Ned Soltz, Contributing Editor, Red Shark News, Ned Soltz Inc.
Riley Stricklin, VP of Sales, LumeCube
Clark Weber, Senior Product Manager – Connected Devices, GoPro
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System
James DeRuvo, Senior Writer, DoddleNEWS
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are looking at new technology. We start with Ned Soltz, contributing editor for Red Shark News. No one has a better handle on cameras and camera trends than Ned. Tonight, he shares the latest in camera trends that he’s watching this year.
Larry Jordan: Next, Riley Stricklin is the VP of sales for LumeCube – very bright, very small, very portable lights. Tonight he tells us about their latest technology, including portable lights for drones.
Larry Jordan: Next, continuing on our theme of small, Clark Weber is a senior product manager for GoPro and shares their latest news about the new Hero 6 and Fusion 360 cameras.
Larry Jordan: Next, Philip Hodgetts, the CEO of Lumberjack System, shares his thoughts on emerging technology trends that we need to watch.
Larry Jordan: Next Nigel Booth, the Executive Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for IPV, discusses the importance of using a media asset manager, why so many editors are reluctant to use them and their latest technology integrating a MAM with the Cloud. All this, plus James DeRuvo with our weekly DoddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.
Male Voiceover: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking. Authoritative: One show serves a worldwide network of media professionals. Current: Uniting industry experts. Production: Filmmakers. Post-Production: And content creators around the planet. Distribution: From the media capital of the world, in Los 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. Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. Tonight’s show looks at a variety of new technology, new products and new trends. Ned Soltz and Philip Hodgetts will cover new ideas in cameras, machine learning and HDR, while we hear about new products from GoPro, LumeCube and IPV. One of the interesting things I’ve been thinking about recently is why editors are so reluctant to embrace Media Asset Management Software, especially when even small productions generate hundreds and hundreds of media files. So tonight I talk about this with Nigel Booth, the head of marketing for IPV. Is there a problem with the software, or the way that it integrates with our editing systems, or the way that we think about MAM itself? Tonight will be an interesting show.
Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue, every week, provides quick links to the different segments on the show; plus articles of interest to filmmakers. Best of all, it’s free and comes out every Saturday.
Larry Jordan: Now it’s time for our DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.
James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.
Larry Jordan: It is good to hear your voice again this week.
James DeRuvo: Yes, I’m actually talking to you from Portland, Oregon this week. I’m on assignment.
Larry Jordan: On assignment? Or is that what we call a vacation around here? I hope you’re having a good time.
James DeRuvo: I’m not really sure what the word means. I work too much!
Larry Jordan: So what’s the news this week? What’s our lead story?
James DeRuvo: Well Boris is expanding in the virtual reality where software updates promotes Sapphire and Continuum. Since they bought both of those suites last year, they’ve added integration of Mocha’s planar tracker… Preset Effects and Transitions and the ability to deploy green screen chroma keying within the virtual reality state. There’s also five new virtual reality tools for sharpening, reorienting and fixing of flicker issues.
Larry Jordan: Well both Boris and Mocha are big effects people. Does that change your attitude toward VR?
James DeRuvo: I really don’t think the industry cares! I’m not sold on virtual reality. As a mainstream medium, I never have been. But Boris FX, since they acquired Sapphire Cinema last year they’ve been moving steadily towards virtual reality. With this new update, they’re adding tools that will enable users to take those popular Mocha tracker tools and use them in the VR state and that means more special effects inside the virtual world and that can’t be a bad thing.
Larry Jordan: Alright, well that’s news from Boris. What else have you got?
James DeRuvo: You know that RED has a great app called RED Tools and for the first time they’re making it available for android. It’s got a multi-purpose digital tool kit for fine tuning and simulating your favorite RED camera rig configuration. You can use a host of cool utilities including crop factor, setting and determining the recording time, flicker free video, calculating a depth of field, planning speed, exposure, the works. And there’s also a light and dark mode so you can adjust your screen according to your ambient lighting conditions and there’s support for 11 different languages.
Larry Jordan: Well what do you see as the main impact of this announcement?
James DeRuvo: Well, you know, in answer to this, our business is largely IOS centric. Everybody tends to use Apple products and you can see the disparity between filmmaking apps for android versus filmmaking apps for IOS. You hardly see Android Apps. I think it’s about to change. I think this upstage will create a ripple effect in that RED tools move on to the Android platform. It makes a lot of sense because RED is coming out with that cool hydrogen one smart phone. That one’s on the android system and so I think this is going to be a first step in filmmakers embracing android more seriously and it could become a viable competitor in our business.
