John DeBevoise, Host, Bizness Soup Talk Radio
Paul Rodriguez, Executive Board member/Vice President of Audio Services, Motion Picture Sound Editors(MPSE)/RoundAbout
Jim Bask, Marketing Director, Videoguys.com
Aasim Saied, Chairman and CEO, Akyumen Technologies Corporation
Kaur Kallas, CEO, Digital Sputnik
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS
Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz we are looking at ways to do things better. We start with John DeBevoise, host of Bizness Soup Talk Radio about the challenges of running a small business and ways we can do it better.
Larry Jordan: Jim Bask is the marketing director for Videoguys.com, a company that’s been selling video technology for 30 years. Tonight, we talk with Jim about how their focus on the customer makes their business better.
Larry Jordan: Aasim Saied is the CEO of Akyumen. They make a smart phone with a built in video projector. Imagine how that can simplify what you need to take on business trips, as Aasim explains tonight.
Larry Jordan: Kaur Kallas is the CEO of Digital Sputnik, they make color tunable LED lights that allow you to dial in exactly the look you want on set. Kaur explains why tunable lighting simplifies both production and post.
Larry Jordan: Paul Rodriguez is on the executive board of the MPSE which stands for Motion Picture Sound Editors. This is an organization dedicated to educating the public and the rest of the filmmaking community as to the artistic merit of sound editing and tonight Paul tells us more about it.
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: 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.
Larry Jordan: Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. Cine Gear starts tomorrow in Hollywood. Now NAB has more exhibitors, more product announcements and more attendees, but Cine Gear makes up for it with an absolute focus on the hardware of filmmaking. Cine Gear has the greatest collection of production tools from the largest number of exhibitors in the world. You want a gimbal controlled camera mount for the front of a motorcycle? You’ll find several to choose from here. Looking for the latest in DMX controlled LED lighting technology or automated green screen cameras, or specialty background drapes? All at Cine Gear.
Larry Jordan: This show is one giant toy store located on the Paramount Studio lot, and well worth attending for anyone that can get to LA either tomorrow or Saturday. Every year, I enjoy walking the streets of the Paramount back lot, appreciating how incredibly diverse the range of gear is that we use to make movies and marveling at the latest tools. In large part, NAB is about the business of media. For me, Cine Gear is all about the gear, and especially for us grownups, there’s something wonderful about a toy store.
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, quick links to the different segments on the show, and curated articles of interest to filmmakers. Best of all, every issue is free and comes out on Friday.
Larry Jordan: Now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update, with James DeRuvo. Hello James.
James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.
Larry Jordan: So what you got for us this week?
James DeRuvo: Cine Gear has started, today’s the first day, and yesterday Canon got it off to a roaring start by announcing their new Cinema EOS C200 cinema camera which shoots 4K raw, internally, with your new Cinema RAW Light codec. It can shoot up to 120 frames per second in HD without a crop, or 150 frames per second high frame rate in 4K with 15 stops of dynamic range, and it’s under $8,000.
Larry Jordan: Would this be a video camera or an extension of their DSLRs?
James DeRuvo: It’s a cinema camera. It’s part of their Cinema EOS line, C100, now the C200, then the 300, 500 and 700. But what stands out about this camera is that it can shoot natively with 4K RAW internally and writes to CFast 2 cards. Or you can shoot also in 4K MP4 files, or CLog onto ESD cards. You can bet with such a small form factor and with RAW as its driving force, documentary shooters and corporate wedding crowd are going to love this Larry.
Larry Jordan: That sounds beautiful. They announced it, did they say when it ships?
James DeRuvo: I believe it’s going to be shipping in the middle of summer.
Larry Jordan: Very cool. What else have we got?
James DeRuvo: This is my favorite story so far. Intel launched this week an 18 core, i9 processor. This thing is a beast. It was designed for virtual reality gaming and ultra high definition content creation. It’s the Intel Core X i9 but the Core X family also has everything from four cores all the way up to 18 cores, with a maximum clock speed of 4.5 GHz using Intel’s Turboboost 3. The Turboboost 3 basically takes the most important function and routes them to the most efficiently performing core, so that they’re squeezing every ounce of performance out of that processor. It uses DER4 RAM memory, up to 16 megabytes of shared cache, and can handle up to 44 PCIE devices at once.
