Announcing the Reboot for 2018

Let’s call it Version 14 – this Weblog has been around since 2004!?! So, this’ll be the 14th year facelift & reboot.

Way back when I made the first post, I had wanted to create a place where I could share my knowledge and experiences of working in media production. I’ve realized that I still want to do that. I’ve got some new ideas for the kinds of content I want to create & post here.

This site has become quite a ghost town in the last few years. The reasons why are varied, but needless to say, I’m interested in getting back into sharing what I know & what I’ve learned over my career. I started in this business in 1983, at age 14, pulling cables and assisting my Dad (it’s all his fault!) and I never really considered any other paths. I’ve been doing production & post-production now for 35 years. Obviously, I’ve got some things to say.

So, pardon our dust, as we head into 2018, we’ll updating, revising, posting, and mostly just showing up around here more frequently. Stay tuned…

Quick info – LTO versus hard drives for archival

I wrote this up in reply to someone on the Facebook Post Chat group and thought I’d like to have it archived over here too. I will update it with more info a links soon:

Some comparisons and real world data for reference: LTO6 will run you about $1500-$3500 for the drive. $30-$60 per tape. Each tape can store 2.5TB. It’ll write at about 160/MB per second. We regularly use LTO5, tapes are about $20 for 1.5TB. On LTO5, we can backup, compare & verify a single 1.5TB volume in about 12-15 hours. Even with the 10-15% speed up to LTO6, I expect you’d see similar or slightly longer times to backup (with the bonus of an extra 1TB of archival). Media files don’t take much advantage of the compression of LTO, so look at the uncompressed numbers for planning. If you enjoy the command line, then you might be able to just use LTFS. If you aren’t a masochist, then you’ll be using Retrospect or Bru to do your backup and restores (make sure you make a plan to backup your backup catalogs!). Your media can be properly stored on a shelf for multiple years and should be readable until LTO7 drives are no longer readily available.

Bare Hard drives run about $50-$100 for 2TB. Transfer times vary depending on system capabilities, you could see times around 10 hours for 2TB of transfer (longer if you do a verify and compare afterwards). Your data can live on the shelf for a number of years but based on my experience I wouldn’t trust it much past 18 months. In my experience, hard drives fail far more regularly than LTO tapes become unreadable.

As with any archival system, you will want to put a procedure in place that allows effective and timely management of the media you want to archive. You have to make time in your schedule for project backups. Our LTO drive is attached to a separate system that is dedicated to that task and we transfer media into that system via a 10GB switch. You may find it works best to have a two-tier system: hard drives for short- or near-term archival and LTO for long-term storage. As always, YMMV.

The Sound of Sports

Being a fan of 99% Invisible, I learned of this amazing radio documentary, “The Sound of Sport,” produced by Peregrine Andrews for Falling Tree Productions and broadcast, originally in 2011, on BBC Radio 4.

It is an incredible look (or listen) into the art of capturing all the sounds of sporting events. Just as we’ve progressed to HD video, sound too has evolved to bring the viewers closer (and sometimes right into) the action.

“The Sound of Sport,” delves into what it takes to cover these live sports. It is presented by Dennis Baxter, a sound engineer and designer. Dennis is truly one of the “wizards behind the curtain,” when it comes to live sports coverage.  Hearing his insight into his work is incredible. Also featured is Bill Whiston , Sound Supervisor for Wimbledon Tennis (et al). I was fascinated to learn how they mic a tennis match – it really does take you right onto the court. The show also talks with sounds designers of sports video games and sport-related movies & how they have been influenced by and, in turn, influence live sports coverage.

If you are at all interested in the fields of sound, mixing, live production or even just how deeply you must go to bring viewers into an event, then you should give the show a listen – preferably with headphones – it is an aural treat.

Anatomy of an Edit

If you’ve ever wondered what all goes in to making a promo for a network like PBS, I’ve made this short little video. The clip below is 4 hours and 30 minutes of editing work (which is about half of the total time spent to make the piece) compressed into 60 seconds. Take a look:

And here is the spot created from the work above:

The graphics were created by a design firm in LA, but I had to massively tweak them after the initial look wasn’t approved by the final client. The final color correction and audio mix were done at Post-Op Media (where I work).

Just a cool little insight into what it takes to do this kind of work.