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Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – July 27, 2017

Larry Jordan

Maxim Jago, Director,
Jim Cummings, Animation Voice Actor
Pierson Clair, Faculty, Viterbi School of Engineering, USC
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System
Stephen Nakamura, Senior Colorist, Deluxe’s Company 3
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS


Larry Jordan: Tonight The Buzz takes a look back at some of our favorite interviews over the last six months.

Larry Jordan:   We start with Maxim Jago, a producer director who is currently financing two films.  Tonight he shares his experiences on how to get the money you need to get your production started.

Larry Jordan:  Pierson Clair is a digital forensic investigator.  He gets called in when companies have a data breach.  He also teaches computer security at USC.  Tonight Pierson explains whether the data we store in the cloud is actually secure and what we can do to keep our data and our systems safe.

Larry Jordan:  Philip Hodgetts, the CEO of Intelligent Assistance explains the key concepts in how to preserve our media and the increasing importance of metadata and machine learning in helping us find our files.

Larry Jordan:  We look at the basics of color and color grading with Stephen Nakamura, the senior colorist at Deluxe’s Company 3 in Los Angeles.  His projects include Oz, The Great and Powerful, Prometheus, Zero Dark Thirty, and many others.

Larry Jordan:  Next, Jim Cummings is probably the most famous person you’ve never heard of.  Acting in hundreds of animated features, Jim is the voice of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Ka the snake, and many others.  Tonight he tells us what it’s like being a voice actor, along with a great story from recording the Lion King.

Larry Jordan:  All this, plus James DeRuvo with the top five news stories from the first half of 2017.  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.  Tonight we’re doing something a bit different.  One of the benefits of creating a weekly show is that we accumulate some really good interviews.  In fact, when you visit you’ll discover more than 1800 interviews that we’ve presented and archived since 2009.  But not to worry, tonight we’re only presenting six.  Our favorites from the first half of 2017.

Larry Jordan:   When we were deciding which interviews to include, we wanted to be sure they covered a wide range of subjects so, tonight we talk financing, security, backups and archiving, the basics of color, and voice acting.  It’s a great show, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you, and to get us started, here’s James DeRuvo with a DoddleNEWS look back.  Hello James.

James DeRuvo:  Hello Larry.  How are you?  How’s your summer?

Larry Jordan:  Summer so far is far busier than I was expecting.  But, it’s time for us to take a break, so this week we’re doing a highlight show, and I thought it would be really interesting if instead of doing your standard this is the news this week report, we took a look back at the first half of 2017, and picked your top five news stories.  How does that sound?

James DeRuvo:  It sounds great.  I’ve got a handful here of stories that have really grabbed my attention this year so far, and I’m anxious to share them.

Larry Jordan:  So what’s story number one?

James DeRuvo: I think one of the biggest stories has been Kodak’s film comeback.

Larry Jordan:  How so?

James DeRuvo:  Recently they opened up ten labs in cities including Atlanta and they re-opened an old lab in Queens, New York.  They’ve signed a five year deal with Pinewood Studios for a central film processing lab that will also provide digital conversion services.  The idea is to make it closer for film makers to get a safer and faster turnaround on film … processing, since before this they had to FedEx all their unexposed negatives to have them processed. So they’re re-opening up all these labs all across the country, and it was only a few years ago that Kodak was flirting with bankruptcy, having one fire sale after another on their assets, and now being the only game in the town providing film services to the industry, Larry they show no signs of slowing down, and it’s a remarkable turnaround.

Larry Jordan: I agree that it’s a remarkable turnaround, but the world has gone digital.  Why is this your lead story for the year?

James DeRuvo:  Everybody said that film was dead and that everybody was going to go digital, but there was a small cadre of film makers including Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarrantino, JJ Abrams, who were all dedicated to restoring film as a viable option for cinema.  Granted it’s going to be an artistic choice.  It’s never going to be the main choice for film makers like it once was, but I really do think it’s an important turnaround considering that just a few short years ago there was no place to get your film developed.  So I think it was an important story for the year considering where they were just a few years ago.

Larry Jordan:  OK.

James DeRuvo:  You may remember that RED recently launched their Hydrogen mobile device.  It’s a fully functional android smart phone with 5.7 inch high resolution holographic display, a modular system that works in concert with the RED Scarlet, Epic and Weapon platforms to create virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality content that can be viewed virtually with glasses free.  So you won’t need any glasses or any goggles to watch virtual reality content.

Larry Jordan:  What is it that makes Hydrogen such an important story for you?

James DeRuvo:  Honestly, virtual reality hasn’t really been a thing for me.  I can see its applications for video gaming, but having to wear that big bulky headset is just a drag and I’m kind of waiting for that hallowed deck like experience that you see in Star Trek.  And Hydrogen looks to be a big step forward in that because you’re not going to have to wear glasses to get that experience, and I think that’s really going to push the medium where it needs to go.  RED tends to do that.  They look over the horizon, see where something needs to go and creates something to push that envelope and if anybody can get us into a virtual reality future, I think it’s going to be RED.

Larry Jordan:  What’s our number three story?

James DeRuvo:  I think this is a big story because Magic Lantern always sends shock waves whenever they unlock a hidden feature in Canon’s operating system and a few months ago, Magic Lantern announced that they were going to be able to bring 4K video to the Canon 5D Mark 3.  I mean, the 5D Mark 3 is kind of old.  It’s several years old now, but they’re going to be able to unlock ultra high definition recording in 14 bit raw, using a super 35mm crop for wide angle, close to anamorphic.  It’s going to take that old camera that was discontinued and people were putting away and it’s going to give it more legs, so don’t give up on that 5D Mark 3 just yet.  You may be able to shoot 4K on it real soon.

Larry Jordan:  Do you think 4K on a Canon is going to make sense?

James DeRuvo:  Well it future proofs your content.  I think that’s why it makes sense.  If they can get it to work consistently to where it provides 14 bit color and it looks good, it’s going to future proof people’s content so they don’t have to go out and spend $10,000 on a new rig.  At least it’ll be a great stop gap measure, and I guess that’s what I’m talking about.

Larry Jordan:  OK, what’s next on your list of top five?

James DeRuvo:  I think the big thing for drones this year so far has been the Federal court overturned mandatory FAA drone registration.  The registration requirement was that all drone pilots had to register their drones from .55 to 55 pounds.  They had to affix that drone registration number onto their drone, so then it could be looked up and it was required before you could fly.  But the Federal court ruled that the FAA overstepped its constitutional authority in requiring it as a mandatory registration, and so the FAA will continue to offer registration on a volunteer basis, but drone pilots, if they want to pull out, they can get a full refund on their registration fees, and they have to sign an affidavit promising to follow the current FAA guidelines.

Larry Jordan:  The ruling said that the FAA can regulate drones, they just can’t require registration?

James DeRuvo:  Registration cannot be mandatory.  Honestly, only because Congress hasn’t given them the authority to do so.  If Congress were to pass a law tomorrow, granting the FAA that mandatory authority, then we’d be back to square one again.

Larry Jordan:  We decided to take a look at the top five stories for the first half of 2017.  We’ve reached number five, what have we got?

James DeRuvo:  Streaming video is everywhere.  With YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Periscope, Switcher Studio live, you can’t get away from video content streaming and with the latest add ons you can even stream 360 degree video live from your iphone.  Even Adobe has gotten into the game with Character Animator which allows you to animate live on the air.  It’s a crazy time for content creators Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Sometimes you have to be crazy to be a content creator James.

James DeRuvo:  Isn’t that the truth?

Larry Jordan:  Where can people go to keep track of the latest news in our industry?

James DeRuvo:  All these stories and more can be found at

Larry Jordan:  James DeRuvo is the senior writer for and returns again next week with our weekly DoddleNEWS update.  Thanks James.

Larry Jordan:  Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries.  It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry.  DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production.  These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.  DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers.  From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed.  Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go.

Larry Jordan:  We first presented this interview with Maxim Jago on March 16th, 2017.  Maxim Jago is a film director, a screenwriter, an author who splits his time between film making and speaking as a futurist, especially at events celebrating creativity.  He’s also the chief innovation officer at and a mentor for new film makers.  Hello Maxim, welcome.

Maxim Jago:  Hi there Larry.  It’s great to speak to you.

Larry Jordan:  It is wonderful to have you back with us.  I just realized the last time we spoke was September last year.  So at that point you were working on two films, what’s the status of them?

Maxim Jago:  Well it’s been fascinating.  We’re developing a project in direction, so we’ve actually got three films and a short now and some technology projects.  What we’re finding is that the distribution landscape has pretty much finished changing now, but we’ve been talking about it changing for a long time, and talking about the way it’s been watered down, that we’ve got all these metrics now, we’ve got all these modes of tracking audience behaviors.  But you’ve still got this fundamental problem of how do you convince the public that they want to engage with a story?  What we’re finding is that actually it really comes down to cast, and that’s very much our focus at the moment.

Larry Jordan:  It really comes down to what?

Maxim Jago:  Casting.

Larry Jordan:  Really?

Maxim Jago: The names, the international names.  If you are part of the studio system, where you’ve got a reasonable budget for a film, and that incorporates a budget for your talent, for your casting, then it’s no problem.  But if you’re working on projects, then really who is in the project is absolutely critical.

Larry Jordan: So if casting is the most important, how can you cast without knowing what your budget is?

Maxim Jago:  Well you do have a budget.  It’s one of those funny things about production.  You could make it for nothing or you could make it for whatever it is now, a million dollars.  But, ultimately, you’re going to name a number and you’re going to come up with a budget for that number, within which you know you can produce the film.  But of course, it’s critical that you have casting in place, or at least some aspirations for casting, because without that you can’t estimate your revenues, and without the revenues you can’t estimate how much you can get to make the film.  So it’s a sort of a chicken and egg thing.

Larry Jordan:   I would say absolutely.  Well let’s pretend, just for the conversation, that we have a film and you’ve cast it.  How are you going to finance it?  Where does the money come from today?

Maxim Jago:  Well, I’m speaking very much as an independent film director here, but the route would be to begin discussions with sales agents and distributors.  These are the people that can look at your approximate budget, the genre for the film, the territories that they’re looking at distributing in, and importantly, the names that you have attached to the project.  Based on that information, they can forecast some revenues, and that’s really the next stage.  Once you’ve got those from somebody credible, you can go to potential sources of finance and show them that you think you’re going to make tons of money.

Maxim Jago:  But I think that there’s an ethical dilemma for film makers, because if you were producing the equivalent to this, which would be a business plan for a new company, you’d have very simple metrics to use to look at how you’re going to make money for the investors of the company.  How long investment needs to be in the company, whatever it is.  But with a film, there are just so many variables, and as far as I can tell now, if you produce your reasonable budget, in a reasonable time scale, and you distribute worldwide in all media, it’s very likely indeed that you will double your original investors money.  If the music sounds OK and the story is alright, you’ll make back the investors’ money.  Of course, if you do have a famous name in the film, you’ll have some better metrics.  People will be more attracted to the film, you’ll get a better distribution, and you’ll probably make more money.

Maxim Jago:  But you do have this challenge if you don’t have names to convince people to see the film.  And I’m reliably told that if you tell an investor that you will just double their money, that you’re confident you’ll do that, and you have the potential to make ten, 20, 30, 40 times their investment, it isn’t good enough.  Investors in high risk investments, generally want to know that they’re going to get five or ten times their investment back, or it’s not worth it.  So you have another Catch 22 trying to raise the finance for your film.

Maxim Jago:  Ultimately, I think the solution is, if you’ve got a cause that people care about, if you have people that care about you that want to invest in your career as a film maker, that can help.  But the alternative is that you begin to estimate revenues based on the cast you hope you will get if you get the money, so that you can then have a deal memo with your investors.  For example, let’s say I’m trying to get Johnny Depp for a film.  You never know, it could happen.  I can say to investors, “If we cast Johnny Depp, you’ll commit the money, and here’s the revenues that we’re expecting.”  With that deal memo in place, you can probably begin to have discussions with agents.

Larry Jordan:  Well where does Kickstarter and Indiegogo factor into this, because you’ve been talking with traditional funding sources, not crowdsourcing?

Maxim Jago: That’s right and I looked into things like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, in fact we really researched and explored running a Kickstarter for one of the projects I’m working on.  What I found is that ultimately, what’s going to get people engaged with a crowdfunding campaign, is a prior commitment, a prior connection to something to do with the project.  Now an obvious one is going to be, once again, having a star involved.  That means that there’s a significant number of people who have a prior connection with one of the characters or one of the cast.  Another connection would be, again, a serious issue.  There are some big social issues that we need to raise awareness of, and if you have a social issue and a new way of approaching it, then you may find that you can get a big commitment from people for your crowdfunding campaign.

Maxim Jago:  Another option is if there’s a story or a narrative, a book adaption for example, that many people have read.  One of the projects I’m working on now and developing, is Illusions, the book Illusions by the American author Richard Bach, and we’re looking to try to put together a film project based on that book.  40 million copies of this book were sold, and it’s a real life changing story for many people, so we’re optimistic that there’s an audience, and certainly a new generation waiting for the story.

Maxim Jago:   Now if you’re … funding campaign and you can show that prior commitment, you can get that connection and you can get a lot of people to contribute to it.  But at the risk of sounding a bit depressing and on a downer about this, I think that if you have no stars, no social issues, no book adaption that people are already passionate about, then from what I can see, and I’ve spoken to quite a few people working projects in the same way, although you will get the outliers, like the Kung Fury film for example was an amazing example of an outlier.  No significant names in it but it was just an awesome project that did incredibly well.  If you remove those outliers from your assessment, realistically, you’re probably going to raise somewhere between five and … that you can use to produce your film.  Now you can step the process, so some people will raise finance for development, then for pre-production, then production, then for post production, and then for distribution.  And each one of those is a separate crowdfunding campaign.  But if you wanted to raise $100,000 or $200,000, I don’t think that’s completely realistic without that prior connection.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s shift gears, because this show is talking both about financing and distribution, do you need to worry about distribution this early in your process?  And if so, what questions are you wrestling with?

Maxim Jago:  That’s a fantastic question.  I think that most of life works better if you plan backwards and so absolutely.  You want to be basing it on your distribution, and there’s some great news in this territory.  We’ve now seen really good adoption of what people call OTT, let’s say multiple mediums for distribution for films and television and episodic content.

Larry Jordan:  OTT, which stands for Over The Top would be Amazon or Netflix or Hulu or something of that sort?

Maxim Jago:  Right.  I never liked the name, it just means a box next to your TV I suppose, but people don’t care if they’re watching a film now on a laptop, on an ipad, on a phone, on a TV or a projector.  It doesn’t matter.  This is great for indies, because the big challenge of course traditionally is if your distribution outlet was … TV, cable or theatres, you’ve got a problem because those distribution mediums are very carefully controlled by large organizations who have a flow of content that they are in control of.  But now we’re starting to see a much more open landscape for distribution where the key challenge of course … you’ve still got to have people discover you, but the discoverability is improving.

Maxim Jago:    At Filmdoo for example, we’re getting three or 400,000 visitors …  We’ve focused on particular mediums but we’ve got a great search system.  iTunes of course, people used to search, and it’s easier now than it was historically for you to get a film onto iTunes, and they’ve got 800 million plus users.  Vimeo Pro … content.  There’s YouTube where in some situations you can charge for content, and we’re beginning to see this opening up of the online landscape.  Not just in terms of film makers being able to put their content out there, which is great, but also in audience acceptance.

Maxim Jago:   I think this is very interesting for the smaller budget productions where you put together something that you’re passionate about, you want to create, and you want to monetize that so that you can move at least towards what a friend of mine,  … Flowers is an experienced film maker.  He describes sustainable film making.  You don’t need millions of dollars, you just need to earn enough money to make the next one and to pay the rent, so it becomes a reasonable replacement to your day job.

Larry Jordan:  So to sum up, for someone that’s just getting started with their project, assuming they have a good story, assuming they have the technical skills to pull this off, what advice do you have for them to make money on their project?  What are the top three things they need to keep in mind?

Maxim Jago:  Oh my goodness.  First of all, remember that this is a visual medium, and so begin with getting drawings, getting art work.  If you possibly can, shoot a scene, make sure there’s something that conveys the mood and the atmosphere of the project, because that will convince people more than anything else.  Secondly, I would say, it’s critical that you get … by somebody reputable in the industry.  The bottom line is it’s not cool for you to tell people that you’re cool, but it is cool for somebody … and so you need someone who can big you up and who is respected, to make those introductions and get you those opportunities.  Ask around, ask your mentors for recommendations.

Maxim Jago:  I suppose the third thing I would say is that realism is beautiful, and it’s great to have imagination and dreams and aspirations.  Try to couch those aspirations in a meaningful road map from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow, and just begin crossing those stepping stones.  If you don’t have a reputation, you can build a reputation for free, by getting your friends together and producing low budget content that’s high quality.  The tools are so accessible now, you can do it.  And once you’ve built those smaller pieces, and built up your reputation, you can begin to cover the ground and to work on bigger projects.

Larry Jordan:  Maxim, for people that want to keep track of the ground that you’re covering, where can they go on the web?

Maxim Jago:  Well I have a strange name of course, so just Google Maxim Jago, or my website is   I’m always happy to answer questions.

Larry Jordan:  That website is and Maxim Jago himself is the voice you’ve been listening to.  Maxim, thanks for joining us today.  This has been fascinating, thank you very much.

Larry Jordan:  We first presented this interview with Pierson Clair on June 22nd, 2017.  Pierson Clair has spent the last decade conducting digital forensic investigations in support of companies who have suffered a breach or other loss of data.  His investigative specialties lay in the realm of Mac and mobile devices.  Pierson has also spent the last five years teaching classes in information security and advanced forensics at the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC.  Hello Pierson, welcome.

Pierson Clair:  Hi there, how’s it going?

Larry Jordan:  Well I am looking forward to our conversation, that is a true statement.  Tonight is all about IaaS and cloud based collaboration. Increasingly, media creators are being invited to move their assets to the cloud.  Given that we are all paranoid by nature, is it possible to keep our data safe once it’s stored in the cloud?

Pierson Clair:  The joy of the cloud is you’re trusting your data to somebody else.  You are trusting that they can house your data better than you can, and you’re trusting that they will take better steps to protect your data than you can.  The cloud is one of those great marketing terms that just means, you can’t put your hands on your data.

Larry Jordan:  It’s just essentially a remote server, is what you’re saying, under somebody else’s control?

Pierson Clair:  Truly.  So we’ve been using email forever.  Email is now what’s known as the cloud, we just never talked about it that way, ten, 20 years ago.

Larry Jordan:   So how can we determine if a cloud vendor that we want to use is secure enough?

Pierson Clair:  The current state of cyber security is, pretend and envision for a second that you are that king or queen in the middle ages who has a castle and you are under siege, and you’ve got to protect your castle against 100 percent of inbound threats.  You’ve got to be right 100 percent of the time.  The attacker who you may not even be able to see, just needs to be right once.  So it’s difficult to say “How do I guarantee that something is secure?” because unfortunately the only way to guarantee security is to have your data on a computer that’s turned off and the computer itself is in a safe or safe deposit box, which unfortunately, really makes it kind of useless as a computing device.

Larry Jordan:  If we’re a film maker and we’re shooting a movie which has not yet been released, so we’ve got all these proprietary assets that we’ve created, Amazon and Microsoft talk about how much built in security they’ve got in AWS in Amazon’s case, and Azure in Microsoft’s case, if we’re trying to protect assets which are not otherwise available, is there security enough or do we need to do more?  And if we need to do more, can we?

Pierson Clair:  That’s a great question.  You’ve got intellectual property that you need to protect, how do you do it?  Every cloud provider is going to say “We’ve got great security.”  But let’s go one level higher.  Let’s talk about the content of what we like to see as cyber security hygiene.  When you’re a small child you get multiple immunizations.  Why?  To protect yourself and to protect those around you.  So cyber security hygiene starts with yourself, with your own computer.  Starts with password policy, starts with what you click on.  Could an attacker go after a cloud service?  Sure.  But why do that if they can send you a phishing email that you then click on.  A piece of malware is downloaded to your computer without your knowledge.  A key logger exists, it scrapes all of your passwords and it may just log into AWS or Azure or Rackspace as you.

