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

CAT | General

Apr/15

7

NAB 2015

Another NAB is nearly upon us. This will be my 18th consecutive show, although last year I was in Las Vegas but never made it to the show floor! This year I can’t avoid it as I’m doing a panel on the Digital Production BuZZ show Monday morning, and attending some press conferences/meetings on the show floor.

Most of the time I’ll be in the FCPWORKS room. On Wednesday 12:30 I’ll be presenting the definitive Lumberjack System demo, based on logging the presentations in the room itself! I’ll be testing out an OWC Thunderbay Mini  to hold the media from the event. The whole week’s presentations will be interesting but if you want the definitive word on FCP X – check out the keynotes by Apple folk Monday and Tuesday.

Sunday evening you can find me at the #postchat meetup at  O’Sheas starting 8pm Sunday evening, then on to the KISS mini golf event sponsored by Filmmakers of the Inland Empire.

Monday afternoon I’ll be contributing to Scott Simmons’ Post Production World session on Moving Metadata from Production to Post. That evening will be mostly at the FCP X Guru meetup at the Hard Rock Cafe and Tuesday evening Greg and I will be at the Supermeet of course. The definitive party list is at Toolfarm.

Hope to see you all there. If you spot me, say hello.

For several reasons I’ve been thinking about longevity, health and “work”. One take-away from my recent family reunion is that I have a damned good genetic heritage, and with a little care I can reasonably expect to be healthy and productive for at least another 30 years.

When I look back 30 years it’s the beginning of 1985. That’s before digital video; before the Internet; before ATMs; before Amazon; and in Australia you had to get to the bank between 10 am and 3pm Monday to Friday! Most of what I do on a daily basis was simply not possible thirty years ago. The Macintosh was only announced a few months earlier.

The world has changed a lot, and will change even more in the next thirty years. My challenge is how to optimize myself for that period of my life.

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For anyone who hasn’t been hiding under a rock, you might have noticed that Focus released this week, and edited on Final Cut Pro X. For Greg and I it is the final chapter in a story that started with an email and subsequent phone call in December 2012. We worked closely with the editorial team to make our software tools meet their needs. What I didn’t realize until recently is that my little book Conquering the Metadata Foundations of Final Cut Pro X had a role in this story too.

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As it turns out, Gatekeeper wasn’t finished with us yet, as it turned out when Greg went to add another feature to Producer’s Best Friend.

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Writing the code for a new feature is often the easiest part of the life of a small software developer. Two recent examples tell the story very well. Both involve updates to our reporting tools: Sequence Clip Reporter and Producer’s Best Friend. Part 2 follows tomorrow.

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One of the joys of 2014 for me was to learn to sing – from very much a position of sucking at it. I still suck whenever I start learning a new song. What I realized is that we have to be prepared to suck at something before we can be good at it, or even learn it.

By “sucking” at something I mean, being very, very bad at it. I realize now I’ve been there many times.

There was a time when I had no idea what XML was; now if you search that term and my name you’ll find I have a contribution to be made.

There was a time when I sucked at metadata – like XML I had no idea why it was important.

The thing is, I’ve sucked at so many things and yet, putting through the sucky period, eventually we suck a little less, then barely at all, until we arrive at a point of knowing we don’t suck at that skill or knowledge any more.

Never be afraid to start off badly: it’s the only way to learn something new.

Nov/14

13

Is Twitch a broadcast competitor?

Variety just posted an article on how many people had watched online game play (of one game) in one week. 75,000 players and 6 million individual viewers who collectively watched 327 million minutes of gameplay. Watched. That’s about an hour per viewer on average.

Six million people watching one game’s game play. That’s a decent network-sized audience these days. That’s one game for one week. Admittedly a release week for the game.

Watching game play has become a huge audience, with very low production costs. While it’s not traditional production, the time spent watching gamers play video games, erodes the time available for other forms of entertainment, specifically films and television!

Once upon a time it was easy to differentiate between Film and TV production: film was shot on film, TV was shot electronically. SAG looked after the interests of Screen Actors (film) while AFTRA looked after the interests of Television actors. That the two actors unions have merged is indicative of the changes in production technology.

As is noted in an article at Digital Trends, there is almost no difference between the technologies used in both styles of production, so what are the differences? It comes down to two thing, which are really the same thing.

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One of my non-metadata interests is in food, so I read a lot of food related articles, including this one where Anthony Bourdain talks about the foodie revolution. What stood out was this comment after discussing the traditional way a talented young chef might make their way through the kitchen hierarchy over decades, vs the modern “democratized” approach where a talented young chef just ups  – maybe via a food truck – and gets their career started.

“A lot of old-school guys complain about this—you’re not paying your dues. That’s the downside. The upside is interesting people with something to say and a unique worldview can actually get their name out there and open a place with relative ease compared to the way it used to be.”

This reminds me of modern production: it’s been democratized to the point where, if you have an idea, you can make it happen.

Apple frequently talk about being at the “intersection of Technology and Liberal Arts” but we rarely experience that other than through their hardware and software. Thanks to the encouragement of our friend Cirina Catania, we (Cirina, my partner Greg and myself) experienced the Invisible Cities Opera in LA’s Union Station. That’s a really unusual place to stage an opera, and indeed this was a most unusual artistic experiment and experience, involving large amounts of production skills – staging, singing, etc – and some amazing technical chops from Sennheiser and Bexel (Burbank CA).

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