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Where to find Walter Biscardi at NAB Show 2016



NAB Show 2016 is upon us and my schedule is coming together. I’ll be primarily appearing in the Studio Network Solutions booth SL11113 giving the presentation Adobe Premiere Pro Project Management and Project Sharing Best Practices. (full details below) I’ll also be at some of the evening events and just hanging out. So if you have the chance, come say hello and let’s chat! Heck, if you want to meet up for a coffee and talk shop, ping me on Twitter, @walterbiscardi or drop me an email walter (at) biscardicreative.com. Look forward to seeing you all!


LOVE Stef and Sean from Rampant Design Tools

Saturday: Arriving in the afternoon and honestly, this is my quietest day. If you’re in town and want to meet up to chat, ping me! I’m staying over in the MGM Grand / NY NY area of the Strip.

Sunday: If anyone wants to meet up for breakfast, ping me. I’m also around in the early afternoon. 9pm I’ll be at the #PostChat meet-up outside the O’Shea’s Bar in The Linq restaurant district. Outside between The Linq hotel and Flamingo. I might also try out the High Roller observation wheel Sunday night.


Meeting Vashi! at the #PostChat meet-up

Monday: I’ll be in the SNS Booth SL11113 all day and presenting Adobe Premiere Pro Project Management and Project Sharing Best Practices at 10:30am, 2:00pm and 4:00pm.

In the presentation I will take you though best practices for Adobe Premiere Pro Project Management and Project Sharing. These management tips can apply to other NLEs as well. I’ll demonstrate the techniques I developed for managing the wealth of digital data created in today’s video production world, whether you’re in the corporate, broadcast or digital marketplace. I’ll cover the basics of standardizing your project management including: Media Management & Organization, File / Folder Renaming, Transcoding, Media Cache, Shared Projects (2 or more editors sharing the same project), Cross Platform (Mac & Windows), Archiving. This is a must presentation for anyone looking to bring order to an expanding digital media workload and library.

I’ll also be available all day in the booth to answer any questions you have about Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Shared Storage Workflow, 4k, UHD, Post Production and of course, anything to do with cooking. Pizza On the Grill is my favorite! So stop on by and say hello!

Monday Evening: You’ll find me at the Media Motion Ball located in the Monte Carlo.

Tuesday: I’ll be in the SNS Booth SL11113 all day and presenting Adobe Premiere Pro Project Management and Project Sharing Best Practices at 10:30am, 2:00pm and 4:00pm. (see full description above) Again, I’ll be available to answer any questions you have on all matters Post and of course cooking. So stop by and say hello!

Tuesday Evening: You’ll find me for a little while at the Supermeet located in the Rio. I don’t stay for the entire event and I generally just hang out in the vendor area to chat with folks. Generally I end up going out for dinner after a few hours here.

Wednesday: I’ll be in the SNS Booth SL11113 all day and presenting Adobe Premiere Pro Project Management and Project Sharing Best Practices at 10:30am, 2:00pm and 4:00pm. (see full description above) Again, I’ll be available to answer any questions you have on all matters Post and of course cooking. So stop by and say hello!

Wednesday Evening: I’m attending a private event and then will be on my way back to Atlanta bright and early Thursday morning.

I really hope I get to meet up with you this year. Have fun!

About the Author:

Walter Biscardi, Jr. is a 25 year veteran in media production and the Founder of BISCARDI CREATIVE MEDIA, a full service digital media production company near Atlanta, Georgia with services that include Video Production, Sound Production, Sound Mixing, Graphic Design, Animation, Post Production, Video Editing, Color Grading, Finishing, Digital Asset Transfer, Digitizing and Archiving. He’s also the Founder of CONTEMPORARY LIVING NETWORK, a digital lifestyle network coming soon featuring Life Worth Living. He and his team have been a part of many national awards including the Emmy and Peabody. Walter is also a frequent speaker at national industry events and offered training and consulting in the media industry. www.biscardicreative.com www.contemporaryliving.tv



Atlanta Creative Ball Keynote Presenters: Josh and Jason Diamond

Atlanta Creative Ball announces the Keynote Presenters: Filmmakers Josh and Jason Diamond, presented by Blackmagic Design. They'll be chatting about their latest Sesame Street project shot with the BMCC and they'll be joined by Sesame Street editor, Jesse Averna.

October 26th, Atlanta. Raffle already over $20,000 and includes a Blackmagic Cinema Camera among MANY other prizes. Going to be an epic and awesome night!

http://www.atlantacreativeball.com/about/


Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 20, 2013 at 6:28:14 pm Southeast Creative Summit, Post Production

Meet the Southeast Creative Summit Presenters: Scott Simmons

A continuing series to get to know your Southeast Creative Summit Presenters. In this episode: Scott Simmons!



How did you get started as a freelance editor?

I was an assistant editor after film school back in the early 2000s. The advent of Final Cut Pro and affordable Avid software (as well as DV!) gave me the confidence to try freelancing. I freelanced for 7 or 8 years before going on staff at a Nashville post-production house. I stayed as a staff editor for 6 years before returning to freelancing in April of 2013. The ability to assist for several years meant I was able to meet a lot of people and make a lot of mistakes. I was also fortunate to work with a lot of good editors who were happy to teach. Now days I try to do the same.


Can you tell us about a creative challenge you’ve had in an edit recently? How did you overcome it?

Last year I had a series of 30 second spots that supplied nearly 14 hours of footage. Massive amounts of footage isn’t unusual today but this was an unusually large amount of footage for a short edit. Luckily I had an intern available at the time who was able to do some of the initial logging of the footage but for me a large part of the job was logging. I was diligent in logging the footage and using a combination of subclips, notes and comment in the bin, a star rating system and clip colors to to get through it. The properly logged footage meant it was easy to sort and find footage but as I was cutting alone but, more importantly, when the director and agency was in the edit with me.


As a freelancer, you work on all types of projects. How do stay organized when the needs of each project are so different?

I tend to approach all my jobs the same way: First talk with the director and get an idea of the project and what their vision is as well as what they experienced on the shoot. Next it’s watching the footage, organizing the footage and making notes on the footage; all before starting to cut. At that point it doesn’t matter what type of job it is as you’re approaching them all the same. Of course once you start to really build a cut your mindset will probably be different from a music video to a corporate piece to a documentary. But if the editor is organized within the NLE (and maybe on a notepad as well) and familiar with their footage they can easily move between different type of projects. We’re working outside of Hollywood here so it’s often necessary to be able to cut different types of things.


What’s the best advice you’ve been given during your career?

It’s hard to pin down one specific piece as being the best advice I was given but I think one of the most important was the advice to pick something in the film / video / tv profession and focus on doing it to the absolute best of my ability … and that was editing. In today’s world of multi-hyphenates where you have a single person doing everything from pre-production all the way through post-production the dedicated editor seems quite rare. Even with ultra-cheap gear for both production and post I still believe in the collaborative nature of filmmaking and that extra set of eyes and talents that a dedicated editor can bring to a project is of vital importance.


What can people expect from you at the Southeast Creative Summit?

I hope to stuff a lot of good information into my sessions. I tend to talk fast and jump through a lot of topics so I love for people to ask questions if there’s something they miss or if they would like me clarify or expand upon a topic. I love for attendees to ask questions at any time during a session as questions can often lead into something that I might had not thought about or planned on covering. So please … ask questions! While the Southeast Creative Summit sessions aren’t about learning a particular piece of software, I’m an editor who cuts on all the major NLEs so my sessions will touch on all three of the major NLEs.

Sign up for the Southeast Creative Summit and use the code creativecow2013 for $100 off admission. Early Bird runs through Sept 25th and is just $495 with the code! http://www.southeastcreativesummit.com/registration/


Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 20, 2013 at 4:46:23 pm Southeast Creative Summit, Post Production

Southeast Creative Summit #PostChat, Wed. Aug 21. 9-10pm EST

I'll be the featured guest on Wednesday night's #PostChat Twitter discussion and we'll be making some special announcements about the Southeast Creative Summit. If you've been thinking about attending the 3 day event Oct. 25-27 in Atlanta, tune in Wednesday night and save!


Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 19, 2013 at 7:13:20 pm Southeast Creative Summit, Post Production

Meet the Southeast Creative Summit Presenters: Oliver Peters

A continuing series to get to know your Southeast Creative Summit Presenters. In this episode: Oliver Peters!



How did you get started with post-production?

I started in radio during my high school senior year and from there worked at the college radio station and local PBS affiliate. While at the PBS station, I transitioned from audio to videotape operations, which got me the first job after college. That was as an online videotape editor, working on retail commercials in the mid-70s. Except for a few stints in production and management, I’ve generally worked in post ever since. The birth of nonlinear (originally on Avid) allowed me the flexibility to first move into more creative editing, including commercials, TV shows and feature films.


Why is planning for post important?

Planning saves time, money and stress. Not all software, edit facilities and even editors have the same capabilities and/or skills. Doing your homework ahead of time and developing a plan to achieve your goals will not only avoid nasty surprises, but make the process much more enjoyable for everyone.


How do workflow strategies differ between projects of different sizes?

Workflows vary with the size and type of project. Some projects are simple. You can load in the camera media, start cutting and quickly be done. Smaller projects, where one editor does it all, can offer some shortcuts, because the workflow is adjusted for that person’s set-up. Others involve hours and hours of high-res media that really make an offline-online workflow better, because it is less taxing on the hardware. Many projects require collaboration between different resources, such as different editors, colorists and mixers. It helps to understand the workflow so that everyone is on the same page.


What’s the best advice you’ve been given during your career?

Be open to the ideas of others. Listen. Don’t automatically assume that you are the only one with the right answers.


What can people expect from you at the Southeast Creative Summit?

People will pick up tips and ideas that will let them use the software they own more productively and efficiently. They will also learn ways to plan for post, save money and avoid pitfalls – regardless of the type of productions that they work in.

