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

Archive for July 2011

The responses to Final Cut Pro X a month Later.

In this episode Terence and Philip discuss how the postproduction landscape has changed a month after Final Cut Pro X was revealed. How has the competition responded and how has the Final Cut Pro community has reacted. Lots of discussion on the launch and subsequent response to Final Cut Pro X, touching on every aspect of the release.

Why is there an emotional connection with creatives and their tools. Where do Final Cut Pro 7 users go? Who is really focused on NLEs in professional postproduction? Oh, and yes, Philip has new software for Final Cut Pro X (inspired by Terry in part).



World’s First Full Screen HTML Player

World’s First Full Screen HTML Player (that’s customizable) Any unique Flash feature done in “HTML5”

I’ve long had a preference for open standards over those from a single vendor, and so I like seeing formerly “Flash Only” features being replicated in ever-smarter ‘HTML5’ players.

Until now, the lack of true fullscreen playback has been the biggest limitation of HTML5 over Flash video. Safari already offered a basic fullscreen option for HTML5 video players, but this was via a non-customizable QuickTime view that didn’t allow the player to be branded or to feature custom controls.

For the first time since we demoed our player last year, we can finally enjoy SublimeVideo’s HTML5 controls in glorious fullscreen.

Technicolor acquires Laser Pacific

From Variety:

While shoring up its d-cinema distribution business with its pact with Cinedigm, Technicolor was also busy rejiggering its post-production offerings, acquiring LaserPacific and selling its post assets in New York to PostWorks.

Under the Technicolor-PostWorks deal, PostWorks acquires the Technicolor post facility on Leroy St. in Manhattan and enters an exclusive franchise agreement with Technicolor. The facility will be branded PostWorks Technicolor and will get access to Technicolor’s proprietary color science and post workflows.

The Laser Pacific facilities will be rebranded as Technicolor and their employees will become Technicolor employees.

Further consolidation of the high end of postproduction in the LA and NY markets.

My DV Expo topics

9-5 September 20 Basic Tech for Producers (and recent Film School Graduates)

In this session, technology expert and DV magazine contributor Philip Hodgetts will cover the technological choices in production and post in a non-geeky way to help producers — and others without a technical background — make good technology choices for their productions. From formats to software choices; selecting cameras to creating Web video; designing graphics that will work and much more.  PRICE: $195 ($245 after Aug 31) Click here to register now.

9-5 September 21 Using Metadata For Production and Asset Management

Metadata is becoming increasingly important throughout the production cycle–from camera to asset management. In this session learn about the types of metadata in use; how each major NLE (Final Cut Pro 7, Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and Media Composer 5.5) handles metadata and how we can use that metadata to speed postproduction and VFX. Once post is done, assets need to be management through through distribution and repurposing. What tools are available, how are they used and how do they fit into the metadata structures promoted by SMPTE and other standards bodies.  PRICE: $195 ($245 after Aug 31) Click here to register now.

9-5 September 22 Avoiding Postproduction Nightmares

Post expert and DV magazine contributor Philip Hodgetts details the most common (and costly) problems inadvertently created during production that will be “fixed in post.” From color correction to audio, and editing to the final QC pass on deliverables, he’ll not only reveal the tricks of the trade that he’d use to save your production, but also explain how you can avoid these costly issues in the first place. PRICE: $195 ($245 after Aug 31) | Click here to register now.

In the light of full disclosure, I certainly expect to be paid but I always deliver good value. There will be some overlap between the Basic Tech and Avoiding Postproduction Nightmares sessions as they both seek to make the technology understandable, but with a different focus to each day’s class.

Prius Project bicycle can change gears with just a thought

This is pointed to more as an indicator of the distant future – one where direct brain control takes over from keyboard, touch pad or voice control. Still, it’s interesting what’s being done now as an indicator of what will be the future. Will it be control of software by thought, or will it go beyond that to imagining the edit or look and having the software work off our brain waves to results?

For the Prius Project bicycle, a team from Deep Local is working on a helmet with built-in neuron transmitters that allow the rider’s brain patterns to trigger the electronic shifters to move gears up or down. The system is said to take just 10 minutes to learn, after which the rider will be able to shift gears by just thinking about doing so.

In this context I’ll once again point to Tan Le: A headset that reads your brainwaves – Tan Le (2010) – a TED video – to consider in the context of this Prius Project. Direct brain control of software is much closer than I ever thought.

Google Acquires Facial Recognition Software Company PittPatt

Facial Recognition – actually identifying the person – is more advanced than facial detection – simply determining how many faces are in a shot – and is going to become an important source of postproduction metadata.

Final Cut Pro X attempts to analyze shots (optionally) for facial detection, as does Premiere Pro CS5 and later. Final Cut Pro X also attempts to derive from the size of the face, the type of shot: Wide, M, MC, etc. Right now the technology is a little “hit and miss” or basically unreliable. For now.  These technologies will get better. Apple purchase a Swedish company last September to boost it’s efforts in Facial Recognition.

Meanwhile Google are also building up their portfolio of recognition technologies with the purchase of PittPatt.

