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Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay

COW Forums : Creative Community Conversations (was FCPX Debates)

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Mark Raudonis
Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 2, 2020 at 4:50:26 pm

This is NOT a political statement, just an observation.

The social unrest over the past few days is just one more reason WFH will become a permanent part of our post production world.

The conversation has now shifted to why WOULDN'T you set up a WFH situation. Tech issues and cost issues will be worked out.

We're living through a tectonic shift in technical, social, and creative endeavors. Enjoy the ride.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 2, 2020 at 5:23:06 pm

[Mark Raudonis] "The conversation has now shifted to why WOULDN'T you set up a WFH situation. "

That's how I look at it too. There is a list of reasons that people are not going to be able, or even willing, to go in to a central location, but are willing and able to do the work. It would be in company's best interest to have a WFH setup available. It can and will be worked out.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 2, 2020 at 7:07:38 pm

well, I have been dying to discuss this, but I was nervous about saying anything too politically incorrect.

I watched in horror, the looting of Melrose Mac in Hollywood last night, in the safety of my home. It made me sick.

OK - so now, let's talk about the REALITY of remote editing once again (a more professional discussion
for these forums). I was contacted by an editor in LA, late yesterday, about doing editing at home, or remote editing. He is doing a series for Netflix, and is going to work from home now. All Media Composer. He is getting his AVID's from Pacific Post. So I went to Pacific Post's website.

They offer everything you need, at what appears to me to be very very very reasonable prices -
https://pacpost.com/remote-editorial/

$999 per month for an AVID workstation (with Adobe CC) all with HP RGS remote.
IS THIS TOO MUCH MONEY for a professional editor who is doing a series for Netflix ?

I then saw on the same page - I saw that you can get an AVID Nexis with 40 TB of storage for
$799 a month. IS THAT TOO MUCH MONEY for a professional editor who is doing a series for
Netflix ?

Exactly what is going on here. Are there ZERO BUDGETS and everyone is getting paid pennies ?

All of this makes me angry. When I see the kids on the editors forum on Reddit who are literally working for $50 bucks to make a complete YouTube video for someone - is this what our industry is becomming ?

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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greg janza
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 3, 2020 at 12:33:37 am

[Bob Zelin] "Exactly what is going on here. Are there ZERO BUDGETS and everyone is getting paid pennies ?"

Most veteran editors that I talk with would have no need to purchase or rent an Avid system or Avid storage. Working on television series from home has been a reality for awhile. And while it's great that there are facilities offering this gear, it's very unattractive from a hiring perspective. In 2020, editors need to have their own full edit systems at home to remain competitive.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tmprods
http://tallmanproductions.net


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Tim Wilson
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 3, 2020 at 5:02:31 am

[greg janza] "In 2020, editors need to have their own full edit systems at home to remain competitive."

Except that renting a system and "having a full edit system at home" aren't contradictory. Imagine a freelancer saying, "I have the latest versions of Media Composer and Creative Cloud, I'm completely set up for an RGS workflow, oh yeah, and I have a 40TB Nexis." Netflix or whoever is doing the hiring will say, "FANTASTIC! When can you start?"

They will NOT say, "Wait a minute -- did you pay cash for that, or are you renting it?" They won't care.

I mean, we got caught in this fever of "NOW YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY IT" in the 90s, forgetting the lessons that Hollywood learned in the 40s -- ownership is for chumps. LOL Or to put it in business terms, it's financially advantageous to rent. They rent EVERYTHING. Lights, cameras, Avids, you name it. That's because you cover the rental cost in the production budget and take it as a straight deduction. Production companies only last as long as the project is in motion, so there's no time to amortize a purchase. It makes no sense to buy.

(This is one reason why FCP's price had ZERO impact on FCP's footprint in Hollywood. They weren't buying Avids. They were renting them, and few companies cared to provide the rental inventory AND onsite support that Avid dealers were. So for them, FCP would have cost more, and come with less support. The exact opposite of a good idea.)