Larry Jordan: Well also Android is bigger outside the US than it is inside the US so that may have an impact as well. So that’s RED and Boris. What’s our third story?
James DeRuvo: Well, the question I have is, can the iPhone 8 match the Panasonic GH5 and 4K cameras like it in video quality? And believe it or not, it has a shot. The iPhone 8 looks to have better color gamut, thanks to its HDR features and a higher contrast. Although the GH5 tends to look a little bit more true to life with its 8-bit 4:2:0 palette and the option to shoot anamorphically in 10-bit 4:2:2. But I kind of like the bolder colors of the iPhone 8. I actually did a comparison with my iPhone and my Canon 5D and I really like the colors on the iPhone 8 being bright ambiance sunlight. I just thought it was a better look. The iPhone also kind of looks to equal the GH5 in detail, shooting at 4K at 50 frames per second. But as you zoom in, that’s when the GH5 starts to get the edge because you actually see where the details start to get muddy as you do that digital zoom in the iPhone whereas the GH5 has the optical benefits.
Larry Jordan: That’s an interesting comparison between the cameras. What other news are we covering this week?
James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following include the Panasonic EVA1 is shipping. BenQ has a massive 27 inch studio monitor for under $1,000 and believe it or not, you can turn your Smart phone into an external field monitor recorder.
Larry Jordan: And where can people go to keep track of all this industry news?
James DeRuvo: All these stories and more can be found at DoddleNEWS.com.
Larry Jordan: And James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS and joins us every week with the latest news update. James, thanks for joining us, we’ll talk to you again next week.
James DeRuvo: See you next week, Larry.
Larry Jordan: When you can’t find your media, you need a Media Asset Management solution, KeyFlow Pro. This is a simple but powerful software designed specifically to help you organize, track and find your media, whether you work alone or part of a group. Its intuitive user interface helps you easily store, sort, search, play, annotate and share your media using team-based shared libraries over a network. Its wide range of features are all at a very affordable price. KeyFlow Pro allows unique, on the fly, Final Cut Pro X project sharing by simply dragging between Final Cut and KeyFlow Pro. Media collaboration in work groups has never been easier. KeyFlow Pro is available in the Mac App store or get a 30 day free trial at Keyflowpro.com. That’s Keyflowpro.com. Simple, elegant and surprisingly affordable.
Larry Jordan: Ned Soltz is just a wizard, that’s the only way to describe it. He’s also a contributing editor for Creative Planet and Red Shark News and best of all, he is a regular here on the Buzz. Hello Ned, welcome back.
Ned Soltz: Hello Larry and let me get out my wand and try to do a little wizardry tonight for our listeners!
Larry Jordan: You don’t have to have a wand to do that, you do it just by keeping track of everything you’re keeping track of. So, now that all the major trade shows are over for the year, what trends in camera technology stick out to you?
Ned Soltz: I think there are a couple of trends and one of those trends really is toward more and more miniaturization. That even as you see the higher end cameras that are appearing, the form factors tends to be much smaller and also tend to be much more modular. So you can really build the camera as you need it, adding whatever extra that you want or need, or shoot internally with. So I think that modular trend is certainly on the increase as well as the miniaturization and certainly those trends toward 4K and higher resolutions which are down sampling higher resolutions to 4K. I think that’s where we’re going to be right now and the combination of resolution, high dynamic range, we can’t ignore, that’s essential, and 4K.
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking modularization is the perfect response to mobile devices because they can’t be modularized and so therefore it’s a way of differentiating your project from the cellphone everybody’s got in their pocket. Would you agree?
Ned Soltz: Exactly. I completely would agree because the most you can do with the cellphone that’s in your pocket are mostly add on lenses or other such add on devices. So I think that’s one way of differentiating from the cellphone as the cellphone sensors themselves become higher and higher resolution, more and more image stabilization, exposure options and third party software. There’s a certainly a place for that. However there needs to be the differentiation between the lines and I’ll even go further and say the differentiation between the cellphone, the DSLR camera, a mirrorless camera, and the dedicated video camera. All have their place and all require differentiation.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that I’m reading about is the trend toward more full framed sensors. What’s going on here?
