… for Random Weirdness

Tip #973: Frame.io Announces Big Updates

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Update feature faster file transfers, better FCP X integration and more security.

The Frame.io logo.

Topic $TipTopic

Last week, Frame.io announced a new version and several new features, along with updated support for Final Cut Pro X 10.4.9, released the same day. These new features include:

  • Version 3.7 – focused on speed, precision and security
  • The Frame.io Transfer app
  • Improvements to the Final Cut Pro X workflow extension
  • The ability to display HDR media during playback on iOS devices
  • Improved iOS player controls
  • Improved Admin controls for enterprise accounts

Quoting from the Frame.io press release:

Frame.io Transfer provides more customizable control over how users move creative assets. The control center for effortlessly moving creative assets, Transfer now lets users upload and download large files, entire folders—or entire projects—effortlessly, with a single click. Use Transfer to monitor progress updates, prioritize transfer job order, and configure bandwidth for even more flexibility.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s a news article from my website that describes the update in more detail.


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Tip #974: A Master Class in Vertical Video

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Vertical video works when you embrace it for what it is, not what you would like it to be.

One of the titles from “The Stunt Double.”

Topic $TipTopic

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

If you, like me, were skeptical about the value of “vertical video” (that is, with an aspect ratio of 9:16, rather than 16:9), Apple, in conjunction with director Damien Chazelle, has created a video that will change your mind.

In this article, Jourdan links to, then analyzes the nine-minute short film “The Stunt Double” starring Tom McComas and Preeti Desai. If you haven’t seen the movie, it is totally worth ten minutes of your time. It is rich at multiple levels, not just plot but production.

As Jourdan writes: “Chazelle’s vertical short can be appreciated in a couple of ways. On the surface, it’s a fun love letter to the classic genres of film history. Even better, and perhaps more importantly, it’s a master class in how to frame your cinematography in this new direction.”

Jourdan’s article looks at:

  • The impact of vertical titles to set a mood.
  • The use of establishing shots, even vertically, to set the geography.
  • How vertical video enhances close-ups.
  • The director’s effective use of 2-shots.
  • How rotating traditional framing – like shooting the slate – can still enhance the story.

As he concludes: “If you’re going vertical, remember to embrace and elevate the limitations. If something just doesn’t want to fit, change the definition of ‘fit’ by turning your classic horizontal instincts on their head. You’ve still got a frame to fill and a story to tell.”

Both the article and the video – which are linked above – are well worth your time.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #975: How to Succeed Even With Competition

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Competition challenges us to focus on what we do best.

(Racing image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

A couple of years ago I wrote an article: “How to Succeed When There’s So Much Competition.” Finding consistent paying work back then was hard, today it is even harder. Here are my thoughts.

A reader asked: “How can editors retain their important role and convince the client that they are still important and worth their normal rate?”

DaVinci Resolve is free, Adobe Premiere is available on a subscription basis, and Final Cut Pro X is affordable for just about anyone interested in editing. Therefore, everyone now has the tools necessary for professional video editing. Does that make them an editor?

No.

In my workshop, I have a hammer, a saw and a level – but I can’t build a house. I have the tools, but not the skills.

This illustrates a problem we’ve had for a long time. All too often, video editors define themselves by the tools they use, not the skills they have. If you define yourself solely by the tools you use, you’re going to be competing with the next college graduate that has Photoshop, or Final Cut, or Premiere installed on their laptop. And you are going to lose.

It isn’t our tools – it’s the stories that we tell, our dependability, and the client relationships that we build that sets us apart. The more that we focus on creative story-telling – in all of its different phases – the more people will demand our services.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s the full article.

And here’s a follow-up: Tips to Build Your Media Career.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #965: Thoughts on the Mac T2 Chip

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Apple T2 chip provides more than simple system security.

The Apple T2 chip

Topic $TipTopic

We first heard about Apple’s T2 chip with the release of the 2017 iMac Pro. Apple’s support pages wrote:

“The Apple T2 Security Chip is Apple’s second-generation, custom silicon for Mac. By redesigning and integrating several controllers found in other Mac computers—such as the System Management Controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller—the T2 chip delivers new capabilities to your Mac.

“For example, the T2 chip enables a new level of security by including a secure enclave coprocessor that secures Touch ID data and provides the foundation for new encrypted storage and secure boot capabilities. And the T2 chip’s image signal processor works with the FaceTime HD camera to enable enhanced tone mapping, improved exposure control, and face-detection–based autoexposure and auto white balance.”

