The Hall of Fame (2010 – 2017)

Last month, Digipost celebrates its 12th year anniversary in Vietnam!

As the pace of change quickens, the bricks from the predecessors has allowed us to endure through the ages.

Every year, we hold an anniversary party to celebrate the industry support of our studio.  We take an opportunity at every party to take a group photo to commemorate our team.

Here is our team through the last 8 years.  Unfortunately we never had a group photo for the first 4 years.

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The enduring wisdom of The Rule of Six in editing

-Senior Editor, Nick Jones

As editors go, Walter Murch is one of the more well known ones. Famous as both Sound Editor (Apocalypse Now!), Film Editor (The Conversation, The English Patient, Cold Mountain), and Writer and Director; Walter Murch is a seminal voice in the world of editing and post-production. In his book “In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing” he outlines, amongst other things, a hierarchy of 6 important factors in deciding where and when to make a cut.

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1. Emotion

How will this cut affect the audience emotionally at this particular moment in the film?

2. Story

Does the edit move the story forward in a meaningful way?

3. Rhythm

Is the cut at a point that makes rhythmic sense?

4. Eye Trace

How does the cut affect the location and movement of the audience’s focus in that particular film?

5. Two Dimensional Place of Screen

Is the axis followed properly?

6. Three Dimensional Space

Is the cut true to established physical and spacial relationships?

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As an editor, it’s something I’m constantly thinking about, and trying to improve my cuts by employing his theorem. It’s interesting stuff and you can watch this video for more information Walter Murch’s Rule of Six from Nikole Hidalgo on Vimeo.

or read Walter Murch’s book “In the Blink of an Eye”.

-Nick

Chris Skipper – Composer / Sound designer

Chris

Our friend Chris Skipper is back at Digipost, so we asked him some random questions to catch up.

  1. A secret talent people may not know you have?

I don’t think many people know that I’m quite a qualified drummer, like rock drums. I’ve actually got a qualification in playing drums but not many people would know because I haven’t had the opportunity to play drums in Vietnam.

Also I make a really good spaghetti carbonara. I’m a good chef…that’s about it.

2. Do you stick to your genre or do you have a guilty pleasure when it comes to music?

My guilty pleasure is 80s rock, like the Clash and Queen. And kind of more synth-pop stuff, so I like stuff like Craftwork, Nine-inch nails, all that synthy-stuff. I don’t have a specific genre when being a film composer but when it comes to listening to music, I still have some guilty pleasures…classical music as well. I love classical music.

3. Are you an adventurous or conservative eater?

I am a very adventurous eater. But I’m allergic to seafood. So that’s kind of keeps my options limited when it comes to being in a place like Vietnam. However, living in the Philippines now, I have been introduced to a whole bunch of new foods and so, yea, I eat anything…as long as it doesn’t have seafood in it. There are some foods that I stick to, like Italian food. In Vietnam, I like Bun Bo Hue, Pho and Chao long.

4. What’s your favorite project that you’ve ever worked on?

One of the most fun and challenging projects that I worked on was “Honda gift for dreams.” One of my first composition projects when I moved to Vietnam. That was really challenging.

 

And another one would be for Cambodia beer in 2015. It’s the TVC called “Bottle Band.” Basically I had to write all the music using the sounds from the beer bottle. That was really fun and challenging.

 

State of Content: Bao Nguyen speaks w/ Joe Sabia – Pt 1

(Sponsored by Digipost, RICE & Partners and The Lab Saigon. Hosted at the AIA Nest by Bao Nguyen with treats from W Bakes.)

Bao Nguyen is a Saigon-based filmmaker whose past work has been seen in the New York Times, HBO, NBC, Vice, ARTE, PBS, among many others. In addition, he has directed commercial projects for clients such as Google, Coca-Cola, the United Nations, McDonald’s, the US Department of State, and Hugo Boss.

Joe Sabia is the VP & Head of Development at Condé Nast, as well as a director, digital artist, musician, concept cobbler and International Pun Champion.

(Check back next week for part 2 of their chat where Joe and Bao get into the backstories of some of Joe’s most well-known independent projects and his advice for young creatives.)

A taste of some of the most recent work Joe Sabia has directed at Condé Nast:

(This transcript has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.)

Bao Nguyen:
Working with iconic print media like Vogue, GQ, Wired, Glamour, etc. how do you approach the stories…because a lot of times these brands and these portfolios don’t have video content and they don’t know where to start. How do you, kind of, start the process?

Joe Sabia: 

Yea these brands are really iconic brands and, you know, before I got involved in Condé Nast–I joined it about two years ago–I never really was one that followed the brands. I didn’t subscribe to the magazines, and I didn’t tell anyone that when I joined–I’m like, yes! I love these magazines! I was very familiar with them but…I’m just an internet video guy. Like my whole career has just been making things and putting them on Youtube.