When we get reliable Facial Detection, we’ll be able to find shots of individuals across our source media wherever they appear in a shot, and we’ll only have to apply a name once. When we get reliable facial detection, which is not yet, today.

Hollywood is about to repeat the catastrophic mistakes of the music industry.

Slate magazine’s Bill Wyman argues that the movie studios are repeating the mistakes of the record labels of the last decade, by refusing to adapt business models, suing customers and trying to make their business model problem a legal one.

Right now, in fact, the movie and TV business looks a lot like the music one did in the early 2000s. And as we’ve seen, that decade didn’t work out too well for the labels. So it’s worth looking at the situation and wondering how things are going to fare in the TV and movie world in the decade ahead. It can all be summed up in one single sentence. I’ll get to that in a minute.

He goes on to demonstrate how the legal offerings are inconvenient (at best) for the legal customers making unauthorized distribution not only cheaper but a significantly better product:

The trouble facing the movie industry right now is the same one the music industry had to confront 10 years ago. This is the summing-up sentence I referred to above:

The easiest and most convenient way to see the movies or TV shows you want is to get them illegally.


Again, to belabor the obvious: The illegal version isn’t just free. It’s better.

He goes on to suggest the solutions, but read the whole article (please), before commenting

Who Do You Trust On Whether Or Not PROTECT IP Will Break The Internet? The Guys Who Built It… Or The MPAA?

PROTECT IP is a badly worded, very vague Bill being bought and paid for by the MPAA and RIAA that many think will break the INternet and criminalize normal behavior like embedding a video. The problem with vague Bills is that they tend to be interpreted to suit the enforcer of the day.

Trouble is, those that are supposed to balance all the needs of society before passing laws seem to not even have any idea what PROTET IP is actually about!

When these serious questions are raised, the MPAA puts its fingers in its ears and goes “nah, nah, nah, won’t happen, nah, nah” and never addresses the actual issues. Sadly, the Representatives have been bought and paid for and unless all voting Americans get to their Representative, it could pass and really, really screw up the Internet, and your life.

However, the guys who wrote the white paper have been speaking up lately trying to get our elected officials to recognize the consequences of passing PROTECT IP as is. But the really funny part is watching the technically clueless MPAA try to brush off these concerns. It’s almost laughable. Basically, the MPAA stamps its collective foot, and insists that it couldn’t possibly break the internet, and then suggests that “America’s technology community” can fix any problems:

As for the clueless Repreentatives: half of them have no idea what the Legislation is even about, thinking it has something to do with “immigration” or “the Internet Kill Switch” (it is neither).

Last week, we wrote about how Rep. Anna Eshoo (whose district covers much of Silicon Valley) is apparently so incredibly out of touch on what PROTECT IP is about (despite it having a huge impact on the economy of her district) that she thought it was really about immigration. We were willing to chalk it up to a busy staffer sending out the wrong form letter, but there’s growing evidence that our elected officials simply don’t know what PROTECT IP is about at all. 

David Segal from Demand Progress was kind enough to pass on that they’ve been watching the responses from elected officials to letters sent via their form about PROTECT IP and nearly 50% of them seem to be about things totally unrelated to PROTECT IP. Are Congressional staffers really that busy or are our elected officials just clueless? 

As an example, they sent over this letter, sent in response to someone who wrote to Senator Kristen Gillibrand protesting PROTECT IP, which, you’ll note, has nothing to do with PROTECT IP, but is instead about the “internet kill switch.”

Smile, You’re On Everyone’s Camera

The article is about ubiquitous facial recognition spurred by a report of a new app for police that allows facial recognition at five feet away. To be clear, many consumer still cameras, and some software, does facial detection: that is there is one or more faces in the picture. Some even recognize when people are smiling, but they do not identify the individual. Apple’s iPhoto and others try and do facial recognition but my experience to date is that it’s been very hit or miss. Apple purchased a Swedish company last year to improve it’s facial recognition technology.

Clearly others already have better technology and it has been pitched for law enforcement work for a long time. However, it’s the postproduction implications that interest me. If we can have a software tool identify all the people in our footage, at lest to the stage of identifying each instance of the individual. Reading through the article it is likely the name could be discovered or derived from Facebook or other social network or public record. At worst the person would need to be manually named only once.

For a metadata-based application each clip could be tagged with the person’s ID for as long as they’re in the shot.

We would end up with ‘bins” for each individual.

Identifying people in shots is Derived Metadata and then can be used as input into other smart algorithms to take more of the boring out of post.

There are a lot of other interesting applications and implications of this increasingly popular (and capable) technology.

Over the last couple of weeks, some of the discussion around Final Cut Pro X is focused on who Apple wrote it for – a discussion I’ve contributed to in more than one place. And I see today in Oliver Peter’s excellent review of Final Cut Pro X he tackles the same question and punts on “full-time” editor as the distinguishing factor. (And yes, yet another Final Cut Pro X post, but one where the main point isn’t really about that piece of software specifically, but relevant to the discussion.)

It strikes me that we might really be asking the wrong question, or questions. It’s not so much what type of work you do, or what proportion of your time is spent doing it, or even the attitude one takes to one’s work – “professionalism”. In the context of talking about the relative suitability of tools, surely the question is on workflows and toolset?


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