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Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – March 14, 2019

HOST

Larry Jordan

GUESTS

Brenton Ough, CEO & Co-Founder, Touchstream

Tom Sloper, Professor, Game Designer and head of SC eSports, SC eSports

Leon Pao, President, SC eSports

Sophie Chu, Secretary & Player, SC eSports

Miguel Mendoza, Competition Manager & Player, SC eSports

John Kowalski, Director of Broadcast & Network Sales, Clear-Com

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, doddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we look inside eSports. This growing phenomena on college campuses appeals to highly competitive non athletes. Tonight we chat with members of the USC eSports club, then learn how Clear-Com enables teams to communicate, and finally discover what it takes to make online video look good.

Larry Jordan: We start with Brenton Ough. As CEO of TouchStream, Brenton explains how his company monitors live streaming video quality to make sure when the viewer clicks play, they see a great looking image.

Larry Jordan: Next, we turn to the world of eSports. We start with Professor Tom Sloper, adviser to the USC eSports team. Tom explains what eSports is, as well as his background as a game designer for Activision.

Larry Jordan: Next, we talk with several eSports players, Leon Pao, Sophie Chu and Miguel Mendoza about what attracts them to eSports, and how it has influenced their college career.

Larry Jordan: Next, we meet John Kowalski, director of broadcast and network sales for Clear-Com about the tools they make to enable teams, both large and small to communicate.

Larry Jordan: All this, plus, James DeRuvo with our weekly doddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.

Announcer: Since the dawn of digital film making, 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. I had seen the sign at the back of the classroom where I teach, celebrating the victory of the USC eSports team over UCLA. But I never enquired further until this week. As you may know, eSports is exploding in popularity across the globe, professional teams are competing and leagues are forming. I thought it would be interesting to learn more about this and share it with you, so last week I took our microphones to the USC eSports club to talk to faculty and students about what eSports is, what attracted them to it, and how this impacts their education. What I learned was fascinating, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you tonight.

Larry Jordan: By the way, if you enjoy the Buzz, please give us a positive rating and review on the iTunes store. We appreciate your support, to help us grow our audience.

Larry Jordan:  And now it’s time for our weekly doddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Three weeks away from NAB Larry and it’s coming like a freight train.

Larry Jordan: I know, I can’t wait. It’s exciting times. Exciting times. So what have we got for the news this week?

James DeRuvo: We’re building up to NAB so there’s really not going to be a lot of news for the next couple of weeks until we actually get there. But there are some few stories that are starting to percolate out, and one of them is is that we have found some footage for Canon’s prototype 8K cinema EOS camera. The footage is from a prototype 8K cinema EOS camera that was showcased at NAB last year, but we knew very little about it then. We have since learned that it is a super 35 size sensor positioning it to go head to head with the RED Helium, and it records 8K raw to an external recorder, and the design looks very similar to the C300 Mark 2.

Larry Jordan: James, this is a rumor.

James DeRuvo: No it isn’t. And I tell you why, before you roll your eyes over this being a rumor, this footage comes directly from Canon itself which wanted to get the word out about a new short film called Roots of Japan. This was recorded with the cinema EOS prototype in 8K raw and frankly, I like the idea of seeing what a camera can do through footage before we know what the specs are. Before tech geeks like me can tear a camera apart, point out its flaws, we actually get to see what the footage is and what it’s capable of, and I wish every camera company would do this. And though we don’t know when the camera will make its debut, the timing of it before NAB suggests that maybe we’ll see something about it in Vegas? I don’t know. Could be. Or soon thereafter.

Larry Jordan: Sounds lovely. So Canon with 8K images is your lead story. What’s number two?

James DeRuvo: RED is pivoting on the RED Hydrogen One smartphone camera development. The launch of the Hydrogen one, though it was very much hyped with its 4 View holographic display, was very flat and it didn’t translate into good sales. To be honest, it had mixed reviews of an under powered sensor and a very blurry screen. Jarred Land and the Cinema Group will now run development of the Hydrogen moving forward, and there’s going to be a professional model for cinema camera platforms that’s in the making. Although quite honestly, I thought that’s what this whole Hydrogen One thing was about? It was a professional cinema camera platform. So I don’t know.

Larry Jordan: Well it sounds like the Hydrogen One is not living up to the hype.

James DeRuvo: Pretty much. While it was supposed to shepherd a new era in 4 View holographic content creation, it simply hasn’t translated into robust sales and reviews gave it lackluster performance from an under powered processor, and a blurry screen. And while we hear a professional model is coming, the bad news is that users have noticed Hydrogen’s expansion modules which were promised to come out later this year, have disappeared completely from the website and that hints at a massive redesign.

Larry Jordan: James, you’ve told us about Canon, you’ve told us about Hydrogen, how about a product that’s actually shipping?

James DeRuvo: This one has actually shipped, but I just came across it this week. There’s a new app out called Emulsio which promises to offer a warp stabilizer like correction to footage shot on the iPhone 10, and iPhone 10S or XS. I don’t know, depending on what you call it. This new app, known as Emulsio, offers precise stabilization control with a before and after preview capability. You can import other footage from other cameras like GoPros or the DJI drones or any other camera. It will analyze the footage, and it will then do a warp stabilizer like correction to smooth out all the footage, and it will do it in a non destructive fashion so that the data will be preserved and you can put it into your NLE and further fine tune the warp stabilizer settings to smooth it out even further. It’s a really powerful app and I kind of like it. It’s fun.

Larry Jordan: Well it’s interesting to me that mobile film making is continuing to expand on iPhones.

James DeRuvo: It’s truly amazing. Beginning with the iPhone 10, mobile film makers can now do just about anything on that mobile device. They have a platform that is so powerful, they can shoot their footage, color correct it, stabilize, edit the footage, add music, and then publish to the internet all in one device. It’s truly remarkable what this device can really do now. Oh, and did I mention? It makes phone calls.

Larry Jordan: It also makes phone calls. So what other stories are you working on this week?

James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following this week include Apple sends out invitations to their It’s Showtime event on March 25th. We think Apple is going to talk about their new streaming service and I say we think because reading an invitation from Apple is like reading tea leaves. But we do think this new streaming service that is coming later this year or early next year, will be exclusive to Apple users. We will also look at how to build your own DIY foley space to create your own sound effects, and the Canon EOS RP mirrorless camera gets a firmware update before it even ships.

Larry Jordan: And where can people go on the web to read these and all the other stories you and your team are working on?

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

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the editor in chief of doddleNEWS and joins us every week.  See you next Thursday.

James DeRuvo: See you next Thursday.

Larry Jordan:  From James DeRuvo we turn to NAB insight. Tonight we meet Brenton Ough, he’s the CEO of TouchStream. This is a cloud based OTT live stream monitoring service for content providers. Hello Brenton. Welcome.

Brenton Ough: Hi Larry, good to be here.

Larry Jordan: Brenton, I’ve read the introduction but I’m still not clear what TouchStream does. How do you describe your company?

Brenton Ough: We focus on live stream monitoring, that’s what we do best. And basically we make sure that these streams are available and working well, so that when people try to watch them, they’re going to be there and be performing well.

Larry Jordan: Brenton, help me understand, what is it that you’re monitoring?

Brenton Ough: We’re monitoring the video streams for all of live channels. So say for example you have CBS All Access, channels in all the different states there, we are checking that that channel is working. We’ll test that channel, and give our customer CBS the information that they need. Now what that means for a viewer, will be if they go to the CBS app and press play, “Am I going to see that channel, is it going to work?” And that’s what we’re checking for.

Larry Jordan: Wouldn’t the broadcaster or the content originator be checking their own channel?

Brenton Ough: We do that for them because basically our customers are all very large and they have lots and lots of channels. They don’t have the resources to build the type of stream monitoring that we do. We are very focused on what we do, so we do very in depth analysis, we have a lot of data sharing agreements with the people who actually provide the streams. So CBS for example, doesn’t actually provide the end stream at the point where you’re going to connect to it. There’s a third party that does that, and so we’re kind of checking that third party to validate that it’s working.

Larry Jordan: You’re more looking at the technical quality of the channel, the content coming over it, as opposed to who’s watching the channel.

Brenton Ough: That’s right, yes. We’re not checking who’s watching it, other tools and things do that. We’re checking that basically it’s working, the content owner has chosen to get that content out, distributed across the internet, that they’re doing the job that they’re being paid to do.

Larry Jordan: How is your monitoring system different from what other companies do?

Brenton Ough: Nobody does the type of monitoring that we do. We’re kind of a little bit unique in the way we approach it. Other people do things, they embed things in the actual iPhone themselves to check what was the experience that the end user had? Which is all very interesting, but it’s not very detailed, so it doesn’t have the type of information that people need to actually fix a problem. It just tells you that there is a problem, it doesn’t give you any information about it, so what we did was we built something that had very deep technical information that the content delivery networks can actually use to find the root cause of the problem, and fix it.

Larry Jordan: What would be a typical problem that you’d spot?

Brenton Ough: Stalled stream, so things where, the way that the technology works, if things don’t get out to the edge of the network fast enough, it can appear to be stalled, so you get caught in a little loop. Or it would slow down so you’d see a bad quality stream. Lots of pixilation. Or it just wouldn’t be available. You’d press play on your app and nothing would happen. It’d say “Oops, sorry, try later.” Yes, that’s the worst one.

Larry Jordan: I can see why people would be frustrated. You’re giving a presentation at NAB, what are you talking about?

Brenton Ough: So we’re part of the Streaming Video Alliance, which is a group of both vendors like myself, and other software in the video industry. And also the content owners, so people like Fox, and Comcast and those sort of people. We all come together to actually analyze what the overall issues in the streaming industry are. We produce basically best practice papers and white papers and things like that, to help other people get the most out of streaming. Because we’re trying to eradicate as many of the common problems as possible.

Brenton Ough:  So what my project has been at the Streaming Video Alliance is best practices in end to end monitoring, obviously monitoring is my thing and end to end monitoring is really important. With live streaming, there’s lots of things that happen, from the time that the signal in the video format comes in, and then it gets turned into a digital format, and goes through a whole bunch of processes, all on different effectively bits of hardware, and at the end it comes out the other end and people watch it.  That process is very complex. It has to happen 24/7, 365 days a year, and lots of little things go wrong. So we have put together, in combination, even with some of our competitors, the best practices of what you should be monitoring at each of those points to make sure that you get on top of the problems as quickly as possible. And remember, we’re doing live streaming, so with live streaming it’s in the word, it’s live, so if any problem happens you have to get to it really quickly.

Larry Jordan:  In addition to your talk, are you introducing anything new at NAB?

Brenton Ough:  We’re actually introducing a new part of our product. We do address end to end monitoring, not by doing it all ourselves, but by integrating other people’s data and any internal monitoring people might already be doing. And we produce an end to end view. But we released this last year at NAB, and what we found in the last year is that basically you want to see the problem when it’s live and you quickly do what you can to patch it up, but you really want to go back in time and re-examine the incident that happened to look at all the little things that might have contributed to it going wrong.

Brenton Ough:  What we introduced was what we call our end to end incident playback and so basically it produces almost a little video of it, because it’s a very visual thing, and then you can stop it at any point and drill in and check all the metrics of all the different data points that we’re collecting. So it gives you very granular data, back in time, just before the incident, as it started to get worse, and you can check a lot of different things that previously you weren’t able to do.

Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about your company, to learn about your products, or hopefully learn more about your talk, where can they go on the web?

Brenton Ough: Touchstream.media.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, touchstream.media, not .com and Brenton Ough is the CEO of TouchStream and Brenton, thanks for joining us today.

Brenton Ough: Thank you very much, it was a pleasure.

Announcer: Join the Digital Production Buzz at the 2019 NAB show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Starting Monday April 8th, Larry Jordan and the Buzz team are taking their microphones on the road to cover the latest news and trends from the largest media show in the world. Every hour of every day, the Buzz is live on the trade show floor, creating 27 new shows in four days. More than 100 interviews with key industry leaders. The Buzz has webcast directly from NAB for 11 years with legendary coverage that’s heard in more than 195 countries around the world. If you’re attending the show, visit us at booth SL10 527 and say hello, or join us live every day of the show at NABshowbuzz.com. Join us as the Buzz covers NAB 2019 live at NABshowbuzz.com.

Larry Jordan: Tom Sloper is a professor at USC. He teaches video game design and management and the reason I’m sitting in Tom’s office is because I wanted to learn more about this whole idea of eSports, because he’s the advisor for the SC eSports club. Tom, thanks for joining us today.

Tom Sloper: You’re welcome Larry.

Larry Jordan: What first got you interested in game design?

Tom Sloper: I was a big fan of the video game Tank 2, and I liked QBert as well. Anyway I was working at a company that made electronic toys and I had no idea that I was going to become a game designer, but they had a need and I was the guy to fill it.

Larry Jordan: So what does a game designer do?

Tom Sloper: A game designer defines the details of a game concept. Most people think that a game designer originates the game concept. Sometimes that’s what a game designer gets to do, but a lot of times, the concept is dictated by marketing or business, or the boss. And then the game designer is asked to work out the details. The game designer communicates the vision to all of the stakeholders which includes the game’s publisher, developer, and possibly also the platform holder, and in cases of licensed intellectual property, the IP owner as well.

Larry Jordan: If I remember correctly, looking at my notes, you spent a fair amount of time at Activision?

Tom Sloper: 12 years.

Larry Jordan: What did you do?

Tom Sloper: I was a producer, then a senior producer, then an executive producer. For a while I was working in Japan. I don’t even remember what my title was, but it wasn’t producer or anything like that. I was basically the guy who could speak English better than the other guy, and Japanese not nearly as well as the other guy.

Larry Jordan: What is it that makes games and game design interesting to you?

Tom Sloper: Working in games, to me the most enjoyable thing was the people. As a producer, you get to work with everyone, you get to work with the programmers, the artists, the designers, the marketing people, the sales people, the testers. You get to work with everyone. And they’re all different personality types and you got to kind of get along with all of them, and get them what they need so that they can do their job and so your game can be finished and put on the marketplace.

Larry Jordan: Well let’s shift forward a couple of years. You’ve moved from Activision and now you ultimately ended up at USC teaching game design. How did you get to be the adviser for the eSports club?

Tom Sloper: They asked me to.

Larry Jordan: And you said yes. This was how long ago?

Tom Sloper: I’m not exactly sure. It might have been 2008, 2010, I don’t remember exactly.

Larry Jordan: We’re going to be up in the room talking to some of the gamers in just a minute. But I have been in that room before, and across the back of the room are some computers. Where did those come from?

Tom Sloper: Those came from our eSports club playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II better than the UCLA team. Nvidia had sponsored the contest and awarded us a bunch of computers as our prize.

Larry Jordan: So there could be some prize winning soon? The eSports business?

Tom Sloper: eSports is turning into a big money proposition. A lot of owners of traditional sports teams and leagues are getting interested in this whole eSports thing. Everybody wants to be a sport and then be in the Olympics. And so there’s movements for Mind Sports to be part of the Olympics. A movement for eSports to become considered a sport. Maybe there’ll be eSports in the Olympics some day.

Larry Jordan: Well is the eSports club here at that level? Is this more of a casual group or is it much more intercollegiate competitive? How does it work?

Tom Sloper: On a weekly basis, the folks in the eSports club compete with each other. They may also be competing with people at other schools or even players who are not affiliated with schools. But then frequently they do get together and have competitions with other schools in person. So they’ll get together in an auditorium, either over there or over here. We had a competition at UCLA one time. It wasn’t part of the Black Ops II. We’ve had competitions with UCI. When we get chances to participate in broader competitions, then we jump at those.

Larry Jordan: What’s your goal for the club?

Tom Sloper: I want the students to have fun basically. That’s really all I’m interested in. If they want to compete and go on and get into professional eSports, that’s something that I’d be happy to support, but really I’m mainly concerned with having the students have a good time.