And a lot of companies making stuff for Hollywood can't build stuff that anybody could afford to buy, ever. Like that famous lens that they used for the long shot at the well in Lawrence of Arabia? That cost $250,000 in 1960 dollars. That's over $2 million today. Not even a $200 million production has $2 million in the lens budget today, but Panavision rented out that lens for years. They made their profits over TIME, and lots and lots of people got to use it.

Same for ARRI with Alexa. Nobody in Hollywood says, "Wow, a $75,000 bare camera -- you gotta be kidding me. No way." They say, "Ah, a few thousand a week completely tricked out, configured and delivered. We can definitely fit that into the budget." That's why Alexa is the most popular camera in town. It looks dynamite, and EVERYONE can afford it. They key to affordabilty: not buying it. Let the production pay for it.

This isn't just a Hollywood thing, by any means. It's true all over the moviemaking world. Moviemakers come out way ahead of the game when they rent.

I just checked Miami for grins because I know that market well. (I ran a video production company an hour south of there for a dozen years.) Alexa, four Master Primes, CF cards out the wazoo, viewfinder, batteries galore, charger, matte box, follow focus, all the attachment plates, etc. -- $5700/wk, set up and delivered. https://www.sharegrid.com/miami/l/22056-alexa-mini-with-master-prime-lenses... SET UP AND DELIVERED. In fact, they deliver as far away as New York in ONE DAY.



Heck, the couple of guys I know who own Alexas rent them out most of the time. That's how THEY could afford to buy them -- they let their friends make the payments. LOL

I've interviewed a lot of VFX companies over the years, and they rent EVERYTHING. They might have a couple of dozen staffers that keep the lights on with spots, titles, etc., but when it's time to scale up for a big movie or prestige cable/streaming drama, they RENT DESKS to bring in people. They also rent processing power. They could never afford to buy beefy boxes for everyone to have their own processing, so it's all skinny terminals with computing in the cloud.

I think you can see where I'm going with this. Maybe they just leave folks at home with their skinny terminals, save the desk rental price.

In a world that may be more WFH than not, most people aren't going to be able to have a state of the art computer, the latest software, and 40TB of Avid storage sitting around idle, costing them money when no money is coming in. It'd be nice, sure, but that ain't me babe.

But when you're doing a project with an actual budget, $1700/month in the scenario Bob layed out is completely doable. Even if you have to pay it out of pocket, you deduct it STRAIGHT, right now, instead of amortizing a bunch of payments over years and years, even in months when it's idle. That's INSANITY.

Instead, you leave it parked at Pacific Post. When you don't need it, you're not paying a freaking dime for it. Not a penny. And when you need it, because now you have a job, you call Pacific Post and ask them to bring it to you. DONE and DONE.

Understanding that not every neighborhood has a Pacific Post, but certainly when it comes to Avid, you'd be shocked at how many places you can have a system delivered to you. Again, many of us came up in the "NOW YOU CAN BUY IT" era, whereas Avid folks have ALWAYS been about rentals.
I was friends with the Avid rental facility in Key West Florida. LOL I'm on an even more remote island in the middle of the Pacific (you can't drive to this one), and I can have a system with Media Composer, FCPX, Creative Cloud, a full RED shooting kit with all the software goodies, plus monitors, speakers, and scopes on my doorstep in the morning. When I'm done with it, they'll come and get it.

Not that most of us don't have at least an iMac Pro if not something more muscular on whatever platform, but if you need to scale up to get a job, you should be able to only scale up when you NEED it. I bet that Caleb Deschanel owns more cameras than most of us, but I KNOW that also owns FEWER cameras than many of us. These guys RENT.

It's certainly true that folks like Herb who've been building TV series with remote workflows for years have been able to load up for bear, and they're ready for anything. But folks in their 20s and 30s who are buying less expensive gear for themselves will still be able to scale up IF they only need to pay for it when they're using it, ie, when they have someone else to pay for it. They can keep training on their laptops in the meantime, and who knows. Maybe those are the skinny terminals that they use to log in remotely.


