Gadget Review: Evutec Cases – Sleek, Strong, Stylish

Evutec LogoIt’s the little things isn’t it? Form, function, durability and good looks all come in a small, sexy package with Evutec’s cases for your phone. I have an iPhone so mine looks like this:

Evutec's Wood S Series case for iPhone 5/5s in beautiful Bamboo.

Evutec’s Wood S Series case for iPhone 5/5s in beautiful Bamboo.

I chose bamboo because it is environmentally friendly, plus feels good and naturally rich in my hands. Love it. But, it’s more than good-looking, these cases are made from multiple layers of real wood veneer protected with DuPont’s Kevlar and is RoHS2 compliant for those of us who really care about our world. They are light (only 0.9mm thin) and incredibly strong, snapping securely into place. The Wood S Series comes in light or dark bamboo.

For those business meetings that command a sleek and business-like presence, choose the Karbon S or SP Series (with an extra layer of protection) in black/gray or red/black. These cases are five times as strong as steel yet don’t block cell signals and are also protected with DuPont’s Kevlar.

Evutec's Karbon SP Series case for the iPhone 5/5s.

Evutec’s Karbon SP Series case for the iPhone 5/5s.

Evutec corporation builds cases for mobile devices and tablets utilizing, “advanced, composite and recyclable materials,” and a new technology that creates a product that is incredibly strong, handsome, and contains no metal to interfere with your cell signal.

For more information, visit Evutec here.

Heart Triumphs Over Technology w/ Best Picture Oscar for “12 Years a Slave”

When the Oscar for Best Picture went to 12 Years a Slave over Gravity, it was a revealing moment and a look into the hearts and minds of the Academy voters.

Oscar fans had debated for weeks about the race between the two films; Gravity (a high-tech masterpiece) and 12 Years a Slave (an epic drama). It seemed as though no of us could, with confidence, predict which film would win.

Gravity is a tour de force. Partnering with the director and actors were the technical and VFX team teams, editors, sound designers and mixers, musicians, colorists, and a dedicated crew working tirelessly to create a breathtaking experience (especially when seen at the DGA in 3D).

But the sentimental favorite, aside from being a film that tears the actors open and breaks the audience’s heart, was 12 Years a Slave. Its deeply-inspired, achingly raw scenes of human beings struggling against unspeakable horrors and surviving through the power of love created a haunting look back at an era that could not and should not be forgotten.

Lupita Nyong'o accepts the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for "12 Years a Slave"

Lupita Nyong’o accepts the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for “12 Years a Slave”


I recall watching Steve McQueen sitting calmly next to the ever-engaging, talented and funny Martin Scorcese (representing the crude/lude/loud high budget porno, Wolves of Wall Street) and Paul Greengrass talking about who they accomplished those riveting action scenes in Captain Philips.

For four hours, the audience at the DGA listened as the directors spoke about how they made their films. One story-boarded everything, the other winged it, wanting to create something “ferocious” and depending on casting directors and choreographers to help memorialize his vision. But McQueen said, quietly, he didn’t storyboard the film, but rather went to set everyday with the idea that he would let the heart speak to him. That the actors and the crew helped him tell the story and that he let the magic happen.

We could say that either of the two films, Gravity or 12 Years a Slave, deserves Best Picture, but when the announcement finally came, I couldn’t help but think that this was Heart winning over Technology. That ultimately, what everyone wants is Love. And it, somehow, made me proud once again to be a filmmaker. It gave me courage that in the middle of this rather dirty business we all navigate, there is truth and beauty of spirit.

Lupita Nyong’o accepted her statuette for Best Supporting Actress, saying, “May it remind me & every little child that, no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.”

