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

We’ve recently added new features to SendtoX – named Favorite ranges from Clips in a Sequence – and Lumberjack System where we developed a workflow for backLogger to support RED R3D media.

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Because I am researching my journey through my earlier writings on metadata and interactive story telling I came across my ‘review’ of NAB 1998 thanks to the Wayback Machine. This was the year everyone was coming to terms with ATSC – digital broadcast – and how it was to be implemented. From my review it seems my attention was on interactivity and QuickTime 3, neither of which is surprising.

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A few years ago, we considered supporting transcripts in Lumberjack System. At the time our goal was to quickly prepare for an edit, and transcriptions took days and cost serious money.

Two years ago we supported the alignment of time-stamped transcripts to Final Cut Pro X Clips and a year ago, introduced “magic” keywords, derived by a cognitive service. Since Lumberjack doesn’t (yet, I might emphasize) support a speech to text service internally, what are the options and what do they tell us about the state of play for transcription in April 2017?

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With the announcement of Resolve 14 today at NAB 2017, it seems that Blackmagic Design have their sites clearly on Avid’s Media Composer: intentionally or not.

I’ve long wondered what apps would be most threatened by Blackmagic’s rapid development of Resolve.

Adobe’s suite of tools and dynamic link makes a powerful argument for that platform. Although Resolve has improved integration with Fusion, it’s not yet at the level of Dynamic Link. Not that Dynamic Link is the most robust of Adobe tech. Despite being free, it’s hard to see Resolve directly threatening Premiere Pro, After Effects et. al.

Apple’s Final Cut Pro X/Motion combination features a new look at the editing interface – probably the reason it’s the most used professional NLE now –  and those who use it, love the Magnetic Timeline. The most common response to today’s Resolve announcements was “but it’s track based.”  Once you’re a fan of the Magnetic Timeline it’s hard to go back.

There are other players like Media 100, Edius and Vegas that will definitely be threatened by Resolve Free or the full version for just $299, but the one company that – mid term – is most threatened is Avid.

Resolve has already replaced Avid’s excellent (but left to die) Symphony grading and with major audio improvements – integrating their Fairlight purchase – and shared project upgrades directly threaten core focuses of Media Composer and ProTools.

Fortunate or not, while these are key parts of Avid’s current software lineup, there are a small percentage of Avid’s overall business.

Very interesting to see how the new features and pricing affect adoption, and who will be most threatened. If you’re looking for a modern, track-based NLE with good audio, great color grading, and excellent DIT tools and collaborative workflows gaining maturity, Resolve deserves a version 14 look.

Alex Gollner (aka Alex4D) has seen the same issues: Blackmagic Design has sights set on Avid with DaVinci Resolve 14

Apr/17

17

Machine Learning in practical terms

While researching the anecdotal history of some local property, I did what I’ve done previously: ask Siri. In this case, asking about actors dates of birth and death. In the past, these type of questions would have pulled up the relevant IMDB or Wikipedia page with Siri saying “I’ve found some links for you on the web” or similar.

It took several rounds before I realized that, while the pages were still being pulled up as before, Siri was parsing out the answer to the question I’d asked, and gave that to me directly. I never had to glance down or open my phone.

Similarly, in Mail, there is now a predictive mailbox making suggestions (usually accurate) into which email box I might want to move the selected email.

In Calendar, I find addresses being suggested for my events, based on whether I’ve been there or not, address book entries, or other information.

It’s clear to me that these are all improvements related directly the Apple’s increased use of Machine Learning across it’s software products.

Mar/17

2

A few applications of Machine Learning

As I’m trying to figure out how and where we might use Machine Learning (ML) in our software businesses, I thought I’d review all the uses I can find beyond the more general cognitive services (like speech to text, image recognition, keyword extraction, etc) that I’ve already talked about and that – by themselves – are incredibly valuable and offer a near-immediate payoff.

I was a little shocked at the diversity of ways ML is being used. According to TechCrunch there has already been over $10 billion in Venture Capital to 1500 AI/ML startups in 70 countries, which is predicted to rise to more than four times that in 2017!

Since I was compiling this list, I thought I’d share it with you, but it’s just a sampling. Even so there are more than 40 applications described here, in addition to the Cognitive Services as stand alone ML tools.

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For those in the LA area who want to understand what all the Lumberjack System hype is about, this is your chance to get an in depth look at Lumberjack System, and get your questions asked. Everyone leaves with a one month free trial.

Come join us at LumaForge in Hollywood Thursday March 2nd.

Feb/17

22

In Just 10 Years

While projecting the changes that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) might bring about in the future, it was interesting to look back and see just what didn’t exist 10 years ago. Keep in mind that the Internet itself is only just over 30 years old.

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It’s relatively easy to get an overview of the current state of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It’s probably easier to understand the benefits of machine learning, particularlyMachine Learning (ML) that’s already applied to common tasks that we can benefit from now because we’re fitting those new technologies within existing frameworks.

What is much harder to determine, is how machine learning will be directly applied to post production processes, and what role AI will take in our collective production future.

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In September 2010 Apple purchased Swedish facial recognition company Polar Rose, and today we learn they’ve purchased Israeli startup RealFace: “a cybersecurity and machine learning firm specializing in facial recognition technology”.

What is different between the two purchases is that this latest is based on machine learning.

…the startup had developed a unique facial recognition technology that integrates artificial intelligence and “brings back human perception to digital processes”. RealFace’s software is said to use proprietary IP in the field of “frictionless face recognition” that allows for rapid learning from facial features.

Another step towards our software identifying and labelling people in our media.

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