Pierson Clair:   So taking a step back and looking at your whole cyber security posture, we like to use a phrase called trust no-one.  Validate everything.  The biggest thing with the current state of cyber security is the technology itself is quite good, which means that most attacks are now what we call social engineering attacks.  Whether this is a phone call that you receive saying something along the lines of “This is Microsoft, this is Google, this is Apple, this is Cisco or this is the IRS” and the next line is something like “Your computer is infected, or you haven’t paid your taxes” and they create this sense of worry.  This cognitive dissonance whereby you are then compelled to let them have remote access or to send them money.  So many of the attacks we now see against Macs are these social engineering attacks where people are coerced either by a banner ad, by an email, by a phone call, into saying “My computer’s infected, because my computer’s telling me so, so I must call this number, I must give them some money” and all of a sudden the computer wasn’t infected before, but is sure infected now after you’ve given them remote access.  Never give somebody remote access unless it’s a guaranteed service provider that you have worked with before.  Pair that with, trust no-one, because if you question everything, then you’ll maintain a safer security posture.

Larry Jordan:  I got five calls from AT&T yesterday saying that my computer had a bad IP address.  I know exactly what you’re talking about.  How can we tell if we’ve been hacked?  Whether we’ve downloaded one of these malwares that you just mentioned, and what should we do if we are?

Pierson Clair:  One of the common misperceptions is that Macs don’t get malware.  We have been lulled into the belief that Macs are inherently secure.  And yes, they are more secure than your standard Windows installation, but it doesn’t mean that they are a magic shield that nothing can pass through.  One, it’s keeping your computer up to date. It’s running patches, it’s keeping those operating updates up to date.  It’s also running anti-virus, but anti-virus is only going to stop about 50 percent of attacks.  There are far simpler programs, be they things like Little Snitch that will look at just outbound connectivity.  “Hey, do you know that your computer’s currently calling out to this server in this geographical location?”  On the other hand, if you’re doing really sensitive work, don’t be connected to the internet.  Convenient, no.  But that way you know that it’s not connected to the internet, so if it’s going to get lost or stolen, somebody has to physically enter your office to take the data that you’re working on.

Larry Jordan:  Mac people have been told for a long time, especially media creators, that when we run anti-virus software, there’s a significant performance hit, and because performance is everything when we’re editing media, just because it’s such a complex thing to do in the first place, we’ve turned off anti-virus.  How big of a performance hit is there with today’s anti-virus and which companies should we consider using?

Pierson Clair:  So there are many great companies out there, and in my capacity at USC I can’t recommend an option, but yes, there will be a performance hit.  One of the interesting things is that most anti-viruses allow you to turn off what’s referred to as on-access scanning.  And what on-access scanning means is, when you’re working on a file, it’s scanning that file in the background.  If you turn off the on-access scanning, you lose a certain level of real time protection, but if you set up scheduled scans, to run say four in the morning when you probably aren’t in front of your … then at least you know that everything that’s changed in say the last 24 hours has been scanned.

Larry Jordan:  What references can you suggest for those that want to learn more about data security, that don’t require you to be an engineer to understand?

Pierson Clair:  I use Feedly as a seed aggregation service.  And I have a Feedly list that’s public, so if you go and I make a couple of hundred resources that I read on a daily basis available, broken down into many different topics.

Larry Jordan:  That web address again is  Pierson, for people that want more information or would like to get in touch with you, what do you recommend?

Pierson Clair:  They can email me

Larry Jordan:  The voice you’ve been listening to is Pierson Clair at Digital Forensic Investigator and on the faculty at USC.  Pierson thanks for joining us today.

Pierson Clair:  Thank you so much Larry for having me on.

Larry Jordan:  We first presented this interview with Philip Hodgetts on May 25th, 2017.  Philip Hodgetts is a technologist and the CEO of both Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System.  Even better, he’s a regular here on the Buzz.  Hello Philip, welcome back.

Philip Hodgetts:  Hi Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Philip, tonight we’re talking about media archiving and LTO storage, and I couldn’t think of a better person to talk to than yourself, to help us set the scene and explain some of the differences between backups and archiving and define some terms.  So what is the difference between backups and archiving?

Philip Hodgetts:  Well, backup, like it implies, is a backup copy of your media.  Usually I think we tend to have that nearby during the production space of a show but having just one copy isn’t a backup, so you have to have two copies or more, or three or four copies, preferably in different geographic locations in order to have any form of backup.  But I do associate that mostly with the production phase.  Whereas archiving is where you would want to keep the work that you’ve done for long term storage.  Of course your archive should have a backup.  Generally speaking, backups are on A50 or spinning disks, usually in a raised configuration.  Archiving could be on a set of drivers, or more commonly, it’s on LTO tape which is a linear tape, backup storage.  It’s ironic, we’ve gone from tape to digital, to tape to backup the digital.

Larry Jordan:  So it sounds like backups need to be almost on the same type of gear that we’re using for our editing?  Whereas archives can be on gear which may take longer to access, true?

Philip Hodgetts:  That’s certainly true.  The demand for backup would be instantaneous  because if something happened to the primary storage, you really want to be able to access that backup as quickly as possible so that you can be back up and running and continue production.  Whereas archiving it’s assumed that the main work is finished, it’s maybe a year or two later and you want to revisit something for a new version, a new distribution channel, and so you’ll go to the archive, and certainly LTO tape, while with LCFS the file formatting, it appears as a drive, it is very slow compared with any sort of drive.

Larry Jordan:  I was talking with Sam Bogoch, the CEO of Axle Media Management at the Creative Storage Conference yesterday, and he told me that when Axle was released in 2012, they were delighted that it tracked up to 30,000 assets.  Their newest version, which they released at NAB this year, now supports over two million assets.  How do we manage all the files that a typical media project creates?

Philip Hodgetts:  You might guess my answer would include metadata.  But in fact, that is exactly what an asset management is doing, it’s tracking all the metadata for an asset.  That’s why I said management tools like CatDV, Axle and Keyflow Pro are all very important because the file system for LTO doesn’t give a unique ID to every asset … two assets with the same name, without being asset management level above it to get confused.

Larry Jordan:  Philip, I don’t know about you but I do not want to type metadata for two million assets, so what can we do about this?

Philip Hodgetts:  Hopefully the metadata would flow into the asset management system from the production.  Many metadata that you enter in production should flow into the asset management system and be available, so obviously … metadata but any logging you’ve done, any keywords you’ve applied, UCG information is also valuable metadata.  But the reality is, if you’ve got … of metadata, then up until very recently you would send it through Mechanical Turk with small tasks to small amounts of money, break it down that way.  Certainly … have done that with the Johnny Carson shows and other transcript work that they’ve done adding metadata.  They had their own version of Mechanical Turk, but mostly these days we can use machine learning to examine the assets and extract the metadata automatically.  Certainly for large repositories in an asset management system that’s  … or large repositories without management data, it’s probably the only way forward.

Larry Jordan:  We’re going to learn a whole lot more about all of these issues on today’s show, but for people that want to keep track of the stuff you’re doing, where can they go on the web?

Philip Hodgetts: is my …, or  I’m everywhere.

Larry Jordan: That’s and Philip, thanks for joining us today.  We’ll talk to you soon.

Philip Hodgetts:  My pleasure, thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  We first presented this interview with Stephen Nakamura on April 13th, 2017.  Stephen Nakamura is the senior colorist for Deluxe’s Company 3 in Los Angeles.  His projects include Oz the Great and Powerful, Prometheus, Zero Dark Thirty, and many more.  Hello Stephen, welcome.

Stephen Nakamura:  Hi, how are you Larry?

Larry Jordan:  We are doing great, and I’m delighted to talk to you on the phone again.  It’s been almost two years since last we spoke.

Stephen Nakamura:  Right.

Larry Jordan:  Stephen, today we’re talking about color and color grading.  How would you define the difference between color correction and color grading?

Stephen Nakamura:  I guess they could be considered the same thing.  Color correction basically involves changing the color affecting the imagery of any kind of moving image that anyone shoots, whether it’s on film or digital.  In its simplest form, it’s basically matching shots, making sure that they’re smooth and if one shot’s warm and another shot’s cool, you need to make them all warm or all cool, or you can be very creative and make things desaturated, a whole scene or a whole movie saturated, desaturated, warm, cool, contrasty, whatever.  So it’s really Photoshop on steroids.

Larry Jordan:  For projects where we plan to do a lot of color grading, when should we start planning what we want our look to be?

Stephen Nakamura:  That usually happens in the dailies area when they first start shooting.  Most productions actually try to set looks on set so that there’s a color correction already baked into the files and those color corrections then get baked in, they send it to their editorial department and the editors start cutting with the footage so that footage already has its own kind of look.  Whether it may be slightly desaturated or warm or a certain kind of palette, the cinematographer usually determines with the director a particular feel or look, and a lot of that look is baked in really early in the process and dailies.

Larry Jordan:  Does it make a difference what video format we shoot if we’re planning to do color grading?  Or are all video formats pretty much the same?

Stephen Nakamura:  Especially for theatrical, you want to shoot on the highest dynamic range capture medium that you can.  The lower the quality of the images are, the more you’ll have things like clipped whites where we’ll lose information in the whites or crushed blacks where we won’t have information in the blacks.  Once your capture medium loses information because it doesn’t have any dynamic range or enough dynamic range, we just will be unable to recover it in the post process, so ideally you want to shoot with the highest quality camera that you could get.

Larry Jordan:   Do our choices change, either in codecs or other techniques if we wanted to shoot for HDR?

Stephen Nakamura:   Not really.  Most of the professional cameras that the cinematographers use have enough dynamic range that if they’re shooting it correctly on set, we have all the dynamic range we need for HDR or Rec. 709 or Rec. 2020 or any of the other massing formats that we need.

Larry Jordan:   Which is more important to color grading, resolution or bit depth?

Stephen Nakamura:  Bit depth is more important.  You could have something that’s 4K with a limited dynamic range, and you’re still going to get the clipped whites or the crushed blacks.  How sharp the image is, is far less important than having the full dynamic range in your blacks and your whites, so that when we start pushing images around in all the different formats, you have a very robust image to work with that has very little noise.

Larry Jordan:  When you’re color grading a project, are there cultural differences in how we perceive color, or the emotions they create when you’re color grading?

Stephen Nakamura:  I think as a general rule, that probably is the case Larry.  Certainly if a movie tends to be a very happy, romantic comedy, typically it’ll be a little bit more saturated, it’ll be a little bit warmer.  Depending on the time period, they’ll have a certain look so people get real involved in that time period that can be affected by color, that people are familiar with.  So a lot of times, depending on the movie, you can take a look at the footage, you can tell what type of movie it is, and you can already get a feel for which direction they may want to go in, even though we may not get a lot of direction.

Larry Jordan:   Stephen, where can we go on the web to learn more about you and your company?

Stephen Nakamura:  You can certainly go on and you can find me on there.

Larry Jordan:   And that’s Deluxe’s Company 3.  Stephen Nakamura is the senior colorist at Company 3.  Stephen, thanks for joining us today, it is always fun to chat.

Stephen Nakamura:   Thank you so much Larry, appreciate it.

Larry Jordan:   Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  I want to introduce you to a new website,  Thalo is an artist community and networking site for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. features content from around the world with a global perspective on all things creative.  Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works.  Thalo is a part of Thalo Arts, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers.  From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed.  Visit and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed.  That’s

Larry Jordan:  We first presented this interview with Jim Cummings on April 6th, 2017.  Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, our next guest spent Saturday mornings riveted to the TV screen mimicking the characters in his favorite cartoons.  Today Jim Cummings is one of the most well known voice actors in animation. During his career, he’s worked extensively for the Walt Disney Studios voicing classic characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, King Louis, Kaa the snake, and many others.  He’s also acted in blockbusters features for DreamWorks, including Shrek, Ants, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Tarzan, well you get the idea.  He obviously can’t find work.  It is an honor to say welcome Jim, good to have you with us.

Jim Cummings:  Hi, how are you doing pal?

Larry Jordan:  I am doing great.  I’m just sitting here, standing at attention just talking to someone of your caliber.

Jim Cummings:  A likely story.  I’ll take it though.

Larry Jordan:  Aside from an addiction to Saturday morning cartoons, what got you into voice over work?

Jim Cummings:  I always kind of knew that I was heading in that direction since I was about four.  I was in the back of the class, just doing dolphin noises and things like that.  I remember my dad when we were watching Mel Blanc on a TV show which I think was the Jack Benny Show, and he says, “You see this guy here?  This guy does all those voices you get up and watch on Saturday morning.  He does Bugs Bunny and Daffy, Sylvester and Tasmanian Devil” and I said, “You’re kidding?  They’re all from this guy?  Here he is, everybody likes him, he’s not getting kicked out of class.  So maybe I’ll go that way with it.”  I always knew I’d be somewhere in the arts as an actor, a musician or a designer.  I painted Mardi Gras floats for a few years in New Orleans as a young guy.  Although I knew I was never going to be a dancer.  Nobody wants to see this.  I was in no danger of becoming a professional dancer.  Somewhere in the arts yes, but not that.  Ten or 12 years old and I wanted to be the ogre or the hermit or the wizard that lived in a cave, because it seemed like it was more fun.   So I think I was inadvertently training myself for this career because that’s how it is now.  I still get up and pretend to be an ogre or a king or fill in the blank, or a bear or a duck.

Larry Jordan:  How do you develop different voices, what’s your process? 

Jim Cummings:  I just get together with the producer, the writer, the artist and you look at them.  Dark Green Duck, he’s not a big gigantic fellow, but he’s not a little tiny guy either so the process of elimination there, although sometimes it’s funny to get the big guy and have a tiny voice come out of him.  Look at Mike Tyson.  You’re not going to make fun of him for his voice.  No matter what.  However funny it sounds, or weird, so it’s always fun to go against type too.  But you do that and you figure in the size, you figure in whether he’s got a big nose, you might want to have to do something there.  That type of thing, and you just kind of mold it.  I think a bit of sculpting almost, molding the character as you go.  Is he sarcastic?  Is he happy?  Is he dreary, is he gloomy?  You incorporate all of that together, and honestly at that point you just give in to your instincts.  I always joking say instincts are the best stinks.  If you’re enjoying it and if it makes you laugh, chances are others will too, so give it a shot.  But like I say, it’s a molding, you’re sculpting it, and hopefully it comes out OK.

Larry Jordan:   You mentioned that you meet with the producer and the writer and other parts of the creative team.  What’s the collaboration process like?  Are you saying, “Listen to this, what do you think?”  Are they telling you what their thoughts are?  Walk me through that in more detail.

Jim Cummings:  They’re inside the booth and you’re in the studio and you just get on mic, and you’re looking at it, going “Well, this guy looks like, what is he?  Oh he’s 700 years old.  Oh he is, oh OK, well now, OK” and you get on the microphone and make him sound … They go “Yeah, that’s good.  Maybe make him from England.”  “Oh OK…”  “I don’t know, maybe from Italy.”  “…” and then you just switch, and you go, “A little less gravel.  A little less this.  A little higher.”  Because you’re looking at the picture, which always helps.  One thing you say is, “If this guy started talking, what would it sound like?”   If you answer that question, you’re done.  And what does he act like, obviously, that’s the biggest thing.  One helps the other.

Larry Jordan:   So it sounds like you’re working principally out of sound stages, not out of a home studio?

Jim Cummings:   Well not sound stages, but recording studios.  Yes.  For animation, when you sing and do animation, you always have to go into the studio.  A lot of times, like promos and different spots you can do at home.  I’m the type of guy that’s got a blue collar work ethic or attitude toward a no color required career.  I like to get out and do something, feel like I’m doing something.

Larry Jordan:  How is the prep or collaboration different if you’re the lead voice, versus a secondary character?

Jim Cummings:   It isn’t.  The lead voice just gets a little busier.  That’s about it.  Still trying to honor the character.

Larry Jordan:  It sounds like it’s a very interactive collaboration process in the recording studio as both you and the producer are trying to figure out what this character’s going to be?

Jim Cummings:   With the writer, and the voice director, absolutely.  Everybody puts their two cents in, and you finally go “You know what?  Hold it, there he is right there.  Hold onto that guy, let’s do that.  Let’s hear him up against blah blah” and you see how things work out and how they sound, and off to the races.

Larry Jordan:   Is it always you by yourself, or are there other characters to play off of?

Jim Cummings:   For the auditions usually it’s going to be yourself.  You alone.  But every now and again they’ll bring a couple of people in if they’re going to be a team, like some sort of Abbott & Costello group going on there, then they would have it.  But usually you carve them out one at a time, and then they put them all together in the end.

Larry Jordan:   It’s interesting because you are inventing the character almost before the animation’s done.  You’re recording the audio anywhere from one to three years before production’s complete.

Jim Cummings:   Yes.  Very much so.  A lot of people think you’re doing looping.  I remember the movie Mrs Doubtfire throwing everybody off because they thought when Robin Williams’ character was in there doing these voices that it was, they draw them first.  Well they sketch them first obviously because you have to know what the character’s going to look like.  But they don’t animate them first.  Draw them first, sketch them out yes, animate them first, no.  Because you can’t draw comedic timing.  If you think about it, you can’t draw tension or ‘how long is the dramatic pause is dramatic enough in the art work?’  Whereas if it’s recorded and you hear it, it’s like a radio play playing in your head, and you know.  You’ve got the comedic timing right there because you hear it.  It’s like the “Wait for it” well, that’s what they’re doing.

Larry Jordan:  Are you ever surprised with what they do with your character?

Jim Cummings:  I’m surprised at different takes that they use every now and then.  But on the whole, no.  The biggest surprise I ever had was in the Lion King.  I was Ed, and I sang a song called “Be Prepared” for Jeremy Irons.  I did all the singing part, there was a lot of talking on there which was him, but all the “Be Prepared,” the singing was me, and the biggest surprise was I did the demo for Hakuna Matata with my friend Jess Harnell, I was Timon and he was Pumba, because Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella weren’t musicians.  Sometimes it can be very frustrating for everyone, if you get an actor in the studio who has to sing all of a sudden.  If he’s not a singer, sometimes it can be really hard, and it’s tough on the actor because they’re really accomplished in one area, and they can’t pull this off.  They thought, “Let’s get Nathan and Ernie a tape, we’ll get Jim and Jess to sing it and then they can know the song way before they get to the session.  We’ll make them this cassette, they can ride around in their cars for a month and listen to it, that way when it comes to the sessions, they know it the way they know Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Happy Birthday.  Just have it in their head.”  We did that, but they didn’t have all the lyrics.  Tim Rice of course did the lyrics and he’s from Britain.

Jim Cummings:  The lyrics for Hakuna Matata before I showed up were things like “When I was a kid it was rough, you have it easy, I had it tough.  Everything you do is not a problem, but I had it really,” and everybody’s dad used to say “I had to walk uphill both ways to school and it snowed every day.”  “I know it was terrible for you and I’ve got it easy.”  No kid wants to hear that, but I said, “On the other hand we’ve got this stinky guy here with a flatulence problem, and you can’t go wrong with flatulence in an animated movie.”  So I said, “I got a lyric,” and I went over and gave Jess a couple of lines, and we went back, and I said, “Roll tape,” and said, “Oh the shame, oh now he’s ashamed.  But what’s in a name, what’s in a name?  And I got downhearted every time that I,” “ Pumba not in front of the kids,” “Sorry.  Hakuna Matata.”  So I alluded to farting so I wrote the fart verse, I’m still proud to say.

Jim Cummings:  At the premiere you could have knocked me over with a feather.  I went up to Don Hahn and I said, “You’ve kept the fart verse?”  He goes, “It was the funniest thing in the movie.”  I said, “Yes, but you’ve kept the fart verse?”  I just couldn’t believe.  They didn’t say the word fart, but there was no question what was coming next.  Everybody laughed and I thought, “It was the funniest thing in the movie.”  But on the other hand, it’s not like I got ‘With additional lyrics by’ because that would have been nice.  It was like, wait a minute, so I figure when I retire I’ll just sue Disney, Peggy Lee style and get $15 or $20 million in …  What do you think?  Sound like a plan Larry?  I don’t know.

Larry Jordan:  Jim, you’ve been doing this for a long time.  What part of voice acting still gets you excited and out of bed in the morning?