That same evening, Ellen Degeneres’ selfie featuring the unbridled joy in the faces of her movie-star friends having a moment together, became the most-tweeted photographs of all time, with over a million retweets. Why? Because it was real. It was fun and it had Heart. It was not staged by their publicists, not a moment caught standing awkwardly in front of a row of paparazzi, not a behind-the-scenes pic taken sitting uncomfortably in a five-minute interview where they have to spew idiocies in order to fulfill their marketing contract…this was the Truth. And the Truth is compelling.

Ultimately, that is what we want, the Truth and Love.

Thank you, Academy and thank you, Steve McQueen for giving your real Heart to us.

Upgrade your Events and Project to FCP X 10.1 Libraries the better way

This post is provided courtesy of Philip Hodgetts of Intelligent Assistance:

Before running Final Cut Pro X 10.1 the first time, read this.

One of the most exciting new features of Final Cut Pro X 10.1 is the introduction of Libraries. Libraries now contain both Events and Projects in one package, very similar to classic Final Cut Pro “projects”.

This is a huge improvement, but of course it leaves no role for Event Manager X with Libraries, which are well managed within Final Cut Pro X 10.1.

Except Event Manager X is the best tool to use during the migration to Final Cut Pro X Libraries, therefore from today it’s free.

Continue reading

Gear I Like: MOBiLE Cloth

Gear I Like: MOBiLE Cloth

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 8.56.19 AM I always visit International Supplies‘ booth during expo’s because they have gear that you don’t find easily. In this case, I had just finished teaching a class in field production for the ProMedia series during DV Expo. Wandering the floor, I visited Doug Pircher at their booth and saw these small cloths. Didn’t pay too much attention because I have lots of cleaning cloths…until I checked it out further

Sometimes it is the little things that make us happy and in this case, it was the MOBiLE Cloth.

If you use web enabled devices such as your iPhone, iPad, Android, etc., on set, you inevitably have fingerprints and even worse, germs, everywhere. This tiny cloth eliminates both (well 98% of the germs) in a swipe. It comes in two sizes, can be used damp or dry and with or without a screen protector.Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 8.56.07 AM

Nice. Simple. Washable. Clean. And I like my gear clean.

Gear I Like: iRig Mic w/ iRig Recorder

Gear I Like: iRig Mic w/ iRig Recorder

irigmic_front_noshad_full-big Check it out. OK, this is not new, but a lot of you have been asking about what to take with you to record with your iPad, iPhone, etc. If you haven’t tried it, give it a whirl.

Scenario: You’re in the middle of a major convention. You have to grab some soundbites for your stories, but you don’t have all your sound gear handy and besides, it weighs a ton. What do you do? You take the iRig condenser microphone with you, attach it to your iPhone (or another device) and record using the iRig Recorder free app. 190-irigmic-videographer

A few minutes later, you have uploaded your files and, voila, your editors love you and wonder how on earth you can get it all done. :) Smiling big right now.

See the iRig Mic here.

Use it with your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android device. It is great for live vocals, interviews, nat sound recording and many other situations when you need high quality sound. I tried it using the PadCaster as well as my iPhone, but IK Multimedia also has an iKlip stand for your iPad. (Haven’t tried that one, so can’t recommend it, although it looks very interesting!)
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Further information on the iRig Recorder app is available here.

The iRig retails for $59.99 and is available in the IK Multimedia store.

Gear I Like: One Man Crew from Redrock Micro

Gear I Like: The One Man Crew motion system from Redrock Micro

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Weighing in at 14 pounds, the One Man Crew from Redrock Micro might turn out to be, pound for pound, one of your most unique pieces of gear. As production budgets get squeezed, the pressure is on for independent filmmakers to produce high quality content with limited resources in the field. How do you do an interview when you are on location with … well, just yourself! And how do you make that interview look professional?

I demo’d the One Man Crew during the recent Westdoc and haven’t yet used it in the field, but wanted to share it with you so you can check it out for yourself.

