Getting Started in your Media Career

 

Ready set go

Last night at American Universities School of Communications,  several media professionals gathered with TIVA to give out

some very valuable information about how to get your foot in the media industry whether your a college student or a seasoned professional

looking to switch careers. The panelists included:

 

Jason Villemez, Production Assistant at PBS Newshour

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jason-villemez/10/a27/594

Kristen Edgell, Marketing Assistant at National Geographic

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kristen-edgell/31/13b/b88

Laura Mateus, Campus Recruiter at Discovery Communications

http://www.zoominfo.com/#!search/profile/person?personId=1770693696&targetid=profile

Julia Beyer, Career Advisor for SOC Students

http://www.american.edu/profiles/staff/juliab.cfm

 

A variety of issues were discussed which included networking, resumes,

social media and linkedin, age and experience, reaching out and internships.

 

 

  • Networking, As Kristen pointed out networking is very much the name of the game. She very smartly made time to talk to every person she worked with, grabbing a cup of coffee and picking their brains. After these meetings she would inquire about other contacts that person might have that would be a good fit for her to talk to and then sought out those individuals. Another point that all the panelists agreed on was the value of a mentor and really getting to know an individual who will work with you and even advocate on your behalf.  Also, its key to stay in touch with those connections you make and to stay on their radar. They might be looking to fill a spot in an afternoon and if you stay fresh on their radar, you may just be getting that call.

 

  • Internships, the panel unanimously agreed that having at least one internship college is a great way to get some real world work skills outside of the classroom. Make sure that you really assert yourself in the role trying to learn as much as possible about the work your doing and present yourself well. Employers and companies respond well to someone who is eager to learn and want additional responsibilities instead of that person who’s just waiting to go. Many internships are now paying but even those that aren’t are still a valuable way for people to focus on their interests by getting to practice them in an adult setting.

 

  • Social Media, Obviously this is a huge facet of the media and business worlds and will only continue to grow. The best social media to present in terms of professionalism is Linkedin. The panelists all agreed that not only is it the preferred way to present yourself to new business contacts, its a great way to scout out potential employers and new relationships as well. A surprising note came from Laura who pointed that just because someone’s young and of the “plugged in” generation, that’s not a guarantee that they themselves are tech savvy or fluent in the art of social media. Twitter and facebook are also good venues to reach out to contacts, just be weary of  what they may see when they look at your profile. It’s smart to put your website and social media links under the header of your resume to show just how connected and tech able you are.

 

  • Resumes, one of the most important topics discussed was resumes and presentation. As Julia reminded everyone,  the basic look for a resume should be a header with your name, address, contact info and any links to your website or social media. This should be followed by education and most recent or appropriate work depending on the job your applying for. After this should come other work experiences and then your skills.  Unless you have more than ten years experience in the field, resume length should be one page. Grammar, punctation and spelling are also key since many people overlook these and will send resumes carelessly riddled with such mistakes. Also don’t put things that aren’t true, if your not familiar with software or a technical skill don’t put it on your resume. You may be questioned about it during your interview and not knowing anything will immediately make you look unprofessional.

 

  • Age and Media as a second career, Jason pointed out that in his position as a production assistant, one of his duties is to review candidates for internships and job openings. While there are the typical college students and recent graduates in that mix, Jason is also seeing lots of people in their late 20’s, 30’s and some who are doctors or lawyers looking to switch careers and that’s not a bad thing. Jason, who himself started in his job at the age of 27, says age is not an issue and what really matters is the desire to work your way up from the bottom. As long as the drive, willingness to learn, punctuality and professionalism are present, than people will notice your hard work and take you very seriously.

 

 

A huge thank you to the School of Communications for hosting this event and to TIVA for holding it.
SOC
TIVA
Further highlights of the event will soon be up on TIVA’s website at http://www.tivadc.org/



Video Tech in Business – Foxconn Buys Big Into GoPro

Over the last few years, GoPro has become a standard term in the extreme sports lexicon. If you don’t know GoPro yet it is defiantly something to investigate. GoPro cameras offer a rugged, mountable video camera solution to help capture life on the go. Waterproof, shockproof, idiot-proof… Put one on your surfboard and watch yourself shoot that sweet tube, or put one on your mountain bike and catch a glimpse of yourself huckin’ that 10 footer!

Surfer Byron Bartlett goes deep in the tube of a beatufifull wave, captured using a GoPro sports video camera.
Byron Bartlett surfing with GoPro

Buying Into The Extreme

Talk about going big, Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn just plunked down a cool $200 million dollars for 9% ownership of the developing camera company. Foxconn is one of Apple’s main manufacturing outlets in The Orient, and has been the focus of some human rights and labor rights controversy over the past few years. Nobody is quite sure what inspired this big semi-accusation, but GoPro enthusiasts are looking forward to seeing what impact the injection of capital will have on the consumer.

