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Aaron Cadieux
Online Edit Sessions
on May 24, 2011 at 3:03:05 pm

Hello Everyone,

So we have a client that wants to "sit in" on edits sessions remotely. I immediately thought of using a Slingbox for such a purpose. So I bought a Slingbox Solo and set it up to take a signal out of our DV deck and stream it over the internet. In a nutshell, clients can view an edit as it happens. They see exactly what we see on our preview monitor (with about a 10 second delay). The Slingbox Solo works perfectly for this.

Now comes the question of legality. To do this, our clients must "log in" to our Slingbox account. We give them the username and password. Now, a Slingbox is a device people use to watch their own home TV from anywhere. Is our use of the Slingbox techically a violation of their terms of use? I guess I could ask the Slingbox people. To be fair, we are not having multiple people sign into our account at once (which is impossible to do anyway). So who are the Slingbox people to tell us that we can't do what we are doing.

Anyone else ever use a Slingbox for this purpose?

Best,

Aaron



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Walter Soyka
Re: Online Edit Sessions
on May 24, 2011 at 6:30:11 pm

It's funny -- "online edit session" used to mean something different.

I can't speak to the Slingbox license, but I can propose a couple alternatives: if you use FCP, you can use iChat Theater. (You may be able to do something similar with your deck and a second computer with video input and a video chat program.) If not, Adobe Acrobat Connect and GoToMeeting are screen-sharing options, though the video might be a bit choppy.

CineSync is a great tool for collaboratively reviewing media, but it's not a screen-sharing tool, so I'm not sure if it'd be helpful for you or not.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bill Davis
Re: Online Edit Sessions
on May 25, 2011 at 5:19:33 am

Advice from someone who's been there many times before....

Watching someone else edit makes watching paint dry seem like a roller coaster ride.

Viewing editing is, of necessity, BORING. The actual work happens in a singe persons brain. Even with the most talented of directors or supervisors watching, the typical pattern is for a decision to be made, then everyone beside the actual editors tune out, surf the web or make phone calls or otherwise occupy their brains until the editor gets the work done, then they "tune in" just long enough to give a thumbs up or thumbs down.

So there are only a couple of reasons why someone other than a confirmed masochist would want to watch someone else edit.

They might be ignorant of how astonishingly boring the process naturally is. Which means you're stuck with a newbie and good luck with that.

They might be a control freak who thinks that you can only do your job if they're constantly monitoring your work and adding "help" along the way. If so, you might find one of the old shop mechanic signs around the net and print out one for reference. They typically say something like...
Shop Rates: $100 per hour.
If you watch $200 per hour
If you help, $300 per hour.

It's also possible that they're actually trying to watch you so that they can learn how to do your job and take over next time. If that's what's happening I recommend that you spend the first 10 minutes narrating loudly every single thought that comes into your head as you edit. Tell them where you're looking on the timeline, describe making every choice, cut, transition and decision. Excruciatingly detail what you're deciding, what keystrokes you're keying, and about the sixteen things you're thinking you're going to have to do next before you've got the current ONE SECOND of your timeline ready to go. Do this RAPIDLY and LOUDLY so that when they get annoyed and stop you - you can demonstrate to them what it's like to lose your train of thought and have to re-start a section - that will give them a tangible idea of how interrupting you will not just bother you but cost them MORE money.

Then, when their eyes start to glaze over, conveniently lose your voice and just sit editing silently - which is exactly what you'd do if they weren't there.

Oh, and make sure you're effusive about how much their presence helped you and tell them that you really appreciate all their "input" and "assistance" and how even tho it's going to take you longer because you have to communicate everything to them verbally - thus slowing down your work and costing them MUCH more than originally planned - it's so nice to have a client who really CARES so much about the work that they're willing to shoulder the extra costs of working this way.

Good luck

(Honestly, a client who truly WANTS to "watch" editing is a client without a clue - proceed with caution)

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Online Edit Sessions
on May 25, 2011 at 3:02:05 pm

Aaron,
I think Bill Davis hit the nail on the head.
You at least need to charge a fee for this. Maybe one that is prohibitive.
There is really no reason the client has to be that involved.
If it's a collaborative thing like a film, that is another story.
But for regular type clients, critiquing the work at various stages is more the norm.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


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Walter Soyka
Re: Online Edit Sessions
on May 25, 2011 at 3:43:57 pm

Supervised edit sessions are the norm for some kinds of work, and they can be very productive -- if the client knows a bit about what they want (and how to express it), if they understand how the editorial process works, and if they have the patience to let you do your job while they do theirs.

I've had some really nice collaborations in supervised sessions which I think lead to better results in the final product, because the producer and I were able to interact and build on one another's ideas. A lot of our creative options would have been lost with simple editorial reviews.

If you're not working with an experienced producer or creative director, I'd agree with Bill and Scott: try to push them toward reviews instead of sitting in on the edit. If they don't have the skills and perspective necessary to direct an edit session, you'll spend more time educating them on post than you will actually working on their production, and it will hurt the final product.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bill Davis
Re: Online Edit Sessions
on May 25, 2011 at 8:00:07 pm

Walter is absolutely correct that if you get lucky enough to work with a producer or creative director who actually know what they're doing - you should welcome them with open arms and relish the creative collaboration you'll be in and learning from.

However, in my current experience, ALL THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FIRED ACROSS THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY.

In the headlong rush to "slash overhead" every company on the planet - without exception - came up with the same brilliant idea that in order to save the maximum amount and keep their financial overlords happy they've jettisoned the most expensive human assets between the line worker and the executive suite.

