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Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – May 23, 2019

HOST

Larry Jordan

GUESTS

Dave Walton, Assistant VP, Marketing Communications, JVC/Kenwood USA, Corporation

Piet Thiele, Product Manager CINE, Schneider-Kreuznach

Marcelo Lewin, Founder, HowToCreateVR.com

Steve Weiss, Creative Director, Zacuto

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, doddleNEWS

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Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we look at the state of production technology today. We start with David Walton, assistant vice president of marketing for professional products at JVC Kenwood, USA. Dave shares his thoughts on the challenges facing camera manufacturers and where production is headed in the future.

Larry Jordan: Piet Thiele is the product manager for the cine lens division of Schneider-Kreuznach. While the camera industry is challenged by cell phone cameras, he showcases a growing need for high quality lenses coming from surprising markets.

Larry Jordan: Marcelo Lewin is the founder of Howtocreatevr.com and a passionate VR evangelist. Tonight he explains the different versions of VR, why filmmakers should start paying attention and describes a very exciting near term future for VR.

Larry Jordan: Steve Weiss, creative director for Zacuto isn’t impressed with gear. For him, it’s about talent, and story. Tonight, Steve shares his thoughts on what filmmakers need to know to stay in business, and as you’ll discover, it isn’t gear.

Larry Jordan: All this plus James DeRuvo’s journal. The Buzz starts now.

Announcer: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking, Authoritative: One show serves a worldwide network of media professionals.  Current: Uniting industry experts.  Production: Filmmakers.  Post-production: And content creators around the planet.  Distribution: From the media capital of the world, in Los Angeles, California, the Digital Production Buzz goes live now.

Larry Jordan: Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry, covering media production, post-production and marketing around the world.

Larry Jordan: Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. This month we’re looking at the state of the media industry from production to post. We began with a look at post production. Last week we talked with producers. Tonight we look at production and next week we look at media technology in general.

Larry Jordan: One of the more common themes we’ve heard so far is that change is continual and accelerating. But as Dave Walton explains in his interview, when have we not been challenged by change? As we were planning tonight’s show I wanted to cast a wide net. So we’re talking with camera manufacturers, lens manufacturers, a VR evangelist and Steve Weiss, who’s focused on the business of staying in business.

Larry Jordan: By the way, Marcelo Lewin’s interview on VR was eye opening to me. Granted, I’ve been a VR skeptic, but there is so much more to this format than is visible at NAB. Many filmmakers tend to view VR through the lens of a camera, however, when you remove the camera, magical things can happen.

Larry Jordan:  You’ll enjoy all of our interviews tonight, every one of them has interesting things for each of us to think about.

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

Larry Jordan: And now it’s time James DeRuvo’s journal. Hello James.

James DeRuvo:  Happy Thursday Larry.

Larry Jordan: And a happy Thursday to you too. What is in the news this week?

James DeRuvo: Adobe has expanded Premiere Rush, their IOS editing app. It’s now available on Android. Adobe has launched Premiere Rush for Android, and it’s got all the same tools available on the IOS platform, including intuitive editing, color correction, AI powered audio sweetening through Adobe Sensei, and a customizable motion graphics through Adobe Stock. So now users will be able to shoot on their Android device, do some basic editing, share it to the internet, and then sync it back up to their desktop through Creative Cloud for more advanced post production workflow.

Larry Jordan: So what’s your take on this?

James DeRuvo: With Premiere Rush coming to Android, this is bound to heat up a mobile filmmaking platform war. Up to now, users didn’t have a hallmarked editing app for the Android platform, although users have been able to shoot FiLMiC Pro on Android for about a year now. Now that Adobe has swung their support over to Android, I expect that a mobile filmmaking war will erupt and mobile filmmaking apps on Android will explode.

Larry Jordan:  OK, Adobe is our lead. What’s our second story?

James DeRuvo:  Tough news for Nikon.

Larry Jordan:  Oh dear.

James DeRuvo:  Nikon has had to issue a recall on select Z7 and Z6 full frame mirrorless cameras. There’s a small batch of the Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras that are experiencing problems with their vibration reduction feature, due to a flaw in manufacturing. And although not every camera is affected, Nikon is encouraging all Z series users to go to a pair of websites they have created, called serial number checkers so that they can input their serial number and see if their cameras are affected by the recall. And you can find those links on our website at doddlenews.com.

James DeRuvo: Nikon will pay for the repair, plus shipping to and from the Nikon repair facility and they’ll do it regardless of their warranty status.

Larry Jordan: Sounds like challenging times for Nikon.

James DeRuvo: Well it’s very true Larry. Though the Z series is an impressive mirrorless camera, and Nikon pulled out all the stops to hype this new camera line, it hasn’t really translated into the kind of sales Nikon was hoping for. The Sony full frame mirrorless camera is still outselling both the Nikon and Canon series combined. And so Nikon has been pulling all the stops. They’re trying to do everything they can to get people to buy the Z series, including offering trade in values, adding 12-bit RAW in a firmware update this summer, and they’re even giving filmmakers the opportunity to rent a Z6 filmmaking kit for up to a week. Anything to get shooters hooked on this camera, and the videos are remarkable. So I understand why they’re trying to do it. But with this recall issue, it’s going to be a tough road to hoe for a while, I’m afraid.

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

James DeRuvo: Could SD Express be poised to become the once and future king of media cards? The SD Association has announced a new spec for the SD card, called SD Express. It’s a new media card architecture that utilizes the same NVME interface enjoyed by SSD and other flash storage devices. It will also utilize the speeds of PCI Express to transfer data to your desktop at a theoretical limit of one gigabyte per second. It looks great on paper, but will it stand up? Only time will tell.

James DeRuvo:  But users will also be able to use these SD Express cards in slower SD card models but only at one tenth of the performance.

Larry Jordan: Now, clarify this for me. Is this a released product, or is this a spec?

James DeRuvo: No, right now it’s only a white paper stage at the moment, but the SD Cards Association is clearly preparing for an 8K future and doing some hard core math to make sure the SD spec has legs for the next several years. But my opinion is, that with compact flash express making inroads, and CFast being very dominant in the professional realm, I’m not sure this won’t be a pricey option for the consumer prosumer market for at least a few years.

Larry Jordan: Those are our three lead stories. What other stories are you following for this week?

James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following this week include future versions of DJI’s drones will carry a transponder so pilots can see them coming and going and vice versa. Panasonic is coming out with an L-mount cinema camera next week, and how about a handy fog machine that fits in your pocket?

Larry Jordan: What I want is a machine that fits in my pocket that allows me to disappear. But a fog machine is a start. Where can we go on the web for industry news and reviews like this?

James DeRuvo: All these stories and more can be found at Doddlenews.com or on Twitter at @doddlenews.

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

James DeRuvo: See you next Thursday.

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

Larry Jordan:  David Walton is an expert in the field of cameras. He’s also the assistant vice president of marketing for professional products at JVC Kenwood USA. He’s based out of the company’s headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey. Welcome back Dave, it’s always good to talk to you.

David Walton: Good to be here Larry.

Larry Jordan: Today we’re looking at the current state of cameras and production, but before we get into that, how would you describe your role at JVC?

David Walton: Well Larry this is my 39th year with JVC and I came into the company from a production background. I just loved the equipment so much that I had to get my hands on it full time. It seemed like the best way to go. At the time, we were building cameras that had to use an umbilical cable to a recorder, and you plugged the two together and you went out and you shot your program. That progressed of course to putting a recording device, the tape, into the camera. Then we marched on and replaced the tape with hard disks, and then the hard disks eventually were replaced by solid state. Then somebody said, “Hey, maybe we can put more pixels onto the imager and get out of this SD world,” and then we worked our way into HD and now we’re in 4K. Now we’re looking at things like 6K and 8K.

David Walton: A lot of people ask me, where will it end? When do I have enough pixels? So that’s kind of where we are now.

Larry Jordan: 39 years covers just about the most dramatic change in video that I can imagine from the very earliest days of video through today’s digital technology. That is an amazing life span.

David Walton: A lot of people don’t realize that when we started, we were developing tape and people can’t even imagine that. Developing tape.

Larry Jordan: I do remember, and lest I wax rhapsodic of the old days, I’m going to change the subject quickly, because I still have fond memories of threading two inch tape machines and getting ready for a newscast.

David Walton: OK.

Larry Jordan: As you survey the production landscape today, the one word that other guests have used over past shows to describe it, is that we’re in a time of intense change. How does it look to you?

David Walton: I can’t remember when we didn’t have a time of intense change, and my little history that I just gave, kind of summarizes a lot of that. I can remember meetings with the television networks in New York City and we’d go in there with an idea and we’d show them, and then we’d come back a year later with some prototypes of products, and they’d come back to us and say, “Well that was what we thought we wanted a year ago. But it’s all changed now.” Everything has changed, and as a manufacturer, it’s hard to keep up with that.

David Walton: So we do a survey, and I’m just getting ready to put out about a 30 question survey about cinema 4K cameras, and we’re going to launch this survey at CineGear. I can’t help but think about those experiences with the TV networks where, you ask them questions and you get good honest answers from somebody, and then when you go and create the product that they thought they wanted, a year later the landscape had changed.

Larry Jordan: Michael Kammes made a comment a few weeks ago that most of the improvements in cameras today are incremental, that there isn’t a new breakthrough technology driving camera technology. Would you agree or disagree?

David Walton: I would say that the breakthrough, that a lot of people don’t fully still appreciate it, but it is a real breakthrough and that is in the mobile phone. Years of technology, what you’re carrying in your pocket that is so good at making pictures, moving pictures and still pictures, that it has displaced a lot of the technology that’s gone into professional products. A lot of people don’t realize that in the professional side of the business, a lot of the products that we have built have been a result of the consumer electronics, whether it be tape recording, and the mechanisms and motors and scanners, or whether it’s in the cameras and the LSIs and the signal processors and the tip.

David Walton: It costs a lot of money to build a camera. If you want to build the LSI that goes into do the video processing in a video camera, you can spend two to five million dollars and if you’re only going to selling a few handful of those every month, you really won’t be able to amortize that development. When we had consumer products that were selling in the tens of thousands every month, you could build a tip for those cameras and then exploit that tip in a professional piece of equipment and give a very good value on a very high performance product to the professional market.

David Walton: That base has disappeared because of the cell phone. That technology base. So manufacturers are now trying to figure out “How do we make those same changes in progress, but with much lower quantity and still keep the prices down?” We don’t have that high volume consumer business behind us to drive those prices down on professional gear. So that’s a real challenge.

Larry Jordan: One of the things that JVC as a company is highlighting is the concept of the connected camera. What does this mean, and why is that important to you?

David Walton: Well it’s important for a variety of reasons. Way back in the early 2000s, 2003, we introduced a product called Screen Quarter, and it was basically a video camera, a professional camcorder that would provide streaming over the internet. People scratched their heads and said, “What’s that?” Wifi connection to your facility. “What’s that? What’s wifi?” But we’ve taken that same technology and we’ve used today’s technology and turned it into not only one camera, but a whole line of cameras that can do live streaming, you can stream multi cameras and do all the remote control and […] via a wireless connection. So that’s what we mean by connected cam. These cameras are not just individual products but they are part of a much larger network of video products that all work together.

Larry Jordan: I want to come back to this concept of change that we started our conversation with. It used to be back in the early days when you and I were both starting out that we could buy a Sony Betacam, we’d use that for ten years, we could amortize the heck out of it, but those days seem to be past. The change in camera technology is so rapid. What advice do you have for camera folks looking to buy a camera today that want it to last for a while?

David Walton: I don’t think it’s going to be an issue as long as you’re staying within the same formats.  The main changes that have happened have been under […] what people watch. As long as people are still able to produce good quality HD video or 4K video for those who want more resolution, in a 16:9 format, I don’t think you’re going to go wrong with a good quality 4K or HD camera. Most of the cameras now have moved up to 4K capabilities but what we’ve found is that people using them are still using HD. So as long as you have at minimum, HD quality you’re able to produce content that people can use or the variety of video needs they have, the actual content, where it goes, has changed a lot.

David Walton: People do watch […] now on the internet and if you’re trying to make a living eking out some industrial, some corporate business, well one of the things that we all I think can appreciate when we do our shopping, is we find a YouTube video from a company that explains a core product we’re interested in. How well that video’s done, how well it’s produced, may have a lot to do with whether we buy their product or not.  Well, it’s changed because that’s an opportunity for a producer but you want it to be good quality, and certainly HD quality, very good quality, and I don’t think the viewer is going to care whether that’s recorded on an SD memory card or on some other device. It doesn’t really matter as long as people shoot it, you can edit it and you can distribute it where it has to go and it’s very good quality, that’s what matters.

Larry Jordan: Part of your challenge in marketing is to take a look into the future and try and figure out where the company needs to head. What are your thoughts on the future? Are you optimistic, or is it a time for pulling back?

David Walton: Measured optimism. Optimism with the realization that yes, we aren’t going to be the same type of company and have the same type of products we did 20 or 30 years ago. We have to acknowledge the fact that people in all walks of life are walking around with very high quality cameras, that they can shoot video with a cell phone that is on par with some of the best video we’ve seen. That doesn’t mean that people who make content for a living are going to be somehow […] from this. There are all kinds of opportunities out there. I mentioned that just with the fact that more people are watching video now than ever before, thanks to the internet. They’re not watching it in the same way so I think that for companies like ours, I think it’s a very good future. We just have to stay on top of it by building the products people want and need.

Larry Jordan: And for people who want to find out the products that JVC offers, where can they go on the web?

David Walton: They can go to pro.jvc.com which gets you right into the professional […] covers cameras, and our system components, studio monitors, field monitors, everything we make is right there.

Larry Jordan: That website is three words, pro.jvc.com.

David Walton: Got it.

Larry Jordan: Pro.jvc.com and David Walton is the assistant vice president of marketing for professional products at JVC Kenwood, and Dave thanks for joining us today.

David Walton: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Piet Thiele is the product manager for the CINE division of Schneider-Kreuznach. He’s involved in German lens maker CINE lenses which includes the Xenon product line. Hello Piete, welcome back.

Piet Thiele: Hello Larry, thank you for the invitation.

Larry Jordan: This week we’re looking at the state of cameras and production, but before we head in that direction, how would you describe your role at CINE?

Piet Thiele: I’m the product manager so the first thing I always have to do is to look for the demand in the market, especially in lenses, also in filters, but this is the main thing I have to do. Go to the users, talk to the people and I have to know what they want in the next years to make great movies.

Larry Jordan:  How would you describe the state of production today?

Piet Thiele: I think the two things that changed in the last years is that cameras and lenses become affordable, so real cine lenses and cameras which make real good videos and movie clips are becoming affordable for newcomers, and the other change is it’s possible to stream or transfer or broadcast your video into the whole world without any special tools. Just with your computer and all that. So these are the main things that many newcomers come into the market and change the whole game.

Larry Jordan: What impact on high quality lenses are cell phones having, because now everybody’s got a camera in their pocket?

Piet Thiele: Yes. This is also a change that every person has a smartphone and can make great movies with that. It’s also an impact, but I think that people who start with the smartphone, this is just to get a feeling for real good movies, and then they want to become better and better. I think also the big cameras and the lenses are still important also for the newcomers and also the other people who just play in first with their smartphones. But in the future I don’t know. Maybe when you look at the Google phones, they have the best cameras, I think and the software algorithms are great. So I’m a little bit afraid of what will happen in the future but I think it will take some years.

Larry Jordan: Where is the market for lenses today? Does it remain with traditional filmmakers, or is it expanding into new areas like corporate or houses of worship?

Piet Thiele: It’s expanding a lot in the commercial, corporate movies, image movies, web series. It’s a big thing. Non budget web series for festivals, short movies, all of that. So traditional film market, or Hollywood, it’s just only one part of the business any more. And there are other countries like China or India becoming bigger and bigger in this industry too and I think the big growth is also in the entry level for the newcomers. People coming from school and just have a small camera, and then they put a still photography lens on it and make good movies. But then they realize there are some things they can do better and then they want a CINE lens, a purpose built CINE lens and then they make better movies. This is I think one of the main game changers and maybe a danger for some older cinematographers or older DPs who still believe that they are the only ones on the planet. This is what happened in the last few years, and it goes on.

Larry Jordan: Unlike just about any other technology that attaches to a camera, lenses don’t become obsolete, in fact many cinematographers brag that they’re using legendary lenses from 30 years ago. Why should someone consider buying new lenses?

Piet Thiele: Good question. You have to find your appropriate lens for your movie. There are  still possibilities for another lens manufacturers to create a special lens. We have a lot of opportunities in this technology time. This year we have special coatings, we have special new glasses, things change and we can create right now, new characteristics and spirit in the new lens. We have new software programs which change the whole development of a lens. Now we really know what will happen when we build a prototype. In the past, we built a lens, we built a prototype, and then we looked through the camera and see what happened in the final image.

Piet Thiele: Right now, we have the whole impact, the whole influence on the final image before we build any lens, before we build any prototype and so we can go to the users, show them our simulations on a computer, and say, “OK, do you want to change the flares, or the ghost and all those things to another color? Do you want this? Or this?” There are new possibilities to create new looks, new characteristics for lenses, and this is a really cool tool to have that.

Larry Jordan: As you mention, there are many different lenses to choose from, not just from your company, but from all of your competition. How does a cinematographer decide which lens they want to use, either for their project or just as their general go-to lens?

Piet Thiele: It’s a personality thing of course, but it depends on what you want to tell the audience, and what emotions you want to create in the audience, or do you want to show the real world, so realistic, real sharp and details and all of that. So it really depends on the movie you shoot. It is not whether you can say “This is the best lens for you, or this is the best lens overall.” I always say, you need the appropriate lens for your purpose. Sometimes it’s my lens from Schneider, and sometimes it’s a lens from another manufacturer. So I’m not afraid when I go into a test between my lens and the other lens manufacturers. So it is always a feeling from the DP or the director and or the producer which lens they want to use. At the end it depends what final image you want to go for and what you want to create for your audience.

Larry Jordan: Part of your job is to take a look at the industry and figure out where it’s going for the next two years and plan products to meet that. As you look to the future, what are the challenges that you see for lens makers?

Piet Thiele: To create lenses which are not only sharp and neutral, so you have to go to the users all the time, every day and talk to them. Then you are able to create something really special with all the technologies I mentioned a few minutes ago. There are also other things like the tilt from CINE tilt which we talked about last year which is totally different from a normal lens. So these are really good ideas which take us forward. But we are also looking into the camera market because it always depends what the camera manufacturers are doing right now. So now the full frame is a big market, so we have to take care that our lenses cover full frame also in the future, that we are more universal and have all the right stuff for these cameras.

Piet Thiele: But we also take care about the newcomers which have not so much budget but they want to make good movies. They can do the high level products, as a lens costs 30, or $40,000 or $50,000. Or you can go to the other direction, the entry level. This is what we have to decide in the future so I don’t want to talk about it too much. To do both for some lens manufacturers is really hard. There are some manufacturers who did that quite well but sometimes you have to decide in which direction you have to go and then you have a lot of possibilities to make great lenses with new technologies and there are still no end for new glass, for new coatings, or for new constructions for a lens.

Larry Jordan: As you look to the future, are you optimistic, or concerned?

Piet Thiele: For motion picture I’m very optimistic. Video is becoming more important every day. You look on Vimeo or YouTube, for motion pictures it’s very important. Video is becoming more and more and you see that also on YouTube when you look on some vlogs or other things. There are such great newcomers which do not go the traditional way of a DP from former times, or they don’t go to university or screen school. They do it on their own, they just do it. And so I’m really looking forward to working with these guys because they make great high quality content with affordable equipment, and it could be fun to work with them.  So I’m happy to be here.

Larry Jordan: For people who want to learn more about the lenses that Schneider-Kreuznach makes, where can they go on the web?

Piet Thiele: They can go to schneiderkreuznach.com.

Larry Jordan: That website is schneiderkreuznach.com and Piet Thiele is the product manager for the CINE division of Schneider-Kreuznach. Piet, thanks for joining us today.

Piet Thiele: Thank you very much Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Marcelo Lewin is the founder of howtocreatevr.com. He’s also a VR evangelist focusing on VR and AR experiences for the enterprise. In his previous life, he’s been a film maker, photographer, podcaster, project manager and web developer. Hello Marcelo, welcome back.