GoPro sports camera systems, Be a hero

Maximize Shareholder Adrenaline

Hopefully, now that the controversial Foxconn is sitting on the board, there won’t be any slips in product quality for the sake of additional profits. All too often in recent years, we see a great product ruined by the shareholder’s lust for profit at the expense of product quality and consistency. I am hopeful that the main stakeholders of GoPro will prevent this from happening, but I guess we must wait and see what happens.

In the meantime, check out Kelly Slater rip it up!

GoPro: Kelly Slater Surfs Lower Trestles from GoPro on Vimeo.

Shot 100% on the HD HERO2® camera from ‪http://GoPro.com.

Kelly Slater having fun on some practice waves before the 2012 Hurley Pro at Trestles in San Clemente, California.




Trade Show – GV Expo 2012 / GovComm12 Exhibition Recap

As expected, The 2012 Government Video Expo was an all out success. The exhibition floor was teeming with top of the line tech and the biggest names pulled out all the stops to showcase the latest and greatest. I took a little time to document some of the stuff that caught my eye, so lets take a look!

This way to The Government Video Expo!

Video Technology Recap – All Systems Go

The main focus of any GV Expo is the video gear. This year it seemed that the big boys were in a battle for showroom floor supremacy.

Digital Video Group at The 2012 GV Expo
Digital Video Group, Inc.

Digital Video Group had one of the most extensive and impressive displays at the expo. Top of the line camera systems, screens, and control surfaces were shown off in style. Conference attendees really got a good show at DVG’s booth this year, with hands on displays and a team of friendly trade show experts to demonstrate the goods.

Next lets check out the battle of the touchscreens!

Aurora vs. AMX, battle for touch sreen dominance!
Aurora (Left Front) – AMX (Back Right)

Makers of high end touchscreen systems Aurora and AMX went head to head this year at GV Expo 2012. Squaring off with opposing booths right at the entrance to the expo, the two tech titans seemed to be competing for the biggest display at The 2012 GV Expo. I think both exhibits were equal in size, but each company took a unique approach. Aurora went with an in-your-face but clean and clear 4 sided display, while AMX decided to create a spacy enclosure to show off their tech. These booths defiantly saw a lot of action this year, and you can see why!

Now lets look at another cool display, this time from Crestron.

Crestron display showed off their top of the line switchers, converters and netowrking solutions.
Crestron

Crestron decided to show off their high end collaboration systems this year at GV Expo 2012. After reviewing their company online, I am amazed at how many high tech solution this company has a hand in. From HDMI switchers, to video converters, Crestron is delivering some surreal tech these days. This particular display caught my eye for its clean combination of friendly service and easy to read documentation. Maybe I am a nerd but networking systems for real time video collaboration is just plain cool!

Now that we have covered the big show, I want to highlight a very cool vendor, BWC Visual Technology, that grabbed my attention this year.

BWC Visual Technology demonstratic their new spherical displays!
Spherical display screens!

Nerd alert, I find this vendor very cool just because they are doing something different. BWC Visual Technology was showcasing their impressive spherical display system. Basically you can integrate a 3D esque spherical display into any regular display system. Their demo in the background showed a flat image of the expo, with a super-imposed 3D sphere showing a data driven display of water temperatures of planet Earth’s Oceans in real time. Sweet…

*Note* I would have privided a link to BWC’s website but I could not find it! All I can offer is this link to their GovComm12 Registration page.

Audio Tech: New Gear From Info Comm

The partnership with InfoComm and GovComm brought much more sound gear to this year’s GV Expo. That means sound tech’s like myself were thrilled to go explore some of the premium gear that we all dream of playing with but can’t afford. Of course there was lots of focus on microphone systems for field use, as well as wireless systems, streaming devices and much more.

I was glad to see a both with plenty of reps from Audio Technica, a new addition to The GV Expo this year.

Audio technica Shows off their gear at the 2012 GV Expo.
Mic Check!

TIVA-DC: Another Great Membership Drive

One of the ways Word Wizards contributes to TIVA-DC as a sponsor is by helping out every year at The GV Expo. This year TIVA-DC signed up 220 new and returning members at the booth! The GV Expo is one of TIVA-DC’s best opportunities to showcase ourselves to the DC video and media services community. Each year at the expo, TIVA-DC offers a half price membership drive for people who come and sign up in person.

TIVA-DC in full swing at this year's GV expo.
TIVA-DC gets the boogey on! (Can you spot Word Wizards CEO Scott Gordon in this photo?)