Register for the Southeast Creative Summit before September 25th for just $495 using the discount code: creativecow2013
http://www.southeastcreativesummit.com/registration/


Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 8, 2013 at 2:56:48 am Post Production, FCP

Tips for attending NAB 2013 from a convention veteran...

Once again, springtime is upon us so of course it’s time for the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention. Last year y’all seemed to like the “before you go tips” so my I present the 2013 edition of “Tips from an NAB Veteran to make the best use of your time.”


Ceasars Palace, home of my newly recommend buffet featuring High Road Craft Ice Cream!


Getting to and from the show.

NAB does a great job providing free shuttle transportation to and from the show via many of the hotels along The Strip. Whether you stay in one of these hotels or not, as an attendee, you have access to these busses. So look at the NAB Bus Schedule and pick a hotel nearby to pick up the shuttle, be sure to have your convention badge on you as you generally have to show it to the bus driver to get on.

I tend to take the shuttle busses to the show and then the Las Vegas Monorail from the show depending on what time I’m leaving. Busses can get swamped at the end of the day and while the Monorail costs money, it tends to move more people faster out of the event. I just hop off at the hotel the closest to mine on the way back.


Dress for comfort, especially your feet!

NAB is a big show. Let me rephrase that. NAB is a HUGE SHOW. As in thousands upon thousands of square feet of exhibition space. Let me say that again. NAB IS A MASSIVE SHOW! You may have been to big shows before,but imagine walking through and around 4 football stadiums (US or European) to see everything and that kind of gives you a sense of how large this thing is. In other words, you’re going to be walking….. a lot…… forwards, backwards, up, down and all around.

It cannot be said enough that comfortable shoes are a MUST at this show. I wear running shoes that have fabric that breathes. Women…. how in the heck do you wear heels? I have no idea, yet I see them walking the show floor every year like it’s something they have to do. No, you honestly don’t. Same with the men wearing wingtip business shoes. Why? They are simply not comfortable to walk around 4 football fields or to even stand still for hours at a time. The NAB show floor is not really the place to make a fashion statement so just relax. Remember your feet will swell up standing and walking all day long, keep the shoes comfortable!

For dress, I tend to go with comfortable jeans and t-shirts or short sleeved button down shirts. South Lower, where most of Post Production is housed, can get a little warm on Monday / Tuesday just because of the thousands of bodies in the hall. Check the weather forecasts before you come for nighttime temps, as oftentimes a light sweater or jacket is good at night when the temps drop. While 60 degrees might sound nice and warm with just a T-Shirt, with no sun and a 10-15 mph wind, that light jacket you brought along will feel much better.

Beyond the jeans, the only event I know of that really requires any sort of “dress code” is the annual AJA Party which is held in an exclusive nightclub usually. Other than that, just “come as you are.”


Grant Petty showing me the Cinema Camera last year. My yearly sit down chat with Grant is one of my yearly highlights of the show.


Plan Ahead, Use Reference Points.

A big key is to plan ahead and then prioritize your plan. There is so much to see that it’s easy to get overwhelmed at the show, it’s literally the biggest toy box for all of to play in with everything we’d ever need to make great shows. All the stuff you read about on the internet and in magazines is on display. It’s easy to get caught up spending way too much time on some really super cool toy that you don’t need, can’t afford, would never use, but it’s just so freakin’ cool and before you know it, two hours are gone.

So pick the toys you REALLY want to see, then prioritize them in order of what’s the most important thing you need all the way down to those that would be fun to see, but it wouldn’t matter if you missed them. You will accomplish much more and see those things that will make a difference for you in the next 12 months.

The show floor oftentimes makes no logical sense. Booth numbers that go smoothly from number to number suddenly veer off into nonsense and you stand around saying “Well it should be right here, it’s the next number in sequence.” Fortunately “there’s an app for that.”

If you have a smartphone or tablet download the fabulous NAB Mobile App. I used this for the past few years and it’s awesome. My favorite feature is that you can highlight all the folks you want to visit ahead of time. During the show, the app will show me where I am and where my target destinations are, makes for easy navigation around the show. Well, easier navigation, you’re still going to have those “WTF?” moments when the booth numbers make no logical sense….

Another great way to help with navigation on the show floor and to find your way back to location is to use reference points. Pick a banner, a booth, whatever that has a high sign that you can clearly see to use as a reference point to find your way around. I often use the AJA Video Systems booth and one of the music libraries in South Lower as my reference points for example. I can visually see that point and if I know a booth I’m looking for is in the general area, I can use that to find it.

In particular, use these reference points to find the bathrooms. Small thing I know, but at least in South Hall, they are along the far left and right walls and finding these easily is a good thing. :)


Dinner with a trio of incredible colorists and all around nice guys at Sinatra's in the Wynn Hotel.


Stay tuned for the Sunday announcements.

Many companies presenting at NAB will either have press events or issue press releases on Sunday announcing their latest toys that will be on display in the exhibition halls. Websites such as CreativeCow.net have great news feeds that help you follow along with the almost dizzying array of releases.

Make notes of the releases that are of special interest to you so you’ll know what that company is debuting, locate their booth number, and prepare some questions. Yeah, write your questions down or put them in your phone / tablet because you’ll definitely forget what you were going to ask when you get to the booth. EVERYTHING sounds incredible in the press release, seeing it on the show floor and asking the right questions can get you a better picture of what the toy can and cannot do.

Most of the manufacturers on the show floor are very frank about what their products CAN’T do. They want to make sure the right information gets out and they want you to be a satisfied customer. So don’t just take everything at face value, ask questions!


Monday Morning

You do not have to start lining up at 8:30am to be the very first one into the convention hall. Things do not start disappearing at 9:01am. Every single year, there’s a huge mob of people just lining up outside South Hall waiting to sprint into the convention. You don’t win points for being first. Just relax, grab a cup of coffee or tea at the Starbucks and when the gates open, there will be plenty of room for everyone. The place holds something like 100,000 people, so relax…..


Super cool custom DSLR camera rig we saw at last year's Media Motion Ball.


Limited time to visit? Come later in the week.

If you’ve already made your plans, it might be too late for this, but if you really want to get hands on with equipment and software in the booths and ask questions, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days. Monday and Tuesday the crowds are the largest. Especially Thursday the crowds are always much smaller giving you much better access to the booths.

If you are going to be there all week, my advice is to avoid the “big booths” Monday and make discoveries in the outlying smaller booths in all the halls. Especially lighting and audio always seem to have the smaller crowds and they make great areas to visit, especially Monday all day.

Also take in the outdoor exhibits between South and Central Hall where there are remote production trucks, satellite uplinks and other very cool displays. While you may never have the need for a remote production truck, just walking through one and seeing how they have managed to configure an entire production facility in a very small footprint can certainly give you some ideas for designing your own production space.

In Central Hall I always go in to check out what’s the latest in microphones and field recording because when a show idea comes up, for whatever reason I start thinking about the microphones I saw and how we can use them.

I’ve also found some really cool widgets, software and tools for my work that I never would have found without just strolling “off the beaten path” as it were, such as my incredibly awesome Anthro edit consoles. Not sure where all the aerial platforms are going to be, but there are multiple remote controlled helicopter and multi-rotor companies out there now that provide outstanding platforms to shoot from the air.


Look! Nice comfortable chairs! Sit a while and take in a presentation. Your feet will thank you!


Pace Yourself, stay hydrated.

Unless you are only in Vegas for one day (because your cheap boss wouldn’t spring for at least two days) pace yourself, nothing is going anywhere for four days. It’s not like those stupid 4am day after Thanksgiving sales, there’s nothing that’s going to disappear except maybe some of the free swag that you’ll probably throw away when you get home anyway.

Many of the booths have chairs, small theaters with presentations throughout the day which are great to just sit and take a break for a few minutes. Sit in on some of the presentations that are about the toys you are considering. Sure these are well planned 15 – 30 minute presentations, but watching them can give you a good sense of whether the toy is what you expected it to be. In addition, the presentations allow you to form questions to pose to the folks working these toys in the booth. And there’s that sitting down for 15 – 30 minutes part that’s a good thing for your feet.

And above all stay hydrated, drink lots of water. The air is very dry in Las Vegas and it’s easy to get dehydrated with all the walking around you’re going to be doing. Not just at the convention, walking around the streets of Vegas will wear you out if you don’t stay hydrated. One of my first stops every year is to CVS pharmacy or small shop on the street to pick up a 6 pack of bottled water that I can refill as the week goes on.

Remember that Vegas also uses a lot of forced perspective, so things that appear to be right down the block are actually 1/2 mile or more away. For example what looks like a short walk from New York, New York Casino to Treasure Island is more like a 30 to 45 minute walk up the street.


Places are farther than they appear......


Evening Events.

Many manufacturers and groups have evening and after hours events. These are as simple as meet and greets to the world-renowed AJA VIP party. Some are free and some cost to attend. For the most part they’re fun and these are generally the best place to simply hang and meet up with your peers. You’ll find many of the bloggers, the writers, and folks who post on the various forums and tweet away all year long. And don’t be shy at these events, just walk up and say hello.

Now the same suggestions for the main show, also apply to the evening events. Primarily, pace yourself. There are a LOT of evening events, pick and choose a few, if you don’t make them all, so what? It’s ok. And manage your intake of alcohol. Yes everyone likes to party and have a beer or two, but I’m amazed at the number of folks revert back to frat college days and get completely wasted to the point where you really don’t even want to be around them. As many of the beer companies remind us, “Drink Responsibly.” And at most of these you’re going to do a lot of standing, so again, wear comfortable shoes!


Media 100 buddies from waaaaay back in the early 90's. Avid's Marianna Montague. One of the nicest people in the industry.