But, what you may not know is that the T2 chip also provides hardware-based encoding, such as 8-bit HEVC (i.e. the “Faster” setting) when encoding files using Apple Compressor. For those familiar with hardware-based H.264 encoding using Intel CPUs, Apple’s expectation is to have comparable results regardless of which hardware is used.

The T2 will become even more important to video creators as Apple shifts to Apple silicon-based systems in the coming year.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s a Apple KnowledgeBase page from Apple with more details.

Here’s a Wikipedia article to learn more about Apple’s custom chips.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #949: 6 Film Funding Tips

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Funding a film is like getting a startup off the ground.

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jarett Holmes, first appeared in RitualMusic.com. This is an excerpt.

Armed with a great script, a talented core team and a vision, the often impossible-seeming hurdle remains: Fundraising. Funding a film is like getting a startup off the ground: Get ready to pick up the phone, put yourself way out of your comfort zone, and ask for the money.

Here are six resources to aid in your film fundraising strategy:

  1. Film Fundraising Reading List. This provides nine links to articles and advice on funding, crowd-funding, budgeting and lawyers.
  2. Your Attorney as an Essential Resource. As soon as possible, find a great attorney. Your entertainment lawyer will guide you through the structuring of your company (which will affect how you raise money), the contracts, shareholders agreements and all other business documents.
  3. Friends and Family Network. The first place to turn when fundraising is to the people that have already invested in you, your friends and family.
  4. Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a step away from straight friends and family, but there will be overlap. His article discusses and has links to KickStarter, IndieGogo, and Slated.
  5. Grants & Government Funding. Believe it or not, there are initiative’s for the arts, including filmmaking! The article includes links to PBS and GrantSpace.
  6. Accredited Investors. Once you’ve exhausted your immediate network, you may decide to cast the net out into the sea of accredited investors. These investors are high net worth individuals and will want to know exactly how you expect to show them a return.

Conclusion

Raising money for any project a hustle, no doubt about it. But the advice and links in this article can help you get started in the right direction.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #950: Blackbird: Fast, Cloud-based Editing

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Blackbird embodies the shift into remote editing workflows.

The Blackbird logo.

Topic $TipTopic

Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of emails about this software and wanted to share their description with you. The following text is from Blackbird.

Blackbird is the world’s fastest, most powerful professional cloud video editing and publishing platform. Enabling remote editing, Blackbird provides rapid access to video content for the easy creation of clips, highlights and longer form content to multiple devices and platforms.

A fully-featured editor accessed through any browser, easy to learn and needing only limited bandwidth to use, Blackbird powers significant productivity and efficiency benefits for any enterprise organisation working with video.

Blackbird was developed specifically for the browser and thereby supports remote production, Blackbird delivers unbeatable speed, scalability and richness of editing features and video output.

Blackbird is unique. The platform allows you to manage your video like no other solution – enabling lightning-fast video viewing, editing and publishing – anywhere, any time, by anyone.

If you haven’t heard of this application before, here’s the link to learn more.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #951: 5 Easy Hacks for a Solo Shoot

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

These five tips will help improve your next shoot.

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Tanner Shinnick, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

Work smarter, not harder! Tips, tricks, hacks — whatever you call them — these five easy moves will make your next solo video shoot better.

Clients are looking for every opportunity to cut costs and save money. Yet, with customers spending more time online looking at screens, they need more video than ever. And that means there’s money to be made by videographers and filmmakers with the right gear, attitude, and hustle to offer end-to-end, turnkey production capabilities.

  1. Use Camera and Equipment Carts. When you’re working alone, minimizing the amount of equipment you need to carry is absolutely key. As such, gear and camera carts are total game-changers.
  2. Don’t Sleep on B-Roll. When you’re on a solo shoot, the stress may begin to set in and you might think you’re saving time and energy by sacrificing B-roll. Don’t believe it. You’re filming solo, sure, but that doesn’t mean it has to look like you filmed alone.
  3. Choose Zooms Over Primes. Most of the time, I love a solid prime over a zoom. However, man, they sure do slow you down. For solo operators, choosing a zoom over a prime is an absolute must.
  4. Bring Extra Media. Whenever I’m working a solo shoot, I bring enough media to last me the entire day.
  5. Embrace Stock Footage. Stock footage is a smart choice when you need shots that scheduling, headcount, and gear limitations don’t allow for. It’s an even smarter choice when you make the clips part of your plan right from the start of your project.

