Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the Year

 Find The Bliss Within (The Buddha of El Cerrito)

I've been quite busy (happily) this past quarter and have been a little light on postings (one of the few rules I do have about this endeavor is that I promised myself I would not post just to post).  Most recently, I completed work as a colorist on the documentary feature, For I Know My Weakness by John Dentino.  It's an intense, personal documentary which he's been working on for 7 years.  It's always humbling to be the person who has been chosen to help finish such a long, intense journey.

As we approach the end of the year, I want to thank everyone who reads my blog.  I am constantly amazed that there are people out there who take the time to read what I write.  The past couple of months have been heavy on technology and media and less on the art form.  I am hoping to balance that a little bit more in the new year.  Ultimately, none of any of this matters unless there is ultimately something created which moves, challenges, confuses or entertains us.  Thanks to all the amazing people this year who have done that for us all.  Particularly those who will never be famous, but bring us stories because they have to do it, not in a search for fame.

Instead of a holiday video, this year I'm posting a link to a holiday song.

The Spiritual Four Quartet in 1941 at the Fort Valley College Folk Festival. Amazing. I've been unable to locate any pictures of the group.  Check out the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress recordings, I've been working my way through them the past year or so. There's so much amazing American music there, and it belongs to all of us.

Have a great New Year!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Whoa, Sony and Panasonic

Wow, I knew Sony was doing badly in its consumer division, but this article in SplatF shows just how much money they are losing in their professional division as well.  Combined with Pansonic losing $5.5 BILLION (much of it in their consumer TV division) this year, it really shows how much the landscape is changing at the top of the food chain.  Sony, however, did make a profit in their film division.  Panasonic will be closing facilities which will affect LCD and plasma production.  I still have not seen a break out of the financials for the professional products division at Panasonic.  What does all this mean for the era of professional quality gear with better and better specs at ever-cheaper prices?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

For Lovers Only- $.99

This week the Polish Brothers movie I discussed previously, For Lovers Only, is available as an iTunes rental for $.99.  It's a good chance to see a good movie and to check out the iTunes Store rental experience at the same time.

The film was made with only a cast and crew of three, the two Polish brothers, one on camera  (a 5D) and the other an actor, and one actress.  It is being self-dstributed online only for now.   It's been getting a lot of press lately in the film world.  It's an interesting experiment, as cameras become ever light sensitive the whole idea of what is needed in a film crew will evolve.  It is also a lot more honest than asking a whole host of people to work for free.  Although, I did finally meet for the first time someone who worked on a "spec" project who got paid (a small amount, ten years later) when the project got picked up by a cable channel.

Here's the trailer, again:

for lovers only... from Polish Brothers on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Google, Pay TV?

Matt Rosoff is doing a good job on concisely focusing on Google and what they seem to be doing as far as becoming a content distributor.  This piece complements the other stuff that I've been posting about Google recently.  As an armchair quarterback, to me it seems what will ultimately determine Google's success in the longterm is whether they can recognize that online TV is about more than how content is distributed. They do have the social platform in place for complementing online content, but it's a big if as to whether they can position Google Plus as a product that is so ubiquitous, like Facebook, that it becomes a natural extension of any online distribution products they create.

From Rosoff's article, it seems as though they're taking a cable TV-centric view of what they're doing.  Here's to hoping that they don't end up just recreating what already exists, only more and through a different portal.  Otherwise, it could end up in the Google Graveyard.  Strangely, this list doesn't include Buzz or Orkut.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The History of Improving TV

Just a short post, I want to point everyone to this funny article by Matt Rosoff: a pretty definitive list of "iTV Failures."  Ah, the memories, Web TV in the 1990's.....wait a's still supported by Microsoft!.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Loose Ends

Give me that old time rock n' roll

As an addendum to my last post (To Free or Not to Free), I see that Fast Company in their piece 20 Riskiest Business Moves of 2011 has listed as the 19th riskiest business move Music Labels Surrender to Spotify.  The main risk: jeopardizing paid sales with the freemium model.

Also, the recent update of Google TV and the announcement Friday that Google will be acquiring a lot more original content for YouTube should pretty much clarify where they are headed.  If you thought that 900 cable channels was amazing, get ready for hundreds of thousands or maybe millions delivered online.  As I've said before, there will be more content than ever. There's a tremendous amount of opportunity out there to those who can visualize and take advantage of this new order.  As the curse goes, may you live in interesting times...."

