The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

Archive for July 2nd, 2010



Bob Zelin paraphrased “tape is dead”

Bob Zelin paraphrased “tape is dead” under “Injest”.

If you consider what he says under injest, he’s saying tape isn’t part of a modern plant:

But what is universally happening, whether we like it or not, is that all sources are becoming data — whether from Panasonic P2, Sony XDCAM EX and NX, JVC GY series cameras; Convergent Design nano- Flash, AJA Ki Pro, Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras; and of course, high end, hi-res cameras from ARRI, RED, and others. It is a fantasy that Sony HDCAM SR tape will remain the format of choice for high-end ingest, as this will fade away quickly — no matter how much money all of us have invested in these various tape formats. One workaround to preserve the investment in HDCAM SR cameras: capture files to the Sony SRW-1 disk recorder.

Of course you still need to get these digital files into your system. The single most impressive ingest product that I saw was the Sonnet Technologies Qio, pronounced Cue-Eye-Oh. Using a single PCIe slot, it gives you two P2 readers, two Sony SxS readers, and two CF Card readers.



“It’s almost as good as 3D”

“It’s almost as good as 3D” say a precocious 7 yo at Hollywood Bowl 4 July FireWorks Spectacular.

Seriously, it’s come to this: real life and in 3D, fireworks are “almost” as good as 3D… cinema? It was said repeatedly.

3D might have a much better future than I have been thinking.

But kid, it’s real life, it is real 3D. Fireworks is one time when I don’t want the “3D” coming toward me. Thank ou.

Otherwise, Great Show Hollywood Bowl. Should be great on Sunday with another “rehearsal” tomorrow night. 🙂



Why iAd Won’t Meet Steve Jobs’ Expectations.

Why iAd Won’t Meet Steve Jobs’ Expectations

GigOm writer Colin Gibbs gives five reasons why iAds won’t be the success Steve Jobs predicts them to be:

  1. They’re Expensive;
  2. You don’t have to use an iAd to advertise on the iPhone or iPad
  3. Big publishers want to sell their own inventory
  4. Apple’s insistence on being involved is slowing deployment
  5. There is competition in the form of Android phones.

I’m not sure if any are compelling. Personally iAds are some of the least offensive ad insertions (remembering that I’m basically against all irrelevant advertising, and since it’s all irrelevant…). I’m not really qualified to comment on whether or not they’ll be a success – personally I prefer other methods of funding than Ads.

Except I did write that piece a couple of days ago on “How to Get Disney to fund your next production“, which was basically about aggregating all communication on a project into an App and using in-app commerce and iAds to fund the production. (Disney only got the reference because their Pixar ads kept appearing in Jobs’ keynote.)




Story is free – use it.

Story is free

Writer John August suggests that the lack of real plot in many indie productions is a consequence of the “small and independent” focus: story is perceived as too expensive to produce (and it can be if you go too big).

A lot of story can happen even when you’re constrained to a few locations. Hamlet takes place in a few rooms. So does The Usual Suspects. Both Go and The Nines pack a lot into each of their three-part sections. And while Sex, Lies and Videotape might seem low-plot, the story keeps forcing characters to make choices and face the consequences.

In meeting with the screenwriters at Sundance, I challenged them to look for scenes in which characters were talking about things and show them doing those things. Often, the omitted scenes weren’t more expensive than what they would replace — but they were more difficult to write. The beginning of an affair is trickier than showing it mid-course. A trapped child is uncomfortable to write, but compelling to watch.

The writing is always going to be the least expensive but most challenging part of the process. Making a low-budget movie is a study in compromises. Story shouldn’t be one of them.

Our Footloose Remake Beats Paramount to the Punch

More an exploration of what can be done, than a serious approach for all production, they did manage to get a Footloose remake done before Paramount can.

Each team was assigned one scene from the film to recreate however they saw fit, leading to the following tally: 33 different Rens (played by Bacon in the original), 15 different Reverend Shaw Moores (played by John Lithgow in the original) and 27 different Ariels (played by Lori Singer originally). The result is an insane but delightful mashup of styles and approaches — parody, animation, puppets, Dance Dance Revolution homage, reverse motion, video remix, stop-motion — with instances of both male and female drag, puppets, puppies and amazingly bad wigs.

And yes, they knew it wouldn’t make money. In my database of production funding methods, this will go in “Gimmicks”.



TV Show Released On BitTorrent raises $20K fast.

TV Show Released On BitTorrent Raises $20,000 Pretty Damn Fast

Zubin Madon alerts us to the news that in just about a week, the producers of the show have hit their goal of raising $20,000 to produce the next batch of episodes. This isn’t a “give it away and pray” sort of deal. It’s a recognition that the first episode is the “pilot” and the scarcities that are being sold are the creation of more episodes. This is one of the more complicated scarcities for people to understand: content, once created and released to the world, is infinite. However, content not yet created is scarce. So it’s a perfectly reasonable business model to try to sell the creation of new content, which is exactly what the producers here have done successfully.

Torrent Freak has a longer article about the same project.

With traditional methods of funding drying up, producers will need to be creative in the future. Growing and Monetizing an Audience is one of my most popular presentations.

On the other hand, this shows the difficulty of funding in the digital age: The regular quality version has been downloaded over 1 million times, and the HD version 300,000 times, to raise $20,000. We’re not there yet, are we?

July 2010
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