TIVA also hold a raffle every day at the Expo and gives away a bunch of cool prizes. One of our contributions was two $50 gift cards to Olazzo, a delicious Italian Restaurant located in Bethesda and Silver Spring Maryland. Other prizes included hats, TIVA swag, and USB thumb drives.

Entrance to the 2012 GV Expo

I think that’s about enough for this article, stay tuned for a recap of the best speakers and presentations of the GV Expo. Make sure to leave us a comment if you enjoyed this post. Also, sign up for our newsletter to receive our best blog posts every month. Have a great weekend everyone!




News Media – Technology and Election Season News

Last night’s Vice Presidential Debate seemed to leave both parties satisfied. Relax, the purpose of this article is not to argue about who won. I want to take a close look at the technology behind how the big news networks cover these elections. Just think about whats involved when you have 5 HD cameras and 3 microphones streaming live feeds from the debate stage. These extremely high bandwidth data feeds are recorded, encoded, transmitted to space, relayed to TV stations, and streamed for live broadcast over national and local networks ALL IN REAL TIME.

News Floors – Welcome to The Bridge

CNN’s Election Center 2012

CNN's Election Center
The Stage of CNN’s Election Center

It feels like the bridge of The Starship Enterprise, only this show stars Captain Wolf Blitzer and 1st Mate Anderson Cooper. In the photo above, there are countless HD screens, thousands of watts of lighting, a fully functional smart board, or two, and every tool a newscaster could possibly need to convey their message to viewers. Don’t forget, that’s only half of the stage, there is a similar array of technology right out of this camera’s view for a second anchor. Now remember, all of this gear works seamlessly with the feeds coming from the field, and is then broadcast to our TVs.

Fox News Election Center 2012

Fox News Election Center
Fox News Election Center

In an equally brilliant display of news media pizzaz and nationalistic pride, Fox News has set up their own 2012 election nerve center. Plenty of room for visuals, pundits, interviews and anything else that might be shown on Fox News Network. A central stage like this and the one above are critical aspects of the modern news media paradigm. However, its whats going on behind the scenes and off camera that really makes all of this possible.

Mission Control

The Control Room
CNN Media Control Room

Behind every great news-floor, is a broadcast media control room. I think the only thing you could compare it to is NASA mission control or something inside the Pentagon. The engineers in this room control every graphic, video feed, audio signal, and pretty much everything else. They handle countless live feeds from all around the world and are ready to respond to any crisis no matter what no matter when. A highly skilled team of audio / video engineers operate with tactile control over the entire operation, making critical decisions every second, from how fast to scroll the teleprompter, to what camera angle to display.

Simulcast – Your News, Anywhere

CNN on Satellite Radio
CNN on Satellite Radio

National news networks are no longer confined to the cable television medium. Now you can get all your news in real time via satellite radio, website, or even mobile app. I must say its cool to listen to my favorite news show while I am driving down the highway trying to kill the time. Just think about how amazing it is that my phone can receive a signal from space and let me listen in on a live broadcast as if it were there in front of me. Now think about how much pressure those newscasters must be under, one mistake, one slip, or one stupid unintentionally offensive comment and the whole world hates you…

A Geek’s Paradise

Maybe I am just a bit nerdy, but I find it fascinating how all of this comes together so seamlessly. Even more so, it seems that every year these systems get more capable and equally more sophisticated. I have a love for A/V tech in my blood, and if you enjoyed this article you probably do too! Make sure to sign up for our mailing list to receive more articles like this one from us on a regular basis. Be sure to drop us a comment and let us know what you think the coolest media technology is today.




Video Tech Review – Voila Screen Capture Software

Word Wizards is currently launching a new service called CloudScript. As we prepared to roll out this new offering, we needed to make a demo video that would show our potential users what it does, what it looks like, and how it works. There was only one solution, create a video using screen capture software that will show the world what CloudScript can do. Once we reached this conclusion it was up to me to decide which screen capture software we would use for this kind of a project.

A Sea of Choices

Software to capture video from a computer screen has been around for a long time. There are many different options out there to choose from. Some are geared toward bare bones recording, with no fancy features and moderate quality recording. On the other end of the spectrum there are software solutions for screen capture that offer incredible additional features, full editing capabilities, and tons of professional quality functions. Well, my mission was to find the best quality option for the most reasonable price.

Voila by Global Delight

When I started digging around for reviews and comparisons of the multitude of screen cap software out there I cam accross many positve accounts of Voila by Global Delight. Its packed with features and fits our price point perfectly. There are definalty more sophisticated options out there, but the interface and usability of Voila made it perfect for our application. With the ability to capture high res images, HD video, and internal computer sound, we felt that Voila was the right choice for us as we began to start grabing content and images to promote our new service.

Voila Home Page and Features

The Price is Right!

