LIVE on the Digital Production Buzz

28 12 2008
Larry Jordan will be interviewing me on this weeks Digital Production Buzz

Larry Jordan will be interviewing me this Thursday night on his radio show, THE DIGITAL PRODUCTION BUZZ, a podcast/show devoted to all things digital media. You can get details about this week’s show at the LiveThisWeek page on Larry’s site, or download the show from iTunes or your favorite podcatcher software.





Coolest Final Cut Pro trick!!

8 07 2008

Larry Jordan\'s tip about patching tracksOne of the reasons why I read Editwell and virtually anything that Larry Jordan is a part of (here is a link to Larry’s website) is that the man not only has the smoothest voice of any tutorial host/radio host, but that he is among the clearest (and most enthusiastic) FCP teachers around.

That puts him in some incredible company, by the way. I learned an amazing amount from a three day workshop that Diana Weynand taught a year or so back. And her books, along with Michael Wohl’s, are an invaluable addition to my library.

But Larry is amazing. Check out his tip from a recent posting on “Larry Jordan’s Tip of the Day” from his engaging web site. It gives a great way to repatch the track assignments from the Patch Panel at the left of the timeline (see the image at the right).





I’ll Be At LAFCPUG

15 06 2008

Whatever that means.

Actually, I’m assuming that most of you do. For those who don’t, it’s the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro Users Group, the largest users group in the world, as far as I know. It’s celebrating it’s 8th anniversary and I’ll be speaking there this coming Wednesday night, in my attempt to dampen the enthusiasm of these great users.

Not really. Mike Horton was kind enough, after my appearance on the show that he does with fellow LAFCPUG maven, Larry Jordan, to invite me to speak about the Craft of Editing. Here’s the general announcement (you can see it, and more details on all of the guests at the LAFCPUG Meeting Page.

Join us as we celebrate the eighth anniversary of the lafcpug. Scheduled to appear will be veteran film editor and Associate Professor and Head of the Editing Track at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, Norman Hollyn. Plus, the brand new soon to be shipping Video Recorder/D.264 encoder from BlackMagic Design will make it’s LA debut. Plus, the brand new Focus FS-5 Portable DTE Recorder from Focus Enhancements will wow all of you who hate tape. Plus the FCP Tip/Trick of the Month, Stump The Gurus, Show and Tells and, if budget allows, Balloons, Circus Clowns and Pony Rides. And of course, World Famous Raffle. And MORE!.

A $5.00 donation will be requested at the door. Doors open at 6PM. lafcpug meetings are open to the public. First come, best seat.

Here is their description of my talk:

9:00PM – 9:35PM – The Craft of Editing – Norman Hollyn
It isn’t enough to just know the tool. Anyone can learn Non Linear Editing tools. But can one learn the craft of editing? Can one be taught how to edit? Most editors when asked the question, “How do you edit” generally reply with the answer, “I dunno. I just uh, do it. When it feels right I make the cut.” Then there are the editors who can articulate the craft of editing.
Norman Hollyn is one of few editors who can do just that.

He is a long-time film, television and music editor (HEATHERS, THE COTTON CLUB, SOPHIE’S CHOICE, Oliver Stone’s WILD PALMS), and is Associate Professor and Head of the Editing Track at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. He is an author of nearly 100 articles and his book, THE FILM EDITING ROOM HANDBOOK, has been internationally translated. His new book, THE LEAN FORWARD MOMENT, comes out from Peachpit Press/Pearson in December. lafcpug is honored to have him take the time to teach us a bit of what we need to know.

The good news if I have to finish by 9:35, so I can’t be too long winded, can I?





Distribution Hints and Depressing Tricks

8 06 2008

On Larry Jordan and Mike Horton’s always valuable and fascinating Digital Production Buzz podcast the other day (June 5 episode) Stacey Parks talked about things that she learned from her recent trip to the Cannes Film Market. Stacey, who wrote the book “Independent Film Distribution,” and who runs an amazing web site about film distribution called Film Specific, found out that the good news is that there are a lot of companies in the international marketplace who are looking for short films — actively looking. She said that she would post it on her website and, though I can’t find it there, you should keep checking back. On a clip on her site she talks about selling to the emerging markets — India, China, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

The bad news, however, is that even features with big buzz and stars aren’t selling because there are fewer channels for distribution in the United States. The films that are selling are those with very specific targeted audiences — such as senior citizens, teenagers, Christians, skateboarders, etc. The days of broad marketing are gone for independent films. Ironically, though, the major distributors are looking for films that appeal to all “four quadrants” (that is males and females, under and over 25) and, as a result are spending $125 million and more in production costs and tens of millions more in marketing.