Larry Jordan: Do you see students taking their game experience and turning that into game design or game programming? Or is there a disconnect? People are interested in game design but don’t game.

Tom Sloper: Playing is not the same thing as making at all. I don’t really expect too many of the eSports members to go on into careers in making games.

Larry Jordan: Why not?

Tom Sloper: Playing games is not the same thing as making games. They’re different interests. I mean, people who make games usually play games. But there’s an awful lot of game players, the vast majority of whom don’t get involved in making games.

Larry Jordan: One of the things that I saw as I was watching the gamers play, is there’s lots of different personalities that play games. But is there a personality that is a successful game designer, or game programmer?

Tom Sloper: Yes. So I talked before about all the different personalities that are involved in game development and game creation. Programmers are engineers and the personality actually is straight ahead thinking. You tackle problems in a systematic approach and you might think that this engineering mindset leads to dry personalities, but in my experience, programmers are often very quick witted and very funny people, despite what you would think from that engineering mindset.

Tom Sloper: Players, to be good at eSports, you have to be very competitive and you also have to be a team player because a lot of eSports are team games. And so they need to be competitive, yet cooperative.

Larry Jordan:  Do you see that eSports could become an intercollegiate activity like basketball or football or track?

Tom Sloper: Absolutely. And that’s starting to happen now. The momentum is building there.

Larry Jordan: Tom, you’ve had a chance to work with this club for multiple years. What motivates the players?

Tom Sloper: Some of them are motivated by their competitive spirit. Some of them are motivated by school spirit. Some of them are like, “I want the other students on my team to think I’m a great player.” And some of them are, “I want USC to win.” And there are maybe some who are thinking farther down the road and really want to be professional eSports players because there’s a lot of money to be made there.

Larry Jordan: But it strikes me that the over arcing theme is the social aspect of game playing. Is that a true statement?

Tom Sloper: Absolutely. The people who are in the club are there to enjoy being with other people who think the way they do and feel the same way they do. Sometimes they skip getting together up in the classroom altogether, and they go out to the Korean barbecue and just sit and talk. And eat.

Larry Jordan: I’m about to go upstairs and meet with some of the players. What should I be looking at as I watch them work on their screens?

Tom Sloper: Watch the body language because sometimes what you’ll see is you can’t see from the screen how well the game is going, especially if you’re not familiar with the game. But you can see from the body language and from the facial expressions you know, that they’re losing or they’re winning, and I think that’s very interesting.

Larry Jordan: I shall go up and take a look. Tom, thanks for joining us today.

Tom Sloper: My pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Tom Sloper is a professor at USC, teaching game design and management. And it is fun learning about eSports. Thank you again.

Tom Sloper: You’re welcome.

Larry Jordan: I’m sitting in a classroom at USC filled with students intent on the computer except it’s seven o’clock at night and they’re not studying, they’re participating in eSports. I’m talking with Leon Pao who’s the president of SC eSports, and Leon, thanks for joining me today.

Leon Pao: Yes, no problem, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: What is eSports?

Leon Pao: eSports is basically competitive video gaming where players who enjoy these video games very much and want to compete and want to be the best at these games, can compete by themselves or with a team, and try to beat other teams at the game.

Larry Jordan: Who are you competing with? What are some of the other teams?

Leon Pao: Personally I compete in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate currently, that’s a single player game, and a lot of the other popular games are primarily team based. So for SC eSports, we support competitive teams in games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone and those are all primarily team based games.

Larry Jordan: Are you competing with students at SC, or are you competing with students at other schools?

Leon Pao: Most of us here in our eSports club compete with other students at USC, yes.

Larry Jordan: Tell me about what competition’s like. What’s going on? Is it one person on one computer, or multiple people on the same computer? Just describe it for people that haven’t watched an eSports game.

Leon Pao: Typically each player will have their own computers. At collegiate tournaments like the ones we have here, typically we play over the internet online, so each player could be on their own computers. They’ll probably be at their own homes, at their own dorms, so separate from each other, playing on their own computer, but they’ll all be playing in the same game. And they’ll be communicating through voice chat programs such as Discord or Skype, something like that. At a higher scale, with higher production value they’ll be competing together in the same arena or a stadium kind of like those that you would see at Riot’s LCS events.

Larry Jordan: I understand the attraction of sports, what’s the attraction of eSports? What draws people to it?

Leon Pao: eSports is a lot like regular sports in that you’re sharing the experience with your fellow team mates, but for those of us who aren’t exactly physically adept or inclined as for traditional sports, we have eSports where players who can show off that like their mental fortitude and competing in these electronic games.

Larry Jordan: What kind of attributes or character skills makes for a good eSports player?

Leon Pao: A good eSports player would have good game sense, like good knowledge of the game as well as good mastery of their inner game, so having a good mastery over their inner emotions and being able to keep a cool head in high tense situations. Yes.

Larry Jordan: You’re the president of the club, what does that involve?

Leon Pao: As president I typically oversee most of the club meetings, as well as the eBoard meetings that we hold every week to discuss future plans for the club. I help oversee all of our competitive teams, keeping track of where they are, how they’re doing and whether they’re in need of our help and I also help host these casual events where all of these eSports players can get together and play games together every week.

Larry Jordan: In traditional sports, we’re used to the idea of the athlete and the coach where the coach is providing guidance to the athlete on how to improve. Is there a similar situation in eSports? Or is it all self taught?

Leon Pao: It can be both ways actually. For casual teams it can be entirely self taught but there’s a lot of resources online on YouTube or from pro teams or high figure players in the game that a lot of players can use to study from. But a lot of professional teams also hire coaches and analysts to help them improve their team and improve the players.

Larry Jordan: Well it sounds like the burden is on the player to improve, rather than having coaching enforced from outside, is that true?

Leon Pao: Yes, I guess you could say it’s a lot like regular sports where you have coaches and what not to like help the players improve, but at the end of the day it’s the players that are playing and showing their abilities in game.

Larry Jordan: What are some of the most popular games right now?

Leon Pao: In eSports, I would say the most popular games are League of Legends, Hearthstone, Overwatch. I’d say a lot of fighting games are also quite popular with Evo, so stuff like Street Fighter, Super Smash Brothers, Tekken and stuff like that.

Larry Jordan: Is it just men doing eSports? Or is it both men and women?

Leon Pao: Both genders are represented. Although we mostly see male players there’s definitely a lot of female players in the scene, and we also see a lot of female commentators and coaches as well in the scene.

Larry Jordan: Aside from the camaraderie and the fun of actually playing the game, does this extend outside of school? Or is this something that once you graduate it’s over?

Leon Pao: Well you can definitely make a career out of eSports, whether as a player or as a manager or something. So if you’re very good at a game, you can potentially be drafted or scouted by a professional team and picked up to be a part of the professional team and play competitively with a salary and all that. I definitely know there’s a couple of students here who have definitely been drafted and scouted by these professional teams from USC. But even if you’re not very good at the game, if you have the passion for eSports, and a passion for games, then you can still be hired to an eSports team and help with the managing and things like that.

Larry Jordan: If you put your president hat off and just become a player, what is it that really appeals to you about these games?

Leon Pao: I grew up with video games and I’ve always found video games to be fun and now that I’m here in a community with a lot of other players who share the same passion with me, and I can go to these tournaments and share all this time with my friends that also share the same feelings with me. It’s just fun you know? I don’t know how to put it any other way.

Larry Jordan: And Leon Pao is the president of SC eSports, and Leon, thanks for joining me today.

Leon Pao: Thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: Continuing our conversation with players at the USC eSports club, I want to introduce Miguel Mendoza. He is both a competitive manager for the eSports club and an eSports player. Miguel, thanks for joining us today.

Miguel Mendoza: Glad to be here.

Larry Jordan: What is it about eSports that caught your attention?

Miguel Mendoza: For the longest time I always played single player games but when I first started playing League of Legends which is the most popular eSport in the world right now, there was a sense of community and belonging with playing with other people you know, against people from around the world, that could be anybody, anywhere. And I just always felt that the drive to aspire to do better, the game itself was fun so it went hand in hand.

Larry Jordan:  I’ve asked one of the players at USC eSports to take a break because I wanted to get her opinion on why she plays. Her name is Sophie Chu, she’s a junior at USC, and Sophie thanks for joining me today.

Sophie Chu:  Oh yes, thank you.

Larry Jordan:  What is it that appeals to you about eSports?

Sophie Chu:  Well I’ve always been interested in video games since I was really young. Playing competitively, having a community to play with, doing fun stuff with other people is what I really like, so I figured coming to this club was a good fit for me.

Larry Jordan:  Is it the challenge of the game, or the camaraderie of the group?

Sophie Chu:  Both. I don’t consider myself good at games, so I’m more into the social aspect of it.

Miguel Mendoza: When I compete in the competitive scene with my team here in League of Legends, everybody wants to win right? There’s nobody that deliberately wants to lose. But it’s always about fighting these challenging players, they’re really good, they train a lot. They aspire to be better, and to aspire to be better than that I think is what’s the most fun for me. But it’s also about getting to know these people who you’ve never known, you’ve never met them before and then just coming together in kind of like a little family in a way.

Larry Jordan: Well you described your role at the club as competitive manager. What does that mean?

Miguel Mendoza: Here we have a little community for our club, and for the most part a lot of the people here play casually. There’s a small niche of us that want to play competitively. The ultimate goal of playing in these competitive teams is to win prizes or if their players are really good they can earn money up to $10,000 in the program we’re currently in. So as a competitive manager, we hold try outs to see who wants to be a part of this experience where we can get together in groups, play together as practice and then every Saturday around noon we are assigned a different team from across the nation to compete online, and from there if you’ve played any game, if you’ve seen any sports like soccer or basketball, they have group stages where each team in a group competes to get the most points. Then the team that gets the most points advances to say, as in soccer or FIFA, they go to the World Cup. It’s kind of similar to that where the most points the team goes to another competition. We play against more teams and then I’m in charge of organizing the times we play, I also organize how many teams and what games. It’s not just League of Legends, there’s also Dota, Rocket League, all these different games, and I’m in charge of making sure everybody gets a chance to play and making sure that we are able to play to our fullest ability.

Larry Jordan: What kind of games do you like to play?

Sophie Chu: My favorite games are League of Legends and Hearthstone. Recently I’ve been getting into Apex Legends.

Larry Jordan: Why League of Legends? What is it that appeals to you?

Sophie Chu: I think it’s the first mobile game I’ve gotten into. I got into it in high school. There’s so many different team comps and ways to play the game. Every time you start a new game is a new experience and it’s just fun. There’s so many people who can relate to it also, so it’s easier to start a conversation with other people who play the game.

Larry Jordan: What’s it like to be a woman playing games which are traditionally reserved for men?

Sophie Chu: I don’t think I find it too different, but that’s because online I don’t make it a point to say that I’m female or anything. I don’t think I stand out too much. Here at the club, I can see who’s a guy and who’s not, and so I think we all tend to talk about the same things. We have the same interests, so it works out for me. I don’t feel like I’m too different or anything you know?

Larry Jordan: I have to ask. When you’re not playing games, what are you studying?

Sophie Chu: Yes, when I’m not playing games, I’m actually a game design major at school so I’m studying games.

Larry Jordan: For you, where do you see eSports going after you graduate? Is this a career opportunity or just something you like to do for fun? What’s the future?

Miguel Mendoza: This is a problem that I was struggling with for a while because ever since playing competitively, I’ve thought maybe this is actually a viable career choice. For most people, I would say if you think so, go for it. eSports is really big right now. I just think that me personally, I don’t think, how do I put this? I think there are better prospects for me personally. I think I would ideally like to keep playing League of Legends as a hobby or maybe play eSports every once in a while and have it as something dedicated. If it turns into a career, great you know? I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but I don’t think ideally it’d be a viable option as I think, because personally I’m a film student here at USC. I enjoy editing, making films here at USC. I enjoy that so much more than playing League of Legends. Even though I enjoy playing League of Legends a lot, I just think I’d much rather make film making a career over playing eSports.

Larry Jordan:  What part of game design are you interested in?

Sophie Chu:  Well I can’t code for the life of me, so I’m actually into the actual design, level layouts and stuff like that for how games will be designed rather than the technical aspects of it, like actually making them.

Larry Jordan:  Now when you say design, what does that mean? The level design.

Sophie Chu: The creation of stories or how games are laid out.

Larry Jordan: The challenges the characters have to go through?

Sophie Chu: Yes, the challenges, that type of stuff.

Larry Jordan: So you’re much more interested in the design of the story than the actual coding of the game?

Sophie Chu: Yes. It’s the creative half of game development, yes. I’m also interested in game art too, because I said I have visual arts as an interest before. Stuff like concept art, character art, that type of stuff.

Larry Jordan: What do you find makes for a compelling game?

Sophie Chu: Depends on the type of game. But story, immersiveness, how easy it is to learn and just jump into it. I think those are really important.

Larry Jordan: As you look back over the games that you’ve played, what has the strongest resonance for you?

Sophie Chu: I would say the people I play. Every little achievement I make in a game, no matter how big the medal, a few years later I wouldn’t remember that. I know I used to play a lot of Mario Kart with my brother, just at home. I remember having a lot of good times. I don’t remember specifically, but it was just always fun to “Hey you want to come play games with me something like that?” you know?  Yes. The people, the interactions.

Larry Jordan: Well like you said, you’ve always been interested in the social side of games. So it’s being able to meet people both in person and online which strikes me as being most important to you?

Sophie Chu: Oh yes. Before coming here, I didn’t really have very many gamer friends in my high school. I went to an all girls school. There’s not that many gamers there. Only a couple. Finding that there was a good eSports club here at this school, it’s like I walk into a room and everybody here plays games, so it’s pretty cool. I think it’s really fun, because I automatically relate to everybody in the room you know? As soon as I walk in.

Larry Jordan: You’re with friends.

Sophie Chu: Yes.

Miguel Mendoza: I think that’s where I would like to ideally be, where our efforts are not just recognized, but they’re also encouraged. So we have students talking about “Oh we have SC eSports, it’s a place to go to hang out, and play and have this huge following.” But also at the same time the eBoard members are always willing to talk to you on a personal level, no matter how big it gets. I think the one thing I would like to keep is how personal and how friendly we are to every member, and all that.

Larry Jordan: Miguel, thanks for joining us today.

Miguel Mendoza: No problem.

Larry Jordan: Sophie, thanks so much for joining us. Sophie Chu is a member of the SC eSports team, and Sophie, I appreciate your taking the time.

Sophie Chu: Awesome, thank you. Thank you very much.

Larry Jordan: Miguel Mendoza is the competitive manager for USC eSports, as well as a student at USC. Miguel, I appreciate your time.

Miguel Mendoza: Thank you for having me here.

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

Larry Jordan: John Kowalski is the director of broadcast and network sales for Clear-Com. As such, he assists clients in designing communication systems for events ranging from Olympic games to political conventions. Hello John, welcome.

John Kowalski: Hey Larry. How are you?

Larry Jordan: I’m doing great, because I fell in love with intercoms when I first started in live broadcast many years ago. How would you describe Clear-Com?

John Kowalski: Clear-Com is a US based communications company that manufactures products that link people together and often when I’m asked what I do for a living, I make people happy because we make good equipment that works and they’re happy.

Larry Jordan: Well let’s describe that in a little bit more detail. Aside from making people happy, what is your responsibilities at Clear-Com?

John Kowalski: Well I manage our sales in the broadcast market for the company, and that’s working with everyone from independent stations to station groups to the networks to the expanded broadcast production market which these days takes you into small studios and remote production companies that are essentially backpacks. We don’t always see productions with 53 foot Expando trucks any more. They come in all shapes and sizes so it’s a big market.

