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



2016 in Review

2016 was a year of consolidation and growth for Greg and I: citizenship, green card, artificial intelligence and a house and yard dominated the year. 2017 looks like being another interesting and exciting year.

Philip and Greg 2017. Thanks to Kay Stammers and Tristan Parry.

Philip and Greg 2017. Thanks to Tristan Parry.

At the beginning of the year we moved into our first mortgage together! We closed on the house in January and moved in in February after our fabulous realtor Angela So guided us through the process. It’s amazing how different it feels to pay (roughly the same amount) on a mortgage instead of rent. It might surprise some, but having a yard to work in, and a house to work on, is very therapeutic. Shoveling and other yard work – it turns out – is also good for muscle development!

Some have been surprised that I’m a fairly capable handyman both in the yard and house! It’s been a few years in between, but in my younger days I was a very capable handyman and I guess the skills never go away.

As well as moving into our canyon home, I became a US citizen in March, and Greg’s permanent residency was approved in mid December. After nearly 16 years in the US, we both now have permanent status, which feels really good. No more temporary renewals. No more paying (effectively) $50 a week to keep Greg in the USA! It’s nice to have that sense of permanence.

It was the beginning of 2016 that we realized how quickly the field of artificial intelligence and smart APIs had exploded in the couple of years since I last reviewed what was available. We immediately applied some of our new found knowledge to add Magic Keywords to Lumberjack’s transcript mode: from a transcript we extract keyword ranges automatically.

I expect 2017 will be the year these smart functions get applied further and speech-to-text becomes a viable technology, enabling a whole range of metadata extraction tools to come into play. We have defined plans for Lumberjack that will be revealed across the year.

Despite the late start, I’ve been diligent on learning and applying the implications and it’s gratifying to be able to share my knowledge on the subject with UK magazine Broadcast Now; the Digital Production BuZZ and an upcoming panel at the HPA retreat in February.

The value of metadata in production has been more widely recognized this year, and Greg and I gave our first joint presentation post IBC in Geneva this year. We have a jointly written article coming Jan 2 at

Lunch with Philip and Greg powered forward this year and there are now about 20 lunches published. The semiSerious Foodies evolved into more of a food blog this year, with only our previously produced videos added, but we intend to add more video this year.

In late 2016 I was able to add another six interviews to my family history project, with 18 or 76 now completed. There’s a way to go yet!

Both the lunch and family history projects have a wonderful side benefit: sitting down with someone and spending quality time is a great way to learn more about the person. Whether it’s a relative or industry colleague, it’s easy to get away with a fairly superficial interactions, but when you sit down to a lunch, or interview, we get to really know the person. I cannot recommend recording your family history enough. You will be surprised what you find out!

My Lancelot performance in August demonstrated that whatever inhibitions I may still have, I should probably keep! It’s fun to entertain! As well as the Summer Showcase, I slipped in a Small Kit (to the tune of Cabaret) into this years FCP X Creative Summit presentation, and we published Lumberjack Can (Candy Man) earlier in the year just for the heck of it. For Christmas we went Ginchy! Singing brings all sorts of side benefits, such as a lower and slower speaking voice, which were goals I’d never been able to achieve before starting to sing. If you’re in the LA area and looking for a singing teacher, I can recommend April Lindsay without reservation.

It’s also been a good year for Final Cut Pro X with widespread recognition of its benefits. We’ve particularly enjoyed being part of the Final Cut Pro X Tour events in Amsterdam and Barcelona. At the end of the year we released our first new app in two years: FindrCat.

Overall, a very good year for us and an interesting pivot year: home, immigration stability, and an exciting new direction with artificial intelligence.

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