… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1078: Discover PostPerspective.com

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

PostProduction.com is a go-to source for stories, interviews and product reviews.

Randi Altman, Editor-in-Chief, PostPerspective.com.

Topic $TipTopic

If you haven’t explored the PostPerspective.com website, you are missing a treat.

Editor-in-Chief Randi Altman has a multi-decade career covering our industry. A few years ago, she founded PostPerspective.com to provide online, in-depth coverage of our industry.

Typical stories include interviews with the folks behind the camera, analysis of production and post-production techniques, equipment reviews, and tracking personnel as we move about the industry.

Here’s the link: PostPerspective.com.


Please rate the helpfulness of this tip.

Click on a star to rate it!

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Tip #1079: How to Get More YouTube Subscribers

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Increasing YouTube subscribers comes down to leveraging your marketing.

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in MotionArray.com. This is a summary.

If you’ve been hustling away on YouTube for a while now, chances are you’re already well up to speed on all the major tips for growing your subscriber base. (Publishing videos on the regular, cross-promoting on social media, making primo content, etcetera, etcetera).

But what if you’ve tried all of those things and you’re still flailing around in sub-1000 subscriber territory? And now you’re asking yourself “how do I get YouTube subscribers and push the needle forward?”

Here are the seven steps they recommend:

  1. Enable YouTube’s Automated Pop-Up Subscription Link
  2. Collaborate With Other YouTubers
  3. Use Playlists To Retain Viewers
  4. Make Your Thumbnails Simply Irresistible
  5. Self-Promote in Facebook Groups, Subreddits, and Amazon Reviews
  6. Fill Your Titles With Super Relevant Keyword Phrases
  7. Make Video Intros a Standard Practice

Visit the article, linked at the top, for more details.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1080: Filmmaking Fundamentals: Blocking

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

These five videos illustrate different ways to handle blocking a scene.

(Image courtesy of PremiumBeat.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

When watching amazing cinema, there are many aspects you’ll notice right away and often remember forever — great lines of dialogue, breathtaking action sequences, and beautiful cinematography. However, one film element that often gets ignored, but is still crucially important, is blocking.

Before we go into learning from the masters, let’s go over some of the basics of scene blocking. Scene blocking covers everything that has to do with placement and movement between characters, props, and camera(s) for every shot and scene. Unless you’re shooting a documentary or a certain type of improvised action, most film scenes are tightly controlled, blocked, and rehearsed so that every movement and action is accounted for.

Finally, the most important part of any scene blocking is the camera. In many ways, the camera — which represents your audience and POV — is the primary character in your scene. Consider your camera placement, its framing, and any (or all) movements that you might employ, from simple pans to complex tracking shots, when working on your scene blocking.

In this article, Jourdan provides videos illustrating:

  • How to block a scene
  • How Hitchcock blocks a scene in “Vertigo”
  • How Scorsese blocked a scene in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
  • How Akira Kurosawa using blocking
  • How Kubrick, Spielberg and Inarritu blocked scenes

SUMMARY

When you’re finally shooting your scenes with your carefully defined blocking in action, it’s helpful to treat each shot and scene as its own mini-movie. You have your actors ready to go in their starting positions, you have your lights set and queued up for any adjustments, and your camera is rehearsed and ready to move. Once you call action, you’re really just recreating the stage play that you’ve blocked and mapped out — now it’s your job to shoot it to the best of your ability.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1081: Improve the Responsiveness of a Server

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

An NVMe SSD cache card can speed file directory operations and make a server more responsive.

The Synology SNV3500-400G NVMe SSD.

Topic $TipTopic

I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about how to improve the speed and responsiveness of my storage. Here’s a relatively inexpensive way to improve the responsiveness of a server, especially for smaller workgroups. When it comes to storage there are three elements we can adjust:

  • Storage capacity – measured in gigabytes – is how much the device holds
  • Bandwidth – the speed it transfers data to and from the computer
  • Responsiveness – how fast it responds to requests for data

Looking at these in more detail:

  • Capacity – measured in terabytes – we are all familiar with. From experience, we know that we can’t have too much capacity. It seems that hard disks are either empty or full.
  • Bandwidth – measured in MB/second – is how fast we can move data from one device to another.
  • Responsiveness – measured in milliseconds – is how fast a storage device responds to a request for data.

Most older people celebrate a birthday with a nice dinner. Me? I upgraded my server. I have a Synology DS 1517+ that’s around 3 years old. I connect to it using 1 Gb Ethernet from a variety of different computers.

One of the problems with my storage is that, because my network only consists of 2-3 users, the server is not heavily used. Which means that a lot of the time the drives stop spinning, or spin slower, to save energy because there’s nothing happening across the network.

This means that when I access a server volume from my Mac, it takes several seconds for it to wake up and display a file directory or open a file.

Most of the time, while annoying, this isn’t a big problem. But, all my media is stored on the server, when I’m doing a live webinar this delay drives me nuts.

