the rest of CES James.
James DeRuvo: OK Larry, take care.
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, filmmakers, and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking, 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: As the senior director of product management at Avid, David Colantuoni is responsible for product vision, strategy and business management for Avid’s industry leading products which includes Media Composer, Pro Tools, Sibelius, and Shared Storage. Hello David, welcome.
David Colantuoni: Hello Larry, thanks for having me. I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me today.
Larry Jordan: David, a couple of weeks ago we talked about your new announcements of Script Sync and PhraseFind which are really cool. But now, I want to learn what else is new at Avid.
David Colantuoni: Well, we’ve really spent a few years trying to build out our media central platform and that has been a very daunting task from both an engineering side and also trying to accumulate information from our customers so we’re giving them the needs and meeting their challenges that they see every day in their productions. So we’ve built this platform that really allows us to take what you knew of Avid, the Media Composers, the Pro Tools, the Interplays, and we’ve created this infrastructure that really allows other folks in the industry to participate in that platform if they need to do so. Our customers might interact with a transcode engine or something that we don’t create. We create APIs and SDKs that allow those partners, and sometimes there are competitors to participate in that platform, so we really spent a lot of time, the past three years or so since Louis Hernandez Jr joined to really try and be a center point of the industry. We’re known for Avid Media Composer and Pro Tools and ISIS Storage and those are great products and are key to the workflows that our customers use today. But we also need to know and make sure that we’re building the products of the future. We want to make sure that as we build a platform, as we introduce new things that allow us to interact with the rest of the world, that that platform is scalable to meet the needs of our customers’ workflows, that allow our partners to participate, and even do things like deploy them in the cloud eventually. We’ve been spending a lot of time doing that, and that’s really the newest information.
Larry Jordan: Is this similar to building an eco system where people like Blackmagic or effects companies like FXFactory or GenArts can work with your software?
David Colantuoni: That’s right, it’s exactly that. You could consider Blackmagic a competitor. They make Resolve which has editing functionality, but that’s not the way we see it. We see them as a partner because our customers actually use Resolve and Media Composer together. So we work very closely with them quite frankly, to make sure that there were seamless … so our customers could go back and forth from Resolve to Media Composer. Yes, it is an eco system. It is allowing folks in the plug-in world for instance to participate easily. It’s even allowing folks like other asset management systems like Dalet to participate in our eco system if they want to do so. It is all of that.
David Colantuoni: One interesting thing is with our next CD agreement that allows us to take the next CD components and use them in broadcast or enterprise or work station environment like with ScriptSync and PhraseFind, because we have a platform, that actually plugs in so nicely to the platform. They were able to take their technology, build a panel inside of MediaCentral UX which is the peek into our platform, that’s the user facing exposure that you see to the MediaCentral platform, and that panel actually sits and interacts with all the things that we build to allow a seamless workflow. We wouldn’t have been able to do the next CD integration as easy if we didn’t have that platform. So it’s just a good example of how a partner can step in and work with us closely.
Larry Jordan: Change of subject. There’s a lot of conversation these days about support for high dynamic range media. Where does Avid stand on this new media format?
David Colantuoni: We have actually worked very closely with a number of the standards committees trying to set standards and metadata interoperability for HDR and so we do support it today. It’s supported in various workflows inside of Media Composer, so you can ingest. In some cases, we allow you to adjust it or pass it through. We also take some of that metadata and include it in an AAF and pass it on to Resolve for instance, and you can also take that same media and metadata and check it into Interplay. In the editorial sense, Avid’s always been a very good metadata company and so HDR is just a good derivative of things that we’ve been pretty good at in the past. Our key sort of interactivity with it today is through Media Composer.
Larry Jordan: Can you either display some form of HDR and or color grade it?
David Colantuoni: We can. We have some settings inside Media Composer. We can also allow it to be displayed, we have display settings for output, so you could have a Dolby Vision monitor and see the actual output of HDR media directly from Media Composer. So yes, there’s definitely capabilities built in there.
Larry Jordan: It took Avid a long time to integrate Pro Tools with Media Composer. What’s your view of these two tools moving forward?
