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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Changes To Get To Life 3.0

Life changes. The world changes. Business is always changing. 

I've been adapting although I've had a lot of resistance along the way with the other people in the office. Today officially moved OUT ! That was a long time in the making, cost me some money, a lot of senseless aggravation but its done, finally done. It was only about 2 years ago I put down that ash floor that I really loved so much. I pulled all kinds of wire thru the ceiling from the machine room. I set up a really great office network with loads of bandwidth. VoiP and facetime, skype, bridged 2g enet, linux NAS that did time machine and AFP. We added floor space and people.

All good then, all changed now.

We shot the In Production Resolve series here, posted it. The 3rd floor look down over the square was nice. 

However here's the reality : no one was coming in to this great client friendly space we'd worked hard to make. Ok, maybe about 3 days over the last year. How does that make sense ? to pay for this space yet not really using it ? I enjoyed it, yet it was sucking my wallet dry. At some point you have to say enough. This doesn't work ! Its one of the hardest things to do in business is know when you need to make a radical change or close up for good. I choose to adapt. The office for me is gone as it no longer served a purpose or generated direct profit as compared to other alternatives. Perhaps the thing that sealed the deal beyond simple economics was doing a 2 day edit with a producer in SF over the net using webex, box and cell phones. Pretty much the same as being there 1600 miles apart. If that doesn't open your eyes I don't know what does. The bandwidth is almost there, so use it ! 

Lets face it, we send our clients previews via the web, maybe even finals. For truely large deliverables there are USB keys, SD cards and fedex. Just as we watched tape and its support infrastructure go away for a far more IT based infrastructure, we are also looking at doing a more virtual long distance collaboration. For me it means more than ever that location doesn't matter as much as it used to. Looking forwards to where this goes, just as the last couple of moves went forwards, but changed. This time though I think the long distance collaboration is something that will build virtual facilities that span continents. Pick the people you like, network them, get it done ! 

Its not like I haven't' done a decent amount of virtual work. I've had clients across the US and Canada while staying put where I was. This is just taking this way of working as the new normal rather than exception or less than frequent way of working.

Interesting times to say the least, glad I'm done with the old - analog tape, digital tape, all the infrastructure to support it, big space.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Angels Landing

Angels Landing in Zion is a razor edge hike with a 1400 ft. drop off. No mistakes here. That's much like business where you have to plan and execute your route carefully. Many things are changing right now and in a few days I'll be able to talk more about them as  I simply make my way thru those changes. BTW the hike / climb to top the isn't for the faint of heart or those not in shape, but so worth it when you finally get to the top ! If you miss a step its only 1400ft to the bottom. Parts of the trail are 45 deg across smooth sandstone. Only 6 people dead on this trail in the last 10 years..... I lived :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nite @ Bryce

I haven't been posting as much as usual because of a huge number of things going on here even after getting back. They'll be shared over the next few days if things stay on track. Needless to say they have been taking all of my time.

Meanwhile at Bryce last week I got some great shots in. I have a few TL sequences as well... well until one of my cards filled up 8 or 10 shots in. Thing is I was using the intervalometer in ML rather than an external controller. ML on another card wouldn't load, well I got what I got. It was pretty good. I'll try to put the sequences I got up soon.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Back From NAB and Vacation

Hey I finally took a couple days of vacation... Its been YEARS since I had a few days to myself like this in such a great place, camera in hand of course ! It was a great trip to spend a couple days in Zion and Bryce. Like NAB they were very different experiences. Zion was sunny and 80, Bryce snowed the first day and was very windy, second day 50 during the day and 18 at nite. I camped out anyway during those cold nites because you know, if it doesn't kill you..... NAB this year was the same in many respects, opposites and some surprises. Many companies pre-announced their new products during the week before so you knew which booths to visit. Others kept the surprise until monday, and others, well you had to just go find their booth and see what was new... bad PR !

That said, what's more important ? some camera every one will say is the Xcam killer, or dud ? or this ? Doug Blush who picked up an Academy Award for Best Doc this year and Kevin Monahan from Adobe just chillin out in Vegas, both friends I've known for years. Its about the people ! Its about the connections you make and keep !  I connected up with a Chineese company whoose name you know from ebay. They are going to make me a custom part : Steve O Custom Rig Parts here we go ! thats why these couple of days matter.

oh and maybe the great scenery of the SouthWest that is most humbling to experience. 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

NAB Time Again.

Getting ready to leave. This year I'm going to a few new events which should be fun.... and this year its going to be in the 80's unlike the last year or two which where cold and some rain and lots of wind.  See you all there !

Tuesday, April 01, 2014


Ok, its out officially for NAB next week. CS NEXT !  While exact delivery and version increment are SOON ! you will get to see next week the next version of Adobe CS Next apps - AE, PP, SG. There are already some sneak peaks online, but come to NAB for some hands on. Having had a look myself :) you'll be happy to know that Adobe is very much listening in deliver new features that matter in terms of every day usage : speed, stability, usabilty... oh and cool NEW features. AE here is whats new :

  • Key Cleaner effect and Advanced Spill Suppressor effect
    • text templates created in After Effects editable in Premiere Pro
    • compositing options for each effect, including ability to confine the area affected by each effect with masks
    • import of masks from Premiere Pro
    • HTML5 panels using CEP infrastructure
    • Kuler panel
    • ProEXR v1.9: higher-performance OpenEXR importer, updated IDentifier and EXtractoR effects
    • import of Sony RAW footage (raw files from F5, F55, and F65 cameras)
    • import of MPEG-4 SStP (Simple Studio Profile) Sony SR MXF files
    • video preview on external monitor using Mercury Transmit
    • scripting access to render settings and output module settings
    • automatic adjustment in Curves effect, plus improvements to Curves effect user interface
    • menu command to add fonts from Typekit
    • digital Cinema Package (DCP) export through Adobe Media Encoder

In Premiere Pro  are lots of good things - 

What you'll use most - the ability to track a mask on on specific effect like color corrector or mosaic. This mask uses AE's built in track ability - VERY VERY smoke like ! Need to blur a face ? apply blur, set up mask on eftect, track, done ! You didnt' leave the PP interface. All good, it works as good as you'd expect.

Prem Pro includes more format support like R3D in your GPU to decode for real time play back. Other stabiltity and usabilty enhancements are also happening. In short. you can no longer say PP is anything less than a full ready for feature film or doc NLE, no excuses or anything else. Just edit and deliver. Well I've known that for a couple of revs back, but now anyone can throw their biggest most complicated project at PP and it will just run with it, native format, easy.