Host: Larry Jordan
Guests: Chris Brown
Announcer: The Digital Production Buzz at NAB is sponsored by Maxon and by Symply, a global distribution brand.
Larry Jordan: This is a special edition of the Digital Production Buzz at the 2019 NAB show, featuring the biggest announcements from the biggest companies this week, starting now.
Announcer: Live from the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas, technology, technology, technology, products, products, products, media, media, media, news, news, news. Connecting media professionals around the globe with the latest in technology. The NAB Show Buzz starts now.
Larry Jordan: Welcome back. This is Larry Jordan. This show is a compilation of the best interviews and biggest announcements from our coverage of the 2019 NAB show. In tonight’s show, we talk with the people that put on the NAB show as well as folks from Adobe, JVC Professional Video, Avid, Atomos, and OWC.
Larry Jordan: We start with the person responsible for this entire event, Chris Brown.
Larry Jordan: It’s the end of day three, but the person sitting next to me is responsible for all six days of NAB. His name is Chris Brown, he’s the executive vice president for convention and business operations for NAB. Chris, as always, it’s wonderful to see you in the booth. Thanks for letting us be here, and welcome.
Chris Brown: Good to see you as well Larry, great to be here.
Larry Jordan: So tell me, let’s get right to the stats. Did anybody show up this year?
Chris Brown: A couple. Yes, we’re happy to say. No, it’s actually been a great turnout for us this year. Over 90,000 again. Last year we were almost 93,000. This year it’s probably going to be similar, but between 92 and 93,000. Good news in that is that the mix of folks who are coming shifted a little bit and actually from an attendee perspective, so content creators, distributors and folks that are walking the aisles, and looking at all the cool stuff here, that number’s actually up about three and a half, four percent. So that’s a good thing to hear.
Larry Jordan: Well one of the things that we’ve enjoyed a lot is we switched our stage so that now we’re able to look out over the entire trade show, which just continues to blow me away at how extensive it is, but more importantly, how many people there are. It’s not just clustered at one or two booths, they’re just wandering everywhere which is exactly what you want to see. As one person was saying earlier today, he wasn’t expecting too many people to show up and five minutes after the doors opened, he was swamped. So this is exactly what you want to have happen at the show.
Chris Brown: Well in a lot of respects you’re sitting at the center of the universe of the show because South Lower, there are so many exciting technologies here and as well, it sort of represents the convergence that’s occurring and the different things that are happening, the trends that are really driving our industry, really can be picked up just walking down the aisles here. This tends to be the place that everybody starts, and a lot of people spend a lot of time here.
Larry Jordan: Well it’s because of us really.
Chris Brown: Well yes.
Larry Jordan: One of the things you tried this year was eSports. How’d that work out?
Chris Brown: Great. Yes, so that’s definitely a part of our industry that is emerging or becoming more important to our world. Obviously it’s born out of a different group, community of folks but as that community has realized that there’s something in this, they’ve also realized that they’ve got now a product that should be communicated, broadcast, produced and shared with the world. And so the idea there is that they need to come here and understand from the best in the business at how to do that, what they can do and how they continue to evolve that product. So now with venues and teams and advertising and sponsorship dollars going in that direction, now it’s gone a bit beyond just an enthusiast thing. It’s now a real deal.
Larry Jordan: It is a real deal and one of the things they can do now is expand out of the niche they’re in and start to take it to the larger market, which I’m very excited about.
Chris Brown: Completely. Yes, and we’re excited because we have members actually involved over there. One of our radio members, Beasley Broadcast, is participating, primarily because they’ve already carved out an eSports division within their company to focus and invest in this area, but more specifically they bought the one and only radio station that covers eSports in the country. And believe it or not there is a radio station and it’s called Checkpoint Radio, now owned by Beasley Broadcast, and the broadcast team is actually over there in our eSports experience in the north hall, and they’ve helped us carry a whole group of sessions over there.
Larry Jordan: Well another area that’s just exploded is the whole idea of not just podcasting, but streaming. You can’t throw a rock without hitting four streaming companies or people supporting streaming companies or analyzing the data from streaming companies. That’s extremely hot.
Chris Brown: Yes, and there’s no company here in the business that’s not trying to determine really what the opportunity is there for them and needs to understand what that means from a technology standpoint and who they need to be learning from in that space. We’ve had a dedicated conference program now for the last two years, run by a gentleman named Dan Rayburn who’s a real expert in this arena called The Streaming Summit. That was a two day program that went Monday, Tuesday with great attendance which grew from last year. We expect that program actually will become a much bigger part of our content going forward.
Larry Jordan: Which gets me to the conference. It’s often easy to overlook the conference because the trade show is just enormous. But how did the conference go this year?
Chris Brown: Great. We’ve had great participation, top to bottom. We’ve had some really great main stage programs, our big keynote programs and that type of thing. Lots of really interesting themes coming out across all of that. Everybody from technical to creative to the business aspects of what we’re doing, the whole idea behind that conference is to create the debate and tease up the big issues, and I think overall there’s a lot there, and we do our best to cover everything. There may be a few tiny gaps in there but hopefully we’ve gotten the big themes out and certainly it’s about everything from workflows to how is AI continuing to evolve and impact us, to what’s current state of VR and certainly AR now. So it runs the gamut from what are the technologies. A lot of this now is everybody is moving to much more of an IP based workflow. It is trying to understand now what’s the impact of that and how is that going to affect my business going forward and how do I take advantage of it?
Larry Jordan: The other thing you talked about when we spoke on Monday was the birds of a feather session. How have those turned out?
Chris Brown: Really good. As we talked before, that’s really meant to be a by the community, for the community kind of program, and I think that’s really resonated with them. What we’ve seen is it creates a different type of dynamic. It’s a little less of people just sitting in chairs with a blank stare and watching a talking head talk, and it’s a bit more of the community again teaching itself, teaching others around techniques, a lot of sharing, a lot of networking that that generates, and so we will certainly be doing more of those kinds of programs going forward.
Larry Jordan: It’s not part of your purview, but as I was coming in on the monorail, I noticed there’s a lot of construction going on across the street. How does NAB get affected by the fact that the convention’s almost doubling in size?