David Colantuoni: It’s just continued interoperability. I talked about the platform a little bit earlier, and part of that platform was to actually build media engines that allowed Avid products to interact because there was, at one point, a time where you had a video media engine and an audio media engine. They were only exclusive to the products, Media Composer had its own video engine, Pro Tools had its own video engine. What we did was, we spent a lot of time taking the Pro Tools media engine for audio and putting it in Media Composer, and vice versa. The Media Composer video engine in Pro Tools, so that you could seamlessly pass media back and forth. Also we have done things over the years very simple things like naming locators and markers the same name so customers can interop but we’ve also done sophisticated things like AAF functionality from Media Composer to Pro Tools. So there’s a constant interoperability challenge that we’re doing to improve the products to work together. If you know the history of the products, way back when, they really grew up in different worlds which meant that when they were created, the data models that existed in both of the products worked completely different. You know, it’s hard to get those things to merge, and that’s really what we’ve spent a lot of time doing over the past 20 years or so. Little by little, making them work better together because it’s kind of hard to rip a data model out of a product and replace it with something else and not affect past users and things like that. We see a pretty good future together with Media Composer, Pro Tools, and we also have done a few other things like Pro Tools First, where that is a premium product that gets people using Pro Tools from an entry level position and we are still working on a Media Composer First which will do the same thing. Folks that are students or aspiring professionals that want to use Media Composer, they’ll be able to get it for free too. What we’re hoping is that those folks will both use Media Composer and Pro Tools together, and grow up together on them, and start using them as creative products.
Larry Jordan: It must be enormously frustrating to have two hugely powerful tools that don’t in any way talk to each other?
David Colantuoni: Yes, it is and the engineering that has to go on behind it to make them talk together is pretty complicated stuff. What we’ve decided to do is take smaller bites. The video engine audio engine thing was, believe it or not, a big bite, but it had to be done. Then small bites like naming functions inside products, that’s a much smaller bite. So the way we look at it is, we have our maps for both products, and we just keep inching our way through to make the interoperability better. But it is frustrating I can tell you. I think a few years ago having run the business of Pro Tools, and Media Composer at the same time, there were specific needs that the Pro Tools user, they want specific features that aren’t necessarily interopping with Media Composer and vice versa. So you have to find that balance of “How are we going to make these products work better together seamlessly, but also continue to improve Pro Tools on its own and Media Composer on its own?” So yes, it’s a challenge, it really is.
Larry Jordan: But no pressure.
David Colantuoni: No pressure. They’re great products. We’re going to keep working at it, there’s no other way to do it.
Larry Jordan: You’re charged with the product vision for Avid for all of the products that most of us mere mortals work with. What trends are you looking at in the future? That’s not a product announcement, it’s just what’s caught your eye?
David Colantuoni: The biggest things that I see here, and this isn’t necessarily an editorial type thing, but we’re just getting business model deployment changes. People are looking for virtualized Media Composer or Pro Tools or they don’t want to deploy big data centers. They want to run a server based media because they don’t want to run multiple versions of work stations and things like that. So we’re seeing a lot of requests for virtualization and cloud deployment. We’ve all heard cloud for so many years now, but the technology, the pipes, the convergence of the big companies around Microsoft or Amazon or even Google, the pipes are much bigger now. It’s becoming such that it’s easier to do that. It’s easier to deploy 300 Media Composers off a virtual machine. So that’s definitely a trend. I know that it’s strange. We hear everyone’s talked about UHD and 4K for what seems like forever. Now more than ever, we’re hearing 8K. That’s because the Olympics are demanding that. And HK for instance is asking for productions to be done in 8K. VR is a big topic these days. A lot of immersive experience, both on the audio side we’re doing things on Pro Tools and in Media Composer we’re partnering with some tool companies to allow that functionality to be edited inside Media Composer. I think a couple of other trends we see are some of the emerging camera technologies. Media Composer has always been great at metadata. Things like the Lytro Cinema camera or any of the light field technology where you’re capturing all of that light metadata and you’re able to manipulate it downstream, that’s a big emerging trend that we’re starting to see. There’s a never ending request of next gen technology that’s coming.
Larry Jordan: So you’re not sitting back at your desk being bored?
David Colantuoni: No, definitely not.
Larry Jordan: David, for people that want more information about Avid, and its products, where can they go on the web?
David Colantuoni: You can visit us at HYPERLINK “http://www.avid.com” www.avid.com.
Larry Jordan: And David Colantuoni is the senior director of product management at Avid. David this has been a fascinating conversation. Thanks for your time.
David Colantuoni: Thanks again Larry, I appreciate it. Take care.
