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

Apr/13

26

HPA Retreat Vindicates Lumberjack approach

At the recent Hollywood Post Alliance Retreat, the panel ‘Professional Forecast: Cloudy but Clearing’ strongly supported the idea of capturing metadata (log notes) at the time of acquisition. This is exactly our goal with Lumberjack.

The panel included moderator Seth Hallen of Testronic Labs and panelists Al Kovalick, Media Systems Consulting; Robert Jenkins, COO, CloudSigma; Mark Lemmons, COO, T3Media; Sean Tajkowski, Tajkowski Group; and Steve Anastasi, Warner Bros. Technical Operations, and the subject was how “the cloud” would affect the production industry (implied “in ‘Hollywood’”). I’m quoting from Debra Kaufmann’s excellent summary of the retreat at CreativeCOW.net.

Tajkowski noted the merging, and inter-dependence, of the data and the motion picture industries. But all that data has created a looming crisis. “Although digital acquisition saves a lot of money on the front end (i.e., acquisition),” said Anastasi, “It is about to cost a lot more on the backend, with regard to storage and archiving. The studios are about to get a bill and will be shocked.

”Capturing metadata at the time of acquisition and following it all the way to the archive is a critical challenge to the industry, he continued. “Whoever comes up with that standard to keep those assets alive and searchable for many years to come will make a lot of money,” he said. “Without metadata, we can dump all kinds of files into the cloud, but if we can’t find them, what is it worth?”

Capturing metadata at the source means you do not have to capture it later (at considerable extra time and expense). Capturing metadata at the source means it is available for every step down the production chain: from location, to editorial, to distribution and to archiving and asset management. This is why we believe so strongly in the Lumberjack approach.

If anyone is interested, we started a private beta of Lumberjack this week through to the end of May (when we expect to release it to the public).  If you have a current reality or documentary project you can test with, and Final Cut Pro X, and want to beta test, contact me.

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12 comments

  • Ben Balser · April 26, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    So exciting! Can’t wait to see it! As a former Final Cut Server guy (50% of my income was FCSvr system design, integration, training, maintenance, thank you Apple [evil eye]), I know full well how metadata can not only aid in searching for stuff, but allow for all sorts of automation of workflow, archiving, recovery, etc. It is a really amazing time to see the rest of the industry finally catching up to what ArtBox/FCSvr was doing for years. I am not doing a reality show, nor a documentary at the present time, but man, I’d love to just play with it for awhile. LOL! What I’ve seen looks fantastic. When it is released, you’ll have to let me review it, and do a demo for my user group. Fun fun!

  • Snow R. Shai · April 27, 2013 at 12:45 am

    Hi Philip,
    Looking forward to your new software. It seems to me Lumberjack is set to save long hours of work, as did the new organization tools of FCPX. Logging footage data is time consuming and I am curious to see how Lumberjack works on that.
    We started shooting a new indie doc feature this year and will be happy to test the new workflow on it.
    Thank you.

    • Author comment by Philip · April 27, 2013 at 9:05 am

      Thanks for the interest but Lumberjack is NOT suitable to anything scripted. If you have scripts, Movie Slate (or other similar tool) are a much more appropriate tool. Lumberjack solves the problem for people who do not have Scene/Shot/Take to fall back on. And where there is no ability to slate at all.

      • Snow R. Shai · April 27, 2013 at 12:02 pm

        Hi Philip,
        Our project is a documentary, not a narrative feature, so it fits the bill.

        • Author comment by Philip · April 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm

          Oh absolutely then. I interpreted “narrative” as “scripted”. Sorry. Email me a password choice.

  • Eric · April 29, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Hey Philip,

    Doesn’t this mean the prosumer market will have to move away from acquiring footage with a .mov wrapper and move to wrapping in mxf? As you know, a majority of the external recorders such as the KiPro mini record to ProRes .mov files; with such limited metadata being saved, however, .mov will have to become the minority at some point, right?

    • Author comment by Philip · April 29, 2013 at 11:25 am

      .MOV has a very flexible metadata structure supported in AVFoundation, so I don’t see any need to move away from it. OTOH, MXF is a more widely supported origination format, and now also an option for mastering. In our case (Lumberjack) we’re not writing anything to the files – there’s no connection between camera and logging interface. Lumberjack logs to a remote server (aka “the cloud”) and synchronizes media by time of day, merging the two in post.

      • Eric · April 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm

        Ah okay. Thanks for setting me straight. I’m not familiar with the differences of .mov written in AV Foundation vs Quicktime, if that’s even how it’s phrased. Thanks!

        • Author comment by Philip · April 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm

          The reference to AVFoundation was more to reassure that MOV is not going away any time yet. In a MOV there can be many types of metadata: XMP as Greg said, classic QT metadata, “modern” QT metadata (which is also supported in QTkit now, the 64 bit version of QT), and no doubt more. Essentially you can put in whatever metadata you want. We added com.intelligentassistance metadata for our Matchback Magic product.

    • Greg · April 29, 2013 at 11:49 am

      .mov files also support embedded XMP metadata using Adobe’s SDK.

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