What is it? It was released early in 2013 and is being touted as the world’s only “motorized parabolic motion system.” Translation: Set it up, mount your camera, conduct your interview while the One Man Crew slowly moves around it’s track at the designated speed. The result: Beautiful, subtle movement that gives a film look to your interviews all while keeping your subject in sharp focus. Nice. Just relax, ask your questions, speak with your interviewee and let the One Man Crew do the camera work. I wouldn’t use this in every situation, depending on the look I want, but it sure would come in handy for those times when I’m working all by myself or with a sound guy.

See the One Man Crew in action. I liked the simplicity of the motorized controls and variable speed dial. The directional controls can be set to move automatically in the direction and speed required using the laser guides for critical focus. It eases in and out of the shot at each end of the track, eliminating the camera shake you would get if you were trying to do this manually.

The unit is portable and travels easily as it weighs only 14 pounds and measures 46″ x 9″ x 4.” It comes with a canvas carrying case to protect it when you are on the go. Included in the price is One Man Crew’s heavy duty tilt head. Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 8.00.30 AM

Purchase it for an MSRP of $1495 at the Redrock Micro Site.

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Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

(Los Angeles, September 19, 2013)

Michele Watkins

Michele Watkins


The following short story was written by Michele Watkins, who says she is, “A reformed accountant thankful for a chance to string together words, ideas and images. She hopes to bring some light into a dark world.” I liked this story because it reminded me to live in the moment and never take anything for granted:

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
By Michele Watkins

Bonnie sat up at the sound of the doorbell. She’d been lost in her thoughts sanding the 100-year old wood floor. She glanced toward the door and then down at her watch. Who could it be? Noon on Tuesday. She hadn’t showered since sometime on the weekend and she didn’t feel like chatting. The sound of feet shuffling. Were they leaving?

She moved to stand and found her right foot was asleep. She’d been down on her hands and knees for quite awhile. It was the fourth day of pushing her body since she rose from a sleepless night early Saturday morning. She opened the front door and found a small box at her feet. The mailbox hanging on the wall beside the door was brimming with mail. She casually pushed her hair back behind her ear as she glanced up and down the street to see if anybody was out. A gardener, but no neighbors. Good. She bent down to pick up the box, grabbed the mail as she stood, backed herself into the house and shut the door. She carried the pile of loot into the kitchen and set it down on the counter next to the answering machine that blinked five unheard messages. The box was from her Mom and the mail included a card from her sister.

She sliced through the packing tape with a kitchen knife and pulled the flaps of the box apart to peer inside. The note on top read: If I were within driving distance, I’d have been there on Saturday night. Please take care of yourself. Love, Mom

Below the note and some bright yellow tissue her Mom had nestled everything a person could buy for heartache relief. There was microwave popcorn, a bottle of wine, a chocolate bar and her favorite DVD. Beneath that and another layer of yellow tissue were a candle, shower gel, body lotion and her favorite kind of pajamas. It was the closest thing to a hug that her Mom could send from 3000 miles away. Bonnie smiled at each item, but tears rolled down her cheeks.

She opened the card. The picture of two old women made her laugh. Inside her sister had written, I’ll be home in a couple of days. Love ya, Bev

And there it was, emotions on the surface. She sat down at the kitchen table and put her head in her hands. How many times would she have to pick herself up? Would she ever get to have the right guy? She really thought Mike was the one. THE ONE. Talk about loading a guy up with a lot of pressure. She didn’t want to see her neighbors or go back to work. She’d told everybody how perfect he was for her. She just knew. She’d keep this one past the third date.

And the third date had been awesome. He’d picked her up on his Harley and taken her to a great fish place at the beach. After dinner, they’d walked and laughed as the moonlight lit up the ocean. He took her home, walked her to the door, kissed her goodbye and hopped on his bike. He smiled and waved as he pulled away from the curb and drove right into the side of an RV that happened to be driving by at that very moment. Gone in a heartbeat was any chance of a fourth date.