Larry Jordan: Cirina Catania is a successful writer, director, journalist, tech evangelist and filmmaker. She also produced The Buzz for almost nine years, so I am delighted to say welcome back Cirina.
Cirina Catania: Always glad to be here.
Larry Jordan: Put your filmmaker hat on and your tech evangelist hat, and your geek hat as well and see if you can get all three to fit at one time. What do you see as the biggest business trends in the coming year?
Cirina Catania: Well I think millennials are finally recognizing that there’s a big difference between a beautifully shot two minute short and a full length feature video or documentary and that’s going to help them perpetuate further business if they can figure out how to put a story to it. I see more and more of the younger generation working with the older generation. There seems to be given the cultural and political atmosphere, a lot of anger right now, but also a lot of heading back towards our families and back towards our roots and looking for things that feel more comfortable. So I think that a lot of the older generation’s going to have an opportunity to mentor the younger one. And there’s going to be less tolerance for the free model. I think everyone’s tired of that. And a lot less tolerance for the catch-all, “We’ll hire you for $50 a day if you do these ten jobs and bring your own equipment, and can you be here tonight?” I think there’s going to be a bigger return to teams, and a lot more automation in the production phase that’s going to help post production with things like our Lumberjack and the different programs from Intelligent Assistance. Philip’s on later tonight so I don’t know what he’s talking about, but ask him about FinderCat and there’s a lot of automatic transcription with things like SpeedScriber coming up soon and Lumberjack’s Auto Keywords so I would say more automation, more efficiency, less emphasis on pretty, more emphasis on story. Also less emphasis on gear. If you’re talking about gear then I think we’re going to be talking more about audio because we’ve had our phase with all the new cameras, there’s always new cameras, but for the last few years everybody’s been buying more and more new cameras. Now we have to start thinking about audio, how are we going to get really good audio for that?
Cirina Catania: Advertising and marketing’s changing too Larry.
Larry Jordan: Well let me back up a step. Just thinking about the business for a second. Are you saying that it’s going to become more likely for people to actually make a living, or is the competition for the limited jobs just going to keep budgets in the basement?
Cirina Catania: I think there’s going to be a lot of fallout for the people that were trying and can’t make it. A lot of the young kids that came in and said, “Oh I can buy a really cheap camera. I’m going to have a production business” are realizing that they can’t handle the monthly overhead unless they turn it into a business. So I do think that there will be money for us to be made because again there will be fewer of us. Maybe I’m wrong, but I really believe that if we begin to put our heads together and say “No, we’re not going to work for free,” then everyone will benefit. There seems to be a movement towards that. A lot of the user groups I’ve been going to, people are talking about that. They’re no longer willing to give it away and that can only help everyone.
Larry Jordan: There’s also a trend, and James talked about that in our first segment, at CES, where cameras were announced at 6K and 8K, and there’s a technical push to 16. Do you see any benefit to higher resolution?
Cirina Catania: Not yet, but you know, like we’ve been saying for the last few years, if they build it, we kind of have to go there eventually. I just think that we need to look at deliverables first. And we need to shoot for our deliverables. If you don’t need 8, 10, 12, 16K, don’t shoot in 8, 12, 16K and talk to your producers about not doing that. I for one am not doing that because I don’t particularly need it.
Larry Jordan: You wanted to emphasize audio. What are you seeing in audio that’s caught your eye?
Cirina Catania: Well I think there’s some amazing new technology. For example from Samson, not Samsung, for wireless for our mobile devices, because a lot of people are now shooting on those. So the audio’s catching up. Last year at CES we saw some great innovations from Sennheiser with the 3D audio and I believe they’re bumping that up again this year. I haven’t been over there to see it, but Cal-Tronics has some great solutions for wireless transmission and receiving which is going to be really important to all of us. I just think it’s going to be a pretty good year for that.
Larry Jordan: Last question.
Cirina Catania: You know, there’s a lot of emphasis in CES about the brainwaves and hopefully Philip will talk a little bit about AI. I’m not sure what the subject is tonight, but there’s a lot of emphasis on culling the human brainwaves and taking that environment and using it in learning and research and eventually that’s also going to affect our business. If we can use our eyes and our brainwaves even to manage our cameras, and what we’re shooting down the road, that could be pretty interesting.
Larry Jordan: It could indeed and Philip is talking about artificial intelligence so we’ll get to him in about five minutes. One more quick question. What’s your take on VR?