So, I finally decided to do something about it: I added an SSD card as a cache to the server. SSDs are marketed to database users as a way to improve the responsiveness of I/O operations. And I’m sure it does that. But there are also benefits to media creators in terms of making the server feel much more responsive.

NOTE: The specific hardware that I added were a Synology E10M20-1 Ethernet Adapter, which also holds a Synology SNV3500-400G 400 GB NVMe SSD to accelerate the storage cache. (The card uses an m.2 form factor.)

I was amazed at the difference. Folders pop open almost instantly, even though the disks are not yet up to speed. Navigating is almost as fast as the internal SSD on my computer. While I haven’t, yet, connected the 10 Gbps Ethernet port – though that’s coming – just adding SSD makes a big difference. I don’t feel like I’m waiting on my storage anymore.

NOTE: The SSD does not speed file transfers, but it does make moving around and finding things inside the server much faster.

If you feel that your server is a bit “laggy,” look into adding an SSD card as a cache. It will make your system feel much peppier, even if your server, like mine, still uses spinning disks for storage.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1082: Thunderbolt 4 is Coming!

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Thunderbolt 4 won’t be any faster, but it will be a lot more flexible.

The Thunderbolt logo.

Topic $TipTopic

When Thunderbolt first came out in 2011, it was a niche interface specifically designed for media creators. Why? Because Thunderbolt is optimized for large files, while USB is optimized for smaller files. Since most people using computers are more likely to be browsing the web, word processing or creating spreadsheets, USB was the perfect protocol for them. Plus, it was cheap.

However, Intel and Apple, the two co-creators of Thunderbolt, were not standing still. Currently, all Macs come bundled with Thunderbolt 3. In July, Intel revealed more of what will be in Thunderbolt 4.

As a reminder, Thunderbolt is considered a “universal” solution because it’s capable of delivering fast transfer speeds, charging and video output over a single connection. Thunderbolt 4 is compliant with USB4, DisplayPort and PCIe Express standards, and is compatible with previous-gen Thunderbolt and USB products.

According to LaptopMag.com, “Thunderbolt 4 isn’t any faster than Thunderbolt 3 when it comes to maximum transfer speeds but it brings additional capabilities. Among those is the ability to connect to two 4K monitors or a single 8K monitor as a minimum requirement, an upgrade from the single 4K output offered by Thunderbolt 3. 

“Maximum data transfer speeds remain at 40 GBps but can now be achieved using a 2-meter universal cable. For comparison, USB4 matches Thunderbolt at 40 GBps but has a minimum requirement of 20 GBps. Additionally, Thunderbolt 4 will introduce accessories with up to four Thunderbolt ports.  

“As well, Intel is requiring one Thunderbolt 4 port to drive power to thin and lightweight laptops that need less than 100 watts to charge. PCs will also need to let you wake them from sleep by touching a mouse or keyboard when they are connected to a Thunderbolt dock.”

Thunderbolt 4 devices should be released before the end of 2020.

EXTRA CREDIT

Sections of this article were taken from LaptopMag.com, written by Philip Tracy.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1062: Accusonus Releases ERA 5

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Easy-to-use, high-power audio tools for all NLEs.

The Voice AutoEQ interface in the new ERA 5 bundle.

Topic $TipTopic

Accusonus, a well-respected name in audio repair, just released ERA 5.

This bundle “features incredible new tools and the biggest engine update yet, delivering staggering quality with the most intuitive workflow for creators. Innovative solutions empower you to fix even more audio issues than before, saving time in editing and enhancing your sound.” (Accusonus blog)

New tools include:

  • Voice AutoEQ. This automatically adjust its parameters to provide you with a great baseline of good sounding EQ for the human voice, which you can adjust to taste afterwards.
  • Voice Deepener. This creates a voice recording that is able to allure, convince and hook everyone! Just select the voice deepening amount that sounds right to you and let it do its magic.
  • Audio Cleanup Assistant. This features presets for podcasting, vlogging, interviews, audiobooks and all sorts of content creation. And if you often have to deal with audio that has been recorded in the same conditions again and again, you can always save and recall your own presets.
  • Noise Remover Pro. RA Noise Remover Pro has up to 6 spectral processing bands. By applying a different amount of processing to each band, you can further tune the algorithm performance on your particular source material. Save dialogue tracks which cannot be recorded again, remove unwanted elements with astonishing precision, and enjoy the ultimate control over your recordings.
  • Reverb Remover Pro. Ggt tailored reverberation reduction on key frequency ranges. Each band has been fine tuned to work optimally in its range, while the complexity is managed automatically behind the scenes. Reverb reduction is one of the most demanding post production processes.

And several more. The software is available by subscription.

Download a free trial here.

EXTRA CREDIT

They don’t promote it, but the new De-reverb filter in Adobe Premiere is actually technology licensed from Accusonus.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1063: Robert Yeoman, ASC: Lighting Comedy

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Robert Yeoman, on set.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This explores how cinematographer Robert Yeoman keeps his comedies light and helped develop Wes Anderson’s quirky aesthetic.

