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

Archive for November 2010

Nov/10

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The Terence and Philip Show Episode 15.

The Terence and Philip Show Episode 15: Workflow vs “just Cutting”. http://tinyurl.com/2vfhrh6 Can you ignore workflow and “just cut”?

Terence and Philip discuss the importance of designing workflow as opposed to simply jumping in and cutting. How have the roles of Assistant changed. The inevitable sidetrack covers the role of “independent film” when so many get made but never return their investment, and what’s the better alternative.

We also discuss the workflow for reality TV.

Microsoft Silverlight Rough Cut Editor http://tinyurl.com/ydyzcy9

Just had this bought to my attention, and – to the best of my recollection – I’ve never heard of it before. Doesn’t seem to be a “live” project anymore. Anyone know anything more?

Happy Thanksgiving to those who Celebrate today. As an outsider, I’ve always thought a holiday to give thanks made the most sense. Relatively low commercial intrusion, no gift giving tradition and no religious divisions.

And I have so much to be thankful for.

While I might have been skeptical about one “Steve Jobs” email, when there are multiple being published, it’s not so easy to think that Jobs is “off in the future already” and his “next year” is already 2012. But it doesn’t seem like that’s the case. There’s also activity around Cupertino that is more typical leading up to a new release, rather than many months away.

It’s possible that this activity is a consulting process to refine the planning, but overall I lean more toward something being released in 2011. Now, for all the reasons I’ve written about QuickTime and AV Foundation and OS X 10.7, I really doubt that a 2011 release could be 64 bit and have native support for MXF, RED and DSLR H.264. Because these have been such headline features for Adobe in Premiere Pro CS5 I really felt that Apple would be unlikely to release a version of Final Cut Pro that did not have them.

That is where I may well be wrong. For sure anything media related – 64 bit processing, native support and Mercury Engine-like performance – will almost certainly need to wait until after 10.7 is finalized (and released), but there’s a lot of other work they could do in Final Cut Pro that doesn’t necessarily revolve around those features.

Would a release of Final Cut Pro that did not have those three features help or hinder Apple? My assumption was that it would hinder, and I’m still inclined to believe that even as evidence gathers that there will be a 2011 release of Final Cut Studio. While Avid Media Composer is not (yet) 64 bit it does have native media format support via AMA. Media Composer’s current release also lacks anything akin to Adobe’s Mercury Engine, so it wouldn’t just be Apple with a lack in that area.

So what could Apple do in Final Cut Pro for a 2011 release that would excite us all and make it obvious to the worst naysayer that Apple are serious about the Pro Apps?

One thing for certain would be more rewritten code in Final Cut Pro. In Final Cut Pro 7 we got a completely rewritten Speed Control: evidence is the different look and feel, additional features and that if you feed it XML you get a slightly different result in Final Cut Pro 6 than in 7. Similarly my programming partner tells me that the XML writer/parser was very, very likely rewritten for Final Cut Pro 7. While the rewritten Final Cut Pro 7 XML import/export (and the features in that version) are great for developers like ourselves, they don’t generate a whole lot of customer excitement.

So, rewriting to Cocoa from Carbon has probably been progressing between releases. There’s nothing to prevent rewriting the Transition Editor or dozens of other parts of the application that aren’t media or media metadata related. I was thinking that the rudimentary image recognition features of iMovie ’11 – how many people are in a shot, is it W, M or CU? – would be a great addition to Final Cut Pro 7, but that could require work on the Bin/Browser interface, and I think Bin/Browser will require some tools for reading QuickTime Metadata that are Cocoa based rather than old Carbon code, but perhaps not.

Editing features, or perhaps even templates, could come over from iMovie ’11 without taking out any professional level features. This would be much like Aperture 3, which included iPhoto features without losing or dropping “professional features”.

What headline features Apple are  likely to put into a 2011 Final Cut Pro release kind of eludes me, but I’m no longer prepared to say “No 2011 release” only that a 2011 release is unlikely to be the release that everyone is expecting, and I don’t know if that will help Apple (“See, we are still interested in Pro Apps!”) or give an opportunity for people to continue the “If Apple were serious we’d have 64 bit and native support, and better performance by now” meme.

As always, we will see when we see it. I fully admit that I have never run a marketing department even the size of the Pro Apps marketing, and I fully expect they know better than I!

The Terence & Philip Show Episode 14: The future of PBS & Alternate Distribution. http://tinyurl.com/39am779

The discussion starts with KCET’a exit from the PBS network and the implications – including loss of revenue to PBS – does it signal the end of PBS. Will there be a PBS of the Internet?

Will direct producer-viewer connections drive the future. Remember too, that independent production is a business and needs the business model being determined before production starts. How do we fund production?

MPAA Boss Defends Censorships With Blatantly False Claims http://tinyurl.com/3x66kl5

If you’re for the usupportable COICA try not lying! COICA would have prevented YouTube from ever getting established, would tackle music lockers and music search engines. In fact any innovation the existing power brokers would simply be banned without any review, just in a nice cosy arrangement.

Every statement made by an MPAA representative can be safely assumed to be lacking in factual support: in other words a lie. The “reports” they quote are mostly made up and only consider one side of the equation, even after they double or triple count on their side.

The MPAA “reports” have never been even submitted to peer review (the standard for scientific papers) and consistently debunked by the Federal Government Accounting Office and anyone without their agenda. Their agenda is to protect their business model so they would enjoy the near-monopoly “rents” they’ve enjoyed in the past, even though the technology that enabled those monopoly rents has been superseded.

If your business needs intrusive legislation, almost certainly a breach of the First Amendment, then you have already failed. When you’re fighting your customers every day, you’ve already failed.

