John Harris, Director of Business Development, Cinedeck
Jim Tierney, President, Digital Anarchy
Evan Michals, VP Video Product Management, Evolphin
Linda Tadic, Founder/CEO, Digital Bedrock
James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, doddleNEWS
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, from old friends to new companies. This episode of The Buzz looks back at NAB and connects with more companies announcing new products. Plus, James DeRuvo shares his highlights from this year’s show.
Larry Jordan: We start with John Harris, Director of Business Development for Cinedeck. Cinedeck specializes in software to simplify working with media. Tonight, John showcases their latest news and products from NAB.
Larry Jordan: Next, Digital Anarchy creates plug-ins for Video Editors that simplify creating visual effects. Recently, they branched into automated transcription with Transcriptive. Tonight, CEO Jim Tierney discusses the challenges of automating transcripts and displaying them in Premiere and Final Cut.
Larry Jordan: Next, Evolphin makes software for creatives, From review and approval; to digital asset management; to full on media asset management, they support individuals to enterprises. Tonight, Evan Michals, VP of Video Product Management, highlights their NAB announcements.
Larry Jordan: Next, Linda Tadic, CEO and Founder of Digital Bedrock spent 25 years as a professional archivist before starting her company. Now, she provides archiving services to others. Tonight, she explains that keeping our files is more than just storing them; it means keeping them alive.
Larry Jordan: All this plus James DeRuvo with the weekly doddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.
Male Voiceover: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking. Authoritative: One show serves a worldwide network of media professionals. Current: Uniting industry experts. Production: Filmmakers. Post-production: And content creators around the planet. Distribution: From the media capital of the world, in Los Angeles, California, the Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry; covering media production, post-production and marketing around the world. Hello, my name is Larry Jordan.
Larry Jordan: The 2019 NAB Show ended last Thursday and, during the four days of the event, we interviewed more than 100 industry leaders. But, not surprisingly, we couldn’t talk to everyone; there just wasn’t time. Tonight, we’re chatting with four more companies, to talk about what they introduced at NAB; plus, James DeRuvo has additional highlights that he discovered after the show, by wading through hundreds of press releases. We’ll wrap up our NAB coverage with next week’s 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. Now it’s time for our weekly DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.
James DeRuvo: Hello Larry. Since tonight you’re talking about companies that you didn’t have a chance to interview at NAB, I thought we’d take a look a look at a few cool products that escaped my gaze, as I walked 24 miles on the showroom floor.
Larry Jordan: It’s hard to imagine that anything could have escaped your gaze, but what did you find?
James DeRuvo: I know, it’s hard to believe. My feet are still hurting; but, you know, we’ll get through it. The first product I’ve come across, as I’m wading through all these press releases that we get sent before NAB is the Moza SlyPod. What would you get if a monopod and a slider fell in love and had a baby? That’s the Moza SlyPod. It’s a motorized slider built into a carbon fibre monopod.
James DeRuvo: It has an extension motor that goes from zero to 10,000 rpms in 15 microseconds and can carry camera packages up to 40 pounds vertically; or 26 and a half pounds horizontally; offering repeatable motion control for consistency from shot to shot and, in a future firmware update, they’re going to include the ability to work multi-access movements, as it works in concert with other Moza products that are coming in the future.
Larry Jordan: I’m always leery of monopods because of their inherent instability. What do you see as the market for this?
James DeRuvo: Well, I think it’s great for runners and gunners like wedding videographers, E&G people, documentarians; who would rather not carry unnecessary gear out in the field. The Moza SlyPod will offer shooters greater creativity through its Swiss Army like design.
Larry Jordan: Okay, that’s Moza. What’s our second story?
James DeRuvo: I briefly mentioned this to you as we were in a show break, while we were at NAB; I had just heard about it but I hadn’t seen it. That’s the Zoom F6. Zoom has a new recorder that offers 32 bit floating point recording, with dual AV convertors, that makes it impossible to clip with hot audio.
James DeRuvo: It’s got six channels with XLR inputs and it has the same preamps and time code generator as Zoom’s F8N.
Larry Jordan: I’m a longtime fan of Zoom recorders; in fact, we use a Zoom and Marantz here on The Buzz for all of our remote recording. What are the key features of the Zoom F6 for you?
James DeRuvo: This is mind-blowing. You’ll agree with me that they’re doing some serious sacrificial idle things. The game-changing feature of the Zoom F6 is that it doesn’t have gain control at all; there’s no gain, you just have faders. The six knobs on it just enable you to fade the audio in and out.
James DeRuvo: It records the audio at one constant bit rate; 32 bit floating point recording, which captures a wide dynamic range of audio without clipping, making blown out audio a thing of the past. Zoom describes it as a kind of sound based raw audio file.
James DeRuvo: Had a seen this before we left Las Vegas, I likely would have chosen it as the best hardware at the show and it’s shipping in June. We don’t know how much yet, but it’s coming and it’s going to be a game-changer, I think.