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greg janza
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 3, 2020 at 5:32:08 am

[Tim Wilson] "It's certainly true that folks like Herb who've been building TV series with remote workflows for years have been able to load up for bear, and they're ready for anything."

I fall into the Herb camp as a long-time freelancer. I've been fine tuning a home system for many years to be prepared for any type of project. I also fully remember the rental days of systems but over the years (at least in my market) as editors migrated much of their work to remote environments, ownership of full systems has been the tradeoff.


[Tim Wilson] "But folks in their 20s and 30s who are buying less expensive gear for themselves will still be able to scale up IF they only need to pay for it when they're using it, ie, when they have someone else to pay for it. They can keep training on their laptops in the meantime, and who knows. Maybe those are the skinny terminals that they use to log in remotely.
"


Yes. I think you've hit on the real future for us cutters - thin terminals worked on remotely and connected to a server which stores the camera originals but which also creates proxy files for editors to easily work with until mastering stage.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tmprods
http://tallmanproductions.net


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Warren Eig
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 3, 2020 at 4:53:29 pm

And don't forget when you are working on a union show for Netflix and you are using your own system, they pay you a rental or if you don't have one they will rent it for you. This is the reality in Hollywood. As an editor, they rent my system or I go somewhere and sit in their chair that they paid for and just edit.

Warren Eig
O (424) 293-1164


email: info@babyboompictures.com
website: http://www.BabyBoomPictures.com
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/babyboompictures



For Camera Accessories - Monitors and Batteries
website: http://www.EigRig.com



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Mark Raudonis
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:03:52 pm

Warren,

What happens when the decision to WFH or in the office is yours, and you want to do BOTH? Let's say you want to work two days a week at home 'cause you'd rather not spend an hour on the 405. Who pays for your system at home for those two days? Do you expect the company to pay for TWO systems?



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Warren Eig
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:08:26 pm

It's usually established where we are cutting before the show starts. I've never had the option, 'hey you want to work from home 2 days a week?' I've always had to either cut on my system and paid a rental or gone to a production office or post facility and used that system. Cutting a feature and the amount of footage doesn't really allow a WFH 2 or 3 days a week.

Warren Eig
O (424) 293-1164


email: info@babyboompictures.com
website: http://www.BabyBoomPictures.com
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/babyboompictures



For Camera Accessories - Monitors and Batteries
website: http://www.EigRig.com



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Mark Raudonis
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:16:34 pm

[Warren Eig] "I've never had the option"

Just because you've never had the option, doesn't mean there aren't other companies out there where this kind of
"hybrid" arrangement may become the new normal. I know we're considering it.

In this conversation of WFH, people seem to focus ONLY on their own situation. The one thing I've learned in the past few months is that EVERYONE has a different idea of what WFH means. Therefore, the solutions, costs and technology deployed to make it work is going to be different for everyone.



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Eric Santiago
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:47:42 am

[Mark Raudonis] ""hybrid" arrangement may become the new normal. "

My day job is seriously considering it.
They just sent out an official poll as to how everyone feels about it.
It doesn't affect me, I have to be at my office (other duties assigned) at all times.
But most of the graphic designers will be trying to stay home.
I work at home in the evening (film and stuff), I like the change of scenery ;)


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Tim Wilson
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 4, 2020 at 2:42:40 am

[Mark Raudonis] "In this conversation of WFH, people seem to focus ONLY on their own situation. The one thing I've learned in the past few months is that EVERYONE has a different idea of what WFH means. Therefore, the solutions, costs and technology deployed to make it work is going to be different for everyone.
"


This is HUGELY important.

For example, I mentioned skinny terminals, which works for VFX folks, but may not be even remotely possible for editors. (Pun not necessarily intended, but seemed on topic. LOL)

I'm aware of some editors who are at home with gazilliondy terabytes of footage, doing all their work on local devices at full res, to be sneakernetted to its final destination. I don't even know how much review an approval they're doing online. Maybe no cloud nuthin'.