That means that the only films that they will touch are those with strong marketing elements. And that, often, leads indie films out in the cold. Or, as I’ve talked about before, forces indie filmmakers to look at their films just like studio films, just with lower budgets. Marketable concepts, a few stars, name directors or writers or producers.





Self-Serving Announcement

18 05 2008

Digital Production BuzzYou’ve heard me talk about Larry Jordan and Mike Horton’s Digital Production Buzz radio show/podcast (actually, I’ve never heard it on the radio in real time; I listen to it every week in my car driving to or from work — thanks to the podcast version of the show).

Well, this week Larry and Mike are interviewing me on the show. I’m not quite sure just what they’ll find so interesting, but I know I can trust them to do it. For those of you who are interested in what I sound like with a cold, tune in on Thursday from 6-7 Pacific time (you can hear it live on their site right here). And just to make it even more interesting for you, they also promise to interview Patrick Nugent from Roxio about the new Toast, and editor Michael Jones. That interview is described thusly on their web site:

Michael Jones was the editor for the revival of “Banana Splits” for Warner Brothers. Shot in Australia, Michael developed an intriguing on-set editing workflow using Final Cut Pro and it’s multicam feature to show the director what they shot almost as soon as the scene was over. Listen as he describes his new workflow.

Listen early and listen often.


UPDATE.

To listen to the finished show, go to this archive page for the Buzz May 22nd show.





P2 and Tech Talk

4 02 2008

Shane Ross, over at Little Frog In High Def, has a post in which he talks about the changes in P2 workflow with the new HVX-200 camera. Here is an excerpt:

I got my hands onto an HVX-200 camera so that I could do P2 demos at MacWorld. I went out to shoot footage and when I tried to apply this workflow, I found that I couldn’t trash the contents. They were locked and I could not unlock them. READ ONLY. And if I reformatted the card as MS-DOS (FAT-32) then put the card back into the camera, it was an unrecognized format. I HAD to reformat the card in the camera. That was the only solution. Oh, I could open the LOG AND TRANSFER interface in Final Cut Pro and delete the files in there. But that is slow and not too slick. And while the P2 Viewer that Panasonic makes can reformat the card…it is PC only. So us Mac guys, a HUGE part of the HVX-200 and P2 market, were left in the cold.

Apart from the value of this post (thanks Shane!!), this raises an interesting issue. In a recent Digital Production Buzz, the usually great podcast with Larry Jordan, Mike Horton and Phil Hodgetts, Larry and Mike were talking with Richard Townhill, one of the heads of the Pro Apps Group at Apple (they’re responsible for Final Cut, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Logic, et al). On this show, from January 10, 2008, Townhill mentioned the bane of a post-production. Camera manufacturers are continually coming up with new formats designed to solve production problems. Now that we are deeply into tapeless work flow, manufacturers are interested in providing maximum shooting time with minimal space requirements on disk, and also decreasing record speeds (throughput).

As Townhill and Jordan both noted, these are meaningless goals in post production where we have great desktop bandwidth and unlimited amounts of relatively cheap storage at our disposal.

So the needs of camera manufacturers are, in part, opposed to the needs of editors. As a result, camera manufacturers are continually updating their codecs and capture technology. Even at the expense of editors. It took Avid about six months to test and come up with a P2 workflow. The new Sony EX codecs aren’t available yet for either platform. The Red workflow isn’t available on several NLE platforms now (since I’m told that they’ve struck a deal with Apple). Large amounts of R&D money and time need to be spent simply keeping up with camera manufacturers.

I’m not saying that this shouldn’t happen. Lord knows, I’m in favor of innovation wherever it happens (so long as it happens for user needs, rather than marketing). But these changes take time to ripple through the entire filmmaking chain. Just because the camera manufacturers have come up with a format, doesn’t mean that a project can be completed in it. And even if finishing tools are available, there’s no guarantee that they’re workable or clean (we’ve still to come up with a viable backup strategy for tapeless workflow, that combines ease of use in the field with reliable backup — the cheaper Sony EX might actually point the way).

Are you listening producers and post production schedulers?

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Good Basic FCP Tutorial

16 01 2008

Larry JordanLarry Jordan, who now runs the Digital Production Buzz podcast, has posted a pretty good first tutorial on navigating the windows in FCP. You can get to it either by checking it out on the Digital Producer Magazine website, or by going directly to the Quicktime file here.