The article link at the top has more tips, links and a video on solo shooting.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #937: Tips to Great Interviews

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Interviews are directed conversations to get useful content.

The heart of a good interview is a good story. (Image courtesy pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

Technology is important, but the reason people are watching your video is the content, not the tech.

A while ago, I wrote an article on interviews and asking the right questions. An interview is not a conversation; it is a directed conversation to get useful content.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Plan. Planning is not as sexy as production, but it is just as essential. When time is limited, you can’t afford to wander around trying to discover your subject during an interview. You need to have a goal in mind.
  • Guests. Before the guest enters the set, I’ve worked out camera angles, framing, lighting, and mic issues with the crew. Once the guest enters, direct your full attention to them. As the interviewer, you need to build a relationship, a rapport, with the guest from the moment they walk in.
  • Get Started. Asking questions is part art and part science. The art is really listening to what your guest is saying. Actors call this being “in the moment;” focusing intently on your guest and what they are saying. The science is in how you construct your questions.

    For a fifteen minute interview, I try to create about 18 questions. My general assumption is that it takes about a minute for a guest to answer one question. For live shows I use all of each answer. For taped shows, I select the best parts.

  • Ask Questions. For me, an interview has an emotional arc, the same as a drama. I start with easy questions – “Tell me about your company” – then move into the WHAT, WHERE, and HOW questions. These set up a problem and what was done to solve it. Finally, I wrap up with WHY questions. These always elicit emotional responses.

    The secret code between my camera operator and me is that What/Where/How questions are shot on a medium close-up. But with Why questions the camera needs to zoom into a close-up, because Why questions bring emotions near the surface, where the camera can see them. Close-ups amplify emotions.

  • Questions I Try Not To Ask. Anything that can be answered with a Yes or No.
  • When the Interview is over. Just before calling “Cut!,” but when all my questions are done, I always ask the guest: “Is there a question I should have asked that I did not?” This gives them a chance to reflect to see if they want to add, or modify anything. About a quarter of the time, the guest will suggest a great question that I hadn’t thought of.

    When the interview is over, the very first words should be to the guest. Even if they were a train-wreck, congratulate them on doing a great job.

    While there is a fine line between flattery and down-right lying, telling a guest they were terrible won’t improve your interview. So, you might as well make them feel good as they leave the set.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s the link to the full article.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #924: Dropbox Simplifies File Transfers

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This new features solves problems getting files from Point B to Point A.

The Request Files page inside Dropbox.

Topic $TipTopic

Warren “ButchNelson suggested this tip.

There’s a new feature in Dropbox called “Request a file.” This is a link you can send to anyone and they can upload a file of almost any size; up to the limits of your Dropbox plan.

The file appears in the Request a File folder.

I’ve used this feature this week to collect files from iPhones, Android phones, Macs and PCs. For someone like me, who deals in files from all different sources, I’m in heaven!

It is amazingly easy to use.

Larry adds: To access this, open the Dropbox app, click File Requests in the sidebar on the left, then the blue Request Files button.

Dropbox displays a dialog asking you to specify a storage location, then emails that need to be contacted.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #935: 8K is Coming – Time to Get Ready

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

8K is an issue of when, not whether. This article can help.

The Canon EOS R5 (8K video camera)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

Larry comments: Jourdan has compiled an excellent discussion of shooting and editing 8K, even 12K, media. Are file sizes bigger? Yes, absolutely. Are images better? Also, yes. The issue is nuanced, but this is a short blog that’s worth reading.

Jourdan writes:

Believe it or not, there will come a day when filmmakers and video professionals look back at 8K and laugh. Not because 8K was such a hot topic, but because we’ll have moved on to 16K or higher! Seriously, if you look back at how the news of 4K cameras was handled, you’d think the video world was about to collapse under the weight of the increased pixels and file sizes.

Instead, we’ve all largely learned to embrace 4K, as it has truly been a game-changer in how video professionals and filmmakers frame their shots, manage their workflows, and handle post-production.

Even though the first 8K televisions were unveiled in 2019, 4K television is only recently starting to find its footing — sort of. The technology has been adopted by half the households in the US, and according to an article in Forbes, most people can’t tell the difference between 4K and 8K televisions in the first place.

His article (linked above) covers:

  • The Upsides of 8K
  • The Challenges of 8K
  • 8K for Visual Effects
  • Should You Shoot 8K

Larry summarizes: His answer is: Yes, but that doesn’t mean you need to switch to 8K immediately. However, 8K is coming and we need to get ready.