But this is where my idea of rental comes in again. Doesn't need to be Hollywood. Could be Key West or Kankakee or Kailua, but the call comes in for a series, and NOW I rent the system I need to do the work. Using Professor Zelin's example again, I get my Creative Cloud and Media Composer system with 40TB of storage, delivered. I pay for it for the three or six months that I'm on the clock, then I have the rental house come pick it up when I'm done. For the rest of the year that I'm not actually using that much iron, I'm not paying for it either...

...and best of all, my rental expense is a straight deduction, this year, instead of spreading it over five with the IRS's depreciation table. And rather than having had to save the price of a Tesla to pay for all that in cash, I've paid a much smaller amount that's tied directly to revenue.

Seriously, it's not just Hollywood that's renting gear. It's indie creators all over the world. I can absolutely see this as becoming an increasing characteristic of WFH scenarios, which becomes freelancing on a 3D chessboard. Companies and employees/contractors have a new relationship that may become negotiated anew with every project or season, and evvvvvverybody's relationship with gear changes.


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Herb Sevush
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:37:02 pm

[Tim Wilson] " it's not just Hollywood that's renting gear. It's indie creators all over the world. I can absolutely see this as becoming an increasing characteristic of WFH scenarios, which becomes freelancing on a 3D chessboard. "

The Yin and Yang of rental versus ownership has been going on since I first got in the business 45 years ago.

On the post end, where long term (6 month+) projects can pay off your gear for the equivalent of 3 months of rental, most experienced editors already own their own gear, although storage could still be a rental.

Production is different than post, the pressures to own the latest and greatest are much higher when the object of your interest is placed on a pedestal in the midst of all the action.

When is the last time a producer hired an editor based on what computer (as opposed to what software) he/she was editing on. Which is why renting camera gear has always been a big option.

For editing the pressure comes with scaling up quickly for a new project, and this is where the idea of scaling up with a network of WFH editors can be a new force in the industry if you can come up with the proper workflow.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Warren Eig
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 4, 2020 at 4:53:12 pm

I guess it comes down to rentals. If I have to WFH and they are using my gear, wear and tear on equipment and drives, if something fails or breaks, I don't want to be on the hook, that's why I charge a rental fee to cover these things. An employer can't expect to profit and get free gear that we have to purchase and maintain on top and only pay a salary that they are already paying.

Warren Eig
O (424) 293-1164


email: info@babyboompictures.com
website: http://www.BabyBoomPictures.com
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/babyboompictures



For Camera Accessories - Monitors and Batteries
website: http://www.EigRig.com



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Mark Raudonis
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 5, 2020 at 2:20:16 am

[Warren Eig] "An employer can't expect to profit and get free gear that we have to purchase and maintain on top and only pay a salary that they are already paying."

Warren,

You're missing the point. You seem to have an "us vs them" POV. (Typical of a union relationship).

I'm talking about a win-win situation, where convenience and lifestyle come into play. Nobody is trying to take advantage of you. I'm suggesting that in a situation where it's YOUR CHOICE as to wether to come in or not, does the employer really have to supply you with another system?



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Tony West
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 5, 2020 at 2:53:03 am

[Mark Raudonis] "I'm suggesting that in a situation where it's YOUR CHOICE as to wether to come in or not, does the employer really have to supply you with another system?"

It sounds like you are setting up a scenario where a person who's "choice" it would be to give their gear away and not charge for it would be in a position to undercut Warren, who does want to charge.

That's the upside of the "union relationship" it seeks to try to prevent the undercutting or "race to the bottom" if you will.


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greg janza
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 5, 2020 at 4:44:08 am

[Tony West] "That's the upside of the "union relationship" it seeks to try to prevent the undercutting or "race to the bottom" if you will.
"


I don't think that properly explains the WFH partnership between freelancer and a hiring company. In my market, there was a period of time a number of years ago where an added system rental charge was considered an acceptable added charge on top of an editors day rate. However, as remote work has become the norm this added charge was eliminated.