While Yeoman’s work long ago became intertwined with Anderson’s coffee shop aesthetic, he actually has quite a career as a cinematographer outside of that relationship. His early work garnered him quite a bit of esteem from the Independent Spirit Awards (To Live and Die in L.A., Drugstore Cowboy) and his later works have included several highly successful comedy blockbusters (Yes Man, Bridesmaids).

This article contains interviews and videos illustrating how such cinematically recognizable films as Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Life Aquatic, and The Grand Budapest Hotel so successfully elevates arthouse indies and blockbuster comedy franchises alike by combining his craft of kitsch with his artistic and comedic sensibilities.

  • Finding Your Creative Process
  • Developing a Visual Grammar
  • Lighting for Clarity and Comedy
  • Old School Whip Pans and Slow Motion
  • Developing the Wes Anderson Look

When looking back through Yeoman’s career so far, it’s important to recognize that he isn’t simply a means to bringing a director’s vision to screen, but in fact, he’s very much a developer of the looks and aesthetics that we’ve come to know and love.

Check out the link at the top to watch all of these.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1064: MotionArray Announces Team Plans

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

MotionArray bundles all their services and prices it for team use.

Manage all MotionArray resources in one place.

Topic $TipTopic

In an email, the team at MotionArray announced the launch of Team Plans to provide better account options for groups of two or more editors needing access to the same MotionArray resources. The primary feature is all team accounts can now download unlimited assets and manage their licenses in one place!

NOTE: MotionArray describes itself as: “The all-in-one video & filmmakers platform. Take projects from concept to completion with unlimited asset downloads, exclusive plugins, video collaboration and review tools, and a portfolio website builder…all in one membership.”

Key features include

  • Easily Add & Manage Team Members
  • Manage All Your Stock Assets & Licenses In One Place
  • Collaborate & Review Projects Remotely
  • Save Time and Money

Here’s the link to learn more.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1036: Rough Cut Interviews in 6 Steps

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

These six steps keep the chaos at bay while editing interviews.

(Interview image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Joe Frederick, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

Editors on interview projects face an overwhelming task: reducing hours of footage into just minutes for the final cut. Eliminate that stress with these six steps.

1. Transcription. Getting your interviews transcribed is the best piece of advice I have for anyone cutting these types of videos. There are many, many advantages to getting your interviews transcribed. If the director suddenly wants to find a particular soundbite from a particular interview, you can easily search the transcription for particular key words or phrases. You can also skim through the interviews when away from the edit suite. The benefits are endless.

Before the transcription, it’s worth forming your multicam clips first, if you’ve filmed from multiple angles, so you can drag the multicam clip into your timeline and export the audio from there. That way, the timecode on your transcription will match the timecode of your interview timeline. This is vital if you want to keep your process efficient.

2. Highlighting. Read all the transcripts from beginning to end, highlighting anything and everything that might possibly be used in the edit. I usually open the PDFs in Preview, which allows you to use different colors when highlighting.

3. CreateGood Content.” Back in your NLE, go through all your interviews, cutting out any of your highlighted segments from each interview into a new project/sequence. Essentially you are building an unorganized selects reel. Put a text slide before each clip with the content of the sound bite. By now, you should have a sense of the organizational structure you are aiming for.

4. CreateGood Content Ordered.” Rearrange the selected sound bites into an order that makes sense.

5. CreateContent Cut.” Duplicate your project and rename it “Content Cut.” Because your footage is now in order, you’ll be able to see when you have repetition in what’s being said and can quickly delete it. Then, get busy deleting and whittling down your cut until it’s the length you want your final piece to be.

6. CreateRefined Content Cut.” Duplicate your project file once again and rename it Refined Content Cut. This is where the final finessing takes place.

By taking your project in stages, it helps you feel more in control which allows you to focus more on your story.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1037: On-set Wireless Video Monitoring

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

On-set video monitors can save time and improve collaboration.

(Image courtesy of Teradek.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

The folks at Teradek, who make wireless video monitors, created a blog illustrating the benefits of wireless video monitors on-set. Not just for the director, but other key production team members as well. Here’s an excerpt.

NOTE: Here’s the link.

Wireless monitoring is critical to many roles on set; but let’s face it, not everyone has access to one. In fact, on many productions big and small, priority for monitoring goes to the Director and DP, leaving other critical members to fend for themselves in an overcrowded video village with just a few monitors.

The goal, then, is to find a solution that lets everyone see the shot without having to fight for that premium video village real estate. That’s where personal wireless monitors come in.

The biggest benefit is allowing every member to see the shot so they can adjust their roles accordingly, making for a much more collaborative set. Another is being mobile, allowing the crew to maneuver around set with ease and remove as many obstructions as possible.

The seven roles that could benefit most are:

  • Director
  • 1st AC
  • Gaffer
  • Script Supervisor
  • Hair & Makeup
  • Clients & Executives
  • Boom operators

While only a select few people on set absolutely need zero-delay monitoring, by helping to cut production time, you end up saving tons of money.