James DeRuvo: Not to be outdone though, AMD has announced a 16 core part of their Threadripper processor line to stay within striking distance of Intel, and although AMD is number two and has to try harder, the resulting competition between these two processor giants, is giving computer geeks like us all the benefit Larry.
Larry Jordan: Well, AMD was the first one to announce their 16 core, and about a week later Intel announced 18 core. These are some amazing processors.
James DeRuvo: They’re beasts. They’re not going to be cheap. But they’re going to be extremely high performing, and I’m sure Mac fans are going to be thankful that Apple has waited on their new Modular Mac which is supposed to becoming out next year. They’ll be able to take full advantage of this i9 processor, and that is going to be a beast of a rig when it comes.
Larry Jordan: So what else we got?
James DeRuvo: Microsoft announced that they had developed a curved image camera sensor, drawing inspiration from the human eye … this new CMOS design takes sliced portions of the sensor and presses it into a spherical mold using pneumatic pressure. The result is twice the amount of image data and five times the resolution at the edge for a resolution that they say is better than the Canon 1DS Mark III, and it is scalable for every form of image sensor, including cell phones, all the way up to full frame. This curved image sensor has been in development since 2014 with Sony and now Microsoft giving all their effort to it. It’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing it in cameras anytime soon, but once it arrives, I think it’s going to be a game changer for everything from cell phones to cinema cameras.
Larry Jordan: What advantage do we get with a curved sensor versus a flat sensor?
James DeRuvo: The curved sensor enables you to see more. That peripheral vision that you have with your eyeballs to where you can see details on the edges, the curved sensor will be able to provide more detail and more resolution at the outside of the edge whereas with the flat sensor, you tend to start losing detail as you get further away from the center, and so that curved sensor is going to be able to provide more detail and more resolution which will translate to a better image.
Larry Jordan: James, for people that want more information about these and other stories, where can they go on the web?
James DeRuvo: All these stories and more can be found at Doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer at DoddleNEWS and joins us every week with the DoddleNEWS update. James thanks for joining us, and enjoy Cine Gear tomorrow.
James DeRuvo: OK Larry.
Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. Doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals. DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, 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: John DeBevoise’s career began as a national champion horseman and a rodeo writer, but that’s in the past. The much more interesting part is that he’s the current host of Bizness Soup Talk radio which covers the business of running a small business with a focus on distribution. Hello John, welcome.
John DeBevoise: Well good evening and thank you for letting me be a part of your show.
Larry Jordan: I was just reflecting, I went through our records of over 5,000 interviews we’ve done on the Buzz, and I think you are the first national champion rodeo rider I have ever interviewed. So this is a first for me, and I’m tickled to be able to talk to you.
John DeBevoise: I love being everybody’s first.
Larry Jordan: Let’s focus on the interesting part of your life. Why did you decide to start Bizness Soup Talk radio?
John DeBevoise: Bizness Soup Talk radio or Bizsoup came about after I had successfully launched an early internet company and it was successful in spite of myself. I didn’t know how to start a business, I just knew that there was a business opportunity that technology could improve and make it work in a paperless environment which, at that time, it was in the real estate industry and every time we closed a transaction it was like we cut down a forest to make the deal, and I wanted to streamline the process. And I did it, and it was such a struggle for me to do it, and then when somebody else came along and bought this company from me, an angel investor who had believed in me and invested in me, came forward and said “John, it’s time for you to do for others that which was done for you.” It was at that moment that I became what is known as a business angel. I thought the best way to get the message out, and the most cost effective, was through radio. Now I didn’t know a thing about radio but I had a very good subject matter on not what to do when you launch a business so I created Bizness Soup Talk radio and surrounded myself with the experts in every aspect of business, and shared that information and wealth of talent on a radio program called Bizness Soup.
Larry Jordan: I understand why you started it, but what are your goals for the program? What are you hoping to accomplish?