My absolute favorite event each year is the Media Motion Ball. It’s a smaller gathering, costs a bit more money because they serve a very nice buffet sit down dinner and is more low key than some of the other larger gatherings. It’s quieter so we can all chat and it’s a very friendly atmosphere. The sponsor tables are also usually in the same room and are very approachable. Often you’ll find the folks from the “big booths” like Blackmagic Design where you can meet more one on one with the product folks than out on the floor.

The biggest event for the Post Production industry is always the SuperMeet. Part carnival, part demonstration, always entertaining. Home of the one of the largest raffles in all of NAB. It’s also a great place to find out if there are any Post Production User Groups in your area as they do a parade of user groups as part of the event. Personally I go for about the first 1/4 to 1/2 of the event spending more time out in the sponsor area as it’s a great place for me to catch up with a lot of my friends and to meet many of you from the CreativeCow, my blog and Twitter.

I got reminded of the Red Giant / Maxon Pinball Party this year and am definitely going to make it there this year. 150 pinball machines with an ice cream truck just sounds like way too much fun to pass up.

Most manufacturers and groups will have events posted on their websites or at the booths so check them out and decide if anything works for you. And if you don’t want to go out and party, then don’t, there are so many great restaurants and food joints all over town, go enjoy yourself at one of those.


I forgot my hard drive, power cord, etc…

The Fashion Show Mall (weird name I know) located near Treasure Island and the Wynn hotel has an Apple Store and other electronics stores that should have whatever you left behind or lost on your way to Las Vegas. Other good stores and a great food court in there as well.

By the way, bring a small power tap or power strip so you can recharge all that electronic gear you need at night.

Beyond the Show, my suggestions for food and fun.

You’re in Las Vegas, there are literally tons of things to do besides gambling. Quite honestly gambling bores me, I used to work in the largest casino in the world and slot machines and such never interested me. I do place one bet each year on the weekend NASCAR race, but beyond that, not much else. So here’s some thoughts beyond the obvious gambling and drinking.

I can’t over emphasize how good the restaurants are both on and off the Strip. Buca de Beppo is wonderful off the strip. Our favorite buffet has been the Spice Market Buffett in Planet Hollywood but this year we’re going to try out the Bacchanal Buffet in Ceasars Palace because it features ice cream from our good friends at High Road Craft.

The best grouping of restaurants in one hotel is the Venetian with Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio being the standout, but there are a lot of great choices in that one hotel including the Grand Lux and an awesome Mexican Cantina. If you go downstairs in the Shoppes at Palazzos you’ll find an absolutely killer Espressamente Illy coffee house / gelato shop. My favorite coffee in Vegas.

One fun thing that presents tons of photo opportunities is the Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in the Venetian Hotel. What makes it so fun is that nothing is behind glass, it’s all out so you can stand and pose with the wax people. It’s silly fun with something like 54 celebrities or so to get your picture with in a walk at your own pace style.

Of the “big shows” in I’ve seen in Vegas, “O” at the Bellagio simply takes the cake for spectacle. I spent as much time enjoying the show as I did marveling at the staging and just trying to figure out what sort of a warped mind can actually create some of this. Simply stunning both creatively and technically.


My 'brother from another mother' Evan Schechtman. Awesome person to bounce ideas with.


The Show is what You Make It.

Simply put, NAB Show is what you make it. You’re around somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 people for a few days. The way you make connections and the way you network is to walk up and say “hello.” That’s how I got to know so many people over the years. I’ve read their blogs, their articles, watched their companies grow, etc…. and when I saw them on the show floor, I just walked over and said “hello” and gave them my card.

Some folks I never heard from again. But those that did reach out have turned into some of the most valuable resources and best friends I could possibly ask for. Networking and meeting new people is the main reason I attend most years. Yeah, Vegas itself gets to be boring when you go every single year, but what keeps me coming back is simply getting the chance to see everyone in one place each year.

So don’t be shy, don’t be rude either, but if you want to say hello to folks, say hello.

There you go, some tips and tricks from a veteran of the Las Vegas NAB Scene. Most importantly have fun. Bring lots and lots of business cards, shake a lot hands and make yourself some new friends you can call upon when need advice. We’ll see you there!


Posted by: walter biscardi on Mar 18, 2013 at 5:55:38 am Production, Post Production

Workflow Update: iMac, Adobe and the "X" Factor

Apple iMacs

As I noted in my previous blog, the iMacs are fast becoming my machine of choice and the newest models are even more impressive than the two we have running. At this time, barring any major announcement from Apple that changes my mind, my plan is to replace the remaining 3 Mac Pros in Edits 1, 3 and 4 with 27" iMacs and AJA T-Taps. Once our original series hits, well I'll need 8 of them for that series alone. I'm looking at the 3.4 Ghz model though I'm not totally sold on the Fusion drive since it's brand new. Kind of disappointed I can't do the SSD Drive + SATA drive like before. I may very well go with the 3TB SATA and wait on a Fusion drive until second generation. For RAM, I'll go back to Other World Computing where 32GB is only $195 vs. $600 via Apple upgrade. I'll definitely step up to the nVidia GeForce 680MX and I'll swap out the wireless keyboard for the full sized keyboard with the number pad. Only looking at $2717 from Apple (including AppleCare) +$200 from Other World computing. Absolutely incredible for all that power plus the beautiful 27" screen.

We've had at least one iMac in production for over 6 months now and they are fast machines. The only place you'll notice them to be a bit slower than the absolute fastest machine is when you go to render. Depending on what you're rendering out, it might take a bit or a lot longer than a 12 - 16 core machine. So we're keeping our two 12 core Mac Pros and simply using those to do heavy lifting renders. When a project is done on the iMac, we can simply open it up on the 12 core and render away. But for news stories and even our documentaries, those are being rendered directly on the iMacs.

I know some folks out there look down on the iMacs because they ARE less powerful than a desktop and they are less configurable. I've seen articles of late showing all you all the technical reasons why you really need to consider more than just processor speed and RAM for maximum performance and that's correct. If you need ONE machine, and you only work with ONE machine in your operation, you probably want a desktop. Something beefy with dual graphics cards, 12-16 cores and gobs of RAM so you can get your work done and rendered as quickly as possible.

In my case, our facility is set up for 9 edit suites (5 currently running) and the potential for some new series coming in the door. For that, I need the best performance vs. cost not only to upgrade all the suites, but also maintain competitive rates vs. other post facilities in the area. I need a bunch of machines that can cut fast and are reliable no matter how much data we throw at them. So far, the iMac is proving more than capable of that and most of all, the clients have not noticed any change in the day to day operation of our shop. Premiere Pro, After Effects and Photoshop all work efficiently on the iMacs and that's about 90% of our work right there.



Adobe Premiere Pro Workflow

Somebody asked me recently to update y'all on our workflow with Adobe Premiere Pro. As I have mentioned in the past, we started right off the bat with An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro and the media management section of that book is THE most important section for any editor to read. That section really set the basis for how we manage the workflow of all the projects.

My biggest concern going into Premiere Pro was the fact that there was no primary codec to work with, it's sort of a free-for-all. Adobe's biggest selling point is "Just worry about creating, we'll handle anything you throw at us natively." And on that they are pretty much accurate. We've only run into one specific codec / computer combination that really threw Premiere Pro for a loop and that was XDCAM Quicktime files on Windows. There's no native XDCAM QT codec for playback on Windows so you need to purchase a plug-in from Calibrated Software to make that work. But even with the plug-in, our Windows machine just chugged when we had to use XDCAM QTs that were delivered to us from shooters in the field. Beyond that single codec / computer combination, it really IS anything goes with Adobe Premiere Pro.

After coming to terms with the fact that Adobe really can handle anything natively, we decided to roll with it. So we will bring all elements into a project natively unless there is a good reason not to. Keep in mind we are an independent Post Production Facility so that means we have zero control over the footage our clients bring us. Adobe Premiere Pro has greatly improved our efficiency in having to deal with whatever the shooters send us and allowing us to get right to work.

The general workflow for a typical project for us, which is usually a news / documentary / episodic is as follows:

All media is first checked by our Media Management Specialist. Kelly manages our media database and organizes all the materials for and upcoming project, including pulling any archived materials we may have including tapes and digital media.

Kelly will then load up all the raw media organized as described in that Editor's Guide book I mentioned earlier. We use a modified version of the folder structure they show in that book but essentially we keep everything organized by how it came in. If a shooter shot three P2 cards, those cards are loaded into the project in their original folder structure since Adobe can read them natively. If we have tapes captured, they are put into their own folder and so on. As much as possible, we try to have Kelly put everything onto the SAN prior to the edit so the editors can start right off by setting up the Project instead of having to pull all the media as well.

The editor will then usually create a Bin for each element in the Project. So those three P2 Cards will come into three Bins with the same names as the P2 cards. Generally the Producers are going to come to us and tell us "Card 2, Shot 2X24Os" so it makes sense to keep the bins organized the same way the Producer logs them. We never re-name the clips, though we may put descriptive information in the metadata or at the very least the Description field. We often color code the clips too for easy timeline identification of what various elements are.

The Editor will also ensure to select "Put Media Cache Files in same location as Media Files" (or something like that) as we run on a SAN. These are the Peak Files that you will see Premiere Pro generate when you import your footage. By putting them with the media files, you can open the project on multiple machines and not have to re-generate the peak files each time. If you have a small project, it's no big deal to regenerate the peak files, but a documentary with 20 - 200 hours of material, well that can take hours.

For the offline editing, we will generally use either a 720p/59.94 or a 1080i/29.97 timeline using the AVC-Intra 100 preset in Premiere Pro. These are two great base timelines to use for high quality editing to output. We'll leave the Video Previews set to MPEG I-Frame for the offline as well. During this phase, the editor will literally edit with everything native, as is with no conversions made. 720, 1080i, 525, 625, 24, 30, 60, 25, 50, MPEG, H264,Internet downloads, etc..... whatever the raw material is, we just throw it into the timeline and edit. This is the biggest strength of Premiere Pro that we simply get the materials into the system and start editing. There's no sense in converting everything if you don't even know what will be in the final cut. BUT we do generally color code things in such a way so that we can identify things that we definitely will want to do conversion on before the final cut, makes it easy to pick those shots out later.