Larry Jordan: Wow, I’m looking forward to learning more about it. What’s our third story this week?
James DeRuvo: I just expect Atomos to come out with the next greatest thing; so sometimes I just kind of forget they’re there. Atomos has come out with the Shogun 7 monitor recorder switcher. Seven inch Shogun monitor recorder that has 1500 nits of brightness and a one million to one contrast ratio.
James DeRuvo: It records 4K HDR from up to four different cameras, via HD SDI connections at 60p, with 12 channels of audio and it’s a switcher; so it switches between four different camera streams, while recording, or broadcasting and streaming live.
Larry Jordan: Well, we had a chance to talk with Jeremy Young, who’s the CEO of Atomos, as part of our NAB coverage and he spent a lot of time showcasing this product. What catches your attention here?
James DeRuvo: Just when you thought that the Shogun line couldn’t do anything else, Atomos throws in this ability to switch from different cameras in 4K. That means shooters have a broadcast truck in their pocket and at a price under $1500. You just have this monitor that is recording and everything else; but you can just sit and touch each individual camera and switch from camera, to camera, to camera. If you’re doing a live stream, that’s all you need, is the camera and the monitor and you’re good to go.
Larry Jordan: James, what other stories are you and your team following this week?
James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following include Sharp’s 8K pocket camera, which they unveiled at CES; which will probably shoot 10 bit video in 8K and sell for $4000 by year’s end. The My RØDE Reel short film competition has begun and will run through August; with $1 million in prizes up for grabs and Samsung’s $2000 folding cell phone is breaking after only a few days of normal use. Tell me we didn’t see that coming. It’s battery gate all over again.
Larry Jordan: James, where can we go on the web to find these and all the other stories you are covering?
Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the Editor-in-Chief of doddleNEWS and joins us every week. We’ll see you next Thursday.
James DeRuvo: Have a good weekend.
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Larry Jordan: Thalo is a part of the Thalo Arts, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking; performing arts to fine arts and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed. Visit thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed. That’s thalo.com
Larry Jordan: John Harris is the Director of Business Development for Cinedeck. This is a company that seeks to make the video industry more efficient. Hello John, welcome.
John Harris: Good evening Larry, welcome to you.
Larry Jordan: John, how would you describe Cinedeck?
John Harris: I think Cinedeck has been around for this millennium, which is great; so we’ve got a lot of history. But the amazing approach that Cinedeck is, as a company, is they haven’t ever restrained themselves to the traditional concept of video. Every time they look at a workflow problem, etc. They throw away the traditions. They say, well okay, let’s just go to this in binary; can we approach this, you know, in a very different way, but it’ll give out those media type workflow results that goes on?
John Harris: I would describe Cinedeck as a character; somebody who’s really challenged, very versed in out of the box thinking and, you know, how to approach workflows in a very different way; which is all about some very interesting solutions to the marketplace.
Larry Jordan: Would you describe Cinedeck as principally a hardware company, or a software company? Of course, all hardware requires software, but how would you think of the company?
John Harris: I’d very much describe the company as a software company. I think, you’re absolutely right, there is need for hardware but, you know, typically that hardware is your standard Windows, Macintosh computer system and other traditional hardware elements. It’s really our ability to use that hardware, you know, through our software and our toolsets; to get the very best out of it and the best workflows. We would definitely say that we are a software company.
Larry Jordan: Your title is Director of Business Development, how do you see your role with the company?
John Harris: It comes about in many ways. Throughout my long career, I went through early days of the digital electronic specialists, with a company called Abacus, I grew on and went to Ampex, carried on to Avid. I then set up with my own company with Route Six and then, finally, I have now ended up here at Cinedeck.
John Harris: I think, the heart of that career has always been about the excitement and enthusiasm of taking on all of those products. You know, at every one of those stages, I can absolutely say, you know, there was a real excitement about that product as it is and where it fits into the marketplace.
John Harris: I see my role as, to evangelize and present the technology; use the knowledge and experience I have of the industry, about the workflows. I am involved very heavily from the first concept of digital videos in the early days of Ampex, to compression with Ampex and DC2 to the move to desktop computers with Avid, to the front of the coalface with Route Six; which is a reseller in developing technology.
John Harris: It’s part of the evangelization of understand the product and workflows in our marketplace; but then, also understanding how that business model works.
Larry Jordan: On your website, Cinedeck describes itself as a company that’s focused on making the video industry more efficient and, in your description, you said that it’s a company that thinks outside the box. How would you describe your most popular products, if those are your goals?
John Harris: What we’ve done is, we’ve challenged what has become an accepted way of working in the marketplace. With our move to file based workflows, you know, we are eradicating the baseband tape style workflows that we used to have. But the problem is, our move to file based workflows means, we created all these efficiencies but we were still delivering on tape. Now that delivery mechanism is very much strongly oriented to files.
