|So I ignited a bit of a firestorm on social media a few days ago with a simple tweet. |
With Adobe Premiere, you cannot have two editors open the exact same project at the exact same time to work together. Premiere Pro has no way to merge the information between the two editors so whomever saves the project last will overwrite the work the other person has done. For this reason, even though we run a shared storage system for all our media, we always keep our projects on the local computer. The editor has total control of the project and if it needs to be shared, they create a “B” version of the same project. This ensures nobody screws up and overwrites someone else’s work.
Well along comes Studio Network Solutions with a simple way for two editors to open the exact same project at the exact time with no fear of one person overwriting the other’s work. Makes it super easy for two editors to work together if need be or for a Producer to simply open a project for review on a second workstation while the editor keeps working. They employ file locking via their EVO ShareBrowser software.
Ok, here’s the EVO ShareBrowser on Edit Workstation 3. It’s an iMac running OS X Yosemite.
Along the left column you can see both the EVO storage (we broke it into four partitions) along with some other storage we have on the network and local. I’ve already highlighted the Premiere Pro Project file which is sitting on EVO 1 and ready for edit.
I launch the project from the Browser and you can see what happens below.
The EVO ShareBrowser has automatically placed a lock on the project file. It’s an open lock because I launched it first from this system so Edit 3 has control of the project file.
Now I go over to our Edit 1 Workstation. It’s a Dell T5500 Precision running Windows 7.
There’s that exact same project file on EVO 1 only here you can clearly see the lock is closed AND I can clearly see that Edit 3 has control of the lock.
I want to see that project anyway so I double click to launch.
In case I missed the lock icon, the EVO ShareBrowser tells me right away that the project is being used elsewhere and I can only run in Read Only Mode.
I click Yes to Continue.
You can see that the Lock is now Red reminding me that I do not have write control of the project, but there’s the exact same project open on the Edit 1 system at the exact time it's running on Edit 3.
So what can I do now? I can edit, I can make notes, I can simply watch and review, I can log, I can do anything I would normally do with Premiere EXCEPT save that exact same file name. See the EVO will prevent that since the project file is locked. If you forget this and simply click on “Save” this prompt pops up.
But I can go ahead and “Save As” and simply give the project on Edit 1 a new extension to the name. You can see the Edit 1 has control of the new "B" project file.
At this point if we want to merge the two projects together, the editor in Edit 3 would be able to import and merge the changes between Edit 1 and Edit 3. Yes this needs to be done manually, but it adds another level of efficiency that we haven’t had to this date.
Why? The file locking removes the fear that we might accidentally overwrite someone else’s work while they’re working. When keeping the files local on each workstation, sometimes you have to go to that workstation, copy the file (maybe turn on the machine if it’s not on) and then take that file to your local workstation to start editing. This makes absolutely sure nobody will accidentally overwrite your work, but it can also be a bit of a pain.
With this file locking system that the EVO ShareBrowser provides, we are immediately switching our workflow with our project files now living directly with the media on the EVO server. If a secondary editor joins on to a project, they can simply just open the project where the editor 1 is at this very moment and start right into the edit with a “B” project. It's a small thing, but we're loving this new wrinkle in the workflow. Oh and editors can request the project files be unlocked allowing another person to take over by simply messaging across the EVO network.
This is by no means Adobe Anywhere or Avid workflow, but it’s a nice small step forward in efficiency. This project locking feature can be applied to as many project types as we need including After Effects, Photoshop, ProTools and more. For us it’s a pretty cool step forward to be able to have the project files out and easily accessible for the entire shop rather than locked on each computer system. I’m hoping soon we’ll get to have the feature of Anywhere in a much more scaled down feature set for just in use in a local shop rather than the big cloud architecture now supported.
Of course I did also receive this today. Wonder what it means? NAB is less than two weeks away……
|For the past few weeks I’ve been informed by Members that videos in the Library are appearing with the locked “Private” icon from Vimeo. It’s taken me a few weeks to really dig in and investigate and it turns out this all stems from my cancellation of Vimeo Pro. It threw the entire privacy settings for a loop on Vimeo thus locking everyone out of a lot of the library items.|
I have gone in and reset most everything back to Wistia and all seems to be working well now. The rest of the titles will move over to Wistia shortly. http://walterbiscardi.com/library/
My sincere apologies if you’ve been frustrated trying to access the library. It’s been a busy time for me and I was simply not able to dedicate enough time to really figure out what was going on. Hope you’re enjoying the library and we’ll have some more training news soon!
I hope this picture of a happy Molly the Wonder Dog preparing for a voice over session helps to make up for any annoyances I’ve caused.
|The snow is finally starting to melt, well except in Boston, so that means it’s time for the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention. I’ve gone so many times it’s more like a family reunion than a trade show anymore. Here’s my 2015 edition of “Tips from an NAB Veteran to make the best use of your time.” |
Bring Your Business Cards and Plenty of Them!.
