: walter biscardi's Blog
Biscardi Creative Media Announces Plans to Move.
Considering Town Square / City Center Locations. Current Facility for Sale / Lease
A new chapter is about to begin for Biscardi Creative Media. The current facility is up for sale or long term lease as we look to move the company in preparation for the launch of Contemporary Living Network. When we built this current facility, I never imagined we’d be a part of launching a new digital television network. Well here we are and here we change again! The current space is gorgeous and will serve the next owner well, if you’re interested in leasing or purchasing the space, there’s a PDF down below with the details.
Where will we be? Well we’re still working on that. We know it will be in a city center / town square so we can be among the shops, restaurants, venues and town green / parks. There’s been a real renaissance in Georgia to bring back the town center / town square creating beautiful living spaces combining residential, retail, dining and event space. As CLN is a both positive lifestyle network and educational opportunity, we can think of no better place for the home of both that network and Biscardi Creative Media.
We’ll be able to highlight the local community as backdrops or even sets for some of our upcoming shows. There’s also going to be a cooking studio / living room space big enough to hold small studio audiences. We’ll still have all the editorial, color, sound and media library capacity we have now, but with additional office and studio space. Some classroom space is even planned to make it even easier for BCM to continue to share knowledge with local students and hold industry centric seminars and classes.
One thing I can assure you, there will be no interruptions to any productions at any time during this transition period. I can also assure you Molly the Wonder Dog will be a big part of the new location as well. If you have any questions or concerns, definitely feel free to call myself or Randy to discuss.
Life is an interesting journey and we just never seem to know where the river is going bend next. I’m glad I have my lovely wife along for the ride. Thanks so much for your continued support of Biscardi Creative Media.
Walter Biscardi, Jr., Founder & Creative Genius
The facility is shown by appointment only. Please Contact The Simpson Company to schedule an appointment. Lee Hemmer 770-530-3646 firstname.lastname@example.org
When we rang in the New Year I suggested a Resolution for everyone in a very simple tweet: “For 2015, resolve to take a risk, something you’ve thought about but never thought you’d do. It’s fun.”
Lee Ann Womack said it well in “I Hope You Dance.” “I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance, Never settle for the path of least resistance, Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’”
For some reason when I look at risks, usually BIG risks, and I always see the opportunity. I’m aware of what can happen if the risk doesn’t pay off, but the opportunities for success are what intrigue me. The fun factor is also an influence. I mean why do something if you’re not going to enjoy it? It might stressful as all hell, but if there’s some fun to be had in the risk, well that is something to be considered. I’ve been really quiet on this site, the Creative Cow and many others because I’ve been working hard towards a great risk that comes with some incredible rewards and a whole heaping lot of fun. After I finish my 8 hours or so at the office, I spend another 5 hours or so working on “the risk” and on weekends usually at least another 8 – 12 hours. So when I think about writing articles and doing tutorials, well I’m plumb mentally exhausted.
We’ve heard for so many years, “Content is King.” Well now, especially as we move into 2015, “The Content Creator Is King.” No longer are we beholden to the “established networks” and their need to shock the maximum audience size they can at 8pm on a Thursday night. No more being rejected because the people in your pilot are “too hipster.” Yes, that was a real comment from a real network on why they rejected a series. “Great show, great production value, but your main characters are too hipster for today’s audience.” If you can figure out what that means, please tell me and my agents. :) Basically if it’s not a shocking reality show or some competition show that can be produced super cheap (see: Party Down South) the networks really don’t want to touch it.
Especially in the lifestyle space, good quality edutainment is no longer wanted. Shows like “Good Eats” with Alton Brown which are highly entertaining but at the same time share lots of really useful information the audience can actually use. I can’t even tell you how many things I learned from him both as a fan and a crew member on the series. So much of what I do in the kitchen and on the grill is still influenced by what Alton taught me. So what the broadcasters don’t want, opens an avenue in the digital world.