Monday, October 17, 2011

To Free or Not to Free, That is the Question


The subject of whether every entertainment product should be available for free just doesn't seem to die, particularly in the music industry.  There is always some new company out there that seeks to disrupt an already disrupted marketplace with a new offer of free.  All these years after Napster, well, there are new companies out there offering free, with business models seemingly TBD, or at least fully explained.  Where will this never ending dream of achieving marketplace dominance of free finally end up?  Who will be the proverbial last man standing?

This article from the Business Insider is a brief, intelligent look at the state of the streaming music business and one company's (Rhapsody) attempt to hold tight to making people pay.  Interestingly, there's no mention of Pandora in the article.

Several months back I attended a respected film industry event and nearly swallowed my tongue when one of the speakers said that they thought "we were through the worst" of competing against free.  I hope that they're right, unfortunately, I have my doubts.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Even a Broken Clock is Correct Twice Per Day

Fast Company seems to be going full-on into the media/tech battle I briefly discussed a couple of posts ago (and earlier).  They refer to it as The Great Tech War of 2012.  I am very interested in learning about Amazon and where it is headed.   Hopefully this article will fill in some of the blanks, particularly with regard to how each company is using its data.  Amazon seems to be building its empire the most quietly, with the exception of the cloud data loss debacle.  It also seems to have a maniacal attention to detail.

I can attest to receiving in-depth customer service with regard to a complaint I made over the intricacies of the Amazon MP3 download system: how annoying it was to constantly update the downloader, how the whole system feels jury rigged, how it creates a media folder separate from the iTunes media library folder and just generally messes with the whole "it just works" juju of my Mac.  My point: do not underestimate any company that is willing to listen and respond (more than once, and nicely) via a living human being to the cranky complaints of a customer over a $.99 download.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Creative Destruction

Where's the on button for this thing?

When I talk about old media, I mean really old media.  I was an exhibiting artist, mostly paintings and prints, for years.  Life, making a living and the cost of real estate seemed to be the main causes for the end of that period of my life.  I do miss the physicality of painting and taking the time for the introspection necessary to condense a lot of experience into one static physical object.  It can be a profound and, at times, exhilarating process.

As long as the roots are not severed, all is well.

Recently, I have been trying to streamline my life, pruning if you will.   Part of that process was going through all of my (much too much) artwork in storage.  Some of it I kept, some I gave away and the rest went to the dump.  It's interesting to compare the reaction between my non-artist and artist friends.  The non-artist friends were mostly horrified and thought that it must have been some horribly traumatic event for me.   The artists all, to a person, understood that analyzing and selectively pruning your past is a powerful and important aspect to being a creative person and moving ahead.  There were a few rough moments but overall, it felt really good.

How about that quality of light?

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Big Three?

My enemy's enemy?

With Facebook's recent announcements, I will repeat my armchair opinion that the three companies fighting it out for dominance in the new media (we need a better term for it because I'm not talking about what is stereotypically thought of as "new media" but rather the new world of media consumption we are beginning to see) world are Apple, Facebook and Google.  They are profiting primarily by either taking (or will be taking someday soon) a piece of media sales within their platforms or by selling user information, usually to advertisers.  Facebook looks like it will be unique in that it has no commitment to hardware, unlike Apple or Google (depending on what they do with their Motorola assets).  This is going to be a very interesting fight.

If Facebook can leverage their digital scrapbook concept later into an intelligently curated stream, they will be a very formidable force.  They do have the advantage of being somewhat more focused than the other two on this particular area.  They seem to be on the forefront now of breaking down the concept of what media is, how it is delivered and how to make money from it.  No doubt, they will be busy analyzing user behavior, perfecting algorithms that are predictive and pull in content from a much wider range of sources.  The big question with the Facebook model is whether people are going to be willing to do all of their media consumption in public.

As I've said before, I believe the future of media consumption is going to become smaller chunks, provided via algorithms that not only find the content but also reconstruct it in a way that provides a meaningful narrative to the viewer, consumed more or less constantly.  We will consume more media than ever.  However,  less and less of it will be what we consider now to be professionally produced.  Yes, the higher-level content will still exist, there may just be less of it. Unfortunately, there will be less of the low to mid-level content that provides so much employment for my friends.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

State of Internet TV

 The Cloud knows what you want

This article (TV in the Cloud) is a good companion to the link I posted at the end of my last post.  That article discusses how Google is quietly becoming an online TV powerhouse by directly buying over $100M of their own content for YouTube and supposedly trying to acquire Hulu.