Cirina Catania: I think that VR, as we’ve been saying and it’s not going to change in my mind, it’s great. They’re saying that 83 percent of Americans are very positive about it. On the other hand, they’re not really watching it. If you’re a gamer yes. If you’re in the travel industry and you want a VR experience while you’re standing on a bridge overlooking the Grand Canyon, that’s great. But I really don’t see it having too many other uses. And 360 in my mind, I think is going to go the way of 3D.
Larry Jordan: I tend to be skeptical of VR myself. We’ll have to see what the future holds. Cirina, for people that need more information, where can they go to learn more about what you’re doing?
Cirina Catania: Go to thecataniagroup.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, thecataniagroup.com. Cirina Catania’s the founder and lead creator for The Catania Group. Cirina, it is always wonderful hearing from you. Have yourself a very Happy New Year.
Cirina Catania: Thank you, Happy New Year. Bye.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Steven W. Roth is the creator and president of Thalo LLC and its websites, Thalo.com, Doddlenews.com and digitalproductionbuzz.com. Thalo is an artist community with a global perspective on all things creative, and Steven is also the executive producer of the Buzz. So, this seems a perfect time to learn more about Thalo, and Steven’s plans for the future. Hello Steven, welcome.
Steven W. Roth: Hi Larry, Happy New Year.
Larry Jordan: What is it that brought you to have such an interest in the creative arts?
Steven W. Roth: Larry I have an investment in another company called Chartpak Inc. Chartpak originally was a company that focused in on manual tools and accessories for architects, engineers and draftsmen. When I got involved in transforming Chartpak into a creative products company, we felt that the next evolution really was for us to get into education, so we wound up creating classes for Michaels Craft chain, so it’s been a natural evolution for us. Then I felt it was time to build a community where artists and creative people can meet on the same platform, share their experiences and their tips and techniques and any other types of resources that they want to offer. So we wound up creating Thalo.com and Thalo.com really is a site for all creative people. Subsequent to this, as you know, we’ve acquired Larry Jordan and we’ve acquired DoddleNEWS and we’ve acquired Digital Production Buzz, so today what we really are is a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers and what we’re trying to do is to provide tools and training and resources to expand peoples creativity and also to help them monetize their assets by building and growing their business.
Larry Jordan: We’ve had the pleasure of James DeRuvo from DoddleNEWS giving us news every week on The Buzz. Is DoddleNEWS just a news site?
Steven W. Roth: No, DoddleNEWS actually started out providing product information on technology and also about film viewing news. So what we’ve done is since we’ve been fortunate enough to acquire Larryjordan.com and Digital Production Buzz, we’ve been able to try and coordinate between film viewing and filmmaking news. What we’ve done on the Digital Production Buzz is we’ve started to expand the members that are contributing to our content. You know, James DeRuvo, we moved him into your weekly shows and focusing in on film and technology. We’ve taken a writer from Thalo, her name is Laura Blum, and she’s been focusing on new films and events, and we’ve also had a regular on named Scott Page who’s the CEO of Ignited Network and he’s been basically focusing in on artists and filmmakers and helping them trying to monetize their assets through business strategies and marketing techniques.
Larry Jordan: So going forward, what are your plans for the family of companies for 2017?
Steven W. Roth: The year of 2016 was a year of acquisition, integration and planning. For 2017, what we want to do is bring on new trainers, and we’re also going to be covering new topics that we haven’t covered before. Doddle will continue to report on its film viewing news, and we’ve just recently upgraded Doddle’s mobile app. It’s a digital call sheet that helps independent filmmakers manage people around an event. We’ve just recently upgraded the IOS app from Apple, and we’re waiting for the approval and we’re going to be offering new types of products on Larryjordan.com and the digital production call sheet will be one of them.
Larry Jordan: What’s got you most excited about 2017?
Steven W. Roth: Well I think with 2017, this is the year where we can really launch Thalo Arts in its entirety. You know, what we’re trying to say is that Thalo Arts is going to be our corporate site where we have our very focused websites of Thalo.com, Larryjordan.com, doddlenews.com and even possibly where we’re toying around with coming out with Thalo casts, which Digital Production Buzz will be a part of. Basically, Thalo Arts incorporates a creative community and then it drills down deeper by website to be very focused and relevant to the users that are interested in the information that each site provides. We’re very excited about expanding the library as I mentioned. We’re very excited about going out and now marketing much more heavily. We’re going to not only expand our training as I just mentioned, but we’re also looking forward to actually doing live training classes where we may set up a city tour.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information, where can they go on the web?