Larry Jordan: I want to talk about the small work groups in just a minute, but before we talk about the small stuff, tell us about what are your more challenging assignments? What’s the high end of the market look like?

John Kowalski: Now, today it’s leveraging cloud technology and IP technology that’s on everyone’s requirements. Our equipment has to support that with the least amount of latency and the most simplistic footprint for operation and troubleshooting, and that sounds easier than it is these days because there are some ways that the IP world has leveraged itself to make it simpler. But troubleshooting can be challenging at times. When a network or a station group says “We want to leverage cloud to share communications in our group,” we’re at the point where we have to pull them back and say “OK, let’s do that, but we have to work from where we are now. We can’t jump into 2025 yet.” It’s challenging these days to meet expectations that are leveraged against what they see in the much more dynamic and deeper technology of video over IP.

Larry Jordan: Well what does it mean leverage the cloud? What does that envision in their mind? Because I normally think we just simply hit a button and we’re able to talk wherever we want. Clearly that’s too simplistic.

John Kowalski: Good question, because there still has to be local equipment in all communication systems. The end point as it were. But in broadcast we’ve leveraged matrix intercoms for years and the matrix intercom is centered around a switch where you get all your inputs and outputs and connections to user panels, to interfaces, to audio sources and telephones and that. The idea I guess to conceptualize it for broadcast is to say “Do we need that switch? Do we need that matrix frame in the facility? Can’t we have that reside on the cloud, and send everything up to it and pull it down as needed?” And the answer is, “Of course. But there’s things like latency and real time world that broadcast operates in that the cloud just can’t support that just yet.”

Larry Jordan: So what they’re trying to do is offload the cost rather than have to buy the gear for local? They can just simply pay a monthly fee and have it magically disappear?

John Kowalski: I would say that’s probably in their mindset to some degree because other parts of the broadcast workflow are beginning to move to that direction. Intercom will get there, it’s just not there yet. We still have some work to do and the technology has to move forward a bit for us.

Larry Jordan: Since most of us aren’t going to be working for network groups and dealing with this large scale, one of the things you mentioned that I want to come back to, is the idea of small work groups. Earlier in the show we heard from an eSports team that uses communications gear to talk during a live game. What does Clear-Com have that works for the small work group that’s not in a fixed environment all the time?

John Kowalski: That’s something we’re turning the conversation back to IP in some regards. So an eSports event or a lesser popular sport that doesn’t get that big network attention. They’re using our gear and they’re communicating throughout the production facility, an arena, a stadium or a ballroom but they have to connect out to a truck and into a production control area and onto the performance area and running cables, hasn’t been something they’ve ever wanted to do and we’ve developed wonderful gear that can leverage the IP connectivity that is available to connect those and transport audio between those spaces. We’re not moving it into the cloud, but we are leveraging IP local LAN WAN or over worldwide we’re leveraging those resources to support a production in eSports or it might be horse racing, it might be boxing, it might be any number of small sports nowadays. Content is king. We’re not surprised to hear some events getting coverage and wanting to get that event on the air somewhere, somehow. Somewhere someone wants it.

Larry Jordan: So what we’re doing is rather than stretching audio cables, we’re basically just moving Ethernet cable from point A to point B?

John Kowalski: Well we’re just plugging in. We have a customer that operates in a small Sprinter vehicle, and his customers are eSports networks but he also does Division Two college sports and corporate events, and that small Sprinter van leverages small fly packs that have IP interfaces, RLQ series, shameless plug, that transports audio intercom, ISP, earpiece cuing over IP and they’ll have an LQ box in the stadium press box. They’ll have an LQ box on the floor of the stadium, and they’ll have an LQ box in the truck and all they’ve done to connect those is just find the nearest house LAN and plugged in.

Larry Jordan: When we need to add this kind of communications gear, what questions should we ask to determine the kind of gear that we need?

John Kowalski: What’s the event to start, but who needs to communicate? That tells us we start to hear about how many users there are, where they’re located, and then we want to know is there internal infrastructure that we can leverage? Do they have a house intercom in the theater that we can plug into? Are we bringing in a wireless intercom? Where does that need to communicate? So we find out what the event is, where the production spaces are in that event, and then who’s going to communicate on that and it usually shakes out pretty well from there.

Larry Jordan: Does Clear-Com rent gear for short term productions or do we have to buy it?

John Kowalski: No, we rent gear but only through our rental partners. I’m going to have to go with thousands, maybe worldwide tens of thousands of rental houses worldwide that have used Clear-Com equipment for decades that have wonderful experience, and as much as we get great exposure and we have a wonderful technical support department, back in our factory and in our remote facilities throughout the world, our end users, those rental houses, are wonderful partners that know how to make our work in ways that sometimes that we haven’t even thought of.  That’s more common to see that, our equipment in rental houses these days on sporting events.

Larry Jordan:  For people that want to learn more about the gear that Clear-Com makes available, where can they go on the web?

John Kowalski:  The best place to start is our website, clearcom.com and there’s some great resources in our support area that will lead to videos and white papers and get them connected with our staff and other users so they can learn from that.

Larry Jordan:  That website is all one word, clearcom.com and John Kowalski is the director of broadcast and network sales for Clear-Com and John, thanks for joining us today.

John Kowalski:  Very welcome, great speaking with you.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking about something Sophie Chu said during our interview. Remember when she said “When I walk into the room, I feel like I’m surrounded by friends.” It reminded me of Cheers, the place where everybody knows your name. Yes, eSports is a big business but at its core, it’s kids playing games. Personally I’ve never been interested in video games, but both my kids were. Since neither of them could be considered athletically gifted, video games gave them an outlet for their energy and competitive spirit.

Larry Jordan:  I was also interested in Tom Sloper’s comments of the differences between people who play games, and people who design games. Both are driven by challenge, but players are a more eclectic bunch. I enjoyed sitting in the game room watching the focus and interaction of the players. They weren’t just sitting isolated concentrating on their screens, there was conversation, excitement and lots of energy. It was a fun way to spend an evening and something I’m still thinking about as I listened again to these interviews.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank our guests this week, Brenton Ough with TouchStream, Tom Sloper, professor at USC, Sophie Chu, Miguel Mendoza and Leon Pao, students at USC, John Kowalski with Clear-Com and James DeRuvo with doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan:   There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today.  Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Saturday morning.

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

Larry Jordan:   Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com.  

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 2019 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz – March 14, 2019

Tonight on The Buzz we look inside eSports. This growing phenomena on college campuses appeals to highly competitive non-athletes. Tonight, we chat with members of the USC eSports Club. Then, learn how Clear-com enables teams to communicate. Finally, discover what it takes to make online video looks good.

By the way, if you enjoy The Buzz, please give us a positive rating and review in the iTunes Store. We appreciate your support to help us grow our audience.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Brenton Ough, Tom Sloper, Leon Pao, Sophie Chu, Miguel Mendoza, John Kowalski and James DeRuvo.

  • Video Quality Starts In the Stream
  • An Overview of eSports
  • Organizing eSports at USC
  • eSports: A Player Perspective
  • Clear-Com Connects Teams
  • The Weekly doddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week


Video Quality Starts In the Stream

Brenton Ough
Brenton Ough, CEO & Co-Founder, Touchstream
As CEO and Founder of TouchStream, Brenton Ough explains us why he started a company that monitors video streaming services. With streaming now a multi-billion dollar business, TouchStream monitors live streaming video quality to make sure when the viewer clicks “Play,” they see a great-looking image.


An Overview of eSports

Tom Sloper
Tom Sloper, Professor, Game Designer and head of SC eSports, SC eSports
Professor Tom Sloper is the head of the USC eSports Club, as well as a long-time professional game designer. Tonight, he explains what eSports is, why it appeals to students, and how it is encouraged at USC.


Organizing eSports at USC

Leon Pao
Leon Pao, President, SC eSports
Leon Pao is the president of the USC eSports Club. A player himself, he also manages a club of up to 50 members. eSports is growing in popularity and, tonight, he explains what it is, why students are attracted to it and what it’s like to play.


eSports: A Player Perspective

Sophie Chu
Miguel Mendoza
Sophie Chu, Secretary & Player, SC eSports
Miguel Mendoza, Competition Manager & Player, SC eSports
Sophie Chu and Miguel Mendoza are members of the USC eSports Club. Tonight, they share their thoughts on why they are attracted to this kind of competition, what it’s like being on a team, and how this influences their education.


Clear-Com Connects Teams

John Kowalski
John Kowalski, Director of Broadcast & Network Sales, Clear-Com
Clear-Com enables teams to communicate. Whether for large events like the Olympics, or small teams for eSports or remote productions, Clear-com connects people. Tonight, John Kowalski, Director of Broadcast & Network Sales, describes recent Clear-com projects and suggests ways to pick the right gear for your project.


The Weekly doddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo
James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, doddleNEWS.
James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief at doddleNEWS, has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. With experience covering technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James presents our weekly doddleNEWS Update.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – March 7, 2019

HOST

Larry Jordan

GUESTS

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

Ross Shain, Chief Product Officer, Mocha from Boris FX

Joseph Nilo, Head of Training, FxFactory

William Goldenberg, ACE

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, doddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we have an in depth conversation with Oscar winning editor William Goldenberg, a look at new trends in visual effects, and an update on how the Writer’s Guild managed to make just about everyone in Hollywood angry.

Larry Jordan:  We start with Jonathan Handel, contributing editor on entertainment labor issues, for the Hollywood Reporter. Last week a secret Writers Guild meeting managed to anger just about everyone associated with writers in Hollywood. Tonight, Jonathan explains why.

Larry Jordan: Ross Shain is the chief product officer of Mocha for Boris FX. Tonight he shares his thoughts on new trends and technology in effects that he’s expecting next month at the NAB show.

Larry Jordan: Joseph Nilo is head of training for FxFactory.  Tonight he explains how he creates a compelling demo for new effects software, FxFactory’s new YouTube channel and key trends in effects that he’s looking to see at NAB next month.

Larry Jordan: William Goldenberg won the Academy Award, BAFTA and ACE awards for film editing with Ben Affleck’s best picture winner, Argo, plus Oscar nominations for editing ‘The Imitation Game,’ ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ ‘Seabiscuit,’ and ‘The Insider.’ Tonight, as part of NAB insight, William Goldenberg shares his thoughts on editing.

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. When we were first planning this show, we wanted to devote all our time to talking about current trends and technology in effects as part of our lead up to the NAB show in April. But then, life intervened. The Writers Guild is threatening major upheaval for television and feature film writers that looks to reverberate through the entire industry starting April 7th. So we needed to make room for Jonathan Handel to explain what’s going on. Then, we had a great opportunity to chat with Oscar winning film editor William Goldenberg about his philosophy of editing, along with a preview of his upcoming keynote, on the future of cinema at NAB. So we needed to make room for him as well. Still, our conversations with Ross Shain and Joseph Nilo about effects are fascinating, especially when Ross starts talking about new technology that is making holograms real. This will be a fascinating show.

Larry Jordan: By the way if you enjoy the Buzz, please give us a positive rating and review in the iTunes store. We appreciate your support, to help us grow our audience.

Larry Jordan:  And now it’s time for our weekly doddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Happy Thursday Larry.

Larry Jordan: And a wonderful Thursday and five weeks to go until NAB.

James DeRuvo: Five weeks. My feet are already hurting.

Larry Jordan:  So James, what’s the news?

James DeRuvo: Before I begin, I want to encourage every content creator and filmmaker who listens to the Buzz to go and see the documentary ‘Apollo 11’ in IMAX. Created with over 700 hours of never before seen 70 millimeter documentary footage, this film is simply stunning.  A time machine that captures the excitement of that historic space mission and trust me Larry, on IMAX, I’m serious, it’s like you’re there. It’s amazing. It’s probably one of the best documentaries ever made.

Larry Jordan: Alright, well we’ve now got ‘Apollo 11’ the documentary on our list of things to see. What’s on your list of news?

James DeRuvo: USB4 has come out of nowhere with Thunderbolt 3 speeds of up to 40 gigabits per second. But only with USB4 certified cables. It’ll also be USB3 backwards compatible.

Larry Jordan: How does this announcement fit in with current versions of USB?

James DeRuvo: With all the confusion surrounding the renaming of the USB3 spec, now USB4 comes, it makes me wonder why did the USB international forum even bother to rename USB3? Some think that USB4 is merely Thunderbolt 3 gone open source with speeds that are nearly identical to the spec, these speeds are only capable however, through USB4 certified cables and we probably won’t see it hit the market for about 18 months or so. Plenty of time for Thunderbolt 4 to arrive, if it ever does.

Larry Jordan: It’s finally good news that USB is getting faster, and now we have yet another new name, USB4. What’s next?

James DeRuvo: Blackmagic has announced their Generation 2 URSA Mini Pro. This second generation 4.6K image sensor has the generation four Blackmagic Design color science, shoots up to 150 frames per second in 4K, using Blackmagic RAW, and 300 frames per second in HD in Blackmagic RAW. It’ll have 15 stops of dynamic range, which seems to be the ceiling at the moment for dynamic range and Blackmagic has also made Blackmagic RAW available for the pocket cinema camera 4K through this cinema camera 6.2 update.

Larry Jordan: Well, wait a minute. Doesn’t Blackmagic normally announce new products at NAB in the spring, and IBC in the fall?

James DeRuvo: Well normally they do, but Blackmagic last year shifted its major hardware announcements away from NAB in favor of their own web cache showcase. I find that interesting and while this appears to be a completely redesigned camera from the ground up, the URSA Mini Pro gen 2 maintains the same ergonomic casing and lightweight footprint. Price is 59.95 and Grant Petty hinted that generation ones are likely to get a price cut until their stocks deplete, since the generation two is going to completely replace it. But I’m really excited about Blackmagic RAW coming to the pocket cinema camera 4K which is already turning heads for its impressive image quality and some calling it the best entry level cinema camera on the market.

Larry Jordan: OK, that’s Blackmagic Design, what’s our third story this week?

James DeRuvo: I’m talking to you on the RODECaster Pro podcaster mixing board and they’re getting through a firmware update multichannel recording via USB output of up to 14 tracks using your computer recording software.

Larry Jordan: Why is this update so interesting to you?

James DeRuvo: Content creators are more than just video makers, and filmmakers these days. They have podcasts, they have live broadcasts, they have all these different things to reach their audience and the RODECaster Pro is really the must have mixing board for podcasting and live audio mixing. For under $700, you just can’t beat all you can do with it.

Larry Jordan: Good to know. What other stories are you and your team working on this week?

James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following, Frame.io is now SOC type 2 compliant for greater online security. YouTube disables comments on videos featuring children due to advertiser concerns, and Compact Flash Express will likely take over the XQD market thanks to firmware updates from Nikon and Sony. It now seems genius that Nikon’s stuck with the XQD format in their Z series mirrorless cameras when everybody thought they were crazy.

Larry Jordan: Amazing what hindsight can do.

James DeRuvo: Indeed.

Larry Jordan: James, where can we go on the web to find these and all the other stories you and your team are working on?

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

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the editor in chief of doddlenews.com and joins us every week. James, we’ll see you next Thursday.

James DeRuvo: See you next week.

Larry Jordan: Turning to other news, it’s time for Jonathan Handel. He’s an entertainment and technology attorney of counsel at Troy Gould in Los Angeles. He’s also the contributing editor on entertainment labor issues for the Hollywood Reporter, which is why we’re chatting with Jonathan today. Hello Jonathan, welcome back.

Jonathan Handel: Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, let’s get right into it. What’s happening with the Writers Guild?