Once we have a "locked cut" (parenthesis because as we all know there never really seems to be a locked cut any more) then we will start cleaning up the materials that need it. We'll use our AJA Kona and IoXTs for example for most of our format conversions. Say we're editing in a 720p/59.94 timeline, we'll take all the 1080i / 29.97 material and run it through the AJA products to make them all 720p/59.94 via hardware. Generally we do this the easy route by just throwing all the 1080i / 29.97 material into a single timeline and just making a single pass rather than do each shot individually. We can always refer back to the original media via a previous cut of the project so it's no big deal to simply have a file called "1080i Converted" in the main timeline. Same goes for SD that has to be upconverted to HD. AJA hardware does a much better job that just Adobe software. Although we are awaiting delivery of a Blackmagic Teranex 2D unit which adds line doubling with SD to HD upconverts so those will be even cleaner. That will also give us PAL-NTSC or vice versa conversion as well.

We do these conversions one of two ways. Play out the timeline from one edit system to another or play out the timeline from one edit system to our AJA Ki Pro which is how we usually do it. Love, love, LOVE the KiPro since it automatically makes a ProRes file for us. If we want a DNxHD file, we can use the KiPro Mini.

At the "locked cut" phase we also switch the Video Previews over to ProRes or DNxHD as these result in far superior renders than the MPEG I-Frame, particularly with fast moving video and graphics.

For sound mixing, we do one of two things currently. For most documentary and all broadcast projects, we'll output an OMF for our ProTools sound designer along with an H264 reference quicktime file. He'll then create a Stereo Mix or a Stereo Mix plus split tracks depending on the broadcast requirements.

Or the editor will simply mix in Adobe Premiere Pro if it's a project that doesn't require or have the budget for full sound design. Right now that's a bit clunky since we can't use the audio mixer for the mix. Well, we COULD if it truly WAS a locked cut. But the Audio Mixer in Premiere Pro is a TRACK based audio mixer, so all keyframes created by the audio mixer are created by track position. Not by clip. So when our client inevitably comes back to us with a "minor change" that results in changing out 5 clips, trimming another and adding a sound bite, well our mix would be completely screwed. All the keyframes would NOT move with the changes, they simply stay locked into place on the track. So it's a bit of a painstaking process at first, but you learn to pick up the speed as you do it more, but we mix the timelines per clip. Fortunately, you can make Gain and Volume adjustments across multiple clips so it's not as bad as it sounds.

The biggest pain in general is that for whatever reason when using a Wacom Tablet, Premiere Pro does not accurately read the input from the tablet so the keyframes and any other paramaters you try to set in the timeline will jump up/down/left/right as if snapping is always enabled. This doesn't happen with a mouse thankfully so we'll use a mouse when we have to do a long mix.

For color grading we still export a self contained QT from Premiere Pro, either ProRes or DNxHD, to Resolve. I'm going to finally use Resolve 9 this coming week on a short project to test it out. In Resolve I simply use Scene Detect to cut up the file and grade away. From Resolve it's a rendered QT, either ProRes or DNxHD again, to send back into Premiere Pro.

For file output we'll use Adobe Media Endoder as it works really well and can output multiple files easily.

For tape output, we use our one system that has a BlackMagic Extreme 3D card in it that can lay to tape frame accurately each time. MUST ensure that the Premiere Pro interface is on a single screen or there will be dropped frames. Simple go to the Windows > Workspace and choose "Editing." That brings the entire interface to a single screen.



Premiere Pro caveats

Tape Capturing is still completely useless in the software so we still break out FCP 7 pretty much exclusively for that operation. We do a lot documentary and news style work so we're always pulling materials from tape. It's still an essential part of our workflow so instead of trying to force Premiere Pro to do something it really can't, we just switch to a tool that can. Works well as we usually have Kelly do the capturing on a dedicated system so the edit suites aren't tied up capturing.

The biggest issue we've run into are project that files that come up as corrupted or missing elements and cannot be opened. Seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why this happens. Projects from 9 months ago, 6 months ago, last week. They just suddenly won't open on any of our systems. With the work we do and the clients we work with, we're constantly opening projects from as far back as 5 years ago to revise, repurpose, and pull elements from. We can go back into our FCP projects from 10 years ago and open pretty much all of them without a problem. This is something I've been VERY vocal to Adobe about and I have every confidence they are addressing this very important issue. Fortunately there is a very easy workaround. Simply create New Project and import the "corrupted" project into that. Continue working.



Premiere Pro moving forward

The tool has become the workhorse at our facility. It's a great storytelling tool and I'm finding that my rough cuts are going so much faster than with FCP. The hoverscrub in the bins is so fast for auditioning shots and while I'm still using the FCP keyboard presets, one of my editors has switched completely over to the Adobe presets because once you get used to them, you can fly even faster. I definitely need to get up to speed on all the keyboard editing / trimming. That's what folks love Avid so much for, but PPro has made major gains with these controls in 6.0 and I'm sure it's just going to get better moving forward.

So right now, I'm very happy with where Premiere Pro is today and where it's poised to move going forward. It's not perfect, but it's a solid tool and a great storytelling device. The tight integration of the entire Adobe Suite also makes life really easy when we get to the finishing process of any project.



Final Cut Pro X

I've had a lot of folks asking me if I'm considering re-introducing FCP based on the most recent updates from Apple. Here's the way I look at X today.

If you're using FCPX right now, you should be really happy with what Apple's doing. You're getting more features back into the tool and they should be making your day to day work more efficient.

For me, I see no reason to switch back to FCP. It's amusing to see Apple touting the "new features" such as Drop Shadow and the Dual display. In my mind, those are simply corrections and an admission from Apple that X was released before it was ready for prime time. In the interim, we've switched off to other NLE platforms and in my mind, both Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid are superior to what FCP X is today and certainly superior to what FCP 7 was back in the day. There are certainly some good concepts in X but as a whole package, it falls short of my needs today.

I never say never, and if a client were to come in tomorrow and demand we use X for a project, we'll use it, we have it in the shop. But as far as the tool of choice, there's nothing in X today that makes me remotely consider swapping out Premiere Pro for X as our primary or even secondary tool. There's also something to be said for looking at companies whose main source of profit comes from really good professional software vs. consumer hardware. When software is a loss leader or a minor portion of your profit margin, you can do more what you want to do vs. what the market is asking for.

Adobe, Avid and Autodesk are all actively reaching out to the professional editing community to make their products better and more accessible. I appreciate that.


And with that, the end of this installment. Hope it's helpful and thanks for all your support through the years!





Posted by: walter biscardi on Dec 10, 2012 at 3:17:57 pmComments (4) Editing, Post Production

Forget the Future, Plan for Now

I made a comment at this past week’s Atlanta Cutters meeting that surprised many of those in attendance. It was something along the lines of “I’m anticipating our Avid’s will be a one year solution to our editing workflow and then we’ll see where we are next year.” In other words, Avid meets our broadcast needs today so that’s the horse we’re going to ride right now for our broadcast work. For some of our non-broadcast work, we’ll go with Premiere Pro CS6. When Smoke 2013 is available, we’ll see how that fits into our workflow.

Software has gotten to the point where pretty much any NLE tool on the market is now accessible and the Return On Investment can be had in a single job. So while I wouldn’t call the software “disposable” I would certainly call it affordable and wise to load up the toolbox while the gettin’ is good.

We’re fortunate to be in a position where we’ve been able to test both Adobe and Avid products for a while now. Adobe has made tremendous strides forward with CS6 but there are still areas that we would like to see addressed, particularly under the hood and some core edit functions, so I’m looking ahead to 2013 for a potential more widespread rollout of Premiere Pro in our workflow. Of course, we had no idea Autodesk was going to drop this new, more edit friendly, version of Smoke on us and I’m already giving them feedback on where I’d like that product to go in the next 12 months. Depending on where they go, I can also see a more widespread rollout of Smoke in our workflow in 2013.

But this is 2012 and I’m not going to stand still on Final Cut Pro 7 and just wait to see where both products are next year. That’s just another year of using an old, increasingly slower edit workflow and right now, Final Cut Pro X doesn’t work for us. Right now, today, Avid works for our broadcast editorial needs and so right now, that’s the tool I invested in and our editors are quite happy with the Symphony packages that have been installed across the facility this week. At $999 each they will pay for themselves in one episode of our current series. They were supposed to be Media Composers, but I saved $2500 across the 5 licenses buying Symphonies instead with that incredible cross-grade offer. When we need more licenses of the product this year, they will be Media Composers moving forward because they won’t be cross-grades any longer.

So stop agonizing and trying to pick “that perfect NLE” that will serve you today and for the next three years because quite honestly things are changing quite rapidly. In fact you shouldn’t even have just one NLE on your system. At the very least every single editor should have Premiere Pro and Avid on your systems so you can work with anyone out there. You’re also going to find that each tool is better suited for some tasks. Premiere Pro’s core strength is the “any format native editing” and the interchange with its entire suite. Avid’s core strength is the tremendous media management for large products and fast keyboard based editing. Your skill set will translate quite nicely between Avid and Premiere Pro so you should be able to move pretty easily between the two apps. Smoke 2013 was designed to be used by Avid and Premiere Pro editors so that should be fairly easy as well.

Heck keep in mind you might not even be on the same hardware platform next year. So many traditional Apple hardware users are discovering that PC workstations are as good as and oftentimes better than their Mac counterparts.

So look at your needs today, right now. What tool(s) do you need, or want, to get your work done for the next 12 months? Plan for that. Next year if something else comes along and meets your needs better, don’t gripe that your current tool isn’t as good, hasn’t kept up, blah blah blah. Just get the new tool added to your toolbox and keep on keepin’ on.