John Harris: The big issue we had we dealing with media files is, they’re very closed, structured systems; so the problem is, every time we wanted to make a change, it was a very painful, time-consuming process, because we would have to re-render that whole file again.
John Harris: We were challenged to look at that and, I think, when you first look at that from a media only head, you look at that file structure and say, yes, I completely understand why we can’t change that workflow and you accept that. We’ve seen that all the manufacturers and all of the codec developers have worked in this way for 20-25 years and we just said, this is crazy, why are we having to re-render, in most scenarios, the same data time and time again, when we only want to make a short change?
John Harris: You can imagine, firstly, the cost of re-rendering that material and secondly, if you’ve got a close to air production, there’s a lot of times you just can’t make that deliverable; you either have to go with the air, or you have to revert back to tape to do that.
John Harris: When we looked at this, we actually approached the whole filing system much more on a binary data basis and we’ve developed tools that mean we can access those files at binary level. That means, although we have a finished rendered file, we can still go into that file and change the binary data for every essence layer; whether it’s video, audio, close captions, metadata, etc.
John Harris: I think that’s one of the core elements of our technology that we present across all of our products, is the way that we can enter a broadcast file format, means that we don’t have to re-render it again. That’s very significant and time and cost saving for everyone involved in creating programs for broadcast.
Larry Jordan: Are you making a copy of the program at the binary level; or are you physically changing the source master?
John Harris: We’re physically changing the source master. You know, that concept of destructive approach could terrify some people.
Larry Jordan: I’m terrified, yes
John Harris: It’s always a good conversation and I think, you know, in most scenarios, people would typically have a clone of the master, if they really are […]. But the reality is, you know, when we worked with tape, how many times did we do a destructive insert directly into that tape, in using physical […] system and accepted that way of working?
John Harris: It comes down to confidence and I think, a lot of people have bad experiences, etc. So their confidence levels are low. But, what we’ve been discovering, as we move further and further forward is that, people start to use us, they’re like, okay I’m going to make a copy first before I do this and then the more and more they use us, their confidence level raises and they think, actually, I really don’t need to do this; this works perfectly.
John Harris: The beauty is, you know, if I want to get back to my original position, I can go back and re-insert that material from my timeline, or the previous file, or whatever I want to do.
John Harris: For me, it’s just a confidence thing. I do demos of our products every day and I actually use the same file. My main demo file now has probably been inserted, re-conformed back to itself, re-inserted again several thousand times and with no issues. I definitely could even do that with tape.
Larry Jordan: I should mention that, this ability to do an insert edit is part of your software called cineXtools. Is that correct?
John Harris: Yes.
Larry Jordan: Well, let’s talk about the new stuff. What did you announce at NAB?
John Harris: I think it’s worth first of all saying, what we talk about with the insert editing, this is something that goes across all of our products. Really what our products are about is about, how we approach that insert.
John Harris: Our new launches for NAB, we have our cineX plug-in. that means now that we can do an insert edit into a rendered file, directly from the timeline of Adobe Premiere, or Avid Media Composer, run on Mac or Windows and we can actually now highlight the section on the timeline and say, I want you to take this section and insert it into this rendered file, without re rendering the file. There is no operational training required and it just works. That was a great feature that was shown, for the first time, at NAB this year.
John Harris: CineXtools is our file to file editor and it’s our own application; so our own interface. It means we can expand what we can look at. I mentioned earlier on that we can go to every essence layer; so with our cineXtools we can expand our interface to not only do video and audio inserts, but we can also manage rewrapping and remapping of the audio. There’s a constant need for, you know, language changes, or different audio mapping selections, according to deliverables, etc; which we can all do within the rendered file.
John Harris: We can even, you know, go in and edit closed captions. That’s been a significant time-saver through some really good core systems.
John Harris: Newly launched for the show, we’re also exposing the metadata elements on the file. This can relate to the labelling for the audio, it could relate to the naming for the audio tracks and it can also relate to some specific issues with regards to the metadata being stamped incorrectly.
John Harris: One of the big demands that we’ve had is, there’s all this wonderful HDR material and these beautiful images and they’re rendered into this beautiful file and someone has stamped the file with the wrong metadata that says this is a 709 colorspace; which completely destroys it. You can imagine, that few bites of information destroys everything that’s gone on and a re-render of a HDR file, just to correct that, is a very painful process. Therefore, we can get into that metadata now and change that. That was something that was newly launched as a new feature for cineXtools at the show.
Larry Jordan: Some very exciting announcements. For people that want to learn more about the tools that Cinedeck makes available, where do they go on the web?
John Harris: The main place to go onto the web is our website, which is simply cinedeck.com.
Larry Jordan: That website is all one word, cinedeck.com and, I should mention, free trials are available. John Harris is the Director of Business Development for Cinedeck. John, thanks for joining us today.