It’s a long article but it’s well worth the read.

What’s scary is that there are still people, and people in power, who will believe Pisano’s blatantly false and misleading claims here and will push forward in favor of government censorship of websites, contrary to the very clear rules of the First Amendment. In the end, it’s hard to see how COICA would pass even a rudimentary First Amendment review — as more and more First Amendment experts are noticing

It’s really quite distressing the level of blatant falsehoods that the MPAA will spew in favor of getting the US to become a regime of censorship.

While COICA has almost no chance of passing in this Congress, here are the 19 Senators who were quite happy to sell out your First Amendment rights to do the bidding of the industry that bought and paid for them.

  • Patrick J. Leahy — Vermont
  • Herb Kohl — Wisconsin
  • Jeff Sessions — Alabama
  • Dianne Feinstein — California
  • Orrin G. Hatch — Utah
  • Russ Feingold — Wisconsin
  • Chuck Grassley — Iowa
  • Arlen Specter — Pennsylvania
  • Jon Kyl — Arizona
  • Chuck Schumer — New York
  • Lindsey Graham — South Carolina
  • Dick Durbin — Illinois
  • John Cornyn — Texas
  • Benjamin L. Cardin — Maryland
  • Tom Coburn — Oklahoma
  • Sheldon Whitehouse — Rhode Island
  • Amy Klobuchar — Minnesota
  • Al Franken — Minnesota
  • Chris Coons — Delaware

Hey, Movie And TV People, Here’s How To Avoid Becoming Apple’s Lunch http://tinyurl.com/2btdz8c

Wise words from Matt Rosoff at SAI Business Insider:

O’Reilly took the mike for the first question, and made the point that the recording industry blew it in the early days by not offering its content in a convenient digital format for a price that consumers were willing to accept. As a consequence, piracy took off, and Apple’s deal was the best bargain that the industry could get. He suggested that the film and TV industries are making the same mistake now by withholding content from new digital platforms like Google TV and Netflix streaming.

Here, Emanuel got hot under the collar and insisted that piracy is wrong and shouldn’t be considered when making business decisions. Instead, he suggested that the government and industry needed to do more work to educate consumers about stealing content and to enforce existing laws.

Emanuel’s right. Content has value. The problem is, once content is digitized, it’s trivially easy to copy it. And every copy protection scheme will eventually be broken. (Cory Doctorow did a great job explaining why this is true way back in 2004–basically, you can’t encrypt content against the people who you’re also supposed to be delivering it to.)

This is isn’t a moral argument. It’s a physical argument. Arguing against the piracy of digital content is like arguing against gravity. Or death.

Essentially he makes the same argument that other make: you can’t sell abundance (digital goods that can be reproduced infinitely at little cost, but you can use that abundance to sell scarcity. Or you can focus on events that have immediacy. Immediacy is a scarcity that you can sell and sports or other live events are a great example.

The Walking Dead produced for about 50c per viewer http://tinyurl.com/28er76d So why a 99c rental? Should be no more than 70c to be fair.

The advantage in producing six episodes in a row was continuity, Ms. Hurd said, keeping cast members in character and the same crew members employed. “It was also, to be hones, far more cost-effective,” she said.

The episodes were filmed almost entirely on location in and around Atlanta, where a roughly 30% tax credit cut down costs. AMC declined to comment on the show’s budget, but two people with knowledge of the production said each episode cost $2 million to $2.5 million, a price that puts it in line with other high-end dramas on cable, though still below the equivalent prices on broadcast television.

It seems like 50c per viewer is right in the middle of current production costs, and right in the middle of typical ad revenue per viewer per show.

Four Ways Social Media Will Change Television http://tinyurl.com/25zp6ar

Instead of the metaphorical “next day” water cooler of history, which was a social component to Television even then, we’re moving the conversation online and into Twitter (and other social conversations). I tend not to watch sports events – it’s just not my thing – but I’m rarely uninformed about the progress of games because my friends tweet constantly about the progress! Social media changing Television.

NewTeeVee identifies Social Viewing, Measurement, Curation and Commerce as the dominant trends in social media support for Television. I tend to agree: I discover new show from recommendations from friends.

Comcast app turns Apple devices into remote controls http://tinyurl.com/2cmsxyc I called it back in June! http://tinyurl.com/29l53d8

From my June post:

And the it hit me: Apple and Google (et al.) are going about it the wrong way. The program goes on the big screen. Period. The interface is on our laptop, or iPhone, or iTouch, or (the killer one) an iPad. All have a keyboard for easy entry of urls and search; there are social applications that work just fine on those existing screens.

Trying to put the interface on a screen 20′ away without a keyboard (and wireless keyboards aren’t really an option) is just wrong: not only is it the wrong place, I don’t want to clutter my program communally (which presumably I’m watching because I enjoy it) with social media that’s personal.

The two screen approach makes much more sense. Put the program on the screen – uncluttered like  the program’s director intended – and put the control and any desired interactivity on another screen. An iPad would seem to be perfect for this, but since I don’t plan on getting one, an iPhone or iTouch or Laptop could also run the interface anywhere on the same local area network.

And that’s what Comcast have done: put all the searching and program control on an iDevices application:

The browsing and search functions do much of what a traditional remote can do: You can browse through listings, choose a show and watch it on your TV. You can also change the channel and sort through content based on genre or keyword. If you’re busy, the app also lets you program DVRs to record shows and movies.

It may just sound like a snazzier version of a remote control now, but Comcast is promising some added features to amp up the appeal. Soon, updates to the app will allow users to share what they’re watching through access to social networking sites. Other promised add-ons include the ability to stream video content directly on your Apple gadget (coming in December) and enhanced search functions (coming soon).

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