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Recent Blog Posts in 2009

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December 23, 2009
  Smoke on the Mac in LA - Day 2
Posted By Barry Goch


The next day, Key Code media held a "lunch and learn" Smoke on the Mac session that was well attended by some well know finishing artists looking to get a first hand look at the product.

The following day, Autodesk had a live seminar to showcase this new product. I posted it online yesterday:



Merry Christmas Everybody!!
Continue reading "Smoke on the Mac in LA - Day 2" »

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December 16, 2009
  Smoke on the Mac hits LA - Day 1
Posted By Barry Goch
Yesterday was the big day. Smoke on the Mac has finally arrived!! I went to two events yesterday and I'm leaving for a third in a few minutes.

Metro Video had a day long "Fiesta" to celebrate the release.

The big event came later in the day as ALT Systems hosted a Smoke on Mac event at the trendy Sky Bar on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, CA. The location was spectacular with poolside views of a glittering LA. It seemed like a who's who of LA post attended, with guests from Universal, Technicolor, and Hydraulx, among others.

Toward the end of the event, I finally got some hands-on time on the system and I found it to be just as responsive as their Linux version. Many guests, including yours truly, believe this is a major event for the post world with far reaching and long-term ramifications. Stay tuned for more...
Continue reading "Smoke on the Mac hits LA - Day 1" »

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December 14, 2009
  FotoKem's nextLAB Open House 12-5-09
Posted By Barry Goch
Last weekend I attended the nextLAB open house at FotoKem in Burbank, CA. James Mathers, President of the Digital Cinema Society, organizes these outings about once a month and provides a great service to the community by doing so.

The group in attendance was so large (on a Saturday!) that it was split into two groups for each presentation. The group I was with first went into one of their Pablo DI rooms to hear a presentation from Tom Vice, V.P. Operations and Steve Beres, Director of Engineering. They stressed their commitment to making the transition to digital filmmaking as seamless as possible for filmmakers. They have invested in infrastructure and systems to enable them to service digital filmmakers as they have for many years traditional filmmakers. Mike Brodersen of nextLAB previewed their still in development onsite dailies/data management system. They finished this session with a kick-[censored] 3D demo reel featuring clips from "Kung Fu Panda", "Monsters vs. Aliens" among others.

The two groups then switched rooms and we headed into theater 3 to hear some great stories from Jonathan Smiles, DIT on "District 9". Instead of having a specific presentation, he opened himself up to audience questions while showing slides from his various adventures. He stressed the importance of proper camera prep, especially lens collimation, and proper RED camera ISO settings.

My main take-away from this event is to treat the digital filmmaking process with the same respect as traditional filmmaking. For example, treat your "digital negative" the same way you treat film negative, with great care.

The entire nextLAB presentation was "video taped" and will be posted on the DCS website in the near future.
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December 07, 2009
  The Foundry Throws Down - Tips for Transitioning from Flame to Nuke X
Posted By Barry Goch
Happy Monday my gentle readers! I just wanted to fill you in on an event I attended last week. As usual, I rushed across town to get to the event after work. Tip to all event planners: Don't have things start at 5:30pm!



I arrived at the Foundry's office to a standing room only crowd watching the end of Joe Farrell's (Digital Domain) presentation showing a shot breakdown from 2012. I only caught something about fluid simulations toward the end. Shame, because it looked amazing on the monitor.

I was really interested to hear the next presentation: Candice Scott of Zaboca FX, presentated "Transitioning from Flame to Nuke X: Merging Concepts." The presentation was geared towards Flame artists who were interested in doing work on Nuke X. She showed some basic differences in how Nuke handles pre-multiplied images in the keymix and merge nodes. She also showed off some features from the upcoming Nuke X release, such as a built-in 3D tracker and an improved paint system.

The impression I got from the presentation, and speaking to Ms. Scott afterwards, is similar to my previous posting about expanding one's skill set. In today's job market, one should be prepared to work on any platform. It's not the hammer that makes one a good carpenter, rather the skill in the tool's use that's important. Talent counts!
Continue reading "The Foundry Throws Down - Tips for Transitioning from Flame to Nuke X" »

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December 02, 2009
  "Battlestar Galactica – Then and Now" and next week "3D Compositing" in LA
Posted By Barry Goch
Two weeks ago I attended a fabulous event put on the LA Chapter of Siggraph.  "Battlestar Galactica - Then and Now." It was a great evening of reminiscing about the old show, and showcasing the amazing visuals in the new. It was a treat to hear John Dykstra and Richard Edlund explain how they transitioned from making Star Wars to creating the visuals for Battlestar. They showed many stills from back in the day, but the highlight for me was seeing a rare behind-the-scenes home movie shot by Dennis Muren (now at ILM) of the model shop showing hundreds of model kits used to make the Galactica, Vipers, and the fleet.