More than anything else, this is the largest Networking event for creatives in the world. I have met so many wonderful people who I now call friends and whom I call upon for answers to my questions. Some I even collaborate with. So beyond just trying to maybe connect with someone to get a job, connect with people who can help you out when you have questions.
Limited time to visit? Come later in the week.
If you’ve already made your plans, it might be too late for this, but if you really want to get hands on with equipment and software in the booths and ask questions, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days. Monday and Tuesday the crowds are the largest. Especially Thursday the crowds are always much smaller giving you much better access to the booths.
If you are going to be there all week, my advice is to avoid the “big booths” Monday and make discoveries in the outlying smaller booths in all the halls. Especially lighting and audio always seem to have the smaller crowds and they make great areas to visit, especially Monday all day.
Also take in the outdoor exhibits between South and Central Hall where there are remote production trucks, satellite uplinks and other very cool displays. While you may never have the need for a remote production truck, just walking through one and seeing how they have managed to configure an entire production facility in a very small footprint can certainly give you some ideas for designing your own production space.
In Central Hall I always go in to check out what’s the latest in microphones and field recording because when a show idea comes up, for whatever reason I start thinking about the microphones I saw and how we can use them. It was here that I first learned about Countryman Audio for example and have since started using their products.
Getting to and from the show.
NAB does a great job providing free shuttle transportation to and from the show via many of the hotels along The Strip. Whether you stay in one of these hotels or not, as an attendee, you have access to these busses. So look at the NAB Bus Schedule and pick a hotel nearby to pick up the shuttle, be sure to have your convention badge on you as you generally have to show it to the bus driver to get on. Now in 2014 I did notice that traffic was MUCH worse getting to the show in the morning so I started hopping the Monorail in the morning. If you get a one week Monorail pass, it’s a pretty good deal and I usually end up using it throughout the week to go to down to MGM / New York New York or all the way up near where Sahara used to be.
At the end of the day, I always take the Las Vegas Monorail from the show. Busses can get swamped at the end of the day and while the Monorail costs money, it tends to move more people faster out of the event. Even if looks like there are tons of people headed up to the monorail, they move you though pretty well onto the monorail to get out. I just hop off at the hotel the closest to mine on the way back. The best hotel for monorail service on the Strip is the Flamingo. It has the shortest walking distance from hotel rooms to the station of any of the monorail based hotels, less than 10 minutes to your room if you’re on the monorail side of the hotel and about 12 minutes to your room on the other side. It’s generally my “go-to” hotel for the show.
Dress for comfort, especially your feet!
NAB is a big show. Let me rephrase that. NAB is a HUGE SHOW. As in thousands upon thousands of square feet of exhibition space. Let me say that again. NAB IS A MASSIVE SHOW! You may have been to big trade shows before, but imagine walking through and around 4 football stadiums (US or European) to see everything and that kind of gives you a sense of how large this thing is. In other words, you’re going to be walking….. a lot…… forwards, backwards, up, down and all around.
It cannot be said enough that comfortable shoes are a MUST at this show. I wear running shoes that have fabric that breathes. Women…. how in the heck do you wear heels? I have no idea, yet I see you walking the show floor every year like it’s something you have to do. No, you honestly don’t. Same with the men wearing wingtip business shoes. Why? They are simply not comfortable to walk around 4 football fields or to even stand still for hours at a time. The NAB show floor is not the place to make a fashion statement so just relax. Remember your feet will swell up standing and walking all day long, keep the shoes comfortable!
For dress, I tend to go with comfortable jeans and t-shirts or short sleeved button down shirts. South Lower, where most of Post Production is housed, can get a little warm on Monday / Tuesday just because of the thousands of bodies in the hall. Check the weather forecasts before you come for nighttime temps, as oftentimes a light sweater or jacket is good at night when the temps drop. While 60 degrees might sound nice and warm with just a T-Shirt, with no sun and a 10-15 mph wind, that light jacket you brought along will feel much better.
Beyond the jeans, the only event I know of that really requires any sort of “dress code” is the annual AJA Party which is held in an exclusive nightclub usually and does require an invitation to attend. Other than that, it’s generally just “come as you are.”
Plan Ahead, Check out the Changes, Use Reference Points and check .
A big key is to plan ahead and then prioritize your plan. There is so much to see that it’s easy to get overwhelmed at the show, it’s literally the biggest toy box for all of to play in with everything we’d ever need to make great shows. All the stuff you read about on the internet and in magazines is on display. It’s easy to get caught up spending way too much time on some really super cool toy that you don’t need, can’t afford, would never use, but it’s just so freakin’ cool and before you know it, two hours are gone.
So pick the toys you REALLY want to see, then prioritize them in order of what’s the most important thing you need all the way down to those that would be fun to see, but it wouldn’t matter if you missed them. You will accomplish much more and see those things that will make a difference for you in the next 12 months.