Sure you know about YouTube but other distribution options that you might have heard mentioned are MCN or OTT. Multi-Channel Network and Over The Top. Essentially building a television network minus the cable and satellite distribution ecosystem and costs. I first learned about this in early 2014 as I was researching to launch a channel either via YouTube or Vimeo. I had never heard the terms MCN or OTT until a former colleague took me to lunch one day and in about 10 minutes it made total sense. The technology and resources were already in place to build something so much larger than a simple YouTube or Vimeo channel. Sure those would still come into play as marketing elements, but I can literally launch an entirely new type of “television” network using off the shelf components.
Yeah it sounds easy, and now that I’ve got all the pieces in place, it really IS surprisingly easy, but getting to this point and getting it launched as you can imagine involves a great deal of risk on my part. And the part of my lovely and patient wife. You’re looking at someone who’s never really put together a serious business plan before, hired folks to run financial projections, gone after investors, put together an executive team and all the things that go with launching a major venture. I’m a content creator, I can design and oversee 12 original series simultaneously without much thought. But putting together an investor pitch for a “shark tank” type of presentation and I’m sweating bullets, completely out of my element.
So I had to look outside my normal circle, my comfort zone and find the right people to surround myself with. The only way to do that is to simply ask your network of friends and colleagues for help. Some false starts along the way and fast forward to November and January and suddenly I’m in those “shark tank” moments actually enjoying the chance to present and asking people to give me money to launch a new venture. Boy, that’s a long way forward from a video editor in 1990 at CNN to standing in a room full of investors as Founder and Executive Producer of Contemporary Living Network.
I learned a long time ago, I can’t be afraid to Dance. When an opportunity is presented, or I see the chance to create an opportunity I don’t let the possibility of failure stop me. After consideration, if there is a good practical reason not to proceed I don’t. But if “the possibility of failure” is really the major reason not to do something, I have never let that stop me. From making career choices, to expanding my operation to taking on the role of Executive Producer. There’s a confidence that comes with taking risks and even failing in those risks. Because from failure comes the lessons to move forward and be successful tomorrow.
In 2015 resolve to Dance. I’m not saying to go out and take a huge risk, but do something you never thought you would do. Write, Direct, Photograph, Dance, Draw, Paint whatever. Get outside your comfort zone. You might like it and those baby steps can lead to larger opportunities. And if it doesn’t work, learn from what went wrong, dust yourself off and move forward. Never stop moving forward, never stop learning and never stop believing in yourself.
“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
Dance….I hope you dance. “
At Biscardi Creative Media, we understand the importance of great audio. To that end, we had our Rialto mixing theater designed specifically for quality sound design. The Rialto features a ProTools HD Native 5.1 system, SPL 5.1/stereo monitor controller, Genelec audio monitors and subwoofer, an 8 foot projection screen– and sound designers love working from it.
One sound guy you’ll frequently find at BCM these days is Michael Cardillo, a veteran audio engineer in the Atlanta area. After many years as a sound designer at Crawford Communications, Michael went freelance in 2007 and spends his time working on all manner of projects from broadcast to corporate and long-form shows like our own “This American Land” for PBS. A true sound nerd, Michael spends much of his rare free time educating editors about how to make their own audio better. He’s also been a musician for 35 years and plays the guitar and bass guitar.
“When I was a kid, one of the first Christmas presents that I got really excited about was a cassette recorder. My next one was an electric guitar. My acoustic guitar was very exciting, but when I got my electric guitar I sat in a room and played with the knobs for hours. That’s when I knew there was either something wrong with me or some kind of potential in me.”
I talked with Michael about the workspace he uses at BCM and how it’s become an encouraging creative and technical environment for his work.
What does this room offer you that your home studio doesn’t?
My at-home studio is great for much of what I do. But particularly when I want to mix in surround but even just for bigger projects, I can hear more in here than I can at home. This a nice big room, and big rooms always sound and feel better when you’re doing audio. It’s set up very well. It does a nice job with 5.1 surround which is really helpful for today’s sound design work, because I haven’t taken the time to really make my home studio as 5.1-friendly as it could be. It’s also just not big enough – you need more space for 5.1 and this is a big, comfortable room. Even for stereo, I love it. The Genelec speakers are a really strong full-range sort of speaker. I’ve also had clients in here and they love how comfortable it is for them.
