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

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One of the powerful way Artificial Intelligence ‘learns’ is by using neural networks. Neural Networks are trained with a large number of examples where the result is known. The Neural Network adjusts until it gives the same result as the human ‘teacher’.

However, there’s a trap. If that source material contains biases – such as modeling Police ‘stop and frisk’ – then whatever biases are in the learning material will be contained in the subsequent AI modeling. This is the subject of an article in Nature: There is a blind spot in AI research  and also the praise of Cathy O’Neil’s book Weapons of Math Destruction that not only brings up that issue, but the problem of “proxies”.

Proxies, in this context, are data sources that are used in AI programs that are not the actual data, but rather something that approximates the data: like using zip code as a proxy for income or ethnicity.

Based on O’Neil’s book, I’d say the authors of the Nature article are too late. There are already institutionalized biases in very commonly used algorithms in finance, housing, policing and criminal policy.

In this episode we discuss the future of Avid and how AI will affect post production. Only one subject has a positive looking future!

Episode 74: Avid and AI


Over recent years, I’ve read a lot on Apple* but only during the flight back did I start reading anything on Google: In the Plex by Steven Levy. While I’m not yet finished it struck me the fundamental difference between Google and Apple is “who’s in control”.

With Google, engineers rule. Data rules. Everyone else is in the service of the engineers.

At Apple, designers rule. (Design in the full sense of how something operates and feels, not just how it looks).

And right there is the difference between the two companies. All else leads from that fundamental focus.

*Becoming Steve Jobs Brent Schlender & Rick Tetzeli

Design Crazy   Max Chafkin

Insanely Simple   Ken Segall

Inside Apple  Adam Lashinsky

Steve Jobs  Walter Isaacson


Maybe I’m pushing this subject a bit hard, but I really believe we are on the cusp of a wide range of human activities being taken over by smart algorithms, also known as Machine Learning. As well as the examples I’ve already mentioned, I found an article on how an “AI” saved a woman’s life, and how it’s being used to create legal documents for homeless (or about to be homeless) in the UK.


I recently commented on the importance of metadata for rights management during distribution. While cleaning my email inbox I revisited a story from late last year, on how over-the-top content providers (generally niche) can use metadata from social media and other sources to help grow their audiences.




Apple buys Turi for…? And what is Machine Learning?

Apple has reportedly purchased machine learning company Turi. The expectation is that they will use it to improve other Apple products, most likely Siri. But what is machine learning and how does it fit with the algorithms I’ve been talking about lately.




The end of the Studio System?

Stephen Galloway writes at The Hollywood Reporter:

The majors are still the first port of call for any significant project; they still have an unparalleled ability to get that project developed, cast, shot, marketed and into theaters; and despite extraordinary technological and economic change, they haven’t allowed any upstarts to challenge their hegemony.

Until now.

He then goes on to document the changes that Amazon and Netflix have wrought on the “old bastions of Hollywood Power.”

All of which is good news: more outlets lead to more production.



Automating Final Cut Pro X

Since starting work on the Lunch with Philip and Greg I’ve battled a little with the multicam. Largely because I’m using it in an atypical way, although I suspect setups like mine will become more common in the future.

My solution was Automator actions, triggered by Function keys and activating an AppleScript, so that the mode is first switched to Video Only (for angles 1 or 2) or Audio only (3, 4 and 5) before switching to the angle.  It reduces a lot of repetitive strain injury potential!

The tutorial is over at, but here’s a little background.


While Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality often get conflated, they are very different beasts.


While Apple’s Eddy Cue says they’re not interested in original programming, that’s not 100% true. Cue said that Apple was only interested in the content space when the projects are tied to its existing products.

That makes sense as a lot of the original programming has been music oriented, like Apple Music Festival and Car Pool Karaoke being used to promote Apple Music.

But it does not explain Planet of the Apps! I think Apple will be interested in original programming as soon as its seen to be strategically valuable. It’s a topic I’ve written on before in an article from December 2009.

What if Apple or Google simply bypassed Networks and Studios? which does some rough financial calculations which show that Apple could fund as much TV Show and Movie production as they want!

I’m also not the only one who thinks there will be more Apple original programming in the future:

From Variety: Apple Eyes Move Into Original Programming

Fast Company (as part of a bigger piece) suggest Apple is covertly pursuing original television programming deals.

And in yesterday’s Q3 Earnings Report Apple CEO Tim Cook said that we have to think about the Apple TV (current generation with tvOS) in a different way.

Cook: The introduction of the Apple TV and tvOS last October and the subsequent OS releases, what’s coming out this fall… think of that as sort of building the foundation for what we believe can be a broader business over time. I don’t want to be more precise than that, but you shouldn’t look at what’s there today and think: “we’ve done what we want to do.” We’ve built a foundation that we can do something bigger off of.

Given that Apple are slowly repositioning themselves to rely more on services revenue, and Apple TV is a foundation… Let the speculation begin.

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