If you’re thinking “Well I went last year so I know where everything is” think again. Most all the vendors are shuffled every year except the HUGE booths like Blackmagic Design. There have also been quite a few changes this year. A new Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion has been added. The New Media Expo is co-hosting in the North Hall for content creators, I’ll definitely be checking this area out for my content. Check out the NAB Show website to do searches on all your favorite destinations using this handy Exhibitor Search page. Type in the name you’re looking for and it will bring up the building and finally the booth location. The show floor oftentimes makes no logical sense. Booth numbers that go smoothly from number to number suddenly veer off into nonsense and you stand around saying “Well it should be right here, it’s the next number in sequence.”
If you have a smartphone or tablet you can access the My NAB Show tool. I’ve used their My NAB app for the past few years, but I’ll try this tool set this time as I don’t see the regular mobile app available on my phone. This should offer you a good map view and also allows you to put your entire show schedule into the app to keep track of what’s going on.
Another great way to help with navigation on the show floor and to find your way back to location is to use reference points. Pick a banner, a booth, whatever that has a high sign that you can clearly see to use as a reference point to find your way around. I often use the AJA Video Systems booth, the Adobe Theater and one of the music libraries in South Lower as my reference points for example. I can visually see that point and if I know a booth I’m looking for is in the general area, I can use that to find it.
In particular, use these reference points to find the bathrooms. Small thing I know, but at least in South Hall, they are along the far left and right walls and finding these easily is a good thing. :)
Stay tuned for the Sunday announcements.
Many companies presenting at NAB will either have press events or issue press releases on Sunday announcing their latest toys that will be on display in the exhibition halls. Websites such as CreativeCow.net have great news feeds that help you follow along with the almost dizzying array of releases.
Make notes of the releases that are of special interest to you so you’ll know what that company is debuting, locate their booth number, and prepare some questions. Yeah, write your questions down or put them in your phone / tablet because you’ll definitely forget what you were going to ask when you get to the booth. EVERYTHING sounds incredible in the press release, seeing it on the show floor and asking the right questions can get you a better picture of what the toy can and cannot do. Pay very close attention to what the product does NOW and what might come in a future release. There’s a lot of difference between what’s ready to go now and what “might” happen at a later date.
Most of the manufacturers on the show floor are very frank about what their products CAN’T do. They want to make sure the right information gets out and they want you to be a satisfied customer. So don’t just take everything at face value, ask questions! And here’s the best question to ask, “Is this shipping now and if not when will it ship?” Some companies have developed reputations of demonstrating really awesome stuff that’s still not available when NAB comes around again. Heck some of it never gets released, hence the term “vaporware.”
UPDATE: NAB Exhibits will open at 10:00am on Monday morning, not 9:00am as in the past.
Here’s my yearly reminder: You do not have to start lining up at 9:30am to be the very first one into the convention hall Monday morning. Things do not start disappearing at 10:01am. Once again, last year, there was a huge mob of people just lining up outside the gates at South Hall waiting to sprint into the convention. Those of us working the booths call this “The running of the bulls.” You don’t win points for being first. Just relax, grab a cup of coffee or tea at the Starbucks and when the gates open, there will be plenty of room for everyone. The place holds something like 100,000 people, so relax, let the mob run in ahead you and then you can just meander in behind them.
A GREAT way to avoid the mobs on Monday morning is to walk directly to the back half of the convention hall first thing. It’s always quiet back there Monday morning because folks get hung up at the huge booths up front . Lots of equipment and personnel available in the booth out back to get your hands on and questions answered. Then you can wander back up to the front after lunch.
Another great tip, walk the outside walls on the left and right side of the halls, especially South Hall. Walking down the middle is basically rush hour all day, every day, especially at the front of South Hall. So walk along the outer walls to get around the show floor more easily.
I’ve found some really cool widgets, software and tools for my work that I never would have found without just strolling “off the beaten path” as it were, such as my incredibly awesome Anthro edit consoles. For Post Production, the Plug-In Pavilion is always a great place to see what’s out there for effects and time savers. There’s also something called the Start-Up Pavilion with brand new products often debuting at the show from smaller companies. Always great to see what they have to share with us.
Pace Yourself, stay hydrated.
Unless you are only in Vegas for one day (because your cheap boss wouldn’t spring for at least two days) pace yourself, nothing is going anywhere for four days. It’s not like those stupid day after Thanksgiving sales, there’s nothing that’s going to disappear except maybe some of the free swag that you’ll probably throw away when you get home anyway.
Many of the larger booths have chairs, small theaters with presentations throughout the day which are great to just sit and take a break for a few minutes. Sit in on some of the presentations that are about the toys you are considering. Sure these are well planned 15 – 30 minute presentations, but watching them can give you a good sense of whether the toy is what you expected it to be. In addition, the presentations allow you to form questions to pose to the folks working these toys in the booth. And there’s that sitting down for 15 – 30 minutes part that’s a good thing for your feet.
And above all stay hydrated, drink lots of water. The air is very dry in Las Vegas and it’s easy to get dehydrated with all the walking around you’re going to be doing. Not just at the convention, walking around the streets of Vegas will wear you out if you don’t stay hydrated. One of my first stops every year is to CVS pharmacy or small shop on the street to pick up a 6 pack of bottled water that I can refill as the week goes on.