It’s also really nice to have access to a good voice-over booth. It doesn’t have any anomalies or strange characteristics. Some vocal booths have a little “honk” in them, caused by reflections within a certain frequency range. There’s no HVAC noise or anything either, it was thought through when it was built.
Why is the design of the room important?
Sonically, it’s such an important thing to have these walls be non-parallel. It takes a lot to build something like that, so the fact I have a place where I can go that has that kind of design to the build of the room, along with the drop ceiling, helps make the quality of my work better. Rooms in general are rectangular with all parallel surfaces, but this room was designed with angles and non-parallel walls. Even the ceiling has pretty cool angles. When sound is allowed to bounce between parallel surfaces, you get what’s called “standing waves” which completely transform the way a mix can sound. This room was designed to eliminate that. At home I rarely mix over 65 or 70dB, but here – with the size and design of the room – I can enjoy mixing at higher levels without fatigue.
Is it difficult to pick up projects and move between home and here?
ot at all. It’s as easy as plugging in a drive. I do most of my projects on Firewire 800 drives, so I plug my drive into the Mac Pro in the machine room, turn everything on, and by the time the computer is up and running, I’m up and running. It’s all fully compatible with my system at home. Once I plug in a drive, I’ve got everything I need.
It’s also great to have the Small Tree shared storage here when I’m working on BCM projects. I can load up the latest cut of a video and have it playing through the projector from ProTools in a couple minutes.
I love the people and camaraderie. I like the fact I can go where I can feel like I’m part of a team even without being on staff. I’m always welcome here, I’m not an outsider. It’s also great to be able to come into a creative environment. When I’m on BCM projects, we can bounce ideas around and get instant feedback. When I’m on my own thing, I can still draw from that energy. You can get good equipment anywhere, but at the end of the day, it’s the people and the creative environment that contribute to quality work.
In addition to the ProTools mixing room, BCM also has a variety of edit suites (furnished and empty), a DaVinci Resolve room, production offices, and warehouse space available for rental. Detailed space specifications are available on our Rental page.
Contact Randy Lockey, BCM production manager for more information. | email@example.com | 770-271-3427
We have an Indiegogo campaign running for one of our newest shows, Ice Cream Nation hosted by Keith Schroeder, the culinary genius behind High Road Craft Ice Cream here in Atlanta, GA. Concept is simple. We send Keith around the country to find interesting and unique ice creams and desserts baed on ice cream. Then he comes back to the Ice Cream Nation kitchen to show you how to recreate these incredible flavors in your own home using a standard ice cream maker.
If you got a buck, 5, 25 or more, please help us get the series started. You can read more on the campaign at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ice-cream-nation
You can also read the recently published Creative Cow article on both Contemporary Living Network (the home of Ice Cream Nation) and the Indiegogo campaign here: http://library.creativecow.net/biscardi_walter/Contemporary-Living-Network/...
Thanks so much for your help!
ABOUT THE SHOW
I Scream, you scream, we’re all screaming for Ice Cream Nation!
Gather friends and family around your ice cream maker because Ice Cream Entrepreneur Chef Keith Schroeder is traveling the country finding unique ice cream flavors and dessert presentations you can re-create at home!
In each episode Keith and his trusty cameraman will visit a local joint that features something unique either in an ice cream flavor, the way it’s made or the way it’s presented in a dessert. We’ll get a look at the process and learn more about the folks who make it and what makes the local area fun and interesting.
Then in the Ice Cream Nation kitchen, Keith will show you how to create a version of the flavor and dessert in your own home using a standard home ice cream maker. You’ll be able to download the recipes and shopping lists directly from the show via our apps and website.
It’s the tastes of Ice Cream Nation in your own home!
*Note: Final Episodes will air digitally via the Contemporary Living Network. From your desktop, tablet, mobile and TV (roku) you'll have instant access to CLN.
In this digital media world, it's imperative to not only have enough media array space to do your work, but also to store and protect that media for the long term. We've been using a very simple method going on four years now and in response to a question I actually got today, here's how it works.