Jonathan Handel: The Writers Guild is trying to change the rules that apply to talent agents. The Guild, like the state of California and the state of New York, regulate talent agents. Each of the unions has a set of rules called an Agency Agreement or a Franchise Agreement, there are various names for it. Almost a year ago, the Writers Guild signed a one year notice of termination so the existing rules expire April 6th. On April 7th, the Writers Guild is likely to impose new rules, unilaterally, and that’s something that the talent agencies are very uncomfortable with, to put it mildly.

Larry Jordan: Well why does the Writers Guild want to make changes in the first place?

Jonathan Handel: There are three reasons. One of them is a basic question of power. We think of the talent agencies and the guilds as both being very powerful. They both serve an overlapping constituency of writers in this case, and they have their own separate functions, Writers Guild negotiates the basic union agreement, the basic wages and so forth. The talent agents negotiates wages above that for people who have more power and more standing in the industry. So two organizations, one overlapping constituency. That’s the way it works in practice.

Jonathan Handel: But the Guild says, as a matter of very basic power, unions have the exclusive right to represent the unionized workers, in this case the writers, and therefore any power that the agents have, notwithstanding the fact that they have these beautiful expensive buildings and lots of money, any power that the agents have derives from us, the union, and we’re going to dial it back. Now that’s number one.

Jonathan Handel: The next two are two specific practices that the agents engage in that the Guilds don’t like. One of them is called packaging. There are two aspects to packaging, one is you take a script, you bring your agent a script, the agent says it’s great, and “This would be great for George Clooney, who just happens to be a client of our agency as well, so we’re going to package the script with George Clooney. We’re going to see if Clooney likes the script and if so we’re going to go out to the marketplace with Clooney plus the script packaged together and find a studio that wants to buy this as a movie, or as a TV series or whatever the project is.”

Jonathan Handel: Now that’s fine, but what the Guild objects to is the payment process that works in conjunction with that. You may think that agents get ten percent of what their clients make. In general, especially the big agencies, that’s not it at all. They don’t take anything from what the clients make. Let’s suppose this Clooney plus Jonathan Handel script pilot, television series actually gets picked up by  a studio. Are they going to take ten percent of what they negotiate for me and ten percent of Clooney’s fee? They’re not. They’re going to take what’s called a packaging fee from the studio itself, not paid by the clients, paid by the studio. And the way that packaging fee is calculated is complicated, we don’t have to get into it, but the Writers Guild says, that reduces their incentive to maximize the money that comes to Clooney and Handel. And in fact notwithstanding the fact that Handel created this television series to begin with and it turns out to be a really successful series, sometimes the agency makes more money than the creator himself, or herself. We don’t like that.

Jonathan Handel: Finally, a newer practice called affiliated production. The talent agencies, the big three, which is WME, William Morris Endeavor, CAA, and UTA have all set up affiliated companies that actually substitute for studios and are buyers themselves and do production or production type activities. You’re not forced to take your project to them, they are an additional choice in the marketplace. But the Writers Guild says that that’s inherently conflicted. That if your agent is also at least even indirectly your employer, you don’t have an agent to begin with. Now the irony is that one of the people who’s in business with Endeavor Content, the WME affiliated entity, is none other than Beau Willimon who’s the president of the Writers Guild East. So while the Writers Guild East is taking this very strong stand against affiliated production, Beau Willimon is actually availing himself of it because he got a better deal with Endeavor Content than was available from Universal and Disney and whoever else.

Larry Jordan: So what happened last week where all this blew up?

Jonathan Handel: We’ve been ticking down of course to April 7th and last week the Writers Guild met with managers to try to enlist them in their fight against agents, and they met with entertainment lawyers. The meetings, particularly the meeting with managers, did not go well. The meeting with managers was described in terms that we won’t repeat on a family show, but it involved four letter words by managers involved, and what the managers and lawyers both told me, and I interviewed a total of over ten of them, was that the Writers Guild didn’t seem to have the vaguest idea how the industry really works. They didn’t seem to have a plan, they were going to blow things up in a way that would make things worse for writers. That this was cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face in the words of one entertainment lawyer, and that the results were going to be disastrous. Talent agencies are not going to sign on to the new rules the Writers Guild intends to impose April 7th, and writers are going to be forced by Writers Guild rules to therefore leave their agents because you can’t stay with an agent who hasn’t signed the current rules.

Jonathan Handel: The current rules right now were negotiated jointly between the agencies and the Writers Guild, but as of April 7th the rules will be rules that the Writers Guild imposes unilaterally, assuming that the union membership approves what the union leadership is doing. There’s going to be a vote on March 25th, but the leadership will get their vote, they’ll get it in the 90s. The union leaderships almost always do. So we’re headed towards what’s likely, although the Writers Guild says they’re not going to compromise on these issues, I think it’s likely to be federal court litigation on April 7th and very unstable and uncertain situation potentially.

Jonathan Handel:  Everyone involved, except the Writers Guild, is predicting utter chaos. The idea that a sort of open submission process with notices on the Writers Guild website coupled with managers and entertainment attorneys and people leaving their agents, the idea that that’s going to substitute for the existing process which is driven largely by agents, does not seem to be something that people are comfortable with in the least.

Larry Jordan: It sounds like we’ve got a recipe for a disaster coming up in about a month?

Jonathan Handel: Potentially so. The Writers Guild is absolutely adamant, the agencies are adamant, there have been a couple of meetings between the two sides, but I would say no real negotiations. It was more talking past each other. There are no meetings scheduled. I don’t think there will be any meetings until after this March 25th vote, at which point the Writers Guild will be even more firm in its position that they’re not going to compromise. The Writers Guild says these are issues of principle, this is conflict of interest, you don’t compromise on principle. But the reality is, the issue of packaging fees could be resolved quite easily in a certain sense, it’s an issue of money, by compromising and saying in instances where shows succeed beyond wildest dreams, and perhaps an agency is making a lot more potentially than the writers are, rare cases where that happens, you share some of the excess above a certain threshold with the writers.

Jonathan Handel:  I mean, it’s about money. Money is compromisable. Money is as lawyers like to say, fungible. It’s something that, there’s more for me, there’s less for you, there’s more for you, there’s less for me, somewhere in between you find a compromise point. It’s not like the Hollywood Ten and refusing to testify before a malignant Congress. But the Writers Guild has taken a very strong position on this and their position on the basis issue of power, of do these talent agencies which in the real world today have an independent existence, and enormous amounts of money and power and stature, do they in fact exist just at the sufferance of the Guild and have only so much power as the Guild deigns to give them? That in many ways is the most difficult to compromise issue of all.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, we’re going to have to keep an eye on this in the coming weeks. For people that want to follow your writing on this, where can they go on the web?

Jonathan Handel: The best place to go for the writing on this is the Hollywood Reporter Labor, thrlabor.com and you can also visit my website to learn more about me, JHandel.com.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel is the contributing editor on entertainment labor issues for the Hollywood Reporter as well as of counsel at Troy Gould. Jonathan, thanks for joining us today.

Jonathan Handel: Thanks very much.

Announcer: Join the Digital Production Buzz at the 2019 NAB show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Starting Monday April 8th, Larry Jordan and the Buzz team are taking their microphones on the road to cover the latest news and trends from the largest media show in the world. Every hour of every day, the Buzz is live on the trade show floor, creating 27 new shows in four days. More than 100 interviews with key industry leaders. The Buzz has webcast directly from NAB for 11 years with legendary coverage that’s heard in more than 195 countries around the world. If you’re attending the show, visit us at booth SL10 527 and say hello, or join us live every day of the show at NABshowbuzz.com. Join us as the Buzz covers NAB 2019 live at NABshowbuzz.com.

Larry Jordan:  Ross Shain is an accomplished visual effects industry veteran, and the chief product officer of Mocha, with Boris FX. In 2013 something I had forgotten, Ross was recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures with a science and engineering academy award for his and his team’s work on the design of Mocha Pro planar tracking software. Mocha’s tools have recently been used in ‘Green Book’ which won Best Picture, and ‘First Man’ which won Best Visual Effects. Hello Ross, welcome back.

Ross Shain: Hey Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: To get us started, how would you describe Mocha?

Ross Shain: Mocha is a motion tracking software that we have been developing for over 15 years. We use the software to analyze the movement of pixels. Mocha has a very powerful tracking engine that could be used to track graphics to video, could be used to remove objects, to stabilize objects. It’s used for lots of core foundations in visual effects and post.

Larry Jordan: Well I’ve heard the term planar tracker from you especially but what makes a planar tracker different from just simply setting a few tracking points?

Ross Shain: Basically tracking is based on analyzing pixels and a standard point tracker is going to only be looking at a very small area of pixels and when those pixels go out of focus or if the light changes, or if there’s a motion blur, or if someone’s hand swipes across of that area that will break a point tracker, whereas the planar tracker’s using a user defined area to track pixel patterns as opposed to just individual pixels. What this means is that we can track things that go out of focus or track things that are very difficult to track, and from our perspective as a team, we’ve always just looked to make the process simplified so that an editor of a beginning artist could solve some pretty difficult tasks.

Larry Jordan: Give me some examples and we’ll allow you to brag. How was Mocha used in say ‘Green Book’ or ‘First Man?’

Ross Shain: Yes, I can talk a little bit about ‘Green Book’ specifically because we actually featured Victor DiMichina who was the visual effects supervisor on our website recently, we interviewed him. This is actually very cool because the main actor who won Best Supporting Actor this year, his character is a virtuoso piano player so they actually used Mocha and some visual effects ingenuity to replace the actor’s head onto a stunt piano playing double. What they did in ‘Green Book’ was really interesting. There’s lots of scenes where you see the main actor tearing it up, this great piano playing.

Ross Shain:  Some of these ideas do take some foresight and it’s the job of the visual effects supervisors to think about how visual effects are planned. So Victor was on set with the director and basically they planned out all the shots where the actor would be playing piano. They brought in a stunt player who’s like a virtuoso player, who had the same build as the actor, and they would dress him up in the actor’s clothing for that scene, and they also would calculate the distance between the actor and the camera, and make sure that the lighting was exactly the right way. Then they would shoot the actor himself just from the head up on a green screen and what happens is they ended up using Mocha to stabilize both shots. So then you have two stabilized shots, you’re going to marry them together using keying and rotoscoping or masking, and then you’re going to basically match the movement so that the head from the green screen shot will be married to the body of the stunt double. They did many shots using this technique in ‘Green Book’ but that’s like an example of how in depth that Mocha could be used.

Larry Jordan: You mentioned one thing that I want to follow up on. You said that one of the reasons the visual effects supervisor was on set is to plan the effect. Many times we view effects as being something we do after all the shooting is done. What do you recommend for planning visual effects?

Ross Shain: That’s a great question and I think that a lot of people hear the term fix it in post, and they might get to an edit session and then the producer or the editor look at each other and say, “Oh we’ll fix it in post and we’ll send that shot to a specialist.” That’s all well and good but actually planning productions is a huge part of visual effects. There are specialist visual effect supervisors that are paid to go on set and work with directors. But this idea does not have to be just high end productions. With some thought into how you shoot, how things are lit, definitely kind of understanding the relationship and the distance between the camera and your object, very important. But also thinking about areas that could be motion tracked. So if you’re shooting something on a green screen, it can be very useful to add markers to the green screen. But definitely thinking about these kind of things is a real important part of the visual effects process.

Larry Jordan: One of the things that I’m excited about is NAB which is our annual trade show, comes up next month and everything seems to change at that show. What are you looking at in terms of technology trends? I’m not interested specifically in product announcements, but technology trends that you’re expecting at NAB?

Ross Shain: The things that I’m interested in seeing this year are volumetric capturing. What is volumetric capture? Just think of it as holograms.  As the industry pushes into the VR and AR space, we’re seeing a lot of interest in that hologram aspect, a full 3D capture of performances, and I definitely think that volumetric capture is going to be a buzz at NAB. On the software side, there’s been a lot of talk about AI tools and machine learning assisting post production, so I think you’ll also see that will be a buzz as well.

Larry Jordan: How can you see machine learning help with effects?

Ross Shain: The largest portion of effects really is like isolating objects, tracking, cleaning up. Sometimes it’s resizing, sometimes it’s replacing objects and these kind of things. I think what you’re seeing, even the Adobe Sensei stuff, we’re beginning to see a lot of commercial software developers incorporating AI techniques to assist with repetitive processes, and the idea is that large data sets of video clips, extremely large sets, can actually help an AI or machine learning application understand a lot more about the footage and will eventually be able to be incorporated to help automate some of the tasks that an editor or a visual effects or motion designer does every day. So lots of exciting things.

Larry Jordan: Thinking about exciting news, you guys have already made some exciting news. Late last year you announced new versions of Sapphire, Mocha and Continuum. What’s in the new products?

Ross Shain: So Sapphire is like the flagship plugin package for visual effects artists, motion graphics creators. Boris FX acquired Genarts, I think two and a half years ago. Sapphire has some nice new features, lens flares has been the bread and butter of Sapphire, very popular, and you see it in all the JJ Abrams ‘Star Wars’ type of films. The lens flare designer has been totally revamped. There’s also some new creative effects to do a pixel sorting, current type of look, the modern version of digital damage kind of thing.

Ross Shain:  On the Continuum side again, another plugin package that we make that is very popular with Avid and the Premiere communities for editing. We’ve added a revive of an old product called Particle Illusion which is a real time particle generation system, that’s now included in Boris Continuum and this is like very realistic smoke and fires and sparkles that an editor or a motion graphics artist can add to a scene. It’s very easy to learn, and I think that’s the heart of Particle Illusion is that you can just drop on an effect and add some realism without ever going into a 3D application. So that’s a really cool thing.

Ross Shain:  And then on the Mocha side, we’ve just continued to improve Mocha for tracking, object removal, 360 VR, for the 360 creators. We’ve improved the rotoscoping tools in Mocha as well. Lots of … came out in the late fall for Boris FX and we’ll be showing those all at NAB.

Larry Jordan: Very cool. For people that want more information about all of the products, that Boris FX has, where can they go on the web?

Ross Shain: Go to BorisFX.com and we have hundreds of video tutorials and product pages and lots of great content for users to explore and as well as download free trials.

Larry Jordan: That website is all one word BorisFX.com and Ross Shain is the chief product officer of Mocha with Boris FX. Ross, thanks for joining us today.

Ross Shain: Always great to talk to you Larry, I appreciate it.

Larry Jordan: After a 20 year career in both audio and video, Joseph Nilo creates tutorial videos, product and software reviews for the FxFactory YouTube channel as their head of training. Hello Joseph, welcome.

Joseph Nilo: Hi, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: Before we talk about what you do, set the scene. How would you describe FxFactory?

Joseph Nilo:  FxFactory is the app store for pro video. It’s a Mac download, and it’s a single download of the app store and what’s loaded up are thousands of visual effects plugins from independent developers and from FxFactory themselves. And they also work in Final Cut Pro, Motion, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and some audio plugins are even trickling in too, Garage Band, Logic Pro, things like that. So it’s just a one stop shop for all sorts of great visual effects.

Larry Jordan:  What does the head of training do for an app store?

Joseph Nilo:  There are so many products that come out that at least four to eight times a month there’s new products that I create screen cast tutorials for so people can learn more about what’s coming out and get a quick overview as well.

Larry Jordan: Why you? Why not the developer?

Joseph Nilo:  From a branding standpoint, it’s good to have one voice. There are some developers that do some of their own tutorials as well, but when it’s all funneled through me there’s good branding and you know what you’re going to get from our two to three minute videos that we put out.

Larry Jordan:  I’ve seen many of your demos and many of your training videos, because I keep getting bombarded with FxFactory emails. How do you plan one of your demos? What’s the process you go through?

Joseph Nilo:  It moves pretty quickly because there’s so much coming out. I interface with Niclas who is the CEO I think is his title of FxFactory, the grand poobah over there. As new products come out, I get a license and an overview and a bunch of assets from the developer. I work with the developer creating a script and kind of coming up with a real world example on what their plugins might do and then we just turn around a screencast video with a teaser, and examples, and then how to use them and then boom, and out. There’s so many plugins, it’s hard to keep up.