TV in the Cloud is one of the better summaries I've seen recently about the state of online TV recently.  And, I buy Erick Schonfeld's view of social's integration with online TV.  He believes that it will  be useful as a TV guide, showing you what people you know or respect are watching.  This is a logical, concrete and most importantly, likely to be successful step towards integrating social with TV.  But please, no clunky cable-like user interfaces.  It is also worth noting his observation that the TV Industry is still largely resistant to these changes and, importantly, don't seem to understand that online TV is about more than how content is distributed.

If you want to read how that resistance is affecting what you can watch, read this very good article from the Above the Crowd blog about why Netflix changed its pricing structure.  Netflix cracked the code about how to make money with online streaming content when everyone said it was impossible.  Now, everyone (understandably) wants a piece of the pie, even though many of them do not really seem to still understand how to make it work.  What does that mean?  Get used to fracturing in the delivering of content, that is, for the immediate future it seems like you will be looking more places (and paying more providers) for the same type of content you found in one or two portals making it more expensive and more difficult to locate.

Netflix, The Innovator's Dilemma and the Golden Egg

Friday, September 16, 2011

What's New Is Old

Project Runway 3000: Inter-Galactic Social Edition

Is it just me, or is new media and certain aspects of social starting to feel old (as opposed to mature)? Facebook, Twitter, to me they are feeling tired and too time consuming.  Quora, very interesting if you belong to the church of the startup.  Google Plus?  It seems even key Google execs have stopped posting. Google is finally getting ready to make it open for "everyone."  I haven't exactly heard a wave of excitement from the masses.

What is the payoff to hundreds of millions of people broadcasting unedited and often incoherent bites, aside from contributing to our understanding of truly newsworthy events like the recent Arab revolutions?  Yes, there is also some interesting work being done on meta-analysis of these streams of information, say to track the spread of influenza. However, it seems that most of it is self-broadasting as a means of personal marketing. Who really thinks that people who subscribe to 300 plus Twitter streams are doing anything other than trying to get those people somehow interested in themselves?  Who has the time to monitor that many streams and to what benefit?  Social media seem to be a net-sum game: time spent on Twitter is time not spent on Facebook, etc. How much self-marketing is really healthy and how far do people really need to go down the road to developing personal brands?  Ultimately, whether you represent a large corporation or yourself, social media is only effective if you are providing useful, timely information.

I have been through quite a few apps meant to make some kind of coherent personalized narrative out of social and/or news and they all have all failed, either as businesses or in their functionality.   I've given apps permission to interpret my Facebook, Twitter, RSS and pretty much anything else to which I subscribe and ended up with nothing but nearly generic results.  They were definitely much worse than manually scanning RSS feeds or Twitter streams. Believe me, I am a true believer: whoever gets the next step right, curating content automatically and in a way that tells a story to the recipient combining news, video, social, etc., will be the next Big Winner.  I want it to happen. And yet,  I am coming closer to the opinion of a good friend, in explaining how they use their Facebook account: "Facebook is the perfect delivery platform for baby pictures."  That may explain why Facebook is the largest online image hosting platform, I'm guessing larger than almost all the others combined.

How long will  the idea that "social television" is a clunky TV interface tied to chat rooms, or check-ins to your favorite shows or tweets from show stars hold sway?  Someone, please help me understand how any of this is an interesting way forward?

The most interesting aspect, at least for me, is that the mid-1990's promise of interactive media is quietly coming to fruition without CD's or DVD's.

The future of media: it's in your hands

I do want to talk about Google soon, and how they are silently changing the way content will be delivered.  Now, if they only could implement super fast broadband nationwide.......

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bart Simpson and the Blockbuster Look

Wow, it's kind of eery how close Bart Simpson's flesh tones are to those found in a Michael Bay movie.  This awesome interactive chart can be found here, on Slate.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Interactive, Gamification and B.S.

Now, tell us,  do you feel engaged?