Marcelo Lewin: Larry, lovely to speak with you again. It’s been a while.

Larry Jordan: Yes, it has been a long while. Tonight we’re looking at the current state of cameras and production. To get us started, how would you describe howtocreatevr.com?

Marcelo Lewin: If you want to discover virtual reality and understand what it is and how to use it, for the enterprise, for narrative, for animation, for gaming, you’ll be able to discover a variety of technologies. Then you can learn how to use these technologies to then go and create. So the tagline is discover, learn, create. Discover VR, learn how to create VR, and then go and do it.

Larry Jordan: What was it that first got you interested in VR?

Marcelo Lewin: Oh my god. I put on the Oculus VR headset, and it just blew my mind. I was a skeptic of virtual reality, I tried it many years ago. I got sick and I just didn’t believe in it. But when I put on the Rift, everything changed. Truly it’s the future of computing, because if you think about it, we all live in X, Y, Z and that’s what virtual reality is. It’s X, Y, Z. There is no interface, there is nothing for you to learn because it’s the way you live.

Larry Jordan: I will confess that I’m a skeptic on VR but let me come back at you. When you’re wearing a VR headset, you’re inside a sphere looking out. In real life, we are outside a sphere, looking in.  That’s like 180 degree difference, would you agree, or disagree?

Marcelo Lewin: We are in a sphere, it just happens that that sphere is just open right? And we have a sky but we’re still in a sphere, and we have to make differences between VR and 360 and I know that’s a religious war for a lot of people, but 360 is something called three degrees of freedom which means you’re in the middle, and the only thing you can do is look all around but you can’t move. True virtual reality allows you, gives you six degrees of freedom which means you can move forward, backwards, up and down, right and left, jump. You can do whatever you want. Just like you do in real life.

Marcelo Lewin: As we add haptics, as we add all sorts of things, the way your body is connected to VR, and it’s going to happen. It’s happening now, but it will happen more in the future, it will be very hard to tell the difference between virtual reality and reality.

Larry Jordan: I want to come back to this for a second, because on your website, you do differentiate between different categories of VR. You have VR, 360 VR, and the cinematic VR. You’ve already expressed that with 360 VR we’re at the center of a sphere, but what’s the differences of the other two categories?

Marcelo Lewin: VR is completely computer generated. It can also be photogrammetry, but it’s completely generated by computer and put in a 3D environment where you can move. That’s full virtual reality. Then you have 360 video which you’re in the middle of a sphere, and you’re looking up, down, right, left, but you can’t move. Then you have cinematic VR which is basically 360 video, but in 3D. So you do have a little bit of that depth perception, but you still can’t move.

Marcelo Lewin:  Now what’s coming in the future, and it’s happening now and we’re about to have a live event on AltspaceVR with Randal Kleiser, which is a director of Grease, but he’s also done a fully volumetric version of one of the songs in Grease. You’re the one that I want, we all know that song. He did a fully volumetric video where you can actually move around the dancers. That’s the future of 360 video. It’s not where you’re going to be in the middle, but where you’re going to be able to move around it.

Marcelo Lewin:  So today you have VR, but it’s mostly computer generated, so you’re creating these 3D environments, either from scratch or using volumetric video. Then you have 360 video, cinematic 360 is more 360 video with 3D, and then you have AR which is really the outside world, the reality, just augmented with more information, or the ability to interact where digital objects can interact with real world objects.

Larry Jordan: Given that, there’s been a lot of discussion on what kinds of projects work well for VR. Should filmmakers be interested or should we focus more on computer scientists?

Marcelo Lewin: No, completely filmmakers should be interested, and I’ll explain why. Today if you’re doing a fully virtual reality native VR experience, you can either use Unity or you have to use Unreal. However, if you go and discover the different technologies, there’s tons out there and there are more coming up now that are allowing you to bootstrap and not do any programming whatsoever. Just drag and drop. Creation. So that’s one way that things are changing.

Marcelo Lewin: And one thing we want to keep in mind with VR is that we are at a point right now that we were with the internet probably in early 2000. There were many skeptics about the internet, but you cannot judge VR today by today’s standards, by what technology we have. Because the technology’s changing so quickly, especially for narratives, there are some amazing animation that’s being done where you can actually move through and in or out through storytelling. There’s other forms of storytelling where you can follow different actors and get their point of view of the entire story. So you still have a full story line that you follow, but you can follow different actors and get their point of view and that’s being done today.

Marcelo Lewin: So is it hard to do a fully interactive VR experience today? Yes, it’s not for the typical film maker. But it’s getting there, and guaranteed in five years it’s going to be so much easier to do a full six degrees of freedom VR experience.

Larry Jordan:  For people who are new to VR, what experiences do you recommend that they check out to learn more?

Marcelo Lewin: Well there’s tons of experiences out there, but if you’re more into the filmmaking side, I recommend three great ones. Number one, check out Defrost which is on VeerR VR. It’s a 12 part miniseries by Randal Kleiser. Check out Marshall from Detroit. It’s a fantastic 3D 360 video that you want to check out. If you want to check out one where it mixes up virtual reality with interactivity, the Invisible Hours. This one allows you to follow a storyline but pick different actors to follow and listen to their point of view about the story. Very interesting.

Larry Jordan: Well if we judge from the hype meter, VR was suffering from massive hype two years ago and then almost disappeared if we look at trade shows, over the last year. What do you see as the key challenges that prevent VR from becoming successful?

Marcelo Lewin: I love that question. It’s adoption. Too much friction to get into VR right now. So for example, I need a powerful computer, I’m attached to a cord, I have this big headset. However, you know by three weeks, or whenever this podcast airs, everything will change. And why is that? Oculus Quest is coming out. Oculus Quest is the first true untethered no computer, no phone required, fully stand alone, inside out tracking, six degrees of freedom, virtual reality headset, or what they call HMDs, head mounted displays. When that comes out this is going to open it up to the mass. It’s still going to take a while. The thing is, with a phone the adoption is easy. I could show you the phone, I can literally hold it in my hand and show you the screen and people start getting it and it was adopted quicker.

Marcelo Lewin: But with a VR, the adoption with virtual reality is you have to be in it to really get it. So we have to figure out a way to convince people not by being in it, but other means of why virtual reality is truly the future of computing. So really it’s how hard it is to get into VR today that’s slowing down the adoption. But it’s about to change.

Larry Jordan: One of the things you said is that filmmakers should pay attention to VR. For someone who’s just getting started in VR, isn’t a computer programmer, does have strong filmmaking skills, what key areas should they focus on as they start to explore this new industry?

Marcelo Lewin: OK, number one, get in all the experiences. Try out VR from a consumer perspective. But look at these VR experiences from the creative side and figure out how they do this. Second, get into 360 video. You can buy for example the E360 VR camera for I think it’s three, 400 bucks. It shoots 5.7K 360 VR, and start learning the workflow because it doesn’t matter if you have a $300 camera or a  $20,000 VR set, the workflow is pretty much going to be the same. So learn the workflow. Understand how it is different from filming traditional cinema. There is no frame, it’s all over.

Marcelo Lewin: Second, look at what people are doing. Look at what Brett Leonard is doing with 360. Look at what Randal Kleiser is doing with 360. And learn from them. And the beautiful part about all of this is there’s no cinematic language yet, that means it’s completely open for you to try and do whatever you can, because there’s nothing that you can do that’s wrong. We’re all testing things out right now. But I definitely recommend jump into it, learn about gaming, learn about theater, learn about traditional cinema, and put it all together.

Larry Jordan: For people who do want to learn more about VR, where can they go on the web?

Marcelo Lewin: Hm, let me think about that. OK, just go to howtocreatevr.com.

Larry Jordan: That website  is all one word, howtocreatevr.com, and Marcelo Lewin is the founder of howtocreatevr.com and Marcelo, thanks for joining us today.

Marcelo Lewin: Pleasure Larry.

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

Larry Jordan: Steve Weiss is a co-founder of and creative director for Zacuto. He also has more than 40 years experience as a photographer and director for corporate commercials and fashions with numerous awards to his credit. Hello Steve, welcome back.

Steve Weiss: Hey Larry, how’s it going?

Larry Jordan: I’ve been looking forward to our conversation ever since you agreed to be on the show, so I’m a happy camper at the moment because tonight we’re looking at the state of production technology. As our closing guest, I’m interested in your thoughts on what production technology is hot right now.

Steve Weiss: Well you know, I don’t really care.

Larry Jordan: Why not?

Steve Weiss: I’ve said this like a million times, you know, it’s really more about talent than about technology. I mean, in our 2012 shootout, we kind of proved that you could take any camera and make it look great. It was all about mastering the camera, and the technology was there. It’s about how much talent you have and what you can do with it and knowing how to light. So my DP who I’ve been with for 37 years, he can take any camera and make it look great. So I don’t know. The funny thing is, the other day we had to shoot something and we had one of these handheld gimbal things and we ended up using the iPhone, it looked better. I would say that’s my favorite camera.

Larry Jordan: When you talk about the camera shootout you did in 2012, what did you do and what did you learn?

Steve Weiss: Well we did a blind test where we knew it was a big deal, there was almost 700 people involved in that. We built a set and we allowed a team that claimed they were a specialist in each one of these cameras. Starting from an iPhone 4 to a GH5 and a Canon C300 all the way up to a RED Alexa. I don’t remember all the specific cameras. Then we screened them in theaters, all around the world, in Australia and England and Germany, in the US at Skywalker Ranch, before the ASC, and we labeled them as A through S.

Steve Weiss:  After we screened the same shots out of every camera, people would comment on it and there were some surprising results. One ASC member liked the iPhone the best, Francis Ford Coppola who showed up to one of the screenings picked the GH5. So I mean in 2012 we were already having people saying that the technology was good enough. Now it’s six or seven years later, so really they’re all great cameras, any one of them is. I guess it boils down to ergonomics, what you like.

Larry Jordan:  Well if technology isn’t the key and you have been saying that for years, I agree, what should filmmakers focus on to grow their business?

Steve Weiss: Story, rehearsals, lighting, and please don’t do your own sound. Hire a sound man.

Larry Jordan: Thank you.

Steve Weiss: Because sound is to me, more important than picture and I’ve only been involved with picture my whole life. I mean I’ve been involved with sound too because it’s part of picture, but I would focus on sound. When you go to a movie theater and you hear bad sound, that does not say good movie.

Larry Jordan: No, I’ve walked out of those actually.

Steve Weiss: When you hear great sound, now you’re looking to story next. And then picture. So I don’t really put picture at the top. Although I’m in the picture business. But I did another film, called Light and Shadow where I interviewed 35 ASC members, and I asked them, these were cinematographers, “What’s more important? Picture or sound?” And probably two thirds of them said sound. So that was pretty interesting.

Larry Jordan:  If you think about it, people will watch a black screen with interesting sound, but they’ll have a hard time watching a screen with lots of activity with no sound.

Steve Weiss:  It’s everything. If this show was all stat icky and crackly, people would tune out. We always say, bad sound is intolerable. Bad picture could be a creative choice. And I’ve had many people send me films and characters are moving in and out of focus and I know it’s because they’re using DSLRs and this very shallow depth of field. And many of them have said, “Oh no, I wanted that, I wanted to have this feeling of them dipping in and out of focus.” And I’m like, “OK. That’s cool, that’s your creative choice.”  Like I said, picture, you can do whatever you want. The key is it really boils down to the story. And rehearsals and how well the acting is. It’s really more in that realm and that all goes into the talent phase, you know, screen direction. How many times do you watch something and a really creative shot is what gets you?

Larry Jordan: When you and I were talking about this interview, before tonight, you said something I found very intriguing. Where should filmmakers focus their efforts? On theatrical or television or somewhere else?

Steve Weiss: I’ve asked this question for the last 15 years to various different filmmakers and various different web series that we’ve done. My god, we did it on our Zacuto live show two weeks ago, and I always get this really weird response. I say “Would you rather have a thousand people see your film, in a darkened movie theater or 100,000 on the web?” And shockingly, 50 percent say a theater, 50 percent, something like that, say that they would rather have the volume of viewers and I had a guest on that was laughing. She was like “Are you kidding me? You created this piece. To me, I would want a volume of people to see it on various platforms. It doesn’t really matter to me.”

Steve Weiss:  But I am shocked when I hear people that there’s just this urge to be in a movie theater when only 165 pictures get released a year and Hollywood has a hard time getting that right. So getting in there is pretty rare. I wouldn’t even focus on that. I’d be more interested in getting a lot of viewers online.

Larry Jordan: Well except, let me push back on that, and I totally understand your shock and I’m probably the same, but if a film maker is interested in making money they would probably make more money off 1000 people in a theater than 100,000 views on YouTube as I know from the 100,000 views that I get on my YouTube stuff would not barely buy lunch.

Steve Weiss: Well in both cases, you wouldn’t get any lunch. So 1000 people in a movie theater is no money, and 100,000 people on the web is no money. But what you should be focusing on is finding a producer’s rep company and if they tune in to this show, we gave lots of examples of them a couple of weeks ago on Zacuto live where they have a whole plan to get you into Amazon, Fandango, all these place, not Netflix. People need to not get focused on Netflix because Netflix buys their content, where these other platforms you get paid on a sort of a licensing agreement, some of them are paid on a per view situation, and it allows you to do marketing. And this woman explains exactly how you can do all your own marketing and she has films that are doing in the $300,000 range, $600,000, no stars. It’s possible using all of these platforms, but again, people, they contact me and say “What do I got to do to be on Netflix?” Well that’s just as hard as being in a movie theater because that’s a sale. But there are ways to go about this. But you seriously have to do your research and YouTube is not a way.

Larry Jordan: No, very true. YouTube is for the general market, but there’s a lot of better options as you’ve just mentioned. If you were to give one piece of advice, aside from pay attention to talent, pay attention to story and rehearse, that focuses on what it takes to be successful as a business, what would your thoughts be?

Steve Weiss: Well, are we talking about for an indie film or for like a corporate production company?

Larry Jordan: No let’s do corporate production, I like that.

Steve Weiss: OK. Number one, I’ve said it 1,000 times, and I’ve said it on your show. You need to get yourself a business man who sells and gets you work. Because every time I see a production company, it’s two creative guys that get together, and say “Let’s form a production company.” Then they go and find a job, they do it, but the second you start doing it, you’re unemployed because you don’t have this business man, a salesman. I’ve had one and every company needs it, who’s out there hawking work for you every single day so that you’re working on five projects at once, and he’s still finding you new ones. So that’s my advice. Get a business man. Jobs are hard to get in this industry so it’s worth anything you have to pay to get them.

Larry Jordan: I like that advice. Find a business man who’s selling while you’re creating. A wonderful idea. For people who want more information about the information you have on the web, where can they go?

Steve Weiss: Zacuto.com, we have a link that has all our web series and we also have Zacuto Live now every Wednesday at 11am.

Larry Jordan: That’s one word which is zacuto.com, thanks Steve, bye bye.

Steve Weiss: OK thanks Larry.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking. Earlier this week Apple updated their Macbook Pro line of laptops with faster processors with more cores. But the new gear is the same size. It has the same limited ports, the same potential issues with heat dissipation, but it has a new and allegedly improved butterfly keyboard. A keyboard that’s been a problem for three years. As a good friend sent me in an email last night, “Oh sure,” he wrote, “like it’s really fixed this time. I’ll believe it when [KC Johnson] and Joanna Stern say it’s fixed.”

Larry Jordan: The only reason the butterfly keyboard exists is that Apple believes that pro laptops are thin laptops, which is both arrogant and misguided. When I do video production or video editing or audio editing on location, tasks which are considered pro functions, I travel with a 20 pound bag of dongles to connect to every potential piece of gear out there because I need HDMI and audio out and a micro SD slot. None of which Apple considers pro anymore.

Larry Jordan: Every year I promise myself that I will buy a new Apple laptop. I have the money, it’s in the bank. Yet every year Apple updates their laptops and doesn’t fix the keyboard. Doesn’t fix the heat issues. Doesn’t add more ports, and GPU power continues to be constrained. So I’m still traveling with a 2013 Macbook Pro which has plenty of ports, a slower CPU and a keyboard that has never failed.

Larry Jordan: Increasingly CPU speed is less important as GPU speed and storage bandwidth takes center stage at higher resolution formats. But these new pro units boost the CPU. Not GPU. And Macbook Pros still only have a one gigabit Ethernet. Still, they are thin.

Larry Jordan: As you know, Apple doesn’t share its hardware plans with the public so I have no inside knowledge, but it’s my hope that these units are a placeholder for a complete system redesign coming in the next year. A pro laptop that is thicker, that includes a better more reliable keyboard, more ports, faster GPU’s and a heat sink big enough to cool Cleveland.

Larry Jordan: And if they need to slow down the CPU to accommodate that, that’s a good trade off. I’m happy that consumers like thin. I think thin is cute. But excuse me while I grab my case of parts, I need to get some work done. Just something I’m thinking about.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank our guests tonight, Dave Walton with JVC, Piet Thiele with Schneider-Kreuznach, Marcelo Lewin with howtocreatevr.com, Steve Weiss with Zacuto and James DeRuvo with DoddleNEWS.com.

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

Larry Jordan:  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Transcripts are provided by Take 1.tv.  Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com.

Larry Jordan:   Our producer is Paulina Borowski, my name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan:  The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2019 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz – May 23, 2019

On the Buzz tonight, we talk with experts about the current state of production – cameras, lenses, VR, and the business of staying in business. We look at the challenges ahead, where the industry is going and what you need to know to succeed.

On another note, I’ve decided it’s time to take a break from the Digital Production Buzz to focus more on training. After our May 30th program, we’ll be putting the podcast on hiatus. You will still be able to find all of our Buzz shows on iTunesTheBuzzShow.libsyn.com, and the DigitalProductionBuzz.com website. While I will miss hosting The Buzz and chatting with you, I look forward to creating new training.

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Dave Walton, Piet Thiele, Marcelo Lewin, Steve Weiss and James DeRuvo.

  • With Cameras, Change is a Constant
  • Why Lenses Today Are Better
  • VR is About to Roar Back!
  • It’s not the Gear – It’s the Story
  • James DeRuvo’s Journal

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Listen to the Full Episode

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

Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week


With Cameras, Change is a Constant

Dave Walton
Dave Walton, Assistant VP, Marketing Communications, JVC/Kenwood USA, Corporation
David Walton, assistant vice president of marketing for professional products at JVC/Kenwood USA, Corporation, began his career 39 years ago … in production. Tonight, he shares his thoughts on the challenges facing camera manufacturers and where production is headed in the future.


Why Lenses Today Are Better

Piet Thiele
Piet Thiele, Product Manager CINE, Schneider-Kreuznach
Piet Thiele, Product Manager for the Cine lens division of Schneider-Kreuznach. He’s responsible for planning their Cine lenses and filters. While the professional camera industry is challenged by cell phone cameras, there is a growing need for high-quality lenses coming from surprising markets, as Piet explains.


VR is About to Roar Back!

Marcelo Lewin
Marcelo Lewin, Founder, HowToCreateVR.com
Marcelo Lewin is the founder of “HowToCreateVR.com.” He’s passionate VR evangelist, creator and producer focusing on VR and AR experiences for the enterprise. Tonight, he explains the different versions of VR, why film makers should start paying attention and describes a very exciting near-term future for VR.


It’s not the Gear – It’s the Story

Steve Weiss
Steve Weiss, Creative Director, Zacuto
“My opinion is unchanged from 1979. It’s not about the equipment – it’s about talent and story.” Steve Weiss, creative director for Zacuto, has strong opinions about what filmmakers need to do to stay in business. And, as you will discover, it isn’t gear. Listen tonight as Steve explains what it takes to be successful.


James DeRuvo’s Journal

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

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – May 16, 2019

HOST

Larry Jordan

GUESTS

Aaron Semmel, Executive Producer/CEO, BoomBoomBooya, LLC

Yvonne Russo, Producer/Director, Company

J.J. Kelley, Senior Producer and Correspondent, National Geographic

Tom Jennings, Executive Producer, 1895 Films

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, doddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we talk with Producers about the current challenges that they face in our industry today. We start with Aaron Semmel, a Television and Feature Film Producer with more than 20 years of experience. Tonight, he shares his thoughts on what it takes to be a successful Producer.