Remember that Vegas also uses a lot of forced perspective, so things that appear to be right down the block are actually 1/2 mile or more away. For example what looks like a short walk from New York, New York Casino to Treasure Island is more like a 50 minute walk up the street.
Many manufacturers and groups have evening and after hours events. These are as simple as meet and greets to the world-renowed AJA VIP party. Some are free and some cost to attend. For the most part they’re fun and these are generally the best place to simply hang and meet up with your peers. You’ll find many of the bloggers, the writers, and folks who post on the various forums and tweet away all year long. And don’t be shy at these events, just walk up and say hello.
Now the same suggestions for the main show, also apply to the evening events. Primarily, pace yourself. There are a LOT of evening events, pick and choose a few, if you don’t make them all, so what? It’s ok. And manage your intake of alcohol. Yes everyone likes to party and have a beer or two, but I’m amazed at the number of folks revert back to frat college days and get completely wasted to the point where you really don’t even want to be around them. Remember, you are representing yourself at all times and it’s best to remain coherent and professional when you’re in public. As many of the beer companies remind us, “Drink Responsibly.” And at most of these you’re going to do a lot of standing, so again, wear comfortable shoes!
My absolute favorite event each year is the Media Motion Ball. It’s a smaller gathering, costs a bit more money because they serve a very nice buffet sit down dinner and is more low key than some of the other larger gatherings. It’s quieter so we can all chat and it’s a very friendly atmosphere. The sponsor tables are also usually in the same room and are very approachable. Often you’ll find the folks from the “big booths” like Blackmagic Design where you can meet more one on one with the product folks than out on the floor.
The biggest event for the Post Production industry is always the SuperMeet. Part carnival, part demonstration, always entertaining. Home of the one of the largest raffles in all of NAB. It’s also a great place to find out if there are any Post Production User Groups in your area as they do a parade of user groups as part of the event. Personally I go for about the first 1/4 to 1/2 of the event spending more time out in the sponsor area as it’s a great place for me to catch up with a lot of my friends and to meet many of you from the CreativeCow, my blog and Twitter.
For those of you arriving by Sunday, #PostChat will be hosting a casual meet up at 8pm. Check out their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter for details..
Most manufacturers and groups will have events posted on their websites or at the booths so check them out and decide if anything works for you. And if you don’t want to go out and party, then don’t, there are so many great restaurants and food joints all over town, go enjoy yourself at one of those.
I forgot my hard drive, power cord, etc… and portable cell phone chargers
The Fashion Show Mall (weird name I know) located near Treasure Island and the Wynn hotel has an Apple Store and other electronics stores that should have whatever you left behind or lost on your way to Las Vegas. Other good stores and a great food court in there as well.
Your Cell Phone will NOT last through the entire day. NAB Show days and nights are LONG! So bring a few back up batteries so you can recharge your phone during the day. There are many USB portable charger units around like these, I have three of them here and plan to bring all of them to have on me during the day. (Thanks to Dylan Reeve for the reminder on this tip)
By the way, bring a small power tap or power strip so you can recharge all that electronic gear you need at night.
Beyond the Show, my suggestions for food and fun.
You’re in Las Vegas, there are literally tons of things to do besides gambling. Quite honestly gambling bores me, I used to work in the largest casino in the world and slot machines and such never interested me. I do place one bet each year on the weekend NASCAR race, but beyond that, not much else. So here’s some thoughts beyond the obvious gambling and drinking.
I can’t over emphasize how good the restaurants are both on and off the Strip. Buca de Beppo is wonderful off the strip. Our favorite buffet has been the Spice Market Buffett in Planet Hollywood although the Bacchanal Buffet in Caesars Palace was just insanely good last year. Pricey, but amazing and it features ice cream from our good friends at High Road Craft.
The best grouping of restaurants in one hotel is the Venetian with Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio being the standout, but there are a lot of great choices in that one hotel including the Grand Lux and an awesome Mexican Cantina. If you go downstairs in the Shoppes at Palazzos you’ll find an absolutely killer Espressamente Illy coffee house / gelato shop. My favorite coffee in Vegas.
One fun thing that presents tons of photo opportunities is the Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in the Venetian Hotel. What makes it so fun is that nothing is behind glass, it’s all out so you can stand and pose with the wax people. It’s silly fun with something like 54 celebrities or so to get your picture with in a walk at your own pace style.
Of the “big shows” in I’ve seen in Vegas, “O” at the Bellagio simply takes the cake for spectacle. I spent as much time enjoying the show as I did marveling at the staging and just trying to figure out what sort of a warped mind can actually create some of this. Simply stunning both creatively and technically. Mystere at Treasure Island is still my favorite Cirque show and although I’ve yet to make it, The Beatles Love at Mirage is supposed to be spectacular. Penn & Teller come out to the lobby after every show to meet and greet for any guest that wants to say hello.
The show is what you make it.