Chris Brown: That’s a great question. So number one, there’s certainly going to be a period of time where we’re going to have to deal with some construction. Nice thing now is it’s all across the street so it’s not directly impacting. It is impacting parking because that’s taken some parking out of the inventory, however in a couple of years they’re intending to have that building done which will add about four or 500,000 net new square feet of space to the equation. It’ll be done in early 2021, and then the plan from there is that shows like us would then begin to occupy that space and allow them to begin to take pieces of the original buildings, the three buildings, offline for renovation.
Chris Brown: First will be north building, so we’re going to be, and it looks like if they can stay on schedule, that will be the only real impact for us because beyond that, the other renovations will be done by the next time we get to the show. So if we’re lucky we’ll have one year where we’re going to be in a little bit of a funky arrangement, with the new building and the old building and part of the south building. The building has been great. They’re very proactive and looking at people moving and how we help during that process to get people from one corner to the other and avoid all of the construction madness or renovation madness that’ll be going on during that time.
Larry Jordan: We will hold you to that and see just how close that comes.
Chris Brown: Look at it this way, it’ll make it fun. From our standpoint, it’ll drive change one way or the other.
Larry Jordan: Very quickly, in the time we’ve got left, of all the things you tried this year, what’s been the biggest success, or what are you most pleased with?
Chris Brown: Well two. I think you mentioned one, eSports was a bit of a gamble. We weren’t sure. The other was in vehicle entertainment. So more and more the automobile obviously is going to be a huge impact on our industry. It’s the rolling entertainment center on wheels. And so our industry, our folks need to understand what that will mean to them. We’ve had really great interest in that throughout the few days we’ve been here.
Larry Jordan: Chris it’s an amazing show. It is always an amazing show and you and your team do a fabulous job putting it together. For people who want to keep track of what’s going on, where do they go on the web?
Chris Brown: NABshow.com.
Larry Jordan: All one word, NABshow.com. And Chris Brown is the executive vice president for convention and business operations at NAB. Chris it has been a great show and thank you for all your hard work to make it possible.
Chris Brown: Thank you Larry, appreciate it.
Larry Jordan: Take care.
Larry Jordan: Every year at the NAB Show you’ll find more than a few attendees camping out at the Maxon Cinema 4D booth all day. Why? Because Maxon hosts presentations by the most respected 3D artists in visual effects, motion graphics and design. This year there will be 28 unique presentations from 21 different artists. Even if you’re not attending NAB you can watch all the Cinema 4D presentations streaming live at C4Dlive.com. And if you register, you’ll be entered into a raffle to win from over $20,000 in prizes. Can’t watch live? No worries, all presentations will be made available on demand on the Maxon YouTube channel a few weeks after the show. Maxon Cinema 4D, stop by Maxon’s booth at NAB in south lower 6324 or tune into the live stream at C4Dlive.com. That’s C4Dlive.com.
Larry Jordan: And thinking of exciting brings us to our first guest. Patrick Palmer is the principal product manager of video editing for Adobe. Premier falls under his area of responsibility. Patrick thanks for joining us today.
Patrick Palmer: Thanks for having me Larry.
Larry Jordan: First, congratulations on a beautiful launch last week of all the new software. Premiere and Audition and Character Animator and After Effects. Nice work, congratulations.
Patrick Palmer: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: But for those that may have missed the press release, tell us what you’ve got.
Patrick Palmer: We’ve got really great innovation in the product. We’ve got efficiency improvements and certainly there is attention to stability and performance. Where do we want to start?
Larry Jordan: Stability.
Patrick Palmer: Let’s start with that then. So it’s largely true as we run on such a broad variety of hardware configurations, that we were actually really forced to look into how to actually communicate better with our customers. So one of the things you see in the new update is actually a way to get feedback on what part of GPU config you are. What drivers. Specifically if there’s something that you can do to either improve performance or indeed get onto something that is on a white listed platform for us. This actually has been a huge issue for us in the past in terms of how much support calls we generate within, and thought we need to do one better. Why not give that information when we launch the product? So we integrated that detail into the product.
Patrick Palmer: We also have a ton of performance improvements. Things like dual GPU are greatly improved with this release. You also see much better support for EGPU now. You’re just getting a lot more out of existing configurations with these investments we’re making.
Larry Jordan: I want to talk about the dual GPUs for just a minute. That’s a huge thing because we’re starting to see now external GPUs especially in the Mac environment, in PCs you can generally plug them in. But on a Mac, we’ve had to work with external GPUs. Are you taking full advantage of those now?
Patrick Palmer: Absolutely. It’s actually interesting how quickly that’s picked up and there’s a logical reason for it. More of us have to be on the go most of the time now, or at least it’s part of the workflow, and as it gets easier to actually have media travel with you, it’s a pretty logical thing to start looking at some lightweight options for on the go editing, and then when you need more power plugging in something like an EGPU is a natural extension to the pipeline, so we invested in that.
Larry Jordan: This is a really technical question, I would not ask a CEO, but if you’re selecting inside Premiere to go with Metal on a Mac, or go with Open CL, which of the two should you pick if you’ve got a current system?
Patrick Palmer: I would, at this point absolutely as you’re referring to the Mac side of things, I would recommend to go with what’s OS native. This is our area of investment so even if you might see some effects not being as fast on one over the other, if you’re being really technical and nitpicky, I wouldn’t pay attention to that because overall we’re actually now really faster on Metal. It’s also true that this is definitely the platform of the future and we’re generally speaking trying to invest where we see traction with the market in general, so other manufacturers benefit from the same platform, and therefore whoever’s providing us with a platform has reason to keep investing in it.
Larry Jordan: So I’ve had a lot of questions about that, especially because people are so focused on GPUs, I wanted to make sure to get that answered. Talk to me about what the new features are. We’ve talked about stability, we’ve talked about performance, both of which are great, both are necessary. But talk about the new stuff.
Patrick Palmer: So then we have two areas left to cover and I think we’re going to keep the most exciting just for the end.
Larry Jordan: OK.