Larry Jordan: Next, Yvonne Russo is an award-winning Producer, Director and Writer of Film, Television and Digital Media. Tonight, she discusses diversity, under-represented audiences and discovering untold stories.

Larry Jordan: Next, J.J. Kelley is a Senior Producer at Explorer, National Geographic’s flagship and a twice Emmy nominated Director and Correspondent. Tonight, he provides a global perspective on what the media industry looks like for Producers.

Larry Jordan: Next, Tom Jennings is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning Documentary Filmmaker and Journalist. Tonight, he gives us an inside look at the current state of executive producing in today’s media landscape.

Larry Jordan: All this plus the latest from James DeRuvo’s journal. 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 Producer 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: This month, we’re looking at our industry through a variety of lenses. Last week, we talked with post-production companies; this week, we’re chatting with producers. Next week, we look at cameras and, the week after, we examine technology itself. All with the goal of getting a better sense of the state of our industry. There’s a lot happening and I can’t wait to share it with you.

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 James DeRuvo’s journal. Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Happy Thursday Larry.

Larry Jordan: A wonderful Thursday to you. What’s the news this week?

James DeRuvo: We just, yesterday, had a DJI event, where they announced the DJI Osmo Action Camera. This is basically a GoPro killer that will shoot 4K 60 with HDR mode and slow-motion in HD and up to 240 frames per second. It also has, what they’re calling, rock steady image stabilization, that’s very similar to GoPro’s hyper smooth.

James DeRuvo: But the real feature that’s got everybody talking is this 1.4 inch, front facing touchscreen LCD, which lets all those action camera geeks frame those action selfie shots properly. That, all by itself, makes this a very exciting new camera from DJI.

Larry Jordan: Well, I can already guess, but what’s your opinion?

James DeRuvo: Well the new DJI Osmo Action is by no means an innovative design. It is a well-built camera packed with features, some of which action camera geeks have wanted for years. I mean, I can’t believe it’s taken this long to put a selfie screen on the very front; because every action camera video I’ve ever seen, half the footage is of the person doing whatever sport they’re doing. It’s as if DJI took a page from Apple’s playbook and stood on the shoulders of giants and refined the state of the art into something everyone can use.

James DeRuvo: But what’s really interesting for me is the price. The price is $349; about $50 cheaper to GoPro Hero 7, when it’s not on sale. It’s almost as if DJI is ignoring GoPro all together and just going up against the cheaper brands.

Larry Jordan: Alright, that’s DJI, what’s our second story?

James DeRuvo: Adobe is warning Creative Cloud users of legal action, should they use older versions of Premiere and other Creative Cloud apps. Users are getting emails advising they are no longer licensed to use older versions of Creative Cloud apps; including Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Media Director, Animate and even Lightroom Classic. Users should update to the Spring update right away.

James DeRuvo: Continuing to use anything but the most recent version may open up users to legal action from third parties and the third parties part of this warning may refer to Adobe’s ongoing legal dispute with Dolby over how many Creative Cloud users are using their software on a monthly basis.

James DeRuvo: Adobe isn’t telling and Dolby wants their fair share of royalties, according to the original agreement made before Creative Cloud was even launched.

Larry Jordan: Now I want to mention that this is a Creative Cloud issue. If you’re running Creative Suite, which is CS6, you’re not affected?

James DeRuvo: That would be true.

Larry Jordan: I can understand Adobe’s position, but this sure puts users in a tough place.

James DeRuvo: It does. It underscores the precarious nature of software licensing. When you buy software, or in this case subscribe to it, you don’t really own it; you’re paying for permission to use it and that permission can be revoked at any time. In this case, like you said, Adobe is telling users they can’t use older versions of Creative Cloud product, or they could be sued; not by Adobe, but by Dolby, or any other third party that they are having a legal dispute with.

James DeRuvo: While Adobe customers are caught in the middle, Adobe is coming off as being heavy-handed in this; even though they’re just advising to protect their client base and it’s a PR disaster.

Larry Jordan: Alright, that’s Adobe, what’s our third story?

James DeRuvo: Well Nikon is listening to users and opening up the Wi-Fi standard for their DSLR cameras. Through an upcoming firmware update, users of the Nikon D850, D500, D7500 and D5600 will now be able to use any Wi-Fi standard they choose; bypassing Nikon’s proprietary hybrid SnapBridge protocol. Unfortunately, Nikon D5 users aren’t included in this update at the moment.

Larry Jordan: What’s the importance of this?

James DeRuvo: Users have been complaining about the propriety SnapBridge protocol; it’s very limited, it’s got a limited distance and range and they just don’t like it. With the Z series camera, Nikon has offered users the choice of either an open Wi-Fi connection, or connecting through SnapBridge and so they’re just lining all the other cameras up with that open protocol. It’s really good news, because now users are free to use whatever they want.

Larry Jordan: Well we’ve talked about DJI and Adobe and Nikon, what other stories are you following this week?

James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following include, Intel may have another security breach issue affecting their CPUs. A filmmaker adds a DIY flip-up touchscreen to his Blackmagic Pocket Cinema camera and are Macs really slowing down with new versions of Mac OS? That’s what we’re looking at.

Larry Jordan: Where can we go on the web for industry news and reviews?

James DeRuvo: All these stories and more can be found at doddlenews.com, or on Twitter at @doddleNEWS.

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.

Larry Jordan: I want to introduce you to a new website, thalo.com. Thalo is an artist community and networking site, for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. Thalo.com features content from around the world, with a global perspective on all things creative. Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works.

Larry Jordan: Thalo is a part of Thalo Arts, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking; performing arts to fine arts and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed. Visit thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed. That’s thalo.com.

Larry Jordan: Aaron Semmel is a Television and Feature Film Producer with more than 20 years of experience in producing all forms of TV; from unscripted reality shows, to scripted episodic, to long-form mini-series. Hello Aaron, welcome back.

Aaron Semmel: Hello Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan: I’m talking to you. It’s always fun to have you back. Tonight we’re looking at the current state of producing in media. Before we step back to look back at the industry, how would you describe the projects that you enjoy producing?

Aaron Semmel: Well, I always way, I’m a storyteller at heart; so what I always look for is a good story. That’s always my starting point.  It always comes down to, is this story relevant and is there an audience that is out there looking for this story? At the core of it all, I guess I look for great characters and engaging plot points and things like that. I feel like, if you have those, everything else kind of falls into place.

Larry Jordan: It sounds like that’s leaning more towards scripted stories than unscripted reality. Is that true?

Aaron Semmel: No, story is just as important in your unscripted as it is in scripted. In fact, it leads to a whole department that doesn’t even exist in the scripted realm. In scripted, you know, I always say, you know where the glass is sitting on the table six months before you can start rolling cameras; so you’ve got your story figured out before you start. You’ve already talked to your Editor and you’ve already worked with your Director and they’ve got ideas of how they’re shooting things and angling things to get what they need.

Aaron Semmel: In unscripted, your story’s just as important and you go out with a vague idea, almost an outline of what you want to do; you shoot a bunch of footage and then you come back. There’s a whole department that exists in unscripted called the Story Producing Department. These are primarily Editor based Producers; people who understand story and understand the editing process. What they do is, they string together story points out of all this footage and they help shape your story.

Aaron Semmel: But, once again, you notice how many times I said story in that sense; that’s how important it is. You know, you’re not going to be involved in a reality TV show if there’s no story. When you watch the Olympics, let’s say it’s a track and field event and the guy’s running the 100 meter dash. That’s over in 30 seconds; so how do they make that important to us? Most of the time they show the background story of the athlete, or they give you a video package that explains where this person came from and who they are; so that, now you’re more invested. Now you have the story that makes the 30 seconds that much more impactful.

Larry Jordan: Alright, let’s take a step back and look at producing in general. As you look at the industry, clearly we’re in a time of intense change at multiple levels. From your perspective as a Producer, how do you see what’s happening in the industry?

Aaron Semmel: You know, I feel like we’re at an odd time in the industry; an odd time, but a good time. I always say, in chaos there’s opportunity and definitely in the chaotic part of the industry.

Aaron Semmel: One big thing that I see happening in the producorial side is what I like to call the end of the 30 second spot. We’re starting to see advertisers and marketing change in the way they have to deal with what they do. Because the 30 second spot television add is changing; it’s not as effective, it’s not working as well.

Aaron Semmel: They’re trying to come up with new ways to integrate brands and have advertising and marketing happen. This leads to various different opportunities on the producorial side, because, you know, as much as I just preached about being a storyteller, we are in show business and there’s a business side of it.

Aaron Semmel: As a Producer, that’s your job a lot of the time. The way these advertisers and marketers are working nowadays and what they’re looking for, there’s a lot of opportunity for new business models for Producers to have a chance to do things financially that they wouldn’t have been able to do before because, again, you’re now getting integrated with new, what I would call, experimental marketing funds. The brands are trying to figure out ways to integrate their product.

Larry Jordan: Thinking about that further, funding has always been a challenge for the independent filmmaker. It sounds like funding is even more challenging because, the traditional approaches don’t work. Is that true?

Aaron Semmel: Yes. I mean, it’s funny when you say the traditional approaches because, what is a traditional approach? In the old sense you would think, oh I have a movie and I’m just going to sell it to a studio and they’re going to make my movie. Only, that traditional sense is very skewed these days; so it does exist, but it’s not like the old days, where you could be standing outside the studio and get discovered.

Aaron Semmel: These studio deals now are reserved for the upper, upper echelon and the top tier of Hollywood; because they’re only making these giant […]. As a Writer, you know, the traditional model of, oh I’m going to go to Hollywood and a studio’s going to make my movie, in this independent sense, it’s very difficult. That doesn’t exist anymore, it’s very hard. But it does exist in the sense that, studios are still making movies; that model still exists. But what is happening is a rise in independent producing for vehicles like Netflix and Amazon Prime, which are streamed.

Aaron Semmel: As the studios stopped making independent movies and were focusing on these tent-poles, independent Producers started having a really hard time creative business models, so that they could fund their production. But as we now have evolved and moved into the streaming realm, it’s opened up a whole new business model and, like, I said, out of chaos comes opportunity.

Aaron Semmel: This has led to a whole new genre of independent filmmaking for streaming purposes, for the audience that is at home; the audience that would like to sit down and watch a well-crafted, character-driven drama. That audience doesn’t necessarily go to movie theaters anymore but they are at home watching it and they do want that content; therefore, it’s now created this market for it and independent Producers are finding new ways to raise funding through that vehicle.

Larry Jordan: It’s not only very interesting, but it’s a different environment. We’re not looking at films on the large screen anymore, we’re looking at films on the small screen. Does that change the way that you either shoot or produce a film?

Aaron Semmel: Me personally, again it goes back to story where it’s like, the artist in me would like to say I will never compromise my artistic integrity. But at the same time, yes, you think about these things. I mean, look at Jeffrey Katzenberg right now, he launched an entire company which I believe is called Quibi; which is creating content for the small-screen. When I say small-screen, I mean tablets and iPhones. You know, content that is created specifically for short-form, two to five minutes. Do they want to see big massive Game of Thrones, dragging, burning cities? No, they want to see a different kind of content.

Aaron Semmel: Another interesting thing on that note and I talk about it a lot with people is, in our business, we make these scissor reels a lot; to go sell our concept. As a Producer, I’ll have an idea for a TV show, let’s say I’ll make a TV show about Mary interviewing people. I’m going to make a scissor reel and a video and the video is going to show how that show would look and work and the types of people that Mary would interview.

Aaron Semmel: When I make this scissor reel, I have been telling more and more people to look at YouTube; watch how they make short-form content and how people are making content on YouTube that is designed to be short, engaging and visual. There is a big thing in infographics right now where it’s like, put your words on the screen because, on the small-screen, people aren’t listening.

Aaron Semmel: I’ve read statistics that say, most people who watch an Instagram video aren’t listening to it; they’re just watching it, they have no volume. Therefore, if you have something important to say, put words on the screen, because they’re not listening to it. Sometimes it does affect how you create your content, but for the most part, like I said, story is very important. I’m going to make a story about millennials and the way they community; so yes, I’ll create a very thematic aspect to the show that is in some ways visually representative of texting, or snapchatting, or whatever these kids do these days.

Larry Jordan: It sounds like it’s producing for the ADD generation.

Aaron Semmel: I think that every generation before has said that about the next generation.

Larry Jordan: Aaron, for people that want to hire you for their next gig, or give an idea to you, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?

Aaron Semmel: Oh I always say, you could just email me direct. In the producorial game, you get right to the source. My email is aaronsemmel@gmail.com.

Larry Jordan: It is always fun to talk to you.  Aaron Semmel is the Executive Producer and CEO of BoomBoomBooya and a Producer in his own right of many shows. Thanks for joining us, we’ll talk to you soon.

Aaron Semmel: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Talk to you later. Take care, bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: Yvonne Russo is an award-winning Producer, Director and Writer for Film, Television and Digital. She’s currently producing with Warner Brothers and Bad Robot on a television series which is in development and executive producing, with HandMade Films, a comedy series for television. Hello Yvonne, welcome back.

Yvonne Russo: Hello, thank you.

Larry Jordan: Yvonne, tonight we’re looking at the current state of producing and, before we look at the industry, how would you describe the projects that you enjoy producing?

Yvonne Russo: The projects that I enjoy producing are projects that have a meaningful and exciting social value to them. I really find myself gravitating towards somewhat historical pieces; pieces that reframe the narrative from an indigenous perspective. The other is pure comedy.

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

Yvonne Russo: I just feel that, the American epic hasn’t been told. You know, we live in a false reality sometimes. I think that there is just a number of stories that need to be told from all different perspectives; especially groups of people that have not had the opportunity to tell their stories.

Yvonne Russo: When you look at history, everything was based on western civilization and the westward expansion, leaving a number of indigenous voices out; leaving African-American voices out. A number of all these other subgroups within our nation have a portal of stories to tell. I think that, now we’re at a time where we are ready to open up and hear the truth of different stories from all different races and backgrounds. I have a real passion for history, because I think all the gems are there.

Larry Jordan: Let’s shift gears from the programs you’re working on, to your role as a Producer. As you look at producing in today’s environment, what do you see happening  in the industry?

Yvonne Russo: From my perspective as an independent Producer, I have been developing projects over the course of the last four years actually and I finally feel that we’re at a place in entertainment in general. Because of all the various streaming platforms, we have an opportunity to actually get our projects produced, much more than say the way it was ten years ago, or even five years ago. That’s due to all of the different streaming services that are out there.

Yvonne Russo: In the past, it was always extremely difficult because you had to have an agent and you had to have connections within the industry, to come in and pitch your stories. Now, I think that the industry is opening up and wanting to hear from voices that they haven’t heard; under-represented voices and talent that isn’t necessarily with agents, or represented by agents. I think that the industry is just much more open to a variety of voices in general.

Yvonne Russo: As a Producer and from somebody of indigenous background, it provides more opportunities for myself, at least, in terms of pitching our story; so it’s a good time.

Larry Jordan: I hearing that distribution has exploded, but is getting funding any easier today than it was a while back?

Yvonne Russo: Not in my perspective. Right now, I’ve been working mostly in development for television; so that’s very different than producing features. It still is about attaching a name talent; even though some companies, or others will argue that that’s not the case. But when we are packaging our own movies, you know, usually, we can’t go in without having a Director attached, or without having at least a celebrity that could be driving the material and then everything else is cast around that.

Yvonne Russo: I don’t know exactly how numbers are quantified, but I think, you know, with international sales agents, apparently, celebrities still drive the foreign territories. In that sense, funding for films is still traditional in that realm.

Yvonne Russo: Then there’s other ways to fund films as well and that’s even through social impact campaigns and foundations and non-project organizations that are starting to fund towards the development of feature films. These are small pockets of money, but it’s enough for a Producer to eventually cultivate the project, get it to that next stage of development; possibly attach a Director and then, eventually, being able to present it to a studio, network, or other production company. Either way, I will say, it is a challenge.

Yvonne Russo: It’s all about perseverance; you really have to persevere and you have to believe in a project so much that, whatever it takes, you’re going to get the project funded and completed. You just have to stay dedicated.

Larry Jordan: You’ve been producing during the rise of the Me Too movement. Have you seen any change there?

Yvonne Russo: Well, I mean, women are definitely coming together in ways that we have not in the past. We sort of have our own code of conduct between ourselves; that way we know that, if someone’s crossing a line that we all have decided to stand up and take responsibility for that. I think that it’s helped us, that way, we’re stronger together and united; which is nice. I think that, because of the Me Too movement, women are really being more vocal, in terms of how they feel about things and don’t feel like their voices are suppressed, or that they’re afraid anymore.

Larry Jordan: Your work is all about finding the right story; especially from groups that haven’t been able to tell their stories before. But media is also about technology. Are there any technologies that you’re watching and, if so, what makes them interesting to you?

Yvonne Russo: I’m really interested in more of the mobile technology and how that’s going to evolve and how content is eventually going to shape for that smaller snack-sized screen. To me, as we progress into the future, more and more people are just watching content on their phones and their phones are getting larger and people are just consuming that way. That interests me the most.

Larry Jordan: You’ve mentioned that funding remains an ongoing challenging, requiring perseverance. If we exclude funding, what are the biggest challenges you have in producing?

Yvonne Russo: If we exclude funding, then it means I have to get another job. What would I be? What would I do? I don’t know.

Larry Jordan: Let me ask my question differently. If funding was assured, what would be your biggest challenge in producing? Is it finding the talent? Is it finding the story? Is it that schedules need to be longer?

Yvonne Russo: I think that that’s a really good point because, even when you do have funding, that is the next step. That next step is finding that Director that’s on your wish list and will that Director accept the project? Is it the right Director? Is it somebody that you feel is a good collaborator with the rest of your producing team? The actors that we approach, are they available and what’s their window? Can we afford them? Yes, I mean, I think scheduling is actually a really big challenge.

Larry Jordan: As you look to the future, what gets you the most excited?

Yvonne Russo: What gets me excited is learning and learning from all the different voices that are out there; all the different sub-cultures, voices from parts of the world that we haven’t heard. You know, I love learning through story; so, for me, I just want to hear more stories from people that we haven’t heard from before.

Larry Jordan: Yvonne, for people that want to keep track of the projects you’re creating, where can they go on the web?

Yvonne Russo: You can go visit my website, at yvonnerusso.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s yvonnerusso.com and Yvonne is an award-winning Producer, Director and Writer. Yvonne, it is always fun to talk with you. Thank you for sharing your time.

Yvonne Russo: Thank you so much Larry. Have a great day.

Larry Jordan: Tom Jennings is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning Documentary Filmmaker and Journalist. He has written, produced and directed more than 400 hours of programming; for such networks as CBS, Discovery, National Geographic and many more. Hello Tom, welcome back.

Tom Jennings: Hello Larry, thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan: Tom, tonight we’re looking at the current state of producing and, before we look at the industry, how would you describe the projects that you enjoy producing?

Tom Jennings: You know, I came out of a print journalism background, so I’m kind of a generalist. I love finding great stories and I think the stories that I like to tell best are ones where people think they know the story, but actually, there’s a lot more there.

Tom Jennings: A really good example from about ten years ago, something that I tried to produce forever, was the Manhunt for John Wilkes Booth; the person that killed Abraham Lincoln. Most people know the story that Booth shot Lincoln in Ford’s Theater and sometime thereafter he was killed. But there’s these 12 days that he was on the run. I tried to sell that show for years because I had a passion for it.

Tom Jennings: What I found out about the story was this amazing slice of American history that most people don’t know anything about; all the characters that Booth and his accomplice came across, how they were hidden, how they tried to cross the Potomac River. It was this amazing slice of history that I didn’t know and I thought I knew history pretty well. I kept pushing it, pushing it and pushing it and finally I did it and I sold it to the History Channel and then they said, gee you’re a genius; this is a great story.

Tom Jennings: It’s that kind of thing where you think you know it, but there are so many more layers there and it makes it fun and it’s a great yarn. That’s the kind of stuff I like to do.

Larry Jordan: Let’s take a step back and up. Aaron Semmel just described our industry as being in a state of chaos. What’s your perspective as a Producer?

Tom Jennings: Well I think I’d agree with Aaron Semmel about that. A state of chaos is correct in that, you know, it’s the delivery systems that are putting us in a state of chaos and that’s kind of always been the case. One of my favorite eras is the newsreel era, which was killed by television; you don’t have newsreels in movie theaters anymore. But now it just seems this splintering of the networks into the 500 channel universe and then laying in all of the streaming services; you know, everybody’s got a streaming service.