And for these brands, video is relatively a new thing. You know, when you think about some magazines that have been there, like Vogue, for 125 years, and the websites have been there for about…what? Ten to fifteen years? The idea of taking words and photos and doing moving images and sound effects is very, very new.

So for me, my sensibility as a creator was, just make stuff that’s cool. Make stuff that has an impact, it’s compelling, it’s emotionally driven. And when you come up with ideas it kind of falls beautifully in line with women, for Glamour, or hollywood for Vanity Fair, or you know, these big verticals of brands that Condé Nast has. There are something like 21 publications, it’s really convenient to find a home for a lot of ideas. So that’s kind of why I took the job, because all of the ideas that I can dream up that work on the internet kind of fall somewhere with these brands so it’s just an incredible opportunity.

Bao Nguyen:

And for you as a storyteller, you’re working with a big brand obviously, they’re more about getting attention, getting eyes on these videos. You’re trying to express something in a way that the audience can learn or can get a certain amount of information. How do you kind of walk the line between those two things?

Joe Sabia:

Yea, “viral,” we hear that word a lot…I mean we definitely have entered an “attention world.” It really has come down to which brands are better at capturing your attention. Where will you spend 7 more seconds watching something instead of your friend on snapchat? There’s a lot of competition, there’s a lot of distraction.

So it’s very important to take what’s important to the core brands but also find a way to elevate. Period in two minutes is a great example. That’s information that you can find on wikipedia, that’s information that a blogger can write–facts, like did you know this about your cycle? But to construct something that’s whimsical, that’s fun, that’s artistic, that is 8 people in a room with hands choreographing…this really artistic expression is an example of elevation, it’s an example of hard work. It’s an example of how concept meets execution.

And that is what’s needed to kind of elevate it enough so that it gets shared. And then if it gets shared enough, sure, it’s viral, but at the end of the day it’s just artistic elevation, that’s kind of like the two words I say a lot for these types of things.

Bao Nguyen:

Yea and I would imagine that most of the brands, most of the people that you work for, they would think that the Emma Watson thing or the Samuel L. Jackson videos, that those would get the most hits but actually Glamour (the period video) got 97 million hits just on FB…

Joe Sabia: 

Yea, approaching 100 million views. You know for a lot of the brands, one of the coolest things about them is that it has a lot of access to celebrities and they’re basically coming in like crazy. Photo shoots are a big thing. Traditionally, Conde Nast has always had one day for photos for the covers and when video came along it was like the request at the end of the shoot: can you give us five minutes at the end? And what ended up happening was the publicists and the bookers were getting requests to have more time for video. Because they realized that people kind of care more about video.

They want to see an experience, they don’t want to see a Q & A. So I think that one of the coolest things we’re doing now, like Samuel L. Jackson is a great example, is that when you only have 15 minutes with a celebrity, the last thing you want to do is say “so, what was it like working on that film?” You kind of want to create an experience. That’s a lot of the motivation for what we’ve been doing…is it an experience? If yes, great. If no, it’s probably too boring and you shouldn’t just rest on the fact that he’s famous to assume that it’s going to be watched.

Bao Nguyen:

Obviously you’re integrating technology in the way stories are being told. But what’s the difference between a cave man drawing on walls with the way the you’re telling or integrating technology into, say, an interview. Like, where’s the connect between those two worlds?

Joe Sabia: 

Ah, cave drawing. I actually started out as a cave artist, that’s where I got my start. (I’m kidding). Um, you know, I always say that good stories always have a really strong concept. There’s an idea about it and then there’s an execution. There the publishing of that idea, there’s an expression of that idea. And I think that as technology has evolved it’s become one of those things where the ideas…and this is kind of like my central thesis–the ideas always seem borrowed.

There’s always going to be a love story. A Romeo and Juliet love story with someone out of town falling in love with someone else but the medium–the way that radio turned to film and that turned to the internet, there are just so many different ways to bring new life to that, to all these different stories that have just kind of been recycled. So I think that in today’s world, where we tend to forget things five minutes after they happen, there’s kind of a new opportunity to recycle. But also to just kind of be more inventive and be more creative because the tools are there for us to kind of do whatever we want and it’s really exciting right now.

How we do original lyrics and music composition at Digipost

A chat with Reinier Blommaert, Digipost Senior Audio Supervisor, about original lyrics and composition for advertising in Vietnam:

 

Just to cover the basics, what does doing original compositions mean at a post-production studio like Digipost?

Original composition means a custom, tailor-made piece of music or sound design for a client’s product. This can vary from an atmospheric, ambient soundscape to a full song.

What’s the creative process for original compositions and writing lyrics?