Westdoc 2013 – Peter Hamilton & Ed Hersh Rock the Producer’s Master Class

(l to r) Ed Hersh, Peter Hamilton at their Producer's Master Class, Westdoc 2013

(l to r) Ed Hersh, Peter Hamilton at their Producer’s Master Class, Westdoc 2013


If the next three days of Westdoc 2013 are as productive as the opening Producer’s Master Class with Peter Hamilton and Ed Hersh, participants better exercise their note-taking skills.
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Yesterday’s energetic and knowledgable presentation entitled, “The Key Success Factors in Nonfiction Programming,” dove into background research on the non-fiction landscape and immediately turned to a concise discussion about pitching – the how, when, where, what and why of it.
Stephen Harris of WTF.com presents at Westdoc 2013, Producer's Master Class

Stephen Harris of WTF.com presents at Westdoc 2013, Producer’s Master Class


A surprise visitor, Executive Producer, Stephen Harris, drew on his experience as an executive with networks such as A&E and his current endeavor, WTF.com (“What the Funny”) to give us a back-room account of what happens at the networks. At one point, the light went off for many in the room as Stephen described the path a pitch takes from the time it is first launched in the executive’s office, to its incarnation through various departments until it is finally commissioned. We walked a few miles in the network shoes at that point.

The attendees came from countries as far as Taiwan, Russia, Germany and many regions in the United States. Attention never wavered for the three hours and during the brief break, energy was high as networking vibes took over.
networking 2_DSC7665 450px

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Peter Hamilton comes to Westdoc with strong credentials on the business and production side of docs. His popular site, DocumentaryTelevision.com is to documentaries what Paul Kagan’s newsletter used to be for high-level theatrical and marketing researchers. Peter has an MBA from the Wharton School of Management, is a former CBS executive, author and industry consultant.

Ed Hersh is an award-winning producer, programmer and media executive with strong track record in strategic planning. He is the CEO of Story Centric, LLC, and has served successfully at such companies as Discovery, The Military Channel, Court TV and TLC. For more information visit StoryCentric.com

Wesdoc continues through Wednesday at the Landmark Theaters in Westwood, California. For more information visit Westdoc.com

Facebook Burns Social Fixer Business Site

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Matt Kruse just lost contact with his community. He has spent years developing a highly popular app called Social Fixer Used by over one million people, it is specifically designed to enhance the Facebook experience by creating an easier-to-use interface, removing pop up ads, creating advanced feed filters giving users full control of what they want to see or hide on their Facebook page. It takes seconds to install, runs flawlessly with Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple’s Safari, Opera, and Grease Monkey.

Social Fixer works on multiple browsers and enhances the Facebook viewing experience.

Social Fixer works on multiple browsers and enhances the Facebook viewing experience.

Matt's notice to Facebook users on 09-12-2013

Matt’s notice to Facebook users on 09-12-2013

This morning, Matt issued the following notice to his users, “I’ve spent 4 years and countless hours building up a community around my software: my Page had 338,050 Likes, my Support Group had 13,360 members, and my Interest List had 1.47 Million followers. But all of that work was wiped out in an instant (on September 2, 2013) when Facebook decided to shut it down without notice.”

Facebook notice on Social Fixer admin panel indicating the site had been taken down

Facebook notice on Social Fixer admin panel indicating the site had been taken down

Clicking the “Appeal” Button on the notice that his page had been taken down met with a silent stonewall from Facebook. According to Kruse, he was given no notice, no opportunity to back up his information or his thousands of contacts, no way of communicating with his followers.

For 12 hours, Facebook gagged Matt and all his volunteer staff's pages.  None could post on Facebook.

For 12 hours, Facebook gagged Matt and all his volunteer staff’s pages. No one could post on Facebook.

The final nail was driven yesterday. On September 11th (note the irony here), Facebook completely removed the page,. As Kruse puts it, “It’s gone. Years of work and almost 340,000 fans, wiped out. Erased.”