John Harris: Thank you very much Larry. Nice to meet you.
Larry Jordan: Jim Tierney founded the Digital Anarchy in 2001, specifically to develop plug-ins for creating visual effects. This week, we want to check back in, now that NAB is over and see how things are going. Hello Jim, welcome back.
Jim Tierney: Hello Larry, how’s it going?
Larry Jordan: I always enjoy talking with you; but, not everybody has heard of Digital Anarchy. How would you describe the company?
Jim Tierney: We’re a company that makes tools for Video Editors. We’ve been around for 18 years at this point. This was my 23rd NAB. You probably beat me by a little bit, but that’s a lot of NABs.
Larry Jordan: It is indeed and there’s a point where you start to count them even more important than birthdays; because they seem to be much more traumatic.
Jim Tierney: Yes, right. Oh no, the birthdays are getting pretty traumatic.
Larry Jordan: As you look at the company, you’ve developed plug-ins both for still images, especially Photoshop and moving images. Is your principle focused on stills, or video?
Jim Tierney: We’re mostly on video. I mean, we were trying to do the Photoshop thing for a while and, you know, we started off life as an after effects plug-in company and we just know the video space better. You know, so these days it’s mostly aimed at Video Editors; you know, Premiere, Final Cut, Avid, tools that help make video editing easier, hopefully.
Larry Jordan: One of those, that have been causing a huge buzz, is Transcriptive. Tell me what that is.
Jim Tierney: Transcriptive is a way of using AI to get transcripts and there are a few different components to it. There is a Premiere Pro panel that’s totally integrated into Premiere; so you’ve got the transcript right within Premiere, which enables all sorts of cool functionality. Then transcriptive.com, which we were launching at the show is a web-based version of it. That allows collaboration between the Premiere panel and web users; also as just a standalone, cool way of getting transcripts.
Larry Jordan: When you first launched Transcriptive, which was probably a year or two ago, the quality of automated transcription wasn’t that great. How have things evolved over the last couple of years?
Jim Tierney: Pretty much as you would expect. It keeps getting better. We announced a Transcriptive service, which will kind of change the AI it uses on the backend; depending on what options you select. Which service we think is state of the art at any given time and that kind of changes month to month. You know, there’s a variety of different AIs out there and, you know, they slightly leap-frog each other on a regular basis.
Larry Jordan: How should we judge which AI to use? I mean, we could just turn our files over to you; but if you give us the ability to specify the backend AI, what criteria should we use to evaluate it?
Jim Tierney: Well, I mean, the way we evaluate it is, you know, there’s word accuracy right? How accurate are the words? But then there’s also punctuation, there is speaker identification. You know, all three of those components factor into what we think is best. If you’re using Speechmatics, that’s one option we give you; but if you’re using a transcription service, you know, if you have speaker identification turned on, we might use a different AI for that than we would if you had it turned off.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of punctuation does remind me, I’ve seen many, many run-on sentences. I appreciate having somebody put a period in there some place.
Jim Tierney: Well, you know, periods and commas and apostrophes and all these things that we kind of take for granted, when they’re suddenly not there. You know, it matters. You know, you can argue about the Oxford comma, but they’re useful.
Larry Jordan: I have actually argued about the Oxford comma, but commas is something totally different. Tell us about PowerSearch. This is also relatively new.
Jim Tierney: Yes, so this is relatively new; it’s kind of taking advantage of the fact that, you know, if you have Transcriptive, you’ve got transcripts for all your video footage; so now you can do a search within Premiere of just everything that has a transcript. Everything that has a transcript, everything that has markers, all the metadata; so, you know, it’s just a Premiere panel that makes it possible to search your entire project; regardless of how much footage you have.
Larry Jordan: One of the things I’ve noticed is that, Premiere and Final Cut handle transcripts differently and I know you’re tightly integrated with Premiere. But have you found that Premiere has got limitations in how you can search for transcripts, or display, or even read transcripts?
Jim Tierney: Well, you know, I mean, natively, they don’t really support it very well and the search function within Premiere is not great. I think FCP has, you know, a better search function. I don’t think FCP has a great way of displaying transcripts either, but they’re much more searchable I think. You can draft them into the metadata and that’s something we’re getting into with FCP; but we’re not quite there yet.
Larry Jordan: I’ve had a chance to look at transcripts in both Premiere and Final Cut and I think, the ability to create transcripts far exceeds Final Cut’s ability to display transcripts. If you’re doing transcripts for Final Cut, you’ve got a lot of lifting to do there; that application does not make it easy.
Jim Tierney: Well, I mean, neither does Premiere. You know, the reason that we’re the only totally integrated solution for Premiere is that, it’s hard. It’s like, thanks Adobe for creating that wonderful barrier to entry; but it continues to be a struggle to climb it. It’s not an easy process.
Larry Jordan: Did you see anything in Adobe’s latest releases that make that easier?