At a mere $29.99 this is defiantly the best quality option in the price category. Not only will this be a valuable tool for our current marketing project, but it will give us all sorts of new capabilities to offer our clients in the media industry. After only a few minutes of playing with Voila, I was already recording and starting to gather good material.

The Verdict?

Voila provides everything you need for this sort of project and more. We fully recommend that anyone who might be interested try it out for themselves and get a taste. Check out their website if you want to know more, they seem to perfectly articulate why you would want to use Voila over other software on this page.

http://www.globaldelight.com/voila/whyVoila.html




New Service Launch: CloudScript – Transcript Media Player

Early this month, Word Wizards began introducing our existing clients and friends to our new service, CloudScript. CloudScript is a simple tool that allows a user to sync a transcript with time code to a media player. In seconds you can have a transcript that allows you to click on any time code in the document and jump immediately to that point in time.

CloudScript - Transcript Media Player

Professional Applications:

Here is a scenario, your writing a final script before sending your raw footage to editing. You have found a quote in your transcript that says exactly what you need it to say. Under normal circumstances, you would have to pull up a media player, and use the scrub bar to manually locate the point in time that your transcript says will contain that video clip. Once you find that spot, you need to somehow figure out if that audio and video is consistent with the rest of your production. There is no easy way to do this for a few or  especial hundreds of independent clips, well there WAS no easy way, until CloudScript came along.

Instant Media Referencing

CloudScript enables you to instantly jump to any time stamp in your transcript. No more scrubbing through hours of footage looking and listening for that perfect shot and or sound byte, its all right there and its FAST! Furthermore, say you took a look and listen to that quote you wanted and the audio was no good, or there were clouds in the sky and it wont work with the rest of the clips from that shot. Well using the “find” function, you can simply search for any keyword or phrase your interested in and quickly identify every part of your raw footage that is related to what your looking for. With just one click, you can see and hear everything that may contain what you need, now that is what we call optimized workflow.

Create and Study Rough Edits

Continuing with our example, you have identified a sequence of ten clips that tell your story the way you want it to, but your no sure the audio and video will flow with continuity and consistency because your ten clips are shot over 10 hours of raw interviews. All you have to do is copy the  time stamps you think are the best into a text file, and run it through CloudScript again. You have just created a rough cut that lets you click on each time stamp in the sequence and easily get a feeling for what the edited sequence would look like. Because CloudScript is subscription based, you can use it as many times as you want as long as your membership is still valid.

Additional Features

CloudScript allows you to sync a transcript with video hosted on the internet. Say you put up footage of an important conference on your website for people to see. Using CloudScript you can create jump points to any time in the footage. This allows you to create “chapters” in online video that can be hosted on your website. Say there were 10 speakers over 8 hours. Simply run your transcript through CloudScript and you can generate clickable links to the beginning of each speaker’s presentation.

CloudScript does not require uploads or downloads of the actual media files to work, that’s how it does its job so fast. All you have to do is simply provide your local file path for the media and upload the time coded transcript saved as a simple text file. Within 5 seconds you receive a media synced transcript that opens in your browser, and with your subscription you can use it over and over again!

Sign Up Now For A Free Trial

Want to see for yourself? Head on over to The CloudScript Homepage and check out our Demo video. If your interested you can sign up for a free trial and test it out yourself. So what are you waiting for, join the 21st century already and optimize your workflow!




Transcription Tips – Add an Amp to your Audio Setup

Contrary to popular belief, transcription can be a dangerous profession. Once and a while, audio gets out of control; background noise, clipping, clicks, the perils are real, and you can save your ears and a big headache by including a simple and affordable audio amp in your setup.

Amp your audio for more control and clarity!

An Amp on Both Your Houses

By including an audio amp in your setup you can have instant control over your audio. There are many benefits to this type of analog audio control, simply dial in your volume and frequency filter preferences. Here are some common examples when an amp can come in handy.

Quiet Audio

Amps allow you to raise the overall gain of any audio source by a significant amount without the introduction of distortion or digital artifacts. This is a very useful capability either while transcribing or while using a transcription in film making or video production. Often scripts are written using the audio before it has been polished by the sound engineer. If you can hear it, you cant determine if that sound byte fits with the rest of your audio, and you wont know if its fit for the editors razor until its too late.

“Hot” Audio

On the contrary, if the audio has been mixed so loud that its deafening, you have percision control over the volume level and can thus easily find the sweet spot that wont hurt your ears and cause audio fatigue. There is no recovery for damaged hearing, so protect your valuable assets, your ears!

Unstable Levels

Sometimes audio will change rapidly in volume up or down because of poor and inconsiderate recording or mixing. Having a physical dial in front of you can save your life if all of a sudden your volume increases by 24 dB. And it can allow you to continue working if all of a sudden the volume drops by an unreasonable amount.

