Zach Lipovsky, Director, Reel Apps Inc
Linda Tadic, Founder/CEO, Digital Bedrock
Michele Yamazaki, VP Marketing, Toolfarm
Robert Cohen, President & CEO, Future Video Products, Inc.
Damian Allen, VFX Supervisor, Pixerati LLC
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS
Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we have a wide variety of interesting subjects to cover. We start with Zach Lipovsky; he’s the force behind Real Apps Inc and the developer of Shot Lister and Script Speaker. These two software tools help a project stay organized, during the chaos of production.
Larry Jordan: Michele Yamazaki, the VP of Marketing for Toolfarm; reports on the latest plug-ins for adding effects to our editing systems.
Larry Jordan: Robert Cohen is the President and CEO of Future Video; he’s invented V-Station HD; which is both hardware and software, designed for live event, multi-cam video production and post.
Larry Jordan: Damian Allen, Content Development Consultant for Moviola; has developed the ‘Coffee-Break Film School.’ This series of short webisodes is designed to help budding filmmakers better understand the craft of visual storytelling.
Larry Jordan: Linda Tadic is the Founder of Digital Bedrock. This is an archiving company, focused on enabling smaller production companies and work groups to archive and actively manage their media assets. Tonight, she describes how her new system works. All this, plus James DeRuvo with this week’s DoddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.
Male Voiceover: 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 Angles, 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: The annual NAB Show is coming and the Buzz will be there. For the tenth year in a row, the Buzz will be live on the tradeshow floor; covering all the news, production announcements and technology that NAB is famous for. This year, we are originating a new show every hour; 27 shows in all; featuring more than 90 interviews with industry leaders, all focused on the filmmaking community. Shows start Monday April 24th at ten am and to see our current guest line-up and the show schedule, visit nabshowbuzz.com. Our shows are being produced by Debbie Price and she has a number of surprises planned for this year. Visit nabshowbuzz.com and mark your calendar, to join us for all the news and excitement live, from the tradeshow floor, starting the first day that NAB opens. That website is nabshowbuzz.com.
Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue, every week, gives you an inside look at the Buzz; special links to different segments of the show; and, best of all, it’s free and comes out on Friday. Now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James, welcome back.
James DeRuvo: Hi Larry.
Larry Jordan: It’s good to have you. What’s the top of the news this week?
James DeRuvo: Well, you know, you were talking about tools for budding new filmmakers.
Larry Jordan: I was.
James DeRuvo: You know, when I was a budding new filmmaker, my first short film was cut using Media 100. You remember that? The news came out this week that, thanks to a partnership between software giant Boris and MacVideo Promo, Media 100 is now completely free.
Larry Jordan: Wow. I remember when that was state of the art.
James DeRuvo: Yes, I do too. It includes Boris RED plug-in, 3D titling and visual effects and this update is version, I think 2.1.8 I believe it is. It’ll likely be the last major update for Media 100 aside from this basic housekeeping fixes for the operating system. But, you know, while this likely means the end of ongoing development for this venerable NLE, given to budding filmmakers for free is a great legacy for software, that was one of the first Larry.
Larry Jordan: That is exciting news; it gives us another option for people to discover editing, with a software tool that’s been around for a long time.
James DeRuvo: Yes and it gives you, you know, some limited special effects capabilities, …, 3D; it’s going to be great for, you know, give your kid and let them play with it. It’s going to be exciting.
Larry Jordan: Okay, what else have we got?
James DeRuvo: Well, Sony has created a digital neutral density filter app for their Alpha cameras and this digital filter app is built into the latest firmware for the Sony Alpha model mirrorless cameras. But it will cost about $30 to activate. But I’ve seen some of the pictures of it and it impressively emulates effects of an optical neutral density filter right through the software. It looks like you’re going to apply these changes to the images before processing is actually done and baked into the image itself and then written onto the memory card. But the digital filter app is just one of many that Sony now offers to expand the capabilities of their mirrorless cameras and it makes me wonder. Does this mean the future of cameras is to become smarter, with multiple apps like a phone is? Only time will tell.
Larry Jordan: Very interesting. The whole idea of a camera app is fascinating.
James DeRuvo: Yes, I mean, Samsung came out with a camera that was driven by Android once and you could put a whole bunch of different apps on it. But, to put it on a major mirrorless interchange lens camera or a DSLR, that would be huge; so I can’t wait to see where this goes.
Larry Jordan: Okay, what else have we got?
James DeRuvo: Well, music licensing platforms, Art-List and Music Vine have gotten some major updates. They’ve sought to upgrade and streamline the licensing process. Art-List is an all you can eat subscription service for about $199; whereas Music Vine starts at $31 for 15 seconds. But the new changes will provide over 650 new song, over 120 new albums and, here’s the really cool part, is you’ll also be able to download alternate versions of the same song, which I think would be really cool. Because we’re always looking for fresh tracks to lay down in the background of our videos and these two surfaces look like they really want to be at the tip of the sphere Larry.
