Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Weird Viral Advertising

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. This is one of the most disturbing ads I have seen in a long, long time. It proves that all you need to make a commercial in 2009 is a camcorder, laptop, trampoline and three guys in singlets in a North Hollywood park (and hopefully, After Effects). Sounds like the set-up for a very dirty joke. MSI tablets, catch one while you can!

I swear I saw the guy who throws the laptops doing jumping jacks in the parking lot outside my laundry mat in Hollywood.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dogs on a skateboard

God I just love that dog on a skateboard. Hang on baby, Friday's coming.

My current favorite blog, The Business Insider, has been providing an ongoing analysis of the current state of (the lack of) monetizing online content. It looks at Google/YouTube, Hulu, et al. using real numbers to give the state of the art. The bad news? No one, including the big boys, are making money off of content. And the heralded democratization of content creation brought about by online distribution? It says, "content creation is expensive, it takes talent, and lowering barriers for the creation of crap only provides you with more crap." So, professional content isn't making money and we are sinking in a sea of crap made by amateur (or amateurish) content creators, what hope is there? According to the article, "whatever golden tomorrow video may acheive, it won't be driven by the major media companies, at least not in the foreseeable future." Hmmmm, wait a minute. Where's the money going to come from to create the new paradigm, if not from deep pockets or inspired individuals?

The article is deja vu, all over again. It could have been written a few years ago, verbatim. So, why does it seem like we're going nowhere, fast? No one, including a lot of really smart (and well-paid) people, seem to be able to answer that question. The article, while flawed, does raise some good points and is definitely worth a read. For me, another question is, are we starting to approach the end of "free?" Today, Rupert Murdoch announced that all of his publications worldwide will begin charging for certain content. I expect other major online content providers will follow in kind.

Will they succeed? A couple of things seem apparent. First, people don't seem willing to pay for online content alone. They expect some kind of added value. Content creators who can come to terms with that in a big way (and figure out what is the "added value" that people are willing to pay for) will at least survive until this is all sorted out. The other thing, which I repeat over and over again, is that somebody has to pay something somewhere for the content we create. I know it sounds obvious but there are armies of people out there working for free, or close to it, to create content that is not innovative or particularly interesting. Emulating what exists already may be gratifying, "Look, I can do that too," but ultimately is slow death. Unless, you are willing to have another job to subsidize your creativity. But, if you're footing your own bill, why make watered down garbage that emulates TV?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Final Cut Studio Resources (and more)

Apple has recently put all of its Final Cut Studio documentation online and made it searchable. Thanks to Eric Escobar for highlighting this great new resource.

Here is a link to the FCP Help Home page:

This is good stuff, they even discuss workflows and using different formats with FCP. This should help answer a lot of questions, or at least empower people to be able to understand their problems and articulate their questions more clearly.

The Final Cut discussions page is worth a look as well:

Usually, someone has already asked the same question you have....and lots of power users are out there supplying answers. It's like getting a free consult from an expert.

Then, there are the Forums on Creative Cow:

This is the mothership for getting questions answered on just about any kind of software or hardware issue related to video production. These are all working professionals, so it's worth taking the time to review the archives first and to formulate a good question. Most likely you will be rewarded with a good answer.

Finally, I also recommend Moviola's Resource Center:

It has been put together by FCP uber-geek (and awesome instructor) Andrew Balis. Workflows, tutorials and tips for both Avid and FCP are here. And the "Knowledge Zone" is a nice primer on video. This is all stuff that you would pay for in a class.

The final thing I'd like to say is, this is all technical knowledge and it doesn't make you an editor. I am an Apple Certified Pro in Final Cut and I definitely don't consider myself a real editor. But, put me on a location with a camera and give me 10 seconds and I will figure out a shot that expresses what you want to say. Or show me a scene from your project and my mind will automatically look for ways to use color correction to help make it stronger. My point? It's good to be self-sufficient, but, if you have a project that you really love and believe in, find a real editor with whom you can collaborate. The difference between being proficient in software and being an editor is enormous (as is having a camera and being a cinematographer).