Read more about it here:


The next event, in my opinion, is a must see:


Two master trainers who literally wrote books on the subject will be presenting that night, Steve Wright and Damian Allen. I've had classes with them both and I consider them experts in the field. Hope to see you there.

Continue reading ""Battlestar Galactica – Then and Now" and next week "3D Compositing" in LA" »

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December 02, 2009
  Happy Thanksgiving and a Reality Check
Posted By Barry Goch
I hope everyone had a great Holiday. I spent time with the family, but still found time to work too. I launched a new website, google group and wrote two tutorials for smoke-on-mac.com. And that's how it seems to be going nowadays. I'm moving at 1000 miles an hour either working, looking for work, or networking. Surprisingly, there are a ton of events to go to in LA in the next two weeks...

I feel for my friends that have to start looking for work now. I know of an editor who got laid-off last week, just before Thanksgiving, an audio mixer, and designer who were laid-off the week before. In my 10 years in post production, I've never seen it like this. It's been a challenging time for sure and I think of the quote James Mathers uses at the end of the Digital Cinema Society e-newsletter:

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change." Charles Darwin

I agree with that 100%. Change is here so embrace it. Use your down time to learn a new software, new skill set. I became an Autodesk Smoke Certified Instructor this summer for example. It's never been so easy to learn with great online training from Lynda.com, Digital-Tutors, Ripple Training. High-End specialized training is also available from Escape Studios and FXPHD among others.

Finally, I want to give thanks to my past, present and future employers. And thanks to 20th Century Fox for holding a family screening of "Fantastic Mr. Fox" the day after Thanksgiving and to Focus Feature for sending me my first "screener". But most of all, I want to thank my family for their support. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about.
Continue reading "Happy Thanksgiving and a Reality Check" »

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November 20, 2009
  "The Avid/FCP 2-Step" – LA Final Cut Pro User Group meeting, 11-18-2009
Posted By Barry Goch
A capacity crowd came to the LA FCP UG meeting at the Barnsdall Art Park in Hollywood to hear Academy Award® winning editor talk about his experiences going back to Avid.

As is almost always the case, I was coming from work and running a bit late so I missed the start of the meeting that featured Shane Ross demonstrating the new multi-format capability in Avid Media Composer 4.0. It's something that I've seen at previous demos and is a great new feature in this version.

I arrived when editor Steve Cohen was demoing a crowd pleaser in v.4: the ability to hold transitions when moving clips around on the timeline. In the past, the transition would simply vanish. He also demoed Advanced Keyframing, an older feature but perhaps new to the FCP crowd and some fine points of trimming in the Avid.

The crowd was very attentive. It seemed that the FCP crowd was intent on catching every detail about the world of Avid. Even Mr. Murch asked a question from the audience about transition corner display, a trim view that Mr. Cohen was demonstrating as part of his presentation.

There was then a short break, time for a bit of networking, then on to the main speaker, Walter Murch.

Mr. Murch stated that he felt that Avid had become complacent, resting on their laurels, and not listening to their customers. His high-profile choice to use FCP on Cold Mountain, an $80 million dollar film, was to energize the dialog in the professional editing application arena.

He then went onto a detailed Keynote presentation of his workflow on his previous film, Tetro, which he cut for Francis Ford Coppola. They Shot on the Sony HD F900 using Zeiss lenses. Mr. Murch had 165 hour of dailies, the equivalent of almost 900,000 feet of film. He edited the feature in FCP on location for 9 months in Buenos Aires. He used ProRes720 after testing the best codec for image quality and rendering speed. Later he showed photos of his cutting room and went into great detail about his personal workflow when cutting films. He likes to take notes during dailies to try and capture the "flame in a bottle" moment when you see something for the first time. Later, he does a meticulous breakdown of each take and uses frame grabs of key moments in takes in addition to a flow chart of the picture to help construct the story. He relies on a documentary approach of using found moments in the performance to build the narrative.

When Mr. Murch was brought into edit Wolfman for Universal, the project was already built inside the Avid and thus began his reacquaintance with the Avid. In his methodicical approach to things, he presented slides of his likes each system. Both Final Cut and Avid have their strengths and weaknesses but the competion between the two of them improves the tools for everyone.