Jim Tierney: No. We had some good meetings with them about what’s currently making it harder; so maybe they will cure our lamentations and fix some things that we would like fixed.
Larry Jordan: As you saw at NAB, what caught your attention, looking at it more from an industry veteran perspective, than an owner of a company? What caught your fancy?
Jim Tierney: AI is seemingly everywhere; you know, I mean, that seems to be the new hot buzz word. You know, how useful all of these AI implementations are remains to be seen. You know, that was kind of a big thing. You know, I think attendance was down a bit and that was kind of borne out by some of the stuff that’s been coming out at NAB themselves; at least on the exhibitor side. You know, it seems like they’re worried about attendance.
Jim Tierney: Professionally, you know, I mean, maybe it’s kind of the same. It’s, like, new cameras. Do we really need 16K?
Larry Jordan: Please, I have enough trouble with four and now we’re going to eight to 16; that’s just overkill.
Jim Tierney: It just really is. It just seems like we’re pushing the limits of what we really need. Everybody just needs to be talking about something new; but, a lot of the new stuff just seems just very buzz wordy and not super useful. I mean, that’s the struggle we’ve got with the AI, like you mentioned initially. You know, the AI was okay, it was usable; but it wasn’t great. It’s gotten a lot better over the last two years, since we started developing Transcriptive; but a lot of AI solutions, they sound great on paper but then you actually try to use them and it’s hard.
Jim Tierney: A large part of Transcriptive has been building tools around the AI, to make it useful for people. You know, the transcripts are fine but, you know, they need to be cleaned up and the speaker identification sucks. That’s getting a little bit better but, you know, there’s a lot of challenges with taking the AI and rolling it into a tool that real people can actually use.
Larry Jordan: It’s very much like the 80/20 rule. 80% is easy, to get to the last 20% near kills you.
Jim Tierney: Totally and, you know, once the transcript accuracy drops below about 90%, it’s better just to do it from scratch; because it’s going to take you longer to clean it up than it will for you to just transcribe it. You know, the fact that we’re seeing much better results now is great; but, you know, you still need to clean it up and you still need tools to do that and then, what do you do with the transcript after that?
Larry Jordan: By the way, Transcriptive really is a cool application. In spite of the fact that automated transcripts have their problems, Transcriptive is very cool. For people that want to learn more about Transcriptive and the other products that Digital Anarchy creates, where can they go on the web?
Larry Jordan: We’ll pick the longer one, that’s one word, digitalanarchy.com and Jim Tierney is the Founder and CEO of Digital Anarchy. As always, Jim, thanks for joining us today.
Jim Tierney: Thank you Larry.
Larry Jordan: Evan Michals is the Vice President for Video Production Management at Evolphin. Prior to that, he was the Founder of the video collaboration platform WavePost and, prior to that, he was a Freelance Video Editor, Director and Post-Production Supervisor. Hello Evan, welcome.
Evan Michals: Hello. Thanks so much for having me.
Larry Jordan: It’s my pleasure; I’m looking forward to our conversation. We were right across the way from you at NAB and I was intrigued enough that I wanted to bring you back on the show to be able to ask you, how would you define Evolphin?
Evan Michals: Evolphin is an enterprise software company; we’re based in the Silicon Valley. Evolphin creates products for creatives; to help them be creative faster. We have two primary products; one of them is called Evolphin Wave, which is a Cloud review and approval tool for video editors and designers. You can upload your media, share it with clients and get their feedback. You can sign up for free.
Evan Michals: Our flagship product, Zoom, is a digital asset management and media asset management system; depending on your needs. That’s for small businesses and enterprises who work in design, marketing, or video production. Zoom manages all of your media, from the beginning of the process to the end. You can search for what you need, you can add the media to your project, tag it with AI, you can distribute the media, or distribute the finished product when you are done. It can handle archiving and moving your media to safe storage. It takes care of a lot of the burden of file management and trafficking assets everywhere. It handles all that in the background; so you can just focus on being creative.
Larry Jordan: Well there’s no shortage of either review and approval software, or media asset management software; why was the company created?
Evan Michals: For two reasons. When the company was founded in 2007, there weren’t that many solutions; but I agree with you, especially in the past few years, there are a lot of options out there now. Evolphin and Zoom have always focused on pushing the boundaries of what media asset management software can do. We’ll talk about this in a little while, but some of the things we now said at NAB are things that no-one else is doing.
Evan Michals: We started with a really solid project and now we get to build upon it; whereas, you know, a lot of the other asset management systems out there might still be building their core product, or are not really capable of pushing the boundaries because they still have a lot to work on.
Larry Jordan: I want to come back to your NAB announcements in a couple of minutes, but one of the things your website differentiates between is a digital asset management system and a media asset management system. What do you see are the differences between the two?