Control Your Frequency

Vocals usually sit in the mid to high mid frequency ranges, dropping off at the lows and the highs. With a decent amp, you can increase or decrease the volume of independent frequency bands so the audio source your working with comes through clean and the rest of the mix falls to the background. Kill; the lows and highs and save yourself some ear strain.

Plug and Play

You don’t need to run out and buy a 1000 watt professional PA amplifier for this type of application. There are many simple affordable amps out there and the simplicity will keep price down and get you working quickly. Including an amp in your audio setup  is a no brainer, for your ears sake you might want to consider this advice.




Apple’s WWDC 2012 – Industry Impact

Que the trumpets and raise the banners, Apple has some important new announcements and once again the world will shudder under their unrelenting innovative dominance…

Apple's World Wide Developers Conference Logo

Well maybe it was not quite that dramatic, but they did have some good news to share! Today I am going to quickly review the new tech highlights released by Apple and comment on how we think it may impact businesses in the video, graphics, and web design industries.

Let’s Get “Siri-us”

Samuel Jackson Makes Gazpacho with Siri

We have all seen the ads, Samuel L. Jackson is in his kitchen making gazpacho, and it seems like Siri is his faithful companion. She seems to understand and indulge his every whim, with the level of service and care you would expect from a personal butler. As you may know, Siri is not yet so intuitive, in fact Apple has a few pending lawsuits for misrepresenting this product in such a manner. However, at this year’s WWDC Apple announced she will be getting a bit of a cerebral upgrade. In addition, for the first time, Siri will be available on the iPad, extending the range of possibilities with this innovative but raw new technology.

Impact:

Siri could change our industry by leaps and bounds if she ever gets herself working right. In my recent blog post Software – The John Henry Paradox I discussed how dictation and automated transcription software is a long ways off from putting us out of business. However, it does make an impact, and if Siri’s dictation functionality ever gets into shape, it will most defiantly have an impact on the bottom line of business that provide automated or human powered speech to text services. I look forward to trying out her new “revised” functionality once iOS 6 is released in the near future.

MacBook Pro, Whoa!

I once proudly considered myself a PC guy. A long long time ago in a galaxy called the Milky Way, Macs were a joke in my mind. Bad games, poor graphics, and a noticeable lack of any standard PC quirks, it just put me off. That was, until I got my first MacBook Pro in 2006 and became a born again Jobsian. The new upgrade to the MacBook Pro line is sweet, slim, and sexy. It will probably keep getting sweeter as producers of components and accessories start to catch up with the technology in these impressive new machines.

The New MacBook Pro

However this power is a double edge sword. I keep asking myself, where is the FireWire port? What do you mean you don’t sell a Thunderbolt adapter for FireWire until next December? Apple seemingly enjoys releasing new technology before anyone makes anything that uses it. I must admit that the power to interface with two Thunderbolt Ports and Two USB 3.0 ports pushes the boundaries of my imagination. Hopefully I will be able to use these to their full potential before they come out with the next MacBook Pro.

The inclusion of a retina display is clutch, with such high resolution, MacBook Pros will continue to lead the way in laptop based media workflow both for professionals and amateurs. Don’t forget the screamin’ new Intel chip that pushes the performance of this incredible tool to unfathomed heights. While were on the subject of new heights, have you seen the price tag? By the time they come out with a FireWire to Thunderbolt solution, maybe I will be able to afford the new MacBook Pro (as long as Greece and the economy dont have anything different to say.)

Impact:

As an audio and video guy, the advent of Thunderbolt is paramount. FASTER, FASTER, FASTER! With this new technology video can render faster and look better, audio can be recorded with less lag time and higher resolution than ever before. There remains only one problem, nobody makes a Thunderbolt Audio Interface! I would love to take advantage of the speed of light capabilities for my audio production and recording needs if there were equipment that was designed to handle such raw unhindered power, but there’s not, yet (hint to all you manufactures out there…)

So us A/V guys have a new standard to dream about, what about the designers? Well for those who work in the field or in onsite applications. Having this type of power behind the acclaimed retina display will obviously be a plus. However, when I was speaking with our chief designer, who is admittedly a long standing Apple guru of sorts, he simply stated that lap tops are never ideal for precision graphics work, “there’s just not enough there.” Of course using Thunderbolt you can connect an external screen that is big enough to satisfy his lust for pixels, but then you have just undermined the retina display that you just bought, and that make MacBook Pro sad :(

Mountain Lions, Tigers, and Bears, oh my!