I don't have time to really do a proper post, but someone forwarded this to me and it's too good not to share.  It is a blog post titled "Gamification is Bullshit: My position statment at the Wharton Gamification Symposium."  It is a short, articulate statement, written in plain language, about the problem of when "experts" try to latch onto the new thing and how it can end up being a lot of, well, bullshit.  See also, Interactive Media.  And no, getting people to populate your content for you for free is not interactive media and please don't pretend that it's necessarily engaging with your audience.

The whole idea of viral in new media is starting a whole lot like old media, with a marketing sector out there providing "scientific" advice about how to create, distribute and, most importantly, track the people watching branded viral content distributed according to some master marketing plan.  Yes, it is the creation of the appearance of the spontaneous explosion of interest in branded online content.  There are people out there teaching classes on it as I write this.  I always knew those cute cats were at their core demonic messengers of doom.  Remember.  Nothing is free in this world.  If you are not paying for your content, you are the product being sold.

You Can Haz Branded Content

Content will not get better until the people with the money understand that the rules of the game have shifted.  The kids have come to play with their Bullshit Meters.

Well, ok, maybe not all of them.

Friday, July 22, 2011

One Addition

Wow, I just saw this, and it reminded me of a movie that I left off the list on my last post.  Jackpot, by the Polish brothers.  A genuinely offbeat and visually interesting movie.  It was shot by M. David Mullen who has shot most of their films and is one of my favorite cinematographers.  The stories I've heard about working with them (leaner than lean) and the films they have made put them in the forefront of interesting American filmmakers.

Their latest film, For Lovers Only, had a cast and crew of three.  The two Polish brothers, one on camera  (A 5D) and the other an actor, and one actress.  It is being self-dstributed online only.  I can't wait to watch it this weekend.

Here's the trailer:

for lovers only... from Polish Brothers on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Let the Right Ones In

Let the Right One In

We do this to tell stories.  So, I thought I'd share some of the one's that I've enjoyed over the past year or two.   Most of them were made in the past decade, however, there are a few exceptions.   This list isn't meant to be inclusive, systematic or really have any larger meaning.   It's just some films that I've watched recently and enjoyed.  Many of these films grossed under $100,000 and some were as low as $20,000 in their U.S releases.

There are not any big Hollywood films in the list.  It's not because there aren't any good films made in Hollywood, but they get their coverage elsewhere.  These are films that typically are not going to get much coverage in the media, even after winning major international awards.

Really good French/Belgian movies from the last 5 years.

Many of the best movies coming out recently are low to mid-budget films coming from Europe, including many French and French-Belgian productions.  They seem to be able to still put the financing together for really engaging character driven stories.

 The Class

  1. The Class:    This one was somewhat experimental in that it was workshopped with the actual immigrant kids who also star in it.  HIGHLY recommended.
  2. A Prophet
  3. I've Loved you So Long
  4. L'Enfant
  5. Lorna's Silence

Four Lions

Other fairly recent European films
  1. Four Lions-I think you can safely call a comedy about 4 wannabe homegrown jihadists in England transgressive (and funny).  Christopher Morris may be the new Ricky Gervais.
  2. Let the Right One In:  Really interesting look to it, captures that modern alienated Nordic feeling.  One of the best vampire movies ever.  It is astonishing that it only grossed $49,000 in its opening weekend in the U.S.  It was remade as Let Me In (2010) in the U.S.
  3. The Lives of Others: wow. Beautiful and incredible acting.  The claustrophobia of living in a police state.
Lives of Others


Lady Vengeance- last film in the twisted Oldboy trilogy. 

Whisky: Uruguayan comedy.

Bubble: really compelling Soderbergh.  He uses "real people" as actors and shot this on a shoestring.

Cutie Honey: Get your Cos Play on.  Not a great film but who can resist a live action Japanese female superhero.

Play Time:  this is a taste one.  I love Mr Hulot and this is arguably the best of the lot. It is great to look at, the cinematography is phenomenal, and the physical comedy really good on a big screen.  Get the Blu-Ray and watch it on the biggest screen you can find.  Made in 1967 by Tati.