I agree with Mark that the WFH agreement is a classic win-win for both an editor and a facility. The facility wins because it frees up space to have another editor work on a project or it might reduce the overall office space and computer equipment needed by the company.

The editor also wins because he or she has much greater flexibility in their work day. No wasted time commuting and a flexible work schedule which allows for work/life balance - like taking care of children, doing laundry, grocery shopping, etc., etc. And as long as the pay rate is competitive with the market norms, there shouldn't be a concern of being taken advantage of by the hiring company.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tmprods
http://tallmanproductions.net


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Tony West
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:54:48 pm

[greg janza] "the WFH agreement is a classic win-win for both an editor and a facility. "

It could be if the editor is happy with it. If they are not it isn't.

[greg janza] "The editor also wins because he or she has much greater flexibility in their work day. No wasted time commuting and a flexible work schedule which allows for work/life balance - like taking care of children, doing laundry, grocery shopping, etc."

Some people would rather decide for themselves what's a benefit to THEM.

I remember a case where a worker was told that they weren't going to be working there as much but that they would have more time to spend with their kid. Their "kid" was in college out of state. Not a benefit at all.

Yes, for the people who are good with it no problem. Some people are trying to maximize their money to pay for their kids college, or whatever. Just tossing it out there.


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Tom Sefton
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 5, 2020 at 2:38:52 pm

Completely agree.

Anyone here tried editing with a 3 year old and a 1 year old in the same house?

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Misha Aranyshev
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 6, 2020 at 5:26:52 am

There is a subtle issue of having strangers in your house.


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Herb Sevush
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 6, 2020 at 12:48:20 pm

[Misha Aranyshev] "There is a subtle issue of having strangers in your house."

WFH doesn't lead to strangers in your house, it means developing a workflow that incorporates cloud based review procedures.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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greg janza
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 6, 2020 at 4:45:57 pm

All of this is great dialogue for how to envision our work in the future. The idea of waking up in the morning and trudging off to an office is so deeply entrenched in everyone's minds as the norm that even with Covid as a reality, it'll take a fair amount of effort to create change. And perhaps this is where freelancers and independent contractors can lead the way.

Here's a recent article from an Irish perspective but the ideas in the piece can be applied to many other places:

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/remote-working-ending-the-lunacy-...

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tmprods
http://tallmanproductions.net


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Oliver Peters
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 6, 2020 at 6:16:45 pm

[greg janza] "Here's a recent article from an Irish perspective but the ideas in the piece can be applied to many other places:"

Sounds like the "coffee shop edit suite" 2.0. Or... WeWork might survive after all ☺

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 7, 2020 at 8:45:40 pm

https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/discovery-reviews-production-costs-after-s...

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Steve Connor
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 8, 2020 at 9:14:04 am

[Oliver Peters] "https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/discovery-reviews-production-costs-after-s..."

Discovery realise that self shot "authentic" "at home" content is OK with viewers - perhaps someone should tell them about Youtube vloggers?


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Tim Wilson
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 8, 2020 at 1:01:06 am

[Oliver Peters] "WeWork might survive after all ☺"

My favorite analysis of the rise and fall of WeWork is actually a series of GIFs from the US version of The Office illustrating major events in the company's saga posted last October, after the entire company had been laid off, here.



The questions about gear and expectations for WFH come down to, who's eligible to work?

Just as a reminder for context using the COW, we're seeing 800,000+ visitors a month, and 71% of them are under 34, age groups known as Millenials and Gen Z. Gen X is another quarter, and Boomers represent single digit percentages.

Which also means that some of us on this thread are older than the parents of the COW's largest demos. If my kids and I had kids at the age my parents did, the youngest would be the age of my grandkids.



As the label shows, we're talking about 5 million Gen Z and Millennial folks passing through the COW in the past year alone.

