Blog, business, post production for film and video, sound

Wow…Da Vinci on a Mac for $995

This is incredible. Just announced at NAB: A Da Vinci Resolve system will now run on a Mac for $995. You still need a control surface, and it’s probably a somewhat stripped-down version — simply because you can only run one processer with it, but here’s the thing: incredibly powerful color correction is now possible for smaller and smaller boutique houses. If Hearken Creative grows a bit, I could foresee starting out with a Mac-based system and then move quickly to the Linux GPU cards via high speed InfiniBand connections.

The Da Vinci system is an industry-leading high-end color correction system for film and digital post production work. Da Vinci was purchased by BlackMagic Design in September 2009, and has been working to re-frame the playing field for color correction software. This will affect Apple’s Color as well as Avid’s built-in color correction (such as in Adrenaline).

The price of all of this stuff just keeps coming down further and further…

Blog, business, post production for film and video

Jimmy Kimmel tells it like it is…and it's funny.

According to the NY Times, Jimmy Kimmel started the ABC upfronts (rolling out the new Fall shows for advertisers) with a comedy bit and, true to most comedy, it had a few grains of truth in it:

Bouncing onto the stage at just after 4 p.m., Mr. Kimmel self-deprecatingly declared, “All of ABC’s late night comedy talent is assembled here on one stage.” After rattling off a few statistics about the affluence of his viewers, he then admitted that he’d made all the numbers up. (He said so in a more obscene way.)

Then, in a “Jerry Maguire”-like moment of clarity, Mr. Kimmel said, “Everything you’re going to hear this week is” nonsense. “Let’s get real here. Let’s get Dr. Phil-real here. These new fall shows? We’re going to cancel about 90 percent of them. Maybe more.”

To the ABC advertisers, Mr. Kimmel said, “Every year we lie to you and every year you come back for more. You don’t need an upfront. You need therapy. We completely lie to you, and then you pass those lies onto your clients.”

Returning to ABC’s advertisers, Mr. Kimmel said, “Next year on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ your product could kill Dr. Izzie. It just depends on how much you want to pay.”

Wow. I know it’s comedy, but we’re getting a bit too close to reality here. One of my favorite relatively-new shows is Chuck, and now word comes that the only reason it is getting renewed for a third season is Subway’s integrated sponsorship (read: “mammoth product placement”) for the next season. The television landscape is crazy. Good shows get cancelled (”Pushing Daisies”), bad shows keep going on (“The Bachelor”), and then, in a first, two fan/critic favorites actually get saved from the ax (the aforementioned “Chuck” and Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse”). Crazy times.

Back to Jimmy Kimmel. I remember right after 9/11, watching one of the first Letterman broadcasts after the attacks, and turning to my wife and saying “comedy/irony/farce will never be the same again — they may never come back.” Boy, was I wrong. There are still a million and one things to make fun of, and I’m glad that people are roasting what needs to be roasted.

Thank you, Jimmy.

Blog, Pasadena and local

Hahamongna Watershed Park to stay (mostly) green

The Pasadena Star News today reported that the inclusion of plans for a parking structure and access road in the mostly-unimproved Hahamongna Watershed Park was simply an error:

After more protests at a meeting last week, city staff Tuesday night told residents at a meeting of the city’s Environmental Advisory Committee that the inclusion of the garage and road in the new plan was an oversight and would be fixed. “The roadway will be removed from the plan’s addendum,” said Theresa Fuentes, of the City Attorney’s Office. “The plan will be edited for removal of the parking garage.”

Well, I’m glad to hear it. Hahmongna is a city treasure, and, even more, a local gem. Can you think of many other locations within a few minutes’ drive where you can get completely lost in nature? There aren’t many in Southern California.

Next time I’m up there, maybe I’ll take the video camera and post some video. It’s truly that beautiful.

Blog, business, post production for film and video

Is product placement doomed by the recession?