Larry Jordan: Very cool. What else happened this last week? Any highlights catch your attention?
James DeRuvo: Well, other stories this week. DJI may be getting into the selfie drone market with a miniaturized version of their Mavic Pro. We’ve got some brand new DIY lighting apps and news that the Apertus AXIOM 4K cinema camera may finally be coming; perhaps later in the summer.
Larry Jordan: Where can people go to get the latest industry news and what’s going on?
James DeRuvo: All these and other stories can be found at doddlenews.com Larry.
Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the Senior Writer for doddlenews.com; returns every week with a DoddleNEWS update and, James, thanks for joining us today.
James DeRuvo: Thanks. See you next week.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.
Larry Jordan: Enter the new digital ecosystem of media, entertainment and technology; where behavior and business have merged, to re-defined, workflow and revenue streams. It’s the MET effect. A cultural phenomenon fueled by hybrid solutions and boundless connectivity that’s changing the very nature of how we live, work and play. Drawing more than 100,000 attendees from 160 countries, at the NAB Show. Conferences are April 22nd to the 27th and exhibits are April 24th through the 27th, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Let’s drive and I’ll see you there.
Larry Jordan: Zach Lipovsky started in the industry as a child actor; his career expanded into directing and he’s currently the Producer and Director for the successful Disney Mech-X4 television series; now in its second season. In his spare time, he developed Shot Lister, the leading digital shot listing app available for iOS and Android and, most recently for Mac OS. Hello Zach, welcome.
Zach Lipovsky: Thank you. Hello.
Larry Jordan: Let’s start with the most obvious question. What were you a child actor in?
Zach Lipovsky: Well, I was a child actor, because my Mom was a TV Producer and had no money and needed free babysitting; so I grew up on set, acting and stuff.
Larry Jordan: You’ve made a shift out of acting, into directing and ultimately software development. Why did you decide not to stay an actor?
Zach Lipovsky: Making films was always by far the thing that was the most interesting and I was always acting just because it was fun and a good way of being out of school. I very quickly picked up the camera and was more interested in what everyone was doing behind the camera, when I was on set. I’ve been making movies since I was seven or six; doing stop motion and then making movies my whole childhood and being a techie, on that side of stuff. Then I’ve been directing ever since.
Larry Jordan: Which do you enjoy more, the planning part of being a Producer, or the actual onset part, being a Director?
Zach Lipovsky: I mean, being on set is the easy part and it’s also the best part. That’s one of the things I’ve loved about doing this TV show that I’m doing is, I’ve been able to be on set way, way, way more than I could have ever dreamed doing movies. Because, movies take so long to get going and then you’re on set for like 20 days and it takes two years to get it into the theaters. On this TV show, I’ve been able to be on set directing, you know, for weeks and weeks and weeks. It’s been amazing. We just finished shooting for 97 days; so you really get to learn the craft, on that level, way more than you ever could on a movie.
Larry Jordan: You’re talking to somebody that still has very fond memories of being on set directing. It’s an experience that there’s just nothing like; that’s very true.
Zach Lipovsky: Yes, it’s a magical thing when you have a crew that’s really engaged and everyone’s doing their crafts and you’re just collaborating and creating and the time’s ticking down and there’s just kind of this like orchestra that has to play perfectly. That’s an amazing thing to be a part of.
Larry Jordan: It is indeed. However, I must confess that the word directing and the word spare time are not generally used in the same sentence.
Zach Lipovsky: I know, tell me about it.
Larry Jordan: Directing takes about 125% of every available hour each week and now, suddenly, you’re in a corner developing software. What got you interested in development?
Zach Lipovsky: I mean, I’ve always been a tech guy and kind of always involved and always looking for apps and solutions to make my life easier. I very quickly realized, when I was making my first film that, there was no standard … thing and there was no app designed for doing shot lists, like there is for Movie Magic for scheduling or Final Cut Pro for editing; there was just nothing for doing shot lists; which absolutely shocked me, because, they’re such an integral part of keeping the whole thing running. It was right around the time that iOS and the time that the iPad was coming out and you could actually have a computer with you on set that would last all day. At the time I made like a file maker kind of little version of it and everyone around me was like, oh my God, this is amazing, why does this not exist? So then, it just kind of became a tool that I needed, then helped kind of bring into the world.
Larry Jordan: There’s nothing like having a prototype that people fall in love with; but there’s a huge distance between the prototype and getting a finished version done.
Zach Lipovsky: Yes, well it’s never done.
Larry Jordan: How would you describe Shot Lister; tell me what it does.