Patrick Palmer: I’m not quite sure if I’m actually setting expectations rightly because I’m personally really excited about the efficiency investment we’re making. It’s for a good reason. We started something called UserVoice about a year ago here at NAB and it’s just a platform that you can get to straight from all of our products, so if you hit help and then click send feedback, it takes you to UserVoice which is a platform to generate and aggregate feedback.
Larry Jordan: That’s UserVoice?
Patrick Palmer: Yes.
Larry Jordan: It’s not a website, it’s a section of where?
Patrick Palmer: It’s actually a website, but on that, you don’t actually need to know. It’s just a browser interface but it gives you a view towards what other people have been requesting. It’s not a forum really, it’s a very focused view towards this is what other people talk about, what they want us to do, what they think is important.
Larry Jordan: Suggestions to Adobe?
Patrick Palmer: Absolutely. And it’s not like we didn’t have that before, but it was never transparent. It also was true that you could never say “Oh, look, 300 people already want this, I’m going to give this a plus one because I really need that tool.” Over the course of the year, we actually released about 70 features that are just fair and square from that platform. It’s also true that with this release in particular, we’re hitting three of the top 20 requests for Premiere in particular. And some of it is surprising quite frankly. Rulers and guides for example. That’s a thing that did exist in other Adobe products for a long time, but so far, in our one on one conversations with customers, this has never come up as a top request. Now that we take it to a much wider audience, it turns out everybody loves that. So it’s in the product today.
Patrick Palmer: Same thing as you’re such an audio lover, if you look at the track mixer right now, we’ve had that conversation many moons ago. What about the track mixer in Premiere? Could it be a bit more like in Audition where you have freedom of choice, where to place the effects, make changes as you go? If you find out that the compressor actually shouldn’t sit at the very top of the stack, can you move it later? We’re giving it the same flexibility that you’ve become familiar with from Audition or basically other track mixers, and that also has not been top of the stack for us until we’ve now had a chance to take it to a wider audience.
Larry Jordan: You can’t see, but I’m standing on my chair and applauding as I hear you say that. We talked to Durin Gleaves on day one of NAB who was sharing his thoughts on how they’re trying to unify the audio engine between Audition and Premiere, which is only to the good because it just makes both products better. But keep going on the new features.
Patrick Palmer: Right, well let’s switch to the innovation. I think that also has two interesting categories, one is obviously technical innovation, which is never going to stop and with machine learning just become much more part of our daily lives, we’ve got an exciting feature coming here, actually in market now as of last week. Shouldn’t say coming any more. So content aware fill is actually something that has been used already a ton by our customers. If you take it to YouTube and just search for examples for content aware fill you wouldn’t find ones that we present you with, it’s a lot of users who are just playful with the feature.
Patrick Palmer: For those who don’t know what it is, content aware fill actually has been something in Photoshop for many years. One of the most loved features there. So we had every reason to think about how you can actually do a pixel replacement for things that are in the frame, but don’t belong. But do it for video, which is a lot harder as you need to look at the adjacent frames. Sometimes you don’t even know what could be a good replacement because everything that you’re trying to take out is all about obscure pixels, so the objects that might be a good fit from your perception have never been seen. So it’s a really interesting thing by the way. It’s also funny to see how it sometimes goes horribly wrong.
Patrick Palmer: But the beauty of it is you get to a result really fast. Sometimes, a task that could have taken hours is now ten to 15 minutes or it’s also a lot easier to figure out if you even get there and as it sits in After Effects, if there is a mistake it’s easy enough to fix that. But you don’t have to do all the tedious work of rotoscoping pretty much around everything, every pixel there is to get that out of the frame.
Larry Jordan: So what’s your goal in Premiere? Where are we headed?
Patrick Palmer: So Premiere is the other area where I see a different kind of innovation. We’re definitely a ton more design led with everything we put new into the product, simply put because it’s easy to agree that any NLE today is sort of feature rich, so new features must be great to use. At times it’s actually more interesting to think of just the user experience as an area of innovation versus just technology. So content aware fill is kind of both because it’s really super simple to use. But in Premiere we put a lot of thought towards how to actually arrange media before it even gets into the sequence, how to basically generate a view that liberates you from the technical relationship of a file that goes into the product. So it’s really all about a visual experience.
Larry Jordan: Well this is the freeform that you were talking about in the files.
Patrick Palmer: That is the freeform view, yes.
Larry Jordan: It reminds me very much of some of the initial ideas that Randy Ubillos had years ago as he was looking at both the original Premiere and the original Final Cut.
Patrick Palmer: Actually that’s a good opportunity to pay tribute to the person who started both Premiere and Final Cut. I think we see a lot of that still in terms of the original thinking, how to actually create a visual environment and arrange media as you think of it creatively.
Larry Jordan: For people who want more information about the products that Adobe offers, where can they go on the web?
Patrick Palmer: Definitely to Adobe.com and this is where you will also find information about the streams that we have here from the show floor.
Larry Jordan: And Patrick Palmer is the principal product manager for video editing at Adobe. The website is Adobe.com. Patrick I could talk to you for hours, thanks for taking the time and have yourself a great show
Patrick Palmer: Thanks for having me.
Larry Jordan: Our first guest today is Dave Walton, he is a long time guest on the Buzz and always welcome. He’s the assistant vice president for marketing communications at JVC Professional Video. Dave, welcome back.
Dave Walton: Thank you, it’s good to be here.
Larry Jordan: Position JVC’s cameras. We’re surrounded by a sea of new companies like Red and Blackmagic, and established companies like Sony. Where does JVC fit in?
Dave Walton: Well we’ve been in the camera business ever since I’ve been with the company, and this is my 39th year.
Larry Jordan: Are you serious? Don’t look it.
Dave Walton: This is my 39th NAB as well.
Larry Jordan: You don’t look a day over 25.
Dave Walton: Well, we’ve been in the camera business and we’ve been really considered and thought of as a camera company since the early 2000s. Before that, our emphasis was on recording formats, tape, and we had the D9 or digital S format. We had SVHS, we had three quarter inch U format. The tape formats were the driving factor, the cameras were like an add on. Well beginning in the early 2000s, we became known as the camera company.
Larry Jordan: Yes, well prove it. I mean, it’s easy to say now but give me some proof to back up this statement.