Mountain Lion hopes to put your head back in the iClouds. The new OS is swimming with new features and integration capabilities with the struggling cloud based file sharing system released by Apple early last year. Somehow Apple seems to make each OS release faster and better, and I do not expect to be disappointed this time. Mountain Lion I think will provide a full circle of integration, performance, and usability. There is something about Mac OS that still makes me say, PCs are never going to match this in a million years, even with the impeding release of Windows 8.

A Mountain Lion

Impact:

This remains to be seen. My expectation is to be blown away once again by the simplicity and speed of a new Mac OS version. But who knows, once in a while somebody makes a big mistake when trying to improve on perfection. This will be the first release of a new Mac OS without the direct insight and guidance of the dearly departed Steve Jobs, and hopefully it will not let his memory down, but you never know.

The Verdict

Apple is still innovating their way out of the proverbial paper bag, and we expect more to come at next year’s WWDC. Now, you may be saying, hey man why didn’t you talk about how disappointing it was to not get a hold of the iPhone 5 release date? To that I respond with a reminder that iPhone 4s only came out 9 months ago. If they released iPhone 5 now with only small unimpressive upgrades, you would all complain, and their stock price would plummet, and everyone would claim Tim Cook is incompetent, and ol’ Billy Gates would cackle into the night as he took over the world!

Bill gate young
Bill Gates as you have never seen him...

So be patient and have some faith that that Mr. Cook can hold it together…

Thanks for reading, and check back soon as we hope get our hands on some of this new technology and put it to the test!

 




CloudScript: The Future of Transcription Workflow

Word Wizards is proud to present our newest service, CloudScript!

Over 30 years of working in the media transcription industry has provided our team with rare and valuable insight into how and why people need our transcription services. We have noticed an important trend in the past few years, the name of the game these days is speed, convenience, and price. Production teams must to be able to work faster, more efficiently, and at lower operating costs than ever before to survive. Well, we have designed CloudScript to answer the call for a new solution.

Stated simply, CloudScript lets you click on any time code in your transcript and jump to that point in the audio or video file. Using a simple online form you can instantly convert any transcript with time code into a “media-synced” transcript. CloudScript is intended to make your workflow easier while writing, editing, producing or otherwise working with transcripts.

Watch our short video below for a quick demonstration!

Visit the CloudScript Home Page and Sign Up for your free trial Today!

 




Graphic Design Tech – Adobe Creative Cloud

In today’s digital world people want easy access to everything. Do you need to look at your bank statement? Load an app on your smartphone. Order a pizza? Log onto Domino’s and order away.

Going with that trend, Adobe has decided to add new capabilities to their entire Creative Suite for collaboration and distribution on the “cloud.” By paying a subscription based fee, one can work on projects in Creative Suite from multiple machines with the CS software installed. The idea that you can access your creative & design work from anywhere and at any time is a very intriguing prospect, especially for our graphic design department.

Graphic design tools go to the cloud!

Instant Collaboration

Creative Cloud for example would allow a graphic designer in Alaska to collaborate with their client across the globe at any time of day and on any computer they wish to access it from as long as the necessary software is installed. Or if you’re on the road traveling and only have access to edit your web design project for 30 or 40 minutes a night then you can easily log-in with your laptop work on it a bit, save it for later, and instantly send it back to the office for review.

Adobe has done it again.

Data Asset Security

Another positive aspect of putting everything on the cloud the risk of losing data is signifigantly minimized. If you have Adobe’s Creative Suite installed locally and it wasn’t backed up properly or if something haywire happened with your systems or hard drives then you could potentially lose a lot of
very important data.

Stay safe and secure in the cloud!
Putting your work on the cloud eliminates the risk of loosing your work in the event of a computer crash. If your computer won’t boot up then you can always use another machine and instantly access the cloud based creative design project you had been working on.

Cloudy Forecast

Clouds on the Horizon

The ease of use and accessibility cloud services gives the end user is amazing but I think what attracts people the most to the cloud phenomenon is the freedom it gives you. The very fact that a video editor or web designer could collaborate on a project anywhere and at any time is enough to attract customers
to cloud based subscription services like Creative Cloud.




The ONLY I.T.A.R. Compliant Transcription Company

When it comes to a project of a sensitive nature, be it legal, militaristic, classified, or otherwise not intended for unauthorized eyes, who are you going to trust? Now, we are not trying to put down firms who have chosen to enter the transcription industry utilizing offshore labor, in fact we capitalists respect and encourage the process of international competition. However, just ask yourself, when push comes to shove, who are you going to trust with your sensitive media? Unknown, untested, and uncertified offshore options, or the only transcription company in the world (Word Wizards) that fits the qualifications for the U.S. State Department’s stamp of approval.