The ultimate demise.  The site and all its content has been burned, erased from Facebook.

The ultimate demise. The site and all its content has been burned, erased from Facebook.


Facebook also froze Kruse’s personal account and other admins, including his wife’s page and all of the volunteers who helped maintain Social Fixer’s page. No one associated with Social Fixer in any public or private way with an account on Facebook could post anything for over 12 hours. The same “you are blocked” message also appeared on their pages.

Kruse is adamant that he has never posted spam, has never been given any details about which community standards he might have been violating and did not have the ability to save his business before it’s life on Facebook was cut short.

Matt’s full blog on the subject can be found here.

Reading this made my stomach turn. I remember many years ago, I used AOL mail for all my business correspondence. Thousands of emails over many years were stored in my account, including many legal conversations and negotiations on film and television projects I had in development. With the advent of email in the late 80’s, I’m sure many of us were in the same position.

One morning, I turned my computer on to discover that AOL had, without warning, deleted every single email in my accounts. My parent account, all child accounts, any screen name associated with me was deleted.

The reason? Maintenance. Housekeeping. Whatever…It didn’t matter. My work history, my business records, my memories were gone.

It was as if my house had been burned down.

Fade up years later and I was at the first New Media Expo convention (then called Blog World) and Jason Van Orden, one of the pioneers of the podcasting world was presenting. He said never build your email lists, your newsletter list or any of your business information on someone else’s site. In other words, don’t use AOL, Gmail, Yahoo Mail or any “free” email site as your primary communication repository. And he was right.

I went home from that convention and set up my own web site with my own email address. Yes, I do occasionally use the others, but never without a backup somewhere where I can protect my information.

I have app developer friends who sell their product in the Mac App Store, but who have no idea who is buying their wares. How can they communicate directly with their customers if they want to make an announcement or address issues? They can’t. Everything has to go through Apple. Understandable perhaps. Preferable? No.

What about LinkedIn? How many contacts do you have there? How easy would it be to create a list of your own contacts and integrate it into your private business lists? Not so easy, perhaps impossible. I intend to try today.

And what about your hundreds, thousands, millions of friends on Facebook? Sure it is fun, but wouldn’t you like to be able to keep that contact information for yourself? After all, you’ve spent years developing those relationships. Aren’t those your friends?

What if Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail, Yahoo, Instagram, Etsy, Pinterest, iTunes or another company decided to wipe out your existence with the click of one button…poof! Your house in flames and rubble.

We can argue that Matt Kruse should have backed up his site. He should have somehow managed to create his own newsletter list. He should have prepared for this. But he is an independent small operator with a wife and family trying to provide a service.

We can also argue that Facebook provides a service and they have the right to determine who can and cannot post on their servers. If that is the case, then poster beware.

The bottom line is who owns the content that you post on social sites? According to Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook.” If that is so, is it really yours or are you simply renting gallery space? If so, does the gallery owner have the right to destroy your content without notice? Shouldn’t they be required to give notice before burning our work? Or do you relinquish all rights when you post it?

Read the fine print. Back up your data. Think carefully before spending years developing a world that is ultimately unprotected.

For more information on Social Fixer or to download the program click here.

DPBuZZ Producer’s Corner August 8, 2013

This week’s BuZZ is going to be very interesting! We will be talking to Chuck Braverman, co-founder of Westdoc; Doug Hansel about Avid’s Media Composer 7 that shipped in Juy and B-Movie sensation Sharknado’s editor, William Boodell. But, before I go into a bit more detail about our line-up, there is something that I wanted to mention to you.

William Shattner, Roseanne Barr and Wayne Knight at ComicCon 2013 (photo credit:  Cirina Catania)

William Shattner, Roseanne Barr and Wayne Knight at ComicCon 2013 (photo credit: Cirina Catania)


At the recent ComicCon in San Diego, I was struck by the 100’s of thousands of fans waiting in lines overnight for the chance to see one of their entertainment icons. Why is this important? Perhaps because we get so busy working that we sometimes forget who we are working for – The Fans – The people throughout the world who sit back and enjoy the work of creatives, executives and marketing folk and others who spend almost 24/7 to make entertainment.