Evan Michals: We have had to explain it, because people have different ideas of what each means; depending on who you ask. The way we see it is, if you’re not working in high resolution video, if you’re working with images, or audio, then you really only need a DAM. You just need a system that is going to version your work and keep track of things for you and maybe handle some archiving and things like that.
Evan Michals: But where it becomes a MAM is when you have high resolution video workflows where you’re shooting in 4K or 8K and you need to ingest that media. You need to have it run through a transcoder, to create proxies; then you’re editing it and then, at the end, you need to distribute that video content to OTT platforms; or for broadcast and, lastly, you need to archive it and you’re archiving terabytes per day. That really requires more of a MAM that has this underlying orchestration layer that can traffic large files easily. I would say, that would be the difference between the two.
Larry Jordan: The impression I got from your website was that, digital asset management is the foundation and then, on top of that, you built the media asset; so that the core functionality is similar between the two. Is that a true statement?
Evan Michals: Yes, that’s correct. Whether you need a DAM or a MAM, you’re still going to be able to have version control on your assets; you’re still going to be able to take advantage of our D duplications; which are found in the storage needed for each new version. You’re still going to be able to customize all the metadata that you want tracked on all your assets. You’re still going to be able to take off automated workflows and digital rights management. All these core things that you’re looking for a DAM for.
Larry Jordan: Before I run completely out of time, I still want to get to the exciting news. What did you guys talk about at NAB?
Evan Michals: We had a lot of exciting announcements at NAB. We demonstrated Cloud video editing, with our partner BeBop; so that is where you won’t need any on premise infrastructure to edit with high resolution video. We also announced three object review and approvals; so we have this portal where you can invite people to review and approve assets and now we support 3D objects; so that people working in visual effects, or game design can rotate them and draw on them.
Evan Michals: We also had Roger Chang from KQED speak at the Adobe booth. They’re one of the largest public broadcaster in Northern California. He’s using our software to bridge the gap between Avid and Adobe workflows. Often those worlds need to stay separate; but with Evolphin sitting on top, you can collaborate between the two.
Evan Michals: One thing that we announced that I’m very excited about is, video editing with AI. That was pretty neat. That was where you can have assets tagged automatically with artificial intelligence and then you can use our software to create an edited sequence based off of that.
Evan Michals: For example, if you had a soccer game and you needed to cut a highlight reel of all the goals, where all the goals are scored by a specific player, you can analyze the game with artificial intelligence. It’s going to tag all of the moments that there’s a goal and then, using our software, you just type in, I want the goals, I want the players, hit a button and it creates an editing sequence that you can important into Premiere, or Final Cut. Essentially, if you need to cut a highlight reel, you can do it in two seconds.
Larry Jordan: Well I’m also impressed that you have a custom workflow panel for Premiere; which makes the integration between Evolphin and Premiere a lot easier. Is that new, or has that been around for a while?
Evan Michals: That’s been around for a very long time and thank you for bringing that up. I should have mentioned it earlier. Evolphin has integrations into five of the Adobe Creative Cloud apps; so we have a direct panel into Premiere, After Effects, Illustrator in Design and Photoshop; as well as a panel for Cinema 4D and Sketch app. No matter which program you’re using for your creative workflow, you’re going to have direct access into the database, to search and find the assets you need to add; share with collaborators; export a final product and synch it with the database.
Evan Michals: We get a lot of solid feedback from people that our level of integration with the Adobe products is industry leading and they really appreciate the depth that we go to with each of our plug-ins.
Larry Jordan: Who would you describe as a typical customer? I’m not necessarily asking for names, but are we talking a small work group of five, or an enterprise of 500, or where?
Evan Michals: Our software really scales with the users and with the companies. If you’re an individual editor, or director, then our product Evolphin Wave would be best for you, because that’s lightweight, it’s cheap, it’s affordable and you can sign up for free. But if you’re going to be using our DAM or MAM products, I would say it starts with a small business; a company or department in a larger company that has five or ten editors.
Evan Michals: But the great thing about our platform is that it scales up to just any size you need. We have some customers of five people using our software and we have some where they have hundreds of video editors. That’s one of the core strengths of our product, is just how scalable and flexible it is. It’s hardware agnostic; you know, any on premise, or Cloud environment you want to deploy it in, for any size of people, it can do that.
Larry Jordan: For people that want to get started, what does it cost?
Evan Michals: The Wave product, you can sign up for free. For the full DAM and MAM products, the scale is a little bit higher than that. You know, it’s starting in the tens of thousands; depending on what you need. You can work with the sales team, to figure out exactly what your needs are and how we can help you out.
Larry Jordan: For people that want to learn more about the products that Evolphin has available, where can they go on the web?
Evan Michals: You can go to evolphin.com.
Larry Jordan: That website is all one word, evolphin.com and Evan Michals is the Vice-President for Video Product Management at Evolphin. Evan, thanks for joining us today.