Ned Soltz: I think because it’s there people want it. The full frame sensor has a tremendous advantage when you’re really shooting in a cinematic which means that you’re going to have much more shallow depth of field, much more coverage. The full frame sensor, I don’t think is quite as effective if you’re working in a run and done situation where you need to be able to actually have less depth of field and where your delivery modes don’t necessarily require that. But if you’re shooting cinema, the cinema 4K, or greater, that full frame sensor, just gives you a much stronger or larger image and much more depth of field in that image. So there’s a value there. After all, people shooting with DSLRs all the way back to the original 5D were shooting full frame.
Larry Jordan: What does full frame mean? Does it mean that it’s the same size as a 35mm piece of film?
Ned Soltz: It’s a larger sensor so that means the image is still. You’re still going to have a 4K or UHD image, but the fact is you’re just going to have a different aspect ratio within that lens and a different field of view. I think that’s about the best way of putting it. Much larger field of view, but which also then accounts for much shallower depth of field.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of things that we debate, the Arri Alexa is generating an ongoing debate about whether cameras need to support 4K video. What’s your take?
Ned Soltz: There are a lot of feature films out there shot on Arri Alexa and they’re not shot on 4K and certainly nobody can question their cinematic quality or the quality of the camera. Every so often producers just learn a phrase and so producers learn the phrase 4K so everything has got to be shot 4K. So that disqualifies Arri Alexas from Netflix or other content providers that require delivery in 4K. And I think that’s wrong. I don’t think it has to be 4K necessarily, but in a way 4K is really become the de facto shooting mode and we’re already now talking about 8K.
Larry Jordan: I can’t even imagine the storage requirements for 8K. My mind boggles. But before we get off on that depressing subject, it would be remiss if we didn’t talk about at least on new camera. Tell us about Sony’s latest news, their mirrorless camera they announced last week.
Ned Soltz: The new A7R III – I was at the launch and had a little bit of hands on time with it. I will be shooting with a pre-production version of it the week after next and can speak about it a little bit more. From the point of view of a still camera, it’s certainly considerably more advanced with that pixel shifting technology that they have which produces a much sharper still image and its focusing capabilities and the like. But to look at the video capabilities of it, it adds Sony’s great eye auto focus feature to video which will much easier in tracking moving subjects. But still, it’s still a 4:2:0 8-bit internal Codec which means that you’re going to have limitations. So you can certainly shoot these in SLog2 or SLog3, but there’s just a limit to how much you’re going to be able to grate 8-bit 4:2:0 before it falls apart. However if you’re going to the web and you’re shooting Rec.709 or Sony’s version of Hybrid Log Gamma, if you have an HDR, or HLG set available, this is a very, very credible camera.
Larry Jordan: For people want to keep track of all of your thinking about cameras, where can they go on the web?
Ned Soltz: They can go to www.creativeplanetnetwork.com. Or they can go to www.redsharknews.com
Larry Jordan: There’s just way too many outlets for all of your creativity! Ned Soltz is a contributing editor for Creative Planet and Red Shark News and Ned, thanks for joining us today.
Ned Soltz: Thank you Larry.
Larry Jordan: Over the past two years, LumeCube has revolutionized the way people capture content with their smart and affordable lighting system. Riley Strickin is the VP of Sales for LumeCube. Hello Riley, welcome.
Riley Stricklin: Thank you Larry.
Larry Jordan: How would you describe LumeCube?
Riley Stricklin: LumeCube, we describe as the world’s most versatile lighting device. So this means that you have the capability to essentially put light where it hadn’t been able to be placed before and this includes underwater, down to 100 feet due to the 100 feet waterproof depth, all the way up into the air, on drones and anywhere in between from photo and video sampling. We come from the pro photo and video world and over the last few years we’ve seen cameras have so many innovations, get so much smaller, to the tune of a 4K device in your pocket. With your mobile device, GoPros are becoming much smaller. But what this has done is led to those cameras including a lot of smaller sensors and lighting from a traditional standpoint has really always been a big paying point – batteries, cables, light stands. Essentially if you are going to go on a trip, I can fit all of my camera and lenses in a small back pack, but if I wanted to bring my lighting equipment, I would have needed an entire pelican case, check another bag and have all of that gear. So what we’ve done is captured that professional quality, light of 1500 lumens at a daylight balance temperature, and put it in a small case that can fit just inside of your pocket, one and a half by one and a half inches. And we’ve also included a few unique features that really no other light has such as being waterproof down to 100 feet, or 30 meters, as well as having a Bluetooth capability which means that not only can you set it directly in your manual perspective, but you can control it simultaneously from behind your lens to make sure that you get the right light whenever you’re taking the shot.