John DeBevoise: My goals are multi-faceted. One is to share information and help entrepreneurs, small businesses, anyone who has ever wanted to have a business and show them that they should have a business. When you have your own business, you’re able to do magical things, or at least seemingly magical, and that is take advantage of the tax code. You don’t have to know the tax code, just know how to use the tax code, and there’s only one tax code. It’s for those who are, as I put it, you’re either on a W2 or a 1099, and the 1099s are the ones who are small business owners, and we pay our own taxes. We know how to convert ordinary expenses to deductions and with Bizness Soup that is one goal is to educate my audience. The other goal that I have is to take businesses and help them grow through distribution. Where do you want to go? Who do you want to do business with? And let’s go get them, and then I become the voice for them to network them into the businesses they want to do business with.
Larry Jordan: Do you find yourself principally talking to companies that are marketing to the consumer, or companies marketing business to business? Is there a difference in how you run the company?
John DeBevoise: The answer is a cop out, and that is yes to both, because there isn’t anything that we do in our life that doesn’t have a business associated with it. Even the air that we’re breathing has a small business tied to it, through the HVACs. So I talk to my audiences both a consumer and a business person. If you are a consumer, you should also be a business person. A lot of times, and most of the time behind the scenes, when I go off the air is when I go to work with the people or the businesses that I work with, my sponsors, my advertisers. I ask them, “Where do you want to go? Who do you want to do business with? Let’s build your company’s value and perhaps its stock value through the best and only way your value should go up, and that’s through revenue.” If you make a big sale you boost your revenues, your stock value should go up, not because somebody went out and said “Buy this stock because I told you so.”
Larry Jordan: Sorry, I was just waiting for the rest of that sentence to finish. But here’s the question I’ve got John. Take a breath. The question I’ve got is, is every business similar or is every business unique reflecting the personality of the owner? And the secondary question to that is, do people like yourself that are media focused and creating content, is their business different than say a real estate agent or a donut shop?
John DeBevoise: Business is business. It’s numbers. It doesn’t really matter what kind of business you’re in when it comes to the paperwork. Everybody has similar challenges, they’re just spelled differently. A restaurant to a, well I’m sitting in a barn right now with a horse trainer. They all have their own unique business models. When you start to get into each one of the businesses, then the dynamics change, especially where your money is spent. Some business models have a very low cost to acquisition of their product. As opposed to some industries where the cost of product is the highest number that they have, depending upon what it is. In some industries your labor is highest. A lot of industries like online, are not. So the numbers on the spreadsheet add up all the same way, in the same kind of columns. How you earn that money is different in the dynamics of the business model itself, and of course I come from the ranching and cattle industry and our margins are not very big. We deal on volume or weight you might say.
Larry Jordan: I have to ask because there’s a key question I want to come back to in just a second, but you’re sitting in a barn with a horse trainer, and you grew up on a farm. What got you started as a professional rodeo rider?
John DeBevoise: Well, it certainly wasn’t because I had brain cells to sacrifice. It was something that I grew up riding young horses, and I happened to be good at it. And I was very difficult to buck off a horse at a young age, and it turned out that I could ride just about anything. Unfortunately, my mother caught wind of my aspirations and she nipped that one in the bud. I had to do that edumacation thing, you know, go off to school and earn a real living, and now I’m too old and I actually have some brain cells that I don’t want to lose. And now and then on the weekends I get to sit up in the safe seats and announce rodeos.
Larry Jordan: Oh that is very cool. Well I want to come back to another question because I know that you attended NAB this year. What did you think of the show?
John DeBevoise: I love the show and the technology. Oh my gosh, what I see on the other side of the glass where everybody with all of the buttons and whistles and everything such as that, it’s amazing the technology. I’m not allowed to touch those buttons because good things don’t happen when I touch them. But I was so impressed with distribution. The content of our programs can now be terrestrial. The traditional radio, internet, blog, you can text, you can do Facebook. My gosh, what used to be such a simple job as to just turn the mike on and then shut up at the end of your term, now we actually have to work when we go off the radio.
Larry Jordan: Given the amount of technology in our lives, as typified by NAB, who do so many small businesses find technology overwhelming?