Jim Cummings:  Oh, honestly, all of it.  Unless it’s … some assembly required.  Your parents helped you put it together.  That probably doesn’t excite me all that much anymore.  But like yesterday, it was a blast, it was like another Andrew Lloyd Webber gigantic songfest and I realize that now I’m sworn to secrecy.  I could tell you but you’d have to kill me.  It was singing for a major video game coming to a monitor near you.  It all gets me excited.  I love my job.  Like I always tell my nieces, nephews, kids, anybody who will listen, “If you make a list of things you feel like doing, you love so much you’d do all daylong for free, and then do them so well that somebody’ll pay you,” that’s kind of what I did.  Ergo, I’m still there, you know?  The fact that they pay me, I just have to suffer through.

Larry Jordan: The pain just hurts.  The voice you’ve been listening to is Jim Cummings, and you’ve been hearing it all your life in cartoons and animated features.  Jim, thanks for joining us today.

Jim Cummings:  Oh my pleasure, so much.  Thank you so much Larry.  Be well everybody and stay tuned.  And that’s spelled tooned.

Larry Jordan:  Jim, you’ve obviously done this before.  Is there a question you want me to ask that I did not?

Jim Cummings:  No, not really, you did great.  Everybody, show of hands, how did Larry do?  Hands in the back, perfect.  Oh wow, it’s unanimous.

Larry Jordan:  I’ve never been greeted by so many fans and hands in my life.

Jim Cummings:  That’s right, look at that.

Larry Jordan:  Thank you so much for your time.  Have yourself a wonderful day, and I hope you stay busy as long as you want to be busy.

Jim Cummings:  Excellent, thank you so much, same to you.  God speed, God bless.

Larry Jordan: Thank you, take care, bye bye.

Jim Cummings:  Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  One of the pleasures of doing this show is being able to listen again to some of our favorite interviews, and I want to thank this week’s guests, Maxim Jago, producer director, Pierson Clair, digital forensic investigator, Philip Hodgetts the CEO of Intelligent Assistance, Stephen Nakamura the senior colorist for Deluxe Company 3, Jim Cummings, the voice actor, and James DeRuvo, senior writer for DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan:   There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at 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 Saturday.

Larry Jordan:  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuzz and Facebook at

Larry Jordan:   Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by  Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription.  Visit to learn how they can help you.

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.

Digital Production Buzz – July 27, 2017

One of the nice things about doing a weekly show is that we collect some great interviews. Tonight, we present our favorites from the last six months with subjects that include: financing, security, backups, color grading and voice-acting.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Philip Hodgetts, Jim Cummings, Pierson Clair, Stephen Nakamura, Maxim Jago, and James DeRuvo.

  • Get Your Film Project Financed
  • Voice Acting – Invisible Movie Stars
  • Are You Really Safe In The Cloud?
  • The Basics of Backups and Archives
  • Color and Emotions
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

(To download the show, right-click Download and click “Save Link As…”)

Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

Get Your Film Project Financed

Michele Yamazaki

Maxim Jago, Director,

Every project requires financing to start and, ideally, distribution. Simply having a great idea does not mean you will get any money for it. Tonight we talk with Producer/Director Maxim Jago about his secrets to getting a film project funded and, ultimately, distributed.

Voice Acting – Invisible Movie Stars

Jim Cummings

Jim Cummings, Animation Voice Actor

Voice acting means you can be a world-wide movie star and no one knows what you look like. Tonight we talk with Jim Cummings – one of the best known voices in the industry. Jim starred or featured in hundreds of animated films and explains how he develops his different characters and the collaborative process of voice acting.

Are You Really Safe In The Cloud?

Pierson Clair

Pierson Clair, Faculty, Viterbi School of Engineering, USC

Increasingly, media creators are being invited to move their assets to The Cloud. Given that we are all paranoid by nature, is it possible to keep our data safe once its stored in The Cloud? Tonight, Pierson Clair, a digital forensic investigator specializing in data breeches and a member of the USC faculty, joins us to explain what we need to know to keep our data – and computer systems – safe.

The Basics of Backups and Archives

Philip Hodgetts

Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System

This segment was part of a show on media, archiving and LTO storage. To set the scene, we talk with Philip Hodgetts, CEO of Intelligent Assistance, about the differences between backups and archiving; and the importance of tracking metadata in a digital age.

Color and Emotions

Stephen Nakamura

Stephen Nakamura, Senior Colorist, Deluxe’s Company 3

Color drives our emotions and color grading is the process of getting those colors right. In this segment, Stephen Nakamura, Senior Colorist at Company 3 in Los Angeles, looks at the basics of color. Steven’s projects include “Oz, The Great and Powerful,” “Prometheus,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” and many others.

The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo

James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

James DeRuvo, Senior Writer at DoddleNEWS, has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. Covering technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James presents our weekly DoddleNEWS Update.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – July 20, 2017

Larry Jordan

Michele Yamazaki, VP Marketing, Toolfarm
Bruce Logan, Director of Photography, Bruce Logan Film
Nancy Eperjesy, President and Co-Founder, Mettle
Miguel Angel Doncel, CEO, SGO
Ric Viers, CEO, Blastwave FX
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS


Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz we look at the wide world of visual effects.  From the early days of Star Wars to the latest in 360 degree VR effects.

Larry Jordan:  We start with Michele Yamazaki, the vice president of marketing for Toolfarm.  Visual effects today are exploding in all directions, and Michele shares her thoughts on the latest effects technology, and where the trends of today will take us tomorrow.

Larry Jordan:  Nancy Eperjesy is the president of Mettle, a company that makes effects software for 360 degree VR video.  Tonight, she explains the challenges in creating effects for a 360 world.

Larry Jordan:  Miguel Angel Doncel is the CEO of SGO, they created Mistika, a high power, integrated, real time visual effects system that allows you to change any effect at any time without having to re-do any of your work.

Larry Jordan:  Ric Viers the president of Blastwave FX looks at effects from a different perspective, what they sound like.  Tonight he has a series of new announcements that can enhance the look of your effects by improving their sound.

Larry Jordan:  Bruce Logan is the special effects wizard that blew up the Death Star.  Tonight, he looks back at his incredible career and shares his thoughts on what it takes to be successful creating visual effects in today’s digital world.

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.  This week we are looking at visual effects, and what struck me as we were planning this show, was how diverse they are from 360 degree VR video to using sound effects to enhance the visuals.  Effects cover a lot of territory, however, the highlight for me tonight is our last guest, Bruce Logan.  He first gained fame as the effects master that blew up the Death Star in Star Wars, but he’s created effects for Tron, 2001, Batman Forever along with 13 other movies as well as being cinematographer for 35 more.  Our conversation with Bruce tonight looks at his process for creating effects and what it takes to be successful in the industry.  But his range is so diverse, and his opinions are so refreshing that we plan to chat with him again in the future to look at more of his career.

Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at  Every issue, every week, provides quick links to the different segments on the show, plus articles of interest to film makers.  Best of all, it’s free and comes out every Saturday.

Larry Jordan:  Now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo.  Hello James.

James DeRuvo:  Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan:  So what’s news this week?

James DeRuvo:  Well first off, as a child of Apollo, I would be remiss if I didn’t wish you Happy Moonday Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Ah.

James DeRuvo:  It was 48 years ago today that Neil Armstrong took that giant leap for mankind and we saw it live on the first TV broadcast from the moon.

Larry Jordan:  I do remember that.  That was an amazing time.

James DeRuvo:  It really was.  Now onto this week’s top stories.  Canada has proposed new drone rules that DJI says are a serious problem.  Drone pilots will be required to stay at least 100 feet away from people and avoid major population centers, which basically means you can’t even fly your drone in your own back yard.  It requires all drone pilots to carry $100,000 insurance coverage for drones weighing as low as a half a pound.  The manufacturers like DJI will have to certify their drones to a set of standards that don’t currently exist.

Larry Jordan:  Do these regulations make a distinction between commercial and recreational drone use?

James DeRuvo:  That’s the other bad part.  No they don’t.  Up in Canada, they don’t see a difference between those who pursue drone piloting as a hobby, and those who make a living out of it.  You know, what’s odd is it was only a week ago that Transport Canada loosened their interim drone rules to make safe operations within city areas manageable.  Now the more formal regulations will reverse those common sense adjustments and make it far more difficult for drone flying to thrive in the great white north.

Larry Jordan:  This is one we’ve got to keep our eyes on.  What have we got next?

James DeRuvo:  Sigma has announced the pricing and availability for their Cine Prime lenses.   The two new lenses that have come out are the Sigma Cine Prime 14mm T2 FF and 135mm T2 FF.  They offer 4K full frame sensor support and the pricing starts at 49.99 and they’ll be available late July.

Larry Jordan:  What do you think Sigma’s goals for these lenses are?

James DeRuvo:  You know they carved out a really cool niche for themselves providing high quality photography lenses at an affordable price.  I think they look to conquer the cinema market with these new set of Prime lenses.  I think they’re a solid option for low budget film makers who want to get their hands on some buttery Primes without breaking the bank.

Larry Jordan:  We’ve got Canada drone rules, new lenses from Sigma, what’s next?

James DeRuvo:  Oculus has finally seen the light and they’ve announced that they’re going to be putting out low cost virtual reality goggles, loosely based on their Santa Cruz prototype which offers wireless virtual reality control without the need of a supporting computer.  The price will be around $200, but at that price it won’t have positional tracking so it’s going to be a non-starter for video gaming.

Larry Jordan:  Oculus has struggled before.  What do you think the outcome of this new version of their goggles will be?

James DeRuvo:  With low cost virtual reality becoming a trend, Oculus had struggled with its high price tag and performance requirements.  They were in danger of falling behind in a genre they had blazed a trail in.  But should this new prototype come to market, it would make relying on your cell phone for true virtual reality a thing of the past and I think that’s what they’re hoping for.

Larry Jordan:  What are some of the other stories we’re watching this week?

James DeRuvo:  Other stories this week include my review of GoPro’s Omni 360 camera platform.  How the producers of Baby Driver were able to edit the film on the set as it was made, and if you’re trying to decide which drone to buy, there’s a guide for that.

Larry Jordan:  And where can go on the web to keep up with all this latest news?

James DeRuvo:  These stories and more can be found at

Larry Jordan:  James DeRuvo is the senior writer at and James, thanks for joining us today.

James DeRuvo:  Alright Larry, I’m off to San Diego for Comic-Con, have a good week.

Larry Jordan:  Have a great time, take care.

Larry Jordan:  Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries.  It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry.  DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production.  These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.  DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers.  From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed.  Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go.

Larry Jordan:  Michele Yamazaki is the VP of marketing at Toolfarm, a company that specializes in plug ins and effects for video editors.  She has written or co-written two books on plug ins as well as becoming the go-to person on software and plug ins for our editing systems.  Hello Michele, welcome back.

Michele Yamazaki:  Thank you very much.

Larry Jordan:  Tonight we’re looking at visual effects, so to get us started, how would you define what visual effects are?

Michele Yamazaki:  I would just say that it’s anything that’s created on screen.  There’s practical effects and then there are computer generated effects, things like explosions and particles and things that aren’t necessarily on set when you’re shooting that are added, although practical effects are added during shooting, if that makes sense?  I’m sure everybody out there knows what visual effects are anyway.

Larry Jordan:  If not, we will work with your definition until we come up with something better.  It seems like in movies today we can’t even have a dialog without adding some sort of effects whether we’re doing a sky replacement or changing the color of somebody’s shirt, or putting them in front of some spaceship in outer space.  Are we going overboard?  Are effects driving movies more than the story?

Michele Yamazaki:  Sometimes.  For a while I was really not enjoying all of the superhero films that seemed like endless sequels, but the effects have gotten better in them.  They had some weird physics and that kind of thing for a while, and it would speak out to me so much that I would be paying more attention to the bad green screen or whatever instead of paying attention to the story.  Some of the movies that I’ve seen lately, I haven’t even done that as much.  The new Guardians of the Galaxy, I thought there were things that looked artificial obviously because I think it was pretty much entirely shot on green or blue screen, however, the story was so engaging, you could just get past that.

Larry Jordan:  Toolfarm sells all kind of effects from all kinds of different developers, which means you’ve got a better indication of what’s going on in the market than just about anything else.  What are some of the trends and effects that you’re paying attention to now?

Michele Yamazaki:  Well After Effects is still a very popular product and the plug ins that work in that.  Luca, which is also a standalone and works in other products has been really popular.  It’s for rotoscoping and planar tracking, so if you’re doing a lot of special effects work you need it.  You really can’t live without it.  A lot of the bundles are also very popular that have a lot of different effects in them that do anything from particles to keying, to name it, the glows, everything.  Boris Continuum Complete has always been really popular and Genart Sapphire is another one, then from Red Giant you have Keying Suite and the Magic Bullet suite and Effects suite and also they have Trapcode suite which has Particular, which has always been one of the most popular effects since it was launched.  Video Copilot is another one that’s been super popular.  Anything by Video that they put out seems to be the most amazing thing, they’re great products and everybody loves them.  Then you have all the 3D stuff too, Cinema 4D and all the products that go along with that.  Those are all great tools that are fairly easy to learn overall and are very popular.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s take a step back.  There’s two things we’ve been talking about that I haven’t noticed.  All the effects you’re talking about are for locally attached hardware and software.  Are you seeing any effects which are taking advantage of the cloud?

Michele Yamazaki:  I really haven’t so much.  I’m not sure what you mean, just plugins that live online?

Larry Jordan:  Products that live online, for instance, one of the things that we’re seeing is converting audio to text, whether it’s from Digital Heaven or the guys at Digital Anarchy.  That’s using a cloud based speech to text service and I was wondering if you’re seeing any other effects that are taking advantage of the processing power in the cloud?

Michele Yamazaki:  Well what we are seeing is that people are hiring render farms that are online.  There’s all different sorts from Cinema 4D or for any other 3D program, from Maya that kind of thing, there are all these different companies that have processing power that you can upload, may have plugins there that you can tap in and use our licenses and that kind of thing. There’s several companies out there that have that type of service.

Larry Jordan:  The other thing, we’re going to be having a show to cover this in a couple of weeks, but I wanted to get your opinion now, is the intersection of machine learning or artificial intelligence with the creation of effects, I think we’re at the very beginning of this, but are you noticing anybody turning this into a product yet?

Michele Yamazaki:  I have seen Adobe and other companies and universities that have these incredible effects where they can create the most lifelike pictures or lifelike renderings of people.  Or they can take someone’s face, say a politician is in front of a podium, they can change what he says, and it looks completely natural.  So I think that’s going to run into some problems too with people not saying things or videos being created to fool people because the technology is just so incredible.

Larry Jordan:  One of the questions I’m going to ask Bruce a little later in the show that I want to ask you, is one of the things that technology today is doing is removing barriers.  Whatever we can imagine, we can create in a way that we couldn’t in the past.  I’ve often felt that creativity works best when there’s something to push against.  As we start to remove barriers, does it make it harder to be creative or easier?

Michele Yamazaki:  We’re an ADD generation, my generation, and the generation beyond mine, and with all of these different options with all of these plugins, there’s 50 different ways you can make particles.  There’s so many different 3D applications, it’s hard to choose one.  Then it’s hard to focus on learning that product because there’s so many options and so many features available, so I think it is kind of a problem, but as long as you’re the type of person who can sit down and completely focus, you’ll be OK.

Larry Jordan:  When it comes to completely focusing, you’ve got some new products that I want to talk to you about.  The first one’s this thing called Particle.  What is it?

Michele Yamazaki:  Actually there’s a ton of particle effects out there, and one of the newer ones is called Superluminal Stardust and it’s a particle effects effect for After Effects.  With these particle effects you can do all sorts of different things.  You can make streaks, it’s really great for motion graphics, but if you’re using it for visual effects, you can use it for explosions and smoke and sparks, rainfall, snow all types of different things.  So Superluminal Stardust is one of the newer ones.  Trapcode Particular is another one that runs with After Effects.  In Boris Continuum Complete suite there’s another particle effect, a 3D particle generator.  I can’t think of the name of it off the top of my head, but it’s something like that.  Then there’s Insydium X-particles which runs in Cinema 4D, so there’s tons of different particle effects out there, but Superluminal is the newest one.

Larry Jordan: Most of the particle effects take something small and multiply it over and over which is how we create smoke.  Do you know of anything which can take an object and turn it into particles, in other words, for something to explode what would you use for that?

Michele Yamazaki:  I would use Video Copilot Element 3D.  It’s great for that.  You can take 3D OBJ files and Cinema 4D 3D objects, and you can make a thousand spaceships.  You can take baseballs or whatever particle you have, you can turn anything into a particle.  So it’s pretty cool.  It’s great for really interesting motion graphics.

Larry Jordan:  Thinking of something which isn’t quite an effect but it’s a cool new piece of software anyway, something called Martini.  Tell me about that.

Michele Yamazaki:  We have an offer right now with the makers of Martini that if you come to our website you can download it for free.  It’s a plugin for Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Avid, Sony Vegas and Magix Vegas, the newer version, and you can make storyboards right inside of your NLE.  There’s all sorts of characters and all sorts of things, it’s pretty cool.  The subscription is $49 a year, and we’re giving away a one year subscription to everyone, not just a drawing or contest, it’s open to everybody.  So all of your listeners out there, please come to Toolfarm and download it.

Larry Jordan:  I have no ability to draw.  I couldn’t draw a straight line without mechanical help.  Can I still use Martini?

Michele Yamazaki: Absolutely.  You don’t have to draw anything.  The characters are already pre-made.  You can select a character and change its clothing and change the gender and hair and all sorts of things.  You have a lot of different options for that.

Larry Jordan:  I don’t want to mention this publicly, but I was doing some research on you before the show started, and typed in your name and all of a sudden it was associated with a book called Green Screen Made Easy.  When did you put that together?

Michele Yamazaki:  Well the first one came out probably six or seven years ago, and then Jeremy Hanke who is my co-author, he and I put out a new version about October, and it basically updates the software and the techniques used.  It was published by Michael Wiese Productions.

Larry Jordan:  That is very cool.  Writing a book is one thing, but finishing a book, that takes a  whole lot of work.

Michele Yamazaki:  Oh my gosh, you’re telling me.

Larry Jordan:  I remember when I was finishing one of mine, I said, “OK, it’s done,” and then the editorial review process started, and I thought it was going to age me, just making sure everything was correct.  So yes, that is not an easy process.  Congratulations to you.

Michele Yamazaki:  Well thank you.

Larry Jordan:  What trends are you keeping an eye on?  What should we pay attention to for the next six months?  Not in terms of product announcements but what do you think is evolving?  IBC is coming up and what’s hot?

Michele Yamazaki:  The type of effects that we’ve been seeing a lot are software that can age people or de-age them, those type of effects in films.  You know Benjamin Button was one actor playing him but he played both young and old.  That type of effect, and that’s going to be in several movies coming up which I can’t think of off the top of my head, but keep an eye out for that type of effect.

Larry Jordan:  Benjamin Button, so it’s not just makeup, it can be software as well?

Michele Yamazaki:  Yeah, software that makes it very realistic looking, it looks very natural.  You wouldn’t pick it out except you know a lot of times who the actor is and what they look like.

Larry Jordan: Michele, for people that want more information about what kind of cool effects are out there, where do they go on the web?

Michele Yamazaki:  To

Larry Jordan: That’s, all one word, and Michele Yamazaki is the VP of marketing at Toolfarm.  Michele, as always, thanks for your time.  This has been fun.

Michele Yamazaki:  Thanks, my pleasure.

Larry Jordan:  Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  Nancy Eperjesy is the president and co-founder of Mettle, the creators of software tools that enable film makers to create effects for 360 degree VR video.  Hello Nancy, welcome.

Nancy Eperjesy:  Hi Larry, thanks a lot for having me here.

Larry Jordan: My pleasure.  How would you define Mettle?  What does the company do?

Nancy Eperjesy:  Mettle is a company that develops 360 VR software that puts content creators first.  You may be familiar with our Skybox 360 VR plugins?  They laid the whole foundation of 360 production into Adobe software.

Larry Jordan:  Well what is 360 production and 360 effects?  What are these?