Mr. Murch was a great sport as he stayed after his presentation to call out number in the "world famous" LAFCPUG raffle. He also handed out fortunes like those found in fortune cookies from an old cigar box. After the raffle, he stayed to autograph books.

There seemed to be a palpable shift of momentum from the feeling that FCP is taking over the world to one where it's important to know both systems to be a successful editor.
Continue reading ""The Avid/FCP 2-Step" – LA Final Cut Pro User Group meeting, 11-18-2009" »

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November 19, 2009
  Sony Colorworks holds Open House
Posted By Barry Goch
Sony hosted an open house at Stage 6 on the Sony lot in Culver City, CA, to showcase their new DI facility, Colorworks. Sony chose to partner with FilmLight and installed 3 BaseLight Eight, two BaseLight Four, and two BaseLight Assists for their color grading systems.

Chris Cookson, president technologies Sony Pictures, said that they built out the 14,000- square-foot facility with an eye toward a full digital pipeline with a high-speed digital backbone and access to 3.5 petabytes of storage. In addition to BaseLight, they have also partnered with IBM to provide storage. The facility depends on BaseLight's Truelight color management system.

Bob Baily, senior vice president Colorworks, started our tour in their I/O room. The room features Arri film recorders, a Spirit 4K and the only DFT Scanity scanner in the US that can scan pin-registered 4K at 17fps. They also have a Northlight scanner.

Next we saw the conform rooms powered by the BaseLight Assists. They also have a MTI Control Dailies system as well as an Autodesk Smoke for VFX work and PF Clean for dust busting.

The highlight of the tour was joining John Persichetti in his color bay and screening a portion of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs in 3D. He explained that he first makes a color pass on the 2D version, then he grades the 3D version. He noted that the 3D imagery needs to be adjusted for the light loss of the glasses and that the image shifts slightly green which needs to be corrected. He also demonstrated the BaseLight's ability to adjust the interocular distance to affect the depth perception of the image.

Adjacent to Colorworks is the Sony sound department where we were treated to a 5.1 demo in the fantastic Kim Novak theater.

Sony has created a filmmaker friendly, fantastic facility on the historic Sony lot. Perhaps during your next DI, you might bump into Vanna White in the Commissary.


BaseLight 4


BaseLight 8


Storage


Senior VP, Bob Baily


President, technologies, Chris Cookson
Continue reading "Sony Colorworks holds Open House" »

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November 11, 2009
  A report from HD Expo
Posted By Barry Goch

I did a whirlwind tour of the HD Expo, which is rebranding itself as Createasphere. My main impression from the exhibits was the rise of the DSLR as a serious tool in production. I found many specialized products designed to make the cameras more filmmaker friendly, like the viewfinder and focus tool from Zacuto (see photo). The Zeiss booth also impressed me. They have developed prime lenses for both the Nikon and Cannon DSLR cameras (see photo).

I was very lucky indeed to catch a glimpse of the new Epic camera system from Red (see photos).

Overall, I found the mood to be much more positive and optimistic than previous events that I've attended this year.










Continue reading "A report from HD Expo" »

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November 03, 2009
  Posting Lisbeth Scott's new music video - Part 1/Getting Started
Posted By Barry Goch

When I get a call from director Joseph Greco (Canvas, 2007) about a project, I always say yes. He is a true gentleman who has great respect for each person's role in a production. I've recently cut a music video for him and had a great experience, so when he offered me the next one, I was in.

The music video features Lisbeth Scott singing the title song from her new album, "Hope Is A Thing." Very timely…

She's been a featured vocalist in the Passion of the Christ, Narnia, Shrek 2, Transformers, and Munich.  Her songs have been chosen for both HBO's True Blood (a collaboration with composer Nathan Barr) and ABC's Brothers and Sisters.

To further up the ante, Joseph enlisted the services of two time Academy Award-winning cinematographer, Hakell Wexler.

Pre-production: Panasonic generously donated the use of their newest P2 camera, the 2700. They were also going to use a 1700 and a Cannon 5D Mark II. The P2 was going to be shot at 23.98 and the Cannon only does 30p (for now). The last video I did with Joe had a similar mixing of frame rates and I had already done my testing for that one. My solution is to import the 5D footage into FCP and do a batch export to the correct frame size and frame rate. For such a brute force approach, the footage comes out looking quite well. You can see for yourself on the last video that we did at:

http://true-blood.net/2009/09/02/exclusive-premiere-of-the-take-me-home-video/#tvg

Production: The one-day shoot took place in an old warehouse in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles. The on-set data technician, Wendy Walker, did a great job of managing all the media and making sure there were plenty of P2 cards for the day. Ah, modern production, tapeless — with it's joys and challenges.

