Archive for the ‘Events and Reviews’ Category

My 10th IAVA (Invisible Art/Visible Artist)

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

In 2009, I went to my first IAVA event. It’s a panel of editors who have been nominated for that year’s Academy Award or Oscar, put on by A.C.E. (American Cinema Editors). The editors in attendance, usually all of them, discuss their path to an editing career and their film they’re nominated for editing. It includes a showing of a clip from the movie and they talk about why they picked that one to show.

(If you’re interested, here is my review of the first one I attended:

Throughout the years, I have met and become friends with a lot of the people who attend, at least those I am in line with and the ones with whom I’ve had social media interaction with. I call it the Annual Editor’s Day. There’s usually a lunch afterwards with all the normal crew.

Each year, I have found it harder and harder to get into the event as it becomes more and more popular. Editing is really coming into view in the public eye, especially with video becoming one of the major ways that people get information and even interact. But I love the event and will get up early and drive all the way down to Hollywood, each Saturday before the Oscars, anytime it’s on.

As I look back over my notes and interactions with the post-production community, I’m torn between the shoulda-woulda of not jumping into the career harder, earlier and the “I shouldn’t get down on myself”, “you have a family to think of”, “it’s the journey” and “it’s NOW that matters!” All I know is NOW is my time and I’m not taking NO for an answer! I fill myself with assistant editing knowledge every day. I fill my podcast drive-time with career and motivational airwaves. “I want it as much as I want to breathe!”

Each year the line or lines, get more complicated. One year, they started a second line for members for the editors guild. Personally, I think this sucks because they’ve already made it. This event, to me, is for inspiration, for students, for aspiring editors. They let that line in first and that makes the original line an even harder bet to get in. I’ve also noticed that sometimes they say the second line is also for members of the theater, people who have an annual membership to the Egyptian Theatre who support the theater and thus get discount tickets to their normal shows, etc.

This year, the event is already “Sold Out”. I have my ticket and WILL get there early, like I do every year and I went ahead and bought a Cinematheque membership to hedge my bets.

This Year’s Oscar-Nominated Editors Discuss the Art of Editing
Sat, March 3, 2018 – 10:30am
Grauman’s Hollywood Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California 90028

Moderator: Alan Heim, ACE

Jonathan Amos, ACE (Baby Driver)
Paul Machliss, ACE (Baby Driver)
Lee Smith, ACE (Dunkirk)
Tatiana S. Riegel, ACE (I, Tonya)
Sidney Wolinsky, ACE (The Shape of Water)
John Gregory, ACE (Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

*Panelists attendance subject to availability

I’ll post more about this year’s actual event later.

The Great Smoke 2013 Summer Challenge of 2012

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

The Great Smoke 2013 Summer Challenge of 2012

This is my adventure into Smoke 2013 (aka Smoke on a Mac 2013). I have no experience with any Autodesk programs and am only slightly familiar with FCP 6, 7 and Avid Media Composer 3 – 6.

While I have a production company, my personal editing skill I would say is at the level of pretty good student editor.

Not having edited 10,000 hours of videos, I’m no expert. So, let’s see how I fare with this new program. I am giving myself about 60 days, give or take a few days to complete my basic training and demonstrate on a public stage what I have accomplished with the pre-release trial 1 version of this software.

My plan is to present Sept 5th at IFIE* and Sept 26th, at LAFCPUG**.

I am going to be watching the Autodesk Smoke 2013 tutorials channel on YouTube and you can play along at home, if you wish.
I expect to get through these 14 videos today.

Tech Specs:
I am using a 2011 13″ 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 MacBook Pro with 4 GB of RAM, running Mac OS X 10.7.4. I am using a 750 GB G-Drive Mini FW800 external drive as my media drive. It’s not the recommended setup but I feel it’s somewhere in the what-the-average-consumer-can-afford realm.

My goal is to see what a general student should be able to comfortably accomplish in this program. I feel that if a company wants to conquer the future, it better make its programs accessible and understandable at the student level.

I can be reached on if you want to interact.

* IFIE, Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire

** LAFCPUG, Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group

What To Do at NAB

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

The NAB Show, as I’ve mentioned before, to me, is a must do and see.

There you can meet with all of your online social network peeps, learn things, see what’s new in products and technology and just be engulfed in tech geek goodness.

Obviously is the place to visit to find out all about what’s there. The NAB Show app is really cool too.

Here’s a couple NAB Survival Tips blogs:

Here’s Walter’s Post Centric “What to See” blog post:

Here are a few party list pages, that mostly have the same parties listed:

A Couple Podcasts with something to say:

As I think I mentioned before, color correction and iPad broadcasting (not necessarily related) are my two main interests this year. I really don’t think there’s going to be too much new to take in (that I’m not already aware of but can’t talk about because of NDA’s, even though the news seems to be breaking all over the place anyway!) for me as far as products go, but I do have a couple “want to buys” on my list.

As a new iPad owner, I am looking to see what products are out there for it and hopefully see them in action. I am also trying to do as much as I can on it as far as blogging and vlogging from there as well. Yes, we’re going to give you some video this year.

I plan on buying a couple Go Pro cameras too.

I plan to get to four main parties.

As far as I know free NAB show floor pass codes have expired but this page claims to have a link that works. So, give it a try?

“The Four ‘A’s’ of Editing” or “‘Smoke’ and Mirrors”

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Posted March 3, 2012

Wow! I nearly went a month without a blog post. (Oops! I waited too long to finish this entry and now I’m over a month!)

Just for the record, this has been a wonderful week for me (Knock on wood!) I guess I’m “manic depressive” because the following week wasn’t so grand… :(

I have recently been selected to train and demo Autodesk Smoke. I’m pretty excited about that! Due to time constraints, I’ve been informed that I may not be able to do this… :( <- The main reason for my duldrums.... BUT... I am still going ahead with my self-study of this program. It's very complicated (and I'm a bright guy and a good study!) So, the challenge is appealling to me!

[The good week:] SaturdayA couple of Saturdays ago, I had a great call with a very helpful Hollywood editor who I will be working with to help people reach their Hollywood goals. I really love talking to guys like that who are into helping others. They’re really a great inspiration. I was also hinted to by a company head that a post job that I really would like to do was available again. I was able to get some good Smoke training in [that] Sunday and then Monday and Tuesday I was able to spend a whole lot of time with my kids, which is the best part of anything I do! Tuesday, we also went to see our accountant for taxes and that went well. Great dinner with the Mrs. after that (lots of future planning, etc.) and followed up with yesterday (Wednesday) going to LAFCPUG and hanging with a ton of editor friends and meeting some new ones! Today, [couple Thursdays ago] I got to spend some time with my kids again and shuffled off to work to no real traffic, good weather and a stop at the mailbox to see lots of editing books awaiting me! (I love getting editing books and mags, etc. It’s like Christmas to me!) I learned tomorrow is bonus day and I got a gift certificate from a co-worker to one of my favortite lunch places. So, yeah, things are good.

Following all of that, Saturday, February 25th, I am officially calling “International (well So Cal, anyway) Editor Networking Day”! Was just amazing. I started off the day carpooling to the ACE IAVA event and hung out with a lot of editor friends listening to the Oscar nominated editors talk about the films that they worked on and career, etc. Then we went to an after-event ACE Intern get-together and met a lot of great people. Then a couple of us went to the Act of Valor Q&A screening. Got to see some more twitter friends there and, even after that, met some more photo/editor people (who happened to be at the screening too) in line to the restaurant we went to. So that was definitely a WHOLE day of editor networking! And, that was a great week, Sat. – Sat., in whole.

So, what’s on my plate for this “semester” then? Apple’s Final Cut Pro 7, additional training; Avid’s Pro Tools 10, totally new to it; Autodesk’s Smoke on a Mac, as above; perhaps some Apple (again) FCP X, as it actually is gaining appeal with me and I think Adobe will have to wait until they really come through with their Adobe Prelude or another CS release (which is rumored to be soon). Which reminds me. This next post was supposed to about said Adobe Prelude but alas, there isn’t much more to add than what Philip Hodgetts and Scott Simmons have blogged about.

Above, I mentioned for “A” companies: Apple, Adobe and Avid, the “major” players in the pro editing game but there are a few other companies that are out there. Autodesk’s Smoke, I also mentioned, is a complete post workflow solution from aquisition to finish. I’ve marveled at their promo reels for years. Just stunning work comes from the talented finishers using this program. It’s almost like they were first and then Adobe and Apple came along trying to emulate what they do and they get a little closer each time.

The “big” downer is the “big” price. Smoke on a Mac costs $14,000.00. In todays environment, it seems like that’s a steep price to pay for an “editing” program. Over pizza, after LAFCPUG, one editor said “I wish Grant (Grant Petty CEO of Blackmagic design) would buy it and make it $999 and call it a day!” That would be awesome. Blackmagic design has worked hard, helping to democratize the post production line. They bought DaVinci Resolve and made it $999, after all! But don’t let the price of a program deter you from learning it. Autodesk has a 30-day free trial and TONS of on-line tutorials. They also have a free student license. So, enroll in school (Hey! like I do!) and avail yourself of it, if you’re so inclined, and we can be study buddies!

I have a feeling we’re going to hear some great things from Autodesk Smoke at NAB. I just hope they don’t make my training obsolete like Apple did with FCP X, last year!

Just for the record — Other video editing options (that I know of):
Sony Vegas
FCP Express
Windows MovieMaker
Photoshop (yes, photoshop)
Avid Studio
Media 100
Lightworks <-Free!

Alright. That's enough for this rant. I've got a NAB party to plan! Talk to you soon.

Oh! BTW, we are touring Light Iron (the Hollywood digital post facility) March 12th. Feel free to join us!

Conference offers networking opportunities for local filmmakers

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

A premier expo for filmmaking is heading to the Southland this September, the Digital Video Expo.

The DV Expo ( comes to the Pasadena Convention Center Sept. 28 – 30.

The expo is comprised of a conference and exhibits. The conference includes education, some free and some that costs extra. The exhibit hall is open to all and a free exhibit hall pass is currently available.

Free exhibit hall passes and early bird pricing is available now and up until Sept. 11th. There is a discount code for add-on conference events as well. Discount code to use for that is “IFIE”. That saves you $50 in addition to any other discounts.

Expos are a great way to learn about the current equipment that’s out there and what’s coming and a great way to try things out, hands on. Many times you are face to face with the heads of the companies, themselves. Suffice it to say, the people representing the products at the exhibit hall booths are highly knowledgeable and can answer any questions you may have.

Some free education and presentations that can be found there are lighting master classes, “The New Now — Surviving the Changing Business of Production” along with first Looks at Panasonic AG-3DA1 3D camcorder and Canon XF305 and XF300 camcorders.

There are also meetings of industry groups such as the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro Users Group, International Digital Media Alliance, Digital Cinema Society and the Los Angeles Post Production Group. These are great opportunities to meet and network with working professionals in the film and TV industries.

The Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire will be there checking out all the great exhibits and taking in many classes. So, it would be a great opportunity to network with some local filmmakers as well.

The Monday Morning Buzz at NAB

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Good morning all. Today, will be my first day on the convention floor at NAB, starting with the keynote address which will feature a NAB Distinguished Service Award presentation to Michael J. Fox. (Pretty excited to see that!)

Already, I’ve been (last night) to the Adobe hotel suite where Adobe met with their re-sellers and showed them some of the new features in CS5 (VERY cool stuff to be announced publicly today, that’s all I say for now). I’ve also meet with about 30 people who will be at the MotionMedia Ball later tonight at an impromptu gathering at the Yard House. At that event, I had an interesting talk with both an attendee of the REDucation and a beta tester for the upcoming Media Composer 5 by Avid. (All I can say about that is that I want to get the new Avid now.)

So, with Avid and Adobe going full guns into making editing better and better, I’ve just got to say that at this point, Apple’s Final Cut Pro is looking like it’s just going to be a prosumer app in no time. We’ll see how the shootout goes at FCPUG Network’s Supermeet Tuesday night!

BTW, they still need a camera and shooter for the live stream of the SuperMeet. Hit me up on Twitter if you have a tripod and camera that can stream SD via firewire and want free admission and raffle tickets for Supermeet!

What I Learned Last Night about Mocha, AJA KiPro and The New Now

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

I attended two events last night: Mocha training by Imagineer at New Media Hollywood and the Los Angeles Post Production Group meeting.

I happened to be only one of two that attended that particular session of Mocha training.  I guess people don’t like to go outside in the rain!

New Media Hollywood seems like a chill place.  They have a foosball table in the front waiting area, if that is any indication.  They are your basic post production provider/reseller.  You can get systems, software, editing bay rentals, etc.  After an decent hands-on Mocha class, I decided to tell others about their discounts and took some flyers to LAPPG.

I’ve been impressed with Mocha and Shape ever since they demoed at LAFCPUG a while back.  Mocha is a planar tracker, so it’s very accurate.  It is more accurate if you define more areas to track.  Then you can adjust the “surface” for a clean export of tracker layer data.  It seriously has a lot of “smarts”.

I also learned about another Imagineer product, Mokey.  This one actually tracks and replaces the hole with what should be there.  Pretty cool.  We went through removing a sign from a yard, as a car drives by.

Props to Ross Shain for an excellent training session.


Later, at LAPPG, I met some nice “new” people including a photographer who proclaimed “Stills are dead… Be prepared for millions of new video people.”  I posted that claim on Twitter and it inspired this post:

Being early to the meeting I was one of the lucky ones who got a $5 gift card to Showbiz Store & Cafe.  I also partook in some coffee, cookies, a piece of pizza and some brownies.

Woody who founded LAPPG said he’s on a panel for “” which sounds cool.  Check that out.

Jeffrey Way from AJA went on to talk about the AJA KiPro.  I’ve already been aquainted with the KiPro but I did learn some new things.  One, is that the Sony V1U is a small camera, small like JVC GY-HM100 small.  I learned this because one of the LAPPG members brought one and they used it to hook up to the AJA KiPro.

I also learned that Apple’s Pro Res (HD) is 220Mbits/sec.  Random fact, I know, but here’s some more: The AJA Xena card is the same as the Kona card but it’s for a PC and it just uses different drivers.  So I guess that means if you want to use your Kona card on a PC, all you have to do is download the Xena PC drivers.  There are also some ports on the AJA KiPro that aren’t usable yet.  They are for future upgrades.  You can also use your KiPro like an IO HD.  It’s basically the next gen of that product.  Cross, up and down convert to your heart’s content with this little unit.  It also works as a monitoring unit.  By that I mean a hook-up-your-monitor-to-see-your-footage, type of monitoring unit.  (I’m really not hip to that whole side of things yet but those of you that are should appreciate that.)

Then, the best for last, I learned that Philip Hodgetts wrote a book called The New Now.  And in this book, there are lots of pieces of information on how to grow your video business.  His talk was very inspirational, at least I know it was to two people for sure, myself and one friend, Chris, who sends out a newsletter-type email every month or so.  We talked about how we are going to use information from Philip’s talk in our own businesses, after the meeting.

Chris’ website is here: Hey! He’s done a comedy short that’s winning lots of awards that has that kid from Glee in it!

Philip talked about some things: the clue train manifesto, H.A.R.O. (Help a Reporter Out), caring about the customer and to install Google Analytics on to your site.  I know I’m being random with this post and my facts, I think I’ve been on Twitter too much lately!

If you get a chance to see Philip Hodgetts, do it.  And if you like what he has to say, maybe you’d want to buy his book. It’s available here: and I’ll be reviewing it here later.

The New Now by Philip Hodgets

The First 48 (part 2)

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

What Worked and What Didn’t
There were a lot of things that worked. There were a lot of plans that we were able to make ahead of time to make things easier. There were things we should have done but didn’t. There were a lot of things that could have been improved. And, actually doing the things we planned to do, would have helped out a lot!

I think we learned what to do next time and everyone seemed excited about doing it again.

First Official Meeting. Only 3 people from this picture continued on.

Pre-event Meetings
As I mentioned before, I started having meetings in June. I think we had 8 – 10 meetings total, including meetups and one field trip. The field trip was a seminar on DIY micro-budget filmmaking by John Putch. That was part of the Pizza & Post series given by Video Symphony, a post production school in Burbank. From those meetings we did three “two-hour film projects”. These weren’t completed in their totality in two hours but some portion of the process was completed in two hours (or so!)

This worked because it gave us a view into what our weak points were. We were able to plan more accurately the schedule that would be the 48 hours. It also worked to flush out “bad” attitudes or people or views that I didn’t want to work with on this project. It was good to see what were at first suspicions, grow into actuality and prove to me that if I ever detect those things in the future, that I am right and to just get them off the team right then and there and don’t waste time dealing with them.

People intimate with the team and its progress will know who I’m referring to but I just want to talk about the particulars so that others reading this can form their own opinions. I’m not saying that those “bad” attitudes are necessarily bad, I’m just saying they didn’t agree with my desires and as such were better off doing their own thing and not butting heads with me.

So this is how that all went down:

First person I met (other than people I already knew, who would work on the project) was a lawyer who had experience creating his own pilot home improvement show. Great guy. Very motivated. But, when first exchanging emails with him, I thought to myself, “I don’t think this is going to work out.” As any successful business person is, he was very passionate and very “right” in his opinion of how things should run. He was also a very creative guy and wanted very much to contribute to the creative side of things, writing and shooting, etc. We met the day before my official first meeting and face to face we had a lot of similar interests and creative contacts even.

Being a bit pushy and slightly over-bearing, I immediately thought of him as a good production manager, someone who could get people motivated or “pushed” to complete their intended project, on time. This I figured I was weak in, so I thought he’d fit the bill for that part.

The next day, I had my first meeting. He attended and brought his secretary, an actress. She couldn’t stay the whole meeting but I figured that since her boss was going to be running the show, I didn’t have to worry about whether or not she’d flake out on me.

Also at this meeting was one person from the 20 projects project (a filmmaking group I co-founded), whom I wanted for my 1st assistant director. He of course stayed until the end of the project.

The couple that would eventually quit to start their own team where there. They were very motivated and seemed willing to take on any role. They were also musicians and it’s always good to have a stall of musicians around. More on why they quit later.

Also, there was one classmate from my Intro to Telecommunication class at RCC and one classmate from an Intro to Pro HD class I took at Citrus College. Two more classmates from my Intro to Pro HD class would eventually be on my team but the first one had to quit because of health reasons.

We had a few general meetings; organizing, talking about genres, trying to figure out who wanted to do what, getting to know each other, going to the 48 Hour Film Project meet-ups, etc. These meetings really just served the purpose of “we’re a group, let’s see if we can stick together.”

Of the 10 actors and 9 crew/actors that ended up staying on the team, they came from these areas:
5, myself included, from my side filmmaking group, the 20 projects project – Roles: Producer/Actor, Director, Assistant Director/Actor, Actor and Actor.
5 from local bands (friends and family of ours) or friend of one of the bands (All actors)
4 from classmates of mine (Two soundmen/actors, one Writer and one Cameraman/Editor)
1 from Twitter friend of mine (Editor)
4 from craigslist ads or as a result of someone they knew reading the craigslist ad (Writer, Actor, Grip/Actor and Actor.)

Not everyone made the meetings on a regular basis, especially the band members and friends thereof but we had a core 6-7 that did. This built a solid foundation of “the group”.

Three of the core members at Pizza & Post

To be continued…

Instructional Course Review: Visual Effects for Directors by Hollywood Camera Work

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Visual Effects for Directors
by Hollywood Camera Work.

use school code FCENTRAL for 40% off

Literally years of work went into creating this class and it shows because there is a massive amount of content in this course.  In fact, it’s a 7-DVD course!

The purpose of this course is to learn what is possible and what is not, to give you the ability to predict and make good decisions on the set.

The Visual Effects for Directors course covers digital effects and their principles, so you have a better idea of what can be done.

This is great reference material for Directors or DPs.

It’s not really a how-to, it’s more of a who-does-what and what-exactly-do-they-do.  Knowledge is power and you want the power to know what is required for your film.

Visual Effects for Directors is a complete course that covers:
modeling and texturing, modeling, character animation, 3d, compositing, VFX Cinematography, matchmoving, tracking, how to make 3d more real, lighting, interacting with virtual elements, motion capture, object removal and crowd replication.  All of this in an easy to understand presentation that puts you in command of the terms and concepts needed to fully understand digital VFX.

There are two dvds that are devoted entirely to “Green Screen Intensive”. This is an area that can cost a production tons in post if not set up properly. With this course, you learn the details of all steps of the green screening process, even down to building and painting a green screen set.

Mixing GS Paint

Another benefit is that this course is presented from the viewpoint of how to accomplish all for as little money as possible.

How DO you direct and block on a virtual set? Would you like to know how to get your actor to interact within the set? This course takes you through actual demos and gives you the overall big picture.

It is an invaluable resource and will save you untold hours and dollars on all of your productions.

This course is a must for anyone who plans on having any amount of digital effects work on their project.

I’m one who emphasizes understanding the whole process so that you can make smart decisions in your work.   This course embodies that idea and uses real-life examples thus making you a “virtual” expert!

I recommend this course for Directors, DPs or for anyone wanting to get into digital VFX.

Go to for clips, chapter summaries and order information.

The Importance of NAB and What I Got Out of It

Monday, May 25th, 2009

This year I attended my first NAB show.  I set aside three days to attend this event and to go to related events.

A lot of people were saying that this year’s show was smaller than it has been but to me it was gigantic!  Attendance was also down and both of these this I think are rightly attributed to the economy.  While I was there for three days, it definitely wasn’t enough to take it all in.

The NAB show is so large that they have a daily magazine covering all of the goings on.   In addition to this they had (more than) daily podcasts covering different interesting aspects of the show.

There were big names there, Mary Tyler Moore for one.  And lots of book signings.  One of the big draws to this trade show is all of the technology, mostly new, that is on display, showing the future of broadcasting.

While NAB stand for National Association of Broadcasting, the show covers all aspects of film and digital video as well as internet and even gaming.  They understand that merging technologies have made all of these telecommunications areas a part of “broadcasting”.

I am currently taking a telecommunications class and recently learned the following things about NAB: “The first professional code for broadcasters was developed by the National Association of Broadcasters in 1929″ and “On the industry side, lobbyists represent the interests of those involved in the business of telecommunications.  One of the most influential of these is the National Association of Broadcasters.  Organizations such as NAB can influence the decisions of legislators by providing them with information about how certain issues or pending legislation will affect the industry”.

I certainly got sore feet walking the thousands of square feet of the exhibition floors, yes I said floors.  I should also mention that this expo covered multiple buildings.  I saw so much and honestly, there were whole floors that were just beyond me.  I could only imagine that these exhibits were for some very elite public.

The shear massiveness was completely overwhelming to me.  So much so that it has taken me month to gather my thoughts enough to even begin to write about the event.  I know that I’m not alone in this, as there are other publications and writers that have stalled this long as well.

There were a lot of “cool” things to see, even for an independent digital editor and filmmaker like myself.  I spent a lot of time watching demonstrations at the FCPUG (Final Cut Pro Users Groups) “Superbooth” as well as at some other locations.

I attended some classes and seminars and other external events.  More on these later.

Before I went, I heard one of the executives of NAB talk about why going to NAB was important.  He echoed why the LAFCPUG leader says people should attend events, to get in touch with people and meet them face to face.  I have to thoroughly agree with them.  The most valuable experience for me was meeting and talking to so many people, especially the people that I have meet on line and even done business with bt had never, until NAB, met face to face.

Being active in attending events, especially in the post production arena, I have met some great people and it is always so cool to run into familiar faces.  The more I am active in meeting people, the  more opportunities open up for me.  In fact, it is because I attended NAB this year, that I had a common point to share with an interviewer and got an upcoming assistant editing job.

My original purpose for going to Las Vegas that week was to attend one external event, the FCPUG SuperMeet.  This is an annual event where Final Cut Pro user groups from around the country get together and it’s a fantastic event.  With all of my new social networking ties, through Twitter, etc.  I learned of a few other external events that I attended as well.  Then NAB gave out free exhibit passes, so I, of course wanted to “check it out”.

I learned so much and made so many great contacts at NAB this year, that I have decided already to set aside a whole week for next year’s event!

Stay tuned for more reviews on other industry events and I’m sure, more from NAB.