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…

I’ve discovered I have a new allergy

It came to me last night. In the midst of a back-and-forth comment flow about the newly announced MacPro: I am allergic to people arguing about platforms.

I get all itchy when people start railing against a brand based on some new product announcement. Hearing “Apple is dead to me,” causes me to twitch. I break into a cold sweat whenever I hear someone claiming one platform is the best there is and everything else sucks. It makes me ill enough to want to leave the conversation right away.

Are people really basing their loyalty to a brand or product on an announcement of a yet-to-be-shipped product? Seriously?!? So, the newly announced MacPro won’t allow you to make use of the PCIe expansion cards you are using today? Even though you are working on a 4-year old platform? With a 6-year old technology in PCIe? Even though not a single third party software or hardware developer has announced what their plans are for working with the new platform? Well, Grant Petty from Blackmagic has good things to say, so we’ll have to see if others will follow.

I’ve watched this industry struggle through some significant changes and this argument, while changing topics, remains constant – people can’t stand change. I read it best in the comment on the Blackmagic thread above, “it’s really just the case of people wanting a bigger horse instead of a car.”

Someone asked me, after voicing my hatred of platform wars, why I continued to bother participating. I had to stop and think. I replied, “its in my nature to seek out & keep as many tools in my kit as possible. I have to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest info and trends. While it may make my skin crawl, I’ll be damned if I’m going to let knee-jerk reactions and opinionated bloviations win the day.”

“Oh my god,” came the response, “could it be possible that you’re going conservative in your old age?”

“Exactly the opposite,” I replied,” I embrace change. I love learning all this new stuff. Bring it on.”

Speak out against SOPA/PIPA

While you are waiting for the next part of the “Faster. Better…(not necessarily) Stronger” series, take some time to educate yourself about the Stop Online Piracy Act(SOPA) & The Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). These bills are bad ideas. I’m all for protecting the rights of creators of material but SOPA and PIPA are the result of allowing a group of self-declared non-experts, who are being guided by companies who aren’t satisfied with only 40%+ market growth over 10 years to legislate something as wild and untamable as the Internet. It is a bad idea.

Educate yourself. Watch this video:

Visit – The EFF’s clearing house on what to do to help stop these bills from becoming laws.

Contact your representative and make them aware that you don’t want these bills to become law.

And check back tomorrow, because we’ll be here. We aren’t going dark. We’ll be posting part 2. Maybe in all that extra time you’ll have *not* surfing Reddit or Wikipedia, you can drop by here!

Faster. Stronger. . . (not necessarily) Better. – PART 2

If you recall from Monday’s post, I related an example of a very complicated and convoluted set of media files related to a one hour-long nature documentary. 10 camera formats. 1080 & 720. 23.98fps. 29.97fps. All delivered on 25 external hard drives.

With all the the recent advancements in cameras and acquisition technologies, the expectation is the process of media production should become faster, easier and more stream-lined. We associate improvement with advancement, right?  If it’s new then it must be better. As I mentioned in part one of this post, though, as media production has moved into the digital space, it has become bogged down by the plethora of choices available to creators. The work  feels more complicated and time-consuming, and it doesn’t necessarily result in a better product.

Continue reading “Faster. Stronger. . . (not necessarily) Better. – PART 2”

Faster. Stronger. . . (not necessarily) Better. – PART 1

It’s the whole premise of The Six Million Dollar Man: “We have the technology to make him better, stronger, faster than he was before!” I’m all for it in most aspects, but some things have become faster and stronger, but not really better. And in some cases, much worse than before.

Take acquisition. I’m talking about capturing material in the creation of a program. It can be whatever kind of show you’d like. Developments in digital acquisition have exploded in the last few years. We have such cool toys with which to capture events in 2D or 3D – Red EPIC, Phantom, Viper, DSLR, P2, XDCAM, F3, AF-100, 5D, 7D, C300, GoPro – the list goes on and on.

The image quality cannot be denied for many of these new cameras. They are amazing. If you had told me I would be working with HD images at 5K resolution just 5 years ago I would have doubted you. The detail and latitude these new devices provide are incredible. But there’s a downside to it all. A downside I don’t think anyone really thought through as these new technologies were being proposed, designed and invented. It’s a downside that many production people don’t see or even think about. It’s a downside that foists responsibility onto the last person in the chain of program creation that needs more responsibility.

Continue reading “Faster. Stronger. . . (not necessarily) Better. – PART 1”