The systems that Herb and Greg and others of you are running cost more than cars, which many young graduates can't afford in the first place. I think people our age who don't have college-age kids haven't reckoned with the scale of student debt. The average student graduates with $25,000 in debt, and by the time they turn 30, currently onerous rates mean that their student debt has gone UP at age 30 to $32,000!!!

WFH is interesting for distributing workforce, but the point that Tony and Warren are bringing up is that it's also shifting infrastructure costs onto people who are already swimming in debt.

There are trades that do that, of course. Mechanics have been paying for their own tools for generations. Barbers often rent their chairs.

But if someone in their mid-20s needs to own their gear as the cost of entry, what does that mean? A laptop? An iMac Pro? How much high-performance storage? Because if we're saying that, "To work for me, you're gonna need $25,000-$40,000 worth of gear" is cutting out nearly everyone in their 20s and a good chunk of folks in their 30s.

Even my idea of renting gear assumes that you've got $1700/mo to carve out of your revenue stream that's also going to have to cover the average $400/mo of student debt service, and have anything left over to live on.

The combination of the pandemic and social unrest is also underscoring the risks to society as a whole in tying health insurance to employment. So now, somebody who's 28 and no longer included in their parents' health coverage is having to manage health insurance, debt service, AND gear? WHICH GEAR?

If it's gear that anyone is reasonably expected to have, or that's within reasonable reach, that's one thing. This pushes some responsibility back onto facilities to create distributed workflows that help grow industry-wide opportunities, instead of using this as an excuse to make the industry easier for themselves and harder for workers.

Maybe someone else thinks that it's political to assume that companies are responsible for making the industry either better or worse, but I don't agree. I think of it as a value-neutral observation. Companies DO make the industry as a whole better or worse with their choices, and I think that there are implications for this that are no more or less than they are between any two random people. The general concept of "Don't make other people's lives worse" doesn't feel political at all to me. It's what you do in retail transactions, or when you drive, or clean up after your dog -- you conduct yourself to not make other people's lives worse.

But it also doesn't happen by accident. You decide that this is how you are in the world.

What I see is an opportunity to make the industry more flexible, more open, more ready for anything....but it's a very short distance from "flexible" to "unstable." As much as we're looking at possibilities that open up the range of what's possible for both producers and creatives, there are also definitely some WFH scenarios that will slam the door shut on potentially millions of trained post professionals with degrees and experience, but without a pile of cash or the wherewithal to take on more debt.


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 8, 2020 at 6:32:15 am

[Tim Wilson] "To work for me, you're gonna need $25,000-$40,000 worth of gear" is cutting out nearly everyone in their 20s and a good chunk of folks in their 30s."

Tim,

30 years ago that number could be TEN TIMES that. Million dollar rooms were NOT that uncommon. There has always been a financial barrier to entry in this biz, yet somehow new talent still breaks through. I'm not worried about millennials. Never before has that barrier to entry been so low or the tech so simple. They WILL find a way to make it work.

I say this because I think you're VASTLY over estimating the cost of gear. For basic off-line "story telling" editing, a low end iMac or comparable Windows system is fine. You could eBay one for way less than $5K, all in.

Sure, a high end system for color correction can reach $40K, but if you need that kind of system, chances are you're making the rate that can support it.

As you point out, many trades already include the cost of their tools in their rate. It looks like post production is headed that way.



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greg janza
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 8, 2020 at 5:24:26 pm

[Mark Raudonis] "I think you're VASTLY over estimating the cost of gear. For basic off-line "story telling" editing, a low end iMac or comparable Windows system is fine. You could eBay one for way less than $5K, all in."

I agree. The move to remote workflows for editors has been made possible in part, by the incredible advances in computer hardware design and the cost reductions that've accompanied it.