In the long run, a suite of tools and expanding your toolset knowledge is going to benefit you better than just hanging onto something familiar because it’s something you’ve used for a year. Or longer. My two cents.


Posted by: walter biscardi on Apr 28, 2012 at 10:27:49 amComments (2) NLE, Post Production

NAB 2012 Notes and Musings from Day One

Some quick notes from a very VERY long day, need to get some rest so I can repeat this all again tomorrow. Some of this is third hand as I spent the day working with the fine folks from the Small Tree Communications booth so I have not had a chance to walk the show floor and see many products personally yet ....

Opening Bell Winner

In South Hall it appears that BlackMagic Design kicked off the day in high frenzy thanks to the announcement of their Digital Cinema Camera, a 2.5k camera that retails for $2995 and includes Davinci Resolve and the UltraScope. As one person as the Media Motion Ball commented tonight, “Why would you buy Resolve? Just buy the camera for a little more and get Resolve included.” Honestly not a bad idea.

Speaking of Resolve, that rolled out with a new 9.0 interface that got rave reviews from all those I talked to. Around 1pm I got the opportunity to have my annual chat with BMD’s founder Grant Petty. Our annual chat is actually one of the high points for me each year at NAB and I’m really thankful we had the opportunity today with all the madness around that camera.

Of course I had to ask, “why in the world would you want to enter the camera market when it’s so saturated?” As a Post Production artist, I’m honestly getting sick and tired of 20 new cameras with 15 new formats each year and then we have to figure out how to make those codecs work in Post. That’s precisely what Grant was thinking too when he made this thing. See he was thinking backwards designing a low cost, high quality image camera that would be friendly on the Post side. Literally by thinking of the codecs first (ProRes / DNxHD) that are ready to edit, then working on a happy medium between high quality image and price point. He settled on 2.5k image size because that scales down to standard HD beautifully. The idea is really to push the camera manufacturers off the idea that a high quality image always has to cost high dollar and always has to include some sort of codec that easier for the camera manufacturers than the Post process. I have to say, that’s a very clever idea. The camera itself also has a cool retro feel to it, reminding me of an classic Polaroid camera from the outside. I liked it.

On Resolve he’s quite proud of his design team for really re-working the interface to make it more accessible. On Teranex, I can see he’s been quite hands on with making design changes to their products to make them more elegant and user friendly. He’s been quite impressed with the entire engineering team on how quickly they are progressing on the changes. The Teranex product line was a complete stroke of genius on his part to roll into the company. Thunderbolt is definitely huge with a whole line of UltraStudio variations

It’s incredible to see where he’s taken the company from its humble beginnings with capture cards into a company that has inroads into almost all areas of production and post. We actually had to laugh because all these years later, he’s still doing the same thing with the UltraStudios and such. Still figuring out better ways to let the end user have a good I/O experience. Definitely swing by and check out this booth as there are just too many products to mention.


Small Tree Communications

Finally got the chance to see the long awaited “Titanium” all in one shared storage solution from Small Tree as I worked in that booth all day. This is a single box that includes the computer, the storage and ethernet ports for shared storage. In other words, it does away with the Computer and Ethernet Switch and brings it all into a single box. It’s available in 16 and 8 drive configurations and easily expandable. It’s kick ass to say the least.

In addition, they were showing some nice Shared Ethernet over Thunderbolt with two thunderbolt expansion chassis. Small Tree 10gig Ethernet cards inside expansion chassis connected to either an iMac or a MacBook Pro allowing for higher speed editing such as uncompressed HD. Very cool. I’ll be there again most of the day Tuesday, so come on by and say hello!


AJA

At the Media Motion Ball AJA showed off the product I actually asked for two weeks ago and was greeted with a “we’ll consider that.” The T-Tap thunderbolt to video output for just $249. SDI and HDMI output via thunderbolt. Very simply output only device for any situation where you don’t need ingest, just output. In my case as I develop my new infrastructure around iMacs, I honestly don’t need I/O on every system all the time. So for 5 edit suites, I’ll purchase two Io XT’s and three T-Taps. If someone needs to ingest, just move the IoXT into that room and put the T-Tap into the other room. So everyone is always outputting to the monitors, and I can save some money by not installing ingest products where they are not needed all the time.

Also some nice additions to the Ki Pro lineup with the Ki Pro Rack with dual record hard drives and the Ki Pro Quad which can record 4k in the field. Definitely a booth worth seeking out.


Editing Platforms

From all accounts the Adobe, Autodesk and Avid booths were jammin’ all day. Scores of folks came down to the Small Tree booth after watching demos of Autodesk Smoke truly blown away by what they saw. “It lives up to the hype” “You were right” were the two comments I heard the most all day. Biggest questions raised were whether Autodesk will port Smoke 2013 to Windows and when will they start supporting the rest of the installed 3rd party infrastructure like BlackMagic and Matrox. Definitely hoping that’s forthcoming as that will open the product up to the entire FCP installed ecosystem. Will be making an appearance on the Autodesk stage Tuesday at 2:30pm with Evan Schechtman. You can watch it stream here, it should be most amusing.

Adobe CS6 was met with a lot of very positive response by many who came by. Some had the same questions we raised during the CS6 testing, but overall, it’s a major step forward from the Adobe team. I got a lot of folks asking if should have waited until we saw CS6 before making the decision to switch to Avid, but as we had been testing CS6 for months, our decision was based on CS6 vs. Avid MC6. I’ll discuss in more detail next week.

Avid Symphony is my pick for “Deal of the Show.” How can you not benefit from purchasing this for your facility at just a $999 cross-grade special? And this is VERY limited so don’t wait too long. I firmly believe that any editor today should have both Avid and the Adobe suite on their editing system.

The elephant in the room that in Final Cut Pro X is having mostly a negative reaction among those I spoke to both on the show floor and tonight at the Media Motion Ball. Quite honestly most professional editors I spoke to are just “done with Apple.” Apple released exactly the product they wanted to a year ago, with a workflow that suited them with just enough features that suited them. One year later, the announcements today were greeted with, “that’s not a major release, just Apple trying to put back enough features to appease professional editors.” The general sense is folks are just tired of Apple’s games. There’s also a large segment that is tired of the “fanboys” who have the ulterior motive of needing a healthy Final Cut Pro X user base to make money for their own product lines. Particularly from those who don’t actually edit for a living.

Now I said the response I'm hearing has been “mostly negative.” One set of folks said they were willing to give Apple a second chance based on what they are seeing and hearing from Apple. I definitely plan to stay in touch with them to see how they move forward as they are a rather large installation and it’ll be interesting to see if they make it work. And of course in our Atlanta Cutters group, we’re trying to get the folks from TNT’s “Leverage” to come in and show us their X workflow for that original series.

It’s been so interesting to watch how a product that was so dominant is now hardly mentioned while Avid, Autodesk and Adobe reap the windfall of thousands up thousands of seats switching not only over to their products, but folks like me now considering PC machines to replace existing Mac Pros.


Flanders Scientific

Folks continue to thank me for introducing them to the name Flanders Scientific and their lineup of incredible monitors. If you have not seen the 2461W model yet, definitely check them out in the back of South Hall Lower.


Media Motion Ball

As usual an excellent event where I got to say hello to so many folks I know and meet so many for the first time. Had some audio issues where the sound system was very quiet and the audience was quite loud. Made for difficulty hearing the presenters, particularly in the early part of the event. But as usual, the food was excellent, the company at our table was excellent and new Red Giant Films short was hilarious.

This is definitely a “family reunion” type of event for me getting to see Scott Simmons, Shane Ross, Alexis Van Hurkman, Robbie Carmen, Dan Berube, Kevin Monahan and so many others. Then meeting fellow “Cows” like Walter Soyka and Patrick Inhofer to put the faces with the names.

Had a great time chatting with the folks from BlackMagic Design and Flanders Scientific along with the Avid folks. Since this is a smaller event, you can really get one on one time with these folks and ask a lot of questions, or get in a good joke.

This remains my favorite event at NAB and you really should sign up early next year as it will sell out since it’s a much smaller event than the big SuperMeet.


Adobe Event

A very nice event, another “reunion of sorts” seeing folks I haven’t seen in a year and met up with some great folks from A Frame. Cloud based workflow for television and film that’s already been used for some major projects. I definitely intend to check them out in the North Hall to see how all of this works as this may be a great workflow for some original series and documentary projects we have coming up. They have a very editorial driven product.

And with that, I’m going to wrap it up. It’s almost 1am local time and I have to be up early again tomorrow to hit work the booth. Hopefully this wasn’t too rambling.....


Posted by: walter biscardi on Apr 17, 2012 at 1:04:24 am Post Production, Autodesk Smoke

"Smoke is Changing" is NOT a Marketing Slogan

Just got a sneak peek at the new Autodesk Smoke. WOW is all I'm allowed to say so let me say it again. WOW!

Avid and Adobe might have gotten the party started but the discussion about Post Production will really begin on Sunday. For once, the actual product is going to live up to the hype. Smoke IS changing and this is one company that really REALLY listened. I

www.smokeischanging.com to sign up for the event.

If you won't be there on Sunday and are coming to NAB, put the Autodesk booth to the top of your list.

One more time. WOW!


Posted by: walter biscardi on Apr 12, 2012 at 2:34:05 pmComments (21) Post Production

Apple OS X Mountain Lion - How might this enhance our creative workflows?



Apple has recently announced that a new OS is already on the horizon for the Mac, OS X Mountain Lion. If you watch the overview video on the website, it does a nice job of presenting the basic features of the OS and how it draws a lot of features from the iOS devices. I’ve seen a couple of early articles that make a big deal out of the fact that that new name is just OS X, not Mac OS X. I honestly don’t care about the name, I think this is more about Apple recognizing that OS X Lion was not quite ready for prime time and instead of updating it, they’re replacing it with a new OS.