Larry Jordan: Well the problem with making a light smaller is it becomes closer and closer to a point source, which makes our shadows harsher and especially for talent is something that we don’t want. We want big, soft lights. How do we solve the problem with your gear?
Riley Stricklin: We’ve brought a unique solution to that. Of course knowing that recipe, the physics of lighting being smaller is harsher, what we’ve done is custom designed a Fresnel based lens, with 270 refraction points which gives you a 60 degree demangle out of the LumeCube with an extremely smooth fall off, no harsh hot spots and instead of using traditional LEDs, which is a light emitting diode, we’ve used what’s called an LEW, a light emitting wafer, which is a flat LED technology which allows us to produce more light in a smaller space, so not only is the LumeCube in itself internally diffused by giving you a nice, soft light source, but we’ve also just come out with a product called the Lighthouse, which allows you to magnet and stack different diffusers, color gels. It means mini diffusion bulbs which are somewhat like mini soft boxes and all are on a magnetic based design and now we have small lighting kits that you can actually still carry just in your pocket or in your bag, but you can provide some color correction down to 3200 kelvin, you can diffuse it. So we’ve basically brought all of that, the science behind big lighting, and put in a smaller, portable design so that with our light output you can achieve the same result.
Larry Jordan: One of the other new products that you’ve got is lighting for a drone. What have we got and what were the challenges in building that unit?
Riley Stricklin: That was a very unique design that in all honesty was almost a happy mistake. We had some of our normal customers who were using LumeCubes on their cameras, on their smart phones and GoPros, saying, “Hey, how do I attach them to our drones?” And so we had seen people trying to tape them on and of course drones are so sensitive with all of their motors, so we created and worked alongside DJI to create custom drone mounts for the LumeCube.
Larry Jordan: So that you’ve got a drone that’s just lighting, or does the drone hold both the light and a camera?
Riley Stricklin: Both the light and a camera. So we have custom created mounts or the entire line of DJI products as well as the unique drone products for all of their drones, as well as Artel and even the a GoPro Karma.
Larry Jordan: How are these things powered?
Riley Stricklin: Quite uniquely actually. We put a lithium ion battery internal so you never have to worry about buying additional batteries, replacing batteries. It’s an internal battery that is recharged with just a micro USB cable. So on your way to your shoot, or while working, you can recharge the LumeCube just from any small power bank or your computer, anywhere that charges your cellphone essentially. So you always have some powered lighting ready on the go.
Larry Jordan: One last question, how much do these LumeCubes cost?
Riley Stricklin: Individually, they are going for $79.99. So sub $100 which in the lighting business, we’re all used to thousands of dollars. We sell them in single packs, dual packs and four packs and you can get them for 80 bucks a pop. 150 bucks for a two pack and under $299 for the four pack.
Larry Jordan: For people that absolutely, positively have to add these to their kit, where can they go on the web to learn more?
Riley Stricklin: They can go to our website which is www.lumecube.com and we’ve also got great retail partnerships with companies such as B&H and Adorama and just launched nationwide in the US with Best Buy as well.
Larry Jordan: That website is all one word lumecube and Riley Stricklin is the VP of Sales for Lumecube. Riley, thanks for joining us today.
Larry Jordan: Clark Weber is a senior product manager at GoPro having just launched the Hero 6 as its main product lead. He has 20 plus years of Internet and outdoor technology experience having launched consumer products for Garmin, Magellan and GoPro. Hello Clark, welcome.
Clark Weber: Hey there, how’s it going?
Larry Jordan: Well I’m talking to you and I’m about to talk about the GoPro, it’s going great. Tell us about the new Hero 6, what’s new?
Clark Weber: So we launched the Hero 6 at the end of September and it is our highest performing camera yet. We actually designed a new chip platform that we called the GP1 and that essentially allowed us to control a lot of the aspects of the camera. So we’re getting double the performance that we’ve had from previous cameras like the Hero 5, so we’re getting 4K 60fps, 1080p 240fps which allows super slow-mo. With that control too, we’re getting better image stabilization. So we’re getting three access digital video stabilization across most of our resolutions, the ability to do digital zoom, 12 mega pixel photos, HDR photos and what’s really interesting with GP1 is that we have intelligence in the camera. So we’re actually able to tag moments in real time and identify those key moments whether its audio, things like that that could create a better edit downstream for creating GoPro videos.