John DeBevoise: It’s overwhelming in that in my opinion and from my experience in the creating of other businesses, in that the learning curve is so difficult. So many software applications that I’ve found have so many steps and so many interfaces, that I get lost trying to find my way just to one page. And I’m working with some companies now on the simplification, just because you have this big wheelhouse of a software application, doesn’t mean that everybody in the wheelhouse has to know how to use it. The worker at the front counter doesn’t need to know how to apply the spreadsheet to tax returns, yet that is there on the screen in a lot of cases. I find that either I’ve gotten dumber, or the technology has gotten so complicated that I’m overwhelmed with trying to learn. Another aspect is I don’t have the patience that I used to have to try and learn this stuff. If it doesn’t pop up and run as soon as I turn it on, that instant gratification syndrome, then people are going to lose interest and move on. The frustrating thing for me is the learning curve on trying to apply this new technology.
Larry Jordan: So what tips do you have for somebody running a business? How can they improve their business?
John DeBevoise: Video is where I see, and what I saw going on at NAB, is the big drive. Is having the ability to engage your audience in video, not a long video, a short video which then takes them to a page that will give them an incentive to go deeper into a website. You’ve got to capture their attention and you’ve got 15 seconds to do it. I’ve always found that humor works the best. As we can see, some humor such as what Cathy Griffin did, falls far short of being effective and can be very negative. I like to be able to entertain someone and if I can make them laugh they will remember it. Engage them in some humor, and they’ll likely click on it, get them to give you some kind of personal information, an email address, phone number where you can be in contact with them on a regular basis, and I mean regular, depending upon the type of business. If it’s weekly or monthly, be in touch with them on a regular basis and personalize it. There are services out there that do this and I find them very effective.
Larry Jordan: John, for people that want to have a chance to chat more with you and keep track of what you’re doing, where can they go on the web?
John DeBevoise: The best website anywhere around can be found serving each and every day at www.bizsoup.com.
Larry Jordan: That shy, modest and unassuming voice is John DeBevoise. He’s the host of Bizness Soup Talk radio. John, thanks for joining us today.
John DeBevoise: You’re welcome.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Jim Bask is the marketing director for Video Guys. He’s also a 20 year veteran of the challenges of selling video technology at retail, which explains why Video Guys focuses so intensively on customer service. Hello Jim, welcome.
Jim Bask: Hey Larry, nice to be here.
Larry Jordan: How would you describe Video Guys?
Jim Bask: Video Guys has been in the business for over 30 years, and we are a value added reseller. A video production, video editing and live production equipment, hardware and software. We try to help our customers before and after the sale, find the products they need that fit into their budgets.
Larry Jordan: Now is this online only or online and retail stores?
Jim Bask: We do not have retail stores, but we have a crew of about 20 to 30 people here, full time that are ready and willing to answer phone calls and speak with the customers. So we have a lot of stuff online, but we are here to answer phones as well.
Larry Jordan: Without really working too hard at it, I can think of MacMall and I can think of B&H Photo and I can think of Amazon. Why should somebody come to Video Guys?
Jim Bask: Those customers are all very good people to buy from, Video Guys is just another resource out there. We specialize in a very narrow niche in the marketplace. B&H is a great resource to go for your cameras, your computer and everything else surrounding that. MacMall has a huge Mac database of people. We’ve been in the video production business working with local event videographers, and people of that sort, for this long, so we’ve all carved out our niche in the marketplace.
Larry Jordan: How would you describe your niche then?
Jim Bask: Our niche is really the video production person that is trying to duplicate what they may do on a professional setting in their home setting back in their office. We have customers that are doing it as just a prosumer type use, we also have some entry level broadcast people that are coming to us as well.
Larry Jordan: With this audience, why is customer service so important?
Jim Bask: Because there’s a lot of questions, first and foremost from budget. The more you have to spend, the more choices you have available. But the trick is to always find the right equipment for you at the right price. Since we sell a huge catalog of products that fit into this very narrow space, we can help narrow down that solution to find the best product based on the project that you’re doing.
Larry Jordan: Every vendor of every product you carry provides support. Why do you need to get involved with support in the first place?
Jim Bask: It’s not always easy reaching out to the vendor directly for support. They all have different obstacles and different hurdles, and they can all speak very knowledgeably to their own product. What we can do is speak knowledgeably to the complete solution. So if you’re combining a live production unit from NewTec, with some pan tilt cameras from PTZ Optics, we’ve used that exact set up in our own studio here, and can help answer specific questions to how they work together.
Larry Jordan: Did you go to NAB this year?
Jim Bask: I was there this year, yes.