Post: Here's where I start doing the heavy lifting. I got an external Firewire drive with all the footage on it. The first thing I did was to transcode the 5D footage to match the rest of the P2 media. That took a few hours on my trusty first generation black Macbook. I then logged and transferred the P2 media using the log and transfer function in FCP. Once all the media was prepped and in the project, I started syncing all the takes. Eric, our sound man, added a three-ping tone countdown to the on-set playback. I was able to quickly match up the full takes, or partial takes from the beginning of the song. The fun part is syncing up the pick-up takes which all are matched to the waveform of the final song mix.

I like to lay out all the tracks of the performance in sync on the timeline and go section-by-section, verse-by-verse and choose the best performance for each bit. I then watch each sequence to make sure the cut works and move forward down the timeline until I'm all the way through the song. I then play the entire timeline to get a feel for the piece and start making adjustments to the cut. Only when I'm happy with the cut, will I then post my first cut for the director to view and get notes.

Next up: Part Two, going from rough cut to final approval.

Continue reading "Posting Lisbeth Scott's new music video - Part 1/Getting Started" »

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November 02, 2009
  Hulking storage, metadata hash, big pipes and Terabyte cameras
Posted By Tom Coughlin
In general increasing storage capacity and performance as well as faster networks and processing power are enabling richer content and the long term storage of content. At the same time many media and entertainment professionals are not making sure that their content is being protected for the long term. Revenues expected for digital storage, including services for the professional media and entertainment market could exceed $10 B by 2014.

For more information on these trends please see the 2009 SMPTE conference paper, 2009 Survey of Digital Storage in Professional Media and Entertainment, by Thomas M. Coughlin. More information on the annual report on digital storage for professional media and entertainment can be found on the tech papers page of www.tomcoughlin.com.

In the same session, Oliver Morgan from Metaglue Corp. gave an interesting talk about using the MXF wrapper to contain content quality control data that he called “self-propelled data” using hashing algorithms to tie the metadata to the content essence that offers a scalable architecture within metadata for event tracks for time-dependent metadata as well as multi-track files. He said that this hashing could use the CRC-32 Castagnoli algorithm used by iSCSI. This algorithm requires low compute costs making it fairly easy to implement. The QC data can be used in AS02 and AS03 files and can include “Generation UID” that allows tracking who makes changes in the essence and when those changes are made. An interesting comment that he made is that there is an increasing need for partial restore of content, making segmented hashing very useful.

There was a entire session today with presentations focused on 3 Gbps infrastructure used in new production facilities. Christopher Bauer from ABC discussed the difficulties and opportunities of installing a fiber optic HD central switching facility supporting 3 Gbps data routing. He showed fascinating pictures of the differences including showing that a single fiber optic connection could replace up to 96 copper connections used previously. Other papers in this session discussed Harris’s 3 Gbps infrastructure to support 1080p and 3D production work. Another paper from Aspera discussed internet (cloud) based reliable content delivery for file-based transfers comparing commercially available as well as academic (laboratory) transport schemes in term of bandwidth utilization, network efficiency and transfer time. Yesterday I wrote of developments expected soon for 40 Gbps Ethernet transport—subjects for the 2010 SMPTE conference!

As in many such events it is possible to learn as much outside the sessions chatting with knowledgeable attendees as in the sessions themselves. In one of these conversations with a member of a well-known professional video camera manufacturer I found some interesting developments in data capture. These cameras run over $200k each, without lenses and there are maybe 300-400 units total worldwide. Most of these are rented as needed vs. owned by a facility. True 4k cameras are going to be available soon and 8k cameras may be available in the next few years to support Ultra-HD formats. The conversion to Ultra-HD may take about 10 years, which is significantly faster than the HD conversion due to the increased rate of change that current digital facilities offer. Perhaps the biggest issue in the introduction of new technology will be amortization of current investments. One interesting observation is that although currently digital tape is the most common high-end camera recording media, solid state storage devices with storage capacities as high as 1 TB and very fast data rates may soon be available making higher resolution content capture and off-loading even easier.