Zach Lipovsky: The two things it does is basically, it’s the best app for creating a shot list; so that’s probably pretty obvious. It allows you to customize and build a shot list, exactly for your project and do that really easily. But the thing that really makes it a killer app, that people can’t shoot without is that, you can build a shooting schedule, much like you would build a one-liner with all the scenes; but on a shot by shot and minute by minute level. You can assign how long you think it’s going to take to shoot every shot and put them in order and the app does all the math to tell you that’s going to fit or not fit within your day.
Zach Lipovsky: The really amazing thing is, when you’re on set, it goes into what’s called the live mode, where basically, as you’re shooting, it’s telling you, okay you have roughly 20 minutes to get this shot to stay on schedule. Okay, now you are 45 minutes behind; okay, now you’re two hours behind. What it allows you to do is, at the flick of a finger, rearrange your shooting schedule; get rid of shots; merge them together; move things to other days; move to stuff that’s more important, up earlier. It allows you to do all that with just the flicks of a finger, while it’s doing all the math; so while you’re shooting, you can make sure to get the stuff that’s important, within the time that you have, that the Producers have given you, and make sure you get the most important.
Zach Lipovsky: It kind of gives you control over time, because it gives you something to visualize time and how you’re doing in the day, rather than just kind of guessing and making it up as you go along. There’s, kind of, always this sense of fear that you’re going to make your day and that’s because, in the past, there’s been no way of really knowing how much work is left. Because a scene could be one eighth of a page, but it takes four hours; or it could be one eighth of a page and take 20 minutes. You don’t really know, unless you look at how many shots are in that scene and how complete those shots are.
Zach Lipovsky: It really gives the Director and the AD and the Producer and everyone a tool to kind of visualize the work and change it as you’re going; which gives you so much more power on set, to make sure you get the stuff that’s important. The last thing you want to do is be running out of time, at the end of the day, on the stuff that’s the most important, when you spent too much time at the beginning of the day on stuff that wasn’t.
Larry Jordan: Well, is this a tool that you give to the Script Supervisor? Who runs it?
Zach Lipovsky: Every person’s different. Sometimes it’s the AD, sometimes it’s the Director, sometimes it’s the DP. It completely changes by the project. The app allows you to sync anyone else who has the app and who has an internet connection; so it can even be people that are back at the production office. Anyone who has the app can stay up-to-date with how you’re doing; so that can be helpful for even the make-up artist back at the trailer knowing, “Oh, that scene, they’ve changed the order;” and, “Oh, that scene’s coming up sooner than we thought.” Even on the TV show I’m doing, one of the actors had it and he really loved it. He’s a young 13, but he loved having it because he could see how we were doing; you know, he could just stay informed with what’s happening behind the scenes. It’s a great kind of transparent tool to keep the crew informed.
Larry Jordan: So the data is shared on the Cloud and you can have multiple people dialing into it?
Zach Lipovsky: Yes.
Larry Jordan: That’s very cool. Does it require a lot of input, after you’ve finished a shot? In other words, how much work does it take to set this up and what do you do after the day is complete?
Zach Lipovsky: Most of the work’s in preparation; so you build the shot lists beforehand and now we’ve just released Mac OS, which makes that infinitely easier; especially if you’re doing a feature where you have thousands of shots. So you basically build the shot list ahead of time and the schedule ahead of time, just like you would in preparation for all your other work. Then on the day, it’s been designed to be super simple and fast; so that you barely have to even look at it. You can move shots just by holding down a finger and swiping. You can complete shots just by tapping. You’re doing very little work while you’re actually using it and it’s automatically syncing and doing all the math for you, while you’re going. You’re not fighting with the app while you’re going.
Zach Lipovsky: Kind of the cool thing, once you’re done shooting is, it’s keeping track of when you complete the shots; so if you estimated it was going to take half an hour and then it ended up taking 35 minutes or 60 minutes or whatever, you can then look back at the day and see, oh, at the beginning of the day we were really slow, but then we caught up and then we had lunch and then we were really slow again and then, at the end of the day, were going really, really fast; so, when you build your schedule for the next day, you can look back at the other days and kind of see the patterns, because every crew has a pattern that they kind of fall into. It often takes the same amount of time, at the beginning of each day, to get going and so you can start planning for that.
Zach Lipovsky: A lot of Directors that I’ve used have said that it really empowers them; because they can write down their shot list of what they want, put it into the app, put in the estimates of how long they think it’s going to take and realize, well it’s two hours over already and I haven’t even started shooting; I’ve just estimated it. Then they will re-examine how they’re going to block that scene, or re-examine how they’re going to shoot it within the time. It’s already helping them be more efficient and plan ahead, just by kind of going through the exercise of planning it.
Zach Lipovsky: Just by planning per scene doesn’t really give you a lot of information. The AD might think it could take four hours to shoot that, but, are you starting with the crane or are you starting with the Steadicam? Which one has to be built before you get there? That isn’t said in a one-liner and so, once you know which shots are first and which shots are at the end, everyone can be a lot more efficient and it can really help you just get what’s more important.