Nancy Eperjesy:  Let’s roll back a bit to traditional film making, and traditional video where you have one camera and you’re editing one scene that’s shot with a unique source.  Now you want to shoot your whole environment so you have to have multiple cameras set up that will shoot your whole environment, the 360 environment around you.  So basically those cameras are shooting your whole scene, all of that footage has to be stitched together, and then it needs to be edited.

Larry Jordan:  I understand that, but what’s a 360 effect?

Nancy Eperjesy:  It all started actually with a project that we were working on for a client about two and a half years ago.  We did a 360 video but it wasn’t called a 360 video at the time, and we developed a workflow for our own studio and we thought, “Hey, we can make this into a product that’s commercially available.”  A 360 effect is very different than a 2D effect.  In traditional post production when you’re dealing with a 2D effect, it can be applied on a flat surface with edges, so what happens off the edges doesn’t matter.  But a 360 effect has to take into consideration the whole sphere, so an effect can’t break your footage.  It has to work and be applied on your 360 footage.  Otherwise, if you just apply a traditional effect onto 360 footage, it’s going to cause seams and it won’t view properly.  We devised a method that would undistort it, let you do all your effects, clean it up, color grading, text and graphics and then export it into the correct format again.  In fact, it was so successful that it caught the eye of Adobe as Best in Class, and you may have heard that they acquired it.  On June 21st, our suite of Skybox plugins will be integrated into Adobe Creative Cloud.

Larry Jordan:  Very cool, congratulations.  I may be a traditionalist, and you can accuse me of that, but I’m of the opinion that we can’t tell stories with 360 degree video, we can only provide experiences because the point of a story is to focus the audience’s attention at every stage of that story, so they see what we want them to see, and don’t see what we don’t want them, and that’s the exact opposite of 360 degree video.  Would you agree or disagree?

Nancy Eperjesy:  I would kind of agree Larry.  Actually I think that 360 storytelling is approaching more of a dream experience or a living experience, rather than a traditional linear story that we see in cinema.  I think that with the right tools, storytellers are creating experiences for viewers that are a different experience than traditional cinema.

Larry Jordan:  So we shouldn’t keep trying to equate 360 degree storytelling with traditional cinema, but think of it as something different?

Nancy Eperjesy: Yes, definitely.  The way that cinema is different than photography, I think that 360 film is different than traditional film.  It has to develop as a medium unto itself with its own vocabulary and a very different experience.  I think flat cinema and 360 cinema are both going to co-exist, but I think that 360 is evolving into its own unique medium with its own challenges and its own experience.  There’s some pretty basic challenges.  The first thing is everything is in your scene when you’re shooting in 360 so you have to think about that.  The crew will be in the scene, the lights will be in the scene, the camera equipment.  You have to think of that before you start, and figure out ways to work around that, or to take care of that in post.  I think one of the most basic ways that Skybox helped in post, is to do a lot of that object removal, so if you want to take out your camera rig, or your drone, you need to be able to do that, before you move onto more regular post effects.

Larry Jordan:  And what products do you have now?

Nancy Eperjesy:  Your very basic effects are going to be handled by Skybox in Adobe Creative Cloud.  Those are really the foundation effects.  Object removal, stabilizing the footage, horizon correction.  The next step forward is to allow more creative expression, so Mantra VR was born about a year ago when we were thinking “What is one of the most basic things that as a film maker, I’d like to do in 360?”  The first effect that we thought of was, “OK how would you do a dolly in in 360 in post?”  That’s really an effective tool that directors use in storytelling, so we thought that would be the most obvious one, to us at least, to integrate into a product.  That just got us thinking about more effects and now we have 14 plus special effects that make up Mantra VR.

Larry Jordan:  For people that want more information about what Mantra VR is, where can they go on the web?

Nancy Eperjesy:  You can go to our website,, and we’re going to be doing a tech demo at Siggraph August 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Los Angeles.

Larry Jordan: Very exciting. I wish you a very successful roll out.  That website is and Nancy Eperjesy is the president and co-founder of Mettle.  Nancy, thanks for your time today.

Nancy Eperjesy: Thank you very much Larry, it’s been a pleasure.

Larry Jordan:  Miguel Angel Doncel is the CEO of SGO which with 20 years experience in computer science and visual effects, his team develops Mistika, which is a state of the art post production visual effects software.  Hello Miguel, welcome.

Miguel Angel Doncel:  Hello Larry, thank you very much for inviting me today.

Larry Jordan:  It’s my pleasure because I’m really looking forward to learning more about what Mistika is.  So what is it?

Miguel Angel Doncel:  For the last 20 years we have been trying to put together all the technology that this industry need in order to finish the whole production, integrating all the aspects of the post production process such as editorial, color grading, the VFX integration to build very strong and powerful workflows, and Mistika is the result of that development.

Larry Jordan:  But last time I checked, there are about 800 billion effects tools out there.  Why would someone even consider Mistika?

Miguel Angel Doncel:  That’s exactly the reason.  During the last 20 years, if you take a look at the technology in the market you will find that there was a lot of different tools to do specific things which is great because you find amazing tools to do specific things.  But the problem comes when you try to build a powerful and flexible workflow because those tools do not speak to one another.  You end up sending media from one place to another but you cannot exchange metadata.  Because of that, we have seen for ages in the industry, very linear workflows where you had to go from face to face, progressing the production towards the very end.  But if at any point you wanted to go backwards, it usually means wasting a lot of time because all the changes that you did in previous steps you have to do it again.  By having all the things integrating in a single tool, it makes that flexibility amazing because you can move back and forth without losing any single hour of job you put into the production, and you can go back to the very beginning, change something, and then go to the very end and you will maintain all the changes you did in the production.

Larry Jordan:  The only way you can do that is to not bake your changes in.  So basically everything is happening in real time, and it’s looking at your changes as a continuous stream.  Is that a correct statement?

Miguel Angel Doncel:   Exactly.  Not only that, but also being able to send not only the media but also all the metadata back and forth.  For example, let’s suppose we’re doing the grading, but we’re working on a VR production which is something that is happening quite often over the last couple of years.  Imagine that you want to change any adjustment in the VR settings, you don’t want to go back to a VR specific product to have to re-do that part of the job.  You want to be able to do it while you’re grading, because you have the director with you and you are almost at the end of the movie, and stopping the production and going back usually costs days if not weeks of time in the production.  So you need to have the flexibility to manipulate any single piece of metadata at that specific time in real time.

Larry Jordan:  What’s Mistika cost?

Miguel Angel Doncel: Configurations depend pretty much on the performance you want to have, because we have systems that perform in real time up to 8K, 60 frames per second.  Obviously in order to have real time in that kind of resolution, you need a huge bandwidth.  A turnkey solution could vary from $50,000 up to $200,000 depending on the performance that you will need in the configuration.

Larry Jordan:   So is Mistika software, hardware or both?

Miguel Angel Doncel:   We are focused on developing the software which is our strength, and we do not develop the hardware at all.

Larry Jordan:   For studios and very large production houses, $50,000 to $200,000 budget is not out of the question, but for individual artists, it is.  Are there ways that people can get access to the tools Mistika provides by leasing or renting, which makes the price more affordable?

Miguel Angel Doncel:   Actually that is a very good point.  We started in NAB this year, we announced it and we’re working on that.  Now we have a great technology that allows us to have this flexibility we were talking about on a single tool which is Mistika Ultima, the whole tool set, but we’re starting to spin off products to do specific things, but with a very different approach to the current tools that you find in the market, because the products we are spinning off they obviously share the whole metadata, and they obviously share the whole core of the technology, so the compatibility between the different products is 100 percent because they are actually different flavors of the same product.  The first example we presented was Mistika VR which is a specific tool for VR stitching.  The product is targeted in the market for 50 euros a month, which is not that expensive, that’s affordable for everybody, and the cool thing about this approach is those products speak perfectly well with each other so you still can build, if you have the technology to cover all the aspects of the post production, you can still move back and forth and maintain the whole integrity of the metadata through the whole workflow.

Larry Jordan:   That is very cool, and much appreciated by people that don’t have multi hundred thousand dollar budgets.

Miguel Angel Doncel:   Yes indeed.  Actually we are extremely happy with Mistika VR because just a few days ago the Hollywood Professional Association announced that we are the winners this year of the technology award for the Association which is something we are extremely proud of.  Especially for such a young product, because it was released this year.  So that’s cool.

Larry Jordan:   Miguel, where can people go on the web to learn more about Mistika?

Miguel Angel Doncel:   Our webpage is and they can find all the information there.

Larry Jordan:   That website is, not .com, and Miguel Angel Doncel is the CEO of SGO.  Miguel, thanks for joining us today.

Miguel Angel Doncel:   Thank you very much Larry.

Larry Jordan:   Ric Viers is the founder of Blastwave FX, the author of the Sound Effects Bible, and owner of  He lives and breathes sound effects, and it is always a delight to say hello Ric, welcome back.

Ric Viers:   Hey, how you doing sir?

Larry Jordan:  I am doing great because we’re going to shift gears out of visual effects into sound effects, but before we do, you just make sound effects, so how can they help sell a visual effect?

Ric Viers:   Well, everybody wants to hear sound with everything that we see, that’s kind of the nature of who we are.  I think if you can follow the analogy of being a fish out of water, you see a fish lives in water, surrounded by water molecules.  Any movement in the water molecules around it is vibration which it detects as being movement.  We do the exact same thing except instead of water molecules, we live in a world of air molecules. So anything around us that moves around, we’re expecting to hear something with that.  When it comes to picture, what we see on screen and what we interact with in a video game, if there’s movement to it, especially something that’s sizeable or that we’re interacting with, we want to hear sound with, and if we don’t, it’s like a fish out of water.  It’s like there should be gravity here, but I’m floating away.  It’s like something’s not right in my world.

Larry Jordan:   Well what is something about sound effects that you wish video editors knew that they don’t?

Ric Viers:   Well you know, the thing with visual effects is, a lot of times there’s so much stuff going on on the screen that as a sound designer, we have to pick our moments.  We can’t put sound to every single thing that we see, so a lot of times we have to choose our battles, you know, find the one element that we really kind of want to highlight or accentuate and then put the sound against that.

Larry Jordan:  One of the things I’ve noticed is that we’re using music more and more, just laying music beds down forever.  Are we reaching a point where we’re adding too much music or too much sound effects to our pictures?

Ric Viers:  I guess it really kind of depends on what the story is or what the storyteller is trying to say.  It can be too much.  Silence is a good thing.  Silence lets us reflect, silence gives us a moment.  Dynamic’s a great thing, having great music is great, but it’s also great to let that, you know, music kind of sit in the background or even stop for just a moment and let the rest of the scene play out.  So, I think it comes down to balance I guess.

Larry Jordan: Sometimes hard to achieve.

Ric Viers:  Yes.

Larry Jordan:  You’ve been busy, you’ve got a new book, a new website, a new podcast and a new movie.  Which do you want to talk about first?

Ric Viers:  All of the above.  You know, they all kind of tie in together.  Well what happened was, on Christmas this past year we released the action movie sound effects library, and we … to promote it we actually went and made an action movie, so we went down to … University.  They have a film back lot that was actually designed and constructed by the same people that designed and constructed the Universal Studios back lot.  We went to a full on film set and the guest star was a good friend of mine, multi Grammy winner, Leslie Brathwaite and so he played the Danny Glover character, and I put on a mullet wig and I played the Mel Gibson character and we did this Lethal Weapon spoof about a sound effects guy who follows around a cop his last on the job before retirement to record the sound effects, as he catches the bad guy.  The film was called Off The Record, because of course we’re doing it off the record.

Larry Jordan:  What process is it in?  Is it edited, released or what?

Ric Viers:  Well actually it’s just a trailer with a teaser trailer, I can neither confirm nor deny that we may or may not be moving forward with something, that’s all I can say.  As ambiguous as I can be with that.  But the new book, I’m surprised they found out a couple of hours ago, my new book was supposed to come out in October, found out that’s not happening.  They jumped it up on me and now it’s going to be released on September 15th which makes me have to scramble next week to get things in line for that.  But we’re going to have a lot of special things on my new website,, that are going to help promote the book and some goodies and give aways.  We’ve got a new podcast called Make a Noise with Ric and Rick and my good buddy, Rick Allen, who’s a fellow sound designer out of Arizona.  He and I host this show together and we have industry legends like Rob Nokes came on the show and Ryan Allen from and so we have our buddies come in and we kind of ask them questions about sound effects.

Larry Jordan:  Very cool.  For people that want to keep track of what you’re doing which is an exhausting experience just in and of itself, where can they go on the web?

Ric Viers:  You can find out about me at my website or you can visit

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, and Ric Viers is the founder of just about all of it.  Ric, thanks for joining us today.

Ric Viers:  Thanks a lot Larry, take care.

Larry Jordan:  Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  I want to introduce you to a new website,  Thalo is an artist community and networking site for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. features content from around the world with a global perspective on all things creative.  Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works.  Thalo is a part of Thalo Arts, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers.  From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed.  Visit and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed.  That’s

Larry Jordan:  Remember Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star in Star Wars?  Or how about that tail fin of a plane slicing through the clouds in Airplane.  Or the Tron race, or the Incredible Shrinking Woman.  All of these indelible cinematic images were created by Bruce Logan.  Hello Bruce, good to have you with us.

Bruce Logan:  Hey how are you?

Larry Jordan:  What was it that first got you interested in creating visual effects?

Bruce Logan:  I suppose the very first visual effect that I ever created was inspired by the movie Parent Trap where my dad had told me how this twins trick was done, so I got his Bellows still camera, and I covered one side of the lens, took a picture of myself.  Covered the other side of the lens, took another one, lo and behold.  You know, I was expecting to see some kind of hard line down through the middle, but it was a perfect blend.  The only thing that caught me out a little bit was I guess the English summer clouds were scooting across the sky so one side was slightly under exposed.

Larry Jordan:  How old were you when that happened?

Bruce Logan:  I think I was probably 11 I would think.

Larry Jordan:  When you’re creating an effect, and I want to talk about some of the iconic effects you’ve created in a minute, but when you’re creating an effect what’s your process?  What do you go through to decide what you want to do?

Bruce Logan:  Well, most effects are basically taking something that’s shot in one environment and something that’s shot in another environment and blending them together.  So for me it’s really a question of deciding which one I had the most control over, so I shoot the other one first.  I bring that one in and I try to match it.  So the effects that I’ve done have been mostly analog, very analog at times.  You know, I love the digital world, and I’m a super enthusiast of all the new technology.  I’m a member of the ASC Tech Committee, so all the new stuff comes through.  But I grew up in that very analog world where we had to create everything that we saw.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s take a look at one of those incredible analog effects, the blowing up of the Death Star, because I cannot not ask you about that.  How did you create it, what did you do?

Bruce Logan:   The Death Star explosion was a bomb basically that was exploded directly over the camera so the camera was looking straight up at a blue screen, and there was a little hole in the blue screen and we dropped the wire down and Joe Viskocil made this fantastic bomb for us full of titanium and all sorts of different magic potions and we exploded that directly over the lens.  So we had an explosion that was against blue, so we could basically put it anywhere that we wanted to.

Larry Jordan:   So the camera was shooting up at the Death Star?

Bruce Logan:   Correct.  What that did was it got rid of all the apparent effects of gravity, because obviously if you look at an explosion from the side, you’re going to see a big mushroom cloud going up.  But when it’s radiating right down towards you, it looks like it’s happening in outer space.

Larry Jordan:  Well that brings to mind, you said that most of your effects are analog with explosions and goodness knows what’s going on.  What were some of the dangers that you faced when you were creating some of these effects?  I mean, blowing up the Death Star is not something you want to stand right next to.

Bruce Logan:  Actually it was much simpler days then and I have a picture of the actual Death Star explosion and I’m looking at one grip and he’s got like a hand held fire extinguisher.  These days obviously the whole studio would be in, the fire department, there’d be a standby truck outside, but those were simpler days, and I do remember walking around the stage wiping burning napalm off my arms at some point during the shoot.  So I guess we got away with a lot more in those days.

Larry Jordan:  Sometimes looking at whether you could survive those days.

Bruce Logan:  Yes.

Larry Jordan:  Software tools today make it easier and easier to create mind bending effects.  But it seems to me that the more obstacles we face the better effects we create.  That the process of pushing against barriers improves creativity.  What are your thoughts on this?

Bruce Logan:  Having followed the progression of this and I think Dennis Muren showed his first dinosaur to Steven Spielberg, and they said, “Well it’s good enough.”  It was good enough, but only just, but these days pixel pushing is such a refined art that there’s virtually nothing that you can conceive that can’t be done.  But my feeling about effects is that my favorite effects start off with live action.  You do some miniature shot or you create some basis for the effect to be built on, and then you enhance it with CG and those for me are the most satisfying, because they have this kind of accidental force of nature that’s flowing through them, rather than just this design, very sterile environment to them.

Larry Jordan:  As you look back on your life, and it’s still continuing, but looking back, what’s the theme?

Bruce Logan:  The theme, boy that’s a good question?  I think curiosity is the theme, and almost everything that I’ve done has been a self-taught process.  When I was growing up in England I had this fascination for Disney movies, I decided that I wanted to animate, so I bought a book and I taught myself how to do it.  I built myself a multi-plane animation camera in my bedroom and almost every step of the way, like when I wanted to become a DP I really taught myself how to do that, so I’ve never had any official training and it’s been a process of self-discovery.  I think that’s driven by curiosity of the process.

Larry Jordan:   Would you advise the same path for kids starting out today?

Bruce Logan:  I would.  I think film schools are very valuable experiences if you can do it, but if you can’t, and sometimes I would say spend that money on making your own film and get started that way.  I’m sure a lot of people don’t want to hear that.

Larry Jordan:   The best way to tell stories is to tell stories.

Bruce Logan:  Exactly, and then get better and better at it.

Larry Jordan:    That’s the hope.

Bruce Logan:  Yes.

Larry Jordan:  When you’re watching a movie, do you find yourself analyzing the effects?

Bruce Logan:  I’m pretty good.  I go to movies to be entertained, so if the effects are up to a certain standard, and I’m not quite sure how to explain what that is, I’m a total sucker, because I want to be drawn in.  I want the story to entertain me and that’s the most important thing for me, so not really.

Larry Jordan:  You do a better job than most of us who have a hard time separating our knowledge of the craft from the story we’re watching.

Bruce Logan:  I know, I just want to be entertained.

Larry Jordan:  Thinking of entertaining though, you also have an educational bent.  I’ve had the pleasure of reading your blog on Zacuto.  Where can we go on the web to follow your thoughts?

Bruce Logan:  Well the Zacuto site, and go to Bruce’s blog on that site, and you’ll see quite a few thoughtful presentations of problems that I’ve experienced over the years in the industry and how I solved them.  Just one man’s opinion.

Larry Jordan:  But an excellent and an informed opinion.  I recommend everybody go to and check out Bruce’s blog, and the Bruce is Bruce Logan, an incredible special effects specialist, and Bruce, thanks for joining us today.

Bruce Logan:  Absolutely Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan:  Visual effects covers such a wide range, it’s always fun to talk about it on the show.  Effects really are at the intersection of creativity with technology with fascinating results.  Our guests today really embody that whether it’s the traditional analog world that Bruce started out in, or the bleeding edge of 360 degree VR where Nancy is working, and just looking at the range of effects that are available to us today as Michele was describing. There is just so much to choose from that well, it’s a subject that is endlessly fascinating and endlessly evolving and always fun to talk about.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank our guests today, Michele Yamazaki, the VP of marketing at Toolfarm, Nancy Eperjesy, the president of Mettle, Miguel Angel Doncel, the CEO of SGO, I love the rhythm of that.  Ric Viers, the president of Blastwave FX, Bruce Logan, cinematographer and visual effects artist, and James DeRuvo, senior writer for DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan:   There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Saturday.

Larry Jordan:  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuzz and Facebook at

Larry Jordan:   Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by  Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription.  Visit to learn how they can help you.

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.

Digital Production Buzz – July 20, 2017

Tonight, we look at the world of effects – from the early days of Star Wars to the latest in 360-degree VR effects. And a whole lot of very cool stuff in-between.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Michele Yamazaki, Bruce Logan, Nancy Eperjesy, Miguel Angel Doncel, Ric Viers, and James DeRuvo.