Larry Jordan: How does NAB change your thinking in terms of what products you carry? And what changes are you making based upon this year’s show?
Jim Bask: One of the things that was great to see at this year’s show is that we’re already making some of the good decisions. NewTec NDI technology was all over the show floor. We’re excited to be one of NewTec’s nationwide resellers, so to see how NDI is becoming so prevalent and so popular, was a real encouraging thing to see. But it also means that we’re expanding our catalog and our product base to include some more of those products that worked with that technology.
Larry Jordan: NDI means video over Ethernet as opposed to standard video cables. They’re actually audio and video over Ethernet, correct?
Jim Bask: Correct.
Larry Jordan: OK, what else caught your eye?
Jim Bask: There were quite a few things out there. I think some of the great stuff that Avid is doing with their Media Composer software, and integrating that more with some of their Pro Tools and other audio tools is definitely exciting to see.
Larry Jordan: If people are trying to make a decision on where they buy their next piece of gear, what criteria should they use in deciding who their vendor should be?
Jim Bask: First and foremost they need to identify what’s important for them as far as service goes. If they can contact the vendor, get the answers to their questions and then what kind of support will they need after the sale? We offer support here for all of our customers, but we also have a nationwide resource of other resellers. So if there’s a school or university that calls us, and says they really want to work and deal with someone in the Texas area, we have resellers that we can refer them to in Texas to help set up and service their TriCaster or any other system that they’re looking at.
Larry Jordan: For people who want more information, where can they go on the web?
Jim Bask: They can go to our website at videoguys.com. They can also check out Facebook, Twitter or YouTube for videoguys.com.
Larry Jordan: That website is all one word, videoguys.com and Jim Bask is the marketing director for Video Guys. Jim, thanks for joining us today.
Jim Bask: Thanks Larry, have a great day.
Larry Jordan: Aasim Saied is the chairman and CEO of Akyumen Technologies Corporation. Akyumen designs, manufactures and delivers innovative electronic and mobile technology products to consumers worldwide. Hello Aasim, welcome.
Aasim Saied: Hello Larry, nice to talk to you.
Larry Jordan: I first noticed you at your booth at the supermeet, at NAB. You were demonstrating a new product called the Hawk Projector Smartphone. What is this?
Aasim Saied: The product that you saw at NAB is a cell phone that can project on high definition and this phone has all the bells and whistles of the latest and greatest smart phones and at the same time, it has nano technology architecture, so it’s a state of the art phone that can project on high definition.
Larry Jordan: Why did you decide to develop this product?
Aasim Saied: I saw that there is a big need for smart phones to take itself to the next level. When it comes to people being so mobile, adding a projector to that device would help them make presentations, so putting a projector in there made sense. But in order to do that, we literally needed to change the whole architecture of the device, so we went about making the powerful device that can not only help you do your business work, but it can be an entertainment device and also a device through which you can learn more through education content.
Larry Jordan: Is this an entire phone, or an attachment to the back of a phone?
Aasim Saied: This is a whole phone and there are no attachments to it.
Larry Jordan: Who’s your target audience? Gamers, media professionals or just people who watch movies?
Aasim Saied: All the above. A universal device that anybody can use to entertain, educate or do business.
Larry Jordan: This is an android phone, I remember seeing that from the website. What are your plans for ios?
Aasim Saied: As you know, when it comes to Apple, they’re all about I, only for themselves. They don’t share their operating system with others, so we made our devices for Android and also for Windows too. For Windows we made a tablet and a fablet on Windows 10 with a built in projector as well.
Larry Jordan: Is the Hawk phone shipping or is it still in development?
Aasim Saied: It’s finished development, it’s shipping to carriers and distributors directly. So it’s up to them to give it to the end customers.
Larry Jordan: I noticed that there was the ability on your website to purchase the phone, and there it was listing a shipping date of August 1st, so do we buy it from you or do we buy it from traditional retailers?
Aasim Saied: That was created for the purpose of test marketing, so we had limited numbers, and those were sold out. So those dates were meant for us shipping it to carriers and distributors. We actually haven’t really marketed it out to the end customers yet.
Larry Jordan: What’s the suggested retail price of the phone?
Aasim Saied: It’ll be 799.