40 Gb Ethernet pipes in production facilities and 1 TB solid state cameras, it seems that the professional media and entertainment market will be making and using more content capacity than ever before. Storing, distributing, finding and using that content will demand increasing capabilities in digital storage. Looks like there are a lot of new factors to include in the next survey (and report) on digital storage in professional media and entertainment!
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October 28, 2009
  One Wrapper To Cover Them All
Posted By Tom Coughlin
Yesterday at the 2009 SMPTE conference media and entertainment professionals discussed developments in the MXF wrapper format for content creation and delivery during the Seminar on Advanced Media Workflows and MXF.  Today a session on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and the Media Facility brought up very interesting case studies for video production.  Interestingly metadata was a major topic in many of the talks in this session as well.

In many regards the MXF standard is almost too vast, at 700+ pages it contains many wrapper and essence definitions and practices.  To be useful a standard like this needs to be interpreted and applied to particular situations.  Implementation of MXF to particular post production environments may be require specification “shims” that are designed to allow localized use of the standard within a given facility.  However the efficacy of the standard was demonstrated effectively by 13 vendors who participated in a demonstration of operations from ingest to archiving during the seminar.  The entire demonstration was set up in one afternoon and seemed to work without a flaw.

MXF  AS02 is designed for interoperable wrapper format between multiple vendors in post-production facitilies.  The MXF AS03 standard is intended for content delivery allowing AS03 files to be played back by many different applications and users.  In order to allow this playout AS03 files much be self-contained, that is they contain defined metadata sets for content identification and verification vs. delivered traffic metadata.  At the seminar a new Interoperable Mastering Format (IMF) as another subset of the MXF standard was discussed as a camera format for making a file replacement of HD CAM SR workflows.  Standards discussion on IMF occurred in the evening.

In the SOA session Yang Chen from Sobey Digital Technology in China discussed a massive SOA-based network production system that they set up in the Beijing TV Station.  The total storage capacity for this facility included 500 TB of on-line (real time) storage and 100 PB of near-line storage shared between 500 servers and 1,200 terminals.  They have data traffic that can average 50 TB/day!  All facets of SD and HD TV production and distribution were managed with the system between May 2006 and August 2008.  To facilitate data transport between the many users and department a modified ESB communications bus was used, called a EMB (Enterprise Media Bus).

David Carroll from Sony Electronics discussed issues with implementation of an effective SOA media facility.  He gave an interesting example of the data requirements with the recent Sony 2012 movie production.  The entire shoot consists of about 30 M frames which at high resolution was 240 TB.  If the work had been done on scanned film at 4K it would have taken about 1.44 PB of storage.  This data had to be maintained and available during 6-18 months of production.  A problem with 4K content is that the size of the files traps the content on storage islands with great difficulty sharing the content.  Creating a media bus to service 4K content requires an advanced network fabric that will probably consist of infiniband or multiple 8 GbEN today and perhaps 40 GbEN before too long.

Dieter Van Fujsselbergen from Ghent University-IBBT in Belgium gave a very interesting talk showing a very advanced “PISA” Drama Production System utilizing its own version of a metadata system including a “Movie Script Markup Language (MSML).”  This talk included a demonstration of modeling software to do realistic script and production layout analysis using touch screens and advanced user interfaces in order to work out bugs ahead of read content capture and production.  He also discussed using MPEG-7 to provide access to low level metadata features of a scene.

Metadata management is the security blanket that will allow advances in production and, content delivery and asset management, including archive and preservation of content.  SMPTE is playing a leading role in creating standards to enable future generations of ever richer, higher resolution content.
Continue reading "One Wrapper To Cover Them All" »

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October 28, 2009
  VES Production Summit Wrap Up
Posted By Barry Goch

VES Production Summit, October 24, 2009

Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Ray, California, USA



I had the pleasure of attending the VES Production Summit last Saturday. I have to admit that I felt a little out of my league - no wonder as the room was filled with the top VFX artists, VFX companies, studio executives, and VFX producers from around the world. As each panelist was introduced, it was like, this Emmy winner, that Oscar winner…heavy duty.

The first panel was a discussion about pre-production. The main point hammered home was planning, planning, and more planning - and once you had a plan, try stick to it. An example of this was cited for the production of Good Night and Good Luck. The set was built virtually first, refined with input of the director, and then constructed to the nail from the virtual set.

Victoria Alonso, EVP VFX and post at Marvel Studios wanted to see more sharing of pre-vis materials across all the departments - build it once and share.

