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

Apr/15

18

My Take on NAB 2015

A very subjective take on NAB 2015 because I spent very little time looking at tech! Instead my focus was on the FCPWORKS demo room and particularly my Lumberjack System presentation on Wednesday. But, of course, NAB is also about the socializing.

Our NAB started on Sunday with the drive up from LA, set up some banners etc at the FCPWORKs demo room, then head for a pre-briefing about Final Cut Pro X 10.2, released Monday morning.

Sunday night usually involves two social events, and this year was no exception. Starting with the PostChat meetup near O’Sheas and finishing with the KISS Mini Golf event organized by Filmmakers of the Inland Empire. The social events are definitely the highlight of NAB: as I’ve said for many years, NAB is two days too long, and four nights too short.

We were planning a fairly ambitious demo on Wednesday: use day 1 and day 2’s footage – logged with Lumberjack – as the demo on day 3 of the FCPWORKS demo suite. After a fairly tense 20 minutes we found a workaround for the lack of time-of-day on the recording device being used. Although we wouldn’t know until Wednesday morning if it would work or not.

My only real press event was Blackmagic’s on Monday morning. I’m looking forward to exploring Resolve 12 further, as it’s pretty clear Blackmagic plan on making this a fully featured editor as well as world class grading tool. The new Micro Cinema Camera looks like an excellent replacement for a GoPro where cinematic quality is needed.

Monday night is the prime example of the shortage of night! Our companies co-sponsored (with five others) the FCP X Guru Gathering, although I was late to my own party thanks to an Adobe press event elsewhere. This is a great opportunity to talk directly with the product managers and people who work on the software at Adobe, and an event I appreciate being invited to. Adobe have a strong set of tools in the upcoming release and it was good to review the new features with the people responsible.

The Guru gathering went well, and was a great opportunity to share stories with those who use, and help create, Final Cut Pro X.  As that party wound down, it was upstairs to finish out the night with Adobe again. Both events were full of friends who I largely only see at NAB.

Tuesday morning was my “Oh, I’m in Vegas, must be time to screw with your health” morning, but when I finally found some decent food I was ready to fight the world in the afternoon. Monday I had the opportunity to briefly show Lumberjack as part of Scott Simmons “Getting metadata from set to Post” seminar in Post|Production World, and that lead to a follow up demo on Tuesday. I learned that Lumberjack supports Chinese characters – although the credit really goes to Apple’s developer frameworks where we get all the international support, simply by calling a standard text interface element.

Another one-on-one demo of Lumberjack rounded out a relatively relaxing day, before heading off to the Supermeet, which is another opportunity to visit with friends from around the world. This year I – atypically – sat in on some of the Supermeet presentations. Steve Martin and Mark Spencer represented Ripple, and Final Cut Pro X, well with their mix of feature demonstration, interview with Jan Kovak (editor of Focus) and a quick look at their own products.

But we were in the audience to support OWC and our friend Cirina Catania, who I thought was perfect pitch with her mix of cheerleading, and sharing of her own experiences as an independent producer.

Wednesday was my “big day” and it started with a little underlying stress as we wouldn’t know until now whether we would have a demo later that day. Fortunately the technology gods smiled and it all worked perfectly, and the Lumberjack System demo went very well. It’s been recorded and will be published shortly.

I was very pleased with the way the demo went, and very thankful to FCPWORKS demo room host Chris Fenwick for keeping the presentation interesting and moving along. The response was phenomenal, and a highlight of my NAB.

Although I was also very pleased two presentations later, when Marc Bach shared how he’d been using Intelligent Assistance’s Producers Best Friend and Sync-N-Link X on some of Direct TV’s original programming. Even more exciting for Greg and I, is how perfectly Lumberjack System enhanced their workflows and saved them two days of a very compressed schedule. Marc’s presentation was also recorded and will be published.

Developers regularly hear from people who are having some sort of issue with software, so it’s always a treat when we hear how the software works like we planned – to save people time with their organization so they have more time for the really important, creative part of the job.

The rest of NAB was spent with various combinations of small groups, ending with the – becoming tradition – Karoake party. I did much better than a year ago, and was able to just enjoy being part of the group.

It’s nice to catch up with friends. It’s particularly nice to hear, repeatedly how our apps help people with their workflow. But it’s also nice to be home and back in the normal environment.

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3 comments

  • Leo Hans · April 18, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Philip, very interesting review.
    Your presentation was very good indeed. I’m back in Buenos Aires and looking forward to show some kind of lumberjack demo here. As I said, I knew it was good software, but never imagined how good. It’s way more powerful and simple to use than I thought.
    It was my first NAB and no one of you, Greg, Sam, Mike, Chris, Noah and every single other person at the Guru’s and at the FCPWORKS suite imagine how grateful I am about being lucky enough to meet you. It was a very intense experience.
    All the best
    Leo

  • Todd Villegas · April 19, 2015 at 1:23 am

    Philip,

    Having been there in the”trenches” of NAB and spent 90% of my NAB time in the FCPXWORKS sweet, I can only tell you how appreciative as an editor and Creative in this community I am for the tools (Producer’s best Friend & Lumberjack specifically), as well as the general shot of energy you bring to the final cut conversation.

    I too am very grateful for your time and for the hard work you’ve taken in your product development. As I work to develop a small media startup myself to find positions for post graduate film students, I look forward to show my new clients Lumberjack and the benefits – hopefully fulfilling ever tighter deadlines and a better more “creative” product. My hope is to get more producers behind their iPad hitting those keywords and to get more editors sitting in their edit bays being simply creative! I can have that hope fulfilled with the products you’ve created.

    Thank you sincerely,
    Todd

  • Eric Harnden · April 21, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Great viewpoint. Much appreciated. Love your line: “The social events are definitely the highlight of NAB: as I’ve said for many years, NAB is two days too long, and four nights too short.” Thanks for the nod too.

    I can’t wait to see all the FCP X stuff at LACPUG this Wednesday.

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