Tom Jennings: I think what’s happening is, you know, we’re losing that kind of national campfire. 30 or 40 years ago, people would sit around and watch M.A.S.H, or All in the Family, or something and most of your friends would know about what had happened the previous night on television. That doesn’t exist anymore. It gives us lots of choices and there’s lot of places for Producers to go, to sell those choices.

But what’s happening more and more is, with the splintering comes the driving down of budgets, the need for a voluminous amount of content to put out there and some of it’s very, very good and then some of it, you can just tell that it’s been thrown together.

Tom Jennings: I don’t know about Aaron Semmel, but I feel like a Dervish sometimes;  it’s like I’m spinning. How about this story? How about that? What genre’s selling over here? He’s right, it’s like the Wild West; but the Wild West seems a bit tame compared to what we’re going through right now.

Larry Jordan: Your focus is documentaries, clearly. But, as you look at it, what documentary subjects, or show trends seem hot right now?

Tom Jennings: To be fair, we do mostly documentary television, versus what people might consider a documentary feature; which would be more of a movie theater; like an […], or Michael Moore. We do documentary television. I can answer this very specifically for you, they want something no-one has ever seen, no-one has ever heard before. We’re kind of burning out.

Tom Jennings: I have a background in investigative reporting and it’s like, sometimes, you know, it may have been seen once before, but there’s so much more to this story. But, if you walk into a Network Executive’s Office, or send them an email and say, I just found this and no-one’s ever heard of it and it’s going to change the way we think about this major moment, either currently in our zeitgeist, or in history, they’ll pay attention. You know, we used to say, we have to think like Network Executives, if we want to sell our shows to the network.

Tom Jennings: I’m taking that a step further now and I’m saying, we have to think like a Marketing Executive. You know, we want to do good work; they use the term, we have to cut through the noise. What that means is, they need something that’s going to grab a viewer right away and then hold them because it’s good.

Larry Jordan: One of the thoughts that Aaron and Yvonne both mentioned and it’s tied into the whole question of technology is, one of the challenges we have now is that people are watching less, perhaps, on the large screen and more on the small-screen; like tablets and cell phones. Does that change how you produce your shows?

Tom Jennings: I don’t know if it changes it in the big picture. You know, one of my favorite movies from days gone by is Lawrence of Arabia. There’s that very famous show of Lawrence coming over the horizon and David Lean must have held on the thing for two minutes. He’s riding out of the desert, slowly towards the camera. On a big screen, this is breathtaking art; but if you’re looking at it on your phone, on the subway, it’s just not going to read.

Tom Jennings: The reason I mention it is, for me as a Producer, or if I’m directing something, there’s no point in us going to all that trouble, if someone’s going to watch that on their phone; because it’s just not going to be impactful. I need to keep the eyeballs connected to whatever device they’re on, so things need to be a little bit closer in, you know, the story has to be moving quickly.

Tom Jennings: It might have been Aaron saying, you know, when he does scissor reels now, he puts the words on screen sometimes; thinking what you would see on Facebook, when these little videos come up. I thought that was a good idea for a scissor reel; I made a note of that one.

Tom Jennings: But you have to remember that, people are being pulled in dozens of different directions all day long and you want them to park on what you’re doing; so, in terms of the content delivery on a small device, I think it is important to remember that. However, I wouldn’t keep it in the forefront. If I had some grand artistic shot that I thought was going to be so beautiful, but it was going to burn three days’ budget for two minutes of film, then I wouldn’t do it anymore.

Larry Jordan: As you look to the future, what do you think are both our biggest challenges and what gets you the most excited?

Tom Jennings: Well it’s exciting in that there are a lot of opportunities, there are a lot of places to take your ideas. You know, I have a lot of ideas that I’m very passionate about, but, just because I’m passionate about them, doesn’t mean that a network will be; or, my Network Executive might be very passionate about it, but their marketing team will say, that just don’t fit with what we’re doing.

Tom Jennings: They’re all going after branding, but the opportunities are there to do a lot of different things; which is great. Getting funding to do that, being able to follow through; taking your idea all the way to a screen whatever size that can be tricky. The exciting thing is that, you know, it’s the Wild West but you get to choose the horse that you want to ride on.

Tom Jennings: Conversely, you do have to remember that you’re trying to tailor to various audiences, you know, different networks want to appeal to different age groups and you want to keep people entertained and, you know, in documentary, you want to keep them informed. You want to tell a story where they’re going to draw something out of it, but you need to keep them entertained at the same time. That has always been the same; that’s existed from the beginning.

Tom Jennings: It’s just convincing a viewer that, what you’re about to watch is not going to be boring, it’s going to be something visually that’s going to appeal to you and, if you learn something along the way, all the better.

Larry Jordan: For people who want to learn what they haven’t heard, or learned before, where can they go on the web?

Tom Jennings: We have a company website, it’s 1895 Films.

Larry Jordan: That’s the numbers 1895films.com and Tom Jennings is the Executive Producer for 1895 Films. Tom, thanks for joining us today.

Tom Jennings: Larry, it’s so good to talk to you, thank you.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to, doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry.  DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platform specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in-depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.

Larry Jordan: DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking; performing arts to fine arts and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals, or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go, doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan: J.J. Kelley is a twice Emmy nominated Director and Correspondent. He’s also a Senior Producer at Explorer, which is National Geographic’s flagship documentary series, whose work has taken him to all seven continents. He’s currently hosting an adventure series for the Travel Channel. J.J. welcome back.

J.J. Kelley: Hello Larry, great to talk to you again.

Larry Jordan: I understand, we’re catching you in mid airport; so clearly the travelling does not stop in the middle of the week?

J.J. Kelley: Yes, it’s been a little bit crazy. From the start of the year, I found myself up in the Bering Sea in Alaska; I just got back from Tokyo and Seoul and I’ve been to many places in between. Right now,  I’m watching the sunset over the beautiful Kansas landscape.

Larry Jordan: Well, I would begin to say that I feel sorry for you, but actually, it sounds like a really great life from my distance; as opposed to having delivered.

J.J. Kelley: I like it, I’m having fun.

Larry Jordan: Tonight, we’re looking at the current state of producing media; but before we look at the industry, how would you describe the projects that you enjoy producing?

J.J. Kelley: I work in documentary television, for the most part and dialing into that genre a little bit more, I focus on exploration, adventure, you know, off the beaten path locations; Antarctica, the Congo. The places that nobody else really wants to go to are the places that I love.

Larry Jordan: Let’s take a step back and view the industry more as an industry and a business, rather than the specific shows that you’ve done. From your perspective as a Producer, what do you see happening in the industry?

Larry Jordan: We talked with Yvonne Russo and Aaron Semmel, Tom Jennings and they all describe it as an industry which is enmeshed in chaos. What would you think?

J.J. Kelley: I think that that’s not a completely horrible description; I think that that’s actually pretty spot on. It’s changing a lot. I remember when I was a kid and I would turn on the television and, if the President of the United States was talking, you’d flick through your four or five channels and the President was on every channel.

J.J. Kelley: Then we saw this theme with cable television networks and then streaming services, where there were all these different companies and anybody who had an idea could come up with their own network and content. You had all these tailor-made productions that were available on all these different platforms.

J.J. Kelley: We still have a lot of those platforms, but they’re being consolidated. You have Netflix, this juggernaut, who was just eclipsed by Disney as the largest media company in the world; so you’re getting back to this place where you just have a handful of companies running everything.

J.J. Kelley: It is a big chaotic and, within that battle, we’re still seeing traditional broadcast and cable getting a lot of the advertising dollars but, at the same time, everybody’s talking about digital and what it means to be in the digital space and everybody wants some of that.

J.J. Kelley: How I’ve aligned myself in this nebulous landscape is to diversify myself with any good portfolio; to make branded content at the same time that I’m working on a traditional cable series. I look at those as my stock, the more risky investments and then kind of my bond, the safer investment is education videos; because education doesn’t change on the whims of an Executive who decides they want to can a show and go a different direction. Generally, those are built a little bit further out and they pay just as much, a lot of times, as your broadcast programs and they’re stable.

J.J. Kelley: Yes, I think the landscape is chaotic and I think one of the keys is just diversifying and knowing how to make the traditional broadcast. Also, not just dabbling, but finding success in digital content and then kind of having your bread and butter that, no matter what happens, you can still depend on those as a source of income.

Larry Jordan: We’re seeing that people are consuming media in ways that are different than years past. It used to be, we’d watch on television, or go to the theater and watch on the big screen; but now the small-screen, tablets and cell phones have a dominant presence in a lot of the industry. Does that change the type of programs you create?

J.J. Kelley: Yes, I think it changes the type of programs that you create. You know, I was listening to the show and I agree that content has changed. You still have a good idea it’s going to find viewers, but the delivery platform changes, the length changes and even, what you put on the screen needs to change depending on the device that it’s being viewed.

J.J. Kelley: Right now, I’m working on a series with a major US airline, where we’re going out into the world and we’re looking at a sport and the kind of changing face of that sport; so it’s branded content and this branded content is going to be viewed and available on Facebook. It’s original content, just like I would make for National Geographic, or a documentary network; but it’s going out through a new medium and that is social media.

Larry Jordan: Aaron made a comment that a lot of videos, people are watching, but they’re not listening to them. It’s the social media video where you see video with text and the audio is irrelevant. Is this a threat, or is this a splinter? What’s your thought?

J.J. Kelley: I think that that’s a great observation and it’s spot on. I mentioned the series that I’m doing for Instagram and Facebook and we used to have to deliver this […] CAP file a closed caption file, for viewers that were hard of hearing. You’ve seen this before, you’re able to toggle between no closed caption and closed captioning. But now, it’s a new format where, basically, if the viewer does not have the audio on, they’re going to automatically see text on screen. I think that that is the new approach moving forward.

J.J. Kelley: I live in New York City and I took the subway a fair amount this week and I would always peer over at people. They’re watching videos on YouTube and Instagram and Facebook, but they have text on screen and this is text which is offered to them. I’m not exactly sure how much of it they’re reading, but that is a delivery method. You definitely need to be able to communicate, not only with traditional text on screen that you would add as a chyron in the video, but also this layer that’s put into the video that can be toggled on and off.

Larry Jordan: A lot of what you focus on is content, because you create documentaries. But is there a technology that you’re paying attention to, or is there new emerging technology that’s caught your eye?

J.J. Kelley: I think that there is a lot of value in coming up with a story and a program that  has a traditional outlet; but piping that outlet and promoting it through platforms like social media. You can do a lot with Instagram Live and Facebook Live and Instagram Video to really point to your video as it comes up.

J.J. Kelley: I remember when I started in TV just 12 years ago. When we went out on a shoot and we captured photos and Facebook was coming up, we signed documents and we would get yelled at. People would get fired if you posted any photos from that shoot before the show had been broadcast; any content that you captured couldn’t go out on social media until that episode aired and then you’d have to wake another week till the next episode aired and then you could talk about content from that shoot as well.

J.J. Kelley: Now it’s the complete opposite. As you’re out of your field, you’re live streaming what you’re capturing there. You’re creating an impression of this story idea, you’re creating content as you go along; so you’re able to sell ad sales that way, but then when the film comes out, you’re getting money that way as well. You’ve also built up this hype along the way, where people now know about your show and they’re more likely to watch.

Larry Jordan: As you look to the future, what has you the most excited and what has you the most concerned?

J.J. Kelley: I mean, I am excited because I do think that we live in this amazing era of video production. It’s changing so much that, I think that we couldn’t have foreseen where we are today. You know, remember Blockbuster video; remember how many stores there were? They’re gone. I don’t think that, 15 years ago, anybody would have thought that a company like Blockbuster would be gone. It can be incredible unstable.

J.J. Kelley: Just in the car that I’m riding in now, we were talking about Kodak and how that company went from a monster company to really, you know, this obscure, niche company and that happened in just a very short period of time. That is a little bit terrifying, but that’s also the same thing that brings me a lot of excitement because, with these changes, yes, some of the delivery methods have dried up; but, in their wake have been these amazing ways to tell stories in unique methods, going to interesting locations and not being reliant on just a handful of networks that we used to depend on.

J.J. Kelley: I think it’s very exciting because, if you can come up with a new idea, something that’s fresh, audiences and networks are going to want that. What’s really exciting is, if you have a new idea and a new delivery method and you’ve kind of got your fingertips on the pulse of what’s hot, then you’re going to succeed and, if it’s new and fresh and goes big, you can win big.

Larry Jordan: Exciting stuff. For people who want to keep track of where you are in the world, where can they go on the web?

J.J. Kelley: I’m at jjkelley.com and, from there, you can find me on Instagram and Facebook.

Larry Jordan: That’s jjkelley.com and J.J. Kelley is the Senior Producer for National Geographic and, J.J. thanks for joining us today.

J.J. Kelley: Thanks so much Larry.

Larry Jordan: Bye-bye.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking. I spent yesterday getting trained and certified in the Dante Audio Protocol. This is a well-established protocol invented by Audinate, for linking audio devices and sending audio over Ethernet, rather than traditional audio cables. We call this AOIP, Audio Over IP and Audinate and an industry leader in this area.

Larry Jordan: The class got me thinking about how technology expands our production horizons, for example and those of you doing live sound at concerts and events already know this, we can connect mikes and other audio sources directly to Ethernet using convertors; not just mixers, microphones. Then we can send that audio signal anywhere within the same network subnet. For example, using the routing built into Dante, we can send the same mike to the stage mixer, front of house mixer, live stream or broadcast mixer, all using Ethernet.

Larry Jordan: Using a gigabit Ethernet switch, Dante supports sending up to 512 different audio sources to up to 512 different audio destinations all using Ethernet; the flexibility of the system is truly impressive. No longer do we need to locate audio control rooms next to a studio; nor, for that matter, do we need to dedicate one control room per studio.

Larry Jordan: The new age of digital audio networks and protocols, like Dante, allow us to configure control rooms based upon the work they need to do, rather than the location they need to be in.

Larry Jordan: It was a fascinating day of learning for me; I’ve used Dante as part of our NAB coverage for the last two years on The Buzz but, at that time, the system was set up by others. Now, I better understand how to use it myself.

Larry Jordan: The training room yesterday was filled with 30 audio professionals, almost all of who were mixing, or recording audio on a daily basis for corporate events, churches, live streams and broadcast. It was fun to spend the day learning from them as well.

Larry Jordan: I’ve spent time on The Buzz raising concerns about technology, but yesterday was a day to celebrate how technology can enable us to do things we couldn’t do before, without costing anyone their job. Just something I’m thinking about.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week; Producers Aaron Semmel, Yvonne Russo, J.J. Kelley and Tom Jennings and, as always, James DeRuvo with doddlenews.com. There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today. Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Saturday morning.

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

Digital Production Buzz – May 16, 2019

On tonight’s Buzz, we talk with producers about the current state of producing programs today. We discuss the obstacles they face, the trends they embrace, and what they expect in the future.

There’s also an extended discussion on the impact of increased media viewing on the small (mobile) screen.

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

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Aaron Semmel, Yvonne Russo, Tom Jennings, J.J. Kelley and James DeRuvo.

  • Distribution Awash in Chaos
  • Untold Stories from Ignored Audiences
  • The Challenge of the Small Screen
  • Documentaries for All Audiences
  • James DeRuvo’s Journal

View Show Transcript

Listen to the Full Episode

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

Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week


Distribution Awash in Chaos

Aaron Semmel
Aaron Semmel, Executive Producer/CEO, BoomBoomBooya, LLC
Aaron Semmel is a television and feature film producer with more than 20 years of experience in producing all forms of TV, from unscripted reality shows to scripted episodic to long form mini-


Untold Stories from Ignored Audiences

Yvonne Russo
Yvonne Russo, Producer/Director, Company
Yvonne Russo is an award-winning producer, director and writer of film, television and digital, currently working on projects with Warner Brothers, Bad Robot and Handmade Films. She shares her thoughts on diversity, under-represented audiences and discovering untold stories.


The Challenge of the Small Screen

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings, Executive Producer, 1895 Films
Next, Tom Jennings is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist. Tonight, he gives us an inside look at the current state of executive producing in today’s media landscape.


Documentaries for All Audiences

J.J. Kelley
J.J. Kelley, Senior Producer and Correspondent, National Geographic
J.J. Kelley is a twice-Emmy-nominated director and correspondent. He is also a Senior Producer at EXPLORER, National Geographic’s flagship documentary series. Today, he provides a global perspective on what the media industry looks like for producers today.


James DeRuvo’s Journal

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

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – May 9, 2019

HOST

Larry Jordan

GUESTS

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

Terence Curren, Founder/President, Alpha Dogs Inc.

Oliver Peters, Editor, Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC

Christopher Ray, CSI Colorist, Picture Shop

Mark Raudonis, Senior VP Post Production, Bunim-Murray Production

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, doddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are looking at the current state of post-production; from individual artists, to large companies. But first, Jonathan Handel has an update on the conflict between writers and talent agencies.

Larry Jordan: Then, we start our look at post-production with Terence Curren; Founder and President of Alpha Dogs. Terry looks at the business challenges faced by smaller operators. Today is a great time for telling stories; but, can you make money out of it?

Larry Jordan: Next, Oliver Peters is the Senior Editor at Oliver Peters Post Production Services. He’s an independent artist who works on a variety of projects. Tonight, he describes the challenges in workflow and media management; along with new technology that he’s watching for the future.

Larry Jordan: Next, Christopher Ray is a Colorist at Picture Shop. He’s a specialist in episodic television and he discusses the role of the Colorist in pre-production and on set; as well as new trends blurring the lines between episodic and features.

Larry Jordan: Next, Mark Raudonis is the Senior VP of Post Production at Bunim Murray. With a focus on reality TV and producing multiple shows at once, Mark looks at the challenges of post differently. His view of the future is that providing services is no longer enough and he has a radical solution for any sized posthouse.

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

Male Voiceover: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking. Authoritative: One show serves a worldwide network of media professionals. Current: Uniting industry experts. Production: Filmmakers. Post-production: And content creators around the planet. Distribution: From the media capital of the world, in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.

Larry Jordan: Welcome to The Digital Production Buzz; the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry; covering media production, post-production and marketing around the world. Hello, my name is Larry Jordan. I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of our industry since before NAB actually; so this month, we decided to devote a series of shows looking at what’s happening and what to expect going forward. This week, we look at post-production; next week, we’ll talk with Producers; the week after covers cameras and production.

Larry Jordan: What I’m struck by this week is the range in opinions; some are pessimistic, others are optimistic and each of our guests is watching something different in technology and trying to plan for the future. This will be a very interesting 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. But first, let’s get an update on the news with our weekly doddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.

James DeRuvo: Happy Thursday Larry.

Larry Jordan: A wonderful Thursday to you. What’s in the news?

James DeRuvo: Well, we have some sadness in the news today.

Larry Jordan: Oh dear.

James DeRuvo: Amazon has announced that they’re killing the online Storywriter and Storybuilder tools. These free online tools were for screenwriting and storyboarding and they will be shut down effected June 30th 2019. Amazon stopped accepting project pictures through the portal for their Amazon Studios about a year ago; so it really was only a matter of time. Users are advised to download their projects, or print out their storyboards before the deadline; because, after that, they will be deleted from Amazon servers.

Larry Jordan: It seems like online collaboration tools for writers are struggling; Adobe did the same thing a couple of years ago. What are your thoughts?

James DeRuvo: It really is a pity; especially with Amazon Story where I really liked their interface. Being able to go directly to Storybuilder to create your storyboards was a pretty seamless experience. The benefit being that an online interface means that you can work on your story from anywhere; be it on a computer, or a tablet, or even an iPhone; which is where I get the majority of my ideas when I’m just, like, out and about.

James DeRuvo: But since Amazon only greenlit one story idea through the Amazon Studios portal, in five years, it kind of makes sense that they would close it down and devote their resources to other tools. Meanwhile, I suggest users go over to celtx.com and use their online service. They have access to pretty much the same tools.

Larry Jordan: Amazon’s our lead story, what’s our second story this week?