Play Time

  1. September Issue: rightfully got a fair amount of press.  And every visual person should be well-versed in Grace Coddington.
  2. Salesman: an awesome, awesome classic.  A reminder of why the Maysles brothers so heavily influenced the course of documentary film making for 50 years.  A day in the life of door-to-door bible salesmen.
  3. Valentino: The Last Emperor- Surprisingly, another fashion-related film. 
  4. Wasteland-won the IDA feature award last year
  5. Bus 174:  Brazilian.  It will change you. Really.  Maybe one of the most important documentaries of the last 25 years.
  6. La Vida Loca:  I can't recommend this doc highly enough.  Christian Poveda lived a dangerous life and ended up getting killed in the end.  In the meantime he recorded the reality of gang life (imported from the U.S) in El Salvador.   There is one scene in it that is like a waking fever dream.  
  7. Stevie: by Steve James (Hoop Dreams).  One of the few movies where the reflexive mode really works well because the film maker allows himself to be presented in a less than perfect light.  The moral center of the movie is provided by a white supremacist ex-con.
    Iranian: the best of my recent obsession with Iranian cinema
    It is really a shame that we don't get to see more Iranian films here.  They produce a decent number of films and have some incredibly talented directors.

    Kandahar- released in 2001.  Made by the prolific Mohsen Makhmalbaf.
    Gabbeh- another Makhmalbaf film.
    Close-Up- Abbas Kiarostami.  This film is an innovative blend of documentary and narrative film making.  And watching a real life trial in Iran is fascinating.


    And winner of possibly the most disturbing film I've seen in a long, long time:  The Chaser (Korean).  I felt terrible for days after watching this. If horrendous serial killers are your thing, then this film will scratch your itch.

    Don't Ask

    Thursday, June 30, 2011

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    It's Not Easy Being Green

    Played hookie from DaVinci this morning and instead got lucky and was able to spend a couple of hours talking with Isidore Mankofsky.   What a legend.  And, he's still working at age 80.  It's nice when someone at his level is actually willing to take the time to have a nice, intelligent conversation with regular people like me.  It definitely charges your batteries after going to events with people who are full of themselves.

    Last night I was at the LAFCPUG meeting dedicated to FCPX.  Larry Jordan, the inimitable Michael Wohl and Phillip Hodgetts were all presenting on what actually CAN be done on FCPX (or as Michael Wohl calls it "Z," as in "forget about Final Cut, this is something completely different.")  It was a sold out house full of post production professionals.  About three hands went up in the whole theatre when asked who was planning on purchasing it.  And with good reason.  It offers a lot of innovation as far as GUI/database interaction for a video editor, unfortunately, it lacks a lot of standard features that a working professional would expect.   Say, telling you when your audio is out of sync.....apparently in the future audio will never be out of sync because X isn't going to tell you if it is.

    I have a good idea what Apple was thinking, and in the longterm it was probably the right corporate strategic decision.  In the not too distant future most video is going to be shot in H.264 either on DSLR's or phones and end up being viewed on devices like the iPad or iPhone. But as far as alienating cultural tastemakers in such a huge way, what were they thinking?  I'm guessing we won't see the Coen brothers or Walter Murch on their marketing materials moving ahead, apparently they're at a place where that kind of approval is no longer needed for their products.  And we all scratch our heads, and try to figure out where to go next with all of this.

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Spiritual Center

    Time to go to that special place, you know, the film that makes the world seem like it really will be ok.  That there's hope, and that there are other people in the world out there who get you.  The spiritual center film tells you a lot about a person and how they view themselves.

    Yes, it is time for me to screen Caddyshack again.  Am I the only person who feels like the world is full of people who want to belong to some sort of Country Club?

    OK, time to get back to work logging video from the December shoot in the Amazon.

    Sunday, May 29, 2011

    On a Lazy Sunday Afternoon

    Playtime.  For fun, I made a couple of grades up for footage on a recently completed film.  I love this work so much I think I could do it as a job.  Click on the images for larger sized versions.

    For the first shot, an underwater shot, I was looking for drama.  My inspiration are the Turner storm paintings.  Two versions, one with more saturation.  I don't think I need to point out that the original shot is pretty awesome already.

    Original (ungraded)

    Test Grade (less sat)

    Test Grade (more sat)

    For this interview shot, I had two goals in mind.  The first was to really make the face pop from the background and, second, to give it more of a narrative, ominous look.

    Original (ungraded)

    Test Grade

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    And After All the Hard Work....

    Are you sure you want to do that, Dave?