But after watching the video overview, I am very intrigued by how easily it shares information with the iOS devices.

Right now it is pretty easy to share information from your iPad / iPhone apps in the form of emails and PDFs for the most part. As in, you create a document or a drawing or information on your iDevice and then send it to someone on a Mac as a PDF, JPEG or email to share. But for many iOS apps, you can’t share the original document to be edited with the same or similar app on the Mac laptop / desktop. There’s usually a workaround that you “bring the file into this other app on your computer, make the changes, then you can send it back to the iPad where our app will read it.”

But if Mountain Lion is going to be bringing iOS elements to the desktop / laptop realm, this can open up exciting possibilities for the creative professional. Will it soon be possible for…

A) Much tighter integration between iOS Apps and Mac Desktop / Laptop apps?

B) iOS Apps to be able to run on a Mac Desktop or Laptop?



Let’s start with A)

If you watch the video on Apple’s site, the answer to the first question is a resounding “Yes.” Sure these are some simple tasks and everything shown revolves around Apple apps or games. But it does make me wonder about professional apps.

We know that Adobe and Avid already have iOS apps. And there are some professional apps on the desktop / laptop that allow you to control them via an iDevice. But what if you could interact with another creative artist from anywhere via your iOS device or vice versa?

I’m working with an After Effects artist and I need to see their comp to work out a timing issue, I pull up the Adobe Interface app on my iPad, log in to their computer and their comp opens up. I simply click on an area of the interface and that goes full screen on my iPad so I can inspect and work with that area. The changes are happening in realtime on the artist’s computer.

I meet my client for lunch to review a project and I leave my Avid timeline up on my primary computer back at my office. At the restaurant I pull up the Avid timeline on my iPad and we have a full project review while eating, even creating a new timeline and revisions before dessert. When I get back to the shop, all of my changes are there waiting for me. Reversely as I’m on the way to meet the client I realize I forgot to change out the credit roll, I call the shop and ask one of my editors to make the change for me. As our lunch starts, the project I open on my iPad has been revised with the new credit roll.

How about an application that makes proxy files in the field of your entire shoot allowing you to do a complete rough cut on your iDevice which then opens up in the application of your choice back at the shop. Sure the iPad or iPhone might be a little small to work with, but add the Airplay option and you can work on a larger screen.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Give the pro developers enough time and we could eventually move towards seamless integration between the “computers” and “iDevices” allowing near realtime collaboration for artists no matter what software / task they are trying to accomplish.


Now to B)

Thanks to the incredible Prolost Blog, I found the great storyboarding app for the iPad, Penultimate. And while you’re there reading that article, be sure to check out the rest of his blog for lots of incredible tips, I’m very jealous and will have to start writing more, but I digress…

This is an awesome storyboard app that really plays to the strength of what the iPad is all about. Instead of sketching on paper or having to use a full blown graphics app like Photoshop, I can very easily and quickly do thumbnail sketches of what we’re going to shoot. We can erase and make changes on the fly right there on set.

Now I can share those sketches via PDF files to anyone, but it would be so awesome if Penultimate was also available on my Mac. I’m the field with my crew and there’s a question on the upcoming shot. The DP doesn’t remember the scene being described that way, he thought the camera was going to move completely differently with a wider angle. So I send the storyboard sketches to the Executive Producer who opens them up on their laptop, changes the sketches and then pushes them back up via iCloud. This takes a matter of minutes and we’re done because we’re using the original files and not PDF shares that we have to talk about, I make the changes on my end, send the changes for review, etc….. If we can both use the exact same app, things just move faster.

There are a lot of very useful apps on the iDevices that would be even more useful with allowing instant collaboration between them and “computers.” Yes there are many apps that can interchange with computer based software, but wouldn’t it just be easier if you can just work in that exact same app across the board? Scripting, logging, TimeCode readers, etc…. Movie*Slate comes to mind. It does make very nice PDF and HTML files to share across multiple users, but if I could open that same app on a computer, I could go back in and very easily enhance the quick logs on another computer and output them once instead of bringing the logs into Pages, reformatting them and then typing.

So while others might be concerned, for whatever reason, that “Mac” was dropped from the OS X name, I’m very intrigued to see how this new merging of the portable and desktop based OS will make our future workflows more efficient and even more portable than they are today.

Of course there’s always the flip side where one has to wonder how the merging of iOS and OS X will affect the professional applications we all know and love today…..


Posted by: walter biscardi on Feb 20, 2012 at 5:53:52 am Post Production, OS

Why you do not want to miss the August Atlanta Cutters Meeting.

Ok, so Digital Asset Management is the topic. Some of you might be thinking “well that’s not nearly as sexy as having the ‘four A’s’ on stage at the same time like you did last month.” No, quite honestly it’s not but if anything, this month is even MORE important to the stability and longevity of your work. Whether you shoot / edit tape or digital cards, we are in a digital world and how you protect those digital assets for the long haul will literally make or break you.

As many of you know, I’ve been a forum host on the CreativeCow.net communities since 2001. If I had to pick ONE topic that comes up more than any other, year in, year out, it’s storage. In fact I believe I’ve tested and reviewed more storage products than anything else in the 10 years I’ve been writing for the Cow.

Post always starts off with, “I’m about to start a new project / build a new system / open a new facility and I’m just not sure what storage to buy.” There are literally hundreds of storage combinations out there these days, it’s a veritable alphabet soup of FW, eSATA, USB, SAS, iSCSI, FibreChannel, Ethernet, Thunderbolt and so on. 1TB, 2TB, 3TB spinning platter drives plus Solid State Drives with no moving parts. RAIDS that go from 2TB to 100TB and more. RAID 0, 1, 3, 5, 6, 10 hut one, hut two, hike! It always amazes me just how many people really don’t understand what any of this means, but they just go along with what someone else tells them is the best option.

You are going to have a very rare opportunity to meet the guy who in my opinion is simply the most knowledgeable person in the industry who not only understands the inner workings of that entire alphabet soup above, but also understands how to explain it to all of us. Steve Modica from Small Tree Communications is one of those guys who is a rarity in that he understands the inner workings of many of the computer models we all use and how best to pair up the right storage solution to give that particular system / facility the best performance. He just gets it and I’m so thrilled he’s going to be there.

He’s going to give a presentation that should help all of you better understand all of the various elements of the alphabet soup. From there you should be able to make very informed decisions moving forward as to what will be your best option for storage for your systems, from video editing to sound design to graphics and animation. This is not a sales pitch for Small Tree, this is going to be your opportunity to get that basic knowledge that you never get from a sales rep or an online forum or that latest email blast. In the long run, having the right knowledge before you purchase any storage system will end up giving you the best bang for your buck.

Now if you’ve been in the industry for even a little while, you’ve heard the name Quantum. They’ve been doing long term archiving since before it was cool. Everyone I’ve ever asked about fail safe, long term storage always points to Quantum and LTO. Now I know LTO is a tape based archive format, but that’s about the extent of my personal knowledge and quite honestly I really don’t know of any other options. Once again, this is going to be a GREAT opportunity to learn about long term archiving and what options are out there these days. Where is the archive industry headed moving forward?

Do you shoot with digital media these days? Are you absolutely, 100% certain that you will able to access your material 2, 5, 10, 20 years from now if you needed a shot for a project or needed to bring an entire project back? Remember, if you’re archiving camera originals, that’s it. Your shots are entrusted to the digital ether, either you protect correctly or it’s gone.

How many of you have have had a hard drive fail? Raise your hands, I’ve got mine up. It’s a fact of life, hard drive DIE. Often without warning and ALWAYS at the wrong time. This 2nd meeting will go a long ways towards giving you some great strategies and options to not only give you peace of mind for your main working environment, but also for the long term health of all those digital assets you’ve accumulated and will continue to accumulate moving forward. I’m actually really excited to have Quantum presenting because I really need to get up to speed on what the latest options are for archiving.

Beyond all of this we have two great presentations from Founding Members of the Atlanta Cutters.

Kris Merkel will do a DSLR Best Practices Workflow. Who doesn’t like playing around with the DSLR cameras these days, but how you handle the data can be the difference between losing information and safely protecting it for future use. This demo cuts across all NLE workflows.

Clay Asbury will kick off the 2nd half of the meeting with some Adobe Tips and Tricks from the Production Premium suite. He’s a certified Adobe Trainer and this will be the first in our series of quick tips and tricks for each meeting.

So sign up today as this is one of those rare opportunities to gain a wealth of knowledge in one of the most important aspects of all of our businesses. Protect yours and your client’s assets, you keep happy clients and grow your business. Oh and don’t forget, we have awesome food from Endive Catering so if nothing else, you’re gonna have a great dinner!

See you next week!

Register here today! Seating is limited.


Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 16, 2011 at 6:43:04 pmComments (3) User Group, Post Production

Registration now open: Biscardi Creative Media Open House, March 5

Well I've been blogging about the new facility for the past six months. Now I am very pleased to announce our Open House Event!

Saturday March 5th. More details to be announced as we finalize everything, but one of the exciting things I CAN tell you is that we will be featuring a showcase with many of the companies I love. You hear me talk about the Panasonic cameras, Canon 5D and lenses, the Flanders Scientific monitors, AJA Kona and converters, Maxx Digital Final Share SAN, Small Tree servers, TapeOnline’s incredible service and the folks who supply us with all our gear and more, the WH Platts company.

Well, you will be able to meet some of the folks behind these companies, see and learn about their gear and have the opportunity to ask as many questions as you want. We are setting up a product showcase, a mini tradeshow if you will, and so far, all these fine companies I’ve mentioned are scheduled to participate.

I’m so excited all of these folks are going to be there to join us in the celebration and I can't thank them enough. So you will have an opportunity to not only tour our fun new facility, you’ll get a chance to check out some new gear and services too!