Evan Michals: Yes, thank you so much; I appreciate you 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 platform, specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app; director and premium listings provide in-depth organizational tools for business production professionals.
Larry Jordan: DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts community; a worldwide community of artists; filmmakers and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking, performing arts to fine arts and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals, or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go, doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: Linda Tadic is the CEO and Founder of Digital Bedrock, which is an archiving company. She’s an expert on media and digital preservation and metadata, with over 25 years of industry experience in archiving. Hello Linda, welcome.
Linda Tadic: Hello Larry, great to talk to you again.
Larry Jordan: It is always fun to talk to you. I remember that tour you gave me through your facility a while back and that’s still a fond memory. But for people that haven’t heard of Digital Bedrock, how would you describe the company?
Linda Tadic: We are a manage digital preservation service company and so that goes beyond archiving; it goes beyond storage, because storage is always the easiest part of anything dealing with digital content. It’s more about how to keep that content alive over time; thinking about decades or maybe even 100 years or more into the future. How do you make sure that that content is still viable, that it’s healthy, that it’s not obsolete and it’s secure and that nobody with unauthorized access has touched, modified, or hacked into it?
Linda Tadic: That’s what we do, we’re a service provider and we make sure that your content is okay, for the long term.
Larry Jordan: What do you mean by our content stays alive?
Linda Tadic: Digital contents are going to be files, they’re bit streams and those bit streams are inside containers. There are a couple of things needed in order to keep those bits alive for the future. The basic thing is you make sure that it’s healthy and that’s something called a fixity check; you are checking the checksum, the hash algorithm; the fingerprint, as you might call it, for a digital file. Everything with the digital file has its own unique fingerprint.
Linda Tadic: A lot of people think of MD5; that’s the lowest level of checksum that you can do and it goes all the way up to the higher level checksums; which is what we perform. You’re going to be checking the files’ health and their checksums and we do it annually, over time; to make sure that no bits have slipped and that they’re healthy.
Larry Jordan: What you’re doing is, you’re making sure that something hasn’t degraded the bits on the storage device. That’s what the checksum is about.
Linda Tadic: Correct. Yes. You always want to do the checksums any time a file is sent somewhere. You want to make sure that it’s delivered and disseminated, when it is received on the other end it verifies the checksum, I mean, that’s pretty much what Aspera does, […] ; all of these digital transfer system and it’s also what object storage does. You know, they split up files into three parts and each of those parts have an MD5 checksum that they’re constantly checking.
Linda Tadic: This is a pretty standard part of using digital files, to make sure no bits are lost. It’s just that it’s taken to a little bit higher level and it’s more managed in digital preservation actions. That’s number one, just making sure that the bit streams are okay and there’s been no loss.
Linda Tadic: The second part of it is to make sure that that file, or the digital object itself is still viable; because of obsolescence. We think about file formats that did require specific software to run in that software, required a specific operating system, or maybe a specific chip, or specific hardware. If any of those parts become obsolete, or no longer supported by whoever created it; the company or even if it’s open source, because open source tools can become obsolete, because they’re no longer supported, you know, then that digital object content is in danger. You won’t be able to play it, because there’s no hardware, or software available to then render, or read those files.
Larry Jordan: There’s an example where Apple has deprecated all the QuickTime 7 codecs and the next version of the operating system after Mojave, none of those earlier codecs are going to work. Now you’ve got red flags going on and what do you do?
Linda Tadic: Exactly. That’s because the LS is no longer supporting 32 bit applications and that’s a problem. You have a couple of options, one is, you can choose to migrate the file to a format that the current operating system will support. But there’s always the danger then of losing data. The other option is to try to emulate the software and sometimes you can do that, if you can run it on an emulated like operating system. It depends how sophisticated the software is and if it requires other hardware, or parts like tape drives. We had to go through this experience with some old LTO-3 tapes for a client.
Linda Tadic: You have to hang onto that hardware and software, which is what a lot of people do. They just become museums; either personal museums where you keep your old computers sitting around, any of the old operating systems, old software, or you have to acquire them. It’s better to hang onto what you have now then to try to go out there and find the hardware, the computers, or to even license or find the software somewhere, years after it’s no longer supported by the company that owns the rights to that software.
Larry Jordan: Well, can you help us keep track of the files as they become obsolete? Is that a service you can provide?
Linda Tadic: It is. We have something that we call the digital obsolescence database; or the DOD; which monitors all of the obsolescence factors. As we are a service provider and we actively work with our clients, we will tell them, okay, even though these files came in and they were well supported at the time, over time, because we’re constantly checking the information on the files, if something flips, or becomes endangered later on, we will notify the client and say, okay, these files are now endangered for this, that, or the other reason and these are some of the things that you can do to keep your content alive.
Linda Tadic: We do not touch the files ourselves, it is up to the client to come and retrieve their files from us, or if they have their own local copies, they can reach those files. Then they can decide what they want to do.