Larry Jordan: How are you pricing it?
Zach Lipovsky: Pretty reasonable. Basically, iOS and Android are both 14 bucks and that gets you the app and all the updates, forever, for free and then there’s an additional subscription that’s 14 bucks a year, that gets you some of the extra kind of professional features; like syncing and storyboards and the ability to import scripts into it and stuff. That’s an ongoing yearly subscription of 14 bucks, which really is what helps us continue to upgrade it and develop it and keep the servers running and all that kind of stuff. But if you just want to buy it once and use most of the features, it’s just 13 bucks or 14 bucks, depending on where you are. Then the Mac OS version is a bit more expensive because it’s a desktop app and it will take a lot more work to get up and running for that one. I think it’s 39.99.
Larry Jordan: Who do you find using this? Is it just used at the larger studios, or do you find it being used by independents? How do you look at your audience?
Zach Lipovsky: It’s actually more so the smaller crews. I find, not only are they the ones that are more receptive of new technology and new ways of doing stuff. But they often also have less manpower, so they need to be more efficient and a lot of people that use it, like I said, they’re the Director and the First AD; or they’re the DP and First AD; or they’re the Producer and DP, Director, Actor. They don’t have whole departments doing this work for them and they need to be able to do it themselves. I would say, the majority of our audience is actually the smaller productions; like the corporate videos, the music videos and web series and that type of stuff. Recently with the Mac OS, now that’s starting to have a bigger impact into the bigger industry, because they’re used to working on a computer for a month ahead of time; so now you can do that.
Zach Lipovsky: But it really comes down to the actual people. Like it’s changed massively, even over the last five years that we’ve had the app. Five years ago, people were not used to working on an iPad, they thought of it as something you read a book on, but not something you used as a tool. Now, most people have an iPad instead of a production binder and that’s taken about five years to happen; so people are way more used to working on it as an actual serious tool, rather than just a book reader. That’s taken a while to grow and usually production people take a while to kind of use new software; it’s just kind of the nature of our industry.
Larry Jordan: Zach, where can people go to learn more about Shot Lister?
Zach Lipovsky: Well, you can go to our website, which is shotlister.com and you can follow us on Twitter @shotlisterapp.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, shotlister.com and Zach Lipovsky is the developer behind it; as well as the Director of Disney’s Mech-X4 television series. Zach, thanks for joining us today.
Zach Lipovsky: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.
Larry Jordan: Michele Yamazaki is the VP of Marketing for Toolfarm; this is a company that specializes in marketing plug-ins and effects for a wide variety of software. Tonight, Michele joins us to share the latest news on the cool new plug-ins that we need to pay attention to. Hello Michele, welcome.
Michele Yamazaki: Hello, how are you?
Larry Jordan: I’m always glad to be talking to you. What’s the latest news; what have you got?
Michele Yamazaki: Well GenArts Sapphire units are now available and GenArts Sapphire have always been highly coveted plug-ins and one of the problems that a lot of people had is that, it cost so much. Well now they have these units available. The units break down the plug-ins into categories; so they have all lightening effects in one and they have blur and sharpen in another, distortion plug-ins in another; that kind of thing. There are eight new units. This is very similar to what Boris FX has done with Continuum; how they have those in units and that brings the price point down quite a bit; so they’re much more affordable to everybody.
Michele Yamazaki: They’re compatible with After Effects and Premiere, Avid, Nuke, Resolve and some other OFX.
Larry Jordan: Isn’t GenArts owned by Boris FX?
Michele Yamazaki: Yes, they were acquired some time last year and that was huge news; that was really unexpected for us. But we’re really happy that they’re all under the same roof now.
Larry Jordan: They’ve migrated a pricing policy, because I love the idea of Sapphire being available at a lower price, I only need to get the units that I need. This strikes me as a very smart move.
Michele Yamazaki: I think so too. That’s probably the number one question I’m asked; when’s Sapphire going on sale?
Larry Jordan: Alright, so we’ve got new plug-ins from Sapphire; what else we got?
Michele Yamazaki: Well, there are quite a few new FxFactory plug-ins. They’re put out by, we’ll call them fourth party developers and they use the effects factory engine. All of them are for Final Cut Pro X, but some of them also work in After Effects and Premiere and Motion as well. One of them is from Idustrial Revolution, called Viral Video and if you’re ever watching videos on like Facebook and that kind of thing, with all the text that comes up, you know, a lot of political videos are using this kind of thing, it builds that right into the plug-in; so you can easily create those type of effects on your video. It’s made for putting your videos online; with color schemes and text and all that kind of thing; so it’s all built in as a template.
