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Fiction Friday, "Invested," Chapter 3

The day had finally arrived—SkyTech was sitting down with Charlie and Sean to discuss system options. The engineer, Phil, was all smiles. “Great to meet you, Charlie. You’ve built something pretty amazing here.”

Charlie smiled. “Thank you. We’re pretty proud of it…”

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Greater Than a Phone Film

If you’re making a real movie, or you at least hope you are, you need a real camera. You already know that. Did you know that your footage can’t effectively be edited on your home computer either? Real cameras take real footage that’s a very large file, and just trying to open it on the average home computer would crash the system.

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File naming strategies for teams.

Everyone has their own methods for naming files, and what you find on the hard drive depends on the type of work you do and how that work is organized, as well as how logical the file-namer might be. It seems like a little thing—micromanagement, even—to specify how files are to be saved, but it will prevent countless hours of frustration later, and it’s important to establish the project protocol during that first meeting so there’s no confusion.

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Fiction Friday, "Invested," Chapter 2

“Charlie, this is impossible!” Sean nearly shouted. “Last week’s work—all of it—was gone the instant someone hit Save, and I can’t even be mad at them because if I had saved first it would have been the other way around.”

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You’re only as good as your lighting.

Whether you’re stuck with poor resolution or poor lighting, what’s on that camera is the best it’s ever going to be. Those shots are your raw material, and like ingredients in a recipe, your end product can only be as good as what you put into it.

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Do I need this? Factors to consider when weighing “want” against “need” against ROI in tech purchases.

When looking to make an upgrade for your business, consider how much improvement you believe the upgrade will bring and what that’s likely to translate to in dollars and compare that with the cost of the upgrade. The month-to-month reality is more important in this than the savings account, and just because you can’t afford to write a check for the total doesn’t mean you should let your business die. If you can finance it and the monthly increase in income is greater than the monthly payment, taking the leap is the only way to save up for a savings account.

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Fiction Friday, "Invested," Chapter 1

“Look, no one is arguing that we don’t need it,” Charlie said, exasperated. “We need a new system. And crops in the desert need water. It’s not that you haven’t made your case.” He let his hand fall to the table dramatically. It made a loud clap against the soft hum of the computer fan. “I can’t give you what I don’t have.”

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Direct Storage

The work picks up, which is exactly what you were hoping for, but trying to go back and forth between the projects is hard, and the computer has been rendered useless given how bogged-down it is. The solution is external direct storage. And probably hiring help.

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How to Establish a Workflow Procedure

Having a defined workflow doesn’t make you a bureaucrat, it makes you organized. Don’t think of it as burdening your friends with rules, think of it as giving your friends a map that, if you all follow it, will take you to success without conflict or confusion. You can still have no dress code—that’s ok.

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Fiction Friday, "Scrambling," Chapter 4

“Not only do we get rid of all those external drives running back and forth, the system comes with software to sort it all.” Isabel had swallowed her initial nervousness and was excited to be presenting to the Management Team. “It’s called Sharebrowser, and that’s System Network Solution’s Asset Management software—it comes installed,” She smiled. “When you save a file, you also enter meta-data tags so you can find it by keyword later.”

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Cameras

Do we need to spend money on a camera we already have in our pocket, especially when we’re talking about thousands of dollars? Law of diminishing returns says it better be a world of difference in quality to justify the price. Is it worth it?

Yes.

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Digital Streamlining

Sometimes you need to unplug it all and figure out exactly what you need—just what you need and nothing more—and then build that. Clear away the clutter, both physically and procedurally, because it’s easier to use when everything makes sense.

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Fiction Friday, "Scrambling," Chapter 3

Mickey was tired. At this point, he was wondering if he would actually recognize the footage if he found it, his eyes were so blurry. But, this is why he got into advertising—the creative energy, the rush of a deadline, the pomp and circumstance of it all. At least, that’s the stuff of legends that got him into the field in the first place. The room full of creative juices hadn’t lived up to the hype. At this hour, it was a room full of pizza boxes, empty 2 liter bottles, and exhaustion.

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VPN Services

Lately, ads have run for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service to keep you safe from hackers, viruses, and identity theft. Let’s take a moment to identify what they are actually selling.

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Firewall

If you are special and you have a team helping you be special, then you need actual hardware. It’s a firewall, which is an actual physical thing in addition to software. While direct-wire is always more secure than wireless, it’s even possible to set up a firewall that protects those signed on to use the WiFi. Wireless or not, the user accesses the world through this box, which plugs into the unfiltered Internet and acts as a bouncer. The bad stuff never makes it to the user, so no one can mistakenly click on that embarrassing ad that was actually virus-bait. Trying to retrain and enforce Internet safety practices is part of the process, but so is assuming that someone isn’t listening, and it only takes one.

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Fiction Friday, "Scrambling," Chapter 2

“Finish the version we’re working on, and create another version with the same video but the lion roar added to the audio, and then create another version that changes the whole feel of the ad so that it’s a joke about lions,” Isabel listed. “By next Friday.”

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Blackmagic Turnkey Solutions

Enter the DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel.  It has 3 professional trackballs and can easily switch back and forth between editing and color grading, which is perfect for those smaller studios with staff members who each wear two or three hats at a time.  It’s small, and with two LCD screens its easy to navigate through the menus on-the-go.  This little package packs a wallop, and is perfect for large projects that require on-location work, or small projects that require a single tool to accomplish multiple tasks.  This is very tidy.

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How much is enough?

How much is enough?


How do you figure out what kind of digital storage you need and how much to get? It’s one thing to add up all the files you have and round up so you know you have room for all your stuff with some growing space, but that’s not even half of the math. Ask yourself:

How many Terabytes of digital media am I actively working on at any time?

How fast do I need this to be?

And how fast can it be?

If you need shared digital storage to be successful at your projects, you should talk to an engineer. They can give you the right advice for your system and the existing limitations you’re juggling, while working to maximize your company’s personal workflow without breaking the bank.

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Fiction Friday, "Scrambling," Chapter 1

“Oh! I just thought of something. What if we went a different direction? What if we use a few seconds of lion footage to play behind ‘We ain’t lyin’ instead of staying with the contact info screen?” Diane looked ten years younger when she was excited about something like this. “People like that. It’s funny. People remember funny.”

Shocked faces looked around the room, catching each other’s eyes with the silent pleas, She can’t be serious, and This is just a dream, right? There was no comfort to be found in any expression, and Diane’s was still shining like a six year old on Christmas morning.

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Spinning Disks vs SSD

When storing content, there are a lot of things to consider, including size of storage and speed of access. Generally, the more spinning disks you have the more processing power is available to you. You might be able to store your data on drives that would fit in an 8-bay unit, but if you want to run 8K, you need the 16-bay, even if you don’t need to max out the storage space, just to have enough spinning disks to make the magic happen.

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