  • VFX Technology is Exploding!
  • You Blew Up The Death Star?
  • Effects for 360-degree VR Video
  • VFX: To 8K and Beyond!
  • Great Sound Effects Make Your Visuals Real
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week

VFX Technology is Exploding!

Michele Yamazaki

Michele Yamazaki, VP Marketing, Toolfarm

Visual effects today are exploding in all directions, from microscopic particles to the global view of 360-VR video. Tonight, Michele Yamazaki, VP of Marketing for Toolfarm, shares her thoughts on the latest technology and where the trends of today will take us tomorrow.

You Blew Up The Death Star?

Bruce Logan

Bruce Logan, Director of Photography, Bruce Logan Film

What do you get when you combine a titanium bomb with a hand-held fire extinguisher? An exploding Death Star. Tonight, Bruce Logan, the visual effects wizard behind Star Wars, Tron, Airplane, and many other features talks about how today’s effects got their start.

Effects for 360-degree VR Video

Nancy Eperjesy

Nancy Eperjesy, President and Co-Founder, Mettle

Visual effects for 360-VR are very different from traditional filmmaking. Tonight, Nancy Eperjesy, president of Mettle, talks about the challenges in creating effects for a 360-world.

VFX: To 8K and Beyond!

Miguel Angel Doncel

Miguel Angel Doncel, CEO, SGO

Mistika is a creative VFX system capable of real-time work at 8K resolutions and beyond. Combining VFX tools with traditional color grading, it is built on a common foundation of metadata, as Miguel Angel Doncel, CEO of SGO, explains.

Great Sound Effects Make Your Visuals Real

Ric Viers

Ric Viers, CEO, Blastwave FX

The best way to improve the quality of your visual effects is to improve the sound effects underneath them. Tonight, Ric Viers, CEO, Blastwave FX, joins with with a series of announcements all designed to improve the quality of our effects.

The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo

James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

James DeRuvo, Senior Writer at DoddleNEWS, has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. Covering technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James presents our weekly DoddleNEWS Update.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – July 13, 2017

Larry Jordan

Kevin Duggan, Product Manager/Director, iMedia
Sam Bogoch, CEO, Axle
Robert Krueger, Managing Partner, Lesspain Software
Steve Shim, CEO, Malgn Technology
Erika Nortemann, Vice President, TANDEM Stills and Motion, Inc.
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS


Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz we look at digital asset management.  What is it?  Why are there so many options, and why is this so difficult to accomplish?

Larry Jordan:  We start with Kevin Duggan, the product manager at iMedia for Focal Point Server.  Kevin begins our coverage with a background on what asset management is and how Focal Point Server manages media by managing projects.

Larry Jordan:  Robert Krueger is the managing director of Lesspain Software, the developers of Kyno.  This dynamic media tool acts like the finder on steroids.  Robert explains why they created it, and who it is for.

Larry Jordan:  Next, Steve Shim is the CEO of Malgn Technology, the developers of KeyFlow Pro.  This asset manager is specifically designed to improve collaboration of small to medium sized work groups as Steve illustrates tonight.

Larry Jordan:  Next, Erika Nortemann is the vice president for Tandem Vault.  This cloud based system was invented by photographers, but has expanded into supporting audio and video elements as well.  Erika describes why it was invented, who it’s for and how it is used.

Larry Jordan:  Sam Bogoch is the CEO of Axle Video.  They’ve developed Axle, an asset manager designed for work groups sharing resources across a local area network.  Recently, they added an artificial intelligence interface to help editors find the clips they need without logging them first.

Larry Jordan:  All this, plus James DeRuvo with this week’s 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.  If you were on the web yesterday, you probably noticed a variety of postings about net neutrality.  Net neutrality is the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally, and not discriminate or charge differently based on user, content, website or how your computer is attached to the web.  The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003 and it emulates the rules that telephone companies are required to follow as common carriers.  Now net neutrality first became an issue with Comcast slowing up loads from peer to peer file sharing sites, but other companies such as Madison River Communications restricting access to Vonage or AT&T limiting access to FaceTime have brought the issue into public view.  The FCC is currently rolling back the open internet rules that established equal web access for all, and there are those that support this position casting the debate in terms of reduced incentives for investment or removing unnecessary regulations or supporting free speech.  There’s also the related issue that some governments restrict access to the web in order to censor what their citizens are able to see.  This issue is not limited solely to the US.  Nine other countries and the EU are currently wrestling with this including Canada, India, and the United Kingdom.  As a podcaster since the year 2000, we fully support the idea of net neutrality to allow all legal net enterprises to have equal access to the web.  Personally, I see no advantage to rescinding the current rules, and many disadvantages to doing so.  If you live in the US, I encourage you to contact the FCC at and file a public comment to express your own opinion.

Larry Jordan:  Now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo.  Hello James.

James DeRuvo:  Hello Larry.

Larry Jordan:  It is good to hear your voice again.  What is in the news today?

James DeRuvo:  Well first off, I want to say I agree with you on net neutrality.  The bottom line is, that in the digital world, dits are bits, and it doesn’t matter what it is, it’s still a one or a zero.  So therefore, net neutrality is really the only true way to go, and I’m one of the most conservative people you’ll ever meet and even I know that.

Larry Jordan:  Thank you for the opinion, what have we got that’s our lead story?

James DeRuvo:  GoPro has started a pilot program to refine their Fusion VR camera.  With over 20,000 applying to be a part of the program, to beta test the Fusion design, prototypes were sent out to a handful of news agencies, including Fox Sports, Getty Images, and Digital Domain.  Applications are still open however, and GoPro plans to add regular users as time goes on before it comes to the market in the first quarter of 2018.

Larry Jordan:   What features interest you the most about this?

James DeRuvo:   I’m not much of a VR fan, but what really interests me is that Fusion has this feature called Overcapture mode which allows users to punch out a flat 2D clip in 1080p from any angle in the 360 degree spectrum, so you’re shooting in 5.7K, it’s sure to give you plenty of great options for re-composing a scene.

Larry Jordan:   That’s pretty amazing.  What’s our second story this week?

James DeRuvo:   Seed&Spark is teaming up with the Duplass Brothers for a film contest with a local flair.  The contest, known as Hometown Heroes will have a local community aspect, and will offer $25,000 to five lucky filmmakers.  Local film commissions will provide support, and resources for the competition, and the Duplass Brothers will serve as producers on all five winning projects.

Larry Jordan:   So what do we have to do to qualify?

James DeRuvo:   To qualify, users must gather at least 500 followers, on a crowdfunding campaign that raises at least $7500 in cash, and services for their project.  The top ten will get to pitch their ideas to the Duplass Brothers, who will pick the top five winners.  You know, Seed&Spark is a crowdfunding portal known for not only its ability to raise money, but to find much needed equipment, props, costumes and other items that can provide added value.  Toss in their online film streaming and marketing tools, and you have a one stop shop Larry.

Larry Jordan:  That sounds like a fun contest.  I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas get proposed.  What’s number three?

James DeRuvo:  I’m really excited about this one.  Nikon has announced they’re developing a mid range professional mirrorless camera.  This is a company that actually blazed a trail for DSLR home video, but they’ve fallen on hard times lately with flagging sales and having to cancel numerous planned product releases.  Now, they’re going to be developing a mirrorless camera with the latest Nikon Exmor sensors, but it remains to be seen if it will be a full frame camera like the Sony A9, or a micro four thirds like the Panasonic GH5.  But it will be designed to take full advantage of Nikon’s strength in optical lens design, and it may have a possible mobile connectivity, much like RED’s Hydrogen mobile device can connect to RED’s cameras.  So that is exciting.

Larry Jordan:  James, does this indicate the start of a turnaround for Nikon do you think?

James DeRuvo:  You know, only time will tell, it was only a few months ago that Nikon seemed to be on the ropes.  But by going after the higher end, I think they’re returning to their original roots, and that’s always a good idea.

Larry Jordan:  James, for people that need more information, where can they go on the web?

James DeRuvo:  Well you can go to and there you can find out about more Hydrogen details from RED’s founder Jim Jannard, Leica’s new 4K mirrorless camera, and if you’ve registered a drone with the FAA, you may be entitled to a refund Larry.

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS, returns every week with the DoddleNEWS update.  Thank you James.

James DeRuvo: Alright Larry, take care.

Larry Jordan:  Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. 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.

Larry Jordan:  Kevin Duggan has 40 years of media experience, including as a director of photography, editor and director for a variety of broadcast projects.  Formerly he was the product manager of CatDV, he’s currently the product manager and director of iMedia.  Hello Kevin, welcome.

Kevin Duggan:  Hi Larry, thanks.

Larry Jordan:  Kevin, today we’re talking about digital asset management, and the software that performs that function.  How would you define what digital asset management is?

Kevin Duggan:  I tend to approach these things in an anecdotal fashion.  I got into it because I saw a need for a client, about 14 years ago now.  Basically the job was for the Volvo Ocean Race where I had to bring together a team of people, and define a workflow.  I think it was about Final Cut 4.5.  I had to produce an hour’s high quality material once a week, where we distributed to 32 different countries.  The problem for me was how could I get the job out in time?  The media was coming from all over the world, there were cameras on the boats, so it was very new and we’d just started working with SANS, the very first one I used was SNS.  As soon as I had a SAN, I realized I had multiple people hitting it, and I had to produce a team that produced the product Thursday night.  So I had to start analyzing how I got people to cooperate and work together.

Kevin Duggan:  So I broke it down.  I had my online guy, my graphics guy, two editors and I had my dubbing guy.  Then I realized as the media was coming in, a shot of a guy at the back of the boat with water in the background, and another shot of a guy with water in the background, I didn’t know whether it was in the Indian Ocean, African Ocean or a puddle in my backyard.  The way I first thought of the problem was basically, “I need to log this, because I’m a film guy.”  I’d worked as an editorial assistant, and we logged stuff.  To this day, that’s how we approach things.

Kevin Duggan:  So I had to log stuff, and I struck lucky because I got a real lady librarian who was very scary, and would not let people access the material until she had logged it.  She memorized the faces of every crew member, there were about ten crew members on each boat, there were eight boats.  As the footage came in, she took pride in tabulating and classifying the data.  I didn’t think of it as a data classification problem at that moment, I just saw it as logging my footage, like you would, it’s a film thing.  She was scary and she would not let anybody touch the assets until she had logged it.  The stuff was being logged to the SAN and I centralized the ingest.  I took the lessons that I’d learned and I started to look around for something else, and that’s when my involvement with CatDV started, because I realized I needed not only a shared area network, a SAN, I need to share the metadata between people.  If I centralized the ingest, it made sense to add the metadata as we came to call it later, or logging as I was thinking at the time, and we shared that equally.

Larry Jordan:  If a digital asset management system is essentially centralizing media and the notes related to that media, within that definition, where does Focal Point Server fit in?

Kevin Duggan:  2011, I was talking on this subject in Soho and someone came up to me, and he gave me a problem which was essentially 50 suites of Final Cut 7, a 24/7 project where he would have 300 freelancers coming through the door.  It turns out to be my friend now Chris Groom, and the job was the 2012 Olympics in London.  Now he said, “Kevin, I have defined the workflow, this is what has to be done.  It’s taken me six months.”  He gave me a 60 page document which was basically a set of rules and regulations about “If you’re on this machine, and you’re cutting this show, you should call it this, and you shall put it there.”  I knew at that stage, because of the high turnaround, that I could not slow things down by having centralized ingest and having somebody logging every show.  There wasn’t time because we were filming everything that was happening, everywhere.

Kevin Duggan:   So I had to come up with a new way of doing it and I went back and I thought quite hard, and I thought, “OK, if I can’t log it, how do I track the stuff?”  What I did was basically invert the whole process because my perception was in conventional asset managements, we centralize the ingest, we create a catalog and we essentially give it the name of the show, then we bring in media onto the SAN, make a folder, put stuff in there.  We take it out of there, we bring it into the MAM.  We do some logging and we try and share that information.  That workflow would not work in the Olympics, because it was too fast moving.  But a catalog struck me as a named object that had pointers to media.  Then I thought, “Well, what else is there like that?”  I came up with the notion of the project file.  The project file, if it’s Adobe or Final Cut 7 or Final Cut X, is a named object, it’s the name of the show, and it typically has pointers to media.   What I did was take the project files, and I put them inside an object, which we now call a portfolio, and I take all project files associated with the production, so that’s Photoshop, After Effects, text files, anything that we now, in our digital workflows we use to make the production.

Kevin Duggan:  The inception, I create the folder structures, I name things concisely according to a schema, and the users can do the whole nine yards in probably less than ten seconds.  But it creates the folder structure on the SAN, and if you drag and drop media onto this object it places it into a media folder within the correct folder on the SAN.  In a manner, it’s very reminiscent of what Apple have been doing with the Final Cut X libraries, where they put aliases inside the libraries to the media on the SAN.  In the SAN world, most of us don’t use the libraries in the way that Apple intended, but you can see the idea was create a single object, track that object, put everything in there, and manage your media that way.

Larry Jordan:  On your website, you list a number of applications that the Focal Point Server supports.  This idea of project management rather than media management, but Final Cut X is not on your list.  You’re describing it now.  Is this a new feature, or is Final Cut X not supported?

Kevin Duggan:  For two years I’ve been able to share libraries, non-destructively, and in the manner that you would expect to share libraries, within Focal Point.  I could show complete project management and people would say, “Where’s the media?” and I’d go, “Well it’s in this folder, we’ve …” and they go, “Yes, I get that, but where’s my media?”  Then I would say, “Well it’s in the project file, it points to it, open up the project file and there’s your media.”  Then they said, “But where’s our media?”  So, I came back to the conclusion that people want to see media.  Based on the folder structures that we create, automation can only occur if you have consistent places where stuff goes, and you know what it is.  We’ve created what we call the video portal which automatically picks up the media, and turns it into proxies.  So we can do cloud based logging and tagging, and you can upload from set, these proxies, which you can create in Resolve.  Another thing that conventional asset management isn’t really dealing with, it’s not thinking about applying LUTS, it’s not thinking about audio that’s been shot on a Sound Device’s 633 or a 688 or a Zoom F4, a Zoom F8 bringing these things together, and marrying them up, and we can upload them and download them and bring them down pretty much anywhere in the world.

Larry Jordan:  But Kevin, I’ve got a problem with the project oriented approach.  I understand perfectly the benefit of being able to manage projects which have all the media and everything in them, so you can just simply say, “Find me Wimbledon 2017” and if I wanted to find Wimbledon 2017, that’s great.  But if I wanted to follow the career of Roger Federer, and I wanted to show him in a match, let’s say one of the Grand Slam tournaments and then his first match at Wimbledon, and then in the quarter finals, and then in the semi finals, and then in the finals, I’m opening multiple projects and the media manipulation of this becomes really tricky.  Whereas a traditional MAM that focuses on media not projects, would make that much easier because it’s logged and tagged as Roger Federer, with the different events.  How do you benefit me when I’m repurposing media as opposed to creating it for the first time?

Kevin Duggan:  If we tag it, Federer quarter finals, Federer, we do take these tags, create tags in our world, and we can ask the system, “Find me Federer” and it will give you all of the matches he’s in.  But journalists and sports journalists are very meticulous.  We can talk to archive which remember things like Federer had a good run last year and they will go, “I remember that game against Nadal” so they can search for Nadal and search for Federer, and they bring back the project files and we also take the whole folder and the project files because we put the project files in the same folder structure as the media.  If we archive those objects as a single entity, our Pro Tools sessions, our Photoshop graphics, and then we restore them, we have the whole nine yards.  We just open up the project and we have a secret weapon in England, we call it Cut and Paste.  It’s a way of stealing a good editor’s work.  Because a project file, unlike a catalog in a MAM has a super power, it can create your media.  It has the metadata present in it to change that media radically to give us the mix, to give us the graphics and people are essentially in such a hurry they go back to the previously edited production and they cut and paste.  They’re repurposing not only the media, they’re repurposing the work.

Larry Jordan:   Who would you consider a typical customer for Focal Point Server?  Is it the enterprise?

Kevin Duggan:   We sell to NBC who use it for trailers. I get a lot of demand from Avid users who are currently doing BT sport at this minute where they want us to name projects against a given schema.  Create the project settings, set the timeline, set all the preferences.  For instance, in Premiere there’s about 40 or 50 preferences that you need to get right.  We set all those at launch.  It means your rendering times don’t go through the roof, you render out at the right size.  I’ve done many installations, so we know what users typically do wrong, so we set up the environment at a project level for them, and then we track the projects, and we create the folder structures.  We also do versioning of projects.  Rather than burying data in multiple nested folders, I like a much flatter organizational tool.  Instead of having multiple timelines and sequences within a project, we reversion, so each version or iteration of a project gets cloned, re-named, and given a version number.  All of these project files are being tracked within the ambit of the production.

Larry Jordan: How much does Focal Point Server cost?

Kevin Duggan:  I think the smaller edition’s around $3,500-$5,000.

Larry Jordan:  Kevin, for people that want to get more information about Focal Point Server, where can they go on the web?

Kevin Duggan:

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, and Kevin Duggan is a co-founder and product manager for Focal Point Server, and the company is iMedia.  Kevin, thanks for joining us today.

Kevin Duggan:  Thank you Larry, it’s been my pleasure.

Larry Jordan:  Robert Krueger has worked in the media industry as a software professional for 20 years.  Currently he is the managing director for Lesspain Software which has developed Kyno, a brand new media management tool for Final Cut and Premiere.  Hello Robert, welcome.

Robert Krueger:  Hi Larry, great to be on the show.

Larry Jordan:  Robert, in tonight’s show, we’re looking at digital asset management.  What does that term mean to you?

Robert Krueger:  To me, it means dealing with all organizational tasks that you have from camera into the edit and later in re-using your media assets that you have produced in subsequent productions.

Larry Jordan:  Well within that definition, how would you describe Kyno?

Robert Krueger:  Well Kyno is a very easy to use media management solution that is not the typical server based MAM.  It feels to users a lot more like a file browser with integrated media management functionality, so the initial hurdle that you have to overcome to use it is really normally just five minutes which is a big difference from the usual media asset management products.  It is something like a crossover between a media browser and a professional media player and a full blown MAM.  It gives you the best of both worlds, the speed of a media browser that lets you access your footage wherever it is, be that an SD card, or a production drive.  At the same time it gives you access to organization features, filtering features, features that you usually have in a full blown server site MAM.

Larry Jordan:  Traditionally, server site MAMs are databases.  They remember the files that they track and then there’s yours which is dynamic.  As the files change, you change.  If you disconnect a hard drive, you can’t see the files which are on it.  Why the emphasis on this dynamic feedback?

Robert Krueger:  It’s really from our experience as filmmakers ourselves, and speaking to a lot of professionals in the area.  The amount of time that they spend in those repetitive tasks that happen between shooting things and the edit, is enormous and that’s why we thought, we’ll just approach it in a different way because otherwise we couldn’t keep up with the speed of those workflows.

Larry Jordan:  One of the other things I’ve noticed in Kyno, is a deep integration with transcoding, being able to convert files from any format to any format.  Why is that important to you?

Robert Krueger:  Because transcoding is in so many workflows, just a part of the way and if you have to go to a different tool for the transcode, you lose the integration, you have to switch between programs, the programs often don’t know about each other, and having a transcoder implemented within Kyno gives you access to an enormous workflow speed and integrating it with features like our batch renaming engine, just eliminates steps that you definitely have if you do this in two different programs.

Larry Jordan:  Who would you define as a typical customer?  I know you want everybody to use it, but who is the person that’s going to benefit the most from the tools that are inside Kyno?

Robert Krueger:  I would say the typical customer that benefits most is either a freelance shooter or a production company.  Essentially anyone producing large amounts of footage.  If you just produce two or three clips per shoot, you can probably work well without Kyno, but if your shoots typically produce dozens or hundreds of clips, then the amount of time that you save using Kyno in a typical production process from freelance shreditor, the person doing all the shooter, editor and producer jobs at the same time, to a typical production team.  For those people the amount of time they save in Kyno usually just pays for the license during the first one or two productions.

Larry Jordan:  Is there an upper limit to the number of clips Kyno can track?

Robert Krueger:  No.  We have customers who use it with large folder structures that contain tens of thousands of clips.

Larry Jordan:  What does Kyno cost?