Simply put, NAB Show is what you make it. You’re around somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 people for a few days. The way you make connections and the way you network is to walk up and say “hello.” That’s how I got to know so many people over the years. I’ve read their blogs, their articles, watched their companies grow, etc…. and when I saw them on the show floor, I just walked over and said “hello” and gave them my card.
Some folks I never heard from again. But those that did reach out have turned into some of the most valuable resources and best friends I could possibly ask for. Networking and meeting new people is the main reason I attend most years. Yeah, Vegas itself gets to be boring when you go every single year, but what keeps me coming back is simply getting the chance to see everyone in one place each year.
So don’t be shy, don’t be rude either, but if you want to say hello to folks, say hello. If you want to say hello to me, you can find me on the show floor, at the #PostChat event and definitely at the Media Motion Ball. I’ll post my schedule in a separate blog when my schedule is finalized.
If you want to get a sense of how much fun NAB is, there's a series of #WallyCam videos on my website blog with a slew of my selfie videos from the show both last year and in 2013. This one with Marco Solorio is one of my favorites from last year. http://walterbiscardi.com/?s=wallycam
There you go, some tips and tricks from a veteran of the Las Vegas NAB Scene. Again: Bring lots and lots of business cards, shake a lot hands and make yourself some new friends you can call upon when need advice. Most importantly have fun. We’ll see you there!
|Biscardi Creative Media Announces Plans to Move.|
Considering Town Square / City Center Locations. Current Facility for Sale / Lease
A new chapter is about to begin for Biscardi Creative Media. The current facility is up for sale or long term lease as we look to move the company in preparation for the launch of Contemporary Living Network. When we built this current facility, I never imagined we’d be a part of launching a new digital television network. Well here we are and here we change again! The current space is gorgeous and will serve the next owner well, if you’re interested in leasing or purchasing the space, there’s a PDF down below with the details.
Where will we be? Well we’re still working on that. We know it will be in a city center / town square so we can be among the shops, restaurants, venues and town green / parks. There’s been a real renaissance in Georgia to bring back the town center / town square creating beautiful living spaces combining residential, retail, dining and event space. As CLN is a both positive lifestyle network and educational opportunity, we can think of no better place for the home of both that network and Biscardi Creative Media.
We’ll be able to highlight the local community as backdrops or even sets for some of our upcoming shows. There’s also going to be a cooking studio / living room space big enough to hold small studio audiences. We’ll still have all the editorial, color, sound and media library capacity we have now, but with additional office and studio space. Some classroom space is even planned to make it even easier for BCM to continue to share knowledge with local students and hold industry centric seminars and classes.
One thing I can assure you, there will be no interruptions to any productions at any time during this transition period. I can also assure you Molly the Wonder Dog will be a big part of the new location as well. If you have any questions or concerns, definitely feel free to call myself or Randy to discuss.
Life is an interesting journey and we just never seem to know where the river is going bend next. I’m glad I have my lovely wife along for the ride. Thanks so much for your continued support of Biscardi Creative Media.
Walter Biscardi, Jr., Founder & Creative Genius
The facility is shown by appointment only. Please Contact The Simpson Company to schedule an appointment. Lee Hemmer 770-530-3646 email@example.com
|When we rang in the New Year I suggested a Resolution for everyone in a very simple tweet: “For 2015, resolve to take a risk, something you’ve thought about but never thought you’d do. It’s fun.” Lee Ann Womack said it well in “I Hope You Dance.” “I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance, Never settle for the path of least resistance, Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’”|
For some reason when I look at risks, usually BIG risks, and I always see the opportunity. I’m aware of what can happen if the risk doesn’t pay off, but the opportunities for success are what intrigue me. The fun factor is also an influence. I mean why do something if you’re not going to enjoy it? It might stressful as all hell, but if there’s some fun to be had in the risk, well that is something to be considered. I’ve been really quiet on this site, the Creative Cow and many others because I’ve been working hard towards a great risk that comes with some incredible rewards and a whole heaping lot of fun. After I finish my 8 hours or so at the office, I spend another 5 hours or so working on “the risk” and on weekends usually at least another 8 – 12 hours. So when I think about writing articles and doing tutorials, well I’m plumb mentally exhausted.
We’ve heard for so many years, “Content is King.” Well now, especially as we move into 2015, “The Content Creator Is King.” No longer are we beholden to the “established networks” and their need to shock the maximum audience size they can at 8pm on a Thursday night. No more being rejected because the people in your pilot are “too hipster.” Yes, that was a real comment from a real network on why they rejected a series. “Great show, great production value, but your main characters are too hipster for today’s audience.” If you can figure out what that means, please tell me and my agents. :) Basically if it’s not a shocking reality show or some competition show that can be produced super cheap (see: Party Down South) the networks really don’t want to touch it.
Especially in the lifestyle space, good quality edutainment is no longer wanted. Shows like “Good Eats” with Alton Brown which are highly entertaining but at the same time share lots of really useful information the audience can actually use. I can’t even tell you how many things I learned from him both as a fan and a crew member on the series. So much of what I do in the kitchen and on the grill is still influenced by what Alton taught me. So what the broadcasters don’t want, opens an avenue in the digital world.