Larry Jordan: You’re talking to filmmakers, what tools do you use to create the demos?

Joseph Nilo: Let’s see, many of their plugins are in Final Cut Pro so we’re creating them right there. I use Screenflow to grab the screen captures. I actually bounce over to Premiere Pro to do a lot of the editing and using After Effects for any of the graphics. And then just on the workflow standpoint, I share editorial responsibilities with my partner in San Francisco, I’m on the east coast, so we work right out of Dropbox. It lends for a quick workflow and we can turn these around, like I said, four to eight videos per month. We can turn them around quickly.

Larry Jordan:  Tonight we’re looking ahead to NAB. What technology trends relating to effects are you expecting? What’s going to be hot?

Joseph Nilo:  It’s hard to keep up. When I go to NAB, and I walk around on the floor, I’m just as wide eyed as anybody else. From my standpoint, I tend to be excited about the software announcements to see what’s coming from Adobe and Cinema 4D on the software side of things. When it comes to trends, I like to see less and less of visual effects because they become more ingrained in reality if that makes sense. I want to go along for the ride, I want to see a motion captured actor that looks perfect. I want to see graphics on screen and UI that are flawless and just go along for the ride whenever I’m going to see a movie.

Joseph Nilo:  On the other side of things, my world is more in the corporate world. When it comes to graphics it’s always changing. I’m seeing more colorful palettes coming out, I’m seeing  these retro 2D animations are very big right now. Maybe a mix with those 2D graphics, a mix of the actual 3D elements as well so it’s hard to keep up. I watch as many movies as I can and when I can see commercials, which I don’t as much anymore, I’m blown away with what’s coming out of Hollywood and New York City and all the big markets.

Larry Jordan:  FxFactory also has a YouTube channel. What’s your role with that?

Joseph Nilo:  For many years now, I’ve had a look back, and I’ve been doing videos for FxFactory since 2008.

Larry Jordan: Oh my goodness.

Joseph Nilo:  I’ve done one million videos at this point, I have no idea. It’s been going and going and it’s fun too. I was telling Niclas the other day if this were accounting software, I would be way less excited, but because I’m a video professional, I get all the new plugins, and I get to play with them, and create videos for them. But what we’re trying to do with the YouTube channel is make it more of a pro video portal, so it’s not just pushing their products all the time. Whatever I can think of showing my different workflow stuff, bigger or more specific subject matter like how to do a proper green screen, or how to stack a bunch of plugins on 3D animations to make them more realistic, or color correction. So there’s more of interest to different people not just do the FxFactory plugins.

Larry Jordan:  As you look at the plugins that are being developed by developers, does it go in waves? Are you seeing that some things are popular at one time, and other things are popular at another? And if so, what’s a hot wave right now?

Joseph Nilo: The big wave right now is there’s a lot going on in the Final Cut Pro world. I do probably 80 percent of my work in Premiere Pro but I end up jumping over to Final Cut Pro just to use these FxFactory plugins. What I’m seeing are a lot of text animations and infographics and pre professionally animated elements that you can create for the corporate environment or for social media videos, things like that. So there’s just tons of stuff coming out there that makes the professional video editor’s job a lot easier, and creates just gorgeous graphics that you don’t have to do by hand. Just great looking templates.

Larry Jordan:  It’s interesting how social media has totally changed how we approach creating videos, especially for the corporate market. Would you agree?

Joseph Nilo: Yes. You know, you have to roll with it when you’re a professional, so yes, doing things a little bit differently, creating square videos and putting titles and click here and subscribe here. We’re having to do a lot more for our clients for social media, yes.

Larry Jordan:  What’s your most interesting plugin over the last few months? What one made you giggle when you saw it?

Joseph Nilo:  I giggle all day long, that’s how I am. What I was just saying about the text and some of the pre built animations, there’s a developer called Premium VFX, nice folks out of Brazil, and they make just really gorgeous text animals and infographics and transitions that just add a real dynamic flair to everything and allow you to move, fly your text around. I just think back to when, if you wanted to come up with a gorgeous looking infographic, you would sit down and spend six hours in After Effects, or buy this plugin and it’s been done for you and it’s gorgeous. So any time I can make my job easier, and please the client, that makes me happy. So Premium VFX, they have some great stuff.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to explore the app store of visual effects, where can they go on the web?

Joseph Nilo: Go to fxfactory.com and it’s a free download and you get to try everything out for free.

Larry Jordan: That website is all one word, fxfactory.com and Joseph Nilo is the head of training for FxFactory and Joseph, thanks for joining us today.

Joseph Nilo: Thanks for having me.

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

Larry Jordan:  For this week’s NAB insight, I want to introduce William Goldenberg. He won the Academy Award, BAFTA and ACE award for film editing with Ben Affleck’s Best Picture winner, ‘Arg’ and received Oscar, BAFTA and ACE nominations for editing ‘The Imitation Game,’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’ He’s also been nominated for an Oscar for film editing with ‘Seabiscuit’ and ‘The Insider.’ Hello William, welcome.

William Goldenberg: Hi, thank you for having me.

Larry Jordan: I could spend an hour just talking with you about the Imitation Game and I rewatch ‘Seabiscuit’ every six months because it’s such a great story that’s well told. So congratulations on your career.

William Goldenberg: Oh thank you, it’s been a fun ride.

Larry Jordan:  You’re keynoting the upcoming future of cinema conference at the 2019 NAB show which we’ll talk about in just a minute. But first, what got you started as an editor?

William Goldenberg: Well when I was in college at … University in Philadelphia, I was originally planning on being a doctor. In my senior year I had a class called experimental video, did a lot of editing and overwhelmingly frightened to show any of it to anybody in the last week of school. Instead of showing my final project, I showed all my projects. My professor is very enthusiastic about my ability as an editor and I loved doing it and he was very complimentary about it and everything seemed to click at that moment, so when I moved to California right after graduation, I came here with the idea of being a film editor but didn’t really know how to do it. Took about eight months getting a job as a PA for a small television production company. They were about to make a television movie, they asked me if I wanted to be an onset PA, but I asked them if I could be the apprentice editor and fortunately for me they said yes. Then ultimately, after a few years, I ended up working for Michael Kahn who is Steven Spielberg’s editor.

Larry Jordan: How did you connect up with Mr Kahn?

William Goldenberg: I was working on a film called ‘Punchline’ with an editor named Bruce Green who I worked with on several films. Bruce had been Michael’s first assistant during the ‘Indiana Jones’ years. Michael was looking for a new first assistant and Bruce recommended me and I went and interviewed with Michael, we hit it off and he hired me.  When the opportunity came up to work with Michael, I realized that was a great way for me to have somebody as a mentor. I mean he mentored Bruce, he mentored many other editors who were his assistants, so I saw an opportunity to get mentored by arguably one of the top five film editors of all time. So Michael and I hit it off and he was able to train me I guess in his philosophy about editing.

Larry Jordan: What were some of the key things he taught you?

William Goldenberg: The biggest lesson he taught me was how to take criticism. What I do is take criticism for a living. Mostly people don’t say good things, they say the bad things when they watch a film, when you’re in the process of trying to make the film as best it can be. You show the studio, you show other people and mostly what you hear are the bad things. And what Michael taught me was, not to take it personally. Was to embrace notes and changes and criticism with enthusiasm and with curiosity as opposed to getting your feelings hurt. Because ultimately it’s not about me, it’s about the film, and what’s best for the film. Criticism isn’t meant at me personally, it’s just what’s working and what’s not working in the film.  Amongst the 50 or 60 other things he taught me, that was the most important.

Larry Jordan: Let’s put your editing hat on. I want to give you a couple of scenarios and have you tell me what your thought process is.  When you’re first attached to a project, what’s your process as you think about the editing ahead? How do you get started?

William Goldenberg: Well what I do is I read the script obviously and discuss the screenplay with the director and understand what kind of film he or she is trying to make. The more discussions I have with the director, the more I have their thoughts running through my brain while I’m cutting. Why they’re shooting with a certain style, what they’re going for, what kind of tone they’re trying to set with the film? That’s really one of the most important things is understanding the tone of the film. Then depending on what the subject matter is, I’ll do as much research as I can about what really happened, if the story is fact based or a book, I’ll read the book. Try and get as familiar with the subject matter as possible, what kind of lives the characters would really be living.

William Goldenberg:  And also what I’ll do is, I listen to a lot of music, movie scores or … songs, and try and set a soundscape for what the music will eventually be by creating a blueprint for the composer by using … music. So I’ll listen to a ton of music and make myself a working library and make notes about what I like about certain things so that when I … action scene, or an emotional scene, I’ll hopefully have listened to music before I’ve gotten started, so I say this might work or that might work and it really helps I think give the composer a blueprint about how music can be used in the film.  So those are the things I do to sort of get myself ready.

Larry Jordan: We’re now in the middle of cutting and you’re about to cut a fight scene. What are you looking for in coverage and how do you approach it?

William Goldenberg: A fight scene, or any action scene, I’m hoping that there’s a story. The best action scenes are ones with a story, a beginning, middle and an end. It’s not just a good place for a lot of action. What I’ll certainly try and do is know what that story is and try and tell that story even though it’s maybe a fight, hopefully there’s a story to that fight, not just we’re going to beat the crap out of each other. On the other side of that scene, there’s some sort of story element that’s evolved. I’m also looking for a lot of pieces of film that make it personal because I think what grabs an audience is latching on to the story and then also the characters. So I’m looking for beats where you really see if one person’s losing in a fight, they’re looking really distressed. I mean I know it sounds simple but a lot of times I think editors get trapped into a lot of flash and a lot of fancy editing, but when the audience doesn’t feel like they’re with the characters, I think was filmmakers lose the audience. So I’m also looking to really personalize any action scene so you’re being carried through by either a story element or the actor or the character’s journey. So the audience can latch onto something that’s personal.

Larry Jordan: How do you tell the director they don’t have enough coverage?

William Goldenberg: You really are  part psychologist. You’re trying to perk up the director, if you have a director who’s had a horrible day, say “Take a look at this scene I cut, it came out great.” Try and lift their spirits by showing them something that really works and get them back and enthusiastic about going to shoot the next day. I feel like that’s part of my job because you don’t want to bullshit the director but you want them to keep their spirits high, keep their enthusiasm high. It’s an incredibly difficult job to direct a feature film, so there are highs and lows and you want to try and eliminate as many lows as possible.

Larry Jordan: What’s a hard scene for you to edit and what makes it difficult?

William Goldenberg: It’s a funny question because there can be a scene with one character or two characters and it’s very simple, and that can be harder than a scene with 50,000 feet of film and a million characters and it depends on so many factors. What the acting is like? What the temperature’s like? I’d say one of the hardest scenes I ever cut was the raid in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and it was hard because it was so real in terms of the way it was lit and shot, so it was very dark, all the SEALs are wearing basically the same uniform with night vision goggles on, and you’re in a compound with a lot of white walls and a lot of different hallways and rooms and people are spread out all over the compound. So keeping the geography straight and what was going on for the audience, of all these different things that are going on simultaneously, that’s incredibly difficult. These things are all happening at exactly the same time so how do you show the audience that and not confuse them? In that situation, there was a sniper that was on the roof of one of the buildings in the compound that they stationed and we used him as a jumping off point. His shots up on top and sort of reorient the audience, so it’s scenes like that, that can be very difficult. You’re just using your instincts about what makes sense, and what is clear, but you really don’t know till you show an audience.

Larry Jordan: Editing is one of those jobs where when you’ve done excellent work, nobody notices. I’ve always found that frustrating. How do you deal with pouring all your energy into making a scene work, only to have nobody notice? They just say, “Yeah.”

William Goldenberg: I get a feeling when I’m at the beginning of cutting a scene and there’s a huge amount of film and there’s issues with performance or coverage or whatever. Or there’s no issues, it’s just a really emotionally difficult scene, scenes can be difficult in so many ways. But when I put it together, and I know that it works, I don’t need somebody to pat me on the back. I like it. I don’t need to be  famous, I just want to do a good job and tell good stories. That’s enough for me. I like being in the unsung hero role, it’s OK for me.

Larry Jordan: In April you’re keynoting the future of cinema conference. From my understanding this is a discussion. What’s the purpose of it?

William Goldenberg: The purpose is to give others some insight to people who don’t have as much experience as I do or haven’t worked on the sort of films that I’ve worked on, give them insight into what I think makes good editing, makes good editors, gives them a little bit of my background so they understand the process of starting from a college student all the way to hopefully cutting feature films. So give them some insights into how I cut, why I cut, give some insight into what I think editing is and how to get there.

Larry Jordan: Well as you know, the creative media industry is under a lot of stress today. Competition, budgets, technology changes. What do you see as the future of cinema?

William Goldenberg: I see that it’s an ever evolving thing and I think obviously all these streaming services are going to continue, and content’s coming from everywhere now. There’s a big discussion about what makes a feature film. Is it a feature film if it’s a Netflix film? Is it not?  But I think that all these content providers and all this competition is fantastic. Feature films being made, Netflix films, series, Amazon series, there’s so much wonderful content. So I don’t know what it holds in store for the business in terms of financially and all that, the business part of it all, but I know creatively it’s just fantastic. There’s so much good material, so much good content that there isn’t a day that goes by where somebody will say to me, “Have you seen this series?” or “Have you seen this Netflix show?” or “Seen this show on Paramount streaming service?” Things I’d never heard of, there’s so much good stuff. So as compared to ten, 15 years ago, not that there wasn’t good product, but it wasn’t nearly what it is now and television has started telling wonderful stories, and big budget projects and I think it’s all fantastic. The discussion about what constitutes a feature film and what doesn’t? That’s important but I think what’s most important is telling great stories, so I see the future as bright. I don’t know about in terms of the creative element of it, I can’t speak to the financial element or the argument about what’s a feature and what’s not, but I think creatively it’s really a wonderful time.

Larry Jordan: That presentation is called The Future of Cinema. It’s a special track conference at the 2019 NAB show and you can learn more about it by visiting NABshow.com. As a last comment, what advice do you have for filmmakers who are in the middle of their career and just need some enthusiastic comment to keep charging forward against all the resistance that we’re seeing in our industry today?

William Goldenberg: Keep trying to tell great stories. The thing that I love about my job is being a storyteller. I’ve never lost my enthusiasm for that, whether I’m working on a project that is a smaller project that I’m not really even that interested in, but just needed a job. Or the most satisfying project I’ve ever worked on. I always get the same jolt of energy from the fact that I’ve told a great story, whether it’s a scene I’m cutting, it’s always to me about being a storyteller. I’ve never lost sight of how much fun that is. It always gets me excited about being lucky enough to be an editor.

Larry Jordan: William Goldenberg is an ACE editor, an Academy Award, BAFTA and ACE award winning editor and has edited most of the great films we’ve seen in the recent past. William thanks for joining us today.

William Goldenberg: Alright, my pleasure, thank you.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking, a press release from frame.io caught my eye this morning. Emery Wells, the CEO of frame.io announced that frame.io is “now SOC 2 type 2 compliant.” This means that frame.io successfully completed a rigorous ongoing security audit that demonstrates frame.io not only met but far exceeded current industry security standards. This security audit is, according to frame.io, the gold standard for security compliance for software as a service companies. Type one compliance which they passed a while ago, defines security at a specific point in time. Meaning that frame.io demonstrated to external third party auditors their ability to successfully design, and implement security controls, policies and procedures to secure and encrypt your media on their servers.

Larry Jordan: Type two compliance which they announced today, is much more rigorous. This requires that frame.io demonstrate their ability to maintain those same security controls, policies, procedures and standards successfully throughout the examination period from July until today without any exception. These are standards that cover the training of employees, to the distribution of company software and hardware, and even to the protocols for guests that visit their New York headquarters.

