Pre-NAB 2019

Another year, another NAB Show to look forward to. If you’ve never been, NAB is the show to gain hands-on knowledge of the newest tools available to our industry. In no particular order, here are some of the things I’ll be looking out for this April:

NAB Throwback. Do you see it? 🙂

Canon: The C300 is the new unscripted workhorse camera. So I was intrigued by last year’s introduction of the C200, especially by the metadata friendly, easy to use Canon RAW Light recording format. Unfortunately, Canon limited the C200’s usefulness in multi-camera productions. So I’m curious to see if Canon will introduce its RAW format to the C300 or release a C300 Mark III. Side note:I’m also interested in learning what 3rd party lens manufacturers for the EF mount. 

Here’s hoping Canon will add TC I/O.

ACES & Color Managed Pipelines: have you read the Netflix primer on Color Managed Pipelines? It’s a good read. This year at NAB I’m curious to see how the maker’s of Color Correction software like Digital Vision’s Nucoda are educating their users about these ideas that I’m confident will go industrywide.

Get ready for CDL to be part of your acronym vocabulary.

Avid: if you visited Avid’s booth in the last two years you wouldn’t know that they are the makers of Media Composer. So I’m curious to see whether 2019 will be any different. I’m also excited to see how Avid’s partnership with Microsoft Azure has developed; in particular if the cognitive services have been integrated into Media Central in a meaningful way.

Reminds me of an old joke…

Media Asset Managers: Speaking of cognitive services… I’m still on the look out for cloud based MAM that seamlessly connects to Google Cloud Video Intelligence or Microsoft Azure Vision. I was recently given access to a fully functional version of Cantemo’s Iconik.

When the A.I. does the tagging it will be perfectly consistent, right?

Social: Each year I tell myself that I’m going to be more social and attend some meet-ups. Instead I use the time to catch up with old friends and talk shop. This year I plan on going to the Blue Collar Post Collective’s NAB meet-up, and we’ll see if I make it 🙂

Chapter 12 – Biographical

My path in the business began in high school. In my junior year my days were filled with electronics and computer programing classes and I had some uninspired notion about studying engineering in college. The work suited my logical side, but I distinctly remember feeling ambivalent because some creative spark was missing. As a child I loved to play with Legos, and in middle school my friends were big into role-playing games (Cyberpunk 2020, not D&D, if you must know). These were group activities that blended a rigid systems-type thinking with the more unpredictable nature of creativity.

Everything changed one afternoon when a friend invited me to help him tape his public access show after school. Eric’s show was called Pinhead Nation and he booked local rock bands to perform in his backyard on the deck of his parents’ house. Then he’d interview them afterwards. All I remember from that afternoon is running around to clear off the deck and lay audio cables with intense purpose. There was a feeling of camaraderie that is familiar to anyone who’s worked on a set. It was so exciting to be part of a crew. This collaborative approach to creativity is exactly what had been missing. The feeling electrified me and I was ‘hooked’. By the following year I transferred into my high school’s the television production class.

When Joey Ramone sends The Independents to perform on your public access show.

My high school’s video production program had a small studio with two pedestal cameras, an ENG camera, a control room with A/B switch, and an S-VHS linear editing system. In retrospect, I was lucky to have access to a high school program with so much equipment. At the time (1998-1999) that analogue gear probably cost our school district a small fortune.

The class had a variety of projects, but my favorite was a newscast I wrote set during Roman times. It was a multi-step project. First, I had to write the script in the A/V format (original hand written script). Then I had to tape and edit an ENG package that would be ‘rolled-in’ into the main newscast. From here it was a natural progression to go on to major in video production in college.

If you recognize someone in this video; yeah I once directed an Emmy winner 🙂

In college I gravitated towards documentary production. Looking back now, I think I realized that it was easier to create high quality documentary productions than scripted narratives, because narrative is SO resource intensive. A scripted production requires costumes and sets, in addition to lighting and sound; while documentary, especially *cinéma vérté*, requires so much less. Also, I enjoy learning and a good documentary teaches you something new about the world. It can be creative and emotional while also feeding the logical part of the mind.

Maybe Hidden Brain can remake this into a podcast? Just sayin’.

In college I also started the FDU Film Guild. A campus club that purchased extra equipment and props to encourage fellow students to get out there and make films. It served the purpose of building a community of people who help each other by contributing their unique skills. One of our primary fundraising activities was filming campus events, creating DVD’s, and selling those DVD’s to the organizations. Event videography, but lucrative nevertheless.

“But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked…”

I also spent two years working at a company in New York City called iNextv. It was like Youtube, just 5 years too early, since almost nobody had fast broadband internet at the time. My first assignment on the job was to assist the studio engineer with soldering the remaining cables to their bnc connectors. During my two years on the job I had opportunities to run studio cameras, assist the Avid Media Composer editors, and learn Final Cut Pro. It was a sad day when I came into work and learned that the company had became the latest victim of the first dot com bubble.

The year after graduating college I moved to Washington, DC and landed my first job as an Assistant Editor. But that’s a story for another post…

Briefly Noted: Notes on Notes (fiction)

Notes on Notes – Poet and junior television producer Miranda Arndt has discovered a new way to read between the lines. Frustrated by the process of receiving barely literate network notes, the highly creative Arndt went on the passive-aggressive and created poetry from prose. Armed with “feedback from network” and a sharpie, she constructs through deconstruction, eliminating the words she doesn’t need to create a new art form. Her work ranges from provocative to lighthearted, and from moving to hysterically funny. The latest creation in a long history of “found art,” Notes on Notes will challenge you to find inspiration from the mundane.

The Hollywood ‘No’ (Humor … sorta)

There is an old adage in Hollywood:

Never say, “No.” Ask for too much money.

I know that it’s easy to be cynical about things like this. But after some consideration a more receptive mind might ask, “Why does a statement like this one exists in the first place?” This post attempts unpack the wisdom of this mischievous expression.

Let us pretend that a colleague calls you on Thursday and says they’d like to hire you to create a dozen graphic elements for their latest project … by Monday. Know you know this work is going to require endless revisions and ton of work outside usual business hours. You might consider that you have four choices:

  1. Saying “Yes” and completing the project. While this looks like a victory at first blush, “today’s miracle is tomorrow’s expectation.” You’ve effectively screwed future you because now they know how much you’ll do for how little. This is also how you initiate the race to the bottom.
  2.  Saying “Yes” and failing. Saying yes to something and then failing to deliver may seem like the darkest timeline. And to most people it will be. However, if you are savvy, this could be the winningest scenario. A student of Robert Greene’s 26th Law might use failure as an opportunity eliminate an opponent by throwing them under the bus.
  3. Saying “No”. The darkest timeline. Producing is about removing obstacles. When you say, “No.” You become the obstacle and the full bore of the producing team bears down upon you. 
  4. The Hollywood No. “I would love to help you on your amazing project, and although I’m booked, I’d be happy to help you. However, since I’m already booked I’d have to work at twice my standard rate.” For the less Machiavellian this is the safest choice. You appear supportive and if for some reason they agree to your ginormous rate. Well at least your bank account will be the better for it.

Further Reading: Why Hollywood People Never Say ‘No’ The Hollywood Reporter