Larry Jordan: In other words, you can add markers on the fly?
Clark Weber: Yep.
Larry Jordan: Wow. That’s cool. How do you decide what features to add to the next generation of a camera and more importantly because everybody wants the camera to do everything, how do you prioritize them?
Clark Weber: It’s a good question. It’s a good mix where our audience builds from the professional, down to the everyday parent, so what’s important for us is that we need to have top end resolutions and frame rates, whether that’s 4K, 60fps, 1080p 240fps, so that needs to be in our camera. But we also have to be cognizant of that. The one of the problems that people have had with GoPros in the past is that you’re shooting all of this footage and you have all of this memory, how do you pick those moments and make a quick edit? So we have these things that we call ‘Quick Stories,’ which allows you to create this quick, fast edits and so that’s also important to hit downstream with a majority of our customers.
Larry Jordan: Take us behind the scenes, to the extent that you can, because this is probably something you say you can’t talk about. But I’m going to ask you anyway. How much lead time do you need to develop a camera? I’m sure you’re working on the Hero 7, 8 and 9, but is this something that takes three or four years to develop? What’s the hardware development process?
Clark Weber: It really depends. When we’re developing our own chipset such as the GP1, that’s years of exploration and development. But once we get into traditional cycles, that can be anywhere from one to two years. It really depends on the complexity of the product.
Larry Jordan: So you’re one of the few people on the planet that knows what the next three Hero cameras are going to be?
Clark Weber: I have an idea!
Larry Jordan: Something else I’ve heard about, the Hollywood and a back pack option. Tell us about that.
Clark Weber: What’s nice about GoPro and the whole ecosystem that we’ve developed is that essentially there’s a variety of ways that you can use your Hero cameras. So with Hero 6 Black right out of the box, you’re getting Gimbal likes, stabilization from the camera, but we also have our Karma which is our drone and also Gimbal system. So it’s really easy for me to, if I want to take it up a notch, and have better stabilization in those smooth effects, I can insert by Hero 6 into my Karma grip which I can store in my back pack and have tremendous stabilization right there. And if I want to take it a step further, I can also put my Hero 6 Black into the Karma drone and fly that around and have a new perspective and point of view. And all of that can fit into a back pack. In fact, we make several back packs.
Larry Jordan: Before I let you go, I want you also to tell us about the Fusion 360 camera. Tell us what’s news here.
Clark Weber: So we announced the GoPro Fusion back in September. The product is a 360 spherical camera which captures everything around you. What’s interesting is for play back you have two options. One is that it can play back in a VR environment, either through a headset or through 360 playback on YouTube, Facebook etc. The more interesting thing is a feature that we call OverCapture. OverCapture, for the director, or whoever’s shooting, you’re capturing all of the things around you in 360 but later on when you’re editing, you can actually pan through that 360 footage and punch out the interesting scenes that you like and then it is laid out in a more traditional 1080p format. The capture is at 5.2K, the spherical capture.
Larry Jordan: This is very similar to what we’re doing 4K with now. We shoot 4K so we have the ability in post to go back and cut in and not lose quality.
Clark Weber: Yes.
Larry Jordan: That’s very cool. For people that need more information where can they go on the web?
Clark Weber: Probably the best place to go is www.gopro.com.
Larry Jordan: Clark Weber is a senior product manager at GoPro and Clark, thanks for joining us today.
Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. DoddleNEWS.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.
Larry Jordan: DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking, performing arts to fine arts and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals, or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go, DoddleNEWS.com.
Larry Jordan: Philip Hodgetts is a technologist and the CEO of both Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System. Even better, he is a regular here on the Buzz and helps explain the future today. Hello Philip, welcome back.
Philip Hodgetts: Hi Larry.
Larry Jordan: Earlier tonight we were talking with Ned Soltz about trends in camera technology and I want to talk about some other new technology, specifically two ongoing themes that we’re hearing from Adobe and Apple and others are machine learning, also Artificial Intelligence and HDR. What are your thoughts on machine learning?
Philip Hodgetts: I am both excited and powered by it and terrified by the implication. It’s like every movie rolled into one, truly a blockbuster success. The exciting thing about machine learning is it gives us a way of using computers to understand the world around us, to understand natural speech and interpret it into the ways that we would interpret it, to understand what is in the world around us, in our pictures, in our images, our videos. These are exciting because they will feed into the post production process and speed up the organization and finding of media. On the other end of the spectrum, some of the things that people are experimenting with are quite terrifying because they are things like being able to put words in anyone’s mouth and have the video match, spoken in their voice with their face moving to match the words that you’re putting into their mouth. So we as a society will have to work out how we are going to deal with verifying the voracity of news and all video in fact.