I interviewed the likes of long-time stars William Shatner, Roseanne Barr and Wayne Knight and the men and women behind Marvel and D.C. I moved through the halls speaking with folks who were there to work or to gawk, met some incredible producers and filmmakers at events with companies such as PCB Entertainment, the folks behind Infex, Ascend, Exile and the now classic, Black Ops (much more on them soon) and I got the inside info on Walking Dead, Supernatural, Blacklist, Hannibal, Grimm, Black Sails, Game of Thrones, Sidekick, Spider-Man and Superman. So many, that I came home in ComicCon shock. But it was fun! ☺

Sometimes we forget that entertainment is not just a way to make people laugh, cry or think. It is an integral part of their lives and gives them something to look forward to in the hard times, to celebrate with others in the good times or to use to educate themselves with in meaningful (or not-so-meaningful) pursuits.

Any way you look at it, we create something valuable. So when the times get tough and you think about whether or not it is worth it, or wonder if you should have taken your parent’s advice and become a doctor, don’t dwell on the doubts. Relish in the thought that what you do IS special. What we all do together in whatever small or large way we contribute to a project…well, that is valuable. How cool is that? Right?

With that thought, we move to three people who have created something very special and who are going to be speaking with Larry Jordan and Michael Horton on the Digital Production BuZZ.
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Chuck Braverman is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker and co-founder of Westdoc, the West Coast Documentary and Reality Conference being held in Los Angeles from September 15-18 at the Landmark Theater. In its fourth year, the conference is fast gaining a reputation for bringing network execs, distributors and industry influencers in contact with creatives from all walks of the entertainment landscape. We are looking forward to speaking with him about the amazing roster of speakers, master classes, and events, as well as the upcoming PitchFest that traditionally marks the final day of the Conference and a special screening of Michael Jorgensen’s film, unclaimed.

Michael Jorgenson's Unclaimed will be screened at Westdoc 2013

Michael Jorgensen’s Unclaimed will be screened at Westdoc 2013

For further information on Westdoc or to register, visit: http://www.thewestdoc.com/#!fees-and-registration/cf8p
Avid is shipping MC7!

Avid is shipping MC7!


Avid previewed Media Composer 7 at NAB and excitement was high. They finally started shipping MC7 in July to our relief! There are so many new features that we thought we’d ask Doug Hansel, Marketing Manager for Pro Video at Avid and also one of the designers of the product, to enlighten us. We’ll be talking about transcoding solutions, working with “bigger than HD,” for accelerated hi-res workflows, the need for a unified worldwide standard for tape delivery (using the UK as one example of a system that seems to be working) and how editors can make sure their clients are complying with the legal “loudness” standards. You won’t want to miss this one. Avid MC7_Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 3.15.16 PMFor more information on Avid MC7 visit: http://www.avid.com/US/products/media-composer

The most recent entry into the Instant Cult Classic Club:  Sharknado

The most recent entry into the Instant Cult Classic Club: Sharknado

And who could have missed the broohaha on Twitter and all over the web for the new entry into the Instant Cult-Classic Club, Sharknado? Editor William Boodell has some really funny and informative stories to tell about what it was like spending three months in the editing suite on this low-budget, innovative and quirky film. Love it or hate it, you have to admit, if you see it, you won’t forget it! These are stories you won’t hear anywhere else!

Thanks for listening to the BuZZ.
As always, feel free to contact me at news(at)Catania(dot)us with story ideas or just to give me feedback on the show!

And remember, stick to your dreams. They have all the answers!

Cirina Catania,
Producer, Digital Production BuZZ
News(at)Catania(dot)us