The next panel focused on production. Because of the high costs involved during production days, the tendency seems to push problems off to post to keep production on schedule.  "Fix it in Post" - was a common mantra. However, that approach is often more expensive because of the time and money required to "fix" things in post, which directly relates back to proper planning in pre-production. The question was raised, who makes that decision, and do they fully understand the ramifications.

One of the main topics in post panel was the look of a movie. Steve Poster, ASC, encouraged doing timing tests during pre-production to set the look of the show before production starts. He also likes to have VFX plates color timed before they go to effects houses to help the final shots drop more seamlessly into the rest of the film.

Alan Silvers, VP of Business Development Lowry Digital, emphasized the importance of a professional viewing environment on set and in post. He also raised an important point about the necessity to view the post compression look of images to insure fidelity throughout the pipeline.

Jeffrey A. Okun, Chair of the Visual Effects Society, wrapped up the morning's session urging the attendees to foster a sense of community since we're all in this together.

The featured speaker was Dr. Eric Haseltine, President and Managing Partner, Haseltine Partners LLC, and former EVP of Walt Disney Imagineering and former Director of Research at the NSA. He was the best speaker I've seen - funny, engaging, smart, and he challenged the audience to step out of their comfort zones. He did that by showing the audience some blind spots in our perception of the world.For example, he demonstrated the McGurk effect by having the audience first listening to someone speak "baaa" with our eyes closed, then he played the accompanying video which made it seem like the speaker said "maa" based on the facial movements of the speaker.

The first afternoon session was devoted to the Post-Production pipeline. Ben Grossman, VFX supervisor Café FX, pointed out some of the challenges in color management in post. He stated that different versions of a camera's software build can change the look of the imagery. Steve Scott, VP, CD/Colorist E-Film, still prefers film for its ability to render natural skin tones, but conceded that digital cameras are fast approaching this standard.

The most contentious panel was the final one, Global VFX. This is a big concern for many in the crowd as global completion in the VFX industry is viewed as perhaps the industries greatest challenge. Lee Berger, Rhythm and Hues, said that they founded a subsidiary in India in 2000. He said that 90 percent of their cost is labor and wanting to stay competitive, they had to find a way to cut costs. Chris de Faria, EVP Digital Production, Animation and Visual Effects Warner Bros. Pictures, became the defacto studio representative and was challenged by his fellow panelists, the moderator, and the crowd. He responded by asking for flexibility in dealing with VFX vendors. He said the studio is responsible for the sizeable investment to fund movies and he suggested that VFX houses could work with him to find innovative business deals to share the financial risk inherent in movie making.

I just wanted to add a big thanks to Rita Cahill of the VES Committee for hospitality and assistance.

Continue reading "VES Production Summit Wrap Up" »

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October 20, 2009
  Avid Packs Them In
Posted By Barry Goch
People came from all over LA, during the first rain of the season, to watch Michael Krulik of Avid wow a capacity crowd with the new features in Media Composer 4. The coolest thing is the ability to mix and match resolutions and frame rates on the timeline in realtime. A long-requested feature has also been implemented - the ability to keep transition on clips while moving them in the timeline. He also highlighted improvements in the stabilizer. I encourage everyone to go to Avid.com and download a free trial today. I did. In related news, Avid also demonstrated its advances in 3D workflows.







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October 16, 2009
  REDucation Downtown LA
Posted By Barry Goch
On my lunch break yesterday, I drove from Burbank to Downtown to check out the REDucation event. Now, for those of you who know LA, you will know that I got very lucky with the traffic in both directions.

Given my limited time at the event, I just had enough time to take some photos and do some networking. Ironically enough, I was chatting with Lucas from Assimilate while he was working on his power-point for the big announcement he made at the event. Rocket Fuel!

http://www.assimilateinc.com/ pdfs/SCRATCH_Rocket_Fuel_rls_F3.pdf

My thanks to Amanda at Metro Video for providing me with a comp ticket!



















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October 14, 2009
  Wow Wacom!
Posted By Barry Goch
Although I have not yet tried it, the new multi-touch Wacom Bamboo tablet looks great. I tried the jog knobs when they first came out, but I quickly went back to the arrow key. I'm already a big fan of using tablets for editing and I hope that this device will lead to more edit UI innovations which, in my opinion, are long overdue. 
Continue reading "Wow Wacom!" »

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October 03, 2009
  Post Magazine and Autodesk talk RED at ALT
Posted By Barry Goch
Post Magazine and Autodesk held a discussion on RED workflows at ALT systems in Sun Valley Thursday night. The ALT folks do know how to put on a party. I got there early and had...well let just say I was well lubricated...even before the discussion began.