Robert Krueger: It costs $159.

Larry Jordan:  Where can people go on the web to learn more about it?

Robert Krueger:  The address is

Larry Jordan:  That’s and Robert Krueger is the managing director for Lesspain Software, the team that developed Kyno.  Robert, thanks for joining us today.

Robert Krueger:  Thanks so much for having me again.

Larry Jordan:  Steve Shim founded Malgn Technology in 2001.  Since then he’s been involved in developing shared storage systems and media asset managers.  His latest product, KeyFlow Pro was released in 2015.  Hello Steve, welcome.

Steve Shim:  Hello.

Larry Jordan:  Steve, what does the term, digital asset management mean to you?

Steve Shim:  Media asset management means managing a lot of media efficiently.  Basically handling with metadata is most important to find media quickly and re-use the media in the future.  Nowadays, a lot of people create a lot of videos, not just professionals, but many general people need this kind of digital asset management skill.

Larry Jordan:  Within that definition, then what is KeyFlow Pro?

Steve Shim:  KeyFlow Pro is media asset management software for the rest of us.  So KeyFlow Pro makes media tagging and organize and searching simple and fun.

Larry Jordan:  Why did you decide to invent it?

Steve Shim:  Many people have to have the tools to manage their media more efficiently.  Until now, many media asset management software prices were relatively high.  The price is kind of a big barrier.  We decided to create media asset management with the basic and best features at a reasonable price.

Larry Jordan:  One of the things that I find most interesting about KeyFlow Pro is its ability to support collaboration.  How can people use it to collaborate?

Steve Shim:  KeyFlow Pro is available in the Apple Mac app store and it can work both server and client. Plus users install KeyFlow Pro to their dedicated Mac, and that Mac can be working as your server.  Another Mac can connect to that server, and they can share the one KeyFlow Pro library and they can share all the media with metadata such as markers, key words and tags too.  So all the people can share the one KeyFlow Pro library and they can work together more efficiently.

Steve Shim:  Recently we updated to version 1.8, and we implemented Live Folder.  Live Folder is a kind of sharing on top of shared storages.  Whilst users edit the Live Folder in KeyFlow Pro, the actions to that folder, i.e. adding the clips, or linking the clips, all the events are updated automatically.  So all the users connected to the KeyFlow Pro library simultaneously have updated information, and those can be drag and dropped to the Final Cut Pro event, and edited …  also can be imported via Live Folder automatically.

Larry Jordan:  You mentioned metadata, and we all know that metadata is important, but adding metadata to our clips is really boring. How can KeyFlow Pro help?

Steve Shim:  Adding metadata is kind of painful.  KeyFlow Pro basically can add the tags automatically.  The folder name, and that tag is also added to the finder tags.  It is very useful.

Larry Jordan:  What does KeyFlow Pro cost?

Steve Shim:  It’s 299.99 for five users.

Larry Jordan:  Where is it available?

Steve Shim:  It’s available on the Apple Mac app store.

Larry Jordan:  For people that need more information, where can they go on the web to learn more?

Steve Shim:

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word,  Steve Shim is the founder of Malgn Technology and the developer of KeyFlow Pro.  Steve, thanks for joining us today.

Steve Shim: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Erika Nortemann is a veteran photography industry professional with over a decade of high level management experience.  As vice president of Tandem Stills + Motion, she oversees three leading platforms.  Photography and motion clip licensing, digital asset management and original content production.  Hello Erika, welcome back.

Erika Nortemann:  Hi there, thanks for having me again.

Larry Jordan:  Tandem has a variety of products to meet the needs of photographers.  The last time we talked in fact you told us about Tandem Stills, but now we want to talk about asset management.  Tell us what Tandem Vault is.

Erika Nortemann:  Tandem Vault is a super powerful cloud based digital asset management solution.  We deliver a very easy to use interface for uploading, managing and sharing all of your digital file formats.

Larry Jordan:  Why cloud based?

Erika Nortemann:  Most companies whether they’re small or large, they’re finding their folks are working either remotely or working in different countries even.  It’s so critical to be able to have their assets in one central location that anyone around the world can access.  With a cloud based system, you can do that as long as you have an internet connection.

Larry Jordan:  Is this designed for stills or for video or audio or what?

Erika Nortemann:  All of the above.  Digital asset management in general, but especially for Vault, we host audio files, visual files, whether that’s still or motion.  We do design documents, PDFs, Word documents, any digital file that you want to be able to store, you can store on Vault.

Larry Jordan:  There’s a number of companies that make asset management software.  What features makes Tandem Vault unique?

Erika Nortemann:  Tandem Vault was built by photographers in collaboration with of course a development team, so our first priority was to make sure the system was beautiful and easy to use.  We didn’t want folks to come in and feel like they needed a degree in IT or in computer science to be able to use our software.  We also realized that a lot of our clients are very busy doing multiple things.  They are not just an archive manager, and so when they come in, they want to be able to find what they’re looking for.  They want to have the experience like they would if they were shopping for something on the internet, and so we’ve tried to develop the platform with those ideas in mind, to keep it simple, user friendly and also very powerful.

Larry Jordan:  Simple, user friendly and powerful.  So how does it work?

Erika Nortemann:  You would just log into your specific Tandem Vault account.  You would click the upload button.  You would select the video file that you wanted to share, that you wanted to store, and you could add metadata at that point, if you had any sort of description or key words or anything, you could add that on the upload.  You’d click that upload button and Tandem Vault would do its thing, processing, get it into the cloud, and then it’s there for storage, it’s there to share.  You’ve got the ability to share internally with other staff just by sending them a little note within Tandem Vault itself, or if you want to share externally, if it’s going out to a media company or to a partner organization that may not have access to your Vault account, that’s OK.  Vault gives you the ability to share links through our lightbox feature so you can share one asset or you can share a whole host of assets just by putting them into a lightbox and sharing that lightbox link with your media team.

Larry Jordan:  Am I using an application for this, a web browser?

Erika Nortemann:  It’s 100 percent web based.  So as long as you have an internet connection, you can log into your Vault account.

Larry Jordan:  How does Tandem Vault keep my stuff secure?

Erika Nortemann:  We use Amazon Cloud Services, so when it gets uploaded to Vault, it gets uploaded to multiple places at the same time.  You don’t see that on the front end, but on the back end, it’s going to Amazon systems all across the country.

Larry Jordan:  What does it cost?

Erika Nortemann:  The starting price for the Vault plan is $99 a month which includes up to 250 gigabytes of uploaded and stored data.

Larry Jordan:  Now, as a price goes, that’s fairly expensive compared to other sources.  Why is the price where it is?

Erika Nortemann:  We talked earlier about the power, and you get so much with your Vault account.  It’s not just a place to store your assets or to share them.  It is a very robust service that offers the ability to attach contracts and to personalize every single user’s experience when they come in.  So we work mostly with medium to large size companies, and they’ve got very big archives, and they have very different user groups that need to be able to access their assets in different ways.  With Vault you can customize groups of people, but you can also customize down to the user level what experience they have.  Along with the price, you’re also getting a high level of customer service.  When you have a problem and you send an email, it goes to an actual human being, or if you pick up the phone and call, an actual human being answers it, and we pride ourselves in that really great customer service.

Larry Jordan: How would you describe your typical customers?

Erika Nortemann:  Medium to large size companies are our main customer base.  We have folks who are all over, they’re in the nonprofit space, education, some tech companies, and a lot of the folks that we talk to on a daily basis are actually from their marketing teams or their photography or communications, creative department teams.  So again, we’ll work with our IT teams to get the solution set up.  Other than that, our clients that we’re talking with day to day are the folks who are in there using it.  They’re the folks who made the case  that they needed a dam for their company in the first place because they’re spending too much time searching for photos or not finding the video that they know they just recorded last year.  So it’s really the end user, usually creative teams, that we’re working with.

Larry Jordan: For people that need more information, where can they go on the web?

Erika Nortemann:  They can go to

Larry Jordan:  That’s and Erika Nortemann is the vice president of Tandem, and Erika, thank you for your time.

Erika Nortemann:  Thanks so much Larry.

Larry Jordan:  I want to introduce you to a new website,  Thalo is an artist community and networking site for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. features content from around the world with a global perspective on all things creative.  Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works.  Thalo is a part of Thalo Arts, 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.  Visit and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed.  That’s

Larry Jordan:   Sam Bogoch is the CEO of Axle Video which has developed a new approachable system for asset management called Axle.  Prior to Axle, Sam spent five years doing director level work in product design, product management, and business development for Avid.  Hello Sam, welcome.

Sam Bogoch:  Hi, great to be here.

Larry Jordan:  Sam, in tonight’s show we’ve heard a lot of different approaches to media asset management.  What makes this process so difficult?

Sam Bogoch:  That is a good question.  I think the number one difficulty is that it requires people to do more, rather than do less, and any time you ask people to roll up their sleeves and do something they weren’t doing before, you’ve got a challenge on your hands.  Historically, that’s been the number one problem.  Obviously we think that there are some new developments that may change that, but I think over time it’s been the Achilles Heel of media management space.

Larry Jordan:  One of the things that I’ve learned over the years, both from working with my own team, and personal experience is that editors really hate logging, and they really hate tracking media.  So what type of person is most suited to run an asset management system?

Sam Bogoch:  That is the question, and the answer we find is that it’s somebody who is perhaps adjacent to the editors, like an assistant editor or a producer or even the newbie, the new hire or the intern.  Somebody who is looking at the problem with a fresh pair of eyes, and fewer constraints on their time because of course, editors are very busy people and one of the things that probably isn’t going to work is to ask them to do something on top of all the things they’re already doing.

Larry Jordan: One of the things that’s been running around in my head is, do we want to look outside the media community, and look for a librarian or somebody that likes talking about grammar?  Someone that’s really detail focused?

Sam Bogoch:  We’ve certainly seen that in our customers.  The ones that have the budget to have someone truly riding herd on their media are in fact, able to get librarians or people with a background in library studies.  The thing is though that for most small teams, that’s a luxury that’s not affordable.  I think the attitude is, it’s a little bit like doing accounting.  A couple of times a year you might have to put on your green eye shades and pretend you’re an accountant, but very few of us can afford a full-time accountant, and maybe we’ll bring somebody in to consult on it.  There are very talented people who can come in and give you good advice on metadata and so forth.  So maybe that’s the right approach for the majority of teams?  But in general, the problem in a nutshell, you’ve got people busy doing what they’re doing, and then the person that probably ought to be there to do the asset management side of things, is very often not available.

Larry Jordan:  So then describe what Axle is.

Sam Bogoch:  Axle’s designed to be a system for those teams.  For teams where you’re already really busy, you’re trying to get work done, and you do not want to change how you work, you don’t want to dislocate the people or the tasks or the media itself.  You basically want to ease something in that’s going to give you better visibility into all of this, without disrupting what you’re already doing.  That is what Axle’s designed to do.

Larry Jordan:  What does it do?

Sam Bogoch:  It pretty much scans the storage that you have, so you point it at your network storage or your SAN, or even individual hard drives in some cases.  It catalogs all the media that it finds there, it generates low res proxies of all those media so you can scrub through them and see them in your browser or in your mobile device.  And it grabs all the metadata that it can find, precisely because you probably don’t have a librarian, and so it would be good to know, for instance, about all the clips that you have that are in a particular format, or particular length or were shot on a particular date.  So it grabs all that information in the background, while it’s making the proxies and while it’s creating this browser view of everything.

Larry Jordan:  Of all the different programs that we’ve talked to, every one of them has had a different approach to how they do asset management.  But of those that are creating a database, which is what Axle is doing, they’re all very similar.  They scan the server, catalog the media, create proxies.  What is it that makes Axle unique?  Why should someone consider you versus the other database driven managers that are out there?

Sam Bogoch:  The key is ease of implementation, and ease of use.  This is designed to go in, install and be available to your entire team in a matter of hours, or at most a day or two.  What we see is that there are other products that are similar perhaps in installation time, but are designed for individual users or modest sharing applications, and then there are big enterprise systems which can take weeks or months to deploy, and require major changes to your workflow.  We basically have the lightest possible touch, the product goes in extremely easily and does not require anyone to rethink what they’re already doing.  Really, that’s our claim to fame, and has been.  We’ve been doing this now for five years, and each year product becomes more mature, more robust.  We are now up to 500 customers worldwide, and those numbers are growing pretty rapidly as people figure out that it’s even possible to do this sort of thing.

Larry Jordan:  One of the words that you’ve used a lot is the idea of a team.  How does Axle enable collaboration?

Sam Bogoch:  It does so by making everything that’s in the database available in anybody’s browser.  They don’t have to be on a Mac, they don’t have to be in the editorial network.  They can basically be anywhere on your LAN and even with our new cloud mirror solution they can be out on the open internet.  So essentially, you can have a very wide extended team of people.  Yes, starting with the editors and the heavy duty media folks, but extending all the way out to your clients, folks in other departments that might want to be able to see the media, and do things with it.  And in fact, things like interns who you might want to have logging the media, but you can’t afford to give them high end work stations to edit 4K.  All of those people will have the same view either from their browser or from our Premiere panel, so it’s essentially a way to level the playing field for access to a wide range of media.

Larry Jordan:  What is the preferred hardware and system to configure an Axle system?  What does it connect to, and what kind of gear should we run it on

Sam Bogoch:  Connectivity is basically that it works with almost any shared storage, network attached storage.  We have great relationships with a number of NAS vendors.  Also for higher performance, some people like to use a SAN, storage area network.  Anything that a Mac can see as a file system and in our business, that’s essentially all the storage vendors, can be catalogued in Axle.  Now, if you don’t have shared storage you can also use Axle on locally attached storage, but the downside of that is that while you can collaborate with people through the browser, the high res material is only connected up to that one machine.  So for instance, in our Premiere and Final Cut workflows, where you’d like to be able to just grab something and drop it into the timeline of your editor, there’s going to be an extra step of copying it from the machine that the Thunderbolt or other direct attached storage is connected to, to your machine wherever that may be.  So it was one thing when SANs cost $50,000 and up and were extremely complicated to install, but nowadays you can get very good performance for HD editing for instance, using NAS storage.  And for 4K, yes, you do need a SAN, but there are companies doing very cost effective SAN solutions that can handle 4K media and still cost a lot less than traditional SANs.

Larry Jordan:  Yes, that was the mistake I made, connecting my version of Axle up to direct attached storage and then trying to access it from a separate computer.  So I’m part of the choir now saying you’ve got to connect it to shared storage for it to work the best.

Sam Bogoch:  That’s right, because essentially the browser view makes it look like everything is right at your fingertips which is great.  But then you really want it right at your fingertips and that extra hop is time consuming.

Larry Jordan:  Painful too, yes.  How would you define or describe your typical customer?

Sam Bogoch:  Media teams from say five to 50 people.  We’re seeing those across a wide range of disciplines, everything from new media companies that are publishing directly to the web, to corporate video teams, big five accounting firms, technology companies, they’re all using video much more heavily for communications than they used to.  We have educational institutions, so a lot of the Ivy Leagues and other large universities are using our software.  Then things like sports teams and churches and government video groups.

Sam Bogoch:   So it’s fairly diverse, but the interesting thing, I was discussing this with one of our partners the other day, is that across all these disciplines, when you actually sit down with the video teams and talk to them about their work, you see many more similarities than differences. The same editing software is in wide use.  Right now, I would say Premiere has the largest market share, then you have Final Cut X and Avid, each having their strong proponents.  You have a lot of the same skills, people shoot with a lot of the same equipment, and a lot of the same trends.

Sam Bogoch:  For instance, one trend that we see a lot of is the almost uncontrolled use of new cameras and formats, because in the old days from a management point of view you could decide “We’re a Panasonic P2 shop” or “We’re a Sony XD cam shop” and then everyone would go out and shoot with exactly the same camera, set to the same frame rate etcetera. Nowadays, it’s the wild west.  People are sending in GoPro footage, they’re reaching for their iPhone and grabbing some stuff.  They might have a DSLR handy or they might have professional cameras but then it might be one of the weird new RAW formats, like ARRIRAW, or Blackmagic or RED of course, and it’s way less predictable what a given project is going to include than it used to be.  I’d say that’s a great argument for having a media management system, something that can handle almost any format and will not force you into a particular workflow or a particular approach to your media.

Larry Jordan:  You guys just released something called Axle AI which refers back to something we talked about at the very beginning which is that editors hate logging.  Tell me what Axle AI does.

Sam Bogoch:  What Axle AI does is it makes it possible for you to search for things without having to tag them and log them up front.  It does that using machine intelligence, uses AI techniques and a bunch of new algorithms, to basically figure out what’s in your video and then when you pick a video that looks similar to that, you can say “Find me all the other videos that look a little bit like this,” and if there’s a logo or an object in the video or a particular scene or building, it’s going to be able to actually find all the clips that resemble that the most closely and dish them up as a search result.  Including sub clipping information, so it’ll say, “Oh that logo appears from this time code to this time code, in this clip.”  And that kind of thing used to only be available after painstaking logging, and you never knew how much you had to do.  If you just want the top level you could probably put in a few key words per clip.  But people don’t just want that, they want to know where it is in the clip, and then they want to know is it a good shot, a bad shot, is it in focus or out of focus?  What this does is basically drill straight to all the appearances of that thing in your videos, and lets you immediately view them, play them, and decide which ones you want to take.  This type of technology which is currently being developed actually in a fairly broad front across a number of the big cloud companies, means that video is suddenly much more visible medium.  You could always watch it if you were willing to sit down and literally screen it from end to end.  But now you can say, “Show me all the places this appears,” and have the system go get it for you.  We think it’s a huge breakthrough.

Larry Jordan:  Watching is fine if you’ve got just a few hours of material, but if you’ve got thousands of hours, this could be a huge time saving.

Sam Bogoch:  When I was at Avid, I visited one of the world’s largest media companies, and they had just gotten our system, it was called Interplay, it’s now called Media Central.  We were delighted, they were delighted, it was a huge contract and they’d been running it for a few months, and they told me that they ingested tens of thousands of hours of material into their main facility every year.  And I said, “Oh great, so that means you must be able to search it all now?”  They looked at me like I had two heads, and said, “Frankly, we’re lucky if we have a start time and a file name to search off of.”  This was like a really fancy media company.  I thought, “Wow, if that’s the best they can do, then what’s the average media team dealing with?” It was really sobering and it just made you realize no matter how big you are, and no matter how much budget you have, you’re not going to have enough hours in the day or enough interns in the summer to have them log everything.  That’s the underlying challenge.

Larry Jordan:  For people that are interested in purchasing Axle, what does it cost?

Sam Bogoch:  It starts at about $500 with our Axle starter product.  Axle starter is actually bundled with Avid’s Nexus Pro Work Group Storage, and also with storage from Simply.  We’ll be announcing additional storage partners later this year, and so in some cases, it doesn’t have to cost you anything to get started.  Between the simpler deployment, much less training and much lower cost, essentially it’s a much less intrusive way to get a lot of the benefits of media management at a fraction of the cost.

Larry Jordan:  For people that want more information, where do they go on the web?

Sam Bogoch:

Larry Jordan:  Sam Bogoch is the CEO of Axle Video, and Sam, thanks for joining us today.

Sam Bogoch:  Thank you.

Larry Jordan:  Digital asset management is easy to define, but surprisingly difficult to implement.  Each of the software tools we looked at today has a different approach to solving the problem of indexing, finding, and previewing our media.  In tonight’s show we talked with companies in England, Germany, Korea and the US discovering that truly, managing our media is a worldwide challenge.  And looking into the future as machine learning becomes integrated with asset management, we may finally be able to find that shot that we know is here, somewhere.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank our guests, Kevin Duggan of iMedia, Robert Krueger of Lesspain Software, Steve Shim of Malgn Technology, Erika Nortemann of Tandem Vault, Sam Bogoch of Axle Video, and of course James DeRuvo, with DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan:   There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at 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.

Larry Jordan:  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuzz and Facebook at

Larry Jordan:   Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by  Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription.  Visit to learn how they can help you.

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.

Digital Production Buzz – July 13, 2017

Tonight, The Buzz concentrates on digital asset management. Why is this so difficult? What affordable products are out there? What do you need to know to make the right choice? Listen to leaders in the industry explain what you need to know now.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Kevin Duggan, Robert Krueger, Steve Shim, Erika Nortemann, Sam Bogoch, and James DeRuvo.