James DeRuvo: A short film competition. Ifootagegear.com is launching their first ever short film competition with $40,000 in prizes. It’s a wide open competition with the rules being that it be an original short film of three to ten minutes in length, in order to qualify for the competition. Grand prizes include a RED Raven 4.5K cinema camera package that includes the camera, a Blackmagic Video Assist 4K monitor recorder; RØDE VideoMic Pro-Plus and an aperture 120 mark two LED video light; amongst other prizes. $40,000 in prizes in total.

Larry Jordan: Prizes are wonderful, but are we getting too many video contests?

James DeRuvo: I don’t think you can have too many video contests, quite honestly. The great thing about them is, is that this enables filmmakers and content creators to practice and the more you practice, the more you find your voice. Add to that exposure; experience with film

Competitions and a free entry fee for this particular competition. All you have to lose is time.

Larry Jordan: Alright, that’s a good point. We’ll check out iFootage. What’s our third story?

James DeRuvo: Vimeo is creating a free footage section for their Stock Footage Exchange. They created the Stock Footage Exchange at the beginning of the year and they have announced Vimeo Essentials; thousands of royalty free Stock Footage clips as an incentive to all Plus members and above, who are signed up for their Stock Footage service. The cost begins at $84 annually for the Plus level membership.

Larry Jordan: It seems like we’re awash in stock footage companies; why Vimeo?

James DeRuvo: Why Vimeo? Why any of them really? But I’m all for more stock footage sites. The more stock footage portals you have available to you, the less likely you’ll get repetition of stock footage clips and that keeps filmmaking fresh, while keeping costs low. For Vimeo, in particular, at $84 a year for the Plus level, that’s not a bad deal; even without the free incentives of thousands of free video clips. Think of it this way, that’s only 15 cups of coffee from Starbucks that you can leave in your shot, just like Game of Thrones.

Larry Jordan: That is, without a doubt, the most famous coffee cup ever; but, its time in the sun is done. The editorial team at Game of Thrones has already removed it for future screening. Thinking of the future. What other stories are you and your team following this week?

James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following include DJI is working on a GoPro Killer Action camera. There are instructions on our site to make a DIY LED light out of a cake pan and can you tell the difference between footage shot on a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and an iPhone XS?

Larry Jordan: That’s an interesting question.

James DeRuvo: Yes indeed.

Larry Jordan: Very cool. Where can we go on the web to learn more?

James DeRuvo: All these stories and more can be found at doddlenews.com; or on Twitter @doddleNEWS.

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

James DeRuvo: See you then.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan Handel is an Entertainment and Technology Attorney of Counsel at TroyGould in Los Angeles; but, more importantly, right now, he is the Contributing Editor on Entertainment Labor Issues for the Hollywood Reporter. Covering, in-depth, the ongoing struggle between the Writers Guild of America and talent agencies. Hello Jonathan, welcome back.

Jonathan Handel: Good to be back with you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Bring us up-to-date on this whole Writers Guild/talent agencies situation. When we last talked, two weeks ago, the writers had fired their agents; the WGA was using a website for writers to find work and everybody was heading to the courts. Where are we now?

Jonathan Handel: It’s pretty much the same place, honestly. The litigation is pending; the Writers Guild did sue the four major agencies, which are WME, CAA, UTA and ICM; the four largest agencies. They have not yet filed their response to the lawsuit; that response should come within a week or two.

Jonathan Handel: The Writers Guild said that over 7,000 writers had fired their agents, out of 8,800 who had agents. None of the large or medium-sized agencies have signed the Writers Guild Code of Conduct; that’s still the status that we’re at. We’re really in this period where things are grinding along; I guess is the best way to put it.

Jonathan Handel: Some writers are starting to descent; we’re hearing from the Guild’s tactics and tone.

Larry Jordan: What are the writers objecting to? Why the descent?

Jonathan Handel: The descent is sort of two-fold. One is that, writers who object to the tone that the Guild has taken, which has been very scorched earth in terms of the rhetoric around the agencies that the agencies are cartels and that packaging fees are criminal and illegal kickbacks and it’s a corrupt system.

Larry Jordan: Pretty strong language.

Jonathan Handel: Very strong and uncompromising language, that’s right and that does not sit well with all writers; although, you know, it has sat well with a large number of them. The other thing is that there are a number of writers who have expressed to me and/or to their agencies that, when they voted in favor of the Code of Conduct, which was a 95% yes vote and the turnout was high, they felt that they were giving the Guild leverage to negotiate.

Jonathan Handel: They were unhappy and uncomfortable when they discovered that the Guild was using this as a reason to take a very strong posture and not negotiate on the issue of packaging fees, or affiliate production and simply say, we want these practices to end.

Jonathan Handel: Again, to be clear, most members of the Guild probably are supporting what the Union is doing now.

Larry Jordan: How have the talent agencies responded? Have they returned the same tone, or are they being silent? How are they fighting back?

Jonathan Handel: Well, they have not returned the same tone at all, at any time, throughout this enterprise. They have not aggressively been fighting back; you know, I think that will come with the litigation response, perhaps. You know, they’re hanging tough. Some of the medium-sized and smaller agencies appear to be suffering, or anticipating greater pain than the large agencies. You know, the large four are very diversified; they have divisions that handle sports, they have divisions that handle branding and corporate representation and of course, within entertainment, they represent Directors and Actors; even if the writers have fired them.

Jonathan Handel: The large agencies are probably better positioned, ironically, to withstand the Guild’s battle here; even though they are largely the ones that are the target of the Guild.

Larry Jordan: As you look for the next two or three weeks, what do you see happening in the near future?

Jonathan Handel: Well, in the near future, I see more of the same, plus the litigation response from the agencies. What I do think may happen next year is that, we may see the Writers Guild and perhaps the Screen Actors Guild, SAG-AFTRA, either or both, threaten to strike and perhaps go on strike against the studios. We’re in a very mobilized membership at this point in the Writers Guild and, if they can maintain solidarity for another 12 months, the legacy studios are, it seems to me, uniquely vulnerable to a strike; because they’re desperate to catch up with and topple Netflix; especially Disney.

Jonathan Handel: These companies, in particular, Disney, Warner, Comcast and NBC Universal are spending billions of dollars to set up their own streaming services and that relies on an uninterrupted supply of fresh scripted content. That makes them more vulnerable than they have been in a long time to possible strikes.

Larry Jordan: It sounds like this is going to be a long process, not a quickly resolved one.

Jonathan Handel: I think that’s right and that’s true both on the macro level, in terms of the labor disputes and also, in particular, regarding the litigation; which I don’t think is going to get bounced out of the box at an early stage. I think it’s going to continue.

Larry Jordan: Jonathan, for people that want to track this issue going forward, where can they go on the web?

Jonathan Handel: Two places. Thrlabor.com and, for more about me, my website jhandel.com.

Larry Jordan: Those websites again are thrlabor.com and jhandel.com and Jonathan Handel is the Contributing Editor on Entertainment Labor Issues for the Hollywood Reporter. Jonathan, thanks for joining us today.

Jonathan Handel: Thanks very much Larry.

Larry Jordan: I want to introduce you to a new website; thalo.com. Thalo is an artist community and networking site for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. Thalo.com features content from around the world, with a global perspective on all things creative. Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works.

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.

Larry Jordan: Visit thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed. That’s thalo.com.

Larry Jordan: Terence Curren is the Founder and President of Alpha Dogs; a Burbank based post-production facility that he started in 2002. Terry is also the host of the Editors’ Lounge; a regular gathering of post-production professionals interested in improving their craft. Hello Terry, welcome back.

Terence Curren: Good to be here Larry.

Larry Jordan: Terry, this week we’re looking at the current state of post-production and I can’t think of a better person to start with than yourself. To set the scene, how would you describe Alpha Dogs?

Terence Curren: Alpha Dog would be a mid-sized posthouse; we’re primarily a finishing house, meaning, we do the color correction, audio mixing, graphics etc. Basically, the guys who don’t let the coffee in the background get by.

Larry Jordan: Who are typical clients and projects?

Terence Curren: Well, a lot of different stuff; but our bread and butter is reality show finishing, lower budget Indy features, documentaries, etc. That’s our primary work. Then we have a lot of spurious little side stuff; I mean, you know, we’ll do anything. We’ve been doing, you know, fixing security camera footage for police trials; we’re doing localization for a lot of different shows and things like that.

Larry Jordan: Are your typical clients independent producers? Are they going to social media? What’s their distribution outlet?

Terence Curren: Again, that varies. Most of the reality shows are cable; some of them recently have been direct streaming shows and then the Indy features are, generally, wherever they can get distribution.

Larry Jordan: Terry, you’ve talked before that these are challenging times for post. What makes them challenging?

Terence Curren: The biggest thing that makes it challenging is that the equipment is basically free now; I mean, you can buy Resolve for free. That means that, everybody has access to the toolset. That would be okay if the end user, the consumer had a real understanding and appreciation for quality and then we would still work. We’re craftsmen and so, our ability to polish and turn out a very polished product would be worth people paying for it. Our biggest enemy is the “it’s good enough” sentiment. When the consumers say, oh that’s good enough, then our services aren’t as valued, or as important anymore.

Terence Curren: That’s the biggest challenge and that didn’t used to be the case. When the market was much more limited and the gear was much more expensive, this limited the amount of people that could get into the industry. You had to be really, really good to get in and you had to stay good to stay working.

Larry Jordan: One of the things that’s adding additional complexity is, not only is technology getting cheaper, it’s also getting more powerful. At NAB, for instance, AI and machine learning was everywhere. What do you see as their impact on post-production?

Terence Curren: I get accused of being the doomsayer, but long-term we’re really in deep trouble; because technology is eventually going to replace most, if not all jobs. It’s just a question of what’s the timeline.

Terence Curren: In post, the first area where it’s going to impact and it’s already starting to is, a lot of the repetitive or redundant type tasks; because that’s the low hanging fruit. Something as simple as synching dailies, which used to be a very manual process, now can be done by matching up the waveforms. The next level will be when they start being able to identify the faces and the type of shot it is and then, all of a sudden, you have AI logging the footage, instead of Loggers and Assistant Editors.

Terence Curren: If your job is doing something redundant and repetitive day after day, you should be looking for something else.

Larry Jordan: What signs for hope do you see?

Terence Curren: It depends on what you’re looking for. There’s always hope in any situation right? However, it’s changing. For those of us who’ve been in the industry for a while, it’s not good. If you were to say, what the big picture outlook of post-production is, at least in LA, I would say it’s kind of the elimination of the middle class of post.

Terence Curren: I think I’ve given you this analogy before, but if not, I’ll give it to you again; because it’s my favorite. Historically, throughout all of written history, if you wanted to entertain people, you were a starving artist; you travelled from town to town and you hoped to make enough doing a play, or whatever to get some meals and maybe get a night’s sleep.

Terence Curren: Then this weird thing happened where we came along with a film camera and you could record somebody’s performance once and then play it back a ton of times and charge for it and, suddenly, it became a way of making a lot of money as an artist. However, this was a limited world. It cost so much money to make the films and distribute them; which kept it a tight group. This created this artificial gigantic community of people making a lot of money as artists.

Terence Curren: What I see now is, we’ve taken away those strangleholds; so now, anybody can make content and get it out there and I just see us going back to kind of starving artists land again.

Larry Jordan: How are you positioning yourself for the future?

Terence Curren: We’re starting to rent out our edit bays, for those guys who do work at home, but then have to have clients come in to screen; or come in and listen to a mix. They can come in here, do their mix with the clients, do the final dealing and then we handle the deliverables. Because the deliverables now are just ever expanding layers of complexity, depending on who you’re delivering to.

Larry Jordan: You’re the first of four interviews that we’re doing to talk about post in tonight’s show. In Mark Raudonis from Bunim Murray’s  interview, he makes the case that post companies need to start owning their own content. Is this something that you’ve considered?

Terence Curren: Actually, from the beginning, when we started Alpha Dogs, we intended to do that. It gets a little tricky because, then, all of a sudden, we’re competitors with our clients. He’s right, I mean, basically, you’re either producing and owning content, or you’re working for somebody who is. Where we used to fit in, in general the middle class posthouses, we’re just not that much in demand anymore. I don’t know, it’s an interesting time from that standpoint.

Larry Jordan: It is indeed. It’s as dramatic a shift as when we went from analog to digital. There’s a lot of skills that we needed back in the analog days that are no longer needed.

Terence Curren: I hate to say that the skills aren’t needed. That’s probably the difference. Going from analog to digital, yes, you no longer needed the analog skills. I don’t know, it’s a challenging time. It’s hard to stay upbeat overall; but, if I was starting out right now, it would be great. The technology is cheap and available to absolutely everyone.

Terence Curren: The distribution method is available to everybody; you can, you know, throw it up on YouTube and everybody on the planet can see it. If I was starting out now, I’d be going crazy, because I’d be young; not needing to have a big income; not needing to sustain a household and a family and all that and I would just be out there making content like crazy; because I could.

Terence Curren: From the starting out standpoint it’s great; from the, you know, we’ve been in this and built up careers standpoint, it’s a little different.

Larry Jordan: It sounds like it’s a great time to create content and not a great time to create money.

Terence Curren: That’s really what it is. Everybody’s trying to figure out how to monetize now. There’s so much content out there right now that there’s not enough money to do the same level of quality overall that we used to do; if that makes sense.

Larry Jordan: It makes perfect sense. Terry, for people that want to hire you for their next project, where can they go on the web?

Terence Curren: You can go to alphadogs.tv and we also do Editors’ Lounge; if you’re interested in learning tips and tricks and stuff from Editors. That’s editorslounge.com.

Larry Jordan: That website is all one word, alphadogs.tv and I encourage everybody to attend an Editors’ Lounge session; they are always interested. Terence Curren is the Founder and President of Alpha Dogs and, Terry, thanks for joining us today.

Terence Curren: Thank you so much for having me Larry.

Larry Jordan: Oliver Peters is based in Central Florida and is the award winning Editor and Colorist who has been running Oliver Peters Post Production Services for the last 35 years. He’s also a Contributing Editor to many popular technology magazines. Hello Oliver, welcome back.

Oliver Peters: Hello.

Larry Jordan: Tonight, we’re looking at the status of post-production from a variety of perspectives. Tell us about your work.

Oliver Peters: My work is a mixture of editorial and color correction. Unlike a lot of other Colorists, I also do some creative editing, all the way through to finishing; so it’s the whole gamete.

Larry Jordan: One of the things I was reading in something you sent me before we started the interview was that, not only do you do editorial and color grading, but you also consult in media management and workflow. What does that mean?

Oliver Peters:  I do a lot of work at mainly one particular production company. I sort of function as the senior person around here. Since I’m the person who gets all the media at the end of the line, when it’s time to color correct and deliver, I kind of have a hand in making sure the workflow is correct on the front end. Proper file naming, proper folder locations, all of that stuff.

Larry Jordan:  It is amazing to me how something that simple, when it gets screwed up, can take and just run a project off the rails.

Oliver Peters: Yes, I’m actually working on a current project, that’s a side project on the outside that I manually have to re-edit in all of the camera shots; because nothing relinks correctly.

Larry Jordan: That hurts just to hear you tell me about. One of the things that you’ve done, if I remember correctly is, you’ve got multiple computers all talking into a central server. How are you handling file management from a server and, more importantly, how are you handling collaboration and team projects?

Oliver Peters: Primarily, this is in an Adobe shop and we’re running two shared storage systems right now. One is QNAP, the other is LumaForge Jellyfish. All of our work stations talk to both systems. Premiere, everything lives on the storage; so that includes project files and it pretty much just works.

Oliver Peters: We’re pretty regimented in terms of keeping our folder structure clean; but it’s not any kind of a shared workflow in the same sense that Media Composer would be; so you’re not having five different Editors and Assistants inside the same project. Premiere works a little bit differently; so we can have multiple Editors open copies of the same projects, or one Editor can have write authority and the others can open it as a read only. That’s kind of how we work.

Oliver Peters: We only have a few projects where Editors are in the same project simultaneously; it’s more that we all tap into sort of a common pool of media.

Larry Jordan: You’ve been editing for a long time, essentially, through the transition from film and analog to standard def, to digital, to where we are today. As you look at the industry today, what trends are you seeing post?

Oliver Peters: Obviously, as computers have more horsepower, you need less and less bespoke hardware; so the days of a big beefy workstation are kind of optional. It’s not that you don’t need it, but you can get by with less. The facilities tend to be smaller edit rooms. Fewer of them are client oriented; because clients tend to be working remotely; you know, with a lot of review and approval through online sources. That affects what hardware you need in the room; how much of a computer you need and also simple things like, how many sofas, you know, and how big does the room need to be.

Oliver Peters: I would say, it’s more of a minimalist approach than it might have been five, ten, 20 years ago; so you don’t necessarily need as much peripheral hardware as you used to in the past.

Larry Jordan: What are your thoughts on the new trend of editing in the Cloud?

Oliver Peters: I’m not a big believer in editing in the Cloud. We use the Cloud for moving files around and review and approval; but to actually have high quality, high resolution files up in the Cloud, I’m just not a believer in that. Because, what tends to happen is, just about when the technology’s close enough, then we move the goalposts, in terms of resolution. At NAB, you had a lot of product that was already ready for the market, around 8K and there was discussion about 16K; but we’re barely making 4K workflows work for the most part.

Oliver Peters: To start trying to put that up in the Cloud, for anything other than proxy editorial, I just don’t see that happening any time soon. Then you’ve got the obvious issues of security, privacy  and so on, that start getting you past the garden variety Internet connection, that most people, in a smaller shop, would have available to them.

Larry Jordan: What are clients looking for today? Is there a common thread, aside from the obvious ones, which is shorter deadlines and smaller budgets?

Oliver Peters: A lot of our projects these days tend to have a social media component; so if you’re doing broadcast, there is a social media aspect to every show. Sometimes that involves additional shooting on location; just to get, you know, the host saying different things that they can later put on Instagram, or YouTube, or whatever. Also, projects that tended to be broadcast before, now have many different outlets; so some sort of a sponsored program, or maybe an infomercial or something in broadcast TV, those are now being restricted as shorter form sponsored programs that run on various streaming channels.

Oliver Peters: Clients are coming to you not just with the traditional, you know, make me a commercial, make me a broadcast show, but rather, I’ve got this media strategy that includes entertainment, but it also includes marketing and sales and so on and they expect you to know what the options are and how to get there.

Larry Jordan: As you look at the landscape, how are you positioning yourself for the future?

Oliver Peters: Obviously, you always want to keep up with the technology; it’s a matter of knowing what’s around the corner, staying up on the technology; as far as me as an individual that’s trying to stay as current with the various software choices that are out there. I tend to wear different hats as an Editor, so I have to know several different software packages for editing and color correction as well.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of keeping up with the technology, what technology’s caught your attention?

Oliver Peters: NAB was a little bit different, I thought, this year, because it was more about the B in NAB; by that I mean broadcasters. There were less of the kind of fad things we’ve seen in the past, like 360 and stereo 3D and there was certainly not a ton of drones, like we’ve seen in years past.

Oliver Peters: It was more about the nuts and bolts and, although it’s not really something we particularly deal with, I did notice that IP infrastructure was very definitely all over the show. What used to be SDI wiring and audio cables and so on, if you were building a TV station, that’s now starting to become IP technology. I think that’s something that’s going to affect the industry pretty greatly over the coming years.

Oliver Peters: Obviously, shared storage was of interest, but we had already made our decision prior to NAB; but you always want to make sure that you made the right decision. Resolve 16 was of interest; I thought the keyboard was a funny quirk; I guess I want to say. Just because I used to run a Sony 9100 Linear Controller and that keyboard was very reminiscent. It’s almost like you kind of go, well, haven’t we moved past that?

Larry Jordan: Oliver, for people that want to hire you for their next project, where can they go on the web?

Oliver Peters: Simplest place is at my website, oliverpeters.com.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, oliverpeters.com and Oliver is the Owner and President of Oliver Peters Post Production Services. Thanks for joining us today.

Oliver Peters: Thank you very much.

Larry Jordan: Christopher Ray is an experienced Colorist, with credits on a number of award winning productions. His working compass is Alpha; Tomorrowland; Warcraft; The Great Wall; The Crossing; Orange is the New Black and many more. Hello Christopher, welcome.

Christopher Ray: Hello.

Larry Jordan: Tonight, we’re looking at the status of post-production from a variety of perspectives. Tell us about your work.

