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

CAT | Video Technology

Terence Curren and I recorded our thoughts on NAB 2016.  Topics covered include general impressions of NAB 2016, and why Terry did not attend this year; Blackmagic Design Resolve; Avid’s business; market fragmentation; HDR and expanded color gamut; Studio Daily’s Top 50 influencers (including Philip); Zcam; Lytro cam; VR; innovation; Apple watch and NDA’d Final Cut Pro X preview.

Episode 71: NAB 2016

Jan/16

5

A new 4K TV for Christmas? Sorry, already obsolete!

CES finally brings High Dynamic Range TV to the consumer. Brighter (really brighter) white levels, cleaner blacks and wider color gamut are more obvious to most people, than high pixel count. 10 bit sampling will allow for smoother gradients and contribute to the wider color gamut.

Fortunately, the competing technology companies came to an agreement with UltraHD Premium.

Already at CES TCL and LG have announced new models with Dolby Vision incorporated. Dolby Vision is probably the widest adopted of the HDR standards. But it doesn’t really seem to matter as UltraHD Premium is about standards met, rather than how to meet the standard. This is a good approach as it allows the technology to evolve, as long as the same basic standards are met.

 

 

I’d started writing about the inevitability of vertical video, and how we should adapt to it, when what should came up in the Frame.io blog but Say yes to vertical video.

I had come to the realization that fighting against vertical video is not a winnable battle, simply because most people really don’t care. They shoot on a mobile device, and that’s where they view it. Most mobile phones and tablets default to vertical video. Every non-industry person I interact with shoots vertical video: from my singing teach to my niece!

UPDATE: On Twitter Kenneth X or @Knesaren pointed me to an article on How Norwegian Broadcasting made the first vertical video documentary. As always, start with a good story!

UPDATE 2: Clark Dunbar of Mammoth HD tells me that they’ve had large format (HD to 6K) vertical footage for well over a decade for signage, POS and museum installations! Their vertical stock footage gallery is at http://www.mammothhd.com/MHD_QG_VertPort.html.

UPDATE 3: Carl [email protected] on Twitter, had some thoughts on vertical video today:

Vertical video haters keep this in mind: For centuries artist have used the vertical format to represent human presence intimately.

Perhaps that explains why many people (not cinematographers) are naturally drawn to the vertical. It’s not laziness as some scoff.

Rather, think about a mother who films her child. Subconsciously she goes for the vertical to intimately capture her child filling the frame.

To the mother, that’s the most natural thing in the world. Try to overcome your prejudices as a creative and see things as others do.

UPDATE 4: There’s a vertical film festival in Katoomba, Australia. Makes sense, that’s a very mountainous region!

In the latest Terence and Philip Show, Terence and Philip talk about Lunch with Philip and Greg; what it is and the 4K, small production kit approach that allows the show to be produced over lunch in regular restaurants. The discussion moves to other production and why we got into the business in the first place before discussing the future of motion graphics in the era of templatorization. (Motion VFXStupid RaisinsFiverr).

Terence and Philip answer some listener questions, including “Where do we compromise, and where can we not compromise” and “When is too much media is enough”.

Peter Wiggins is a freelance editor who has been using Final Cut Pro for broadcast since 2003. He runs the successful FCP plugin website iDustrial Revolution and he is the force behind FCP.co.

Peter WigginsPeter joined us for lunch in San Jose during the recent FCP X Creative Summit. (more…)

Apr/15

18

My Take on NAB 2015

A very subjective take on NAB 2015 because I spent very little time looking at tech! Instead my focus was on the FCPWORKS demo room and particularly my Lumberjack System presentation on Wednesday. But, of course, NAB is also about the socializing.

(more…)

Nov/14

14

How Useful is Automated Multicam Editing?

Red Shark news reports that Disney Research have:

Researchers working for the Mouse have developed a groundbreaking program that delivers automated edits from multi-camera footage based on cinematic criteria.

When you read how they’ve achieved it, I think it’s impressive, and very, very clever.

The system works by approximating the 3D space of the cameras in relation to each other. The algorithm determines the “3D joint attention,” or the likely center of activity, through an on-the-fly analysis of the multiple camera views. Based on this information, the algorithm additionally takes into account a set of cinematic preferences, such as adherence to the 180 degree rule, avoidance of jump cuts, varying shot size and zoom, maintaining minimum and maximum shot lengths, and cutting on action. The result is a very passable, almost human edit.

Perhaps it’s the very nature of research, but I’m not sure of the practical application. Maybe that’s the point of pure research.

Assuming the technology delivers, it’s rare that we want to take a multicam shoot and do a single, switched playback version. “Live switching” after the fact, if you will. At least in my experience, the edit not only needs to switch multicam angles, but to remove dross, tighten the presentation, add in additional b-roll, etc, etc.

More often than not, my angle cuts are more directed by the edit I want, than a desire to just pick the best shot at the time.

That said, this type of research is indicative of what can be done (and therefore almost certainly will be done): combine a good multicam edit, with content metadata and perhaps you’d have a decent first pass, that could be built on, finished and polished by the skilled editor. The point being, as Larry Jordan points out is

How do you save time every step of the production process, so that you’ve got the time that you need to make your films to your satisfaction.

Ultimately the commercial versions of these type of technologies should be seen as tools editors can use to make more time for their real job: finessing, polishing and finishing the project; bringing it heart that makes the human connection in storytelling.

Over on IndieGoGo there’s a project for MOX – an open source mezzanine codec for (mostly) postproduction workflows and archiving. The obvious advantage over existing codecs like ProRes, DNxHD and Cineform is that MOX will be open source, so there is significantly reduce risk that the codec might go away in the future, or stop being supported.

Technically the project looks reasonable and feasible. There is a small, but significant, group of people who worry that support for the current codecs may go away in the future. There’s no real evidence for this, other than that Apple has deprecated old, inefficient and obsolete codecs by not bringing them forward to AVFoundation.

I have more concerns for the long term with an open source project. History shows that many projects start strong, but ultimately it comes down to a small group of people (or one in MOX’s case) doing all the work, and inevitably life’s circumstances intervene.

MOX is not a bad idea. I just doubt that it will gain and sustain the momentum it would need.

A new show in which we discuss 4K. http://www.theterenceandphilipshow.com/?p=546

Aug/14

18

Demystifying Apple’s ProRes Codec

In this free webinar I examine Apple’s ProRes codec inside and out. Content includes:

Apple’s ProRes family is becoming one of the most common formats in production and postproduction, but how much do you really know about this code? Which version is best for your needs?

  • Introducing the ProRes family
  • RCBA vs YUV – what does it mean?
  • Lossless vs Visually Lossless
  • Using ProRes: a codec by codec guide.

Check out the trailer and register free.

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