Larry Jordan: I had a conversation with a developer today about exactly this. His initial reaction was to say what you need to do is don’t hold the developers responsible, you just need to go to reputable websites. I think that’s pushing it off in the wrong direction. Developers are responsible for making sure that what we see is actually believable, that it’s the truth as opposed to manipulated.
Philip Hodgetts: We also have to take in account that Frankenbiting has been part of the reality TV world for many years. It’s not necessarily out there in the public’s mind. But people finish sentences in a way that make them sound more natural, kind of almost put words in people’s mouths. Now if we can do that much more seamlessly, I’m a little concerned about the implications of it. At the same time, I think being able to search what you want by image description, to be able to search a bunch of interviews by content, these are exciting tools to add to our tool box.
Larry Jordan: It’s a two edged sword and it’s only going to get worse. Is machine learning going to have a bigger impact on production or post?
Philip Hodgetts: My immediate response is to say post production and I certainly see that’s where it’s going to be a use for organization or understanding tool very quickly. But it tends to be that what affect us in post tends to have knock on affects into production and I think we’ll see a lot more of image manipulation coming into the production and the technology is there to improve motion tracking and old method reality in real time. I think post production, but you never know.
Larry Jordan: The computing power we’ve got to access today just continues to get more powerful which allows us to do more stuff which gets us to HDR. It’s now a highlight on all three editing systems Avid, Adobe and Apple, what’s your take?
Philip Hodgetts: I have long been one of the proponents of better pixels not more pixels necessarily. I think even 4K is usually over killing pixel density. But High Dynamic Range, this ability to resolve and show more of the real world dynamic range, so we have blacks that are black but we can still see the details there. We have highlights that flash in our eyes and flare like they do in the real world. If you get sun off a windshield, it almost hurts your eyes and if you look at one of these High Dynamic Range images on a High Dynamic Range set, up around the 1000 Nits which is about 10 times brighter than our regular television, then the impact is very dramatic. It’s a very different look to the image. It also brings a whole set of post production, end production challenges along the way, but these advances generally do.
Larry Jordan: It changes the way we think about storage because the bandwidth that we need is so much larger as we move to higher resolutions, which we’re moving to, whether you and I think it’s a good idea or not, but HDR, and I am a fan of it as well, I think it’s going to be huge, but it’s going to change the way we think of storage because now we’re counting our storage in petabytes not in terabytes.
Philip Hodgetts: Fortunately, the storage costs have come down. That’s one of the great joys over the last couple of years that storage costs have indeed come down to a fraction of what they were when you and I were starting out with digital media. I think I paid $9,000 for a 6 gigabyte drive at one point. These things have come down and will continue and as they come down in price, the demand for more of it will take up. Storage is going to about the same portion of your budget regardless.
Larry Jordan: I agree. I paid $20,000 for 20 gigabytes and was bragging about it for weeks! I know what you mean. For people that need more information, where can they go on the web to learn more?
Philip Hodgetts: I sometimes write a philiphodgetts.com – no where near enough. But also at lumberjack system or intelligenceassistance.com.
Larry Jordan: And the voice you’ve been listening to is Philip Hodgetts, a technologist and CEO of both Intelligence Assistance and Lumberjack System. Philip, every time I talk to you I learn something. Thanks for sharing your time with us tonight.
Larry Jordan: Media Asset Management is important in any project but is often misunderstood or not used. Nigel Booth is the executive Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for IPV. IPV makes Curator, an all in one media management system that recently expanded into the Cloud. Hello Nigel, welcome.
Nigel Booth: Hi Larry, how are you today?
Larry Jordan: It’s good to have you back. We were talking just a couple of months ago and I was so impressed I wanted to bring you back because there’s more stuff about Media Asset Management I want to talk about.
Nigel Booth: That’s great. Thanks very much, Larry.
Larry Jordan: In the past, we’ve talked about IPV’s media asset software, but tonight I want to take a step back and look at a bigger picture. Most editors agree that managing assets is essential to getting any project done on time. If that’s the case, why do so many editors not use Media Asset Management software?
