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

Archive for June 2019



Has editing digitally reduced our ability to visualize?

When I think back to the days of editing tape to tape you had to both visualize how the series of shots were going to edit, but you also had to keep in mind and plan the current, previous and next edits at once. It was hard to go back and “trim” an edit! It usually entailed remaking every edit from that point!

With digital NLEs we make the changes instantly. We can go back five clips and trim an edit to make it flow better, without needing to reconstruct subsequent edits.

That flexibility has made it so much easier to edit visual stories. I certainly don’t miss those days, but has it reduced my ability to visualize the whole sequence, or doesn’t it matter?

Instantly preview and edit without that creativity killer: preroll alone is a huge step forward!



If Production were Food Service

I’ve long struggled with a good way of expressing the diverse range of work that’s done under the banner of “professional production.” Then inspiration hit me at last month’s LACPUG meeting when I discovered that Blackmagic Design Product Specialist Shawn Carlson used to be a chef in fine dining restaurants: What if we compared the diversity of professional production to the diversity of professional food service.

There’s a very clear distinction between food prepared at home (hobby/amateur) and food prepared outside the home and purchased. There is no “prosumer” in food service, as indeed there shouldn’t be in production.

Professional food service encompasses a very, very wide range of experiences. From Michelin Starred and Fine Dining restaurants, through formal dining, casual dining, quick service, take out, all the way down to food trucks and hamburger huts. Wherever you work, whichever market segment the food service, there’s no doubt that everyone is in professional food service. They are professionals.

I have no problem equating the Studio Film (and high end TV) to the Michelin and Fine Dining restaurants. High cost, high value and a unique experience unlike other dining opportunities.

Fortunately for my budget they’re not the only type of professional food service, and “Hollywood” isn’t the only type of professional production. There’s a lot of different types of professional production as there are food service. Weddings, Events, Journalism, Corporate, Education, Social Media, Product marketing, Product Help, video catalogs, etc.

There’s not one type of “professional” in either industry.



Lumberjack Builder Supports Premiere Pro?

Last Friday we released Builder 2.0, but we only sent out the press release today. Builder 2.0 works with FCP X XML as it always has, plus Premiere Pro XML from now on. Those who have followed Lumberjack, or my writing about it, from the start, this will seem like a major departure for a tool “built for FCP X.”

Lumberjack System has been exclusively focused on Final Cut Pro X. It’s a very natural fit as both use Keyword Ranges/Keyword Collections at their core, and that’s a hard concept to translate to other data structures. At the first development of Lumberjack System I said it “would be available for FCP X at first, then Premiere Pro and eventually Media Composer.” Obviously marketing never spoke to product development.

It became obvious we couldn’t easily replicate the Keyword Range/Keyword Collection experience outside of FCP X, so we decided to focus where we could do an excellent integration, leaving aside other opportunities where the integration might not be as complete.

There’s certainly been no disrespect to Adobe and Premiere Pro CC: via Intelligent Assistance Software we make a suite of apps for Premiere Pro, including Change List CC that is essential for feature film production.

As Builder developed we got a lot of interest in a version that worked with Premiere Pro. Philosophically there was no reason to not do it, because Builder takes XML from its host NLE and gives back an edited result to that host. Nothing in that workflow was incompatible with Premiere Pro.

When we researched we initially came to the conclusion that we couldn’t support Multicam Sequences from Premiere Pro, and I considered that a deal breaker in 2019. However, a casual conversation with Adobe’s Karl Soule pointed us in the right direction, so Builder 2.0 supports Multicam Sequences in and back to Premiere Pro as active multicam clips.

With some further help from Adobe Developer support we’ve been able to make Builder fully feature compatible between outputs: Temp Voice Over, Placeholders, and Closed Captions are all fully supported in both outputs.

The incredibly clever Dr Gregory Clarke worked out how to make one app work with both XML versions automatically, with no user intervention required. Start from Premiere Pro and Builder knows to send the output back to Premiere Pro. Start from Final Cut Pro X and Builder knows to send the output back to Final Cut Pro X.

Builder transparently works with both types of documents – even different types open at the same time – but cannot translate between input and output.

June 2019
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