Larry Jordan: This audit included examination of their policies and procedures regarding network connectivity, firewall configurations, systems development lifecycle computer operations, logical access, data transmission, backup and disaster recovery and other critical operational areas of their business.

Larry Jordan: The reason I mention this is that many times when I talk to tech companies, they make a big deal of how the security of your data is important to them. But almost none of these companies have gone to the lengths that frame.io has to prove that your data is secure. Talk is cheap and as we’ve seen over and over, especially in social media, it is easy to promise security while not actually delivering anything of substance.

Larry Jordan: Frame.io has put their money and I mean lots of money, into living up to their promises to keep our data secure. This is a major accomplishment and they deserve congratulations. If you want to learn more, or more importantly, understand the kinds of questions you should actually be asking your cloud vendors, visit the frame.io website. They have set a high bar for other service companies to meet. Just something I’m thinking about.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank our guests this week, film editor William Goldenberg, Ross Shain with Boris FX, Joseph Nilo with FxFactory, Jonathan Handel with the Hollywood Reporter, and James DeRuvo with doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan:   There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today.  Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Saturday morning.

Larry Jordan:  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  

Larry Jordan:   Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com.  

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 2019 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz – March 7, 2019

Tonight, we have an in-depth conversation with Oscar-winning editor William Goldenberg (“Argo,”), a look at new trends and technology in visual effects, and an update on how the Writer’s Guild managed to make everyone in Hollywood angry this week.

By the way, if you enjoy The Buzz, please give us a positive rating and review in the iTunes Store. We appreciate your support to help us grow our audience.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Jonathan Handel, Ross Shain, Joseph Nilo, William Goldenberg and James DeRuvo.

  • Guild Update: WGA Angers Everybody
  • State-of-the-Art Trends in Effects
  • Create Compelling Software Demos
  • Editing – The Invisible Art
  • The Weekly doddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week


Guild Update: WGA Angers Everybody

Jonathan Handel
Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney & Labor Reporter, TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter
Jonathan Handel, contributing editor on entertainment labor issues for “The Hollywood Reporter” shares his insight on recent secret Writers Guild meetings that managed to anger just about everyone associated with writers in Hollywood.


State-of-the-Art Trends in Effects

Ross Shain
Ross Shain, Chief Product Officer, Mocha from Boris FX
Ross Shain is an accomplished visual effects industry veteran and the Chief Product Officer of Mocha from Boris FX. In 2013, Ross was recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures with a Science and Engineering Academy Award for his work on the design of Mocha Pro planar tracking software. Tonight, he shares his thoughts on new trends in effects.


Create Compelling Software Demos

Joseph Nilo
Joseph Nilo, Head of Training, FxFactory
Joseph Nilo is Head of Training for FX Factory. Tonight he explains how he creates a compelling demo or training video, their new YouTube channel, and key trends in effects he’s looking to see at NAB next month.


Editing – The Invisible Art

William Goldenberg
William Goldenberg, ACE
He won the Academy Award, BAFTA and A.C.E. Award for film editing with Ben Affleck’s Best Picture winner “Argo,” and received Oscar, BAFTA and A.C.E nominations for editing “The Imitation Game,” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” He’s also been nominated for an Oscar for film editing with “Seabiscuit,” and “The Insider. Tonight, as part of NAB Insight, William Goldenberg shares his thoughts on editing.


The Weekly doddleNEWS Update

James DeRuvo
James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, doddleNEWS.
James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief at doddleNEWS, has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. With experience covering technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James presents our weekly doddleNEWS Update.

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – February 28, 2019

HOST

Larry Jordan

GUESTS

Jim Malcolm, General Manager, North America, Humaneyes Technologies

Tom Coughlin, President, Coughlin Associates, Inc.

Larry O’Connor, Founder & CEO, Other World Computing

Sam Mestman, CEO, Lumaforge

Jordan Winkelman, Solutions Architect, Quantum

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, doddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are looking at the current state of storage and there are big surprises coming. We start though with NAB Insight. Jim Malcolm, General Manager for North America, for Humaneyes, talks about improving diversity in immersive media. In fact, they’re hosting an event at NAB in April, to encourage more women and minorities to create immersive experiences.

Larry Jordan: Next, we shift to storage with Tom Coughlin, President of Coughlin and Associates; setting the scene for emerging new storage technology. They will hear more about it at NAB. Faster storage, yes, but even more intriguing is permanent storage that’s so fast, it could replace RAM.

Larry Jordan: Next, Larry O’Connor, CEO of OWC, explains new storage technology trends that we might see at NAB, that relate to direct attached storage. One of the questions I’m very curious about is whether RAIDs are about to be replaced by something even faster.

Larry Jordan: Next, Sam Mestman, President of Lumaforge, showcases new trends in shared storage that can improve the workflow of workgroups. What questions do you need to ask, when considering adding shared storage to your editing workflow?

Larry Jordan: Next, Jordan Winkelman, Solutions Architect for Quantum, showcases their newest storage system built around MVME; a new storage architecture that is far, far faster than any single device we’ve worked with before.

Larry Jordan: All this, plus James DeRuvo with this week’s doddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.

Male Voiceover: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking. Authoritative: One show serves a worldwide network of media professional. 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. Hello, my name is Larry Jordan. NAB Insight is our behind the scenes look at the upcoming NAB Show. We’re all familiar with the tradeshow itself; but there is a lot more going on that you may not know about. NAB Insight helps you plan your trip, to make the most of what’s available.

Larry Jordan: Tonight, Jim Malcolm, General Manager for North America, for Humaneyes, describes an event they’re hosting at NAB; seeking to get more women and minorities involved in creating interactive, immersive experiences. For too long, most media has been created by men; however, all of us have interesting stories to tell, or experiences to share. I’m looking forward to chatting with Jim, to learn more about what he’s planning.

Larry Jordan: By the way, if you enjoy the Buzz, please give us a positive rating and review in the iTunes store. We appreciate your support, to help us grow our audience. Now it’s time for our weekly doddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James, happy Thursday.

James DeRuvo: Happy Thursday Larry.

Larry Jordan: So what have we got that’s news this week?

James DeRuvo: This last weekend was the Oscars and I remember, last week, we did a story about how ARRI was dominant in most of the Oscar nominations for Best Picture this year. With the exception of documentaries. When you get into documentaries, the camera that’s dominant are Canon cameras; which I found very interesting. Canon cameras were used in every single documentary nominated at the Academy Awards; mostly the C300 Mark II and the Canon 5D Mark III.

Larry Jordan: What makes Canon so popular.

James DeRuvo: When you look at the lower cost of the Canon Cinema EOS platform, it’s ergonomic; but, especially, its compact design makes it a lot of sense for documentarians who would rather shoot out in the field. Especially when you look at the Oscar winner this year for Best Documentary, Free Solo. It was about a free climber climbing sheer rock faces of mountains all around the world and when you’re the poor cameraman that has to follow him up the mountainside, it makes sense that you want to keep yourself as nimble as possible and that’s what that Cinema EOS C300 lets you do. It makes a lot of sense to me.

Larry Jordan: ARRI got the features and Canon got the documentaries.

James DeRuvo: Yes.

Larry Jordan: Well we’ve had a lot of camera news recently; so, do you have something different this week for our second story?

James DeRuvo: I have a rather depressing story, quite frankly. YouTube’s copyright system, honestly, I think it’s irretrievably broken; as it is now being used by blackmailers, to blackmail content creators to pay them money to remove copyright strikes. YouTube content creators are complaining that they are being hit with multiple copyright strikes by phantom users; who then contact them, demanding money be paid to them via Bitcoin, or PayPal.

James DeRuvo:  YouTube’s appeals process also opens the creator up to further harassment; as they have to provide contact information that the blackmailer can see and exploit and all the monetisation and counter notification options are removed during the copyright claim process; so there’s very little a content creator can do. They can appeal, but most of them are not comfortable in doing so.

Larry Jordan: So they’re hit with a false claim for copyright infringement and, during the processing of that false claim, the YouTuber loses the ability to make money on their video?

James DeRuvo: Yes and the videos are just automatically taken down.

Larry Jordan: YouTube’s labouring under a host of problems recently. What’s going on?

James DeRuvo: I think it’s just a case of, they’re just too big. They’re a victim of their own success really. Since YouTube has changed their monetisation policies, in order to please advertisers; you know, the whole adpocalypse issue that came about last year, these channels have to work a lot harder to reach an arbitrary plateau. The plateau is 4,000 viewing hours a year, 10,000 subscribers and 10,000 views in a year and you have to renew that every single year, in order to qualify for monetisation.

James DeRuvo: Smaller channels don’t have to worry about a lot of stuff, because they’re not making any money; but those that are right on the cusp, who just qualify, are a prime target for these blackmailers. The bigger, top YouTube channels, like ABC and Jimmy Kimmel and the Tonight Show and those, they don’t have to worry about that; they have concierge services through YouTube directly. They can just pick up the phone, make a call if there’s a problem and it gets handled. But these smaller guys, the guys somewhere in the middle, they just make the requirements, they’re just starting to make money and then they get hit with copyright claims by blackmailers.

James DeRuvo: YouTube is very hesitant to help, because, they don’t want to come down as ruling against a copyright claim who may be legitimate; even though, most of the time they’re not. It’s a really unfortunate situation and I honestly think it’s broken and it can’t be fixed.

Larry Jordan: Well you’re right, that’s depressing. Let’s move onto our third story. What have you got for that?

James DeRuvo: I have a religious debate for you.

Larry Jordan: Go for it.

James DeRuvo: The big question being presented this week is, are ISO ratings and cameras totally faked? A professional photographer named Tony Northrup took to YouTube this week, to make the case that camera ISO ratings are completely fake; they’re just made up. He says that, today’s digital image sensors are largely ISO agnostic and you can just adjust your lower ISO image in post, up to five stops; even when it’s completely in darkened light and it will look nearly identical as something that’s shot at a higher ISO.

James DeRuvo: He also says that, camera ISO ratings are wildly all over the place; not only from manufacturer to manufacturer, but sometimes from model to model inside of a manufacturer. It’s a very compelling case on YouTube about it and it’s starting to cause photographers to really debate it online. I do think that it is worth talking about and it’s something that camera companies could largely solve, by just being more transparent in how they give us these ISO ratings. They just don’t tell us, they just make it up.

Larry Jordan: What other stories are you working on for this week?

James DeRuvo: Well, other stories we’re following this week include Adobe fixes audio issues and a Premiere that could cause speakers in your MacBook Pro to blow out. Are action cameras hitting a feature plateau? Also, we have great new hardware and software reviews.

Larry Jordan: Where can we go on the web, to follow these and all the other stories that you and your team are covering?

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

Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the Editor-in-Chief of doddleNEWS and joins us every week. I’ll see you next Thursday.

James DeRuvo: See you next week.

Larry Jordan: Jim Malcolm is the General Manager for North America, for Humaneyes Technologies. He’s responsible for managing the Vuze VR camera product ecosystem and he also sits on the Board of Directors for the Consumer Technology Association and is a past President of the Imaging Alliance. Hello Jim, welcome.

Jim Malcolm: Hello Larry, how are you today?

Larry Jordan: I am doing great, because I’m looking forward to our conversation. In the past, you and I have talked about the VR products that Humaneyes creates. But tonight, on our NAB Insight segment, I’m going to learn more about what you personally are doing at NAB in April. I understand you’re speaking at the Conference; what are you talking about?

Jim Malcolm: I’ll not only be on the stage myself speaking, but what we’re trying to do right now is, really showcase some real use case scenarios in virtual reality and, quite frankly, showcase some of the women in technology. We’ll be on stage with a programme called Teaching Students the Power and the Future of VR and I will share the stage with a lady by the name of Kathleen Johnson.

Larry Jordan: When did you pick this subject?

Jim Malcolm: You know, there’s obviously a lot going on in technology right now; a lot happening in virtual reality and, when I start looking at the amazing storytellers that are out there, there’s a lot of women out there that are maybe under-represented, or they don’t often get a stage. We thought this would be a great platform to showcase Kathleen and the work that she’s doing with the Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma.

Larry Jordan: Well, is this going to be presented in your booth, or is it presented somewhere else?

Jim Malcolm: It’s actually somewhere else. We are going to hold this event in the North Hall, at the Las Vegas Convention Centre. There is something called the Innovation Theatre there. We’ll be in the Innovation Theatre, North Hall, Las Vegas Convention Centre.

Larry Jordan: Give me an example of what a typical presentation would be. I know that you’re still in flux, but how have you got it sketched in your mind?

Jim Malcolm: We will be on stage for about 45 minutes and we’re going to talk about what the University of Oklahoma is doing to bring virtual reality to life. That’s not just the computer programming side of things, but the ability to take linear video and bring it in. Through one of those programmes, I think we’ll showcase and show the Journalism School and the efforts that they’re doing with sending students to Washington D.C. to report on government issues in virtual reality.

Larry Jordan: What was it that got you connected to the University of Oklahoma in the first place?

Jim Malcolm: They’re one of the heavy users of the Vuze VR cameras and they’ve been building a pretty good portfolio of student work; largely because the Vuze camera’s so simple to use; they can put it in the hands of a student, have them run out and shoot and they can run back and produce all within one class.

Larry Jordan: Are you going to be doing VR at the show itself, or just talking about it?

Jim Malcolm: At the talk, we’re going to be talking about it; but another group of us are going to be over running some events, or daily workshops, that we’re going to hold over at the Wynn Hotel. At these, we’re going to solicit small groups of between six and eight students and we’ll hold a couple of sessions each day. We’ll go out and film around the hotel and then come back and make a final piece in virtual reality.

Larry Jordan: So you’re going to be dashing between the North Hall, to do the presentations, the Wynn Hotel to do the VR stuff and then your booth to be able to showcase the final result. You are going to wear yourself out.

Jim Malcolm: Well, you know what the good thing about NAB is, it’s similar to other tradeshows in Vegas.  Just wear nice shoes, or comfortable shoes. I guess they don’t have to be nice, they have to be comfortable.

Larry Jordan: Very true, the comfortable part is the most important. If you were to sketch a goal, for what you’d like your presentations and talks to accomplish, what would it be?

Jim Malcolm: It’s really about putting the role of VR video; whether that’s 360 full immersive, or VR 180 stereo back into the minds of creators. For a while, the VR video component kind of got pushed back on the backburner, because maybe it wasn’t the latest and greatest shiny thing. But, now with some advances in things like Unity and Unreal, you can take linear video and make non-linear experiences out of that, in a really immersive and complete VR project.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to attend, what do they have to do? Do they have to join the Conference; or, how can they attend your talk?

Jim Malcolm: The talk itself does require you to have a badge; so you have to have access to the NAB; so any of the badge holders, you can get in with that. Because the workshops are being held off the show floor, at the hotel, we can also invite some other members, that maybe are not badged for the NAB itself.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to participate in the event at the Wynn, how do they sign up?

Jim Malcolm: They’re going to have to hold their breath just a little bit, I don’t have the signup sheet done yet. But we’ll get it all posted on vuze.camera and we’ll have links there, as well as our Facebook and other social media platform; for people to come and sign up.

Larry Jordan: As long as I’m making you feel guilty, when are you going to post the information about the North Hall events?

Jim Malcolm: You know what? My goal is to get that done by Monday. How’s that sound? I’ll try to get it done sooner but, with my programmer, I think that it’s going to be Monday before we get that out.

Larry Jordan: That sounds like a plan. So the North Hall is going to occur multiple times each day, or once a day and multiple days across the NAB?

Jim Malcolm: That just happens once and that’s going to be on April 9 at 10:30 am. It is an appointment type programme that you’re going to want to get to. April 9, 10.30 am, North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Centre, in the Innovation Theatre.