Nigel Booth: I think that’s a really good question, Larry. Hopefully I’ll be able to maybe give you some insights there. I think it’s the fear of the unknown. I think the tools that they’ve seen historically are very, very clunky and not intuitive and a lot of the historic Media Asset Management solutions kind of rely on you having an understanding of where the data or the files are actually found, but what we found is embracing intuitive UIs that users every day use, such that searching for something on Amazon, the search and find content, they’re more than happy to do that. So we’ve kind of taken inspiration from those tools and allowed the searching and finding of content extremely easy and it needs to be an experience that a user can come into the system and find assets very quickly. I think the previous were barriers were the previous search experiences that people were giving.
Larry Jordan: At least in my perception in that in order for us to be able to find something we’ve got to label it in the first place and labelling, putting in all the metadata for all the clips just seems like this Sisyphean task of rolling a giant rock uphill. It’s just more effort than we want to spend. Wouldn’t it just be easier to ignore that?
Nigel Booth: That is a good question. When you think about video, video is quite opaque actually, so you want to find video content that lives within a file. In the traditional terms, you’re searching for metadata that describes an asset in its entirety and that’s absolutely valid, but you often want to find metadata that relates to a sub clip within an asset as well. You have to make that metadata and that tagging of content simple and easy to do. So you can do one of two things. You can make it intuitive or force a user to do it. And what we try and steer people towards is using things like a common vocabulary so the vocabulary is already described for them, so they can very easily go in and tag content. I think what you find is that there may well be an initial reluctance but in 10 months when they want to find that piece of content that they used in a previous project, then they can do it instantly, or instantly search for content that other editors have used in their project and find it, then they absolutely do see the value of that. I think the trick is to keep those search tools within the editing interface, as I mentioned earlier. They don’t want to go off and look in another UI to achieve that.
Larry Jordan: One of things that you guys have done recently is move your Media Asset Management system to the Cloud. Tell me what that’s about.
Nigel Booth: I’d just like to point out actually that we don’t solely operate in the Cloud. 70 percent of all our recent installations have some element of the Cloud to it and it may well be that just the proxies live in the Cloud but the high res remains local. So it’s really a company’s decision in terms of how they want to move towards the Cloud. Ultimately this is a train that’s coming and clients need to get on the train. So what we see typically today is a hybrid approach, where you’ve got high res assets, as I say, on premise and proxies are being stored and searched. I think importantly, a modern supply chain has to remove the need for you to be close to your content and the Cloud does enable that. You can search for content, find content, pre-prep it, edit it when the high res is in a completely different location to you. And the Cloud kind of enables that collaborative work flow and you now no longer have to be loser to your high resolution content.
Larry Jordan: The problem that many of us have with the Cloud is that it’s a very attractive collaborative environment, but it’s also very insecure. We’re reading daily about millions of people’s data being hacked on the Cloud. Do we really have to make a trade off between the convenience the Cloud provides and security?
Nigel Booth: If you look at Amazon and you look at Microsoft and even Oracle as well, there is a lot of security that’s sort of build around their tool. And yes you are seeing these daily hacks, but often some of those daily hacks are coming into on premise solutions via some VPN, or Virtual Private Network, with people burrowing into it. So the Cloud is intrinsically fairly secure if you manage it correctly. An example of that is that even some of the government clouds, the private government clouds, are hosted by some of these large players as well today. So security absolutely is a concern. However, there are a number of things that you can do to maintain security as well.
Larry Jordan: When should we decide to move assets, even proxies, to the Cloud? When does the Cloud make sense versus our local server?
Nigel Booth: A lot of this tends to come from the commercial drivers and it’s absolutely true to say that most people are looking at migrating on premise hardware to software only solutions as well. So it makes sense to look at the Cloud. I mean you have to look at things like what is your local connectivity, do you have internal IT resources to manage on premise solutions, or are you looking to migrate to a hosted type solution with potentially the manufacturer offering the software as a service. And of course when you’re designing something for an on premise solution, you have to design to the worst case. At this moment in time I’m going to get 100 assets, then I have to design for worst case. Whereas some of the beauty of the Cloud and the elastic services mean that you can spin up other services automatically to deal with peaks and loads and then in that instance you’re only paying for those peak loads at that time. You’re not designing a solution for those worst case scenarios every time.
Larry Jordan: So where does IPV fit into this?
