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Dennis Kutchera

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Riding the Creative COW for 16 years

Creative COW is now 16 years old as of April 2017. The COW is the most amazing peer to peer creative technology resource website on planet Earth. This article from 2016 by Tim Wilson, popped up again recently in my Facebook newsfeed and it is still a good read.

I met the main COW rancher, Ronald Lindeboom​ about 21 years ago, in some rec video desktop newsgroup debate about Avid vs Media 100. When he started his predecessor to Creative COW, it was a single product community based around Media 100. I challenged him to add Avid and other products to his website and the next thing you know, this guy with a Southern California accent is calling me at home to talk about it. We were arch rivals on the news groups, but suddenly discovered that we had so much in common, there was almost a brother-like bond between us. When I later met Kathlyn Lindeboom​, I saw what brought balance to the life of that driven man. Kathlyn was a true southern belle; the kindest and gentlest soul who ever hailed from Alabama.

I've been along for the ride since 95 with the WWUG and again with the COW since day one in 2001. I wish I was there more than I was, but I had so much on my plate in trying to run a small one man business and raising a family (including a newly adopted son from Ukraine). On top of everything else, I had just gotten through cancer treatment in 2000, and then I found myself fighting cancer for a second time. As a result, I dropped out for a few years to do what I felt was more important than the pursuit of making money. I was not sure how long I had to live, since I was only given a 15% chance of beating the recurring cancer. So I found myself traveling all over Russia, where I used my TV skills to help coalitions of Russian churches reach their cities through massive media saturation campaigns. Then I got involved in rebranding the charity I worked for, oversaw the set up of technical operations for Finland's first OTA HD broadcaster and even took on a key role in their branding design, tech training and a search for program content.

In 2011, I found myself re-entering the Halifax film and TV scene, literally starting over, but this time, instead of trying to maintain a post boutique, I went to work for various local production companies, sometimes working on one project by day and another by night. There wasn't a lot of time left over, and what I had, I gave to my family.

Then in 2015, the bottom fell out of the film and TV industry in Nova Scotia. Inept decisions by our provincial government created such uncertainly that production shrank, people moved away and many who stayed had to move on to something else, just to put bread on the table. In May just past, out of concern for my industry and because of persistent social issues in Nova Scotia, I ran for political office to oppose this government. I didn't win, but I learned a lot and was true to convictions.

But here and there, I was in the Creative Cow forums, and an occasional contributing editor with product reviews. I was there for the New York DV Show in 2001 as a workshop leader, and almost made it to Creative COW West in 2003, but that was when I got the first call, out of the blue, from this little Christian missions organization, then called IRRTV (You can see why I later convinced them of a rebrand), asking if I could immediately fly to Russia to help them with something that turned out to be a little bigger than they anticipated. So I went as a volunteer and later they found a bit of money to pay me a small salary and expenses.

I love writing, maybe more than editing and colour grading, so in the last few years, I've written a few good pieces for the COW on what interests me in the industry and what I've learned. In 2016, I wrote on my experiences with shared storage, an absolute essential to an efficient post workflow in anything bigger than a one man operation. I had taken a few years to educate myself at the NAB Show, where one vendor would tell you why their product was best and another would tell you why that technology was the worst. It was a land mine of confusion. I felt I finally had it figured out, so I shared my own experience with an actual install and operation of a massive almost 300 TB SAN system. My motivation was simple - help others avoid the confusion and get talked into the wrong product for their needs because this isn't $299 software, networked storage for post-production is an investment of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Do it right and your workflow efficiency is amazing. Doing it wrong can put you out of business. You can read my storage article here -

I didn't make a dime from writing that article, but I am sure some storage vendors did. However, my pay came as a very deep satisfaction, when I spotted people on the floor at NAB 2016 with printed copies of my article and people who saw my name tag would tell me how much my writing (this and other articles) have helped them. I didn't think I had contributed that much to the COW, but I guess the content creation community felt otherwise. And this is what makes Creative COW amazing —it's all about peer to peer consultation, not sales to buyer. But the forums are frequented by reps from the vendors, so there is always an inside expert near by.

Creative Cow is still the best meeting place for industry peers. It's a daily NAB, without the sales and marketing hype. It's the real world of users' experiences, shared with one another. Share what you know. Give back to your community!

Dennis Kutchera

My personal perspectives and assessments of television technology, with a focus on post-production.
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