Michele Yamazaki: Ripple, they have a new one called TitleMation. Actually this is a new version of it, they had an old version. Now this is 2.0 and it comes with title templates and you can just build some cool title effects with that. That’s for Final Cut Pro. Cineflare also has a new titling tool for Final Cut Pro X, Zoetrope FOLD, which gives you folding effects, which are pretty cool. I’d highly recommend taking a look at the demo version, you can download FxFactory. If you download their demo version, it’s free to download and it’s not really a demo version, it’s sort of like a light version of their software. You get a bunch of free stuff in it, but you can upgrade to the full version; we sell it at Toolfarm. You can download all of these effects packs or other fourth party effects from all of these different vendors and try them out; because there are literally hundreds of effects. We were talking earlier, how they crank them out so quickly; they really do and they’re quality effects as well. I’d highly recommend checking them out if you’re a Final Cut Pro user.
Larry Jordan: We’ve got a range of stuff from a variety of factories and I love your term, fourth party developer; I’ll put that one on my notebook for the future. For people that want to keep track of all the latest tools and technology, where can they go on the web to learn more?
Michele Yamazaki: Toolfarm.com.
Larry Jordan: Michele Yamazaki is the VP of Marketing for Toolfarm. Michele, it is always fun talking with you. Thanks for sharing your time.
Michele Yamazaki: Oh, my pleasure.
Larry Jordan: Future Video Productions Founder, Robert Cohen, has extensive experience in product development; working principally in audio video control and recording systems. He holds several patents and awards of excellence for his product design and a Master of Science Degree and Systems Engineering from UCLA. Hello Robert, welcome.
Robert Cohen: Hi Larry, how are you?
Larry Jordan: Robert, you’ve created a product called V-Station HD; how would you describe that?
Robert Cohen: Well V-Station HD, probably in its simplest form, is a multichannel video recording, streaming production system and it comprises of hardware and software that we’ve written and we put it into a box and we sell this as a complete system. However, just aside from the ingest part, we’ve built in several other features that make it much more useful for video production. For example, we have built in Project Management. It keeps track of the projects, the reels, the scenes, the takes, any notes that you may have and generates a shot list, after the event, that you can refer to. It does live editing during the shoot, so it actually creates EDL’s with line cuts. It does live streaming, if you’re got an internet connection available and you don’t need any external streaming boxes to connect up to the device.
Robert Cohen: After the shoot, you can take your line cut and we have a built-in uploader to bring it to an FTP site or a YouTube. It’s somewhat akin to a Swiss Army knife for video projects.
Larry Jordan: Well how would this compare to say a WireCast or TriCaster or Switcher Studio?
Robert Cohen: Good question. We actually try to concentrate more on the aspect of the workflow that’s going to be from the shoot to post. We want to make it easy and quick to go from production to post. The way we do this is with our built in media management system and we way we keep track of projects. At the end of the shoot, you can simply, with almost one click of a button, transfer everything over to your NLE and all the bins sequences, scenes are tagged, notes are marked; everything is synchronized for you. Instead of spending hours trying to figure out how and where the clips came from and trying to rename and build your bins, everything is done automatically with V-Station. That’s one of its most powerful features to get into post and almost ready for delivery.
Larry Jordan: Who would be a typical customer of V-Station HD? Sports, weddings, events, concerts, what?
Robert Cohen: Could be live events for web, webinars, lectures, capture, product demos, clinical and medical studies are done with our system; interviews. A wide variety of different users we find for our system.
Larry Jordan: How are you pricing it?
Robert Cohen: Our lowest cost entry product is priced at 2995, that’s $3,000; which gives you a four channel recording system. It goes up to $8,000 for an eight channel recording system.
Larry Jordan: Why did you decide to create it?
Robert Cohen: I realized how difficult it is; nobody likes to edit; well not in the sense of editing, but in the sense of getting to the editing. It’s all that process of organizing and identifying all this, that takes forever and you really want to get the product out and your production finished as quickly as possible. We found that, too much time is being spent in that process; so, by having a better, more efficient, more unified, more seamless way to get into the edit and to deliver seemed like a better way to approach the problem of video production.
Larry Jordan: Very cool. For people that want more information about V-Station HD, where can they go on the web?
Robert Cohen: They can go to futurevideo.tv, or vstationhd.com; either one of those will get you there.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, futurevideo.tv and Robert Cohen is the Founder of Future Video Productions. Robert, thanks for joining us today.
Robert Cohen: Thank you Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.
Robert Cohen: Okay, bye-bye.
Larry Jordan: Damian Allen is the VFX Supervisor at Pixerati LLC. He’s also the Content Development Consultant at Moviola. Damian’s well known in the VFX industry as a leading Technique and Pipeline Consultant and has worked as a Visual Effects Supervisor and Compositor on multiple Hollywood features. Damian, it’s wonderful to say hello.
Damian Allen: Hey Larry, it’s good to speak to you.