Nigel Booth: We offer our software as an on premise solution. We offer it as a Cloud based solution with these services that can elastically spin up based on peaks and demands. We also offer the solution as a sort of a hybrid approach really so we have the best of both worlds. I think commercially we absolutely embrace subscription and software as service models and we’re seeing more and more people move to the sort of OpEx as opposed to CapEx spending these days as well and we’re able to accommodate all of those commercial scenarios.
Larry Jordan: Tell me a little bit about Curator. How would you describe the product?
Nigel Booth: Curator is a Media Asset Management solution that’s focused in and around the creative services, reality tv and broadcast. It provides a way of being able to search and find content, but importantly, it’s more than just a User Interface across a database. Really what Curator does is facilitate you to do something with that content. It has behind it a sophisticated workflow engine that allows you to, based on your actions, do something either in a manual way or in an automated way with that content. So, for instance, let’s push it to an automated QC tour, let’s push it to somebody to review on approval. Let’s bring in that content into an editing interface, along with all the annotations that have been made either manually or through some cognitive services, and add value to the content and do something and drive a workflow and that workflow might be to remotely conform that material and produce a new piece of content directly. So it is more than just being able to search and find your content. And we do provide some intuitive UIs to help you through that process as well.
Larry Jordan: For people that want to get started with Curator, how much are they investing?
Nigel Booth: It’s a good question. I think it’s one you’ve asked me before actually, Larry. It depends on what they want to do and it also depends on what devices we’re connected to and we’re leveraging. And if we define a small user group as something like 5 to 10 users, we would start at around the $2,000 per month. Of course as you add more users, add more functionality, that includes connection to other broadcast devices, then that can scale up significantly.
Larry Jordan: We’re looking at $24,000 a year from Media Asset Management. Why is it so expensive?
Nigel Booth: That’s a great question, Larry. It kind of really depends on what these users are trying to do. I mean if we’re going to use this as a solution where we’re editing and creating original content, it doesn’t sound like a great deal. Just in terms of the old perpetual model, we start at the $50,000 mark, and run right the way up to a million. I’m thinking for an owned perpetual license model. In terms of where we sit in that Media Asset Management space generally, we would start somewhere like a CatDV finished. Media Asset Management to us is more than just being able to find the content, that’s very important. However just finding the content isn’t the be all and end all. You need to do something with it. Where we really come into it is we provide the users the ability to do something with that content. So move it from an archive, move it from this location to this location, move it into an edit suite, with all the annotations that have been logged separately. So we do add huge value to that side of it.
Larry Jordan: And for people that want more information, where can they go on the web?
Nigel Booth: They can go to www.ipv.com
Larry Jordan: Nigel Booth, the Executive Vice President for Business Development and Marketing for IPV, Nigel thanks for joining us today.
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, I had an interesting conversation with a software developer earlier today. We got to talking about new technology which can invisibly make elements in video, such as edits, objects in the frame, even audio stutters disappear as if they did not exist in the original. As I mentioned during our discussion, I’m increasingly uncomfortable with this type of technology because it directly enables sites that specialize in fake news to create videos which look real but aren’t. They responded that the answer is for consumers of content to be aware of the credibility of the sites they visit and only believe videos from reputable sites. While this is always good advice, it isn’t always practical. Given the ubiquity of links we don’t often know what site we’re vising, even reputable sites linked to less than reputable sponsors. It seems to me that developers are refusing to acknowledge the responsibility that they have for the proliferation of fake news, fake news which is driving most of us nuts. Developers also have a responsibility for the rest of us to be able to quickly tell if a video has been altered. This information is currently buried deep in the XML data of a movie file that needs to be much more accessible.
Larry Jordan: Yes, Hollywood needs to create seemingly real special effects, but for those of us who get our news from the web, which means all of us, we need to know, not just guess, but know, whether a video is displayed as shot, or whether it’s been photoshopped. Technology is only going to make image manipulation easier and more invisible. If we don’t start having these conversations now about what is real and what is fake, and how to tell the difference, we will quickly move into a future where we have to assume that everything we see is fake and that will be a sad day indeed. Just something I’m thinking about and as always, let me know your thoughts.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank my guests this week, Ned Soltz from Red Shark News, Riley Stricklin from LumeCube, Clark Weber from GoPro, Philip Hodgetts of Lumberjack System, Nigel Booth of IPV and James DeRuvo of DoddleNEWS. There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online and all available to you today, and 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 digitalproductionbuzz.com. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner, with additional music provided by smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription; visit take1.tv, to learn how they can help you. Our Producer is Debbie Price, our assistant producer is Tori Hoefke. 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.