Category Archives: The Technology of Production

The Advantage of Web APIs

Web APIs (Application Programming Interface) allow us to send data to a remote service and get a result back. Machine learning tools and Cognitive Services like speech-to-text and image recognition are mostly online APIs. Trained machines can be integrated into apps, but in general these services operate through an API.

The big advantage is that they keep getting better, without the local developer getting involved.

Nearly two years ago I wrote of my experience with SpeedScriber*, which was the first of the machine learning based transcription apps on the market. At the time I was impressed that I could get the results of a 16 minute interview back in less than 16 minutes, including prep and upload time. Usually the overall time was around the run time of the file.

Upload time is the downside of of web based APIs and is significantly holding back image recognition on video. That is why high quality proxy files are created for audio to be transcribed, which reduces upload time.

My most recent example sourced from a 36 minute WAV, took around one minute to convert to archival quality m4a which reduced the file size from 419 MB to 71MB. The five times faster upload – now 2’15” – compared with more than 12 minutes to upload the original, more than compensates for the small prep time for the m4a.

The result was emailed back to me 2’30.” That’s 36 minutes of speech transcribed with about 98% accuracy, in 2.5 minutes. That’s more than 14x real time. The entire time from instigating the upload to finished transcript back was 5’45” for 36 minutes of interview.

These APIs keep getting faster and can run on much “heavier iron” than my local iMac which is no doubt part of the reason they are so fast, but that’s just another reason they’re good for developers. Plus, every time the speech-to-text algorithm gets improved, every app that calls on the API gets the improvement for free.

*I have’t used SpeedScriber recently but I would expect that it has similarly benefited from improvements on the service side of the API they work with.

Maybe 10 Years is Enough for Final Cut Pro X

On the night of the Supermeet 2011 Final Cut Pro X preview I was told that this was the “foundation for the next 10 years.” Well, as of last week, seven of the ten have elapsed. I do not, for one minute, think that Apple intended to convey a ten year limit to Final Cut Pro X’s ongoing development, but maybe it’s smart to plan obsolescence. To limit the time an app continues to be developed before its suitability for the task is re-evaluated.

Continue reading Maybe 10 Years is Enough for Final Cut Pro X

Looking Forward to 2018

As part of the regular year end activities The Digital Production BuZZ invited me, and a bunch of other people, to look forward to 2018 and predict what the major themes will be.

Here is a link to the full show –  
Here is a link to the Transcript-  
And here are the links (including the MP3 version) to your individual interview – 

Looking back on 2017 on the Digital Production BuZZ

I was honored to be invited – as one of many – to provide my thoughts on 2017: what technologies were important, what major changes happened.

Here is a link to the full show –  
Here is a link to the Transcript –  
Or if you want to go direct to my segment:
MP3: 

Multicamera Broadcasting: Then and Now

My first exposure to a multi-camera live broadcast event was in an earlier career when the local TV station set up for a broadcast in the theater I worked for. There were two trucks in the alley way. Cables running everywhere, and two days to set up. Running it all was a team of 12 people.

Yesterday, we did a three camera live broadcast and I carried the broadcast gear in my shoulder bag and was set up in an hour.

That’s a pretty serious change!

Continue reading Multicamera Broadcasting: Then and Now

Music Videos and Narrative Scripts by Artificial Intelligence?

A couple of recent articles have pointed to Artificial Intelligence writing, or contributing to, a screenplay. A narrative script. I find this fascinating, even though my own area of interest in applied AI is in non-scripted.

There is no doubt that computer algorithms – up to true AI – will be involved in productions future. Smart people will work out how to master it.

Continue reading Music Videos and Narrative Scripts by Artificial Intelligence?

Which technological innovation will take your job?

We’re all aware that technology changes the workplace. Jobs disappear; sometimes to be replaced by other jobs that didn’t exist before. During the industrial revolution we were replacing manual labor with machines. The coming revolution is for white collar “knowledge” jobs. How soon will yours be among them?

Continue reading Which technological innovation will take your job?