This means that they've functionally LOST all the people who actually had real experience and therefore knew what they were doing - simply because firing those people drove the greatest momentary bottom line savings.

So now we have to get used to the fact that there's nobody left who has a CLUE how to supervise an edit session.

Yes, much of the above is hyperbole. But that doesn't make it any less illustrative of a larger truth.

If you find yourself in an edit session these days with anyone who has an actual clue - keep them close and learn EVERYTHING you can. They'll likely be gone soon.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Online Edit Sessions
on May 26, 2011 at 4:00:50 pm

In the case of this client, I doubt they will be "sitting in" for any kind of real editing sessions. They simply want to view rough cuts of things as they happen. But instead of having to build a file to send them each time, they'd rather watch the cut on the fly and make suggestions as they see possible issues. Some of their corrections might be minor, and may be fixable in almost real time. That way, I can just render the change and run the sequence again.

But I agree. Having someone sit there and watch me is a waste of time, and thankfully happens VERY rarely. When it does happen, the client is ALWAYS clueless. My favorite thing is when I import a hi-res still image into a timeline, and it shows up on the preview monitor all huge and abstract looking. The client always goes "oh my, that's too big". At that point, I usually hadn't even had a chance to resize the image yet. It's so annoying.

BTW. The Sling Box Solo will output both SD and HD. It's a nifty little tool for certain situations.

Best,

Aaron



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Rocco Forte
Re: Online Edit Sessions
on Jun 1, 2011 at 8:08:34 pm

Show them this next time:





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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Online Edit Sessions
on Jun 11, 2011 at 4:59:32 am

Rocco,

Thanks for that link. That's a great song. I laughed, but at the same time felt that good 'ole blood-boiling rage creeping into my viens of having to explain the workings of a rough cut to one of our braindead clients. Ha! Sometimes I just want to grab the client and shake them.

Another one of my favorite things is this . . . I always explain that "when you see the blue bar going across the screen, it means the program is rendering, so I won't be able to do anything during that time". A little while later, I will begin rendering an edit, and the client will look at me and say "what are you doing? Why are you just sitting there". Usually I just point at the screen and say "blue bar". After the 100th time of going through this routine, the client will eventually get it.

Another one of my pet peeves is when I'm under a time crunch, and computer-illiterate people come in every 2 seconds and ask "how's it coming?" Or, they'll want to view the project just seconds after I've dropped music onto the timeline. I'll say "I haven't worked on setting the audio levels yet, because I just dropped the music in". They'll say "OK, that's fine". But then they'll go on to say that the music is "too loud" and is "overpowering the voiceover". Then I will say, "yes, because like I said five minutes ago, I had just dropped the music in the timeline, and hadn't had time to set the levels yet". I swear, I think I'd have better luck explaining things to a lamp-post.

-Aaron

-Aaron



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Scott Sheriff
Re: Online Edit Sessions
on May 26, 2011 at 5:44:47 pm

[Bill Davis] "However, in my current experience, ALL THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FIRED ACROSS THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY."

You hit it out of the park with that!

"So now we have to get used to the fact that there's nobody left who has a CLUE how to supervise an edit session."

You should read this thread.
http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/8/1133267

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


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Walter Soyka
Re: Online Edit Sessions --> Supervised edit sessions
on May 27, 2011 at 2:53:46 pm

[Bill Davis] "However, in my current experience, ALL THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FIRED ACROSS THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY."

[Scott Sheriff] "You hit it out of the park with that!"

Out of curiosity, are you guys doing predominantly direct client work, agency work, or a mix?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Online Edit Sessions --> Supervised edit sessions
on May 27, 2011 at 5:25:02 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Out of curiosity, are you guys doing predominantly direct client work, agency work, or a mix?"

I'm assuming you mean for post work. Direct clients, or myself as the Producer/Director. On a rare occasion I do some sub work which may originate from an agency. Haven't really edited any agency stuff since the days of tape and the CMX. Most of them in our area have gone out of biz, closed the local office, or have downsized to almost nothing, years ago. About the same time big independent post houses started to fold.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


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Bill Davis
Re: Online Edit Sessions --> Supervised edit sessions
on May 27, 2011 at 8:36:30 pm

Personally a mix, but it skews heavily to direct client work.

My best perspective into the ad agency industry today is my brother in law who co-owned the largest agency in a top 25 US market for many years. His shop was bought out about 8 years ago by a Canadian firm. In my conversations with him, I've learned that the Agency business is following the general US model. The big fish have gobbled up all the small ones and most of the medium sized ones. They did that to "expand" and to add the essential creative talent that built the smaller shops into larger, more attractive ones, only to find that when they were bigger the lousy economy caused them to need to downsize to match a reduced revenue stream. So they did what's natural and cut the most expensive people - who were the talented and experienced creatives. What's left in the industry are a whole bunch of talented but "shop-less" displaced creatives who swim like remora around the big-shop WHALES who themselves have gutted their ranks over the past decade in a relentless march toward incremental cost savings.

This is consistent with the dynamics of how large operations are run. They control costs bases on spreadsheets and formulas since it's essentially impossible to deal with hundreds of thousands of personalities. So they are naturally forced to view human assets through the lens of that assets COST to the organization rather than any unique ability or personal worth.

There are still plenty of talented and capable agency workers out there. But those agencies are businesses just like their clients. And they noticed as their clients relentlessly downsized, they did too.

So part of the landscape change in the creative arts is more and more creatives floating around with fewer and fewer places to go to get support and continue to grow. And the industry that used to support them is just another big business, that values spreadsheet metrics over intangibles like creativity and passion.

Such is life.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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