Larry Jordan: Tell me why you decided to start the company, and what are your goals for it?
Aasim Saied: The company was started a little while ago to solve the major problems in the mobile industry. Our goals for the company is to build state of the art technologies which are a solution to people.
Larry Jordan: What problems do you see having to be solved?
Aasim Saied: One of the biggest problems people had was their devices were not that efficient. If you look at most of the companies out there, they cut a lot of corners when it comes to components that go in the devices. We don’t do that. We make sure they’re high end components inside the device. Of course a consumer may not see that, but they’ll feel it when they use the device. Another big change is we used nano technology architecture to reduce heat. When heat was reduced, battery life lasts longer, and because we have a projector in the device, if you don’t have our nano technology architecture, the device would have heated up and melted. Solving the heat issue was a big thing that we did.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of companies that have launched phones in the android space and some of them are pretty well capitalized. What makes you think this is going to be successful?
Aasim Saied: Getting capitalization in today’s world is not that difficult. We can get capitalized too. Usually a lot of people think that there’s Apples and Samsungs and the rest won’t have a chance. You see that there are a lot of other devices out there that people don’t talk about, but they sell a lot more than the Apples and Samsungs if you look at the numbers globally. So the market is filled with a lot of different devices, and there’s a chance for everybody to be successful looking at the growing market.
Larry Jordan: Where’s the company based?
Aasim Saied: We are headquartered in Los Gatos, California, and we have offices globally.
Larry Jordan: It seems to me that you’ve taken a different perspective on what mobile technology can do. What do you see as the future of mobile devices?
Aasim Saied: I think that the original idea for mobile devices was for people to travel and use it no matter where they go. That’s the whole purpose of cell phones. But a lot of people who travel are the ones who are doing business, and for business the most important thing is presentations. So now they don’t have to carry those big projectors any more. They can just carry their own phone and with a click of a button they can do their presentations. So cell phones with projectors make more sense for people.
Larry Jordan: What website can people go to learn more about you and your products?
Aasim Saied: They can go to Akyumen.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, akyumen.com, and Aasim Saied is the chairman and CEO of Akyumen Technologies, and Aasim, thanks so much for joining us today.
Aasim Saied: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: Digital Sputnik makes a fully color tunable lighting solution for content creators. Kaur Kallas is their CEO and joins us tonight to explain how they’ve embedded a colorist’s tool set into their tunable LED lights. Hello Kaur, welcome.
Kaur Kallas: Thank you, how are you?
Larry Jordan: I am doing great. I’m looking forward to learning about this because I love lighting. How would you describe your products?
Kaur Kallas: Our background is actually more colorist than traditional lighting person. So when power LEDs came to the market, we looked around and we didn’t see any products that we really liked, because we wanted to make our life easier. So, what we decided to do is to do color tunable lights. So our concept is that you can now grade the light instead of grading the image. So when digital imaging took the guesswork out of imaging by showing you an image on the set, you still had to light in the middle and then hope that it will work out in color grading. So we want to do the same thing now for lighting that digital imaging did for imaging. You can now have a look up table on the camera, and you can light according to the look up table. So basically you can create a light to achieve the look that you want, instead of grading the image in post production.
Larry Jordan: Your website describes the content creation industry going through a fundamental change. What change is this?
Kaur Kallas: Well it’s the same change that we’re moving away from programmable tool kits and shooting from experience to a totally visual world where we can already right then and there on the set, see an image that is very close to the final image. I think ‘Ghost in the Shell’ was one of the first feature films to embrace our technology’s full potential. We’ve had ‘Rogue One’ and ‘Independence Day,’ they dabbled with the lights, but they didn’t use the functionality to its full potential yet.
Larry Jordan: There’s two schools of thought. One is where you want the light on set to look exactly the way you want. And the second is that you want to tweak your look in post production, especially color grade, because as the story evolves you may want to change it, and if you bake all of your look in on set you can’t change it later. It sounds like you fall on the side of making it look right on set?
Kaur Kallas: Because if you don’t know what you’re doing on the set, you’re not going to be able to know what you’re doing in color grading either. So basically, our concept is, we’re seeing that more and more people are spending more time pre-lighting to find exactly what you want, and this way it’s visually easier because if you just shoot something in the middle and hope that it works out in color grading, then you’re not usually going to end up with a very good finished product.