Steven W. Roth: They can go to thalo.com. They can also go to larryjordan.com. And also to doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: Not to mention thedigitalproductionbuzz.com and Steven, as the executive producer of the Digital Production Buzz, thanks for joining us today.
Steven W. Roth: Thank you Larry.
Larry Jordan: Philip Hodgetts is a technologist and the CEO of Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System. Even better, he’s a key technology expert for The Buzz. Hello Philip, Happy New Year to you.
Philip Hodgetts: Happy New Year to you too Larry.
Larry Jordan: I am really looking forward to our conversation because I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re going to tell us. What key trends do you see happening in 2017 that we need to watch?
Philip Hodgetts: Well I think there are probably three key trends that I’ll be watching this year. They are the virtual reality, high dynamic range and the various implementations of what are loosely put under the umbrella of artificial intelligence, but really what you and I talked about a couple of weeks ago where there are now a whole range of these smart APIs which is a programming interface that connects different types of applications together so that the smart APIs can be used by programmers. So they’re the three things that I think will be interesting this year.
Larry Jordan: I want to go in reverse order. What makes artificial intelligence so important? I mean, programs have been talking to each other since programs have been talking to each other.
Philip Hodgetts: Well, you may be surprised to hear it comes back to an interest of mine, metadata.
Larry Jordan: It does come as a surprise to me.
Philip Hodgetts: I know. Nobody knows that about me, but it really does come down to. What metadata is used for is organizing our media and the better and quicker we can get our media organized, the more time we have to do the creative process. In an increasingly pressured world, that’s the one thing that we probably have to have, is that creative talent. So what the smart APIs will let us do is to get metadata faster without taking up human time. So for example, SpeedScriber is an iteration of a new type of transcription tool that largely uses a web API for the basic transcription that has an excellent interface for correcting that. Lumberjack System does already use a smart API to pull out the key words from the transcripts provided. It’s only reasonable that this year these will be implemented further so that we’ll be able to get sentiment recognition so we’ll know if somebody’s emotionally charged or somebody’s restful in a particular shot. All the artist’s information on what the shot contains in terms of object identification. We’ll get information about recognizing faces and putting names to them in most cases and of course speech detect has been the one that everybody has wanted desperately for many years, and I think is the one place where we’ll get practical speech detects not absolutely perfect, but no transcription is ever perfect. So once we have practical speech detects, we then have a mirror into the content that we can start to do all these other sentiment and emotion and key word extractions from. So I see those as being very important, and I’m pretty sure that this is the year that some people are going to implement them, because the aforementioned SpeechScriber is already in Beta and I certainly have an inside into one company’s plans for this year.
Larry Jordan: Well let’s shift to something else you were following which is virtual reality. It will not surprise you that I am somewhat skeptical. What’s your take?
Philip Hodgetts: I am skeptical about virtual reality but not as skeptical as I was about 3D, can we go with that? I was incredibly skeptical about 3D and some of the same things concern me for the widescreen implementation. But the ability to experience another location and be able to have that entirely subject I think will really power on in the gaming industry, in the remote presence industry, impractical tours, in fact tours of places where you don’t actually have to go. Imagine a street view where you can literally walk down the street and look around any which way, at any point in the last ten years. I mean, these are practical implementations that I see great value in. I’m sure there will be people who do amazing things in experimental narrative, but the very nature of having to have that headset on, makes it very much a solitary activity and you know, movies and television are very much communal activities and I’m just not seeing how those two things will meld together.
Larry Jordan: We’re just going to have to talk to you again every month or so to find out where we stand in this whole process. Philip, for people that need more information, where can they go on the web?
Philip Hodgetts: My random thoughts are at philiphodgetts.com and the companies are at lumberjacksystem.com and intelligentassistance.com.
Larry Jordan: And where are your non-random thoughts?
Philip Hodgetts: My non-random thoughts are in the company sites, and here of course.
Larry Jordan: That is all one word, philiphodgetts.com or intelligentassistance.com. Philip, thanks as always, we’ll talk to you soon.
Philip Hodgetts: Happy New Year.
Larry Jordan: You too, bye bye.