We store everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, on bare hard drives. Yes, I know what you're saying. "Walt, hard drives die!" Yes, they absolutely 100% do. That's why everything is stored on both a Master and Clone with the clones stored off-site. When either the Master or Clone dies, we purchase a new drive and make a brand new Clone.
First off, every drive gets assigned a 7 digit number by our Media Management Specialist such as 0002372. Why 7 digits? So we can store up to 9,999,999 items before we run out of numbers. This applies to ALL media that's stored in our library including Tape, DVD, Blu-Ray, CD, Hard Drives and anything else that goes into the library. It's all managed through a VERY simple Filemaker Pro database we started about 6 years ago and it still works quite well. We tried using CatDV for a while, but it was just too confusing and cumbersome so we switched back to Filemaker and have kept running it since. Kelly can pretty much find anything in the shop within 5 minutes so it's still working well for us. Moving forward, the next thing we will test out is Axle as soon as we get our new series rolling which will be reality series style so it will involve a LOT of media per episode.
We've been running "Tray Less" drives from WeibeTech for all four years we've been doing this system. That company was purchased by CRU-Dataport a few years ago, but the units still remain. You can get 1, 2, 4 and 8 bay units. Here's a picture of the RTX410-3QJ which is essentially the latest version of the 4 bay models we run in the shop and we also run a couple of the single drive units. This is a JBOD unit with four individual connections for the four drive trays running standard SATA drives. What this means is that all four drives will show up as individual units instead of the entire box showing up as a "RAID." So we can copy data to two Masters and two Clones simultaneously if we want. And you don't have to use all four slots to use the unit. 1, 2, 3 or all slots can be used at any given time.
The "Tray Less" designation means the drives literally slip in and out of the drive bays like the old floppy disks. Open the front door, slide the drive in, close the door and start your data transfer.
We have these connected to a Mac and we manually control all data transfer. So our Media Management specialist will load the appropriate drive, confirm the data that needs to be archived off our server and manually drag it onto the drive for the transfer. Then she'll copy from Master to Clone and then the Clone will go off site.
We reverse the process to put the data back onto the server. It's VERY simple and VERY low tech.
I've sent these units out into the field and when we get the series, this will be how we'll transfer, clone and ship media from the field. The master footage will be copied from the Camera cards to three drives simultaneously in the RTX unit. Drives 1 and 2 will be the Master and Clone with Drive 3 the Backup Clone. Drives 1 and 2 will stay with the Production Team until they return to Atlanta while the Backup Clone will be shipped back to Atlanta at the end of each production day.
Since this unit uses off the shelf SATA drives with nothing proprietary we can pick up additional hard drives pretty much anywhere on our travels around the US and around the world as needed or just have drives overnighted to wherever our crews are.
: We tend to purchase Western Digital and Hitatchi drives as they are generally the most plentiful around and have the best price vs. performance. Remember we don't need top speed / top performance because we're not editing with these drives, just storing them on the shelf. We purchase from a myriad of locations such as TapeOnline.com, Fry's Electronics, Best Buy even Staples on occasion when they have a sale. So far the largest drive we've purchased is a 3TB model, but we tend to stick to 2TB as they seem to be just the right size to hold most of our projects. The price point has also drastically dropped for the 2TB so they're a good buy for the size.
Storing the Media:
WeibeTech, now CRU Dataport also sells the "Drivebox" which is an antistatic box to store the bare drives. Literally looks like small VHS box and the drives store very securely in these boxes which take up very little room.
You can see below the DriveBoxes sitting on IKEA Benno DVD towers. I like these units because they're very compact footprints with very short shelves that don't sag under the weight of the drives. We can store 40 drives on a single Benno unit so with 2TB drives, that's 80TB of backup data in a very small footprint. Considering it takes about 4 of these units side by side to equal a "normal" bookshelf, that's 320TB in a nice compact footprint. The taller boxes are the original version of the DriveBox, they've gotten shorter in the last two years. We make sure to spin up all the drives every four months minimum to make sure the drives are ok. If any shows any sort of falter, we replace it immediately.