    When I color grade for something that is going to be digitally projected on the big screen, I tell the Director, "remember, this is what it looks like, because even after all this work it may end up looking not-so-great at some of the screenings."  There are so many reasons, the projector was never set-up properly, the globe is too old,  an inadequate projector, ambient light in the auditorium.....Now you can add a new possibility to the list of uncontrollable exhibition variables that make you wake up in the middle of the night (yeah, I do tend to obsess about this stuff):  the theatre may project your 2D project through a 3D lens.  Hey, who'll notice that you've lost 85% of the original brightness?

    This is a really interesting article.  Who knew that you need a password and "security clearance" to open a projector?  It also has a neat infographic that does a nice job of quickly explaining aspects of digital projection.

    Yes, I know, people who have graded broadcast television for years are laughing at me.  Go to your local electronics retailer and look at the variations of the same image displayed on different brands and models of televisions.   And, yes, then there's the vivid mode setting.   Add to the mix wide variations in compression/bandwidth through different cable providers, Internet distribution and you quickly realize that you "do your best and forget the rest."

    10/31/11 ADDENDUMThis article summarizes Sony's response to the claims of the article I cited. It was published a couple of days after I wrote this post. I first saw it this morning.  As it concludes, regardless as to who is at fault, sometimes the theatrical experience can sometimes less than satisfying despite all the hard work and good intentions of everyone involved.

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Manufacturing Stoke Update

    We're making good progress after a couple of set-backs. Day 1 took a turn for the worse after some sort of FCP/Color XML disaster (that's the guess anyway). In the end, even though Color saved the project and the grades while we were working, when we reopened it they were gone. Project archives were there for every project save, but none contained the grades. The grades were nowhere, we spent a fair amount of time, as you might guess, looking for them. Let's hope FCP X Suite, in addition to being awesome, also has an industrial grade structure supporting it.

    Also, please, please, please, follow the sequence prep guidelines on my website. Some of them are essential. Certain things, say Tiff file dimensions, may crash Color before you can even open it. Also, there are those moments of disappointment when you get to important shots and need to keyframe an effect but cannot because there's a variable speed effect that hasn't been baked into the clip.

    We are back on schedule, and things are looking really nice. The film makers are willing to take chances and have a clear vision of what they want their film to look like. Sweet.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Manufacturing Stoke

    I'm in the grading room with the DP of the feature surfing documentary Manufacturing Stoke, Maximillian Schmige. We'll be grading it over the next several days, the premiere is May 21 in San Diego.  Gotta love doc folks, always living on the edge....I'm looking forward to this because Max is a very talented DP, the footage was shot with an artistic eye and he's also an all-around awesome person. 

    Here's the (ungraded) trailer:

    misfit pictures presents...
     World Premiere in San Diego, May 21st
     For more information,

    I'll report back if anything interesting comes up.

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    New Narrative Colorist Reel

    There's a lot going on....I now offer SCRATCH as an option.  The image processing algorithm on it is amazing and it can handle pretty much any workflow.  It will be interesting how the new version looks when it comes out this summer.  It is supposed to be able to handle any codec, natively, end to end.

     I also put together my narrative colorist reel this past week.  I've gotten a lot of really great feedback on the documentary colorist reel I posted a few weeks back, thanks to everyone who took the time to view it.

    Here is my 2011 Narrative Colorist Reel:

    It is available for viewing at higher resolution here.  And, it also available in full 720P on Creative Cow.

    I also want to put out a huge thank you to Carlo Kamin, who edited this.  He is an extraordinary editor with a broad range.  Check him out and hire will be happy you did.

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Interestinger and Interestinger

    I have to admit, learning the SCRATCH U.I. is pretty complicated.  But once you do, the image processing algorithms are pretty redonkulous and I think that the tool set can help you work more quickly.   There is a version coming out for Mac that supports multiple layers and native workflows for just about every codec in existence.  Here, they give an overview of the new version (from Windows tower-only software to being able to run on even MacBook Pros with the new version).

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Another Day at the Office

    I am currently getting fully up to speed on SCRATCH.  It's a powerful system, especially for working with full resolution R3D and stereoscopic work flows.  More in the not-too-distant future....

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Someone is Making Money

    Interesting story here.  Arianna Huffington is being sued by bloggers who created free content for her site, which she recently sold for $315 million.

    So, let me get this straight.  If you create content for free, whether out of passion or because you think it will lead to paying work, someone else is going to take what you've done and try to make money off of it regardless?  Really, I've done plenty of free work and I understand how it is used in the entertainment industry to grow your career, work with awesome people or do things that you may not have been able to do otherwise.   I still do free work for people I know and like, it's fun to have a shared passion with old and new friends.

