The present and future of post production business and technology

About Philip

Philip cropped 4-16Philip Hodgetts is hard to pin down. He has an unusual blend of technical, creative and business skills that he applies to the worlds of digital production, post production and distribution.  A technologist, editor, industry pundit, podcasting veteran and specialist in new distribution, Philip Hodgetts has 30 years experience in production and post; since 1994 all in the digital realm. He is a recognized authority on the changing nature of the digital landscape and has an enviable record of accurately predicting the implication of changing technology over the last decade

A serial entrepreneur Philip started his first business while still a high school sophomore: a theater lighting rental, setup and design company. In part that was to support a Church-oriented stage musical performing group, and partly as theater lighting was of particular interest. When he went to Japan for a year as an Exchange Student the business was managed by friends from that same church group, but upon return started lighting in the main theater in the city, ultimately taking on the inaugural Head Technician position for five years.

Having achieved his goals in that position both at a technical and aesthetic level, having designed the lighting for dozens of stage plays and musicals, he started his own video production business in 1979. Philip’s clients were impressed with his creativity and innovation, creating many “odd” but effective videos over the next 21 years.

Over that time, he realized that docu-drama and training/educational video was the area he enjoyed best, so that is where he applied his skills in writing, directing, editing and (ultimately) motion graphic design. He avoided being the cameraman because “he liked editing beautiful pictures”. Work varied from training for the national coal industry, to independently funded and sold training in metal trades training, to motion graphic design for national (budget) TV commercials.

In parallel he was managing two of his own companies full time; shared management of a third company and managing a company for his parents. He was elected to the Board of the University Co-op Bookshop – a then $67 million a year campus bookselling business – which, along with the other directorships, had him invited to join the Australian Institute of Company Directors as a Fellow, the highest level of membership then available and reserved for those with significant business expertise.

He was a very early adopter of digital video editing, adding a Media 100 to his facility in late 1994, the first to go digital in Australia’s 6th largest market. The ability to manipulate images digitally, with broadcast quality pictures led to his company – now renamed to reflect the new digital focus as Charisma Digital – ended up being the defacto effects house for others in the local production market.

The Media 100 purchase led to the purchase of a modem in early 1995 in order to join the Media 100 User group and get to AOL’s After Effects group! This purchase ultimately led to his first book: the highly innovative Media 100 Editor’s Companion: a two volume knowledge base focused on the “Do It Now!” methodology Philip developed with partners Dr Greg Clarke, and John Collett (BSc), an educational psychologist.

Early exposure to what became Final Cut Pro at NAB 1998 led to the development of the DV Companion for Final Cut Pro: an innovative electronic coach that not only explained how to create in Final Cut Pro, but adapted to the depth of knowledge and showed how to with follow along movies in a floating palette. That concept became the Intelligent Assistant series for Final Cut Pro (to version 4); After Effects, Cleaner, Media 100 and Boris RED, FX and Graffiti. (The Intelligent Assistant for Boris RED was bundled with RED 2 and 3.)

Upon arrival in the US in early 2001, he was invited to cohost the nearly year-old DV Guys streaming show, and took over management of the show in Jan 2002. That show concluded its run at NAB 2005. Two weeks late Philip started the more focused Digital Production BuZZ, which he grew to success and ultimately sold to Larry Jordan and Associates.

The Intelligent Assistant business had grown into the innovative Pro Apps Hub, but ultimately those products could not move forward and were discontinued in late 2007.

In 2007 Philip and his partner in Intelligent Assistance, Dr Greg Clarke previewed their first piece of Assisted Editing software at NAB, then known as The Assistant Editor but released later that year as First Cuts for FCP. This software fits under the banner of “Assisted Editing”, the next step beyond Non-Linear Editing toward computer assisted editing, where the computer takes over some basic editing tasks for producers and editors. Subsequently there have been many other software tools released designed to “take the boring out of post production” by applying innovative solutions to the process of post production, although not without controversy.

He is primarily now a writer, presenter and software developer, and metadata guru with a special focus on Content Metadata. This fascination with content metadata – and a solar boat adventure in 2012 – lead to the development of the innovative Lumberjack System for real time keywording and pre-editing  (for Content Metadata).

He is currently focused on bringing technologies developed for Artificial Intelligence to the organization and pre-editing part of the production process. Lumberjack System has begun the transition to automatic metadata with the introduction of Magic Keywords at NAB 2016: keywords derived by algorithm, from a transcript.

At NAB 2016 he was recognized as one of the 50 Top Creatives and Technologists, in the Technologist section by StudioDaily.

He continues to contribute to the Digital Production BuZZ, has an irregular, irreverent podcast with Terence Curren called The Terence and Philip Show, continues to be CEO and President of both Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System. He has this blog and the metadata resource Metadata.Guru.

Through his Big Brains for Rent consultancy he has worked on A Musical Journey with Richard Sherman for the 40th (and 45th) Anniversary releases of Mary Poppins on DVD; Post Supervised for the restoration of the Cinerama releases of Windjammer and This is Cinerama and for the non-Cinerama Paradise Texas. He has presented Keynotes for the New York DV Show, NAB Podcast summit and Academy of TV Arts and Sciences “NEXT TV Symposium” and professional development for the TV Academy. Other consultancies have been for BorisFX, James Madison University, Detroit Public Television, Bring it On 5, Legally Blonde 3 and many television series. He has consulted with most of the makers of the tools editors and post production folk use every day.

He can be contacted by email at or by phone on 818 335 3916.

Upcoming Presentations

What people are saying about Philip Hodgetts

Major projects and innovations

Books Philip has written and published


2 responses to “About Philip”

  1. Hi Philip!

    I heard from our Exec. Dir. (Dave Mungi) that you will be teaching at our next AVP conference in the LA area … cool! It will be great to see you again!

    Anyway … I have quick question, if you don’t mind:

    I’m doing a multi-DVD/CD production for a clinical Hypnotist friend. He wants to:

    1) Embed subliminal pictures & text into the video

    2) Embed subliminal phrases in the audio (under some original “hypnotic music” he had comissioned).

    I’ve Googled around and haven’t found any information on how to produce subliminal video or audio. Do you have any references you could point me to?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Last I heard, subliminal messages had be shown to not work. Leaving that aside, you can’t put anything into a video that’s less than a frame in duration, so just cut in one frame messages. I’d probably make them an overlay at maybe 50% transparency over the video, so they don’t stand out too much. Subliminal audio, afair, are voice that’s just a fraction lower than the mix, repeated constantly.

      But given the disappointing results from past testing, I don’t think anyone’s doing it any more.

      You now know as much as I do and I also couldn’t find anything googling.