Sure you know about YouTube but other distribution options that you might have heard mentioned are MCN or OTT. Multi-Channel Network and Over The Top. Essentially building a television network minus the cable and satellite distribution ecosystem and costs. I first learned about this in early 2014 as I was researching to launch a channel either via YouTube or Vimeo. I had never heard the terms MCN or OTT until a former colleague took me to lunch one day and in about 10 minutes it made total sense. The technology and resources were already in place to build something so much larger than a simple YouTube or Vimeo channel. Sure those would still come into play as marketing elements, but I can literally launch an entirely new type of “television” network using off the shelf components.
Yeah it sounds easy, and now that I’ve got all the pieces in place, it really IS surprisingly easy, but getting to this point and getting it launched as you can imagine involves a great deal of risk on my part. And the part of my lovely and patient wife. You’re looking at someone who’s never really put together a serious business plan before, hired folks to run financial projections, gone after investors, put together an executive team and all the things that go with launching a major venture. I’m a content creator, I can design and oversee 12 original series simultaneously without much thought. But putting together an investor pitch for a “shark tank” type of presentation and I’m sweating bullets, completely out of my element.
So I had to look outside my normal circle, my comfort zone and find the right people to surround myself with. The only way to do that is to simply ask your network of friends and colleagues for help. Some false starts along the way and fast forward to November and January and suddenly I’m in those “shark tank” moments actually enjoying the chance to present and asking people to give me money to launch a new venture. Boy, that’s a long way forward from a video editor in 1990 at CNN to standing in a room full of investors as Founder and Executive Producer of Contemporary Living Network.
I learned a long time ago, I can’t be afraid to Dance. When an opportunity is presented, or I see the chance to create an opportunity I don’t let the possibility of failure stop me. After consideration, if there is a good practical reason not to proceed I don’t. But if “the possibility of failure” is really the major reason not to do something, I have never let that stop me. From making career choices, to expanding my operation to taking on the role of Executive Producer. There’s a confidence that comes with taking risks and even failing in those risks. Because from failure comes the lessons to move forward and be successful tomorrow.
In 2015 resolve to Dance. I’m not saying to go out and take a huge risk, but do something you never thought you would do. Write, Direct, Photograph, Dance, Draw, Paint whatever. Get outside your comfort zone. You might like it and those baby steps can lead to larger opportunities. And if it doesn’t work, learn from what went wrong, dust yourself off and move forward. Never stop moving forward, never stop learning and never stop believing in yourself.
“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
Dance….I hope you dance. “
|At Biscardi Creative Media, we understand the importance of great audio. To that end, we had our Rialto mixing theater designed specifically for quality sound design. The Rialto features a ProTools HD Native 5.1 system, SPL 5.1/stereo monitor controller, Genelec audio monitors and subwoofer, an 8 foot projection screen– and sound designers love working from it.|
One sound guy you’ll frequently find at BCM these days is Michael Cardillo, a veteran audio engineer in the Atlanta area. After many years as a sound designer at Crawford Communications, Michael went freelance in 2007 and spends his time working on all manner of projects from broadcast to corporate and long-form shows like our own “This American Land” for PBS. A true sound nerd, Michael spends much of his rare free time educating editors about how to make their own audio better. He’s also been a musician for 35 years and plays the guitar and bass guitar.
“When I was a kid, one of the first Christmas presents that I got really excited about was a cassette recorder. My next one was an electric guitar. My acoustic guitar was very exciting, but when I got my electric guitar I sat in a room and played with the knobs for hours. That’s when I knew there was either something wrong with me or some kind of potential in me.”
I talked with Michael about the workspace he uses at BCM and how it’s become an encouraging creative and technical environment for his work.
What does this room offer you that your home studio doesn’t?
My at-home studio is great for much of what I do. But particularly when I want to mix in surround but even just for bigger projects, I can hear more in here than I can at home. This a nice big room, and big rooms always sound and feel better when you’re doing audio. It’s set up very well. It does a nice job with 5.1 surround which is really helpful for today’s sound design work, because I haven’t taken the time to really make my home studio as 5.1-friendly as it could be. It’s also just not big enough – you need more space for 5.1 and this is a big, comfortable room. Even for stereo, I love it. The Genelec speakers are a really strong full-range sort of speaker. I’ve also had clients in here and they love how comfortable it is for them.
It’s also really nice to have access to a good voice-over booth. It doesn’t have any anomalies or strange characteristics. Some vocal booths have a little “honk” in them, caused by reflections within a certain frequency range. There’s no HVAC noise or anything either, it was thought through when it was built.
Why is the design of the room important?