Registration is now open on the Open House page of our website. Check out the details, then scroll down to the bottom of the page to register.

http://www.biscardicreative.com/Biscardi_Creative_Media_-_Bringing_Art_to_D...

Thanks so much and as always we thank you very much for your support of our dreams!



Posted by: walter biscardi on Jan 12, 2011 at 5:50:18 pm Final Cut Pro, Post Production

Davinci Resolve and Apple Color: Which is Better?

I've been getting quite a few emails from folks asking a lot of questions about Davinci Resolve and Apple Color. Specifically, "which one is better?" That's a loaded question for a number of reasons, but not the least of which is, they're both just tools. Neither will make you a better colorist just because you have it. That takes the skill of the operator and taking the time to learn the craft.

Davinci has long been the standard in color enhancement for film and television upon which all other tools are measured. Name a feature film and it most likely was finished on a Davinci workstation. But for the longest time, it was really the only tool in town for film so naturally it became the defacto standard. Kind of like Avid when it first came on the scene as a Non Linear Editor. To this day, all NLE's are still compared to Avid because they are still considered the standard editing tool to judge against all other tools.

Color started out as Final Touch by a company called Silicon Color that was a lower cost competitor to Davinci. They really got noticed by the Final Cut Pro and NLE editors by offering support for grading with Quicktime files, something Davinci didn't support at the time. Suddenly people like me could spend $5,000 for Final Touch HD and have essentially the "power of Davinci color enhancement" on my Mac Desktop.

The big difference between the two products of course was realtime vs. rendering. Davinci did all color enhancement in realtime, no rendering, straight back out to tape. Final Touch required the user to render all files and then send back to the NLE for final output. Of course the other difference was the price. $5,000 for Final Touch HD vs. six figures for Davinci.

Then Apple purchased Silicon Color and Blackmagic Design purchased Davinci. Today we're sitting here with two absolutely incredible color enhancement tools available for use on our Mac Desktop and, yes, even the MacBook Pro. So now what do we do? Which tool is better. Short answer? Neither.

Which one is better depends on your particular application and how you like to work. If you work with Avid or Adobe Premiere, well then right now Resolve is your best choice because it has an easier workflow to / from the application because it's a third party app, not a proprietary Apple app. If you work with Final Cut Pro, well then you can go either way.

Color works with traditional color wheels and rooms. Resolve works with curves and nodes. Color can operate very well with just a mouse and a keyboard. Resolve requires a control surface such as a Tangent Wave panel to work efficiently. Color has a ColorFX room that can utilize third party plug-ins. Resolve does not have an FX room. Color has a one point motion tracker. Resolve has a motion tracker I have termed "Ludicrous Tracker" (look up "Spaceballs The Movie") because it's just ridiculously good. Color uses an XML workflow that supports speed changes, graphics and multiple video tracks from FCP. Resolve currently uses EDL and AAF using a single video track only. Resolve has better controls over Luminance and the Node architecture can make it easier to alter a scene after it's been graded. And the comparison list goes on and on....

I can create the same look on both Apple Color and Davinci Resolve. Well for that matter, I can create the same or similar looks using the Apple 3-Way Color Corrector or Magic Bullet Colorista II. Prior to getting Final Touch I graded many broadcast television shows using only the 3-Way CC and we continue to use both Colorista and Colorista II to grade projects as well. So you see, everything is just a tool.

In fact as I've been testing Resolve it has only shown me just how good Color really is. People amuse me by saying things like "Well now that Resolve it out, we don't have to use that wannabe Color." These folks need to feel superior so they put down a product that is a world class color correction tool just because "it's not Davinci." Well, go on and keep feeling superior and we'll just keep turning out happy clients and happy QC network engineers with our little ol' Apple Color.

Now at $999 why would you NOT put Resolve in your toolbox? BMD is giving anyone with a Mac the opportunity to have the same toolset available that has been used on thousands of feature films and broadcast television shows. This is a no brainer for me and we are adding it to our facility. Adding Resolve to our toolset just gives us one more option in post production. If we used it for nothing but the motion tracker alone, it would be worth the $999. But of course, it's much more than just that. Kudos to BMD for opening up the tool to everyone.

So the long and short of it is, a tool is just a tool. How good it is depends on your ability to operate it and, more importantly, to understand the craft that is associated with that tool. But at $999 it's also a no brainer to add Resolve to your toolkit if you have the funds for it and a control surface.....


Posted by: walter biscardi on Sep 15, 2010 at 4:14:05 amComments (30) color grading, post production

Looking ahead to our new Facility

A lot of folks have been asking me about this and a recent post on my Twitter feed reminded me to go ahead and update you folks on some of what we plan to have in the new facility.

Well first off, still running Apple's Final Cut Pro. At the moment it still serves our needs however the next version of FCP will be the "make or break" for me. I'll have to see some significant improvements in the realtime functionality and ability to work in more formats natively to stick with the platform. Apple's own H.264 which is the backbone of most DSLR formats is not even supported in their own editing software. That's pretty bad. Avid now works pretty much instantly with any MXF format, goodbye Log and Transfer. So I'd like to see FCP start offering up more of these types of features. Yep, it's still the most bang for your buck, especially when you put together the entire suite of apps for $999, but efficiency is the name of the game as we move into an all digital / non tape acquisition world. Converting all these formats just because Final Cut Pro can't work with them will leave it in the dust.

All of our reference monitors will be Flanders Scientific. If you read my blog often, you know exactly why. They are the best monitors I've seen in this and higher price points. They have some of the best tech support / customer service in the business. And the entire gang are some of the nicest people you will meet, period. Our shop will have a mix of the 1760W, 1770W, 2450W, 2460W and 2470W. We already own some 1760, 1770 and 2450 monitors. The 2460's are the newer versions of the 24" 8bit monitors. One 2470W will be housed in the Client Theater / Color Enhancement / Sound Design suite as that's the only room I can really justify the full 10bit monitor being installed.

Since I just mentioned the Client Theater, the plan calls for a 65" Panasonic Pro Plasma screen and a drop down projection screen for client viewing. The projector will be the Panasonic PT-5100U DLP Projector. Not sure on the screen size yet as we'll order that after we have the exact throw from the projector lens to where the screen will hit. I expect it to be somewhere between 7 and 15 feet across. No sense ordering that until the room is essentially completed. The projector will allow us to really do some nice DI work for films and features. Two computer units will be used in this room, one will run Apple Color and the second will run ProTools and DaVinci Resolve. Why two computers? Well Apple doesn't recommend running two graphics cards in a Color machine and DaVinci uses nVidia Graphics cards while Color uses ATI graphics cards. Easier just to separate the two softwares. Why put both Color and Resolve in the room? Well that's easy. Color is included with Studio so why not? At the moment it has the easy workflow from / to FCP with the XML transfer while Resolve will require EDL workflow to / from FCP. Both software utilize the Tangent Wave Control Surface which we already own so that makes the panel more versatile. Sound will be provided by a Genelec 5.1 surround sound package with the exact models to be determined. My good friend Patrick Belden is working with Atlanta Pro Audio to configure the system to be something that works within my current budget and can be easily expanded as we grow. I'll be honest, we're not a sound design company, but with the space we have in this facility, we went ahead and designed the color enhancement room so it can also serve as an outstanding sound design suite. We'll bring in incredible audio engineers like Patrick to do full 5.1 mixes for film, television and gaming. Yeah gaming, I can't wait to see that! More on that in a future blog.

The edit suites will all be outfitted with Anthro Fit Consoles on which we usually add the Outboard Shelves for added desk space and the Standard Swing Arms to hold the computer and FSI monitors. The thing I REALLY love about these units is we can stand up to work and that really does make a difference in the day. Especially after lunch I like to stand up for a few hours to work. Makes me feel better by the end of the day. KRK Rokit 5 are my audio monitors of choice in the suites. Good flat response with just enough bass to give you a very good representation of what the audio will sound like when it gets home. The suites aren't going to be huge, but they will be plenty comfortable for the editor and a client or two in there. If we need to host a bunch of folks, we'll move them into the Client Theater for viewing. Clients will have a small desk as well for laptops and such, probably from Ikea or an office supply store. As we do now, each edit suite will have it's own theme with a paint scheme to match. The current themes of "Wally World," "Jungle Land" and "Rialto" will transfer to the new space with new themes to be announced soon. The big change in the new space is that the front wall will be primarily painted with 18% grey this time, rather than carry the theme to the front.

We'll probably continue to use some sort of a Gefen DVI over Cat6 extenders for the computer monitors. This allows us to house all the computers for the facility in the central Machine Room thus moving all the noise into that room. You'd be amazed at how quiet the edit suites are because of this. But we are seeking out alternatives to Gefen because they have become rather finicky of late and the darn things are too expensive to be this finicky.

Of course Wacom Intuos tablets will still be the device of choice in the all the rooms. They're so versatile, can make you much more efficient in all tasks over a mouse and it is pretty darn near impossible to get carpel tunnel in your wrists using the tablet. I've using some form of a Wacom tablet since 1996 and I absolutely can't stand using a mouse. Takes about a week to really get used to the tablet, but once you do, you'll never want to touch a mouse again.

In the Machine Room we use the Middle Atlantic Slim 5 series racks that were first recommended to me by Bob Zelin They're the most economical racks I've seen, they arrive all broken down and easy to assemble, and they hold a ton of weight! And Mid Atlantic has a ton of accessory shelving and such that makes them very versatile. I highly recommend you get the rolling casters for the bottom, even if you never plan to move them. You'll be happy the first time you decide you really want to clean out under the rack or move the rack to install / remove a piece of equipment that require a little more space. If you have a bunch of gear or even just a little bit of gear, clean it up and organize it by putting it into a rack.