Larry Jordan: In addition to all the effects work that you do, you’ve created this new training series called ‘Coffee-Break Film School’ and it caught my attention and I wanted to learn more. Tell me about it.
Damian Allen: It’s interesting. I did a lot of work with Paddy … , who was the Head of Training over at Apple and one of the things that I always felt was, we’re in this golden age where everyone has access to this amazing equipment, but very few people have any kind of design sense. Very similar to what happened in the 80s with the desktop publishing explosion. We had these Macs where people could do all kinds of desktop publishing and we ended up with these horrific corporate newsletters with Clipart everywhere.
Larry Jordan: Ransom note typography.
Damian Allen: Exactly. I think we’re in a similar situation with film gear and so, my idea was, if I could make something along the lines of, how to make an independent feature that doesn’t suck; if that was the title. That was the kind of dream behind it and that’s really ‘Coffee-Break Film School,’ which is this thing I’ve been developing with Moviola. The idea is, how do we get people from a clean slate to a professional production aesthetic in as short amount of time as possible? That’s the ‘Coffee-Break Film School’ idea. In a coffee break, how much information could you absorb to understand three point lining, how to operate a boom microphone, how to edit with axial cuts and paying attention to lines of interest; all those kinds of things?
Damian Allen: All of the essential core elements, none of the history of filmmaking; not that that’s not fantastic stuff and valuable, but just, we’re trying to get stuff done in a short amount of time and, also, fairly platform agnostics; so that we’re not focusing just on editing and Premiere, or FileMaker Pro, whichever tool, but really focusing on the aesthetics of editing or color correction or cinematography.
Larry Jordan: Well, I think I’ve gleaned the answer to this question, but I think it’s an important one, so I want to ask anyone. As you create your training, are you learning toward teaching technology, or teaching storytelling, or learning how to run a creative business?
Damian Allen: You know, that’s a great question. The real intent of this site, moviola.com and the ‘Coffee-Break Film School’ is ultimately to be a resource for the entire process. We’re definitely heavy right now on production, post production and screenwriting; those are the kind of emphases. So, we have some insights on the business aspect, distribution, those kinds of things; that’s an area that will probably get developed a lot more, actually, over the coming year. In terms of the technology, you really can’t divorce the concepts from the technology anymore; because, the technology is changing the way we tell the stories and so, I think it’s kind of naïve to say, well, this is just how we tell a story and it doesn’t matter what tools you use. Well it really does. We give time to both those things, you know, so if we’re covering camera support, we talk about all the latest stabilization systems and how they can be used; using sliders versus using … dollies, versus using jib arms, those kinds of things. But, again, we try to stay away from anything that’s so product specific that, you’re not going to be able to pull off the same techniques with some other tools.
Larry Jordan: Do viewers need to watch the whole series, or can they cherry pick episodes?
Damian Allen: We’ve done a couple of things. We’ve actually broken things out into six kind of terms, called units, and each one covers a different aspect of screenwriting, cinematography, production and grip, editing and color, sound, lighting and visual effects; so we have those seven categories. Each one of those units kind of takes you through to the next level of those. But, at the same time, at the very bottom of the ‘Coffee-Break Film School,’ we have a separate section where everything’s broken out into subjects; so you could just go ahead and watch all of the course and screenwriting from start to finish, if that’s all you wanted to do, or everything on cinematography, etc, etc.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information, where can they go on the web?
Damian Allen: So you just go to moviola.com and we have an amazing deal right now. It’s 35 bucks for an entire year, or just five bucks a month and that’s really, again, just trying to make this stuff accessible to everyone.
Larry Jordan: Damian Allen is the Content Development Consultant at Moviola. Damian, thanks for joining us today.
Larry Jordan: Thank you for letting me share what we’ve got.
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 platform, specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listing provide in-depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.
Larry Jordan: 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 the 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: Linda Tadic is an expert in media and digital preservation and metadata. She has over 25 years’ experience at organizations such as Art Store, HBO and the Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia. She recently founded Digital Bedrock, which is what we want to talk with her about tonight. Hello Linda, welcome.
Linda Tadic: Hey, hi Larry, how you doing?
Larry Jordan: I am talking to you, we are all doing great. What first got you interested in archiving and digital storage?
Linda Tadic: Well, I have been involved in this community for over 25 years. I started out, actually, as a filmmaker and composer, musician; so I know the perspective of the creators, who have digital content they need to preserve, to be able to use in the future and I know the perspective of archives; that organizations have archives that they need to preserve their digital content in the future. As I mentioned, I’ve been involved for a very long time, I also teach at UCLA and I taught in my youth. I’m very familiar with the pain points, because, people lose content and if you lose content, it’s not only your creative work, it can also be history and it can be even your personal history. When you think about your own home movies, that might be on video formats that you can no longer play. That’s a big concern to me and so, as an archivist and librarian by training, this has a great concern. I wanted to build a company that would help organizations and people to preserve their work, so that they would be able to use it in the future.