Dave Walton: I was looking through the archives yesterday and I came across this press release dated February 4th, 2002, JVC introduces the camcorder for the broadband age.
Larry Jordan: 2002?
Dave Walton: 2002, we released the StreamCorder. This was a broadcast quality handheld camera with the ability to record to tape as well as to digital solid state memory and simultaneously stream to the internet.
Larry Jordan: Wow. That was 17 years ago.
Dave Walton: Yes. So we’ve got some experience in this area. As we’ve moved into and away from tape recording, we became really known as a camera company and last year we introduced a concept known as connected cam.
Larry Jordan: I saw in the show daily on Monday you were quoted talking about your connected cam. First it was an impressive article, but what does connected cam mean?
Dave Walton: Well connected cam, a lot of people think well it’s just a camera that has connectivity, kind of like the StreamCorder of 2002. We’ve developed it into an entire ecosystem of products that are connected, now we’ve expanded the family with a two thirds inch broadcast three chip camera, we’ve got three one inch handhelds that are 4K and just this NAB we launched a six channel, connected cam Studio 6000. It’s a multi camera switcher, special effects unit that’s used for sports production.
Larry Jordan: It would be competing with folks like NewTec and the Blackmagic switcher? The Atem switcher.
Dave Walton: Exactly. And we’ve designed it to be able to accept a wide variety of different types of digital IP inputs as well as conventional SDI and HDMI of course. It’s got a lot of sports features because we’ve been very active in sports production over the past few years, with a number of very unique sports oriented features on our cameras like doing automatic score overlays. So that all is built in to the switcher as well.
Larry Jordan: I have so enjoyed our conversations over the years at NAB, that last year I was given a budget to go buy cameras, and I bought six JVC cameras for the students.
Dave Walton: Thank you very much.
Larry Jordan: And the thing I like is not only the image quality but the fact that they are mostly student proof. You can run them in full auto mode, you get good pictures, and for people that want a tweak, you’ve got tweaking settings. And while we have not yet done the connected part, that’s coming this semester, I just want you to know that I do listen to you, and I do take advantage of your wisdom when I can. But cameras going to switchers, we were doing that when I was in broadcast television before you were born. What is the significance of the connected cam because the SDI pipeline is old news?
Dave Walton: Well it is unless you have to do all the work outside of the camera. What’s unique about our connected cam series is that the encoder in the camera actually creates the stream. So we can stream live from a camera if you have a USB modem, or a wifi adapter, or in the case of several of our new products the wifi is built in with MIMO antennas and all that. But what we do is we create the stream, whereas with a conventional camera you take an HD SDI or HDMI into some other box. We keep the ecosystem beginning in the camera.
Larry Jordan: So I could stream live directly from the camera with no other gear?
Dave Walton: Absolutely. I recorded my daughter’s wedding at Lake Tahoe with nothing more than a GY HM200 and a plug in Verizon modem. I turned the thing on, hit stream, and people in Boston were watching the wedding. In a snowstorm in May, can you believe that?
Larry Jordan: I’ve lived in Lake Tahoe, I can believe that. But NAB is about new and new announcements. The connected cam is new-ish but it’s not new for this event. What have you got that’s new?
Dave Walton: Well the 500 series which is a handheld 4K. There are three models, the GY HC550, the 500 and the 500 sports version. They are very similar, the same body, same imager, same processing, but they have a little different feature set. The 550 is for the broadcasters, and it has a special type of QOS or quality of service connection that gives it a little more robust error correction. We have the 500 which is more for the video production people, that are interested in recording pro res onto solid state drives. That’s one of the things that makes these cameras very unique is they have a slot for an SSD drive. And you can shoot and record in, if you’re shooting, 4K 60p 422 10 bit.
Larry Jordan: Oh my goodness.
Dave Walton: At 60p. That’s a lot of data. And then record it in pro res, which is about 1725 megabits per second, that’s a lot of data you know? We’re looking at reducing the data when we stream, but 1700 megabits per second’s pretty hefty.
Larry Jordan: That’s a great editing format.
Dave Walton: Absolutely. You plug it right into your Final Cut without any transcoding. So that makes it very unique.
Larry Jordan: You’ve talked about the 500 series camera. Anything else that’s new?
Dave Walton: I mentioned the connected cam studio. We have a series of studio switchers that we call Pro HD with the connected cam studio. We have an encoder which is very unique. It has the ability to do HEVC compression. It’s mainly for production environments and perhaps some worship centers that want to transport a very high quality signal over a low bandwidth connection to another remote location. That, and we’ve upgraded a number of products as well.
Larry Jordan: You guys are definitely not standing still. It’s always fun to listen. Do you see JVC as expanding beyond cameras? Is this a continued move to do more than just cameras?
Dave Walton: Well, when I mention ecosystem, yes. Because there are different aspects to the production. We’ve had monitors for example. We’ve got encoders, decoders. We have a whole litany of products.
Larry Jordan: For people that want to see what that litany of products is, where can they go on the web?
Dave Walton: They can go to pro.jvc.com.
Larry Jordan: Those three words, pro.jvc.com. Pro.jvc.com and Dave Walton is the assistant vice president for marketing communications for JVC Professional Video. Dave, it is always fun listening, thanks for taking the time.
Dave Walton: And thanks for using our cameras. We really appreciate it.
Larry Jordan: My pleasure. Thanks, have a good show.
Dave Walton: Thank you Larry.
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Larry Jordan: Our first guest is David Colantuoni, he’s the VP of product management for Avid and Avid has been making a lot of news this weekend with some amazing announcements and I’m looking forward to hearing more. David, thanks for joining us today.
David Colantuoni: Thank you for having me.
Larry Jordan: You guys have been busy, oh my goodness.
David Colantuoni: I’m exhausted.
Larry Jordan: Tell me what the VP of product management does, so we understand the perspective you’re coming from. Then I’m going to talk about the news.
David Colantuoni: So we start the process on product development. We run the business of all the different entities at Avid. For me, it’s Media Composer, audio products, cloud and so forth. We work with engineering and architects to make the products.
Larry Jordan: Now you’ve made the products, let’s talk about the announcements. What’s the news?