I always thought that the product tie-ins for Chuck and Heroes were kinda funny (I don’t even remember what companies they were!), but I didn’t know that the whole concept of product placement as a viable advertising vehicle was going to go away. And then this morning, Jeep decided to cut its losses in the wake of Chrysler’s financial situation, and not promote the phenomenal tie-in of the Jeep in the new Terminator movie.

It’s funny. They are in deep financial distress, and really need to keep selling cars in order for a Chapter 11 to work (or else they have no reason to do a reorg). But it’s hard to continue to advertise when there’s no money to spend. How to solve it?

I find some of my clients in a similar position: unable to make more money, but unable to advertise to bring new clients in. It’s a tough economic climate we’re in, and some of the things that we have done to help clients are:

  • cut costs of design and production,
  • cut costs of printing and other buyouts,
  • advise on ways to maximize the return on investment for advertising, and
  • create flexible payment plans for our clients.

We hope this helps keep some of our customers coming back for more projects with Hearken Creative, and we hope that your company is weathering this storm well.

Blog, business, post production for film and video

Sheep get over 7 million hits on YouTube

If you haven’t seen this viral video (that actually is an advertisement for Samsung), take a look at it above. Then, go here and see how director James Rouse swears up and down that there are no virtual sheep on that hill.

Really fun spot. It’s definitely not a “hard-sell,” but I think it is effective, because I remember that Samsung is the one with the cool LED-lit sheep now…

Blog, business, post production for film and video, sound

New Avid and AJA announcements at NAB

By virtue of being both a marketing expert and a technology expert, I watch everything that happens at the major tech trade shows. This week Las Vegas saw the NAB (Natl. Association of Broadcasters) show, which lets people in the broadcasting industry see what technology is coming up. Two things jumped out at me (from the news — I wasn’t there. My corporate travel account is at zero — LOL):

Avid is now publicly integrating all of their companies: Avid, Digidesign, Sibelius, M-Audio, etc. This means that there will be tighter integration between all of their products, making for faster “round-tripping” between apps. Does that mean that I will start using Avid instead of Final Cut Pro? Probably not immediately, but, as this blogger points out, cross-app integration has been very good for both Apple’s and Adobe’s post production suites (with Adobe doing a slightly better job at it than Apple). And it might also help intra-app round-tripping as well. But for us smaller, independent/freelance artists/producers, this announcement doesn’t bring as much punch as I would like: I don’t want Digi or Avid to relegate the freelancers to only using M-Audio products (although they are quite good); I would like a low-cost Digi system that can compete with HD systems, and a low-cost Avid system that can compete with FCP. I know they already make these (kindof), but I want to see them supported and upgraded. Just my two cents.

Also at NAB, AJA announced a new box called the Ki Pro, that takes any signal (even from an SD camera) and can upres it to full HD ProRes 422 video. List price is under $4k. This would be a boon to people (like me) who have lots of good, but old, SD cameras, that might be used as “B” or “C” cameras on an HD shoot if we could get fast and clean up-rezzed material. I’m going to watch this new product carefully to see if they come down in price and/or could be of use in my company.

Blog, post production for film and video

Obama's Inauguration Requires 30 Truckloads of Sound Equipment

Have you ever heard of Maryland Sound International? Well, they just pulled off what they think might be the “largest amplified event ever. Period.”

Pro Sound News covers the requirements for a presidential inauguration: JBL VerTec rigs hung on custom motorized portable poles dotted the National Mall. But the coolest thing (from a scientific perspective) is the time-delay required to make sure everyone hears the same thing:

Given the vast expanses needed to be covered, it took more than nine seconds for audio to travel from Obama’s microphone to the last loudspeaker, requiring that video fed to the many portable screens on hand be delayed to match the audio. Accordingly, MSI spent the last week working onsite, checking wires, listening to mixes and interacting with a government sound architect.

From what I can tell, everything went off without a hitch. Congratulations to MSI and all of their people for making a historic event sound great!