Fail Safe Storage:
Now if you want to go all out "Fail Safe" secure backup, then you start looking into LTO units which are just on the transition phase from LTO-5 to LTO-6. The plus side is that the tapes are guaranteed to last for 50 years. Yes, I said tape, still the most stable thing to put on a shelf. The downside is they only hold 1.5TB maximum for media. Yes you can store 3TB of compressed data, but you should never compress video data. The storage units themselves generally start around $2000 and quickly go up from there. I've been considering a switch to LTO because the LTO-5 tapes are only $33 per 1.5TB. BUT most LTO units are proprietary per manufacturer so once I commit to a manufacturer, then I'm stuck with them for a while, unlike these bare hard drives which I can put into any SATA drive unit and a Mac or PC will read them. That is changing now with LTO-6 and LTFS to write to, but it's still on the "bleeding edge" for me so for the time being, we continue to go with the hard drives.
I expect that by mid 2014 we will begin transitioning over to LTO for long term off site archive storage and continue using hard drives as on site archive storage. In fact, an LTO solution will probably be my main focus at the NAB show in April 2014.
There you go, a quick look at how we've been archiving our data at BCM for about 4 or 5 years now and it's worked quite well for everything we've been doing including the documentaries, episodics and corporate projects.
In this series, Biscardi Creative Founder, Walter Biscardi, Jr. "demystifies" the video production process. Particularly for corporate clients the production process can be both confusing and overwhelming. We walk you through the four steps of video production so you can be better prepared for your next production project.
In Part 3 we discuss the final 2 steps of the process, Post Production and Delivery. Editorial, Graphics, Sound, Color Grading and more make up the Post Production process and Walter explains what all of these elements are and how they come together to make your final project. It generally takes a lot more time and effort to finish the project than just doing the Production. Then we finish up with a short wrap-up of what final Delivery means.
We hope this three part series has helped to demystify the entire production process for you!
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In this series, Biscardi Creative Founder, Walter Biscardi, Jr. "demystifies" the video production process. Particularly for corporate clients the production process can be both confusing and overwhelming. In this series we walk you through the four steps of video production so you can be better prepared for your next production project.
In Part 2 we discuss the actual Production and all that it entails. Many people are familiar with the production process thanks to "Behind the Scenes" videos where you see the camera, lights, crew and actors. However, in this podcast we talk about often overlooked mistakes and choices that can effect a budget, time and the quality of a final project.
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If you have an Apple Account (iTunes, iPad, iPhone) there is a Phishing email scam going on. Here's an email I received, note that the return email address is fake. Looks real though, pass this along and if you receive the email do not reply to it or click the link.
Sister company Biscardi Creative Media
launched its first Google Hangout today which is a lot of fun. Essentially a live podcast that is instantly converted over to a YouTube video when completed with the ability to edit the video on YouTube when its completed. The main focus on the BCM Hangouts will be educating clients and potential clients on all aspects of the production process and how we work. However there is cross-over and in the first set of Hangouts we’ll be discussing the four steps of the Production Process.
The goal of this series is to demystify what it is we do as a company to develop and produce video and multi-media content for clients, particularly corporate clients. In this first segment we discuss Part 1: The Pre-Production Process including some of the questions that I would ask a client in our first couple of meetings and my favorite question that gets asked of me. There’s a great answer in here for the next time you get asked the same question. This is a great video for anyone running a production company or independent freelancer because I’ve found that many folks simply don’t ask the right questions to their clients up front.
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“First Look” at the new FSI CM250 OLED Reference monitor from Flanders Scientific. I sat down with FSI's Bram Desmet to check out this new monitor and instead of blogging about it, we broke out the camera and decided to show you down below what this incredible monitor is all about.
In a nutshell it’s a plasma screen type viewing environment but with the same exacting color quality the FSI brand is known for. Designed to work either alone or alongside existing FSI monitors, the CM250 would be a welcome addition to any Post facility, home based edit suite or color grading suite. The viewing angle alone is just insane. For myself, I definitely want one of these in my color grading suite, just gorgeous. Click the link above for the full specs, but “Wow” is all I can say. Now I get the OLED affection.
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