U.S. State Department - DDTC Logo

Compliance with I.T.A.R. (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) does not come easy. This certification, issued by the U.S. State Department, is generally intended for organizations involved with international arms and military applications. When filing for this certification, we laughed as we checked the “other” category to describe our services, other is located somewhere between nuclear warhead production and experimental particle beam weapon research.

Trust But Verify

What transcription compamny do you trust?

Why would a transcription company choose to get I.T.A.R. compliance? In a global economy, our organization now faces extreme pressure from international competition. One of the stipulations of I.T.A.R. compliance is a strict “on shore” policy for work performed due to the often sensitive military nature of the content of these projects. Well, it appears that our modest U.S.A based transcription company is one of the last of its kind. Yes,  our short term profits may have suffered slightly when the economy tanked and clients explored cheaper, lower quality, offshore transcription options. However, our commitment to providing premium quality transcription services and maintaining a workforce of well paying American jobs has paid off once again.

Why are there no other I.T.A.R. compliant transcription companies, simply because nobody else in the world qualifies.




Transcription Tech: MXF Proxy Files and Tapeless Workflow

Word Wizards lives on the cutting edge of the video industry. Thus, our facility is set up to ingest, trans-code, and transcribe all proxy formats. Most transcription companies will make you convert these files yourself and externalize this cost to your team. Here at Word Wizards, we have the technology and the expertise to handle your media no matter what format it comes in.

Tapeless Time Code

If your team is shooting in a tapeless format, send us your proxy files for transcription. Word Wizards can extract embedded time code starting numbers directly from your .MXF files for ultimate convenience.

Currently, there are two professional video cameras that encode into MXF formats.

There seems to be some mystery about how to get time code numbers off of MXF footage. Word Wizards simply drops the media into Adobe Premier Pro 5.5 and takes a quick peek at the meta data. Within that meta data are the elusive starting time code numbers associated with the original footage.

A Reputation for Transcription Excellence

Some transcription companies only except media in a narrow range of formats, and you must provide the starting time code numbers before transcription can begin. The Word Wizards policy is a bit more accommodating. If you shoot it we will transcribe it, period!

All you need to do is send us external hard drives loaded with your proxy files and we can take it from there. Transcription has come a long way since the days of analog tapes and floppy disks. Word Wizards is committed to always providing effective transcription solutions for media of the past, present, and future.

 




Analog Transcription – Betacam, VHS, Audio Cassette Tape

Word Wizards, Inc. continues to offer transcription, digitization, and archiving services for Betacam, VHS, and Audio Cassette Tapes.  These long forgotten analog formats were once the backbone of the video and audio production industries in ages long ago. Now, vast stores of Betacam, VHS, and audio cassette tapes sit alone in dark dusty boxes stored somewhere in your footage dungeons, just waiting for one last chance to see the light of day. Even in the age of digital enlightenment, Word Wizards still maintains the proper equipment and expertise to handle these ancestral analog clunkers.

Betacam, VHS, and Video Cassette Decks
Analog Decks: Betacam, VHS, and Tape Cassette

Analog Decay:

Over time analog tapes begin to loose their clarity and quality. Before long, once rich media stored on dusty old tapes will decay to the point of complete uselessness. Post decay restoration efforts of distorted analog material typically are beyond a reasonable budget. Before you loose your valuable assets to the sands of time, take action and let Word Wizards transcribe, digitize, and archive your long lost analog gems.

Analog media decays over time.

Digital Archiving:

The advantage of creating a digital audio or video archive is all about capitalizing on business assets. If analog media will decay over time, it effectively looses its value as an asset to your organization. Depreciation thus occurs physically and eventually all of the financial value of stock footage, old cassettes and other analog media will be lost. It makes perfect sense to invest in the digitization of old media assets to preserve their financial value and maintain the integrity of the audio or video permanently. Word Wizards can and will handle any and every format you can throw our way, don’t let your media go the way of “The Lost Ark!”

Don't let your media assets die alone in boxes!
Top Men…

Legacies of Progress:

Long ago when the world was young and it took rooms full of equipment to transcribe with time code, Word Wizards invested in a multitude of high quality decks to handle any format of audio or video. Once in a while a client still needs us to transcribe or digitize old school analog format tapes. We enjoy doing this type of work because it reminds us of where we came from with a sense of nostalgia. In a time when the majority of firms in our industry have gone “all digital,” we take pride in our ability to remain on the cutting edge while still maintaining our original analog capabilities.




IDEAS Accessibility Conference – Recap

Logo for the Interagency Disability Educational Awareness Showcase (IDEAS) in Washington DC hosted by USDA
Interagency Disability Educational Awareness Showcase Logo

On behalf of Word Wizards, Inc. I would like to thank our friends at USDA for hosting this year’s Interagency Disability Educational Awareness Showcase. It was our first year attending as an exhibitor and we took full advantage of this opportunity to demonstrate our accessibility services. The focus of our exhibit took the form of a simple question that yielded not so simple answers, “Is there a difference between compliance and accessibility?”