Larry Jordan: I’m glad you’re not touching the files, but it’s really reassuring to know that you’re there to help us make sure that older files, if they become obsolete, we can get warned by it, rather than get surprised years down the road.
Linda Tadic: Exactly. Before this call, I was looking at the photos of the Notre Dame Cathedral. This cathedral is, you know, hundreds and hundreds of years old. I’m looking at the damage inside and I’m thinking about our digital content that we create now. You know, will we be able to access it in hundreds of years, when it’s as old as the Notre Dame Cathedral is today? Will we be able to access the content, the artwork, the files, the documents, the images? Everything that’s been created digitally now will become obsolete. It’s inevitable.
Larry Jordan: I consider it a wild success if I can access something that’s ten years old; I can’t imagine 100 or 800 years old. But let us shift gears to new stuff. What did you talk about at NAB?
Linda Tadic: At NAB, we talked about a few things. We still have our core platform, which we improve and enhance over time. But what we’ve discovered, as we presented to people is that, sometimes people say, wow, that’s a great software, can I license it? Can I have that too and then I’ll do my own preservation work? What we’re trying to do, by the end of this year, is to license it. We’ll continue with our digital preservation service, but we will also then license the software.
Linda Tadic: What we’ve also done with the software, in order to do that, is that data comes in and then data go out, after it’s processed, because we’re an off Cloud deep archive provider, we write off three copies to LTO-7 tape and then we lock those up in three geographically dispersed locations. Some of the folks who might want to license this might also want to do that; some of them might want to push it to their Cloud providers. Some of them might want to push it to their local storage, or whatever; so we’ve already built connectors at the end, to be able to have different target destinations.
Linda Tadic: We’ve built this already, to take advantage of the fact that, the data center where we’re located is a direct connect facility for the major Cloud providers; for Amazon, for Azure, for Google, IBM Cloud and others. We can have a direct connection between our servers and a direct connection to the Cloud provider service; so there’s an easy transfer. We can receive data in from clients, or then also push it out, while we’re running to tape. We can also simultaneously push it out to their Cloud.
Linda Tadic: That’s already available in our software, so we thought, alright, this is great, we’re already pretty well poised to be ready to then license it. We just want to make sure that everything is perfect, before we start doing that. That’s one thing we will be doing.
Linda Tadic: One of the reasons why people like, or are interested in the software is because, I built it to take advantage of indexing structured data. That was a big topic at NAB and has been for a couple of years. There is such a tsunami of unstructured data; as people don’t put them in databases; they want to be able to search for the data, but not then pay for all of that heavy compute power.
Linda Tadic: As you know, people are really looking into object storage, in order to store all of these large amounts of unstructured data that the industry is creating. But having it in object storage still means it’s on spinning disc, which is expensive. What I’ve done with our software, where we still index all of that metadata, you can almost think that you’re looking at an object storage application; but all of the data is offline.
Linda Tadic: It’s kind of like the best of both worlds; the best of the object storage unstructured metadata capability and also the security and lower cost of having offline, off Cloud storage.
Larry Jordan: Some fascinating ideas. Where can people go on the web, to learn more about the services you offer?
Linda Tadic: They can go to www.digitalbedrock.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, digitalbedrock.com and Linda Tadic is the CEO and Founder of Digital Bedrock. Linda, thanks for joining me today.
Linda Tadic: Thank you Larry, always a pleasure.
Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking about the annual NAB show, which ended last week. Planning our coverage and then creating 27 live shows in a little more than three days is always exciting and, for me, a great deal of fun. Even more fun though is, checking in with the leading companies in our industry; to hear about their latest announcements, along with meeting newer companies that we haven’t chatted with before. But, underlying all of the interest in new products and new technology is the ability to reconnect with far-flung friends that we only see once or twice a year, at these trade shows.
Larry Jordan: Industry trade shows like NAB serve multiple purposes; showcasing new trends in technology, allowing customers to talk directly with companies about the products they use every day, allowing companies to get direct and unfiltered feedback from customers and potential customers and giving people a chance to reconnect.
Larry Jordan: We’re an industry founded in storytelling. Yes, the tools we use today were unimaginable at the dawn of filmmaking, but, even the earliest actors and directors would recognize the direct connect between the stories they were telling then and the stories we tell today. For me, shows like NAB allow us to look forward into the technology of the future, reconnect with our friends in the present and reflect on the people and tools in our past that brought us to where we are today.
Larry Jordan: I’ve always enjoyed NAB; if only to say, well, we’re a year older and we’re still here. Just something I’m thinking about.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week; John Harris with Cinedeck, Jim Tierney with Digital Anarchy, Evan Michals with Evolphin, Linda Tadic with Digital Bedrock and James DeRuvo with doddleNEWS.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today. Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Saturday.
Larry Jordan: Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take1.tv. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner; with additional music provided by smartsound.com. Our Producer is Paulina Borowski. My name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.