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

Nov/13

20

How to manage change and relearning?

As you probably know, I’m a regular contributor to Larry Jordan’s Digital Production BuZZ talking about a variety of topics from technical to esoteric. Larry, Michael Horton and I recently started a discussion – yet again – on whether or not Final Cut Pro X was “for the pros” but fortunately moved the topic toward managing change. We all felt that the discussion about FCP X was over, since it is being used all across the professional production spectrum, but pondered why it still generates controversy.

The discussion was one of the best we’ve had on the BuZZ, and I felt that each of the questions deserved a little more depth than I could go into with a two minute answer.

Larry led off by asking:

You’ve been quoted as saying that people want things to improve but they don’t want things to change. How do you see the difference?

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There as been some discussion – and a little panic – as the news has leaked out from developers that “QuickTime is deprecated”. What does that mean and what affect will it have on video professionals? When an OS API (Application Programming Interface) is deprecated, developers are warned to not write any new code using that API, because at some future (usually unspecified) time, the API will go away and the code won’t run.

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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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Many people “worry” that Apple will abandon their professional applications (Final Cut Pro X, Aperture and Logic Pro X) because they don’t make much money for the company. Ironically, the same argument can be made about Media Composer: it is not core to the company’s primary business . In reality it’s more likely that Avid would abandon (or sell) Media Composer than Apple is to get out of the professional creative tools market.

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Greg and I will head out for a long walk when we want to consider some big picture concept. Our most recent walk challenge: how do we fit the concept of Keyword Ranges in Final Cut Pro X, into the more traditional NLE model. As well as reminding me of the Biblical warning about new concepts into old models (at least metaphorically) there were interesting lessons along the way.

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The Forbes article, Cable TV Model Not Just Unpopular But Unsustainable starts with a putative outline of a cable business: essentially “keep hiking the rates, have terrible service”! Finishing with this “goal”:

 If all goes as described, we should be able to consistently deliver customer satisfaction levels that rank among the lowest of any industry. 

Now that’s not a business model I’d want to emulate!

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Oct/13

28

Software that recognizes mood!

Software that recognizes mood is apparently used in call centers – could be used to derive metadata for pre-post logging (and story derivation).  Imagine a keyword collection for “happy” or “stressed” or whatever mood happens to be demonstrate in the audio content. I’m not sure if the technologies are related but Affectiva have demonstrated emotion-detecting software in the past.

With speech-to-text, keyword extraction, mood extraction the basic logging of reality and documentary could be done in pre-post and handed to the editor.

There’s been a lot of discussion about what sort of professional videos work being done, that isn’t directly involved with Movies or network/cable Television. Well, SCRI has released an overview of their Digital Media Production Trends report. What’s important when reviewing these types of survey results, is to examine who was surveyed, and what they were asked.

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Buried in John Siracusa’s excellent review of OS X Mavericks is this little gem:

Modern Macs with integrated GPUs get some nice improvements in Mavericks. Any Mac with Intel’s HD4000 graphics or better can now run OpenCL on the integrated GPU in addition to the CPU and any discrete GPU.

It’s that little bold bit that makes it special! With OpenCL increasingly taking up the load of general computer processes previously forced on the CPU, the more we can take advantage of the GPU power already installed.

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I have conflicting thoughts about 4K for production and distribution. At one level I’m convinced it’s being pushed on us by equipment manufacturers when there is no real demand: at another I know from experience that there are some non-obvious advantages to 4K. But one thing is clear: the push to 4K is not about a push to improved quality.

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