Christopher Ray: I work as a Colorist here at Picture Shop Post. We do primarily episodic but, as you can see from my credits in the past, I’ve worked on feature films and we still do some of that work; just this posthouse is predominantly episodic. Some commercial work, music videos; anything that needs a nice aesthetic grade.

Larry Jordan: Well I’ve had the great pleasure of visiting your site, which is christophermray.com and I love the before and after examples of what an image looks like when it’s shot and what it looks like after you’re done working with it. How do you determine where to start, when you’re given a new project?

Christopher Ray: That is always an interesting thing that kind of changes project to project. I always try, right from the start, read the script; be able to get scripts and be able to be involved as early as possible. In post-production, typically, you know, especially with final color, we’re one of the very last pieces in the chain. The more we can get involved at the start of the show, with reading the script; kind of getting the narrative, as we start to build palettes, color wise, that those have some affect and are enhancing the narratives and are not just color tweaks for the sake of kind of looking cool.

Christopher Ray: Usually, they’ll have some kind of look book that they have begun to create ahead of time; to kind of sell how some of the locations are going to look and how some of the costumes are going to look. That always ends up deviating to some degree; but, once we’re able to kind of start talking about those things, as things unfold with the shooting, it kind of helps steer that process of what the pre-production looked like, how things are looking in post-production and then, how we might want to manipulate and augment that in post-production.

Larry Jordan: I can understand your interest in wanting to get involved with the story, but what’s the advantage of bringing the Colorist in before we even shoot frame one?

Christopher Ray: That’s something that, even ten years ago, I would say, was not very common; but now, almost every project that I work on, we try to do at least some set visits. There’s a lot of interesting things where the Colorist can become involved earlier on. When you’re talking with the DP and, you know, especially these days when production schedules get faster and faster, there’s a dialog that can be had about, okay, well we can’t quite do the blocking that we want to do here, but we can kind of talk and brainstorm about how we might be able to augment that in post; to be able to get a better look in the end.

Christopher Ray: Collaboration is always a great thing, you know, and the DP knows sometimes when they don’t have time to do this, or the color is not looking quite right, given some of the atmospheric elements of the environment; so having that back and forth discussion in post of where we can go with it, really helps. Not in a fix it in post kind of way where we’re taking, you know, oh don’t worry about that, we can just kind of totally do this; but being aware of what we can do on the backend, to help inform the decisions that can be done in production.

Larry Jordan: You’re essentially a hired gun working on whatever projects roll through the door. What trends are you seeing in post these days?

Christopher Ray: Like I said earlier, I’m predominantly working in episodic television right now and the really interesting thing that has come with episodic television is, kind of the blurring of this line between what’s considered to be episodic type looks and more feature film type looks. With the advent of streaming and the streaming platforms and there being some further creativity being put into some of the looks and less steadfast rules that have to be applied, it’s been really interesting to see the lines being blurred of what, before, would typically be more of an episodic look, or more of a feature look.

Christopher Ray: This is really great for a Colorist and, I think, all the creatives involved; to be able to have some more of that leeway of playing things a little bit more saturated with colors and scenes and really pushing the emotions with the grade. Sometimes it means softer blocks, which is a bit more of a feature aesthetic.

Christopher Ray: It’s not to say that there is a set episodic look, or a set feature look; but typically with features, there’s a little bit more freedom, which we’re starting to see some of that in the episodic area, which has been really nice as an artist and as a Colorist.

Larry Jordan: One of the subjects I was hearing at NAB last April was, the automation of color grading. Clearly that’s a potential threat for Colorists like yourself; but is this something that you’re overly concerned about?

Christopher Ray: It’s not, it’s something that I’ve seen, experienced and played with over the years; just to kind of understand what it’s doing. It’s basically analyzing the waveforms and it’s saying, balance all these black levels; balance these white levels; this is kind of the rough density that it needs to be.

Christopher Ray: You know, it may be in a very simple dailies grade kind of way that that could be useful; but in the end, the main thing that you’re paying for, with a good Colorist, is the aesthetic; is the eye. It’s an artist that you’re collaborating with, to be able to enhance that picture. Until we get into some kind of Terminator type situation, where the machines are becoming smarter than we are, we’re still going to have the ability, with our brains, to do things aesthetically that machines just can’t compute.

Larry Jordan: One of the trends in post, overall, are shorter deadlines and smaller budgets. What trends are you seeing?

Christopher Ray: I would definitely say that is true, overall. Quicker turnarounds is definitely across the board. With the streaming, I would say, with different projects, where you see them maybe putting in some more money and  time in really enhancing the look of the show; which kind of goes hand-in-hand with a bit more of that feature type approach. But timeline wise, it’s definitely getting quicker and quicker.

Christopher Ray: The only thing that really helps offset that is the tools have been developing and all the software has really been coming leaps and bounds in the last ten years. How much you can get it to work for you, so that you can do the technical side of things as efficiently as possible, to allow yourself the proper and ample time to do the creative and subjective things.

Larry Jordan: Given the pressures that are seemingly ongoing of shorter deadlines, raised client expectations and smaller budgets, how are you positioning yourself for the future?

Christopher Ray: I’m a Baselight Colorist, I use the software Baselight made by FilmLight and they have something called a BLG workflow that has really, in my eyes, been a game-changer. In the past, with dailies and onset type creating, you’ve had what’s called CDLs; which are, you know, very easy and simple three-way color corrections that definitely have done the job in the past. But that information can’t really get past forward; because it’s not really somewhere a final Colorist can expand upon; technology wise, the grades are so limited.

Christopher Ray: With the BLG, what FilmLight has done is, they’ve created a pre-light software for DITs to use on set. There’s a daily soft, for dailies and then the Baselight finishing software. Through this BLG workflow, you can actually include any operator that the final software has; so Windows, Keys, Mattes, anything that you want to put in there can be passed down the line.

Christopher Ray: Now it’s not to say that we go for the final grade right off the very start, it’s something that we build up to. But having those tools and those operators that translate right into the final software, firstly, it helps that collaboration of people on set to see something that is a little bit more refined and then, in dailies, it can be refined a little bit more and the other thing is just that, if we have a good pipeline there, that work that is being brought to the table through the BLG files can be a starting point. Not having to kind of grade from scratch, but just using it as a reference.

Christopher Ray: I think, utilizing something like that really helps creatively with, like I said before, just the collaboration throughout the process and efficiency wise, of being able to actually tangibly use that work that the DIT is doing on set and the Dailies Colorist is doing in the dailies.

Larry Jordan: Some very, very cool stuff. For people who want to hire you to work on their next project, where can we go on the web?

Christopher Ray: You can go to my personal site,christophermray.com; or you can go to Picture Shop site, which is pictureshop.com. I’m easy to get a hold of via either.

 

Larry Jordan: Those two websites are christophermray.com and pictureshop.com and Christopher Ray is a Colorist for Picture Shop. Christopher, thanks for joining us today.

Christopher Ray: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to; doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource; presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platform, specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in-depth organization 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: As Senior Vice President of Post Production, Mark Raudonis oversees the editing and final finishing of all Bunim Murray. Mark focuses on developing a post-production workflow, which is unique to reality TV; where Bunim Murray routinely finishes hours of programming each week. It is always fun to say, hello Mark, welcome back.

Mark Raudonis: Hello Larry, good to talk to you again.

Larry Jordan: Mark, earlier on the show, we’ve heard from smaller posthouses and individual artists; but Bunim Murray represents the other side of the scale. You guys are huge. How would you describe Bunim Murray?

Mark Raudonis: Bunim Murray is a television production company that specializes in reality TV. We basically started in the early 90s with MTV’s The Real World; which really pioneered the whole reality genre. We do have, oh, depending on what time you ask me, anywhere from three to ten shows currently on the air, or in distribution; so, yes, we do have a pretty high volume of shows that go out the door.

Mark Raudonis: If you’re looking at the future of production companies, just being a production entity is not going to be enough anymore; you need to own your content; you need to be able to go into different areas. Just being a gun for hire I don’t think is a recipe for future success. We are trying to branch into different areas, we are trying to own some of our content. It’s a recognition that the world in which we live and, specifically, how shows are created and distributed is changing.

Larry Jordan: But I think you’re making an assumption; not everybody is the size of your company. Individual contributors can’t own their own content, in most cases; or are you saying they have to?

Mark Raudonis: Oh Larry, Larry, Larry, I disagree. I mean, I think the means of production have come down to the point where, a YouTube influencer owns the means of their production and they are essentially their own channel and, yes, it is a possibility. Whether you’re looking at a multimillion dollar production, or something that comes out of your bedroom, economies are sort of the same. That’s my take on it.

Larry Jordan: No, it’s an interesting take and you’re absolutely right. For instance, I have my own YouTube channel and I own the content and I am somewhat smaller than Bunim Murray.

Mark Raudonis: Yes, so there you go. That’s where I think things are headed. It’s a big pie and there’s room for a lot of people to have a slice of it.

Larry Jordan: Mark, I was just thinking, distribution has exploded. How has distribution changed for Bunim Murray?

Mark Raudonis: Let me tell you a story Larry. Bunim Murray made it to the public’s attention via MTV’s The Real World, back in the early 90s. That was the beginning of reality TV as we know it. That show lasted for 30 some seasons on MTV and then MTV decided to give it the brand a rest. A couple of years ago, we had a lot of success on Facebook with a show called Ball in the Family ;so we went back to MTV and we said, hey Facebook, what would you think about bringing back MTV’s The Real World on Facebook and they said, great idea. Not only do we want it in English, but we want it in Spanish and Thai.

Mark Raudonis: We’re now currently doing MTV’s The Real World in three separate productions, three separate languages, for Facebook Watch. That’s how distribution is changing; I mean, we really don’t care where you watch it, we only care that you watch it. That is one example of how distribution channels have changed sort of our approach to how we’re actually even doing production.

Larry Jordan:  It sounds like you’re seeing the future more as a content opportunity than it is a technology opportunity.

Mark Raudonis: Absolutely. I mean, the technology is changing that. What it’s doing is, it’s dropping the barrier of entry for everybody, all players; therefore, you’re competing against a lot more content. Really, it comes down to a democracy of ideas; the best ideas prevail; the best ideas catch eyeballs and, therefore, they win.

Larry Jordan: Well let me push back against you on that. I’ve heard the phrase ‘Content is King’ many, many, many times; but it seems to me, it’s a combination of both content and marketing. You can have great content but, if you can’t tell the world, you’re still stuck.

Mark Raudonis: That is true; but they do sort of go hand-in-hand and that’s why, when you partner with a distribution platform,  you have their built-in marketing machine; so , yes, that helps get you eyeballs. But again, if you have a really great, it’s not impossible to get attention and to go viral; we’ve all see, you know, somebody starts a little thing in their garage and something goes viral and suddenly they make a major deal with Netflix for a version of their show.

Larry Jordan: Thinking of Netflix, there’s a lot of discussion about non-network distribution; which is called OTT for Over the Top. This includes Netflix and Amazon. From your perspective, is there a difference in the shows that you’re creating for traditional network use, versus the shows you create for OTT services?

Mark Raudonis: Well, aside from being able to cuss? You know, networking standards and by network I mean typical classical broadcast standards, you know, are very restrictive; both in language and content; nudity, sexual situations, things like that. You don’t have some of those same restrictions in OTT; but, let’s face it, commonsense prevails. If your goal is to get as many viewers as possible, you don’t want to necessarily annoy people; so some of the same least common denominator rules still apply to these more specialized distribution platforms.

Larry Jordan: Are you seeing a difference in technical specifications; or are you still having to meet roughly the same standards in both cases?

Mark Raudonis: Yes and yes. You know the joke about technical specifications, you’ve never met a standard you don’t like, because there’s so many of them. The same thing applies here, which is, everyone seems to have a slightly different requirement; but they are all in the ballpark of what we’re used to for traditional broadcast.

Larry Jordan: What are you seeing happening in terms of deadlines and budgets?

Mark Raudonis: Deadlines getting shorter, budgets shrinking.

Larry Jordan: That was an easy question.

Mark Raudonis: Yes. I mean, that’s the given. I think the way to address that is to stretch out the deadlines and, therefore, you can do more with less. But, when networks come to you at the last minute and say, can you get it done tomorrow, then you have to move heaven and earth and that gets expensive. If they come to you and say, hey, we want something six months from now, then you have the opportunity to plan; but this business has never been known for over-thinking.

Larry Jordan: I was just wondering, when was the last time you had a client give you six months to plan?

Mark Raudonis: They usually do, but then they debate it until the last week; so it’s maybe, maybe, maybe, hurry up we need it yesterday.

Larry Jordan: How many people work at Bunim Murray these days?

Mark Raudonis: It depends on when you ask? If we’re at full tilt in the summer at, you know, high tide, full production; including people on crews on production, you know, near 1,000. But that varies a lot during the year, when a show is finished and we’re just in post or so. I would say anywhere from 300 to 1,000; depending on when you ask.

Larry Jordan: You focus more on post than production, what skills are you looking for, for the people you want to hire?

Mark Raudonis: Intelligence, number one; curiosity, number two and a healthy lack of ego. By that I mean, sometimes ego gets people in trouble, because they think they’re bigger than they are; especially if you’re starting out. Your ego has to match your skill set.

Larry Jordan: I notice you didn’t mention any particular software or hardware skills.

Mark Raudonis: A couple of things. Number one, we like to promote from within; but certainly in an entry level position, you know, we have our summer interns coming in soon, we don’t have any expectations of them knowing any one platform or another. We do use Adobe Premiere Pro, we do use Avid Media Composer, and we do have Blackmagic Resolve; so those are three separate programs that have a niche need within our organization. It’s hard for me to say, hey, we only use one or the other, because we use them all.

Larry Jordan: You’ve mentioned that client expectations remain high, deadlines get increasingly short, budgets get smaller, what are you seeing as the future of post? It sounds like this is an area of diminishing returns.

Mark Raudonis: Well, we’re also being asked to do more with less; by that I mean, less time, more media that’s laid through and that’s a challenge. I don’t know, necessarily, how AI is going to work into that problem, but you’re going to have technology supporting human effort. It’s going to be a combination of both of those things, to sort of get us through the day.

Mark Raudonis: Some things are going to become easier, things like color correction, or checking quality control, things like that; that’s going to be more automated. But storytelling, that’s a tough one; that’s tough to automate and that’s tough to figure out, considering how we do production.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to learn how you are meeting that compelling challenge today, where can they go on the web?

Mark Raudonis: It’s www.bunim-murray.com.

Larry Jordan: The Senior Vice President of Post Production is Mark Raudonis and, Mark, thanks for joining us today. It is always fun talking with you.

Mark Raudonis: Always a pleasure Larry. Thanks for calling.

Larry Jordan: You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about technology recently. One of Mark Raudonis’ comments struck a chord, as he was describing dealing with ever larger shooting ratios and ever decreasing deadlines. The solution for Mark is automating clip review and, perhaps, automating color grading.

Larry Jordan: These tools make sense when you’re trying to find a one hour story out of 4,000 hours of footage; but the technology won’t stop there. As Terry Curren said, the more technology improves, the more likely the middle class of post will get squeezed out. While I’m not as pessimistic about the future as Terry, I’m still concerned.

Larry Jordan: This morning, a group of Computer Science Faculty and I were interviewing a potential teaching candidate. After her presentation was over, we began discussing the impact of technology. The first rule of any business is to remain in business; specifically, to continue to make money and, ideally, grow. This means that technology companies are always looking for new ways to develop technology.

Larry Jordan: Back in the early days of personal computers, back when we compared mainframes to minicomputers, to microcomputers, the goal of technology was to empower people. The impact of word processing and spreadsheets was truly revolutionary. Now, however, I think the focus has changed. To me, it seems the goal of technology today is about empowering computers; the Cloud, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data are all technologies used to make computers smarter.

Larry Jordan: In the US, we tend to launch new technology, then figure out the societal impact later. For those whose neighborhoods are awash in electric scooters, you know what I mean. However, the situation is different in Europe. The European Commission recognizes AI as one of the 21st Century’s most strategic technologies and is increasing its annual investment in AI by 70%, as part of the research and innovation program called Horizon 2020.

Larry Jordan: A Horizon 2020 press release stated that the EU has a strong regulatory framework for technology ethics that will set the global standard for human centric and trustworthy AI. To this end, the EU Commission has set up a high level expert group and tasked it with drafting AI ethics guidelines, as well as preparing a set of recommendations for broader AI policy.

Larry Jordan: According to the guidelines, three components are necessary, in order to achieve trustworthy AI. First, it should comply with the law; second, it should fulfil ethical principles; and third, it should be safe and technically robust, since, even with good intentions, AI systems can cause unintentional harm.

Larry Jordan: We can’t stop the rush of technology, but we can take the time to think about the results of what we’re creating. Personally, I think the ethics of technology will become a major issue during the next decade. Just something I’m thinking about.

Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests this week. Jonathan Handel with the Hollywood Reporter; Terence Curren with Alpha Dogs; Oliver Peters with Oliver Peters Post Production Services; Christopher Ray with Picture Shop; Mark Raudonis with Bunim Murray 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 morning.

Larry Jordan:  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuzz and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Transcripts are provided by Take1.tv. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com.  

Larry Jordan:   Our producer is Paulina Borowski, my name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan:  The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2019 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz – May 9, 2019

This week on The Buzz, we talk with post-production professionals across the industry to discover current trends, technologies and challenges facing the world of post.

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

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Jonathan Handel, Terence Curren, Oliver Peters, Christopher Ray, Mark Raudonis and James DeRuvo.

  • Update: WGA vs. Talent Agencies
  • Losing the Middle-Class of Post
  • Organization is Key to Post
  • Blurred Lines Between Episodics and Features
  • Post Services Are No Longer Enough
  • The Weekly doddleNEWS Update

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Listen to the Full Episode

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Buzz on iTunes

Guests this Week


Update: WGA vs. Talent Agencies

Jonathan Handel
Jonathan Handel, Entertainment/Technology Attorney & Labor Reporter, TroyGould and The Hollywood Reporter
The battle lines are drawn and each side is getting more entrenched. This week, Jonathan Handel, entertainment labor reporter for “The Hollywood Reporter,” updates us on the clash between the Writers Guild and talent agencies. We are starting to see reverberations far beyond LA.


Losing the Middle-Class of Post

Terence Curren
Terence Curren, Founder/President, Alpha Dogs Inc.
Terence Curren, Founder/President of Alpha Dogs, begins our look at post-production by looking at the business challenges faced by smaller operators. It’s a great time for telling stories, but can you make money at it?


Organization is Key to Post

Oliver Peters
Oliver Peters, Editor, Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Oliver Peters, Senior Editor at Oliver Peters Post Production Services, is a solo operator who works on a variety of projects. He describes challenges in workflow and media management, along with new technology he is watching for the future.


Blurred Lines Between Episodics and Features

Christopher Ray
Christopher Ray, CSI Colorist, Picture Shop
Christopher M. Ray is a colorist at Picture Shop. His focus is episodic television for programs like “Alpha,” “Tomorrowland,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Quantico” and many more. He discusses the role of the colorist in pre-production and on-set, as well as new trends blurring the lines between episodic and features.


Post Services Are No Longer Enough

Mark Raudonis
Mark Raudonis, Senior VP Post Production, Bunim-Murray Production
Mark Raudonis is the Senior VP of Post Production at Bunim Murray. With a focus on reality TV and producing dozens of shows at once, Mark looks at the challenges of post differently. His view of the future is that providing services is no longer enough – and he has a radical solution for any-sized post house.


The Weekly doddleNEWS Update

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

Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – May 2, 2019

HOST

Larry Jordan

GUESTS

Barbara Lange, Executive Director of SMPTE and HPA, SMPTE

Bernard Weiser, President, EIPMA

Freddie Gateley, VP Sales & Marketing, VocalBooth.com, Inc.

Gabriel “Gabe” White, Marketing Director, WhisperRoom, Inc.

James DeRuvo, Editor-in-Chief, doddleNEWS

==

Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz, we are looking at mentoring and sound isolation audio booths.

Larry Jordan: We start with Barbara Lange. She’s the executive director of both SMPTE and HPA. Tonight she talks about her organizations and their focus on mentoring.

Larry Jordan: Next, Bernard Weiser is the president of EIPMA, a non profit organization that provides mentoring services to young people, military vets and others. Tonight he explains how his organization can help your career.