Larry Jordan: You were talking about the fact you can apply a color look up table to the lights. It sounds like your lights are more than just white?
Kaur Kallas: Yes, our lights have a very wide color range on whites. You can start from 1500K which is candlelight and then go all the way up to 10,000K which is kind of a bluish moonlight light. Then in addition to the Kelvin, controls, you can now either warm up or cool down the light with a Kelvin on white, and then you can mix in any primary or secondary color into that light. So, you can basically use the same color wheel base to set that is used for color grading now to control your lights.
Larry Jordan: Other LED companies tout how color accurate their lights are with a 90 percent or 95 or 98 percent accuracy. It sounds like you’re less interested in the accuracy of the light and more the color spectrum, is that a true statement?
Kaur Kallas: No, it’s not correct. We’re interested in accuracy also, but what we’re not interested in is getting a high CRI number because we are looking at giving the digital CMO sensors as much dramatic information as possible. So our approach is to give the sensors more color depth or aesthetically more saturation than they get from white light while keeping the light very precise. This way you get a lower CRI rating with our lights, but you get a higher quality image than you get with high CRI lights.
Larry Jordan: How do you control your lights?
Kaur Kallas: You can control the lights locally over DMX, or our own application which runs on ios wirelessly.
Larry Jordan: You’re wandering around with an iPhone adjusting the lights?
Kaur Kallas: Exactly. So you set up your lights, you go behind the camera, and now you can use your iPhone to fine tune these lights remotely.
Larry Jordan: What’s the pricing for your instruments?
Kaur Kallas: The DS1, that is a single modular light, is $2,500 list price. At Cine Gear we’re launching a new product called the Voyager which is an RGB pixel controllable tube light. The two foot unit is going to be $390 and the four foot unit is going to be $590.
Larry Jordan: So for people attending Cine Gear later this week they can find you there?
Kaur Kallas: We’re lighting up the RED ticket cinema booth. They have a stage there, and it’s all our lights. So we don’t have our own separate booth, but you can see our lights at the RED booth.
Larry Jordan: The RED booth is probably the best possible place to be in terms of size and visibility. Congratulations.
Kaur Kallas: Absolutely, thank you.
Larry Jordan: For people that can’t make Cine Gear, where can they go on the web to learn more?
Kaur Kallas: Digitalsputnik.com or Instagram/digitalsputnik. We put our latest images from behind the scenes on Instagram usually on a daily basis.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, digitalsputnik.com and Kaur Kallas is the CEO of Digital Sputnik, and Kaur, thanks for joining us today.
Kaur Kallas: Yeah, thank you for having me.
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Larry Jordan: Paul Rodriguez is a member of the executive board of MPSE, he’s also the vice president of audio services for RoundAbout, which oversees sound operations across feature films, television, home entertainment, new media and restoration. Hello Paul, welcome.
Paul Rodriguez: Thank you, good to hear your voice.
Larry Jordan: Paul, the last time we talked was at NAB where you gave us an overview of the MPSE. Tonight I want to spend more time learning about it. What is the MPSE?
Paul Rodriguez: The MPSE is the Motion Picture Sound Editors. It’s an organization that has been around for 63 years, and is dedicated to promoting the art and craft of sound editing for all media.
Larry Jordan: Now is it a Guild?
Paul Rodriguez: No. It’s not a Guild. We don’t have anything to do with labor. We are a community.
Larry Jordan: Now what does community mean?
Paul Rodriguez: Well it means we have about 500 members, we have monthly meetings, we have a new series called Sound Advice for our members, where we introduce them to vendors, new ways of doing things, and we have those usually at the studios.
Larry Jordan: What are typical activities that people participate in?
Paul Rodriguez: We just had one with Isotope, a plugin company. We sometimes invite members of the organization that have done a major feature film or television show. Those are also taped, and available to members who can’t make it to the show.
Larry Jordan: One of the things your website says is that you try to encourage young people to consider a career in sound editing. How does your organization do that?
Paul Rodriguez: We have a student membership which is relatively inexpensive, and as they travel down that road to becoming a sound editor, they can move up to an affiliate and then a full time member. We offer our members to speak to any of the young students and give advice. I get many calls from young people trying to figure out how to reverse the world of getting into the business. Usually they’re very interested in music, and so we all have a lot in common.