David Colantuoni: OK, well we had a lot. We’ll focus on Media Composer. This weekend we had our Connect event, which is where we bring in a lot of our customers and they come in, we have a reveal, and it’s quite extensive. It runs over the whole weekend right before NAB. The big announcements for Media Composer, we’ve been busy as you’ve said. We relaunched the product essentially with a new user interface, something we’ve been working on for a little bit of time. We’ve extended the capabilities to more finishing and delivery type of things like with IMF and a 32 bit color pipeline. We’ve also introduced a new model of Media Composer that allows you to customize the interface so you can take Media Composer Ultimate and make it however you want to, and there’s different roles that happen in organizations that you might want a user to use a particular function, maybe a logger so you can set up Media Composer just to do logging functionality.
David Colantuoni: Then we also introduced a render farm, what we call distributed processing, and that’s for the emerging high res workflows around 8K. We’re finding that a lot of people just want to edit, they don’t want to spend time rendering, so we can offload it to a render farm. We’ve been pretty busy, and it really is a relaunch of the product essentially.
Larry Jordan: I want to talk about the interface and I also want to talk about your new partnership with BeBop where you’ve moved Avid up to the cloud. Let’s talk about the interface first. One of the things I was talking about with Megan before the show started is that Avid has traditionally been, you follow our rules or you don’t get the job done. What’s been your goal in the new interface redesign?
David Colantuoni: Yes. It’s quite a daunting experience to go through it because the product is used on so many productions that are live and active all the time. It’s hard for editors to pull themselves off and relearn new functions, so we had two goals. One, make sure we keep that workflow and editors working. But improve the way they work.
Larry Jordan: Don’t screw our deadlines.
David Colantuoni: That’s right. Secondly, we have a lot of people who are entering the industry and they want to learn how to use Media Composer and we have a product called Media Composer First that allows them to do that, but they still needed to have a more modern experience. So that goal was to make it easier to step into Media Composer. That was our approach and I think we did a pretty good job of it.
Larry Jordan: I have not yet seen the new interface, I’m looking forward to taking a look at it later in the show. But the other thing that caught me by surprise is that Avid is moving to the cloud? Tell me what this is because this is a major shift for the company.
David Colantuoni: Yes. So we’ve been talking about the cloud in different instances in various ways for the past couple of years and we actually have a lot of cloud appointments in the industry right now. It’s hard to believe but we have major installations of major media companies using Avid in the cloud. One of the things we haven’t done is extended that past our Microsoft relationship so essentially people that do services in the cloud, like BeBop or Qvest in the UK, we’ve engaged them to have the ability to sell Nexus Cloud and Media Composer working as our service in the cloud.
Larry Jordan: If I’m an Avid editor, why should I consider local, or why should I consider cloud? What makes the determination of where I go?
David Colantuoni: There’s various workflows that you’re looking to succeed in with the cloud. One is you’re working on a production but you need to spin up capacity, you need more storage, you need more editors to finish a project. This way you don’t have to go deploy a whole infrastructure, you don’t have to buy licenses, you don’t have to buy more storage. If you want to, you can just point yourself to the cloud, you can click a few buttons, call BeBop or Qvest and they can get you running pretty quickly. So that’s probably the biggest use case that we’re seeing right now.
Larry Jordan: So if I’m in an essentially fixed environment where I’m doing same throughput with the same people, running local is probably the easiest? But if I need to scale in a hurry or I’ve got a short term project, moving to the cloud will allow me to do that more quickly than bringing in additional infrastructure?
David Colantuoni: Absolutely, yes.
Larry Jordan: I had a brilliant question for you and I totally forgot it. I know it’s not your responsibility, but did Pro Tools announce anything new?
David Colantuoni: Nothing new at Pro Tools because we just came off of our NAMM releases.
Larry Jordan: Can you remember what you announced there?
David Colantuoni: We did, we announced some capabilities around network licensing and more voice packs for more voices for HDX and those sort of capabilities. It was a good NAMM for us too, so we’ve been quite busy.
Larry Jordan: You mentioned that you’re now supporting 8K. I just want you to know I’m a serious 8K skeptic. I think it’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard in a long time, not you know, to put a stake in the ground, but why 8K? Beside the fact that people are talking about it. Is there really an advantage to 8K?
David Colantuoni: We actually have customers asking us for it.
Larry Jordan: You have some sick customers.
David Colantuoni: We actually support unlimited raster on Media Composer but we have presets for 8 and 16K so we announced that too.
Larry Jordan: Do you know how big the files are for a 16K image?
David Colantuoni: Oh they are, yes. They’re pretty big.
Larry Jordan: I have to carry the RAID around with a dolly. 8 or 16K?
David Colantuoni: You’ll see the Olympics broadcast in 8K this year.
Larry Jordan: No I won’t, my set is only a 720p set. What I’m going to look for in 8K makes no difference to me.
David Colantuoni: I visited Best Buy the week before NAB, and I said, “Where’s your 8K TV?” And they were coming in that week, so.
Larry Jordan: And you didn’t buy me one?
David Colantuoni: I didn’t buy you one. So you’ll see. We have a customer, NHK, who’s looking to broadcast and create drama in 8K and not only do they want 8K they want 8K 120 frames per second, they want to do multi stream editing, inside a Media Composer. NBC is looking at doing the Olympics in 8K, they’ll have an 8K stream of it, so it’s an emerging format. And we support it.
Larry Jordan: You have to support it if your customers require it, but you have some very sad customers, that’s all I can say. You’re the head of product management and you see all the features, not just the headline, but the small stuff. What’s a small feature that didn’t get any publicity that you’re excited about?
David Colantuoni: I talked about it earlier actually. Well there’s a couple of themes. One is what we call Media Composer Enterprise and one trend we see is the ability to set a project and have roles do certain things in an organization. So we basically have made this product that allows you to do that sort of thing, and that way if you’re a logger, or a journalist editor and you want to use Media Composer, you can do that and create any scenario you want to in an organization.
Larry Jordan: For people who want more information about the products that Avid offers, where can they go on the web?
David Colantuoni: Avid.com.
Larry Jordan: Say it again, because it was too quick, I didn’t get my notes done.