Larry Jordan: Freddie Gateley is the VP of sales and marketing for VocalBooth. His company specializes in manufacturing sound isolation booths for audio recording. Tonight he showcases his booths and how they are used.

Larry Jordan: Gabe White is the marketing director for WhisperRoom, another company that makes sound isolation booths. Gabe explains how an errant saxophone got the company started and how to pick the right booth for your projects.

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

Announcer: Since the dawn of digital film making, Authoritative: One show serves a worldwide network of media professionals.  Current: Uniting industry experts. Production: Filmmakers. Post-production: And content creators around the planet.  Distribution: From the media capital of the world, in Los Angeles, California, the Digital Production Buzz goes live now.

Larry Jordan: Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry, covering media production, post-production and marketing around the world.  

Larry Jordan: Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. As I was interviewing people at NAB I kept looking out at the trade show floor and not far away were two booths filled with booths. Sound isolation booths. VocalBooth and WhisperRoom were right across the aisle from each other. We didn’t have time to include them in our NAB coverage, so we invited them to join us tonight so you can hear their stories. While neither introduced new gear at NAB, both provide environments that can improve the quality of your audio recordings. You’ll hear both interviews in the second half of tonight’s show.

Larry Jordan: The first half of our show is dedicated to learning about mentoring opportunities, especially mentoring geared toward younger people.

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

Larry Jordan: And now it’s time for our weekly DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James. How you doing?

James DeRuvo: Hello Larry, how are you? Happy Thursday.

Larry Jordan:  Is there any news at all going on after NAB, because man, it’s dead quiet over here.

James DeRuvo: Really quiet. We returned from NAB, there’s just not a lot of news out there except for some firmware update news which we’ve got, and there’s some interesting stories that caught my eye, so we’ve got enough.

Larry Jordan: OK, go ahead.

James DeRuvo: Story number one, RED and NVidia have released the Cine-X app for 8K workflows that they hope will bring 8K to the masses. With RED Cine-X out of beta, it will harness the power of NVidia’s Quadro RTX Titan, and get this, even GEForce graphics cards to handle RED’s finicky 8K R3D image files without the need of any additional hardware acceleration. NVidia’s CUDA architecture is at the heart of it and it’s going to bring real time transcoding and playback that RED says is ten times faster than using the RED Rocket.  Future updates will also bring these and other features to your NLE, that’s non linear editor in the near future. Big news.

Larry Jordan: Big news, big image. 8K? Don’t get me started. So what’s behind this partnership?

James DeRuvo: I agree. The fact is our eyes can’t see the difference between 4K and 8K so for future proofing and source files, I guess it’s pretty cool.

Larry Jordan: Just take stock in storage because it’s going to blow through storage.

James DeRuvo: Agreed. This has been ten years in the making. RED had been looking for a graphics card company to step up and help them to do this. They’ve been trying to do this for a while because Jarred Land said that creating the RED Rocket graphics card, he admitted it was a necessary evil and a mistake that they wish they didn’t have to do, but it was the only way they could get real time transcoding and playback of an 8K file. Now that NVidia’s graphics cards are powerful enough, they can do it without the need of that expensive hardware addition. And it’s going to bring DSMC2 workflow to the masses, and with RED offering more affordable camera options, it looks like they have their sights set beyond the realm of high end movie making.

Larry Jordan: OK, RED and NVidia are your first story. What’s story number two?

James DeRuvo: Canon has updated the EOS R with a couple of new features and a serious bug fix that they’re not even talking about. Version 1.2 brings enhancements including the Sony-esque eye detection auto focus for both still and movie modes, small frame servo auto focusing and here’s the big one, fixing of banding issues. While version 1.2 is mostly about bringing that eye detection auto focus feature in play, Canon didn’t mention in the release notes this quiet fix of the serious banding issues that cropped up in the previous firmware update.

James DeRuvo: Several users and photographers complained that version 1.1, the EOS R had color banding streaks and an even noisier image before. It was like a really really bad JJ Abrahams movie. But through version 1.20, the band issues are all gone, but I still think the image is a little noisier than it should be.

Larry Jordan: Alright, well that’s Canon, do you have a story that doesn’t feature a camera?

James DeRuvo: I do. Well sort of. It looks like DJI may be discontinuing their Phantom series drone. That iconic DJI Phantom drone that when you think of drones, you think of that particular model. Most third party sites, and even DJI’s own website, have listed the Phantom 4 Pro as being out of stock for the last several months. And B&H has listed it as discontinued. Now DJI claims that the out of stock is because there’s a shortage of parts that has caused suspension of the manufacturing of the drone, but several new sites have published stories that the Phantom 5, it’s interchangeable lens camera gimbal has been canceled and they’re not going to bring it out.

Larry Jordan: DJI has been riding high recently. Why would they cancel a popular drone model?

James DeRuvo: Well here’s the thing. If you remember, back at NAB they weren’t even there. I’m not buying this shortage of parts story because the Phantom 4 Pro version 2 is just too mature of a platform to suffer from a parts shortage. If this was the Mavic 2 Pro and it just came out with its Hasselblad camera platform, I would have thought OK, I can see parts shortages because it’s a brand new design, brand new model, and everybody wants to buy it. But the Phantom 4 Pro version 2 is overdue for an upgrade as it is. And so here’s what I think is going on.

James DeRuvo: The popularity of the Mavic series and the fact that interest in drones has dwindled due to state and local regulations for flying them, my guess is that DJI is probably going to be streamlining their drone catalog to just a few models, and unless there’s something newer on the way that’s the way I see it.

Larry Jordan:  Good point. So what other stories are you and your team working on this week?

James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following include Universal embraces HDR 10+ for their next gen color standard. Apple is offering tools to convert your Legacy media before the next Mac OS update, and RODE enables multiTrack recording to the microSD card in the RODECaster podcast studio mixer, with a specially formatted polyWave file. And we also have a review for it and by far, it’s probably the best podcasting and sound mixing tool I’ve seen for under $700 for an independent.

Larry Jordan: Where can we go on the web to follow these and all your other stories?

James DeRuvo: All these stories and more can be found at Doddlenews.com or on Twitter at @doddlenews.

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

James DeRuvo: See you then.

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

Larry Jordan: Barbara Lange is the executive director of two organizations, SMPTE and HPA. SMPTE is the 103 year old global professional association focused on the development of the motion image in motion pictures, television and professional media. HPA is the 25 year old trade association focused on the development of the creative application of technology in content creation and distribution. Hello Barbara, welcome.

Barbara Lange: Thank you, hi Larry.

Larry Jordan: SMPTE and HPA are two acronyms that many of us recognize. But for those that don’t, how would you describe each organization?

Barbara Lange: SMPTE as you described is the older organization. The technologists who are the toolmakers. The elevator pitch is that SMPTE are the members who are actively creating the technical tools that allow the creative people represented by HPA to apply that in real world content creation, distribution, application. So it’s kind of a ying yang thing. The technologists on the one side and the creatives who are applying that tech in the workflows of the business of moving content, camera acquisition, all the way through to display. So they really do work hand in glove together.

Larry Jordan: How do you see the role of SMPTE? What’s its goal? I know you’ve talked about focusing on toolmakers, but what are you trying to accomplish?

Barbara Lange: Actually it’s a good question. Recently the board went through a vigorous three year strategic plan initiative, and so we evolved into thinking of ourselves as enabling the technical framework that allows this global community of motion picture television professional media allows that technology knowledge to be developed and then to be shared.

Barbara Lange: In the form of standards as well, I can’t say anything about SMPTE without referring to the important work that we do to enable interoperability in this global environment. So we’re really there for enabling, the education, knowledge sharing of our standards work and the standards work is there to enable the industry to function. Really fundamentally to take it all the way down to what our engineers have cared about from the very beginning is driving the quality and evolution of motion pictures, and no matter what form they take, whether they’re displayed on a cinema screen or a television screen, or your mobile device, we care about all the technical aspects that go into the image that the consumer is enjoying. Very niche but very important aspect.

Larry Jordan: Well I will confess, as a content creator, I am very grateful for SMPTE’s work that allows me to take a product from company A, connect it to a product from company B, and they’re going to talk to each other and work. That is an amazingly difficult challenge that we just take for granted.

Barbara Lange: Yes, you could be a spokesman. Perfect.

Larry Jordan: I will leave that role to you. At the NAB show last month, there was a lot of talk about getting young people excited about working in media. Especially both engineering challenges for the toolmaker point of view, but people that aren’t producers and directors, the people that are pushing the crafts, and editors and stuff like that. Which means that we’re really looking at mentoring. What are either of your organizations doing to reach out to young folks?

Barbara Lange: It’s an important issue all across the ecosystem. In the case of SMPTE, we have very active students within about 30, 35 different student chapters around the world, and these are students who self organize at a university. They have an advisor who advises them on all things related to what SMPTE is interested in, and the students really get ingrained in the importance of the engineering aspect of media at a very young age. And so we look to foster those students and then hopefully they continue with their relationship with SMPTE across their career.

Barbara Lange: In the case of HPA, a few years ago the HPA actually initiated what they are calling a young entertainment professional organizations program which is all about fostering that next generation. It’s a program where young people who are actually not students, but actually working in professional aspects of the industry, are matched with more mature adults I guess you’d say, and they spend a year learning about the industry from that perspective, having somebody that they can talk to on a regular basis and often these mentorships continue even after their year is up.

Barbara Lange: These are just two examples of what we’re up to, and certainly not enough, even that. We ought to be doing much more and we’re exploring mentorship programs that other organizations are doing where we can collaborate together because I think we all as an industry need to do more to help cultivate this. Our industry is actually quite exciting. I think a lot of young people graduate, engineers particularly, and they think they’ve got to go to Silicon Valley because that’s where all the exciting action is happening, and quite honestly, media in general has so much going on and it’s very innovative right now. Our task is to encourage these young people to find a career in the worlds that we have.

Larry Jordan: One of the challenges I’ve found, because I teach young people as well, is helping them understand how to work with a mentor. What questions they should ask and what they should expect. What advice would you give them?

Barbara Lange: A lot of what I hear from young people is sometimes they feel intimidated and maybe are afraid to even ask a technical question because they feel like they should already know some things, and I think they shouldn’t be afraid to ask any kind of question, whether it’s a technology question or something about their careers. I just went to an event at the SMPTE Hollywood section held on Saturday and a lot of the dialog was around networking.  How to network when you walk into a room of people who are either your age, or perhaps a little older, and not to feel intimidated to come out of your comfort zone and learn to network.

Barbara Lange: So it’s not being shy about the fundamentals and getting involved. They just should get involved and ask their mentors pretty much almost anything that helps them to advance their careers. It’s really about being open and my experience with the mentorships that we’ve experienced so far, is that when you have a good dialog going back and forth, tremendous things can happen.

Larry Jordan: It’s interesting hearing you say that. I had a similar experience. I was working with a young producer, who was having a great deal of difficulty talking to or directing people who were older than she was. She just felt intimidated by the fact that they were older, therefore they should be telling her what to do rather than her telling them what to do. So there’s a lot of learning that needs to go on just to get people comfortable with asking questions.

Barbara Lange: Yes indeed, and then of course, the issues of diversity come into play as well. So yes, to be welcoming is so critically important. We hear that a lot from our young mentees that just being welcomed into a room is so powerful, and that means that the older people need to be welcoming. That’s an education for them as much as it is for the mentees. Absolutely. We can all learn something new.

Larry Jordan: We all can, and sometimes it’s nice to say hello to somebody you don’t know. SMPTE is clearly technical, always has been, and that’s a good thing for a variety of reasons. But not all film makers are technical. Is there a way for film makers to keep up with what SMPTE is talking about that doesn’t require an engineering degree?

Barbara Lange: That is an excellent question. I wish I could say that we have a lot of material for that audience. I would actually direct them more so to the HPA. SMPTE is very technical and our audience tends to be of that technical side. But HPA is really for a film maker, for editors, for sound designers, for the crafts people I would say, who are looking to translate that technology into, “Well how do I make this work, how do I understand how this should work?” And the HPA does that through networking events that they hold as well as of course the very famous tech retreat which takes place in February each year.

Barbara Lange: I think a film maker or any of the crafts people would find a good home within the HPA community. Since HPA and SMPTE are the ying and yang of this ecosystem, I think there’s a good translation there available.

Larry Jordan: In the limited amount of time we have left, what are the most important things that you would like our audience to know about both SMPTE and HPA?

Barbara Lange: We are very active in doing a lot of innovation. I think sometimes people think, “Well how could a 100 year old organization possibly be doing anything interesting?” We’re exactly 100 years old and still doing many interesting things. So if the audience has an interest in understanding how this technology works or participating in making a difference in this interoperability that you talked about earlier, then we welcome people to participate and you actually don’t have to be an engineer to be within the SMPTE community. You have to have a good understanding of the technology for sure, but we’re looking for people to participate all the time on bringing their craft into the mix.

Barbara Lange:  It’s actually quite a good thing for end users as we call them, the people who are on that HPA side of the fence, to participate together with SMPTE because it’s only together the user community saying back to the techies, “Listen, this didn’t quite work,” or “Yes, that did work, more of that.” So it’s important that there’s a good mixture of both the creative side and the technical working together.

Barbara Lange: So we’re looking for people to participate in the things that we do and we’d love to have those people join us.

Larry Jordan: And for people that are interested in joining, or learning more about either organization, where can they go on the web?

Barbara Lange: SMPTE.org and in the case of HPA, it’s HPAonline.com.

Larry Jordan: Those two websites are SMPTE.org and HPAonline, all one word, HPAonline.com. And Barbara Lange is the executive director of both organizations, and Barbara, thanks for joining us today.

Barbara Lange:  Well thank you so much for having me Larry, appreciate it.

Larry Jordan:   Bernard Weiser is the president of the newly formed Entertainment Industry Professionals Mentoring Alliance, or EIPMA. Additionally, Bernard is vice president for Motion Picture Sound Editors which is also called the MPSE, and is also the producer of their annual Golden Reel Awards. Hello Bernard, welcome back.

Bernard Weiser: Hello, thank you Larry. Glad to be back.

Larry Jordan: I get tired just reading what you’re doing, and I’m not even doing it.

Bernard Weiser:  Well my wife thinks I’m out of my mind, and she’s probably right.

Larry Jordan:  Tonight we’re discussing mentoring and we just heard from Barbara Lange talking about the efforts that SMPTE and HPA are making. Tell us about EIPMA. What is it?

Bernard Weiser: Well, the Entertainment Industry Professionals Mentoring Alliance came about originally to honor somebody who passed away within the MPSE, but our ideas of mentoring and the way we want to go about it, got a lot of attention from a lot of organizations in the industry and very quickly became far bigger than just something the MPSE was going to do. And we put together this organization with members from American Cinema Editors, Avid, Cinema Audio Society, Motion Picture Sound Editors of course, the Recording Academy who put on […], SMPTE is involved, and SoundGirls are involved along with other organizations who are very interested and colleagues of ours that we bring in as mentors.

Bernard Weiser: To add to that is what we all saw as […] was a gap between students coming out of school and learning the craft quite well and understanding what the professional world had to offer and the workflows and protocols that exist professionally. So we gathered together thinking to have this mentoring and guidance for these students to bring them into the professional world and make that easier.

Larry Jordan: Who did you design it for? Who are the people you’re trying to reach?

Bernard Weiser: Well we have it on three levels. The first is going to high schools when we’re invited in by the educators. So we have Q&A panels that will show them the different crafts that are out there within the entertainment industry. So if they have an interest, they start to have an idea what is out there and the different areas they can go into, that there’s more than just writing and directing. Then we also focus on colleges with a graduate program which has the same Q&A panels but goes a little further with our mentors that can be brought in, mentor professionals that can be brought in as guest lecturers at the request of the educators and we can offer group mentoring for them to answer questions and help guide them with what they’re doing to prepare for a move into the professional world.

Bernard Weiser: Then finally, we have the graduate students post grad […] what we call pre-industry individuals and helping them. Now they are imminently going to be looking for a job, and by the way this includes veterans coming out of the military. There’s some great talent within the military. I know this first hand because one of my first jobs for three years was working doing films with the military and for them we can give them one on one mentoring and even short term how to prepare them for the professional world.

Larry Jordan: One of the challenges that Barbara mentioned was the need to encourage diversity so that we add more different voices and talents to the mix. What are you doing in your outreach to encourage women and other folks to participate?

Bernard Weiser: Oh that is huge, I’m glad you brought that up. It’s even in our by-laws. I love talking about diversity because the way we see it, since we’re dealing with young people in the business, so much of the industry’s involved now with looking at diversity to fix problems and tap into the past, which is sorely needed and we’re getting there, baby steps at a time. However, for us dealing with students, diversity takes on a different meaning and I get this myself when I have a graduate course that I do and I see the diversity of students that come into this program and the ideas they bring. When you get together students from around the world of different cultural backgrounds, the new ideas that are coming in is just really exciting. These ideas are going to be the future of our industry. And the future of storytelling in the cinematic art.

Bernard Weiser: So we’re reaching out to everybody, talent is what we’re looking for and people who are motivated and color, race, background has nothing to do with it. We try to reach out to all the different colleges which it’s a program that is well funded or a program that is not as well funded. It’s the interest from the students that’s most important.

Larry Jordan: I know that you’re a relatively new organization, but what have your results been so far? How many people are participating in the program, either from a mentor or mentee point of view?

Bernard Weiser: Officially we’re not even quite there yet, although we are starting to have Q&A panels. This Saturday we have a panel going to Notre Dame High School in the San Fernando Valley and we’re gathering names for a database and building up mentors. That takes a little time, we want to do the right thing, make sure our mentors are vetted and properly educated in mindset for doing the mentoring and coming into schools. So the mentoring will probably start more in the fall. Right now it’s just a panel.

Larry Jordan: What are you looking for in your mentors?

Bernard Weiser: Number one is people who can communicate their passion for their job. We’re all volunteers, at least at this time. Sometimes there can be a little bit of a fee if the organization is offering an honorarium. However it is really a passion, and the more veteran professionals we have found have this feeling of wanting to give back some of their talent and pay the things that they have learned forward with the young people who come into our industry and really take it to the next level. What we’re looking for is people with that passion and asking them to come to our website and sign up and request to be a mentor.

Larry Jordan: Well we’re going to get to your website in just a minute, but for people that can’t wait, it’s EIPMA.org, but before we go in that direction, when you’re talking with students, how do you recommend they work with a mentor?

Bernard Weiser: It’s an opportunity to ask questions. That’s the number one thing. Ask any question and gain advice. Because the number one thing a mentor can do is offer guidance for those who are seeking a craft or a technical career in the entertainment industry. So when it’s a one on one mentoring, we obviously want to make sure that they match, that the mentees are excited ask questions, and the mentors to answer them and give guidance. That’s the relationship that we hope will be provided in giving them guidance, and our mentors should be a conduit basically from the students to the professional world.

Larry Jordan: I love the idea that the best way to work for the mentors, ask questions because their role really is to provide guidance. They’re not going to tell you what to do, but they’re going to help you figure out for yourself what you need to do. It seems to me that’s the way to approach it, would you agree?

Bernard Weiser: Yes. I think one of the best things at many events that we have already participated in is round table discussions where the professionals are telling their stories, how they started in the industry and the ups and downs that they had to go through, because it becomes very individual. When you have an issue that’s based really on a passion for storytelling and a passion for the craft, people are coming from many different backgrounds and each story is slightly different. But each story has a commonality. Often times it’s that passion is the number one side of it.

Larry Jordan: Yes, everybody’s story is different. I got into video because I got fired from radio. I’ll tell you about that sometime. For people that are interested, how do they sign up? Can they get on a list?

Bernard Weiser: Yes. The website is EIPMA.org, and there is a section there for contacts and to register their name, give us their email and we can get back to you as we develop with our events that we’ll have coming. We hope in the fall to have an event for educators […] invited to that also.

Larry Jordan: That website is EIPMA.org, not .com, EIPMA.org, and Bernard Weiser is the president of the newly formed and still evolving Entertainment Industry Professionals Mentoring Alliance, or EIMPMA. Bernard, I wish you great success, there’s a huge need for this and I hope you’re successful so good luck.

Bernard Weiser: Thanks so much.

Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. Doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries.  It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production.  These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals. DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers.  From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with 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:  Freddie Gateley is the VP of sales and marketing for VocalBooth.com. VocalBooth has been building modular recording booths for over 20 years and they have some really cool technology that I’m looking forward to learning more about. Hello Freddie, welcome.