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, filmmakers and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking, 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: Ned Soltz is an author, editor, educator, and consultant on all things related to digital video. He’s also a contributing editor for Creative Planet, and Red Shark News and best of all, he’s a regular here on The Buzz. Hello Ned, and welcome back.
Ned Soltz: Hello Larry, and Happy New Year to you as well to as to all of our listeners.
Larry Jordan: And a very Happy New Year to you as well. Cirina earlier in the show talked about some of the business trends she was watching and we also talked about VR and Philip was talking about AI, artificial intelligence, and VR which I’m sure covers everything that could possibly be said. So that only leaves, let’s see, hardware and software and…
Ned Soltz: Hardware and software and delivery and only a few other dozen assorted things.
Larry Jordan: So let’s start with hardware. What do you see?
Ned Soltz: Well of course the big announcement that has all the buzz these last couple of days is Panasonic finally announcing the GH5 and it’s finally available for pre-orders with shipping beginning the end of March.
Larry Jordan: Why is it such a big deal, because James made the same point at the beginning of the show?
Ned Soltz: It’s a big deal for a couple of reasons. The GH4 is still, to this day, extraordinarily popular as a still camera, and is probably one of the most feature-laden of all the hybrid cameras. Still popular, just because of its versatility, its image quality, the quality of the Panasonic V-Log, and the GH5 has a number of advances, most notably, the on-sensor image stabilization. I wonder out loud how much Sony technology Panasonic may have licensed for this, but of course neither Panasonic nor Sony would tell. But it’s very similar, at least in the smell test if you will, to the camera’s on-sensor stabilization, of the A7 series and now the A6500, but faster auto-focusing. The big thing of course, among other things, is there’s a 10 bit internal 422 codec for HD. HD up to 120 frames per second. It will do 4K 60p and dual SD card slots, and UHS2.
Larry Jordan: Now Cirina was saying that we all bought cameras and maybe this year is the year where we take a step back away from cameras. Do you think this may be a wonderful device but it may be falling on deaf ears?
Ned Soltz: You know, that’s very hard to tell. For Micro Four Thirds and Panasonic folks, this is something that I think is a major advance from the GH4. I do believe that GH3, particularly, and maybe even some GH4 users are going to look at it, and it may be just enough to tip the scale with some Canon users who maybe are seeing a little bit of a disappointment on the Canon side with essentially motion JPEG capture codecs and the new 5D mark whatever it is these days. Really more disable the video with Canon trying to push people … so it may push some of those people toward Panasonic. I think that has a good ring to it and I would certainly watch it and I think Panasonic has a lot of potential with it.
Larry Jordan: Let’s shift gears away from that camera. Any other hardware stuff you’re watching?
Ned Soltz: Well I’ve been playing with a nice toy for the last week and it’s got to go back tomorrow so I’m going to play with it a little bit more tonight after we get off the phone, and that’s the GoPro Karma Grip. This takes the Karma gimbal from its ill fated Karma drone, but there was nothing wrong with the gimbal, so it takes the gimbal from that and mounts that into a handle which can then easily fit the standard mount, for the Hero 5 black, but there’s also an optional mount for the Hero 4. As I say, I’ve been playing with it and the impressive thing here is like with any handheld gimbal, how stable the images are but how much integration there is with the camera. Particularly because this thing can run for about five hours on a charge. It powers the GoPro, it just plugs right in to the USB and HDMI ports of the GoPro in the mount. I think it’s a real winner.
Ned Soltz: The other thing too is, because I’ve played with some of the handheld gimbals for smartphones or GoPros from other brands, and they’re a pain in the neck to balance. This is already pre-balanced for the GoPro, so you just slide your GoPro in, it’s balanced, and you just power it up and it takes five seconds or so to start up, and there it is. So if you’re a GoPro user already, and you want to do some stabilized shots, this is the way to do it. It’s got even one added bonus, because there’s also included with it a little clip of these GoPro mounts, and you can actually mount it to anything with a GoPro mount which could be anything from handlebars to the body pack or anything else that has the GoPro mount. So I think for $300 this is a pretty good adjunct to fill out your GoPro. And while I’m at it, I’ve been playing with the Hero 5 which I did get and that’s the best GoPro ever. I know they’re falling on hard times, and there’s a lot of inexpensive competition out there, but I’m still very bullish on GoPro because they have the software development. They know what they’re doing in these small cameras. I’m pulling for them with drones. I hope they can recover with the Karma. But DJI is a pretty formidable adversary these days in drones, so who knows what’s going to happen with them there. So that’s another bit of hardware I’ve been playing with.