David Colantuoni: www.avid.com.
Larry Jordan: That website is all one word, four letters, avid.com. David Colantuoni is the VP of product management for Avid, and David, it is always fun talking to you. Thank you for sharing your time.
David Colantuoni: Nice to talk to you too, thank you.
Larry Jordan: Take care.
Larry Jordan: And thinking of technology brings me to my first guest. Jeromy Young is the CEO of Atomos and has gigantic signs plastered all over talking about some of his latest products. Jeromy, as always, fun to chat with you, welcome.
Jeromy Young: Good to be here Larry, thanks for having me.
Larry Jordan: For people that have heard of Atomos but don’t know what you make, describe the company.
Jeromy Young: Yes, so we’re a company that sits between imaging, so sensor capture and the computer world. As you know, I come from the post production world, making editing and capture boards and we decided about eight years ago when we started, to take the capture card concept and stick it on top of the camera and go directly to what would be mezzanine intermediate formats for editing which used to be things like only ProRes on the computer. So we took that and stuck it on top of cameras. Since then, in eight years we’ve sold 500,000 units of recording to SSDs, from the sensor of cameras we now support around 350,000 cameras in general and it’s an amazing part of the world to connect imaging to computers.
Larry Jordan: Now these devices are called Ninja and Shogun.
Jeromy Young: And Sumo.
Larry Jordan: What they are is essentially external hard disc with a monitor which then attaches how to the camera?
Jeromy Young: Yes, so over SDI or HDMI. And over that we can put video, uncompressed video which is the normal way back in the day and all till now a lot of the cameras still do that. We have around 20 cameras that we’re receiving RAW from, and then we’re packaging that up into ProRes RAW because the idea is when you’re trying to bridge that imaging to computer, just like photo, we’re moving more and more of the processing to computer. And we’re just capturing the best pixel we can.
Larry Jordan: Just using the camera as a sensor?
Jeromy Young: Correct, using the camera as a sensor, because going to a compressed format might be good for quick turnarounds and things like that, but most people need to be cinematic style production today because that’s what we’re watching on the pay platforms as well as the free ad click platforms we’re viewing every day. It’s all cinematic today.
Larry Jordan: Well thinking about all cinematic means that we’ve got to have technology and that means that technology’s got to change. What have you got that’s new? I’d get there, I’ll figure out the transition in a second. What have you got that’s new for us?
Jeromy Young: We’re pretty proud of the last two or three years of development that we’ve done, and a lot of that has come to fruition over the last year. Last year we announced ProRes RAW and now it’s Shogun and Sumo products it’s been fantastic. We’ve sold over 50,000 units to customers using, and we know they’re using that because their registration shows us that they’re actually using it. And from there, we now need to take those raw pixels and display them in real time on our screen, so we have new technology which is the same as the latest and greatest TVs. We’re doing zoned backlight to turn off the LEDs that are built directly behind the screen. They’re not on the edge of the screen anymore where they reflect and you can only have 100 percent, 50 percent and that’s your brightness lighter. And what we did for HDR was digitally map the HDR into that 100 percent.
Larry Jordan: In other words you’re changing the backlight?
Jeromy Young: Yes. We’ve got 360 direct backlights on the back of the Shogun and in the top left corner where the sun is, we can do 80 pixel by 80 pixel regions so the sun’s probably 300 pixels each way, so we can turn all those on and everything else can be turned off if it’s nighttime or if it’s sun going down. And obviously we can do that across 360 zones on there. So there’s not really a scene that we can’t accurately represent.
Larry Jordan: Oh my goodness.
Jeromy Young: Yes, it’s absolutely killer. It gives you this kind of depth of field that you get in real life which we were really surprised. Plus it’s 105 percent DCI P3 so we get this really nice saturation plus you’ve got the gamma, the brightness, to increase the intensity of that deep color that we’ve got in the screen. And to add to that, in real time, so we capture this RAW, we display it on the screen so you can see it like a TV, and then on the output, we’ve teamed up with Dolby, big announcement for us, to in real time analyze that RAW footage or video, and we query the TV, Dolby’s spent the last 20 years working out what is the best curves to put to the certain technical levels of the TV. So we query the TV out of the Shogun, in real time, and we say “What are you capable of?” and it says, “1000 nits, I’m a zone backlight,” or it says “I’m a rec 709 SDR TV.” And then Dolby’s amazing algorithms pop out the right curves. We don’t even know how they do that but it’s a little black box in our product and it works fantastic.
Larry Jordan: So that’s the Shogun 7.
Jeromy Young: That’s the Shogun 7.
Larry Jordan: Announced or released?
Jeromy Young: Announced, and we’re shipping next month. You can see the prototypes on the booth, we’re in mass production now
Larry Jordan: Pricing?
Jeromy Young: 1499.
Larry Jordan: 1499? Almost 15K?
Jeromy Young: No, 1499, so $1,500.
Larry Jordan: 1500?
Jeromy Young: Yes, so you buy a camera…
Larry Jordan: Look at that, we dropped the price 90 percent in just the last ten minutes.
Jeromy Young: We did. Well done. I don’t know if my board would like that, my margins going down so much.
Larry Jordan: Don’t have to tell them. Keep it our secret.
Jeromy Young: OK we will. So that’s 1499 and we’re trying to make it obviously affordable to step into that, because we have customers from top end of influence on social media who are trying to really do the same productions as a low end Netflix and they’re all using this type of kit. So we’re just trying to enable that along the way.
Jeromy Young: The other products we’ve released take our screen technology and instead of doing recording which some people want and some don’t want, but everyone wants to monitor HDR properly and we’ve got great algorithms for that, so we’ve released Shinobi which is a five inch, really light. It’s made out of polycarbonate. It sits on top of these small cameras and gives you the same quality of screen that our Ninjas and Sumos and Shoguns do. But it’s only 399.
Larry Jordan: HDR is a moveable feast. There’s multiple specs, there’s multiple iterations. Are you representing the entire rec 2020 spec, are you going to P3, or how far toward HDR are you going?