Larry Jordan: On Monday, when you’ve got this posted to the website, where can people go on the web to learn more?

Jim Malcolm: Again, it’s going to be www.vuze.camera.

Larry Jordan: That’s vuze.camera and Jim Malcolm is the General Manager for North America, for Humaneyes Technology and the driving force behind the Vuze VR camera ecosystem. Jim, thanks for joining us today, I wish you great success and get this posted quickly; because I think a lot of people would like to sign up.

Jim Malcolm: I will indeed. Thanks for the reminder.

Larry Jordan: You take care. Have a busy weekend. We’ll talk to you soon.

Male Voiceover: Join the Digital Production Buzz at the 2019 NAB Show in Last Vegas, Nevada. Starting Monday April 8, Larry Jordan and The Buzz team are taking their microphones on the road; to cover the latest news and trends from the largest media show in the world. Every hour of every day, The Buzz is live on the tradeshow floor; creating 27 news shows in four days; more than 100 interviews with key industry leaders.

Male Voiceover: The Buzz has webcast directly from NAB for 11 years, with legendary coverage that’s heard in more than 195 countries around the world. If you’re visiting the show, visit us at Booth SL10 527 and say hello; or join us live every day of the show at nabshowbuzz.com. Join us as the Buzz covers NAB 2019, live at nabshowbuzz.com.

Larry Jordan: Tom Coughlin is a Silicon Valley Consultant, a Storage Analyst and a Fellow of the IEEE; as well as the organiser of the Annual Storage Visions and Creative Storage Conferences. Hello Tom, welcome back.

Tom Coughlin: Hello Larry, thank you.

Larry Jordan: How would you describe what Coughlin and Associates does?

Tom Coughlin: Coughlin Associates is a firm I started around 2000. We’ve been putting on some events; you mentioned Creative Storage, Storage Visions are some of those events and we were a share of the Flash Memory Summit for ten years. We do market and technology analysis; in fact, there’s an annual report on Digital Storage in Media and Entertainment and, also, a survey of media entertainment professionals on the use of storage; that partially uses some of that survey data. In addition, I do consulting of all different sorts; on digital storage technologies and applications; all manner of things from technical things, to due diligence for investors and things of that sort.

Larry Jordan: What first got you interested in storage?

Tom Coughlin: I first got interested in storage, actually, in college. I had a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and I was working at a company the south of Minneapolis and they had a magnetic sensor that I was working on. It was a thin film device and I needed to make some magnetic measurements. There is a Fellow at the University of Minnesota, Professor Jack Judy and he had some measurement equipment. I was able to go there and use that and I met him and I thought he was a pretty cool guy. He was working on magnetic recording technologies; particularly with thin film magnetic recording technology.

Tom Coughlin: I got initially into magnetic recording, worked on the Heads in media, for instance, that work in hard disk drives and tapes and even floppy disks back in the day. My initial activities in storage were actually making the devices on which you store things on and I, you know, kept up with what’s been going on in the industry; both in the system level and software and device level sensing.

Larry Jordan: I want to ask you about new technology; but before I do, this report on media and entertainment intrigues me. What are you learning about the storage needs in media and entertainment?

Tom Coughlin: Media and entertainment, actually, all the different elements in the workflow may have somewhat different requirements. Whether it’s capturing content on camera, or doing post-production work; editing post-production, distributing content or archiving. They have different characteristics and different sort of storage devices may be used for it. It’s been fascinating to see the development of those technologies. Files are getting larger, because the resolutions are going up. 4K is very common, there’s 8K out there, there’s even people doing 16K video work nowadays and, if you do that 360, it gets to be pretty large files.

Tom Coughlin: The same time people are doing that, the amount of storage is growing much, much faster than the budgets for storage and, therefore, people have had to develop very clever ways of handling content and storing it. We have a great variety of different types of storage technologies that are out there now, that include the Cloud storage; you know, for people keeping things for collaboration, or even for long-term retention. Actually, more in the media and entertainment industry. That may be hard disk drives, may be flash even, or even possibly tape being used there.

Tom Coughlin: In the editing space, a lot of that’s been hard disk drive base traditionally, but some of the data rates required for some of these new media; especially doing multi-streams of content at the same time, is actually moving to flash memory based devices. Especially some of the new flash interfaces on solid-state drives. An example of that is the NVMe non-volatile memory express interface.

Larry Jordan: One of the things that’s exciting in our industry is that we’ve got NAB coming up in a couple of months. What new technology or trends are you expecting at NAB?

Tom Coughlin: I’m expecting, of course, a growth in storage on the Cloud and things people are doing in Cloud based storage in data connected data centres. There’s very interesting things that are going on in terms of, as I mentioned before, the solid stage storage that are going to be more important in these applications.  I think we’re going to see more of that at the NAB.

Tom Coughlin: I think, in the solid state storage, there is a movement to the NVMe protocol versus the SAS and SATA; because it’s built around the capabilities of solid state and persistent memory technologies and allows you to get more of that to the outside, where the user can actually use it; versus SATA and SAS.

Larry Jordan: Is NVMe a communications protocol, like SAS; or is it a storage object itself?

Tom Coughlin: It’s more a protocol for how you handle data. There’s a group in Sneer that’s been working on a programming model and NVMe, important elements in that is the movement towards, how do I treat storage more like memory? You might see some of this at the NAB; about use of remote memory, direct memory access in a storage device; that allows you to treat memory in another box, or another place like it’s your memory. I’ve heard some really fascinating things that are being done with that, which may have some media and entertainment applications.

Tom Coughlin: There’s enormous changes going on in terms of both the direct attached storage capabilities that people have and, also, the shared storage capabilities and that also goes, of course, in the Hyperscale and the Cloud guys as well. There is also a lot of working going on, in additional to the traditional storage vendors. There are a lot of folks that are working on more open type systems, with a lot of softer defined and more generic hardware.

Larry Jordan: Exciting times in storage. There’s a whole lot going on.

Tom Coughlin: There’s a lot of stuff going on; memory and storage is, I think, a very exciting area. The other thing is possibly the use of emerging memories for media stuff.

Larry Jordan: Emerging memory, what’s that?

Tom Coughlin: Things like magnetic random access memory, resistive random access memory; a whole bunch of non-volatile memory technologies that are looking to replace volatile memory, like SRAM and DRAM in computing systems.

Larry Jordan: Which means that the memory wouldn’t disappear when the computer gets shut down.

Tom Coughlin: That’s right, or you can turn the computer off and the memory’s still there; so you can save energy and you don’t lose the data. On the other hand, also, if you want to get rid of the data, you have to intentionally do that. So there’s some fascinating things going on that I think will offer a great variety of options for people working and needing storage in the media and entertainment space; for all different parts of the workflow.

Larry Jordan: We’re going to talk to Larry O’Connor right after you; learning about direct attached storage and we’ll talk to Sam Mestman about shared storage, after we get done with Larry. Talk to me about how NVMe is going to be used. Are we looking to have NVMe, which is again a protocol not an object, replace SSDs; or is it going to replace RAIDs; or is it going to be something totally different?

Tom Coughlin: It’s a little more complicated than that. The NVMe interface itself is going to be a new solid state drive type interface; which can come in many different form factors and many different physical connections; but it’s going to replace SAS and SATA eventually. Right now, it’s more expensive; but because of the additional performance it gives and the commitment that the storage industry has made to this technology, I think the costs are going to go down very fast and it’s going to eventually replace, for a lot of new storage, the SATA and SAS traditional storage systems.

Tom Coughlin: In fact, there’s even some talk about building hard drive boxes, that would have an NVMe interface. I think Western Digital introduced a product like that last year, as part of some NVMe work they were doing.

Tom Coughlin: The other side of it is, that the NVMe protocol, there’s developed technologies for carrying that over a fabric; for instance, a fibre channel, or InfiniBand type of fabrics and, more recently, and this is probably going to be the most exciting, with the Ethernet type fabrics; so with IP based systems.

Tom Coughlin: There’s a lot of work going into creating IP based storage systems that are using NVMe over fabric and the fabric, in that case, being the Ethernet connectivity. That could be part, actually, of digital workflows like the SMPTE Ethernet based workflows being promoted down and becoming very popular in the elements of media and entertainment industry.

Larry Jordan: Recently, Quantum announced a new product, which is NVMe based and a little later in the show, we’re going to be talking with Jordan Winkelman, who is a Solutions Architect for Quantum; to learn more about what this box can do.

Tom Coughlin: Excellent.

Larry Jordan: I think you’re right, we’re seeing some significant changes in storage technology and especially in speeds. For people that want to learn more about what’s happening in storage, or purchase your media and entertainment report, where can they go on the web?

Tom Coughlin: You can find information on that in what’s called the Tech Papers section of the tomcoughlin.com webpage.

Larry Jordan: Tomcoughlin.com is the website and Tom Coughlin himself is the voice you’ve been listening to. A Silicon Valley Consultant, Storage Analyst and President of Coughlin and Associates. Tom, thanks for joining us today.

Tom Coughlin: You’re welcome Larry. Always a pleasure to talk to you.

Larry Jordan: Larry O’Connor is the Founder and CEO of Other World Computing; which we all know as OWC. He founded it in 1988 and is both a reseller and a developer, supporting all things Mac for more than 30 years. Hello Larry, welcome back.

Larry O’Connor: Hey, thanks for having me back Larry. Always a pleasure.

Larry Jordan: Well it’s always fun talking to you, because every time I do, I learn something and I suspect that’s going to be the case tonight as well. In the last segment, we heard Tom Coughlin give us an overview of new storage technology; with an eye toward trends coming out at NAB. From your perspective, focusing more on direct attached storage, what trends are you expecting at NAB this year?

Larry O’Connor: Bigger, faster and more need for it.  I think that’s it, in a nutshell.

Larry Jordan: Bigger, faster and more. Well let’s pick faster; because that’s something we’re reflecting on. What’s going to make us faster?

Larry O’Connor: I think it’s flash and just the general innovation and availability and cost of flash. Just the technology itself, you know, it’s unbelievable how fast you can access storage. The likes of Thunderbolt and you don’t even have to have a … , you can plug things in with a copper cable.

Larry Jordan: Are you seeing speed changes due to faster protocols; or are you seeing the hardware itself getting faster?

Larry O’Connor: Well, the hardware has to get faster, to take advantage of the protocols; but the interfaces, we’ve gone to PCI 10, 20, 30 and 40s on the blocks and each time that we … the PCI interface, we were doubling the bandwidth per channel. Thunderbolt, of course, is an extension to PCIe and, for PCIe, effectively, that’s a path straight to the heart of the computer.

Larry O’Connor: Now it used to be, you go through Firewire … USB, we had SATA, you had all these layers and now we have these interfaces that let us, effectively, interface that storage right where with the CPU, right with the system and it’s, for lack of a better term, I mean, there’s nothing between you and that super highway. Everything operates at maximum efficiency. You don’t have to think about how it all works, you can just plug it in. That’s the miracle of technology, it just works.

Larry Jordan: Well I suspect somebody on your team is thinking a lot about how to make it work; but from our end, we just plug it in. One of the things that Tom was talking about is a new storage protocol called NVMe; which stands for non-volatile memory express. How does that fit into your vision flor locally attached storage? Is it something that applies, or is it not relevant?

Larry O’Connor: We actually introduced our first NVMe flash drive, you know, just a year and a half ago and it absolutely applies and it opens doors. If you go back to the way storage was you may use a PCI interface to connect the storage, but there was a controller, or something in between the processor and that storage that’s actually negotiating and handling the transaction.

Larry O’Connor: The flash which is, you know, effectively a memory in its own right, is something that’s extremely fast and anything you can do to take away barriers between it and the processor is a more, how shall we say, frictionless experience, in terms of the CPU manipulating … working on a project. I guess, instead of having a funnel, you know, everything has to go into this funnel and work its way through, you basically have a wide open pipe.

Larry O’Connor: There’s also a super fire command set, in terms of, there is less translation. It’s almost, instead of having an operating language over binary coding in machine language.

Larry Jordan: Is there the potential that NVMe is so fast that it would replace a RAID? Because RAID is essentially taking slower devices and ganging them together, for greater storage capacity and greater performance; but NVMe has the potential for vastly greater performance than any RAID.

Larry O’Connor: It does, but you still have limitations, the actual hardware has to … technology itself.  The nice thing with NVMe it’s channelized and with PCIe you have, effectively, lanes to the processor. It’s really just great for …. You can effectively say yes, you can limit it, RAID. I guess I’ll just answer it by saying yes and no.

Larry Jordan: The infamous it depends answer. Yes. Another issue that came up this week regarding storage is the renaming of USB that the USB Naming Committee decided to go through. I was going to ask if you had an opinion; so, what’s your opinion?

Larry O’Connor: You know, they already confused the world with the whole 31 and GEN I and GEN 2 and now everything’s just suddenly going to be 3.2; because that’s just going to make all the sense in the world to everybody. You know, we had a conversation about this yesterday. I like where it’s going, into a unified interface actually, where USB 4 and Thunderbolt will share the same, you’d be able to plug the same device, etc.

Larry O’Connor: But the naming, people want to look at a cable and look at an interface and know that that plugs into their computer and it works. Just using 3.1 was already confusing and I don’t think most people understand what 3.1 is. The people who do understand, you know, really don’t need the renaming and the people who don’t understand, they need to have a five gigabits, ten gigabits, 20 gigabits and that doesn’t mean a whole lot other than, does that connect or plug into my computer?

Larry Jordan: It struck me as one of the more stupid decisions I’ve ever heard of; so, I’m on your side. It’s not going to help anybody except people who already know the answer.

Larry O’Connor: That’s about right.

Larry Jordan: One other thought, real quick. One of the things that you guys do is SoftRAID and one of the issues I ran into with SoftRAID is, I had to access a SoftRAID, which is a RAID device that’s done in software, rather than hardware, is access a RAID device which is several years old and the drivers were out of date. If we’re using SoftRAID, do we need to worry about it for archiving purposes?

Larry O’Connor: Going backwards, depending on the RAID that could be a challenge; but going forwards and not so much the driver, first of the later version of the SoftRAID, easy to update, it takes care of that. But the backwards compatibility is extremely strong. The simple answer would be no and the nice thing about SoftRAID for archiving, because it’s software, there’s nothing proprietary, you know, it’s very open.

Larry O’Connor: The driver is built into the OS so, in terms of future OS versions being able to access to fire SoftRAID … that’s not an issue and you never have to worry about that proprietary hardware chipset and going out and not being available to effectively put your drives back into.

Larry O’Connor: But if you pull those drives out and move it to even another of the same brand RAID a few years down the road, in addition to the fact it probably blows your RAID volume, you know, the compatibility doesn’t necessarily move around and we run into this a lot with data recovery houses, because they are always looking for some of the older RAID boxes when they have to do special recovery. You don’t have that challenge with SoftRAID.

Larry Jordan: If I’ve got an older device and I’ve got it on the shelf for a bit, just because it’s holding media, if the driver becomes out of date, when the newer version looks back at the older version, it will bring the older version back up to speed?

Larry O’Connor: Correct.

Larry Jordan: Cool. I was worried about that and I figured, I should ask the source. Larry, for people that need more information about the products that you’re going to be doing at NAB, or any of your other products, where can they go on the web?

Larry O’Connor: You can visit us at owc.com and macsales.com and you can learn all about SoftRAID, MEDIAFOUR and do a AKITIO group and, of course, all the great things that OWC and  Mac Sales has been bringing to the world for all these years.

Larry Jordan: Well, I’m looking forward to seeing what your new toys are at NAB in just a couple of months and I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas when the time comes. You take care and thanks for your time tonight.

Larry O’Connor: My pleasure Larry.