    But, it's not a business model.  Unless you can make up for the no income part with volume.  I am constantly amazed that there are people out there who don't understand that if you don't make money, you won't be creative because you aren't sustainable.  Being able to sustainably support yourself is an ongoing radical act of creativity. When you're 25 and living in your parents' house it doesn't seem so important but it gets clearer as time passes.

    Surprisingly, to people who take a  more black and white view of life, I welcome the new world into which we are heading:  low-cost or free content, aggregated by companies and fed back to consumers at a profit.  It's what people seem to want, and the idea that people are interested in what each other have to say is encouraging.  Even if what they have to say isn't always well-formulated or presented in an artful visual manner, there are some moments of real clarity that come out of this cauldron of living culture.   

    My only message is: keep your eyes open, and make wise choices for yourself.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Who Comes Up With These Anyways?

     Home, suite home

    This Wall Street Journal blog post lists the "Top 10 Dying Industries."  Included in it is Video Post Production Services.  Has post production been hit any harder than any other aspect of the entertainment world?  I am really curious as to how they measure this.   These kinds of lists are kind of silly: best company in the world to work, best place in America to live.....How do they measure this, is it only large post-production houses, what do they consider Video Post Production Services....sometimes it's amazing the authoritative tone that these things take on without any supporting information.

    Happiness, like opportunity, lies in the eyes of the beholder, whether it's in Irvine or South Philly,  in your home post suite (i.e., bedroom) or at Deluxe.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Guide to Prepping Sequences For Color

    Don't even go there

    I have revised my guidelines for prepping a sequence for color grading in Color.  I decided to create a comprehensive reference that would cover nearly all scenarios, so it should hopefully be a timesaver.  I also included detailed instructions for accomplishing each required step, including the dreaded Media Management function.  It is written to be accessible for most skill levels.  So, relax, and tame that timeline.

    Yes, there is a new version of Final Cut Pro coming out sometime "this spring." And yes, there are wildly divergent ideas of what direction it is heading, iMovie Pro, Final Cut Interactive.....when it happens, it happens.....

    Anyway, it's available here for everyone to download and use. Cheers!

    And as always, please feel free to feed me any corrections, comments, etc.

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    2011 Documentary Colorist Reel

    This reel focuses on the type of color correction issues particular to documentary film making: underexposure, improperly color balanced footage, mixed light footage, low bit rate footage, high contrast footage, etc. Rather than create a strictly beauty reel, I want to show real world corrections on footage representative of the difficult footage that sometimes comes in from the field.

    Documentary filmmakers tend to care more about things like what can be done when a celebrity interview has been shot in three different color temperature light sources rather than creating a flashy look (although we do that sometimes as well). Please let me know what you think.

    You can view it at full resolution here.  Please turn scaling off if you view on full-screen mode, or it won't look correct.

    There is also a narrative film reel coming soon.

    The song is "AirBjork " is by Moe Pope & Headnodic. It is from the amazing compilation "Bjork Remixes" available for FREE download here.

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011


    I've been pretty lucky the past year or so, as far as the people with whom I've been able to work.  A few of the films have made it to the major festivals.

    The latest announcement was that Smut Capital of America will be screening at Tribeca this year.  Ben Leon and Michael Stabile did a really good job of creating a short film about a complicated subject.  Ben deserves a lot of credit for editing it visually in a more evocative rather than literal way.  I was the colorist on this film.

    I did production work on The Union, which will open the Tribeca Festival.  It's an understatement to say that I was lucky to get to work on that.  And, I also did some production work on the third film, Troubadours, which screened at Sundance this year. 

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Upgrades and Soderbergh

    OK,  I am going to be upgrading my website with new reels, photos, and other info, but wanted to share some of the good stuff that has been happening.

    The color grading room:

    I'm particularly proud of the fact that I made the dimmable D65 fixtures myself.

    The screening room:

    I can playback from the color grading room directly to the ten foot screen.  Schwing!

    My friends know that I love Steven Soderbergh's explorations into film structure (here and here). Not to mention, here.  OK, I gotta stop or this is going to turn into a very long Soderbergh post.  Anyway, I was shocked to see this on Twitter.   It makes me sad that the sheer filmmaking joy in Schizopolis no longer burns within him.

    A very serious filmmaker