Larry Jordan: I can believe that. I was just thinking, this is probably a volunteer position. What do you do for your day job?
Paul Rodriguez: My day job, well I’m on the business side of things, and what I do is I bring in shows and hire mixers and editors and promote our work. Just this year we did the first season of Westworld. The remake of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show,’ ‘The Exorcist,’ shows like that and next year is going to be crazy too because right now we’re doing a show called ‘Mister Mercedes,’ and it is based on a Stephen King novel so it’s going to be kind of crazy.
Larry Jordan: I should probably take a step back. What is RoundAbout then?
Paul Rodriguez: RoundAbout is a full service post production facility, about 60,000 square feet in Burbank, California. We just opened a new 10,000 square feet facility in Santa Monica, so we have a Westside presence as well. And together we do pretty much everything that you do in post, with the possible exception of visual effects. I have four mix rooms for two men. Two one man mix rooms and a full ADR at both locations. Tomorrow, I’m proud to say, we have every one of our stages booked.
Larry Jordan: Congratulations. That’s an accomplishment.
Paul Rodriguez: Thank you. It is, especially since you know, two years ago they didn’t exist.
Larry Jordan: When you’re looking for projects are you looking just for work from the major studios or do you do a lot of work with independents? Who’s your clientele?
Paul Rodriguez: Major studios, networks. We like independent films as well. We just did something for an IMAX company today so we do quite a bit. We’re varied in our work. Mostly what we do is put relationships together, so most of the shows that we have have worked with a company before, somewhere down the line, and what we do is invite them to our house and make them dinner.
Larry Jordan: Well what does it take to build a relationship with a filmmaker? What do they need to bring to you to make that relationship successful?
Paul Rodriguez: Well, it takes time and it takes experience. It’s always a good experience. If you have a good experience on a prior project, they’re going to want to seek you out and come back. If you have a fabulous facility, they’re going to want to come in and hang up their coat. So it’s a combination of the two things, and people don’t come for the business guy, me, but they might stay because I’m here. But I rely heavily on my mixers and my editors. We work with a lot of different companies, and this just happens to be the hot spot in Hollywood right now. And when I say Hollywood, that’s a state of mind.
Larry Jordan: It is, it spreads out over a lot of cities.
Paul Rodriguez: Yeah, even the MPSE, we’re based in Los Angeles, but we have members all over the world.
Larry Jordan: Because you speak to so many young students, does MPSE have a scholarship program?
Paul Rodriguez: Yes we do. The one thing I forgot to say is every year we also put on the Golden Reel Awards which has been happening ever since the beginning of the organization. In that Awards show, we present over 26 awards to all aspects of sound editing for film, broadcast, for gaming, and at some point soon, for VR which will be something that people will be getting into. It’s a banquet that’s held every year at the Bonaventure. We usually feed 750 people and I produce that show and it is a flaming success. Everybody loves to be there. I encourage people once they get involved in the MPSE to make that trip to the Golden Reel Awards.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about RoundAbout, where can they go on the web?
Paul Rodriguez: They should go to roundabout.com, it’s relatively easy.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, roundabout.com, and for people who want more information about becoming a member of MPSE, or taking advantage of some of your programs, where can they go?
Paul Rodriguez: They should go to MPSE.org and they will see all of the applications, and it’s very easy to traverse and get in, and then they’ll contact our office.
Larry Jordan: That website again is MPSE.org, and Paul Rodriguez is both a member of the executive board of MPSE, and the vice president of audio services for RoundAbout. Paul, thanks for joining us today.
Paul Rodriguez: Thank you for having me.
Larry Jordan: Take care.
Larry Jordan: Today’s show has focused on ways to do things better, and whether we’re looking at better ways to run a business, or better ways to buy product or some of the new products that are out there, it’s been a very interesting and diversified show which has been fun to listen to.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week, John DeBevoise, the host of Bizness Soup Talk radio, Jim Bask, marketing director for Video Guys, Aasim Saied, CEO of Akyumen, Kaur Kallas is CEO of Digital Sputnik, Paul Rodriguez of MPSE and RoundAbout 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.
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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.