Larry Jordan: Well, one of the announcements I was reading this week is the new HDMI spec. Help me understand what that means.
Ned Soltz: Ah yes. The spec is issued by the specification group that calls itself The HDMI Forum, and it’s HDMI 2.1. What this essentially is is the bandwidth of the cable first of all which is going to be like a 48g cable. We’re really passing some data right here, and this 48g is going to be sufficient to be able to pass uncompressed video. But it’s spec, they’re saying right off the bat, is up to 8K 60p or 4K 120p, and buried in the small print is that it may even be able to ramp itself up to resolutions of 10K, 100 or 120p. It’s going to be able to carry that much data.
Larry Jordan: Ned. Why do we need resolutions that high?
Ned Soltz: Because we can. Because we’re human beings…
Larry Jordan: I was afraid you were going to say that.
Ned Soltz: …and we test the laws of physics and we even try to violate those laws of physics whenever possible. I think the 10K might be a little ambitious, but the 8K I certainly think is significant in motion picture and feature production.
Larry Jordan: I’m going to argue with that, but not right now. Actors wear makeup for a reason. The one thing they don’t want is an 8K close up. Everybody’d be intimidated by that.
Ned Soltz: Yes, well the worst though I will say, is not so much an 8K but the 48p, I saw ‘The Hobbit’ in 48p a year or two ago, I can’t remember. It was too realistic. You could see where the prosthetic devices were, so I think there is the case of the human eye resolves at essentially 48 frames per second. It was just too realistic. But again, like with anything, even with 4K, if you’re starting with 8K worth of pixels, and then down res even to HD, you’re going to get that much better a solution. More than that, you can pull a better still from 8K. You know, I think it’s there and…
Larry Jordan: Yeah.
Ned Soltz: RED’s offering it, I dare say we may see it this year in other cameras.
Larry Jordan: They’re testing the Olympics at 16K. It’s ridiculous. Anyway, before we run out of time, anything else you want us to pay attention to?
Ned Soltz: Pay attention to the new tech Wowza media DS box. Just announced yesterday, it’s a $12,000 box, but basically what this can do is take 4SDI or NDI signals, and it’s essentially a built in media encoder and distributor that works in cooperation with Wowza’s distribution network. Essentially allowing you such things as to be able to take one feed and stack it to various delivery modes, so you can take one feed, record and encode that and stream that out to the web or for browsers, Apple TV type devices or the like. So really what is happening here is, we content creators now are going to have more opportunities with devices such as this, to be able to get content out to a wide range of devices all done in real time, all with a relatively inexpensive hardware appliance that our delivery folks would be acquiring and utilizing to push our content out.
Larry Jordan: You know, what’s happening is we’re all turning into individual broadcast stations. I find that very fascinating.
Ned Soltz: It is.
Larry Jordan: Ned, where can people go to keep track of your latest thinking?
Ned Soltz: Well, my latest thinking these days will be on HYPERLINK “http://www.redsharknews.com” www.redsharknews.com where I’ve added a few pieces over the last few days, and there should be more coming out over the next couple of days, or creativeplanetnetworks.com where there are a couple of older pieces from November, but there’s a constant flow going there as well.
Larry Jordan: And Ned Soltz is the creative editor for both Red Shark News and Creative Planet Network. Ned, as always, thanks for joining us. I learn every time I talk with you.
Ned Soltz: What a pleasure, and again, Happy New Year.
Larry Jordan: Same to you. Take care, bye bye.
Ned Soltz: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: It’s a fascinating question, “What does the future hold?” It’s one we’ve been asking and trying to answer since we could speak. This year is no different, and I’m sure that everything we project is not going to happen. It’s going to be something totally different, and I’m always curious to see what that is.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests tonight, David Colantuoni who is with Avid, Cirina Catania, independent filmmaker, Steven W. Roth with Thalo, Philip Hodgetts with Lumberjack System, Ned Soltz with Red Shark News and Creative Planet Networks, and James DeRuvo with DoddleNEWS. It is a great group of people to try to figure out what’s coming down the road.
Larry Jordan: Looking forward is good, but looking backward is too. There is a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online, and all available to you today. And remember you can talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.
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Larry Jordan: Our producer is Debbie Price. My name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.
Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2017 by Thalo LLC.