The discussion focused on using Autodesk's WiretapCentral as a means to get RED footage into Autodesk's systems products. They pointed to a white paper that goes into the gory details of the workflow.

Here's the link:
Continue reading "Post Magazine and Autodesk talk RED at ALT" »

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October 03, 2009
  Keycode intros their new LA location with Adobe demo
Posted By Barry Goch
Keycode is making a statement. They hosted their first demo in their new digs last Thursday. They moved their headquarters from Studio City to a much larger space in the underbelly of Burbank.

The lunch and learn session was great. The demo guy from Adobe, Kevan O'Brien, wowed us with some great new features in Photoshop, like automagical scene stitching, some cool audio tricks, and more.

After the demo, I got a private tour of their new place and I look forward to their official open house in November.

On October 13th, they will have an event featuring the new version of Media Composer. You should check it out!
Continue reading "Keycode intros their new LA location with Adobe demo" »

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October 03, 2009
  Editors' Lounge Wrap Up - Wow!
Posted By Barry Goch
Last Friday I went to the Editors' Lounge at Alpha Dogs, a post house in Burbank, CA, owned by Terry Curren. I've been attending the Lounge for a few years now and I really enjoy the camaraderie of hanging out with my fellow editors and other post production professionals.

The topic for the night was XDCAM. They had cameras and displays, but I was manly looking at the post stuff. The presentation that Mark Raudonis of Bunim-Murray made blew me away. Bunim-Murray specializes in reality show production which means a ton of footage. Mark showed stills of his vault full of XDCAM discs. Lots of discs. One of the points he made was that tapeless is not a magic bullet that improves every aspect of the post process.

Jess Bushyhead (yes, that's his real name) showed off some of the multi-resolution workflows in the new release of Avid Media Composer 4. Pretty slick implementation if you ask me.
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October 03, 2009
  The Life of a Freelancer
Posted By Barry Goch
Okay. Here's an example of the craziness of freelancing in this wacky economy.

I'm on hold this week, but they don't need me so I check in with another place that wanted to hold me for one day and they don't know if they need me and I should check with them later.

Meanwhile, I'm working at a third place that tells me I'm working Thursday, no Friday, nope actually Thursday. And a company who said that they'd call me today about working next week never did, but another place I worked before asks me in the middle of all this to work next week.

I'm tired just writing all this...
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September 25, 2009
  Crash the SMPTE Technical Conference October 27-29 in Hollywood...sort of
Posted By Barry Goch
I've always wanted to attend the annual SMPTE conference, but it's pricey for us freelance folks so a friend of mine offered a great way to get in for free...by volunteering. Work a half day, enjoy the conference for the rest.

http://www.smpte2009.org/

If you are interested, please contact Henry Gu by email (henrygu@earthlink.net) or phone [censored] Millias at IVC 818-569-4949.

If I'm not booked those days, I'll be there too.

Barry
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September 23, 2009
  No Plans yet for Friday night? Head over to the Editors' Lounge
Posted By Barry Goch
Come and join me so we can learn the latest about XDCAM workflows. Head over to Terry Curran's place in Burbank to drink beer and geek out. I'll be there geeking out too...

Details:

At 6:30pm on Friday, September 25, The Editors' Lounge will present "Sony XDCAM II: The Sequel ." Attendees can see the latest updates to the XDCAM lineup and hear from experts about improved workflows. Sony's Mike Desroches will be on-hand showing off the new XDCAM PDW-F800 camera featuring 24p 1920x1080 4:2:2 and the companion PDW-F1600 deck. Discussion will include current TV productions using XDCAM. Editor Jess Bushyhead will demonstrate the latest XDCAM workflows for the Avid. There will also be an expert demo on Final Cut 7 XDCAM workflows, as well as double-speed HDCAMSR captures via AJA Kona. Gabriel Dimitri of Matrox will explain how their MXO2 works with realtime XDCAM outputs. And Sony’s BVM-L231 and PVM-L2300 HD monitors will also be on display.

AlphaDogs is the host of The Editors' Lounge. The studio is located at 1612 W. Olive Ave. #200, Burbank, CA. The event can also be watched online.
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September 22, 2009
  Welcome to My Blog
Posted By Barry Goch
This is my first blog and it is fitting that it is on Post Magazine's Website. I'm an Avid (ha ha) reader and I'm a tech junky who is always looking for my next fix of gear - and swag ;-) By the way, since I'm based in LA, I will have a bias towards the goings on here in H'wood.