There is a big difference in creating music for (artist) albums or for the corporate market. When creating an artist album, there is total creative freedom. So from improvisation (either on an instrument, or with electronics/computers an idea can emerge.
When composing for a corporate product, you are dealing with a concept and guidelines that need to be followed. A big part of the job is communication: translating the wishes and ideas into a real sounding end result. Another aspect is that the music mostly has a supporting role, so a lot of times the composition needs to be adjusted and timed so that it matches the visuals.

What’s the landscape for this like in Vietnam, is it widely available or not so easy to find?

From my (limited, 8 month) experience, I noticed that there are quite a lot of music composers and producers in Vietnam. Although the top will consist of just a few great ones, doing most of the jobs.  

How has this aspect of the audio department, both at Digipost and generally in post-production, evolved recently due to technology, trends or demands from clients?

Music composition and production in general, has undergone a great change since the rise of computers and electronic instruments. In the 80’s the instruments themselves digitalized. In the 90’s software instruments were created: virtual instruments that can be used within the digital audio software. Currently it is possible to do a full composition and music production using just a laptop and a MIDI keyboard or controller to play on the software instruments.

What’s the most important thing to keep in mind while doing original compositions/lyrics for a project?

Realizing that the composition and/or lyrics serves a purpose, namely supporting and enhancing the total product, usually an audiovisual one. So different from audio only, because the crowd or consumer will have both visual and audio senses triggered.

The Evolution of Visual Effects (and the potential of VR)

by Rahul Kallankandy, Senior Online Artist & Visual Effects Director

Its always exciting to explore new possibilities in post production. One of the biggest problems facing advertising right now is retaining consumer interest. As we all know advertising can sometimes be quite intrusive. In your face branding can create a negative response from the viewers and/or cause the viewer to look away or skip advertising entirely.

The biggest advantage of 360 vs traditional commercial/advertising is user interaction.

360 gives the consumer control over the camera. It actually goes back to traditional forms of entertainment like plays or live theatre but with a more focused approach.

The freedom to pan and rotate the camera leads to a viewing experience which requires user input with the mouse, or actually using your head to take a look around you as the action on screen unfolds.

The viewer can be fully immersed in a 360 video with a VR headset. Which means zero distractions. In this day and age of constant distractions, watching a single video has become a challenge. People open up multiple tabs on their browser and watch multiple videos, sometimes at the same time. Because 360 requires user input, it becomes important for the viewer to actually focus on one video to completely enjoy the on screen visuals.

The incorporation of visual effects or motion graphics adds more dimension to 360 videos. Techniques like on screen text information helps lead the viewer in the right direction. Non-intrusive advertising techniques may be used to push branding within a shot. In the Saigon Soul Pool Party, we included our logo on a building as a test to explore such techniques. Basically, the viewer can enjoy the video and get a very good feel of any place or event with spatial audio and people moving around in frame. The viewer may chose to watch a certain section of the video or pan to another side which may be more interesting. So in effect, one video can be viewed multiple times and each time the experience may be different based on one’s mouse movement.

 

The biggest challenge facing us in 360 right now would be data management. Because of the nature of the format, we work with 4k video files. The resolution ensures that the viewer can get maximum clarity of visuals.

From a development point of view, quick turn around time from shoot to upload would be the top priority for the 360 team.

The future of 360 video would be to create engaging storylines which would help the viewer experience a completely different perspective to traditional video consumption. Like all things in the creative field, one is limited only by one’s imagination. We look forward to break the barrier between inaccessible technology and a completely immersive video which makes you forget the format and enjoy the content. In the end, content shall always be king.

A new workflow at Digipost

There will be some changes this year in how Digipost operates. Instead of passing a project from one station to the next, everyone will be organized into a few small teams to take on a whole project collectively. Senior Editor Nick Jones explains the changes and why they’re good for both Digipost and clients:

As Senior Editor at Digipost, what’s the most important part of your role?nick

My role is to mentor and nurture our young team of talented editors.

In just over a year, we have members of our team working with international brands, agencies and directors and I really enjoy knowing that my team is developing and becoming more and more successful.

Who’s on your team and what are their jobs? (Name & role)

My team consists of Quang, who is a very talented storytelling editor, Laura Knieling who is our brilliant colourist (and occasional editor), Leo who is our star junior editor and mgfx guru and Duc who is also a upcoming junior editor and IT chap.

What do you think the advantage is of changing the workflow at Digipost from “assembly-line” style to small teams that take on a project together?

As the industry has changed and moved away from the traditional ways of doing post, we realise that artists need multiple skillsets so that we can work effectively in a dynamic and fluid environment.

Also, our team spirit is very strong. We have a formidable work ethic and a high standard of workmanship. In essence, a strong creative pride. As we are a small team, our work is representative of us all, so we dead-set on making it the best that we can.

Each of us are constantly developing new areas of skills and abilities, so that as each project comes in we can offer more to our client.