Word Wizards Table at the 2012 IDEAS Conference
Word Wizards Table at the 2012 IDEAS Conference

The following individuals gave presentations this year at the conference:

Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy
Dinah Cohen, Director, Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP), U.S. Department of Defense
David M. Capozzi, Executive Director, U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board).
Tim Creagan, Senior Accessibility Specialist, U.S. Access Board.
Alison S. Levy, Departmental Disability Employment Program Manager, U.S. Department of Agriculture

We were delighted to share the floor with our fellow accessibility vendors and do some valuable networking with our peers, friendly competitors, and section 508 coordinators. IDEAS is the perfect opportunity to see whats on the forefront of accessibility services and technology. Section 508 compliance regulations may soon be getting a facelift, as agencies attempt to standardize compliance policy across the Federal space.

IDEAS conference floor as vendors 508 coordinators and interested individuals check out the available displays.
Floor of the 2012 IDEAS conference

Section 508 compliance is more than just another service for our organization, it is a critical aspect of our mission to provide more access for disabled individuals on the internet. We look forward to analyzing the results of our compliance vs accessibility survey and publishing them for all to review. Remember, the business of section 508 compliance and all disabilities services is about people, real people with real problems need real solutions, bottom line.




Time Code: Old Dog New Tricks

Time Code, the stuff that editors once dreamed of. A continuous stream of data (usually audio) that allows video footage to be edited digitally in a non-linear format. Providing transcripts synced to time code was once a very technical and labor intensive process. In fact, when Word Wizards first explored Time Code transcription, the equipment used to generate it took up an entire room! As time went on, the technical barriers involved with time code manipulation for transcription purposes have disappeared, as has the appreciation for this once highly regarded tool.

Timecode displayed on a scene marker.
SMPTE Timecode displayed on a scene marker.

Most production software workstations, professional video editors, and transcription companies use SMPTE Time Code. The following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on SMPTE Time Code:

“In video production and filmmaking, SMPTE time code is used extensively for synchronization, and for logging and identifying material in recorded media. During filmmaking or video production shoot, the camera assistant will typically log the start and end time codes of shots, and the data generated will be sent on to the editorial department for use in referencing those shots. This shot-logging process was traditionally done by hand using pen and paper, but is now typically done using shot-logging software running on a laptop computer that is connected to the time code generator or the camera itself.”

Interesting stuff huh? At least it used to be, but time code doesn’t seem to command the respect it once did, even though it is the key to all digital editing in the industry today. However, this old dog has recently learned some new tricks, and time code is now being used for live entertainment like never before.

Presenting: Serato Scratch Live DJ Software and Video Scratch Live VJ software

Photo of the Serato SL3 package contense
A new spin on time code

Serato SL and other products like it now use time code to control audio signals for live DJ performances and studio production. Using a vinyl record pressed with continuous time code, a DJ can control their entire music library with turntables thanks to the magic of time code. This new application of time code is now the standard for live DJ performance, and it doesn’t end there. With Serato’s Video SL, you can control video footage with the turntable as well,  (now available for pro tools for you pro users). Allowing music videos with synced audio to be “VJed” using turntables as well.

You have to see it to believe it, so check out the video below demonstrating Video Scratch Live.




Tech Spotlight: Roland VR-5 – Mixer & Recorder for Live Streaming

Looking for something new to drool over? Check out the Roland VR-5, a powerhouse of audio and video technology. Connect your cameras, microphones, and  computer, and you have a single interface for professional quality live A/V streaming.

VR5 AV Mixer and Recorder for Live Streaming
VR-5 AV Mixer and Recorder for Live Streaming (Brochure Cover)

I am personally a fan of Roland Professional Audio and Video Technology and was very impressed to see the VR-5 in action at this years Government Video Expo. As usual, Roland has provided professional quality gear, in a small, durable package. What was once a room full of equipment, operators, and technicians, now is mobile, affordable, and sleek package that can be operated by a single individual with little expertise. A touch screen selects between 3 live video feeds and an additional media screen. I was happy to inquire about the unit with the representative at Roland and get my hands on this cool piece of video / audio gear. At a price tag of just over $5,000, this is quite an amazing piece of hardware.

Steps to conect and broacast audio and video
The VR-5 is Easy as 1234

So as we prepare for the new year, we at Word Wizards would like to put this cool new gadget on your radar. The technician is only as good as the tool, so if you think its time for an upgrade you might want to take a closer look. And don’t forget to send your friends at Word Wizards all of your footage for transcription, captioning, and logging next year!