Larry Jordan: But most people, when you mention the word archiving to them, either fall asleep or run screaming from the room. What is it that captured your attention with the idea of preserving assets for the long-term?
Linda Tadic: You know, I don’t know. I love history, you know, and even my own films that I made in the past use archival footage and so history is important. It’s all information, it’s all information we need to keep, otherwise we forget where we came from and who we are; whether it’s individuals or culture or society.
Larry Jordan: Alright, well let’s shift forward to the present day. You just recently created Digital Bedrock. What does Digital Bedrock do?
Linda Tadic: Digital Bedrock provides managed digital preservation services; so what that means is, we do the work for you, so you can just go on and do your creative work, or go on with your life and know that somebody else is taking care of your content; to make sure that it will be usable in the future. It’s a pretty complex process, which is why I’m happy that we can do it for people.
Larry Jordan: What do the words managed assets mean?
Linda Tadic: Think about all the vulnerabilities to keep digital content alive. You can’t just store it on a shelf and ignore it, you know, you have to keep monitoring it to make sure the bits themselves are okay; you have to be sure that the storage that those files are sitting on is also secure. Hard drives can crash and files can be deleted or destroyed or lost or hacked; so that’s one part. You have to make sure the storage is secure. The digital bits themselves can just degrade; you know, bits can flip, even just sitting there on servers or on hard drives or on tape and become unusable; so you always have to be checking that the digital bits are okay; according to a schedule. Then critically, especially for this community, is you want to be sure that the digital content, the formats themselves are not obsolete; that there is still software that can support that digital object, so you can play it in the future. That’s a really complicated project, that whole aspect of obsolescence and that’s something that we really focus on in our work; all that managed work to monitor when content might become obsolete.
Linda Tadic: Then, of course, there’s all the problems of when you have an increased amount of digital storage and production and that’s where you can start losing things. Because you just have so much digital content you have to manage yourself. You know, how many duplicates do you have, redundancy or are the files healthy? Are they okay? Or obsolescence factors. As you can see, by this list I just gave, it’s a lot more complicated than in the old days, where you just put your film in a box under the bed. You have to really watch these files and make sure they’re okay.
Larry Jordan: Well, let’s talk about a couple of these really core issues. One is security. How do you keep our assets secure? Because we’re counting on you to keep them safe and secure for five, ten, 15, 20 years.
Linda Tadic: Well, it’s interesting. Thinking about it, that’s the technical architecture that we’ve set up. The storage part of it is really old school; that’s in the technology to make sure the files are still alive okay is quite cutting edge. The storage part, the security part is where we, after we do all of the processing that we do on the files, so that we can monitor obsolescence over time, we copy the files off onto LTO-7 tape and it’s only your files that are on those tapes. Then we lock those turtle cases and only we have the keys to those turtle cases. We make three copies, as I mentioned, so that we have geographic dispersal. There’s one copy in our data center downtown, there’s another in a second location and a third 3200 miles away. Because of that storage, nobody can touch them; even the client can’t access their master files, they can only see low res proxies online; so they can’t even accidentally delete or destroy something. Just by keeping it offline and in a very secure environment, so nobody can access those tapes, automatically it’s off the grid; nobody can touch it if it’s off the grid.
Larry Jordan: Well, who would you consider a typical client and the follow up question is going to be, how much does this cost? It sounds like this is designed for the large studio.
Linda Tadic: You might have gathered from my opening, when I’m talking about archiving, that I consider all content to be important and so, if it’s worth for somebody who wants to preserve this to use it in the future, it doesn’t matter if it’s just a document or your own home movie or your production or a studio production, it’s all important and so, I built the company so we can serve everybody. Whether you’re an individual with your home movies, all the way up to a studio or a government agency. In fact, we even have a few law firms that are clients, because they’re very interested in the security aspect, as you can imagine and then we also have producers who are interested in using us and some studios as well; because of the security and because of that managed detailed work that we do for clients.
Larry Jordan: I’ve just finished a project all of my assets are sitting on a ten terabyte drive; pretend. What’s the process of getting that hard drive to be archived by you?
Linda Tadic: Well, basically you can either send us the drive, if you have a back-up of course and we’ll just take care of doing the files. But, also, what we prefer is that the client actually uses a tool that we’ve developed and that’s part of the regular service; you don’t have to pay anything extra for using this tool. This tool helps you to select your files; it’s like a curation tool, as it were. You can select the files that you want to send to us for preservation; because you might not want to send everything that’s on that ten terabyte drive. You might also have duplicate files on that ten terabyte drive and so this tool also then de-dupes the files to identify duplicate files. Even if you have a file where the filename has changed, or it’s in a different folder, it will find it; because, why should you pay for something twice. It shows you the cost, also, as you’re going through this whole process; so it’s a really nifty tool and you can spit out the list of what you’re sending to us; you can do different priority levels, if you think that it’s too much money and you want to just save off some for another time. It helps you to monitor all of that process, as you’re selecting. Then it packages it all up; it creates a checksum and it creates a manifest of all the files that you want to send. Then you basically ship it to us.