Sonically, it’s such an important thing to have these walls be non-parallel. It takes a lot to build something like that, so the fact I have a place where I can go that has that kind of design to the build of the room, along with the drop ceiling, helps make the quality of my work better. Rooms in general are rectangular with all parallel surfaces, but this room was designed with angles and non-parallel walls. Even the ceiling has pretty cool angles. When sound is allowed to bounce between parallel surfaces, you get what’s called “standing waves” which completely transform the way a mix can sound. This room was designed to eliminate that. At home I rarely mix over 65 or 70dB, but here – with the size and design of the room – I can enjoy mixing at higher levels without fatigue.
Is it difficult to pick up projects and move between home and here?
ot at all. It’s as easy as plugging in a drive. I do most of my projects on Firewire 800 drives, so I plug my drive into the Mac Pro in the machine room, turn everything on, and by the time the computer is up and running, I’m up and running. It’s all fully compatible with my system at home. Once I plug in a drive, I’ve got everything I need.
It’s also great to have the Small Tree shared storage here when I’m working on BCM projects. I can load up the latest cut of a video and have it playing through the projector from ProTools in a couple minutes.
I love the people and camaraderie. I like the fact I can go where I can feel like I’m part of a team even without being on staff. I’m always welcome here, I’m not an outsider. It’s also great to be able to come into a creative environment. When I’m on BCM projects, we can bounce ideas around and get instant feedback. When I’m on my own thing, I can still draw from that energy. You can get good equipment anywhere, but at the end of the day, it’s the people and the creative environment that contribute to quality work.
In addition to the ProTools mixing room, BCM also has a variety of edit suites (furnished and empty), a DaVinci Resolve room, production offices, and warehouse space available for rental. Detailed space specifications are available on our Rental page.
Contact Randy Lockey, BCM production manager for more information. | firstname.lastname@example.org | 770-271-3427
We have an Indiegogo campaign running for one of our newest shows, Ice Cream Nation hosted by Keith Schroeder, the culinary genius behind High Road Craft Ice Cream here in Atlanta, GA. Concept is simple. We send Keith around the country to find interesting and unique ice creams and desserts baed on ice cream. Then he comes back to the Ice Cream Nation kitchen to show you how to recreate these incredible flavors in your own home using a standard ice cream maker.
If you got a buck, 5, 25 or more, please help us get the series started. You can read more on the campaign at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ice-cream-nation
You can also read the recently published Creative Cow article on both Contemporary Living Network (the home of Ice Cream Nation) and the Indiegogo campaign here: http://library.creativecow.net/biscardi_walter/Contemporary-Living-Network/...
Thanks so much for your help!
ABOUT THE SHOW
I Scream, you scream, we’re all screaming for Ice Cream Nation!
Gather friends and family around your ice cream maker because Ice Cream Entrepreneur Chef Keith Schroeder is traveling the country finding unique ice cream flavors and dessert presentations you can re-create at home!
In each episode Keith and his trusty cameraman will visit a local joint that features something unique either in an ice cream flavor, the way it’s made or the way it’s presented in a dessert. We’ll get a look at the process and learn more about the folks who make it and what makes the local area fun and interesting.
Then in the Ice Cream Nation kitchen, Keith will show you how to create a version of the flavor and dessert in your own home using a standard home ice cream maker. You’ll be able to download the recipes and shopping lists directly from the show via our apps and website.
It’s the tastes of Ice Cream Nation in your own home!
*Note: Final Episodes will air digitally via the Contemporary Living Network. From your desktop, tablet, mobile and TV (roku) you'll have instant access to CLN.
|In this digital media world, it's imperative to not only have enough media array space to do your work, but also to store and protect that media for the long term. We've been using a very simple method going on four years now and in response to a question I actually got today, here's how it works.|
We store everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, on bare hard drives. Yes, I know what you're saying. "Walt, hard drives die!" Yes, they absolutely 100% do. That's why everything is stored on both a Master and Clone with the clones stored off-site. When either the Master or Clone dies, we purchase a new drive and make a brand new Clone.
Organization: First off, every drive gets assigned a 7 digit number by our Media Management Specialist such as 0002372. Why 7 digits? So we can store up to 9,999,999 items before we run out of numbers. This applies to ALL media that's stored in our library including Tape, DVD, Blu-Ray, CD, Hard Drives and anything else that goes into the library. It's all managed through a VERY simple Filemaker Pro database we started about 6 years ago and it still works quite well. We tried using CatDV for a while, but it was just too confusing and cumbersome so we switched back to Filemaker and have kept running it since. Kelly can pretty much find anything in the shop within 5 minutes so it's still working well for us. Moving forward, the next thing we will test out is Axle as soon as we get our new series rolling which will be reality series style so it will involve a LOT of media per episode.
Storage Unit: We've been running "Tray Less" drives from WeibeTech for all four years we've been doing this system. That company was purchased by CRU-Dataport a few years ago, but the units still remain. You can get 1, 2, 4 and 8 bay units. Here's a picture of the RTX410-3QJ which is essentially the latest version of the 4 bay models we run in the shop and we also run a couple of the single drive units. This is a JBOD unit with four individual connections for the four drive trays running standard SATA drives. What this means is that all four drives will show up as individual units instead of the entire box showing up as a "RAID." So we can copy data to two Masters and two Clones simultaneously if we want. And you don't have to use all four slots to use the unit. 1, 2, 3 or all slots can be used at any given time.