  • Introduction to Asset Management
  • Do “Easy” and “Asset Management” Belong Together?
  • Kyno – A Better Way to Manage Media
  • KeyFlow Pro – Designed For Collaboration
  • Asset Management in The Cloud
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Guests this Week

Introduction to Asset Management

Kevin Duggan

Kevin Duggan, Product Manager/Director, iMedia

Small projects are easy to manage, but big projects require help. That’s where asset management software comes in. Tonight, Kevin Duggan, product manager and director of iMedia, gives us a background in asset management and their tool which manages projects: Focal Point Server.

Do “Easy” and “Asset Management” Belong Together?

Sam Bogoch

Sam Bogoch, CEO, Axle Video

Axle describes itself as “radically simple asset management.” But, is such a thing even possible? Tonight, Sam Bogoch, CEO of Axle Video, describes why asset management is so difficult for so many, what Axle is, and what makes it unique from other asset management systems.

Kyno – A Better Way to Manage Media

Robert Krueger

Robert Krueger, Managing Partner, Lesspain Software

Kyno is a new asset management tool developed by Lesspain Software. It’s dynamic, instantly responding to changes in media or storage. Tonight, Robert Krueger, managing partner for Lesspain, explains why they developed it, who it’s for and how it works.

KeyFlow Pro – Designed For Collaboration

Steve Shim

Steve Shim, CEO, Malgn Technology

KeyFlow Pro was designed to improve collaboration between the entire editorial team. Tonight, Steve Shim, CEO of Malgn Technology, explains what it is and why they decided to create new software that would emulate what Final Cut Server used to do.

Make More Money on Your Images

Erika Nortemann

Erika Nortemann, Vice President, TANDEM Stills and Motion, Inc.

Tandem Vault was designed by photographers to provide asset management for video, audio and stills. This Cloud-based system makes it easy for media creators to share their work with others, as Erika Nortemann, vice president of Tandem Stills + Motion, explains tonight.

The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo

James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

James DeRuvo, Senior Writer at DoddleNEWS, has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. Covering technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James presents our weekly DoddleNEWS Update.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – July 6, 2017

Larry Jordan

Rohan Vora, Senior Product Manager, Dropbox
Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney & Labor Reporter, TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter
Tom Coughlin, President, Coughlin Associates, Inc.
Andrew Klein, Director, Product Marketing, Backblaze
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS


Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz we are looking at cloud storage and breaking news.  We start with the news.  This morning, RED made a big announcement of a new hardware product specifically designed for virtual reality.  Tonight James DeRuvo has the details in our weekly DoddleNEWS update.

Larry Jordan: After coming close to a strike and multiple extensions, SAG/AFTRA and the AMPTA finally agreed to new contract terms.  Tonight, Jonathan Handel, entertainment labor reporter for the Hollywood Reporter has an update on these negotiations and more importantly, what this means to the rest of the industry.

Larry Jordan:  Then we shift gears to take a closer look at cloud storage.  Over the last few weeks, we’ve examined a variety of collaborative services but all of these involve storing our data in the cloud.  Tonight we examine what this means.

Larry Jordan:  We start with Tom Coughlin, president of Coughlin Associates who provides an overview of what cloud storage is, what makes it different from more typical local storage and future storage technology.

Larry Jordan:  Rohan Vora is the product manager for business, enterprise and education at Dropbox.  Tonight he explains what his products are, how they keep our data secure, and how to determine which of their products are right for our business.

Larry Jordan:  Andy Klein is the director of product marketing for Backblaze.  This cloud based storage company focuses on creating secure backups for our data.  Tonight, he explains how Backblaze is different from many other cloud vendors, why they use such powerful encryption and how to pick a cloud vendor.

Larry Jordan:  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.  Over the last several weeks, the Buzz has looked at storage from a variety of angles. Tonight we take a closer look at the cloud.  At its simplest, while storing data in the cloud sounds almost mystical, all we’re really doing is transferring our data to a remote server which is managed by somebody else and accessed via the web.  Sometimes storing data in the cloud can enable very efficient collaboration.  Other times it may be more time consuming and expensive than storing files locally and looming over all our cloud decisions is security.  When is a web server secure enough?

Larry Jordan:  Tonight we start with an overview from Tom Coughlin who’s an engineer by training and has been working in the storage industry for more than 30 years.  Now he runs his own consulting and conference company, specializing in storage.  Then we talk with two storage vendors, Dropbox and Backblaze to learn how they work, what we need to know to use their services successfully, and how to pick the right cloud storage vendor for our projects.  This will be an interesting discussion but, before we float off into the cloud, this week saw a number of breaking news stories that deserve some extended coverage.

Larry Jordan:  We start with news from RED and James DeRuvo. Hello James.

James DeRuvo:  Hi Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan:  I am excited.  There’s all kinds of cool news going on, what’s the latest?

James DeRuvo:   I know, tech news is blowing up today.  RED did a big announcement.  They were very cryptic last week saying they were going to introduce a brand new product and everybody should get their credit cards ready, and then when it dropped it was like, “Oh man, I think I need to get my credit card ready.”  They’re getting into virtual reality with a new mobile device.  It’s called Hydrogen, and it’s a fully functional android smart phone with a 5.7 inch high resolution holographic display.  It’s going to be a modular system which will work in concert with their complete line of RED cinema cameras, including the Scarlet, Epic and Weapon, to create virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality and 3D content, and you will be able to view virtual reality with no glasses or goggles at all.  So you don’t need the Oculus, you don’t need the HTC Vive or any of that nonsense, you can just watch it in the phone.

Larry Jordan:  Wait a second, I’m confused.  Is this android device a camera or is it a viewer?

James DeRuvo:  Yes.  There’s not a lot of details on it which is typical of RED.  They make this big announcement and all the RED heads want to buy it.  In and of itself a mobile device.  It’s called the Hydrogen One.  It’s a phone.  It’s a smartphone, and what you’ll be able to do is view virtual reality with it, glasses free.  However, it’s going to be part of a modular system called the Hydrogen Modular System which will have additional modular products that you’ll be able to add on down the line and it may end up being a fully functional cinema camera.  But in the meantime, it’ll be able to work in concert with the RED Scarlet, the Epic and the Weapon and it’ll actually be able to do double duty as a field monitor because it’s a 5.7 inch screen.  It’s going to be huge.  I’m more excited about the modular content creation concept than the glasses free, because glasses free has been around for a while now with your smartphone.  To be able to merge with your cinema camera, you’ll be able to use it as a field monitor. I’m not entirely convinced that virtual reality is the future, but with Hydrogen, RED may get us there before anyone else.  It’s interesting, we need to know more, it’s costing about $1500 which really isn’t bad considering that after a two year deal you’re going to pay that for an iPhone 8 anyway.  So, it’s an interesting concept, we’ll see where it goes.

Larry Jordan:   Alrighty, but RED was not the only company making news recently.  Who else we got?

James DeRuvo:  Well Adobe has introduced a brand new plugin for the Audio Network which will have playlists involved.  Audio Network is a soundtrack, music, stock music company which offers 120,000 pieces of music from composers, producers and artists all around the world, and so this is going to be like Adobe Stock, but only for audio and you’ll be able to search directly from the panel in Premiere Pro, drag and drop lower quality versions of test music to find out if it fits for what you’re trying to do in your scene, and if you like it, you’ll be able to license it within the app in an in app purchase, and then a higher quality version of the music will automatically drop right into the timeline, replacing what you’ve already done.  You’ll have nine different curated playlists, so you’ll be able to look at different kinds of music.  That was the announcement yesterday and that’s going to be pretty exciting.

Larry Jordan:  Audio Network is huge in Europe but they’re still small inside the US and this is a great way for them to expand their American footprint.

James DeRuvo:  Absolutely.

Larry Jordan:  I’m really curious to see how this pans out because there are so many other music companies in the US and why Adobe chose this one versus somebody else.

James DeRuvo:  I’d be interested too, but I really like the way that the whole concept of Adobe Stock where you can drag and drop lower resolution versions to test it, see if it works, and then you can license it and it’ll automatically update with a higher resolution version.  I really like that, and Adobe has made it shamefully easy to be able to find what you need in stock footage, stock video, stock stills, and now stock audio.  It’s going to be awesome.

Larry Jordan:  OK, so we’ve got two announcements, RED and Audio Network with Adobe.  What’s third?

James DeRuvo:  The big news up north is that Canada has loosened up their drone laws to make it easier for recreational drone pilots to fly around and practice their hobby.  Responding to lobbying done by enthusiasts and drone companies like DJI, Canada’s Ministry of Transportation loosened their interim drone rules to make it easier for them to enjoy their UAV hobby.  New rules are modeled on the USFAA drone rules, and will require a minimum distance of at least 5.5 kilometers from airports and 1.7 kilometers from helipads, a 9 kilometer distance from natural disasters and hazards like forest fires, and you’ll have to fly in the day and stay at least 30 meters away from people, vehicles and vessels with an altitude limit of 90 meters.  It’s a very reasonable change that has been welcomed by drone enthusiasts and DJI alike, because the previous interim drone rules made it all but impossible to fly a drone in any urban setting, and that would have spelled doom for the drone industry up in the great white north.  So by loosening up the rules, the Canadian transportation ministry is giving responsible drone users the ability to safely operate their UAVs around population centers, so long as they respect everybody’s privacy and steer clear of the aerial traffic.

Larry Jordan:  Cool, and for people that need more information on these and other stories, where can they go?

James DeRuvo:  Other headlines, including Michel Gondry’s latest feature being shot entirely on the iPhone 7, can be found at

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word,, and James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS.  James, thanks for joining us today.

James DeRuvo:  OK Larry, see you next week.

Larry Jordan:  Jonathan Handel is an entertainment and technology attorney, of counsel at Troy Gould in Los Angeles.  He is also the contributing editor on entertainment labor issues for the Hollywood Reporter, and best of all, he’s a regular here on the Buzz.  Hello Jonathan, welcome back.

Jonathan Handel:  Hey Larry, it’s a pleasure to be back.

Larry Jordan:  Jonathan, SAG/AFTRA took us right to the brink this year.  What’s the latest?

Jonathan Handel:  Well they did, and that after the Writers Guild took us right to the brink.  So it’s been a nail biter of a year.  These negotiating cycles come every three years, and SAG/AFTRA did reach a deal finally.  It’s probably no coincidence that this is the one year every six years where the three year contract cycle intersects with the two year election cycle for SAG/AFTRA, and those elections tend to be very politicized, much more so usually than the other two unions.

Larry Jordan:  I remember when we were talking about this weren’t you describing this before it even started, as going to be a fairly simple negotiation?  What took it off the rails?

Jonathan Handel:  So much for my crystal ball which is rolling down the street as we speak.  What took it off the rails? It’s hard to know exactly.  Part of it is that by reports from inside the room, they really didn’t get down to what I would call serious negotiation, negotiations that converge on a deal until the last week or so roughly of the talks. They had two weeks of informal talks supposedly to pre-digest the big issues, and then four weeks of formal talks till the contract expired and then three 24 hour extensions.  Plus another six hour unofficial extension, this was a sunrise deal.  They did it July 4th at close to six am in the morning after having been in the room from 11 in the morning the previous day.

Larry Jordan:  What were the main contract issues?

Jonathan Handel:  The big issues were really two or three fold.  One is a similar issue that had bedeviled the writers, which is short seasons.  So when you have these Netflix series with eight or ten episodes rather than a broadcast network standard of 22, the actors do less work, they get paid for less work, but they’re held under exclusivity for the remainder of the year, and with very limited car routes, essentially can’t do any other television work during that time.  So that really limits their income potential and it’s important to note that actors are not like George Clooney and people like that are making boatloads of money in the world.  Ten years ago when SAG last released figures, the average working actor, and this is leaving aside those in the union who don’t work at all, middle of the road, was making about $50,000 a year, and that money doesn’t go very far in Los Angeles or New York.

Jonathan Handel:  The other big issue is travel.  With the continued growth of runaway production to places like Atlanta for example which is just booming, the contract says that if an actor is hired from Los Angeles to a distant location like Atlanta, that as I understand the contract, they have to get paid a per diem and be given lodging.  But that’s not what the industry usually does.  Instead they give them a one shot relocation fee of something like $7500 which is really only enough to move into an apartment, at first, last and security kind of thing, and then the actor is stuck trying to pay rent on two residences, or even mortgage in Los Angeles.  It’s a tough situation.  We don’t know the details yet of what the actors got on these two issues because they haven’t released anything but the sketchiest of details until after the board approves the deal.  That’ll happen I’m told on the 15th or the weekend of the 15th, in other words about ten days from now, and then the deal goes out to the members for their vote.  It’s highly expected to be approved and to pass.

Larry Jordan:  So is there lessons to be learned from the rest of the industry or upcoming negotiations or is this an outlier?

Jonathan Handel:  It’s not an outlier because this is once again technology putting stress on working conditions in the business.  We also had issues over residuals, streaming residuals and so forth, but those were mostly dealt with by the DGA and the writers and actors got the same pattern.  So the issue though is that as technology continues to change the way programming is both made and where it’s made and also continues to change consumption patterns, end users, the audiences, want these short seasons that they can binge on.  They’re becoming less interested in 22 episode seasons.  That has an effect.  Next negotiations a year from now, the SAG/AFTRA daytime agreement really covering soap operas.  Once burned, twice shy, I hesitate to say that that won’t be a difficult one, but that’s such a small section of the industry these days.

Larry Jordan:  Very quickly, the Writers Guild released their annual report, what did they tell us?

Jonathan Handel:  This is Writers Guild West, they give very detailed figures unlike the other unions, Writers Guild East, DGA and SAG/AFTRA, and what we learned from their annual report which people can relatively easy find by Googling, is that maybe the era of peak TV has peaked for writers.  Television earnings and employment are down.  Screen earnings of course, motion picture earnings are down significantly, ten percent in fact.  Screen employment then 6.5 percent roughly for screen earnings.  So it’s hard to know if that’s just a blip, and if so, why, because it comes in the face of what was otherwise for the last five years a strong growth.

Larry Jordan:  Interesting.  Jonathan for people that want to keep track of what you’re writing and what’s going on the industry, where can they go on the web?

Jonathan Handel:  Two places,, the Hollywood Reporter, and my website,

Larry Jordan:  Jonathan Handel is the entertainment and technology attorney and a contributing editor for entertainment labor issues at the Hollywood Reporter.  Jonathan, thanks for joining us today.

Jonathan Handel:  Thanks Larry.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Jonathan Handel:  Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. 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.

Larry Jordan:  Tom Coughlin is a Silicon Valley consultant, a storage analyst, and the organizer of the Annual Storage Visions and Creative Visions Conferences.  Storage is critical to media creation which is why it’s always good to have Tom back on the show.  Hello Tom, welcome back.

Tom Coughlin:  Hi Larry, thank you very much.  It’s good to be back.

Larry Jordan:  Tom, this week we’re talking about storage, specifically cloud storage, and before we get into that though, what got you interested in storage in the first place?

Tom Coughlin:  Well I’m actually an engineer by background. I’ve worked on digital storage technologies and applications for three decades, so it’s kind of in my blood.

Larry Jordan:  How would you define cloud storage?

Tom Coughlin:  Well cloud storage would be a digital content that’s being stored in large data centers or on premise where it’s accessible to the internet, with public networks.

Larry Jordan:  What makes cloud storage different from local storage?

Tom Coughlin:  With local storage you’re usually talking storage that’s within a facility being used directly for an application or for instance, media and entertainment for post production.  Generally when people are talking about cloud storage, they’re talking about storage that’s accessible remotely and it could be used for things where people are trying to do collaborative projects and want to share content with somebody who’s far away, to do collaborative workflows.  The difference between what’s in the cloud and what’s local is generally where the storage is actually located, and how you access that content.

Larry Jordan:  Is gear for cloud storage different than the gear we use for local storage?

Tom Coughlin:  Generally, it’s not.  But one thing that is different about the cloud storage, especially large cloud storage providers, is because they have such a volume of equipment they buy, that many of these people, like Amazon or Google, or Facebook, they define to manufacturers what they want.  They may have large IT departments themselves and a lot of times they’ll buy off the shelf components, they’ll use software to configure it and make it do what they want it to do.  Especially for smaller facilities, you know, they oftentimes have a lot more resources than somebody who is just working in house using in house storage.

Larry Jordan:  Who are the big players in cloud storage today?

Tom Coughlin:  There’s a lot of people that are providing cloud storage or have storage in the cloud, folks who work particularly in the media and entertainment space.  There are smaller ones, but the larger ones would be Google, Amazon, and Microsoft is also working in that area.  There’s a lot of smaller players as well who are doing various things in cloud storage.

Larry Jordan:  When we’re debating what storage to use, when should we consider putting our data in the cloud, and when should we keep our data local?

Tom Coughlin:  The reasons why people put things in the cloud is one, if they’re doing something collaborative, and they want somebody to be able to access it remotely.  Another reason that people put things in the cloud is to basically move what otherwise might be a capital expense to buy storage equipment into an operating expense, where you’re hiring a service including backup and all of the IT operations with the content.  So there’s a few different reasons why people will use cloud for various applications.

Larry Jordan:  What’s interesting to me is your definition of a cloud which is basically a remote server with web access, the issues that we deal with with storage, whether its local or cloud, are pretty much the same.  The gear is the same, it’s just whether we need the collaboration aspect it sounds like is the key difference?  True?

Tom Coughlin:  Well there’s two key differences.  One is whether you want to manage the assets yourself, which you would do with on premise, or if you want to do something where somebody else is managing it, that’s one reason.  And the other thing is to enable collaboration and sharing of content.

Larry Jordan:  How concerned should we be about the security over our data in the cloud?

Tom Coughlin:  There’s always a question, you know, if you’ve got content available to the internet, how safe it’s going to be.  The folks that are providing these services though have done a lot to create encryption, other ways of ensuring privacy and that this data is not accessible to people who aren’t supposed to get it.  And also if you’ve got a larger facility with enough storage you can often get dedicated space within a data center, where the content’s going to be kept.  So there’s various things to be done to make the cloud more secure.  But if you get down to it, if you don’t want anyone ever to have the possibility of accessing it, keeping it local, keeping it unconnected would be the best idea.

Larry Jordan:  As we’re picking a storage vendor, what questions should we ask them to determine whether this is the right storage vendor for us?

Tom Coughlin:  Things to look at would be what they call a service level agreement, which is the agreement that’s made, what kind of service they’re going to provide, what kind of availability they’re going to have, how many … whether it’s located in more than one place or the data’s replicated geographically so that for instance if one site goes down, it’s available from another site.  There’s a number of different things that can be in the service level agreements that have a lot to do with it.  And of course the more things you’re asking for generally the more expensive it’s going to get, so those are some of the tradeoffs you make in getting those services.

Larry Jordan:  I’ve had the great pleasure of speaking at some of your storage conferences, and you’ve been covering the storage industry with your conferences for many years.  Why did you decide to start them?

Tom Coughlin:  I decided to start them because I thought that visual storage is playing a very important role in the media space, and events that focused on that would be valuable to people in the industry, so that’s why I started Creative Storage.  The other conference Storage Visions I started because I think in general that storage is playing an extremely important role that the idea and the vision of where storage is going will have a lot to do with what we can do with the content we’re creating.  With so much unstructured content being created, particularly unstructured content not like data in databases, but data that doesn’t have as much information on how to find things, how we deal with that in videos is one of those.  How we deal with that’s very important and the tools that enable us to do that I think are the cutting edge of what makes artificial intelligence and big video projects, big data projects in general, possible.  So Storage Visions conference this year in Milpitas, California is going to have a particular focus on unstructured data storage and its application.

Larry Jordan: Who would benefit most by attending one of your conferences?

Tom Coughlin:  Geared towards people with niches in technology, those that make technology and those that use the technology, whether it be from the component side or from the systems side, or people that are making applications, using storage content.

Larry Jordan:  What are your attendees trying to accomplish when they attend the show?

Tom Coughlin:  There’s a number of different uses, all the way from people within the industry being able to connect, and for people who are making use of those tools and services to be able to find out and evaluate those tools and services on site, in an environment where they can catch a lot of things that are going on in the industry, digital storage and its applications in one place.