Linda Tadic: We don’t take anything off the internet, we only have files that can be sent to us that are on detachable media; so that can be on LTO tape or on hard drives. Once we receive that media, then we start the whole process of ingesting it into our system and you don’t have to do anything else; you’re done. That’s when we extract all the technical metadata off the files, because we need to know exactly how those files were created, in order for us to be able to monitor obsolescence over time. When we ingest it into the system, we create a SHA256 checksum for you geeks out there in the audience and then, when we actually write it off to tape, we create SHA512 checksum and, just to get you even more excited, is that we create frame level checksums if you give us DPX containers. Everything single one of those DPX files has its own checksum. Why that’s important is because, every six months we do … checks. We put those tapes back in our robot, we run the checksums on them, to make sure there’s been no bit loss and, if there’s even a bit loss on one frame in a DPX file, we can go through and replace that file. That’s how detailed we are with the levels of checks and work.
Linda Tadic: That’s just for the bit level health; again, just to preserve the bits themselves. Then the critical thing is monitoring the obsolescence factors over time, which we just do constantly. Because we’re pulling off the header information off the files, again, so, not only can we validate what format it is, but also then to monitor obsolescence over time. Because we might receive something that’s not obsolete; but in ten years it’s no longer supported. We then notify the client, uh-oh, you have these files that you’ve given to us, they’re endangered and these are the steps that you can do, in order to keep your content alive and useable in the future.
Larry Jordan: Linda, one of the things I was impressed, because I had the pleasure of taking a tour of your facilities about two weeks ago, was how reasonably you’ve priced your service. What should I look to spend? Am I spending tens of thousands of dollars or thousands of dollars? What does it cost to get my stuff archived?
Linda Tadic: We’re actually very affordable. We built the software so it’s automated; you know, so once we start ingesting the files, then it goes through the entire process and written off. It depends. But we have the processing costs that we first have to charge coming in and that’s just a one-time cost and you never pay that again. You also then pay for the cost of the LTO-7 tapes and the turtle cases we lock them in and you actually buy those. We were talking to somebody today who’s wondering about the ownership of the content and I said, obviously you own the IP to your content and, also, because you’re purchasing the physical media from us, we’re even charging sales checks on the media. That’s guaranteed legally that you own the media and your files that are on it.
Linda Tadic: That’s a one-time cost and then we have the ongoing annual costs and that cost is by gig. The processing cost is by the gigs and the number of files and that why I’m saying it’s a little bit more complicated. For the pricing structure, the ongoing cost is a price per gig and that’s paying for the three copies geographically dispersed; the six month … checks every six months; access to your portal, so you can of course go online and you can see the data about the files you gave to us; and then we will migrate your files from LTO-7 to LTO-9 in five years and that cost is all amortized in your annual fees, so you won’t get hit with a big fee in five years.
Linda Tadic: I would say, if somebody’s interested in the cost, they can contact me and I’m happy to go through the pricing online. Everybody I’ve shown the pricing to, they all say that, for all the work that we do, they can’t believe how inexpensive it is. We’re cheaper than if you put it up on Amazon; I can say that.
Larry Jordan: I think that’s probably a true statement. You and I ran an example and it’s clearly dependent upon the amount of storage that you’ve got, but it was in the 100s of dollars, not the thousands and I was struck by how affordable you’d made it. Linda, for people that need more information, where can they go on the web?
Linda Tadic: They can go to our website, which is digitalbedrock.com and if you’re going to NAB, please come by our booth, we’ll be there, and say hi.
Larry Jordan: That website is digitalbedrock.com. Linda Tadic is the Founder and CEO and, Linda, thanks for joining us today.
Linda Tadic: Thank you Larry, my pleasure.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.
Linda Tadic: Thanks, bye.
Larry Jordan: Normally our shows have a theme; today our theme was just about anything we could put in the show. I love shows that have such a range of information; everything from software that we use in production, to, being able to archive it for the long-term and everything in between. It’s a fascinating group of people we were talking to and I want to say thanks to Zach Lipovsky, the Developer of Shot Lister; Michele Yamazaki, at Toolfarm, talking about effects and plug-ins; Robert Cohen, Future Video Productions, talking about live event multicam work; Damian Allen, the Developer of Coffee-Break Film School; Linda Tadic of Digital Bedrock and, as always, James DeRuvo with DoddleNEWS.
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. Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter, that comes out every Friday. Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Our theme music is 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 Producer is Debbie Price; my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz.