Tag Archives: Lance Holte

A glimpse at what was new at NAB

By Lance Holte

I made the trek out to Las Vegas last week for the annual NAB show to take in the latest in post production technology, discuss new trends and products and get lost in a sea of exhibits. With over 1,700 exhibitors, it’s impossible to see everything (especially in the two days I was there), but here are a handful of notable things that caught my eye.

Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve Studio 14: While the “non-studio” version is still free, it’s hard to beat the $299 license for the full version of Resolve. As 4K and 3D media becomes increasingly prevalent, and with the release of their micro and mini panels, Resolve can be a very affordable solution for editors, mobile colorists and DITs.

The new editorial and audio tools are particularly appealing to someone like me, who is often more hands-on on the editorial side than the grading side of post. To that regard, the new tracking features look to provide extra ease of use for quick and simple grades. I also love that Blackmagic has gotten rid of the dongles, which removes the hassle of tracking numerous dongles in a post environment where systems and rooms are swapped regularly. Oh, and there’s bin, clip and timeline locking for collaborative workflows, which easily pushes Resolve into the competition for an end-to-end post solution.

Adobe Premiere CC 2017 with After Effects and Audition Adobe Premiere is typically my editorial application of choice, and the increased integration of AE and Audition promise to make an end-to-end Creative Cloud workflow even smoother. I’ve been hoping for a revamp of Premiere’s title tool for a while, and the Essential Graphics panel/new Title Tool appears to greatly increase and streamline Premiere’s motion graphics capabilities — especially as someone who does almost all my graphics work in After Effects and Photoshop. The more integrated the various applications can be, the better; and Adobe has been pushing that aspect for some time now.

On the audio side, Premiere’s Essential Sound Panel tools for volume matching, organization, cleanup and other effects without going directly into Audition (or exporting for ProTools, etc.) will be really helpful, especially for smaller projects and offline mixes. And as a last note, the new Camera Shake Deblur effect in After Effects is fantastic.

Dell UltraSharp 4K HDR Monitor — There were a lot of great looking HDR monitors at the show, but I liked that this one fell in the middle of the pack in terms of price point ($2K), with solid specs (1000 nits, 97.7% of P3, and 76.9% of Rec. 2020) and a reasonable size (27 inches). Seems like a good editorial or VFX display solution, though the price might be pushing budgetary constraints for smaller post houses. I wish it was DCI 4K instead of UHD and a little more affordable, but that will hopefully come with time.

On that note, I really like HP’s DreamColor Z31x Studio Display. It’s not HDR, but it’s 99% of the P3 colorspace, and it’s DCI 4K — as well as 2K, by multiplying every pixel at 2K resolution into exactly 4 pixels — so there’s no odd-numbered scaling and sharpening required. Also, I like working with large monitors, especially at high resolutions. It offers automated (and schedulable) color calibration, though I’d love to see a non-automated display in the future if it could bring the price down. I could see the HP monitor as a great alternative to using more expensive HDR displays for the majority of workstations at many post houses.

As another side note, Flanders Scientific’s OLED 55-inch HDR display was among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, but with numerous built-in interfaces and scaling capabilities, it’s likely to come at a higher price.

Canon 4K600STZ 4K HDR laser projector — This looks to be a great projection solution for small screening rooms or large editorial bays. It offers huge 4096×2400 resolution, is fairly small and compact, and apparently has very few restraints when it comes to projection angle, which would be nice for a theatrical edit bay (or a really nice home theater). The laser light source is also attractive because it will be low maintenance. At $63K, it’s at the more affordable end of 4K projector pricing.

Mettle 360 Degree/VR Depth plug-ins: I haven’t worked with a ton of 360-degree media, but I have dealt with the challenges of doing depth-related effects in a traditional single-camera space, so the fact that Mettle is doing depth-of-field effects, dolly effects and depth volumetric effects with 360-degree/VR content is pretty incredible. Plus, their plug-ins are designed to integrate with Premiere and After Effects, which is good news for an Adobe power user. I believe they’re still going to be in beta for a while, but I’m very curious to see how their plug-ins play out.

Finally, in terms of purely interesting tech, Sony’s Bravia 4K acoustic surface TVs are pretty wild. Their displays are OLED, so they look great, and the fact that the screen vibrates to create sound instead of having separate speakers or an attached speaker bar is awfully cool. Even at very close viewing, the screen doesn’t appear to move, though it can clearly be felt vibrating when touched. A vibrating acoustic surface raises some questions about mounting, so it may not be perfect for every environment, but interesting nonetheless.


Lance Holte is an LA-based post production supervisor and producer. He has spoken and taught at such events as NAB, SMPTE, SIGGRAPH and Createasphere. You can email him at lance@lanceholte.com.

Bandito Brothers: picking tools that fit their workflow

Los Angeles-based post, production and distribution company Bandito Brothers is known for its work on feature films such as Need for Speed, Act of Valor and Dust to Glory. They provide a variety of services — from shooting to post to visual effects — for spots, TV, films and other types of projects.

Lance Holte in the company’s broadcast color by working on DaVinci Resolve 12.

They are also known in our world for their Adobe-based workflows, using Premiere and After Effects in particular. But that’s not all they are. Recently, Bandito invested in Avid’s new Avid ISIS|1000 shared storage system to help them work more collaboratively with very large and difficult-to-play files across all editing applications. The system — part of the Avid MediaCentral Platform— allows Bandito’s creative teams to collaborate efficiently regardless of which editing application they use.

“We’ve been using Media Composer since 2009, although our workflows and infrastructure have always been built around Premiere,” explains Lance Holte, senior director of post production, Bandito Brothers. “We tend to use Media Composer for offline editorial on projects that require more than a few editors/assistants to be working in the same project since Avid bin-locking in one project is a lot simpler than breaking a feature into 200 different scene-based Premiere projects.

“That said, almost every project we cut in Avid is conformed and finished in Premiere, and many projects — that only require two or three editors/assistants, or require a really quick turnaround time, or have a lot of After Effects-specific VFX work — are cut in Premiere. The major reason that we’ve partnered with Avid on their new shared storage is because it works really well with the Adobe suite and can handle a number of different editorial workflows.”

MixStage             
Bandito’s Mix Stage                                                         Bandito’s Edit 4.

He says the ISIS | 1000 gives them the collaborative power to share projects across a wide range of tools and staff, and to complete projects in less time. “The fact that it’s software-agnostic means everyone can use the right tools for the job, and we don’t need to have several different servers with different projects and workflows,” says Holte.

Bandito Brothers’ ISIS|1000 system is accessible from three separate buildings at its Los Angeles campus — for music, post production and finishing. Editors can access plates being worked on by its on-site visual effects company, or copy over an AAF or OMF file for the sound team to open in Avid Pro Tools in their shared workspace.

“Bandito uses Pro Tools for mixing, which also makes the ISIS|1000 handy, since we can quickly movie media between mix and editorial anywhere across the campus,” concludes Holte.

Currently, Bandito Brothers is working on a documentary called EDM, as well as commercial campaigns for Audi, Budweiser and Red Bull.

Dell and AMD host events to talk trends and user needs

By Randi Altman

Our industry is one of deadlines and ever-tightening budgets. That all equals less time to get the job done. What helps? Organizational skills, talent and tools that don’t get in your way. That includes workstations with powerful graphics optimized for the software that artists use everyday.

Dell and AMD have been working together to provide powerful and speedy graphics workstations for post pros, but they realize they can’t operate in a vacuum. They need to be out there talking to users and potential users, asking about their workflows and needs.

And recently they did just that, with two cocktail events — one in New York City and the other in Santa Monica, and both produced by my own postproNetwork division — targeting Continue reading