BluRay Authoring will continue to run off NetBlender's DoStudio package running off an HP workstation. Yeah, it runs on Windows and when we first got it, it was not really recommended to run Windows XP in Bootcamp on the Mac. Now it appears you can do this just fine, but since we already have the HP, we'll just continue to use it. Not to mention it was only about $1,500 for the computer WITH the BluRay burner. Can barely get a Mac laptop for that...... But I digress.

The Conference Room will be ringed in cork board. Why? Well we plan to be doing a lot of original television series and maybe some original animated specials / DVDs so I want to very easily be able to hang storyboards, season plans, etc... all around the room. Yeah I could make a very pretty and stylish conference room if I wanted, but I prefer to make it a very functional and useful room for clients and colleagues alike.

Lighting will be predominately from Ikea. It's functional, much of it is rather stylish and you absolutely cannot beat the price. A lot of the shelving for the Media Library will probably come from there as well. Again, functional and cheap! The kitchen will have some gaming systems in a huge oversized kitchen where folks can really relax. Multiple coffee machines with freshly ground coffee, espresso machine, popcorn machine and a 1960's era Coca Cola machine will outfit the Atomic Café with a predominate 50's theme.

A backup power generator will be in place in the event that we lose power. Still working out the full details, but with all the deadline sensitive work we do, we can't afford to lose power. Particularly during overnight renders when you would not find out about the power outage until the next morning.

Oh, last but not least, we're planning to hold classes and workshops in the new place too! I get so many requests for classes and simply can't do them for lack of space in current place or lack of time to travel elsewhere to hold classes. Well the new space will give us plenty of room not only for me to hold workshops, but also bring in many of my friends and colleagues to give their insights on various aspects of the industry. Sure we'll have the usual software / hardware workshops, but there are so many things to talk about when it comes to the production industry as a whole. Sometimes we just need to get together to share insight and bounce ideas rather than just learn how to trim a video clip in one keystroke instead of two. Should be some fun stuff and I'll have more information about that as we develop the ideas.

That's pretty much it. Much of what is going into the new facility is simply going to be transferred from this current space. One of the things Bob Zelin and I did when we engineered this space was to ensure all the wiring would be easily removed from here and re-used in the new space thus saving me a couple thousand dollars at least. One thing for sure is we're not going whole hog into this thing with the mentality of "if we build it they will come." Not all 8 edit suites will be up and running when we open. The wiring will all be in place though, so we can literally get a room up and running in a matter of days when it's needed, but there's no point in purchasing a bunch of new computers if they're going to sit idle for a while. Especially with an Apple Store and multiple electronics stores 15 minutes away. If we need something right away, we'll just go and get it and be up and running by the next day.

There's a look at our starting point for the new shop.


Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 31, 2010 at 8:47:50 pmComments (4) post production, Biscardi Creative Media

DaVinci Resolve comes to the Mac

At NAB 2010 the biggest Post Production buzz, by far, was the new DaVinci Resolve software package for $995. Not only that, the software is being opened up to work with third party hardware such as AJA video boards and Tangent Wave control panels. For many facilities, such as mine, designed around Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere, this means many of us already have the hardware in place to run the software. Or we can start running with minor modifications.

For those of you who don’t know what DaVinci is, it has long been the standard for color enhancement for both film and television. The systems consist of proprietary software and hardware with $500,000 (US) and up being a fairly common price tag for one top of the line system. Many facilities in New York, LA, Atlanta and around the world run multiple systems at prices from $400 to $700/hour and up. In other words, you really had to be a dedicated colorist in a major facility to run one of these units and you had to have the clientele to support the hourly rates. DaVinci was not something that “anybody” could get in to. Until now.

Within minutes of the blockbuster announcement, Twitter and internet forums like the CreativeCow.net Apple Color forum lit up with people praising Resolve as the long awaited answer to Apple’s Color. This is the tool that everyone needed to become a true colorist and we can finally move on from Apple Color.

Well, let me first say I am purchasing a copy of DaVinci Resolve because it will plug in very nicely to our upcoming color enhancement suite. But I’m not buying it to replace Apple Color. I’m simply adding it as another tool in the toolbox so we have choices as to which tool we want to use based on the project at hand. It also opens up our facility to freelance colorists who are fluent with Resolve but might not work with Apple Color at all. And of course it opens up our facility to work with pretty much any NLE on the market since it will work with EDLs and XMLs meaning we’re not locked into a Final Cut Studio workflow for color enhancement.

What many people fail to realize in praising Resolve (and boy it DOES deserve a lot of praise as an awesome color tool) and dismissing Color is that neither one with make you color grade a project better than the other. Knowledge and practice in the art of color enhancement is what will make you a good colorist. The tool is immaterial.

I was reminded of this last night while watching the first pass of our feature documentary, “Foul Water, Fiery Serpent” (foulwaterfieryserpent.com) with colorist Ron Anderson. See I know Apple Color pretty well and I’ve done colorist work on probably 100 projects now, a mix of broadcast, corporate and independent films. Because our post production schedule is so crazy right now and this is our first major feature to come out of our shop, I asked Ron to be the Colorist on this film. He has a sweet Apple Color Suite set up in his facility using a JL Cooper Eclipse panel with the Flanders Scientific 2450W monitor and of course the 18% grey wall with a 6500k light. He’s a 30 year colorist who has been working with daVinci systems his entire career and in his facility and he’s running Apple Color 1.5. Why? Because it’s affordable and extremely powerful.

His work on the film is nothing short of remarkable. The film is entirely shot in Africa with blazing sun, dark skin and a host of lighting / exposure issues caused by both. What I watched last night was the work of someone who has been doing feature films for 30 years and what was spectacular about it was the fact that it all looked completely natural. There was nothing that said “color trick here,” it was just all natural to the eye. Color enhancement is truly an art. I’m learning the craft for sure, but what I saw last night reminded me that color enhancement is less about the tool itself and more about the artist and the proper environment.

The environment, there’s something to think about. Using the Apple Color forum on CreativeCow.net as an example, I was amused that so many people were so eager to spend $995 right off the bat for the DaVinci name but we have so many people on that very forum who find $2,495 (US) too steep to purchase a proper monitor. Or $1,500 (US) too much to purchase a control panel to drive Apple Color or now Resolve. Ok, so the software is just $995 but you need to purchase a good beefy Mac Pro, two graphics cards (one to drive your computer monitors and one to render Resolve), an AJA or BlackMagic video card to feed the video signal to your monitor and a proper broadcast monitor or film projector to properly monitor your footage. Again, if you’re a Final Cut Studio facility like mine, you might already have much of that in place and Resolve will drop in nicely. If you don’t, you need to allocate funds to properly surround the Resolve software or you’re just wasting the $995. Unless of course you want to train yourself on the software so you can drive someone else’s system or offer yourself as a freelancer to other facilities.

One thing that comes with the DaVinci name is an expectation. The expectation that you are a serious colorist using professional equipment. Remember that $500k price tag I mentioned earlier? Most Producers who use DaVinci colorists know all about the huge expense of these systems and that’s one reason why they are willing to pay the high hourly rates. Plus the folks who drive them have usually spent years learning the craft. So if you plan to simply plug in Resolve on your laptop and call yourself a DaVinci colorist to take advantage of their reputation, you might have a hard time convincing clients you’re serious.

I’m not trying to be a snob here, just realistic. Paying $995 is just the starting point. If you want to be a professional colorist and charge clients for your time, do them the courtesy of surrounding the tool with the correct equipment and environment. It’ll be good for you and your clients.

So what BlackMagic has done for all of us independent and small shops out there, has given us a a major known tool for a fraction of its original price. It’s a new tool that gives options that were simply out of the financial reach of many of us. It’s a true game changer in the same way that Final Cut Pro opened up a professional video tool for everyone. It also brings to Avid and Adobe artists a very powerful color correction tool that in my opinion is better than any other CC tool they had available.

In a complete fluke on the NAB show floor, I got a spontaneous one hour chat with Grant Petty. I was walking to see the Resolve demo and he was adjusting some products on the show floor. As he explained it to me, the plan is for Resolve to support a lot of third party hardware, not just be restricted to BMD and DaVinci proprietary equipment. AJA & BMD video cards, Tangent & JL Cooper panels and the like. It does require nVidia graphics cards to render the files and you need to run two graphics cards in your system. One card to drive your computer monitors and one to do the rendering.

Resolve is a different kind of interface than most NLE based color correctors and even Apple Color. They’ve done away with the three color wheels and there’s a real emphasis on curves, which quite honestly I prefer to the wheels. And there’s a really nice node interface that controls pretty much everything you do in Resolve.

The big thing Resolve brings that completely blows away Apple Color is its ability to play video in realtime in full frame rate. This is remarkable to me since Apple’s own Color software can’t do this using the exact same Apple hardware. I’m used to working with 1/2 to 1/4 frame rates it was so nice to see the video playing back in full frame during the demos.

Some people are really excited that Resolve plays back audio while you’re playing the video. I’ve asked several colorists around and they do the same thing I do when grading. Listen to music. I’m partial to country, my buddy Ron is a jazz kind of guy. I’ve never had a client ask to listen to the audio as I’m working on a scene. But I guess this is kind of cool if you require it.

Ok, I’ve gone all over the place with this post, but I’m incredibly excited with the opportunity that BlackMagic is giving us smaller guys by making Resolve to affordable to install and giving us yet another option for color enhancement. They’ve taken what Silicon Color and Apple started with Apple Color and completely raised the bar to a whole new level.

So just remember, this is truly exciting stuff to have a tool so affordable. But please, if you plan to charge clients for your work, put together the right environment whether you’re working in your home or a major facility. The means a proper video monitor or projector at the very least. And if you’ve never read this, please do. The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction by Steve Hullfish. (link below) This should be required reading for all folks new to color correction.

Happy Grading everyone!

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Technique-Digital-Color-Correction/dp/0240809904


Posted by: walter biscardi on Apr 19, 2010 at 6:26:02 pmComments (3) davinci, post production, color



Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.

 




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