Well in my intro I say you’ve been building modular recording booths, but that probably doesn’t give us enough detail. How would you describe what VocalBooth does?

Freddie Gateley:  So really what VocalBooth is is a solution to anytime you need either to create isolation or you just need a really good place to record.

Larry Jordan: Now what does that mean, isolation?

Freddie Gateley: One thing that we can’t quite get out of all of our recordings is just outside noise. I mean we can do our very best to filter something out, but we’ll always have the need for a real quiet space so we have clients call up that need to get rid of airplane noise, they have noisy neighbors, maybe they need to keep themselves quiet because they really like to just record whenever they have the inspiration that could be at one o’clock in the morning.

Freddie Gateley: So for all of those situations, we can provide something that’s going to do that.

Larry Jordan: I have to deal with yodeling goats outside, so I can understand completely the problem.

Freddie Gateley: Oh absolutely, I’ve heard it all. You’d be surprised.

Larry Jordan: We’re talking to two companies that do this kind of work, we’re talking to you and we’re also talking with the folks over at WhisperRoom.

Freddie Gateley: Oh yes, absolutely.

Larry Jordan: How would you describe your gear? Is it a complete room? Is it something that moves around? Give me a better picture.

Freddie Gateley: Our booth is going to be portable and modular, so it’s something that you don’t need to do a hard install, a hard build on. We build modular panels that can be constructed in any number of ways to set up your booth, to take it back down, to reconfigure it. You can expand it, you can upgrade it to higher levels of isolation, it’s something that can grow with you, contract with you, it’s really for anybody that doesn’t want to put the long term investment and commitment into a hard build.

Larry Jordan: So it sounds like it’s a small room within a room?

Freddie Gateley: Yes absolutely. It can be a small room, sometimes it’s even a really large room, but that’s the one thing about Vocal Booths, we go up to 16 by 32 feet. But we start at about a four by four, so it’s all over the place with what we do.

Larry Jordan: How do we decide how to configure it?

Freddie Gateley: We like to say that our salesmen are really going to be consultants. I mean that’s really what we’re after is we’re going to talk to you, we’re going to find out how much isolation you might be needing, so again, what are you competing with outside? What are you trying to accomplish inside of your booth? And then from there we can look at your space and decide how much space you actually need to do that. We go over 200 different sizes. We can go in one foot increments and if you’ve got something really specific, we can even make it fit right within that small space, or large space, whatever’s going to work just right for you.

Larry Jordan: I’m looking at your website. You’ve got a Diamond series, and Platinum series and Gold series and Silver series and a Guitar series and a used instrument series and a couple of other. How do we pick?

Freddie Gateley: Yes, lots of precious metals and gem names flowing around there. What we basically do, if we’re going to boil it right it on down, we’re going to have a single wall design, we’re going to have a double wall design. Again, talking about what do you need to keep out at that point? Our single wall one is going to be the Gold or the Silver series and that’s going to provide a pretty good level of isolation for your office or your home. Once you start competing with traffic noise, I’ve even got some clients that have sent me some videos of road construction going on right outside the window, when they step inside their Platinum series booth that double wall one, it goes right away. So they’re not losing time, losing revenue.

Freddie Gateley: And then we can even go levels higher than that. Our normal consumer’s not going to need that so we don’t always advertise that on our website, but you know, we can go straight up from there. Once you get into that, you decide your size, then the Diamond refers to our Diamond series which is our diamond shape. So there’s no parallel walls in a booth like that. Makes a really nice recording area, and it fits really nice into a corner.

Larry Jordan: A question, I’d like to breathe. How do I get air in this thing? If it’s so sound tight that I can’t get sound in there, how do you get air in there?

Freddie Gateley: That’s a good question. You know, letting our clients breathe tends to bring us more repeat customers for sure. That’s something from day one, this company being about 22 years old, we’ve always been working on making our ventilation better. So you want to be able to breathe but you don’t want to introduce fan noise into your recordings. You don’t want to have to turn off your fan every time you’re recording. We do a lot of stuff for narrators who are doing long form narration. They’re reading these books and they might be getting out 30, 40,000 words in a day. They have to be able to stay in there, and stay cool. So, we have some fan technology where the blades are almost silent. They’ve got very cool little things, little vortices generators on the blades so that they don’t sound like they’re chopping the air. And then we also have a kind of a labyrinth of wood and foam that it plugs into and then past that insulated ductwork so keeping that way outside the booth but being able to draw air through.

Freddie Gateley: We size the ventilation to every single booth that we do so that it’s going to keep you cool. And just in the evolution of the ventilation, we started in the beginning needing something like a vent silencer system. We needed a remote or something to turn that ventilation off. But as technology got better, we just keep introducing stuff that eliminates all that, so all of our fans go at high capacity, and they also go completely quiet.

Larry Jordan: How about electrical connections? Can I connect to remote computers or mic out to an amp?

Freddie Gateley: Our basic set up is a cable passage port. It’s about a three inch conduit, you can run your cables through there, and then you wrap some foam around it. It almost works like an ear plug and then we have some other caps and stuff that we put on the inside to really increase the isolation. But again, this is where we get different levels of clients, so that would be great for somebody maybe in their home office. They just want to have an uncommitted, nice little space that they can set one of these booths up quick, but we do stuff where we can do full conduits for people. So something that’s going to be more of what we call a semi permanent install, we can run all the conduit through there and have it ready for jay boxes, for lights, for recording signs, for all kinds of electrical. We offer jack panels, so there’s a longer answer to your question.

Larry Jordan: Freddie, I was just looking at the floor plans that are available on your website, and you’ve got some interesting shaped booths, but is there one in particular comes to mind as being somewhat out of the ordinary?

Freddie Gateley: Oh yes, absolutely. We love to do stuff that’s out of the ordinary. Just recently we got a call for a booth that had to fit specifically into a rotating table and they had a very specific footprint, and we ended up making like an octagon booth that rotates. So this booth goes on in the museum, you can go in there and record your stuff, while you rotate. I don’t know why you rotate, or what their exact things are, but it’s for the Wonder Museum in Chicago, if somebody goes and sees it, send us a picture, because I can’t wait to see it in action. We do all crazy stuff.

Larry Jordan: I know that you’ve talked about the fact that you’ve got something like 22 different configurations and modularity is one of the strengths that you’ve got, but I also need to be able to afford it. How much am I spending to get started with a typical small space for a narrator?

Freddie Gateley: We’ve always tried to keep our Silver series as really that entry level model, something that’s affordable to people. Every single year when we’re looking at price increases for everything, we do everything we can to keep that the same, or at the very bottom so that one is $4895 shipped anywhere in the US. It’s going to come with a solid core wood door, it has nice STC rated acoustic glass windows in it, that silent ventilation system and nearly 100 percent acoustical coverall on the inside with nice pyramid studio foam and again that price, it includes shipping anywhere in the 48 US states.

Larry Jordan: How big is the space?

Freddie Gateley: The space is going to be a four foot by four foot booth and it’s going to be about seven and a half feet tall.

Larry Jordan: Because you’re shipping it in pieces, can it be put together by mere mortals or do we need to hire a contractor?

Freddie Gateley: 95 percent of my clients are going to go ahead and assemble it themselves. So it’s going to come in finished panels. Everything just bolts together. All of our stuff is T nutted, there’s no need to drill anything in, there’s no need to make your own holes or spray glue or anything. You just take a finished panel, put it in there with a power screwdriver, just bolt it together. Your largest panel is a four foot wide panel so about 50 pounds. When you get to the door, depending on how you’ve configured that, you may curse a little bit, but it’s going to be a little over 100 pounds to get the door in. So we always say find some buddies, maybe some beer and pizza, and you can definitely get it done really quickly. So once that booth is all put together, you’re looking at a sitting rate of probably around 900 pounds.

Larry Jordan: If there was one thing you wanted people to keep in mind about VocalBooth gear, what would it be?

Freddie Gateley: Something that’s really unique about VocalBooth is that we control everything that goes into this booth, and that’s something else that’s grown through the years. When we bring people into the factory and when they come through and hang out with us, they’re really surprised to see how we control everything from the beginning to the end. We have a full metal fabrication shop that makes all the steel corners, makes all the brackets and everything that we use in our booths. We have a door machine, we have a whole door crew. All their job is is making sure that all of our acoustic doors are nice and sealed, good solid core acoustic doors. We have guys that take care of all the windows, every panel is put together here, all of the stuff is felt wrapped and we even have the foam produced for us back in the mid West, so a lot of the materials, everything that goes into it here, we build each one of these booths all the way up to completion, quality check it, and then it goes into panels into a crate, and ships off. So we can control the quality all the way from the beginning to the end, and then make sure that everything actually fits together nicely and when you get that box, we know exactly what went into it. We know exactly how it’s going to go together for you.

Larry Jordan: And where’s here?

Freddie Gateley: We are in Bend, Oregon.

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

Freddie Gateley: Vocalbooth.com. Don’t be afraid to put in a quote request or to just go ahead and call us up. We love to talk to you, like I said, we’re consultants, we’re not hard sales guys. If we can work out something for you and it’s going to make sense, we’d love to help you.

Larry Jordan: Website is all one word, vocalbooth.com and Freddie Gateley is the vice president of sales and marketing for VocalBooth.com and Freddie thanks for joining us today.

Freddie Gateley: Thank you very much Larry, I really do appreciate it.

Larry Jordan: Gabe White is the marketing director for WhisperRoom. He creates and implements annual marketing plans, develops the calendar of campaigns and events and oversees the marketing of WhisperRoom products. And learning about WhisperRoom is what today is all about. Hello Gabe, welcome.

Gabe White:  Hey Larry, how’s it going?

Larry Jordan: Now that I’m talking to you I’m excited because the last time I worked with WhisperRoom was about 20 years ago and I suspect you’ve been doing new stuff since then, so tell me what WhisperRoom does.

Gabe White:  We are a manufacturer of sound isolation enclosures. These are not soundproof booths, they isolate noise. So we have 26 different sizes of rooms, each one of those 26 sizes is available in two levels of isolation. We have a single walled model. That reduces ambient noise by roughly 50 percent, and then if you want a very isolated enclosure, we have a double walled model. With a double wall, ambient noise is reduced by roughly 75 percent.

Larry Jordan: Well I want to go into more detail about the booths themselves, but explain to me. You emphasize that it’s not soundproof, it’s isolation. What’s the difference?

Gabe White:  Most of the time, a soundproof booth would be a permanent structure made out of a very heavy component such as steel or concrete or something like that. Sound isolation, you can still hear a little bit of noise on the inside if someone’s using power tools or something right outside the wall. Essentially it’s a sufficient environment for recording, product testing, whatever you use it for it reduces noise to a level that is far beyond sufficient to accomplish what needs to be done.

Gabe White:  One reason why it’s a sound isolation enclosure instead of soundproof, is the fact that they’re modular and portable components. If you build it and work in a space for five years, and then move somewhere else, you can take it apart with a screwdriver and a few hours, and reconstruct it in a new location. We could make a soundproof room, but it would not be portable at all.

Larry Jordan: Why did the company get started?

Gabe White:  The owner of the company, he was learning how to play saxophone while living in an apartment.

Larry Jordan: Say no more.

Gabe White: There was a learning curve where you don’t really sound too great, so he rustled up some complaints and he had the option to move into a home, or find a way to soundproof the space so he could practice at night. So he built a prototype WhisperRoom on his back patio after having some buddies come over and stuff. They’re like, “Hey this is a pretty good idea. You should make this a product.” After some time and much thought, he obtained the original patent on a portable module sound isolation enclosure so that was in 1990. We have improved the product over the years and we’ve kind of got it down to a science now.

Larry Jordan: Where’s the product made?

Gabe White:  The product is made in east Tennessee, Morristown? That’s about an hour away from our Knoxville office so we have a manufacturing plant and do everything ourselves.

Larry Jordan: You mentioned that you’ve got 26 different varieties of room. How do we decide which one to pick?

Gabe White:  If you were living in an apartment in New York, floor space is very important, so how big of a room do you need? Our smallest room is three and a half by two and a half feet, so very comparable to the size of a small closet in an apartment. Then the largest room is eight feet by 16 feet. Between those two sizes, they go up incrementally, so the next step from three and a half by two and a half, is three and a half by three and half. So if you’re just doing voiceover work, a very small booth is perfect for that. If you are a musician who has to get an amplifier or a guitar and sit in a chair and maybe have a computer in there with you, maybe a four by six foot booth is ideal for you.

Gabe White:   We don’t leave it up to the customer to decide what size. Obviously it’s their choice, but typically they’ll get in touch with us. They’ll have an idea, maybe two or three different sizes, and we talk them through what specifically they’ll be using the booth for. We really work with a customer on a one on one basis after we prepare a quote and make sure that they have the perfect size booth for themselves.

Larry Jordan: Well just for the sake of discussion, let’s pretend that we want to create a narration booth for narrators for films. So say it’s three and a half by three and a half feet. What would be a starting price?

Gabe White:  A starting price for three and a half by three and a half, would you like that single walled or double walled?

Larry Jordan: Let’s make it single.

Gabe White:  Single wall’s a little under $4,000 so the booth itself, the stock room, is $3955, but all of our booths include basic features, so you have a window on the door, enough studio foam to cover about one third of the booth and a handful of other things. The cool thing about our rooms are you can customize them a little bit to fit your needs, so if you’re in a studio using the booth, maybe you want a large window to see out into the production room? So you can install a variety of window sizes and we can put that there on that wall. Then on top of that too, if maybe it needs to be ADA compliant, it won’t work on our small booth that size, but you need a wheelchair ramp or a wide access door, maybe you’d consider moving up to a five by five foot room, and we have different lighting, ventilation system. There’s different things that go into it, but a three and a half by three and a half is a little under 4,000.

Larry Jordan: How do you keep air flowing? I’ve decided I want to survive my narration session so how do I keep breathing?

Gabe White:  We have a ventilation system. It circulates air from the environment the room is set up in. So they have one intake ducter box then an exhaust box , so if you’re in an air conditioned space, that air system will regulate the temperature of the booth to be equivalent to the environment that it’s set up in. Our ventilation system is stock with each booth and then we also have a ventilation silencing system so additional duct boxes with baffles to further get rid of the noise of an air flow which is very very very minute in the background when you’re inside the booth.

Larry Jordan: In tonight’s show we’re also talking with the folks at VocalBooth who make sound isolation booths as well. How would you distinguish WhisperRoom from what they make?

Gabe White:  VocalBooth are one of our direct competitors. They have a nice product, good looking product. The main difference is our manufacturing process. We build everything, if you order a booth today, on Tuesday, we could have it there by Friday. So our lead time with shipping is what I would consider a primary advantage over VocalBooth. Then when you get down to the nuts and bolts of things, there’s other things, but that might just be a bias.

Larry Jordan:  What are some of your more unusual installations? What comes to mind?

Gabe White:   We’ve done some in the past. We’ve done mobile booths in the back of semi trucks for hearing tests. That’s the fun thing with the installation, the end user gets to put the booth together. We ship them on a flat packed pallet and everything is individually boxed.

Larry Jordan:   Gabe, what is it that intrigues you about marketing WhisperRoom? What is it that gets you excited about the product?

Gabe White:  It’s a very unique product. One thing that gets me excited is that I essentially am part of the target market. I’m a lifelong musician and I’ve played in bands in the past and record in the evening. So it’s something that’s directly up my alley. And as far as marketing something like this, it’s a very niche market so there are many ways to attack it, but at the end of the day we’re selling sound isolation enclosures and that’s not as competitive as say a basketball or some sort of common widget.

Gabe White:   A lot of our customers, they’re familiar with our brand, they’re familiar with competitors, many of them are highly educated on sound waves, live rooms, dead rooms, but at the end of t he day it comes down to whatever you’re recording. In my opinion it’s the microphone, the room, and then your skill. So those are the three facets I would say that affect maybe a buying decision or something like that. I think it’s a really cool product and when I first saw it, I was like “Oh man, that’s a really neat idea.” So I’m glad to be a part of the team here working on taking this product to the next step and into the future.

Larry Jordan: For people that want to learn more about the products that WhisperRoom offers, where can they go on the web?

Gabe White:  They can visit Whisperroom.com. All the pricing is listed, we like to be transparent on that and all the optional features have a price, so we recommend you just get on there and check it out and feel free to give us a call or request a quote online while you’re there.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, Whisperroom.com, and Gabe White is the marketing director for WhisperRoom and Gabe, thanks for joining us today.

Gabe White:  Thanks Larry I appreciate it.

Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking about mentoring. I’ve always enjoyed teaching and when I’m not hosting the Buzz, I’m often teaching college kids about media and communications. Last week, I was part of a committee interviewing potential faculty for part time teaching positions. One of the people we interviewed was a recent graduate, a woman, whom we were considering for a position teaching computer programming. As we were talking, we asked her why she wanted the job? And her reply caught my attention.

Larry Jordan: “When I graduated from college with a masters,” she said, “I had a lot of knowledge, but once I got a job I realized that I still needed to learn how to apply that knowledge in real world situations.” That to me is the essence of mentoring. A mentor doesn’t teach you a subject, rather they help you figure out how to fit what you know, into the much larger puzzle of the real world. A mentor helps because they’ve been there before and can guide you along the way.

Larry Jordan: One of the greatest compliments a student can give a teacher is asking them for advice. Not about something covered in class, but in how to help them get their career started. I’ve been fortunate to help many students make the transition from school into the workforce. For those of us who made that transition a long time ago, it’s easy to forget just how stressful and bewildering it can be to shift from being a scholar to a worker. And that is where mentors fit in.

Larry Jordan: The secret to being a good mentor is listening. A good mentor doesn’t solve your problems, they share their knowledge to help the person being mentored, figure out how to solve their problems themselves. A mentor provides a sounding board, and advice backed by experience. And good mentors are invaluable. Just something I’m thinking about.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank our guests this week, Barbara Lange with SMPTE and HPA, Bernard Weiser with the EIPMA, Freddie Gateley with VocalBooth, Gabe White with WhisperRoom and James DeRuvo with DoddleNEWS.com.

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

Larry Jordan:  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuzz and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Transcripts are provided by Take1.tv. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com.  

Larry Jordan:   Our producer is Paulina Borowski, my name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan:  The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2019 by Thalo LLC.

Digital Production Buzz – May 2, 2019

On this week’s Buzz, we look at mentoring opportunities to help young people get their careers started right. Then, we talk with two companies who make sound isolation booths on how to use them to improve the quality of your audio.

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

Join host Larry Jordan as he talks with Barbara Lange, Freddie Gateley, Gabe White, Bernard Weiser and James DeRuvo.

  • Mentoring Engineers and Creatives
  • EIPMA: A Focus on Mentors
  • Pick the Right Sound Booth
  • Isolation From the Noise
  • The Weekly doddleNEWS Update

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Guests this Week


Mentoring Engineers and Creatives

Barbara Lange
Barbara Lange, Executive Director of SMPTE and HPA, SMPTE
Barbara Lange is the Executive Director of SMPTE and HPA. SMPTE provides a forum for engineers to set standards for product interoperability, while HPA provides a forum for creative folks to be able to use those products. Tonight, she talks about her organizations and their focus on mentoring.


EIPMA: A Focus on Mentors

Bernard Weiser
Bernard Weiser, President, EIPMA
Bernard Weiser is the president of EIPMA, a non-profit organization that provides mentoring services to young people, military vets, and others seeking to launch their careers in the media and entertainment industry. Tonight, he explains how his organization can help your career.


Pick the Right Sound Booth

Freddie Gateley
Freddie Gateley, VP Sales & Marketing, VocalBooth.com, Inc.
Freddie Gateley is the VP of Sales and Marketing at VocalBooth.com, a company that specializes in manufacturing and installing soundproof enclosures for audio recording. He talks about the company’s history, custom manufacturing and flexibility in designing sound-proof rooms, and how to choose the right room for you.


Isolation From the Noise

Gabriel 'Gabe' White
Gabriel “Gabe” White, Marketing Director, WhisperRoom, Inc.
Gabe White is the Marketing Director at WhisperRoom, a company that makes sound isolation booths. He explains how an errant sax got the company started, how their booths are used and how to pick the right booth for your needs.


The Weekly doddleNEWS Update

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