What are you most looking forward to in 2017 at Digipost?

I’m looking forward to taking on more and more projects. We also want to integrate a wider skillset in our team, so eventually we can handle all aspects of post production within one unit.

See Digipost’s 2017 reel and Visual Effects reel here.

Reinier Blommaert – our new Audio Supervisor

We’re excited to welcome a new supervisor to our audio department, bringing tons of experience and a new perspective to Digipost. Here’s a little about his background and his take on the potential of the audio industry in Vietnam.

In July 2016, our new addition Reinier Blommaert was asked to supervise sound for a Vietnamese feature film, gladly accepted the challenge and moved to Vietnam with his wife and 1 year old son. After the project was finished, he was liking life in Ho Chi Minh City so much that he started looking for new job opportunities. After meeting with Digipost’s Andy Ho he was contracted as new senior of the audio department.

Reinier Blommaert has over 25 years of experience in the sound and music industry. He started playing bass guitar at the age of 9, experimenting with computers and 4-track recorders while adding electric guitar and piano to his skill sets.

After graduating with a degree in Music Technology from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, he earned an additional Master of Arts degree through the university of Portsmouth (UK).

He started out as a post-production sound engineer at Cinemeta Studios, working for international clients such as Walt Disney, Dreamworks, Dolby and advertising agencies.

He then switched to Cruise Control recording studios to work full-time on recording, editing and mixing music, for international clients including D-12 (Eminem), Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Paul Simon) and No Angels.

In the meantime, he founded Controverse Music, specializing in music composition & production, live performances, show production, musical direction, sound engineering and education.

Reinier has been a teacher and lecturer of sound and music lessons at various professional educations, including the international SAE institute.

reinier-blommaert-close-small-1

What’s the most important aspect of your role in the audio department?

The main goals of my function are to professionalize the audio department further, so it can meet the standards (international) clients require. And develop new business opportunities, build partnerships and a strong brand presence for Digipost in the audio/music industry.

What potential do you see at Digipost/in Vietnam for audio? Anything innovative, new, exciting to share?

I see the consumer market of the music, broadcast, games and film industry is shifting more and more to online, on-demand streaming services. I will have to do some more market research as I am quite new in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, but I believe some interesting developments and opportunities may arise in the coming years.

What’s changed about the field of audio production in the last five years?

What’s really changed in audio and music production, and post production in general, is that the technology that used to be available for high-end companies only, has gotten more and more accessible to anyone with a laptop and a set of speakers. The upside of this is that more talent can surface easier as more people can practice the art. The downside of this is that it gets more difficult to tell the pros from the amateurs for the rest of the industry (clients, consumers, et cetera). But I believe that in the end, people will always recognize quality over quantity. They will learn from wrong decisions and in the end, come back to you for your unique skills and personality, which cannot be bought.

Happy Year of the Rooster!

A new year is upon us! Here are the condensed versions of a year worth of blood, sweat and creativity:

DIGIPOST SHOWREEL 2017 from DIGIPOST VN on Vimeo.

DIGIPOST CG Reel 2017 from DIGIPOST VN on Vimeo.

 

And just for fun, a glimpse at the people behind the curtain and what they’ll be up to over the break: 

Rahul Kallankandy – Visual Effects Director

“Going to Bali. The energy around the time of Tet is beautiful. Saigon is decorated with lovely flowers and artwork. There is a very positive vibe and the general feeling is of happiness and joy.”

Tran Quang Tuan – 3D Artist

“Travel with my bike. Visit friends along the trip.”

Nick Jones – Senior Editor

“For Tet I will be in Vung Tau. I enjoy seeing families come together. I’ll enjoy trying to practice Vietnamese with my inlaws.”

Duc Duong – Editor

“I spend most of my holiday time with my family and my friends. I have a plan going out of city and climb mountain on second day of Lunar New Year, third day i will visit my old school teacher.”

Reinier Blommaert – Audio Department Senior

“Moving!”
Tu Chung Han – Online Assistant 
“I will spend several days for cleaning the house, repairing, updating stuff (computer, electronic machine…), buying new clothes, prepare money to give family, relatives.”

DIGIPOST SHOWREEL 2017

It’s 2017! It’s the time to reflect. To introspect. To look back on a stimulating year of change. Here is a quick compilation of our body of work. Excellently curated with impeccable editing to showcase just the right moments. This is how we compress a year’s worth of blood and sweat. Here are the final outputs minus the stress, drama, hate and love involved in creating our magic.

Thank you to all the clients who put their faith in us in 2016 and we look forward to more exciting collaborations.

In the words of Thom Yorke..

“This goes
Beyond me
Beyond you

We are
Just happy to serve
Just happy to serve
You”

Hit the full screen button and grab a cà phê đá.