Jeromy Young: One of the reasons to upgrade the screens is, in order to represent that correctly from this amazing footage that you’re receiving, all the wide color and wide dynamic range footage that you’re receiving, you need the ability to map those correctly to the screen. The way to do that is to work with the camera makers on their color matrix, their log curves for brightness and we do the exact transform on the other side. So we have, I counted the other day for a different reason, 175 specific development agreements over the last eight years, with Canon, Panasonic, Sony, JVC, Arri, Apple, Adobe, Dolby and the list goes on and on. And the reason that we do is because we need that to make our products work, and they need it to enable their ecosystem. So we’re very focused on that whole ecosystem imaging to finishing through the computer, and anything we can do with that metadata. Larry I can’t tell you how much we’ve got, we’ve got 50,000 spots from lens data, focal distance, image stabilization, you need all that. You get three cameras, triangulate it, you can make that scene in 3D in all these wonderful pieces of software that are out there today.
Larry Jordan: Before we run out of time is there anything else that’s new that you want to quickly mention?
Jeromy Young: Probably the advancement of the ProRes RAW ecosystem. You know, Apple’s doing their bit, enabling lots of different workflow pieces that are required to get to the finish line, and we’ve announced 14 cameras over the last year that are supporting ProRes RAW with us. We have another ten before the end of the year, minimum. And I can’t say who of course but you will see, Nikon’s CS announcement with us of RAW out of the Z6 full frame sensor mirrorless latest and greatest straight to a Ninja, and you record in ProRes RAW. Now that is a revolution. It’s $3,999.
Larry Jordan: Wow. Very cool. For people that want more information about the products that Atomos has available, where do they go on the web?
Jeromy Young: Atomos.com.
Larry Jordan: You know the thing that’s easy about that, it’s only six letters. Atomos.com, and Jeromy Young is the CEO of Atomos. Jeromy have a wonderful show and great success on the launch of your products.
Jeromy Young: Thanks Larry, always a pleasure.
Larry Jordan: Take care, thanks.
Larry Jordan: Hi, this is Larry Jordan. Thank you for listening to our coverage of the 2019 NAB show. Now, I want to invite you to continue listening to the Digital Production Buzz after NAB ends. For almost 20 years, the Buzz has covered the media industry for creative storytellers. We look at new technology, new techniques, and the people who turn them into programs. From production to post, to marketing and distribution, we focus every show every week on helping you grow your creative business. We webcast a new show live every Thursday evening at 6pm Los Angeles time. Then make it available for download on iTunes, Spotify, Libsyn and the DigitalProductionBuzz.com. Join the Buzz family and discover what the future of media holds while you still have time to plan for it. I look forward to chatting with you each week.
Larry Jordan: I have a long time friend of the Buzz with us, the company is OWC, Larry O’Connor is the CEO and the founder of OWC, wearing a very spiffy badge that he won last night. I’m anxious to hear more about this in just a second. Larry welcome.
Larry O Connor: Hey thanks for having me Larry.
Larry Jordan: Tell me about the award, what did you get?
Larry O Connor: Now we got a BaM award last night from IABM. I mean that’s really awesome recognition for our ThunderBlade. We’ve been saving people time, saving people money. Just letting people do amazing things and it was really cool to see that product awarded. Videomaker also gave it recognition today which was really cool too.
Larry Jordan: Now what is the ThunderBlade?
Larry O Connor: The ThunderBlade simply put is the fastest external thunderbolt solution on the planet today. Very compact, extremely fast, it’s all NVMe, SSD, update terabytes, and it saves people amazing time in production.
Larry Jordan: We’re going to talk a little about NVMe in just a minute, but I wanted to get the award out because that’s such cool news. Congratulations.
Larry O Connor: Thank you very much.
Larry Jordan: For people that, now that we started in the middle of the story, we should go back to the beginning. How would you describe OWC today?
Larry O Connor: Boy, how would I describe OWC? I mean, honestly we’re fulfilling every best dream intention that we’ve had, having the solutions, having everything that everybody needs to make the best possible workflow. You know, the right stores, the right internal upgrades. I mean we keep the systems going as long as possible, we make them better than new, and we’ve got the external solutions that eliminate dongle hell, they eliminate slow performance in terms of drives, we give you the things that let you connect, create, take that creativity and make it real.
Larry Jordan: Very cool. Well, much though I would love to spend time discussing some of the deep internals and the technology which as we both know, is something we both enjoy talking about, let’s get right to the new features. What have you got that’s new?
Larry O Connor: The biggest thing that we’ve probably shown at the show today, we’re pushing huge terabytes on our ThunderBays, up to 84 terabytes.
Larry Jordan: 84 terabytes on a four drive RAID?
Larry O Connor: Six drive. 56 terabytes on our four drive.
Larry Jordan: Really? That’s amazing. I didn’t realize hard discs are that big now? And still reliable?
Larry O Connor: Absolutely positively. And with soft RAID, I mean granted that’s up to 14 terabytes per bay. So that’s a lot of capacity on a single point that, well if it fails that could be bad. But if you’re using soft RAID, we take care of that. Soft RAID doesn’t just give you high performance access to those drives and management of those drives, it gives you that fail protection, that drive monitoring that nobody else has anything close to. Way before S.M.A.R.T’s going to tell you. In fact sometimes S.M.A.R.T doesn’t tell you when something’s going wrong. Soft RAID will tell you “Hey, let’s get that drive swapped out.”
Larry Jordan: Now soft RAID is the technology. It’s essentially driver technology, that’s controlling the drives in the RAID, correct?
Larry O Connor: It’s both driver and also monitoring technology. Absolutely.
Larry Jordan: And that’s part of your family?
Larry O Connor: That has been part of our family now for five years.
Larry Jordan: We were talking to Jen Soule on the Buzz a couple of weeks ago, that you’ve acquired some new companies by the way. What are your plans on integrating those?
Larry O Connor: We’re well in the process with AKiTiO and InXtron, and that quite frankly broadens our line. It also increases our ability to deliver to the market, it cuts our time to market on development engineering and supply chain. So it gives us a base in Asia which is really fantastic and it gives us some product. The design philosophies have been very similar, so bringing AKiTiO into the equation, you know, it really fills out our line and lets us cover some areas that we need to cover anyway. So it leaps us forward, it also allows us to really bring some fantastic products out quicker, more responsively in the future.