And I can't speak for Herb but my costs to build a fast edit system with enough storage to handle all types of projects would barely get me this used 2014 Nissan Versa Note which has 104,000 miles on it.



https://www.linkedin.com/in/tmprods
http://tallmanproductions.net


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Dom Silverio
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 8, 2020 at 6:12:07 pm

WFH will definitely expand. But that requires a new mindset and business plan. And those that make that decision tend to be older. Even Google and Yahoo at one point discouraged WFH BEFORE COVID. And those types of companies and work are prime for WFH. Yahoo I think found that overall, there was a reduction of efficiency compared to their in-office counterparts.

And as said before, US broadband is a patchwork of various networks. We served dozens and dozens of editors with remote system during this pandemic. 2 things are true -
wifi connection on a >50 Mb/s ISP is common. And many have very little or no option to increase their bandwidth or change their provider.

We had an editor in Michigan who had a better experience than a user in upstate NY. We are located in NYC.

.02


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Oliver Peters
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 8, 2020 at 7:12:58 pm

[Dom Silverio] "Yahoo I think found that overall, there was a reduction of efficiency compared to their in-office counterparts."

I believe Marissa Mayer ended the practice because of this, but I don't know what the current status is.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 9, 2020 at 6:27:13 am

[greg janza] "[Mark Raudonis] "I think you're VASTLY over estimating the cost of gear. For basic off-line "story telling" editing, a low end iMac or comparable Windows system is fine. You could eBay one for way less than $5K, all in."

I agree. The move to remote workflows for editors has been made possible in part, by the incredible advances in computer hardware design and the cost reductions that've accompanied it."


Look, nothing would make me happier than to be wrong about this. LOL But you don't have to go too far back in the COW to see folks excited about their $20,000 Mac Pros, with no external storage or monitoring. I understand that this is overkill for a skinny terminal, or for offline episodic editorial, and isn't expected to be included in the "journeyman"-level package.

But we're nowhere close to setting an industry-wide expectation for what that would be. What kind of storage would someone need to expect to have in order to get a job working from home in offline editorial? Obviously fast internet access, but what else are we talking about?

Nobody can answer that question yet because we have no idea what a standard "WFH" scenario looks like. I don't, and neither does anyone else. Mark comes closest of any of us course. ☺ But of course, there could be as many WFH workflows as there are combinations of employers and employees.

My hope is that all employers are as broad-minded, creative, and generous of spirit as Mark Raudonis, and are thinking about ways to make the industry more inclusive, more flexible, and provide more and better jobs to the graduates of media programs who are graduating with plenty of chops, but little more in hand than an iMac or laptop and a lifetime of debt.

That's the fork in the road we're approaching. Will this be an opportunity to make more people's lives better? Or cutting off opportunities to people who can't afford the gear that employers were providing as recently as February?

I find myself thinking about the balance of power in this context. If you're in the office, you don't have a boss saying, "If you want to keep this job, you need to upgrade the computer." If the boss wants you using a new computer, the boss has to buy it.

Whereas if you're working from home, you can imagine some employers saying, "This is absolutely your problem. I'm not going to pay to upgrade a computer that you can be using to work a bunch of other jobs."

There can also be a lack of respect for boundaries. Hey, you're working from home. This means you can work a lot more hours.

Whereas we now know that there are cases where you're available for fewer hours, because now you find yourself having to be running your kids' education while they're home too.


[Oliver Peters] "[Dom Silverio] "Yahoo I think found that overall, there was a reduction of efficiency compared to their in-office counterparts."

I believe Marissa Mayer ended the practice because of this"



I think that a lot of the talk of "efficiency" is a smokescreen. There's a whole class of managers who rule by intimidation and hectoring. Marissa didn't think twice about 100 hour weeks, was famous for them in fact, and she had zero respect for people who didn't work as hard as she did. And guess what? It turns out that once people leave the office, you can't berate them to their face for wanting to leave the office.

One of her SVPs went on the record about it at the time:

“Marissa is the type of boss that makes you feel like you’re disappointing her at all times, so I always feel like I’m on the verge of being fired,” Jeff Bonforte, Yahoo’s senior vice president for communications products, tells the New York Times.