Larry Jordan: Bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: Sam Mestman is the President of Lumaforge; a company that makes server based hardware that is optimised for media editing. He’s also the Founder of We Make Movies; a Los Angeles based independent film community. Hello Sam, welcome back.

Sam Mestman: Hello Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: Sam before we get down to talking specifically about storage, how would you define Lumaforge?

Sam Mestman: So Lumaforge, I think, at its core is a workflow company; we set out to make life easier for post-production professionals and the biggest way that we realized that we could do that from the very beginning was to go after the shared storage market and make something simple, approachable, that even an editor like me could use. That’s really where it came from.

Sam Mestman: Now we are focused on making life easier for video teams everywhere, with our Jellyfish and Share Station products.

Larry Jordan: Earlier in the show, we heard from Tom Coughlin; who set the scene for storage technology and Larry O’Connor, looking at direct attack storage. Since Lumaforge focuses on shared storage, from your perspective, what trends are you expecting at NAB regarding shared storage?

Sam Mestman: In terms of NAB, I think, look, the world is getting more connected; collaboration is becoming more and more important and the way that people connect to their assets visually. You’re seeing more and more people even becoming aware of what shared storage is at this point. It used to sort of be this thing that certain people had, or you would have the same network that sort of worked for everybody; but dedicated storage for media and entertainment, as we see more and more smaller video teams pop up across the world, this is now becoming a thing is becoming very important people.

Sam Mestman: The reason it’s becoming so important is because, now, every place you go is building its own internal movie studio and now it needs to manage all these assets internally. The way that works with MAMs and some of these other things, these are some of the big challenges that we’re sort of working with our clients on.

Larry Jordan: Lumaforge specialises in shared storage; but there’s huge companies; I’m thinking QNAP and Synology, that create shared storage. Why does Lumaforge exist?

Sam Mestman: What it really comes down to, it’s basically a by filmmakers for a filmmaker sort of thing. Being diplomatic, the reality of the situation is, none of these other companies are designing things purely for media and entertainment and for the demands that a video team will really put its system through. We’re there because there was a void and if those solutions were really, truly working for our customers, we would not have been able to enter the market. But the truth of the matter is, in a lot of the situations, people might have one of those and they’re coming to us because they know they need something that actually works.

Larry Jordan: Clearly, companies like QNAP and Synology are reputable companies; I don’t mean to say otherwise. But what are the challenges of having media on shared storage?

Sam Mestman: Oh, the make great products, don’t get me wrong; that’s not what I’m trying to say at all. But video specifically has certain demands that you don’t really understand. It’s not like passing PDFs or, you know, songs, or photos around; you actually need something that has a minimal amount of latency, will not cause a beach ball when you push the space bar and allows you to touch lots of things very quickly in your timeline and move it around.

Sam Mestman: Those are all large files and the responsiveness of that experience and being able to play 4K media across multiple machines, you need something that is a really good air traffic controller; that allows all of your team’s needs to sort of be served coming in and out and you need optimised hardware for that.

Larry Jordan: I’ve had the pleasure of working with a variety of servers; Jellyfish is one of them. I keep coming across terms like SMB and AFP. What are these?

Sam Mestman: Well, those are two terms that I never wanted to learn either. But, what I can tell you is, they are networking protocols; they’re basically languages for networking that your computer will understand. AFP is Apple’s old version; I believe it’s Apple File Protocol or something.

Sam Mestman: But the bottom line is, it’s been pretty much removed as a standard; so it’s graduating outwards, whereas SMB is now Apple’s preferred networking standard. Along with NFS, actually, which is very well supported and those have pluses and minuses, depending on what you’re doing. However, we make recommendations to our customers all the time about them and, quite frankly, it’s a ton of stuff that I never wanted to learn, but now I know and I pass onto others, to save them, hopefully, a bunch of time.

Larry Jordan: For people that have questions about which to pick, there’s advice on Lumaforge’s website; in terms of which protocol is the best?

Sam Mestman: Yes. If you reach out to us, we’ve got a whole little graph on mentioning which one to use. In terms of SMB, typically, Adobe plays very well with SMB; so Adobe apps and Final Cut Libraries perform best on NFS. That’s something to consider. Resolve plays well on both. If you need to go cross platform you might be SMB with Windows; so Mac and Windows and SMB play well together; whereas Mac and Linux play better on NFS. There’s lots of ins and out, but we have a little chart that you can check out.

Larry Jordan: There’s no one simple solution is there?

Sam Mestman: I guess it’s a double edged sword. If there was, we wouldn’t exist and if there wasn’t, everyone’s life would be a lot easier.

Larry Jordan: By the way, congratulations on the news that your gear is now being sold in Apple stores; that’s a huge accomplishment.

Sam Mestman: Yes, thank you.

Larry Jordan: What does that tell you about the need for high performance storage into the mass market?

Sam Mestman: I think, what it tells you is that, the pro video market and video as a medium is exploding. Everybody is doing now; it’s required if you have a business, to have high quality video and the deliverables are exploding and the assets that are required and the amount that are coming in, escalating into 4K. At a certain point, when all that happens, you need something that’s going to manage that, in particular and I think it’s very clear the fact that, like, it’s now present on the Apple Store and things like that. There is a need to be served and I think we feel very privileged to be the company that Apple went with.

Larry Jordan: What should we be thinking about when we’re planning to add shared storage to our editing workflow:

Sam Mestman: Number one, who’s going to be managing it and what is the architecture that you need to put in and what is your workflow going to be? We build stuff that’s really easy and approachable for somebody as dumb as me to use. The question you should ask yourself fast is, is it going to be you who’s integrating this stuff, or are you going to have an IT person that’s dedicated to this; who’s going to manage some of the networking? What’s the relationship to the hardware going to be like and adjust accordingly.

Sam Mestman: Additionally, what is your workflow and can you get a demo of your workflow on whatever solution it is, prior to getting it; as I would recommend that you do so.

Larry Jordan: Sam, I just read about something called Faster Together. What’s this?

Sam Mestman: We’ve been doing this the last couple of years; once on the show floor and once across the street. It’s a bunch of sort of TED talk style presentations. But then we found out that the Super Meet was not going to be happening this year and we sort of talked to Michael Horton and we stepped in and we’re like, there has to be a cool event on a Tuesday night, that people can go to, that’s community focused, that’s going to put on great presentations.

Sam Mestman: We decided, instead of doing what we do on the show flow, with all these presentations, we decided to sort of pick up the mantle of the Super Meet and give the community a show that we’re really, really excited about. We wanted to make it focus back on the users and a little bit less of the technology dog and pony shows; so, everything you see is going to be from a user perspective and we’ve got some really, really cool presentations coming up. It’s going to be a blast and we’ve got Michael Horton involved. It’s going to be at the Rio on Tuesday night, at NAB.

Sam Mestman: If you were at the Super Meet last year, it’s going to be in the exact same place, it’s just going to be called Faster Together this year; but Michael Horton’s going to be there. There’s still going to be a raffle, there’s still going to be all the same people and then a bunch of new ones that you haven’t seen before.

Larry Jordan: It sounds like there’s all kinds of things happening in shared storage and things to learn. For people that want to learn more about the products and tools that Lumaforge has available, where can they go on the web?

Sam Mestman: You can come right over to lumaforge.com; or go over to our YouTube channel, youtube.com/lumaforge and we’ve got a ton of educational material there too.

Larry Jordan: That’s lumaforge.com and Sam Mestman is the President of Lumaforge. Sam, thanks for joining us today.

Sam Mestman: Larry, thanks as always.

Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to; doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries; it’s a leading online resource presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platform specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in-depth organisational 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: Jordan Winkelman is a Solutions Architect for Quantum. As such, he designs high performance scale out storage infrastructures for media and entertainment workflows. Hello Jordan, welcome.

Jordan Winkelman: Hello Larry, thanks for having me on tonight.

Larry Jordan: It is my pleasure. Solutions Architect is an unusual title. What do you do at Quantum?

Jordan Winkelman: In the enterprise storage space, there’s usually a person who listens to the customers’ needs and builds a customer solution that meets their specific workflows. I’m an architect who designs those storage solutions for media and entertainment customers, as well as those in other vertical markets, like sciences and oil and gas, seismic explorations and surveillance. We cover a lot of different markets, other than just the media and entertainment world.

Larry Jordan: For tonight, let’s stay focused on media and entertainment and, more specifically, let’s focus on smaller workgroups versus enterprises. How would you describe the products that Quantum creates for that market?

Jordan Winkelman: Quantum creates storage platforms that are shared storage, in what we call a scale out SAN. Think of it as taking a RAID and if you need to grow, adding another like sized RAID and that doubles your capacity and your performance. We can do that nearly forever. What we allow is for customers to start small and grow out their solution as their needs change; such as upgrading from HD to 4K, or 4K to 8K; meanwhile, maintaining a single disk that all of their end users to share, whether other a high performance protocol like Fibre Channel, or other a traditional NAS protocol like SMB, or NFLs.

Larry Jordan: One of the things that I was noticing when I was wondering around Quantum’s website, researching this segment, is that Quantum makes a big deal out of its support for StorNext. What’s StorNext?

Jordan Winkelman: StorNext is our shared file system, that allows us to scale near infinitely. It was designed originally for high performance media workloads and big files like, you know, satellite video and things of the like. It allows us to develop these scalable infrastructures and it worked so well that, about 15 years ago, Apple actually licensed it and called it Xsan; even though it is the StorNext file system. They wrapped a pretty wrapper around our tool and sold it with the Excerpts and the Excerpts RAIDS and so, every Mac user actually has StorNext on their computer already.

Larry Jordan: Is StorNext something that would be used in a high performance editing environment; or is it better used for storage of completed assets?

Jordan Winkelman: Actually, it’s for both. We have both a high performance file system for video editorial; where you can scale from just a few users up to hundreds, all on the same big disk. But we also have a built-in archiving system, that allows us to write data down to tape libraries; like those the Quantum cells and into the Cloud, or into a variety of different disk formats or whatever you want to store the data on. It allows us to reduce the long-term costs of a customer’s archive data, by allowing them to move those assets down to a low cost storage like LTO, which has a $20 a terabyte price point.

Jordan Winkelman: Additionally, we have integration with pretty much every asset management system out there; so that you can search the archives via whatever your chosen asset management system is and retrieve that data back online, to be edited by a whole team of people. Very easy to get access to your data that’s no longer online.

Larry Jordan: Is StorNext something that we can use separate from Quantum Storage; or, do I have to have a Quantum box to be able to use StorNext?

Jordan Winkelman: I would say that it’s easiest to use the Quantum box, because we provide a server and the storage environment. There are customers that use other enterprise storage platforms under StorNext; but traditionally today, it’s usually Quantum Storage from top to bottom. We provide a full package solution with support from top to bottom; all the way down into the clients and it’s just easier when it’s part of a solution than it’s a known value.

Larry Jordan: One of the other new boxes that you’ve come out is using a protocol called NVMe and Tom Coughlin, earlier in the show, was explaining that NVMe is a way of talking to storage, to make it work a whole lot faster. What’s Quantum doing in this regard?

Jordan Winkelman: You had some great questions for some of your earlier guests about, is NVMe, you know, going to replace RAID. What Quantum is actually doing with NVMe today is building RAID systems on top of NVMe attached drives. NVMe is basically an extension of the PCI bus inside your computer and each NVMe drive, you know, will do something like three gigabytes per second. Most of your traditional RAID controllers today were designed for hard drives and as the new flash technologies have come out, the RAID controllers have actually been the bottlenecks.

Jordan Winkelman: Quantum has developed a new system that allows us to act as a software based RAID, so that you can get around the bottlenecks of traditional RAID controllers and make use of the very powerful Intel processors; to give you a near intranet amount of performances, based on the number of NVMe drives you have.

Jordan Winkelman: If you look at the SSD that, you know, has maybe an NVMe interface in most MacBook Pros today, those can go a couple of gigabytes per second, depending on which version you have. Well, we’ll take 24 NVMe drives, give you RAID on top of it and give you in the range of 20-24 gigabytes per second, read and write, in one small platform.

Larry Jordan: But how are you going to connect it, to be able to get that kind of performance?

Jordan Winkelman: We use what are called block protocols; whether a fibre channel, which is a single cable that goes 32 gigabytes; or a newer 100 gigabyte Ethernet protocol using RDMA or Remote Direct Memory Access; that allows you to team those cables, or those connections together and get the aggregate performance, even into a single workstation. We did most of our performance testing with a single server achieving 20 plus gigabytes per second.

Larry Jordan: That’s the new fabric that Tom was talking about; being able to connect via 100 gigabit Ethernet, to deliver that kind of performance to an individual workstation.

Jordan Winkelman: Correct.

Larry Jordan: That’s amazing stuff. Are you going to be showing this new device at NAB?

Jordan Winkelman: Absolutely. We are going to be demonstrating this device and typically we have uncompressed 8K workflows that we are doing in the booth; so that customers can see what you can really achieve with multiple uncompressed 8K streams running on the same system.

Larry Jordan: Uncompressed 8K. That will just leave my jaw on the floor. That’s amazing. Where can people go on the web to learn more about the products that Quantum is creating?

Jordan Winkelman: We have our traditional website, which is www.quantum.com; which has our entire product portfolio. But we also have www.stornext.com; which is very tuned and focused on the media and entertainment market.

Larry Jordan:  Very cool. Jordan Winkelman is a Solutions Architect for Quantum and, Jordan, thanks for joining us today. The website is stornext.com and quantum.com and we’ll see you at NAB.

Jordan Winkelman: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking, for most of my life, I viewed network television and, to a lesser extent, feature films as the ultimate in video production. They were the standard against which I judged all other programmes and, indeed, in today’s world, network television is creating some amazing work. But, for the last several years, I’ve also taught a university course; focused, not on filmmakers, or professional videographers, but on Engineering and Business students who want to improve their communication skills, in order to get a job in business.

Larry Jordan: In each of these classes, I discovered there was a balance. I wanted to explain and teach the techniques that professionals had developed over the years, to create successful promos, ads and programmes; while some of the students just wanted to learn enough to get by. Their mantra was, why do we need to learn this when we can be successful on YouTube without knowing any of this? That is a hard argument to refute. Some YouTubers generate tens of millions of views and millions of dollars; but not all of them, not even most of them.

Larry Jordan: Then tonight, Sam Mossman, President of Lumaforge, said something that clarified this issue for me. The pro video market, Sam said, and video as a medium, is exploding; everybody is doing it now. It’s required if you have a business to have high quality video and that is the key. Competition for customers and eyeballs has moved definitively from print to video; video on websites, video on social media, video on traditional media; no-one reads anymore. For any business to be successful, they must communicate effectively, clearly and powerfully, using moving images. White papers are read by geeks, videos are watched by the world.

Larry Jordan: For my students to succeed in the world today, they must master visual communication skills; it is no longer nice to know, it’s a business survival skill. Content creativity and quality are the touchpoints to success. Just as with my students, video professionals need to keep hammering the point that business success today relies on powerful visual stories; stories that capture the hearts and minds of customers.

Larry Jordan: Yes, there are challenges in our industry, but a lack of audience is not one of them. As Sam said, the world of video is exploding; our job as visual communicators is to  harness that interest and remind potential clients that their business success rests on leveraging high quality video and communication tools. Simply, to keep up with the competition.

Larry Jordan: Creative visual content creators and that means us, are more critical to business success than ever. You don’t need to be a filmmaker to change the world; you only need to know how to unlock the power in the moving image and that skill belongs to all of us. Just something I’m thinking about.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week; Jim Malcolm with Humaneyes, Tom Coughlin with Coughlin and Associates, Larry O’Connor with OWC, Sam Mestman with Lumaforge, Jordan Winkelman with Quantum and James DeRuvo with 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. Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Saturday morning.

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. Our Producer is Debbie Price. My name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.