The "Tray Less" designation means the drives literally slip in and out of the drive bays like the old floppy disks. Open the front door, slide the drive in, close the door and start your data transfer.
We have these connected to a Mac and we manually control all data transfer. So our Media Management specialist will load the appropriate drive, confirm the data that needs to be archived off our server and manually drag it onto the drive for the transfer. Then she'll copy from Master to Clone and then the Clone will go off site.
We reverse the process to put the data back onto the server. It's VERY simple and VERY low tech.
I've sent these units out into the field and when we get the series, this will be how we'll transfer, clone and ship media from the field. The master footage will be copied from the Camera cards to three drives simultaneously in the RTX unit. Drives 1 and 2 will be the Master and Clone with Drive 3 the Backup Clone. Drives 1 and 2 will stay with the Production Team until they return to Atlanta while the Backup Clone will be shipped back to Atlanta at the end of each production day.
Since this unit uses off the shelf SATA drives with nothing proprietary we can pick up additional hard drives pretty much anywhere on our travels around the US and around the world as needed or just have drives overnighted to wherever our crews are.
Hard Drives: We tend to purchase Western Digital and Hitatchi drives as they are generally the most plentiful around and have the best price vs. performance. Remember we don't need top speed / top performance because we're not editing with these drives, just storing them on the shelf. We purchase from a myriad of locations such as TapeOnline.com, Fry's Electronics, Best Buy even Staples on occasion when they have a sale. So far the largest drive we've purchased is a 3TB model, but we tend to stick to 2TB as they seem to be just the right size to hold most of our projects. The price point has also drastically dropped for the 2TB so they're a good buy for the size.
Storing the Media: WeibeTech, now CRU Dataport also sells the "Drivebox" which is an antistatic box to store the bare drives. Literally looks like small VHS box and the drives store very securely in these boxes which take up very little room.
You can see below the DriveBoxes sitting on IKEA Benno DVD towers. I like these units because they're very compact footprints with very short shelves that don't sag under the weight of the drives. We can store 40 drives on a single Benno unit so with 2TB drives, that's 80TB of backup data in a very small footprint. Considering it takes about 4 of these units side by side to equal a "normal" bookshelf, that's 320TB in a nice compact footprint. The taller boxes are the original version of the DriveBox, they've gotten shorter in the last two years. We make sure to spin up all the drives every four months minimum to make sure the drives are ok. If any shows any sort of falter, we replace it immediately.
Fail Safe Storage: Now if you want to go all out "Fail Safe" secure backup, then you start looking into LTO units which are just on the transition phase from LTO-5 to LTO-6. The plus side is that the tapes are guaranteed to last for 50 years. Yes, I said tape, still the most stable thing to put on a shelf. The downside is they only hold 1.5TB maximum for media. Yes you can store 3TB of compressed data, but you should never compress video data. The storage units themselves generally start around $2000 and quickly go up from there. I've been considering a switch to LTO because the LTO-5 tapes are only $33 per 1.5TB. BUT most LTO units are proprietary per manufacturer so once I commit to a manufacturer, then I'm stuck with them for a while, unlike these bare hard drives which I can put into any SATA drive unit and a Mac or PC will read them. That is changing now with LTO-6 and LTFS to write to, but it's still on the "bleeding edge" for me so for the time being, we continue to go with the hard drives.
I expect that by mid 2014 we will begin transitioning over to LTO for long term off site archive storage and continue using hard drives as on site archive storage. In fact, an LTO solution will probably be my main focus at the NAB show in April 2014.
There you go, a quick look at how we've been archiving our data at BCM for about 4 or 5 years now and it's worked quite well for everything we've been doing including the documentaries, episodics and corporate projects.
|In this series, Biscardi Creative Founder, Walter Biscardi, Jr. "demystifies" the video production process. Particularly for corporate clients the production process can be both confusing and overwhelming. We walk you through the four steps of video production so you can be better prepared for your next production project.|
In Part 3 we discuss the final 2 steps of the process, Post Production and Delivery. Editorial, Graphics, Sound, Color Grading and more make up the Post Production process and Walter explains what all of these elements are and how they come together to make your final project. It generally takes a lot more time and effort to finish the project than just doing the Production. Then we finish up with a short wrap-up of what final Delivery means.
We hope this three part series has helped to demystify the entire production process for you!
|In this series, Biscardi Creative Founder, Walter Biscardi, Jr. "demystifies" the video production process. Particularly for corporate clients the production process can be both confusing and overwhelming. In this series we walk you through the four steps of video production so you can be better prepared for your next production project.|
In Part 2 we discuss the actual Production and all that it entails. Many people are familiar with the production process thanks to "Behind the Scenes" videos where you see the camera, lights, crew and actors. However, in this podcast we talk about often overlooked mistakes and choices that can effect a budget, time and the quality of a final project.