In some fairness, she was undermined from the start. (Google "glass cliff" and "Marissa Mayer" if you're ready to have your stomach turned.) Probably the ONLY thing that WASN'T wrong with Yahoo was an overzealous CEO, but she was far from the only senior manager in tech with outlandishly toxic views of what "productivity" means.

You know the thing that some people have said as not much of a joke, "If you don't come in Saturday, don't bother coming in Monday" -- ie, not showing up on Saturday was tantamount to quitting. The one I heard at Avid was, "If you don't come in Saturday, don't bother coming in on Sunday." Because yes, there were times when 7 days a week was demanded, and anything less was explicitly tantamount to quitting.

And zero working from home, on workdays, EVER.

Of course, that was then. Aside from nobody being able to get away with demanding that now, management there has been saner for a while. ☺

So while I definitely see potential risks in putting the responsibility for buying and maintaining gear on home workers, I love the potential to remove power from abusive managers who demand that YOU to work around the clock to cover up for THEIR inability to actually manage.

People who want to figure out how to manage true productivity in the spirit of collegiality and mutual trust can do it, which is why companies like Twitter are saying that they'll be supporting most WFH scenarios for forever. There's no definitive reason for this not to work.

We can have another conversation another day about how inefficient EVERYTHING about American approaches to work are. We have less time off, and shorter lifespans, than pretty much any industrialized nation (and plenty of non-industrialized ones) for no good reason whatsoever, apart from the chimera of productivity. That's something I'd like to see blown up right there.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 12, 2020 at 12:39:00 pm

Of course, all this WFH stuff is fine and dandy until it doesn't work... AGAIN.

Started off today - on a day where I really needed to get a head start - to find that somewhere across the country selective servers were down (back up now at least). So no Frame, no Slack, no Adobe. Fortunately the Adobe issue didn't impede running the apps this time. But that meant I couldn't see the client's notes for revisions and didn't have the normal location to which I would upload files.

At least it all came back up in time, but it just shows how fragile the whole system is.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 12, 2020 at 4:02:40 pm

[Oliver Peters] "But that meant I couldn't see the client's notes for revisions and didn't have the normal location to which I would upload files."

This would have happened at the office too, presumably.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 12, 2020 at 4:56:53 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "This would have happened at the office too, presumably."

I'm not saying it wouldn't. In fact I'm working from the office and this wasn't a localized problem. But as we set up systems that are more dependent on the internet and all servers working 100% 24/7/365 we run an increasing risk of failure.

Obviously in this case, FedEx wouldn't be a solution either ☺ Ultimately it's because technology has encouraged/enabled clients to avoid sufficient advance planning and push the envelope with just-in-time production and delivery schedules.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Scott Witthaus
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 12, 2020 at 7:48:27 pm

Being in the commercial world mostly, I have been working in a modified WFH scenario for years. Granted, it's a much smaller amount of footage and approvals are "email-able", but I try to make the process as "dumbed-down" as possible and I am the only editor. Fed-Ex me the files. I cut proxy versions from home and email my first versions. Before Covid-19, take the show on the road to the agency for creative team tweaks (either my gear or their in-house suite). Go to finishing houses as needed. Salt and pepper to taste.

In the Covid world, I do everything at home with no agency visit. Zoom meetings with screen share allow the creatives to comment on an edit. Zoom playing video from FCPX is far from ideal, but it can be slogged through if necessary.

I just finished a doc that had to have color and sound done remotely. Far from ideal (thankfully the director got one color session in before everything shut down, so at least the colorist got a start on the look we wanted). The sound mix approval was a bit of a pain, simply do to environment and lack of quality monitoring.


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Don Scioli
Re: Add Social unrest to social distancing... WFH is here to stay
on Jun 28, 2020 at 12:37:07 am

I've had a home studio since 1998, strange people in my house, no commuting, no paying $500 an hour for CMX, then Avid suites, any distraction were a welcome break. And I own my own equip which I can write off. Not too shabby.


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