Larry Jordan: We’ve talked about 855 million terabytes now on a six drive RAID. What else have you got that’s new?
Larry O Connor: I go back to soft RAID 6 has been announced, is being shown here which is dual parity. Now you can have an array with higher performance plus up to two drives can fail on you without any data loss. It also brings APFS support and encryption but the really hot news is for folks that have the multiple environments, they use both Windows and Mac and need to get that data, use that data between both platforms. Soft RAID for Windows will now allow you to move a soft RAID Mac [vime] onto Windows with full interoperability. So for mixed environments where you got folks doing different things with the different platforms, you can move like a ThunderBlade between those systems, completely seamlessly.
Larry Jordan: That’s very cool. Now, RAID 6 is for people who are really paranoid. RAID 5 means you lose one drive, your data is safe. RAID 6 means you lose two drives, your data is safe, because it’s able to rebuild the data from the remaining drives, correct?
Larry O Connor: Correct, and RAID 6 brings some other parity checking into play so for those who are really paranoid, if they talk about bit rot, there’s been no evidence of bit rot, nothing that we’ve seen in real world. But the theoreticals are there, and RAID 6 also provides protection for that. And if [vime] get really big or you take maybe not just doing six drives, we have folks doing 16 drives together with soft RAID. Having the RAID 6 certainly is probably a positive. You never know if you have a bad batch of drives or a couple of drives right now. If you buy the solutions that we ship out, everything gets certified, you know, they’re mixed, you’re not going to get sequential drives from us. So there’s other things we do to prevent, and once again, you can’t beat having notification way before the drives stop functioning, while things are working right, notification that maybe you should take a look at we’re pulling something out.
Larry Jordan: But there’s more products. One of the new technologies that you’ve mentioned which is the ThunderBlade is the NVMe which is the new high speed interconnect for storage working off SSD drives. Do I have that right?
Larry O Connor: You’re using a flash, and NVMe takes away the barrier. Instead of going through a gatekeeper, having an extra interface between the processor and your storage, NVMe cuts the middle man out and gives you a direct pathway into the memory systems.
Larry Jordan: Because it’s still the same SSD drive, but rather than talking to it via SATA we’re talking to it via a much more efficient technology which is NVMe, correct?
Larry O Connor: Right. Instead of even talking through a switching technology, yes. Bottom line is it’s faster, it’s more efficient, it allows higher performance and the ThunderBlade takes advantage of our generation two NVMe via SSDs this year. Faster, much cooler running. The ThunderBlade has been an amazing product now since it was first introduced about a year ago. But this year’s generation two, it’s unbelievable, at lower cost too. Up to 40 percent lower cost, and it runs probably 20, 30 percent of the temperature of the first gen.
Larry Jordan: And you can storage capacity up to?
Larry O Connor: Up to eight terabytes a day and you know, the sky’s the limit in the future.
Larry Jordan: Very cool. What else new do you have?
Larry O Connor: What don’t we have this year? We have our eGPU line up which has been greatly expanded with the AKiTiO products, with the Node Lite, Node Pro.
Larry Jordan: But a big difference with your eGPU compared to Blackmagic is, you can change cards inside yours, can you? Am I hearing that correctly?
Larry O Connor: 100 percent correct. That’s the other thing to really take a look at. You look at the Mac or a PC from a few years ago, the processor typically has still got the horsepower to do what you need it to do. It’s your GPU that doesn’t have the modern codecs that are required for the playback editing, whatever it may be with the way data’s being compressed today. A GPU, to be able to add that GPU, that changes everything for the current machines. Your machine won’t be obsolete just because something’s changed in terms of the GPU requirement. And with our chassis you start with a video card today, a better video card a year from that, codec changes two years from now, you swap the card out. You don’t have to buy a brand new chassis.
Larry Jordan: And as we heard from Patrick Palmer earlier today, Adobe now supports dual GPUs, so you can have your internal GPU plus an external GPU and Adobe Premiere will use both which allows you to take advantage of the power the external GPU provides.
Larry O Connor: That’s right. And it’s huge. Now you can stack and that’s what it’s all about. You can have a very basic core, and now you can build around it and keep that relevant for years to come.
Larry Jordan: I have looked at your catalog, it runs 3,000 pages. For people that want to know the products that OWC has available, where can they go on the web?
Larry O Connor: They go to owc.com and they can go straight to the Mac sales. But owc.com will show you everything and you can find who offers our product as well as come right into us. And I do got to say one other thing is really hot, […] is going to be big news next week. We’re shipping our Aura Pro X2 which are generation two upgrades for all the older machines. Faster than anything on the planet, super cool but you’re up to 3300 megabytes a second these older machines, and we’re still supporting the new, the old, everything in between. Macs are great, PCs are great, we got the upgrades.
Larry Jordan: Larry O’Connor, CEO of OWC, we’ll be back right after this.
Larry Jordan: Covering a show as big as the 2019 NAB show requires a lot of help. We did 27 shows, 108 interviews in three and a half days. And here’s the production team that made this year’s coverage possible. It starts with our executive producer, Steven Roth. Series producer Debbie Price. Show producer Paulina Borowski. Line producer Paige Bravin. Lead audio engineer, Leonard Fassler, editor Trevor Horton, webmaster Annabelle Lau, production assistant Michael Welsh, web programming Sudd Dongre, the editor in chief of doddleNEWS, James DeRuvo, Brandon Lim for social media and Taylor DeRuvo, our production assistant. I want to call special attention to our series producer Debbie Price. Without her, none of this would be possible.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests in this hour’s show, Chris Brown with NAB, Patrick Palmer with Adobe, Dave Walton with JVC Professional Video, David Colantuoni with Avid, Jeromy Young with Atomos, and Larry O’Connor with OWC.
Larry Jordan: Our senior producer is Debbie Price, our show producer Paulina Borowski. Visit us on Twitter @DPBuzz. My name is Larry Jordan and thanks for listening to the Digital Production Buzz at the 2019 NAB show.
Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz at NAB was sponsored by Maxon and by Symply, a global distribution brand.
Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz at NAB is copyright 2019 by Thalo LLC.