Larry Jordan:  What do you see as the future of storage?  Are we fading out on spinning disks and coming into something different?  Or is it pretty much the same for the next several years?

Tom Coughlin: Well things are changing an awful lot.  There’s a big move towards solid state storage where you need the speed of the performance.  But there’s also still a place for people that are keeping content for a long period of time in which case, they may trade off the price for some longer latencies, or a bit slower performance, and that’s places where hard disk drives, magnetic tape or optical disks can play a role.  So I think we’re going to see a lot of different storage technologies in place for some time to come, as long as they’re cost effective, you have that tradeoff between cost effective as storage versus performance.  Even some new technologies coming in, especially in the solid state area where there’s things like non-volatile memories that may bring in architectures that would bring the computing power closer to the storage content which will dramatically change the way that we do computation, rendering, the analysis of data to create metadata to be able to find new stuff and even to be able to create content in new and faster ways.  For instance what if I could do CGI whilst at …?  If I could really fast rendering to fill in some content and make some changes I want to make.  Those things may be possible with some of these new computer architectures.

Larry Jordan: Tom for people that want to attend your next conference, where is it, when is it and where do they sign up?

Tom Coughlin:  So the Storage Visions Conference is going to be October 16th, 2017.  It’s going to be in Milpitas, California.  The website is and welcome everyone to come there.  It’s keeping stuff, or making use of the stuff you’ve got, this is the place you can find out the best tools, new visions and ideas of what people can do and in the not too distant future.

Larry Jordan:  Tom, for people who want to keep track of all the stuff that you and your team are working on, where can they go on the web?

Tom Coughlin:  You can go to which is my site, and also you may be interested in the Entertainment Storage Alliance site which is

Larry Jordan:  So a couple of those websites, for the conference it’s, and to keep track of what Tom and his researchers are doing visit and Tom Coughlin is the founder of Tom Coughlin and Associates.  Tom thanks for joining us today.

Tom Coughlin:  Thanks so much Larry.  Glad to talk to you again.

Larry Jordan:  Rohan Vora is the senior product manager for business enterprise and education at Dropbox.  Prior to joining Dropbox Rohan spent over five years at Citrix in various engineering, finance and product management roles.  Hello Rohan, welcome.

Rohan Vora:  Hello Larry, nice to be on the show.

Larry Jordan:  It is a delight having you with us.  Let’s start with the really easy question.  How would you describe Dropbox?

Rohan Vora:  How would I describe Dropbox?  Well Dropbox is a product that lets users, whether you’re an individual, a creative freelancer or a person working on a collaborative theme, to keep track of all your content in the cloud, in a secure place and be able to collaborate on it seamlessly, irrespective of which corner of the globe you’re in.

Larry Jordan:  Dropbox is essentially this giant storage container.  What does a product manager do for Dropbox?

Rohan Vora:  A great question, and one of the great things about the product is just the simplicity with which it’s built.  On the surface it looks like a simple product that just works, and what the product manager is really responsible for is keeping the experience simple for the end users while making sure all the complexity is abstracted away from them to build that great product.

Larry Jordan:  So specifically, what are you doing?

Rohan Vora:  Specifically what I’m doing is I’m focusing on the Dropbox business product line, and what that means is, Dropbox started as a consumer product, and a lot of individuals found a lot of great value in it in terms of being able to access your files anytime from any device. It turned out that a lot of users were finding a lot of value not just in having access to their files, but actually sharing those files.  And we found that people were using this technology at work a lot because it just helped them in terms of how they could be in sync with their teams, and a lot of that potential.  So Dropbox now has a Dropbox business product line which provides corporations who want to use Dropbox as a storage as well as a collaboration platform and I primarily focus on building the Dropbox business product out.

Larry Jordan:  You mention a storage and collaboration platform.  How is it used for collaboration?

Rohan Vora:  Absolutely.  As I said, the vision was initially when Dropbox started, it was a storage product in the sense that no matter where you were, you would have access to the file, and what we realized is once you can have access to your files anywhere, that means that you can give other folks that you’re collaborating with access to the same files as well, because there’s no concept of barriers in that sense.  What that means is we’re able to actually unlock a lot of value in terms of when two people or teams of people have access to the same content from any device, they can do a lot of things, like be able to share content, be able to comment on the same shared piece of content, have a discussion around that content, and be able to create finished work from a raw stage, right within Dropbox.  So it goes much beyond just being able to store your files and go away from being a cloud storage to being a cloud storage that has a productivity and a collaboration layer on top of it.

Larry Jordan:  There’s two big concerns that people have with storing data on the cloud.  One is bandwidth and the other is security and I know that Dropbox made news a few years ago after suffering a major data breach.  How has security changed since then?

Rohan Vora:   Keeping the users information safe and secure is our top priority.  I want to be very explicit about that and we’re constantly on the lookout for a threat to either our users or in their files, and we continue to innovate in building new tools that improve security.  We’re focused on innovating to fight back against those threats, and we work hard to do two things.  One is to make sure our systems are up to speed and compliant with industry standards, as well as equip users to use best in class tools to protect their information, like two factor authentication to help ensure an additional layer of security.

Larry Jordan:  How often should we as users update our passwords?

Rohan Vora:  The answer to that is going to be twofold.  Number one is frequently, but more important than updating your password, I would say use two factor authentication and make sure you’re not using the same password for multiple services.

Larry Jordan:  What does two factor authentication mean?

Rohan Vora:  What two factor authentication means is, in addition to having your password, you need to provide another input to be able to log into any system of record.  So it could be something that’s a one time password that’s pushed by a service to you on your phone, but what it does is, if your password is compromised, that’s not the only factor that you still get access to your account.  I kind of think it like a bank vault.  You need actually two keys to open the vault, so if you lose your own key, but unless you can have the second key to open your vault, there’s no way to get around that.  So it provides that additional security.

Larry Jordan:  Who has access to our data? In other words, can Dropbox admins access our data, or is there a wall between your admin function and our data?

Rohan Vora:  That’s a broad question.  In terms of who has access to your data, as a company, we put systems in place to make sure our users’ information is always safe and secure.  What that means is, there’s a lot of regulation in terms of who has access to your data.  It means that not every employee can access your data.

Larry Jordan:  There’s a lot of cloud storage vendors out there.  Why should a media creator consider Dropbox when there’s so many other companies to choose from?

Rohan Vora:  When you think of cloud storage solutions, there’s a couple of things that I think that sets Dropbox apart from other solutions.  First is the unrelenting focus on the users.  If you probably had to ask any user on why use Dropbox, the first thing they would tell you is it just works.  It’s so easy because of the relentless focus we put on users to make a product that’s great for the users in terms of their experiences.  The second one is even in the media professional field, and we have a lot of customers in the media field, we realize it’s not just about cloud storage, it’s about collaborating.  Whether it’s somebody on a podcast, or in a media production environment, in all those cases collaboration and staying in sync is really important.  With the fact that Dropbox has over half a billion registered users means we have one of the greatest sharing networks you have in the productivity space.  That’s what sets Dropbox apart from other tools.

Larry Jordan:  In the interview that follows yours, we’re going to be talking with the product manager for Backblaze, and one of the things that he stresses is that they use end to end encryption, to make sure our data stays secure.  Is there any encryption in Dropbox?

Rohan Vora:  There is end to end encryption in Dropbox as well.

Larry Jordan:  With the two factor authentication, which requires us using a separate device so that we don’t compromise our password, how do you balance security with ease of use?  It seems to me there’s always a delicate line between the two.

Rohan Vora:  How do you balance the security with the ease of use, it’s kind of like providing the user with the right education on how to set their account up, how to protect their account the most.  An example of that is like a security check up tool that we just released that educates the user on where on the spectrum of security settings is your account on and what things can they do to protect their security and help guide them through it.  Because in our opinion, securing is something that sometimes feels overwhelming for the users, so the more we can do within the product to make it feel like a natural extension of the product, as well as guide our users through what is the best way of doing it, users are pretty inclined to take us up on that, or any software.  Most times security becomes a challenge because users might not know how to secure their accounts in the best possible way.

Larry Jordan:  One of the other big challenges is that media files are huge, but the upload speed of the internet in many cases is very slow.  How can Dropbox help us solve this issue of having to spend hours or days uploading large files?

Rohan Vora:  That’s a great question because when we spoke about what sets Dropbox apart from the competition, one of the things we did not talk about is the ability of Dropbox to sync your files across devices, is the fastest in the industry and that’s been validated by third party analysts.  That’s not my biased opinion coming out of Dropbox.  Obviously I’m biased towards the product I helped build, and the reason why it’s different from most other products is one thing, that unrelenting focus on the user manifested in Dropbox in multiple different ways.  First building a great user experience, but Dropbox takes a lot of pride in building a great underlying infrastructure that helps power these systems from an end to end perspective.  We invested time in building our own infrastructure because we know we have customers in Asia. I come from India.  Internet speeds at my home in India are not comparable to the speeds in the west, but there’s no reason why somebody using Dropbox in Asia should feel like it doesn’t work as fast as it does in the US.  So building an infrastructure that helps abstract that complexity away from the users, and continue to make it feel like a product that just works no matter where you are on the globe is essentially what sets Dropbox apart.

Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about Dropbox, where can they go on the web?

Rohan Vora:  People who want more Dropbox information can go to

Larry Jordan:  That’s, all one word.  Rohan Vora is the senior product manager for business enterprise and education at Dropbox.  Rohan, thanks for joining us today.

Rohan Vora:  Thank you. 00:39:06:19

Larry Jordan:  For the past five years, Andy Klein has been the director of product marketing at Backblaze, as well as writing blog posts on hard drive and smart stats, drive farming, hybrid data storage and more.  Before Backblaze, Andy worked at Checkpoint, Symantic, PeopleSoft and several start-ups throughout Silicon Valley.  Hello Andy, welcome.

Andrew Klein:  Thank you for having me.

Larry Jordan: It’s my pleasure.  Andy, let’s start with the basics.  How would you describe what Backblaze does?

Andrew Klein:  Backblaze is all about storage, in particular cloud storage.  So whether you bring your own application like a Cloudberry or your own device like a Synology device or you use one of our applications, we store the data, store it securely, and keep it there until you need it back.

Larry Jordan:  Now wait a minute, what do you mean by bring your own device?  I thought Backblaze provided everything?

Andrew Klein:  We started out that way.  That’s great, we started out with our online or cloud backup product, for your Mac or your PC.  You would download our software, install it, and it would take care of everything, backing it up for you.  About a year or so ago we introduced B2 cloud storage and that basically gives you access through an API or CLI or even a web interface, or a third party product like I mentioned to access that storage, store data there, and of course retrieve it when you need it back.

Larry Jordan:  Well why bring your own hardware?

Andrew Klein:  What we found is that we can’t invent everything, so for example, Synology devices.  We’re not going to go build a NAS device, but you certainly want to back that data up into the cloud at some point, or sync it back into the cloud.  If you’re backing up servers, there are lots of folks out there, again Cloudberry for one of them.  Another company is GoodSync, they have great software for backing up servers and DM’s and all of that.  We’re really good at storage, they’re really good at doing server backups, so why don’t we just put the two together?

Larry Jordan:  Many people are still deeply concerned about the security of their data stored on external servers.  How do you reassure them?

Andrew Klein:  Certainly you want to make sure all of the data that you store is encrypted and all of those applications I mentioned give you the capability to do that.  Most of them allow you to have the keys on your side, so you do all of the encryption, decryption on your side, and then of course all the keys are protected.  Then from a physical security point of view, our data centers are what’s called SSAE60 and SOC2 compliant.  A lot of words which basically mean they go through regular audits to make sure that they’re protected, their procedures are good, and that it’s difficult, certainly never impossible, but difficult to get in and get data and then go through the process of trying to decrypt it because it’s all stored out there encrypted.

Larry Jordan:  Has Backblaze been hacked?

Andrew Klein:  No.

Larry Jordan:  It’s a nice feeling.

Andrew Klein:  It is.  The reality is at some point someone will certainly try.  Hopefully we’re on our toes enough to prevent all of that but as of yet, we have not been hacked.  Occasionally one of our customers gets hacked, and then we have some procedures to handle with that and we do.

Larry Jordan:  Who owns our data when it’s stored on your servers?  If for any bizarre chance Backblaze goes out of business, who owns the data?

Andrew Klein:  You do, it’s your data.  We don’t do anything with it, we don’t mine it for information.  The only time we decrypt it is if you needed it back for a restore and that’s very temporarily, for example we’ll store it on a USB drive and encrypt that drive and send it off to you, but during that storing process the data’s decrypted.  But it’s all your data and if we were to go out of business, we would do everything we can to make sure that you have access to it before we turn out the lights.

Larry Jordan:  Your site talks about being a highly open company.  What do you mean by that?

Andrew Klein:  We talk about the things that go on inside the company, so for example just last week we released a blog post on the cost of goods sold, in other words, the cogs of our B2 service, the cloud storage service.  What it cost us to put that up, what are the components that make that up, and published it and told everybody.  We haven’t seen that by anybody else out there.  We’ve published the drive stats for example, talking about the statistics that we use and what we’ve found in running our data center.   Many years ago we talked about a potential acquisition, we were almost acquired.  We detailed that process out for folks and explained the decisions that you make and the pain and suffering you go through.  It’s just our way of making sure people are comfortable with who we are as a company.

Larry Jordan:  Well I will confess, your drive stats which breaks it down by type of hard disk is fascinating.  I mean, yes I love numbers, but I really appreciated you putting those stats up in terms of longevity, and failure rates.  It was just brilliant.  So thank you.

Andrew Klein:  You’re welcome.  That was a bit of insight, like I said, we look around for things that we can share.  We’ve been doing it now for the better part of three years I guess, and we have the quarterly ones coming up some time in July.  It’s proven to be fascinating for a lot of folks.  It’s always fun doing that.

Larry Jordan:  Do you see the drive manufacturers paying attention to those stats?

Andrew Klein:  We certainly get contacted by them.  We have good working relationships with the drive manufacturers.  We only report what we see.  It’s very difficult to argue with that, and so you know, if they’re a good, solid mature company they look at us and they say, “OK, so how can we get better?”  So we have good working relationships with them.

Larry Jordan:  Switching back to cloud storage, what questions should we ask when we’re trying to pick a cloud storage vendor?

Andrew Klein:  You mentioned the first one, and the most critical one, security.  But the second one you also talked about, which is the ownership of your data.  What can they do with it when they have it?  You know, a lot of companies take that and they mine the metadata out of it, and do some things with that.  That’s not any fun.  But the things that are also important are, how quickly can you get your data back when you store it there?  So if you put it there and it takes hours to get it back, that may or may not fit your model.  Two is complexity of pricing, or lack thereof.  Backblaze’s cloud storage is very straightforward pricing.  One price for uploading, one price for downloading, and that’s about it.  So you want to make that simple.  Not that they’re trying to cheat you, but the more complex they make the pricing, the less you can predict what you’re going to spend, and the more frustrated you’re going to be over time, and try to figure out what it’s going to cost your business to store things in the cloud.  So, look for folks that secure, and are consistent in the way they price things and deliver it to market.

Larry Jordan:  For many of us, the gating factor to cloud storage is the speed or lack thereof of our home or office internet connection.  The last mile.  For me, uploading a terabyte file is measured in days not hours.  How do we overcome this?

Andrew Klein:  Well, from the cloud storage perspective, we have a product called Fireball, and what we’ll do is, we’ll send you a device, you obviously pay for it, it’s $550.  We send you a device, it’ll hold up to 40 terabytes of data.  You load it up and send it on back to us, and we’ll load it into your B2 account and you’re ahead of the game at that point.  So you can get us your data within a matter of a few days to a few weeks depending on how quickly all of that goes down, versus trying to, as you say, send it up via a somewhat slow connection or even a fast connection that you just don’t want to dedicate to uploading 35 terabytes of data.

Larry Jordan:  How do we get a Backblaze account, and what does it cost to get started?

Andrew Klein:  You just go to and that will get you into the B2.  Scroll down the page and you can create an account there.  The first ten gigabytes of storage are always free, and you basically go through, you create an account with an email address and a password.  You go through the process of verifying your account with a phone number, that makes some sense for you.  Then you’re off, and at that point you can use up to ten gigabytes of storage.  If you want to use more, then you have to give us your credit card, so we can charge you for it.  When you do that, you can either do it with dragging and dropping, the web interface, or use one of the third party products like I mentioned earlier, to store data in there.  When you want it back the process gets reversed.  You pay us a half a penny a gigabyte a month to store your data, which is ridiculously inexpensive, and then if you want your data back, you pay us two cents a gigabyte to get it back.

Larry Jordan:  For people that want more information, where can they go on the web?

Andrew Klein:  It’s always good to go or if you just go to Backblaze you just look at the B2 cloud storage tab, and start exploring from there.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, and Andy Klein is the director of product marketing at Backblaze.  Andy, thanks for joining us today.

Andrew Klein:  Thank you for having me.

Larry Jordan:  I want to introduce you to a new website,  Thalo is an artist community and networking site for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. features content from around the world with a global perspective on all things creative.  Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works.  Thalo is a part of Thalo Arts, 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.  Visit and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed.  That’s

Larry Jordan:  The cloud holds significant benefits for collaboration and low cost off site storage.  But security and internet upload speeds remain barriers for many.  Tonight we wanted to take a closer look at key cloud storage technology and companies to provide you with the ability to make more informed decisions on where you’ll entrust your data.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank this week’s guests, Tom Coughlin, the president of Coughlin Associates, Rohan Vora, the senior product manager for Dropbox, Andy Klein the director of product marketing for Backblaze, Jonathan Handel, entertainment labor reporter for The Hollywood Reporter, and James DeRuvo, senior writer for DoddleNEWS.  A great group of people all trying to solve the question of when does the cloud make sense for you?

Larry Jordan:   There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at 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.

Larry Jordan:  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuzz and Facebook at

Larry Jordan:   Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by  Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription.  Visit to learn how they can help you.

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.

Digital Production Buzz – July 6, 2017

This week, we look more closely at the benefits and the limitations of Cloud storage from a variety of perspectives. As well, we have breaking news from RED, SAG/AFTRA, Writers Guild, Adobe and more.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Tom Coughlin, Rohan Vora, Andy Klein, Jonathan Handel, and James DeRuvo.

  • A Backgrounder on Cloud Storage
  • Dropbox: Cloud Storage and Collaboration
  • Backblaze: Cloud Backups for Everyone
  • SAG/AFTRA Settles – Now What?
  • The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

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Guests this Week

A Backgrounder on Cloud Storage

Tom Coughlin

Tom Coughlin, President, Coughlin Associates, Inc.

Tom Coughlin has been studying storage technology for more than 30 years. Currently, as president of Coughlin Associates, Inc., he produces two technical conferences a year covering storage and tonight, he shares his insights with a background on Cloud storage: what it is, how it’s used, its strengths and weaknesses.

Dropbox: Cloud Storage and Collaboration

Rohan Vora

Rohan Vora, Senior Product Manager, Dropbox

Dropbox provides Clouds storage and collaboration that, in their words, “just works.” Many media creators have taken it to heart. Tonight, we talk with Rohan Vora, Senior Product Manager at Dropbox, about how they’ve implemented Cloud storage, how they keep your data secure and how to deal with the massively large files that media folks create.

Backblaze: Cloud Backups for Everyone

Andrew Klein

Andrew Klein, Director, Product Marketing, Backblaze

Cloud storage has a “mystical” name, but all it means is storing your data on a remote server that someone else manages. But, is this good enough for media creators? Tonight, Andy Klein, Director of Product Marketing for Backblaze, explains how Cloud storage works, how to keep your data safe and what questions to ask before picking a Cloud storage vendor.

SAG/AFTRA Settles – Now What?

Jonathan Handel

Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney & Labor Reporter, TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter

The SAG/AFTRA contract talks went way past “down to the wire.” Tonight, Jonathan Handel, entertainment labor reporter for “The Hollywood Reporter” has the latest on these negotiations, plus, what it means for the rest of our industry.

The Weekly DoddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo

James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

James DeRuvo, Senior Writer at DoddleNEWS, has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. Covering technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James presents our weekly DoddleNEWS Update.