With those two principles in mind, I have something for y'all to check out. For sure you (the collective you) should head over to:


They are always having cool sessions about cutting edge stuff - with swag usually too! For example, last week they had a cool session on the history of Blu-ray. A cool sounding session coming up next month is going to be about displays.

Also, don't for get about DVExpo this week and AlphaDogs' Editors Lounge on Friday.

Barry
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September 17, 2009
  Studio Suite 9 at IBC
Posted By Mark L. Pederson
Left out of the IBC Exhibitors Guide and in the wrong hall for their potential customers - ALTER MEDIA quietly showed their new version of Studio Suite - Studio Suite 9, due in just a few weeks.

Studio Suite is "leading studio management software, meeting the fast paced demands of thousands of users in post-production, digital intermediate, recording, mastering, game, and rental facilities, and more, in over forty countries."

I looked at solutions over the past few years - and it amazed to me that affordable, enterprise software for post boutiques is almost non-existant. A couple industry leaders offering Windows only modular software at about $40K to get into the game. I started asking small and mid-sized post houses what they were using and the answers is almost always - FileMaker Pro, Quickbooks and some sort of "custom" solution. I finally got a demo of the last version of Studio Suite and purchased Version 8 last year.

We got side-tracked from deploying Studio Suite with construction of our new facility but started building the data-base of equipment for our camera rental department, and testing features. Originally, Studio Suite wasn't designed to be "rental software" - it was designed to manage a facility - book rooms, push tasks, etc. but we wanted to have a solution to cover our entire business, which is a mix of production, post and equipment rentals. As we got closer to deploying the solution, we contacted AlterMedia with our feedback and desire to potentially customize Studio Suite to handle equipment rentals in a more efficient manner. After I described what we wanted to Joel Stoner, founder and owner of AlterMedia, he told us everything we wanted would be in Version 9. I got a sneak peak of Version 9 at NAB this year - and was so impressed and excited with the improvements that I decided to wait until 9 was released to deploy the software.

At the end of the IBC show this year, I finally caught up with Joel in the booth and got a complete tour of the new features, including a very handy "read only" iPhone application. A new, improved calendar, and extensive retail features are fantastic. You can use barcode to put an item on hold, add it to a quote or invoice, and also scan the item back into inventory. New flexible QuickBooks integration let's you export directly to QuickBooks: PC, Enterprise, and Mac editions.

Version 9 is due out in just a few short weeks - and it's extremely impressive.

AlterMedia's website has videos and details on features.
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September 16, 2009
  IBC2009: a quick glimpse
Posted By Harry Skopas
Amsterdam… the land of canals, coffee shops and IBC2009.

In lieu of the current economic crisis the show seemed surprisingly vibrant and very well attended from both an exhibitor and attendee standpoint. Let’s hope the positive sentiment is carried around the globe so we can all get on with our lives!

If you didn’t have 3D glasses on, you probably weren’t at the RAI! There was a big emphasis on 3D displays, camera systems and finishing products. There are many new products in the 3D space, but JVC‘s newly introduced 3D LCD monitor displayed exceptional flicker-free 3D content and its 2D-3D converter box looks very promising.

There is also a desperate need for a new reference color video monitor.  The CRT has been the gold standard in the broadcast world for over 60 years and its demise is inevitable. There are a number of manufactures (working along with SMPTE and the ITU) that are feverishly working with current LCD technology to create a new reference standard. The IBC shed light on a few manufactures with some very promising LED backlit LCD technologies. We may finally be on the road to a new video reference monitor.

As the IBC highlighted, there are now many manufactures with tools to help in our RED centric raw file, digital camera world: DVS Clipster, Filmlight Baselight, IRIDAS, AutoDesk Smoke/Flame 2010, Root6 CA, Assimilate SCRATCH, and the list keeps growing and growing.. just like our data needs.

A great piece of German Engineering - SCANITY was the new digital film scanner introduced by Digital Film Technology: 2k and 4k scanning up to 25fps/15fps respectively, LED light source, precision roller gate – continuous motion capstan and optical pin registration helps for safe film handling and steady film movement… smooth very smooth.

In today’s world of desk top systems and YouTubeTM, Ensemble Designs introduced their BrightEye Mitto scan converter. It’s a versatile high performance scan converter used for seamlessly getting your workstation graphics output to a display, video router etc… The conversions look outstanding and the features are what you would expect from Ensemble… functional!

Doei for Now….
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