Surviving Borneo – Q&A with Nick Jones

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  1. What have you learned in the process of doing post-production for Surviving in Borneo series?

Editing Surviving Borneo has taught me a lot. My role in this project included a lot of post-producing, so it’s taught me a little more about how the Post-Production producers work.

 

  1. Take a look back; from start to end, what was the most memorable/valuable things happened to you during this process?

I think the most valuable thing was having the space to be creative. The Discovery team are amazing to work with; always open to ideas and new approaches. That creative freedom was really valuable.

I’m just grateful that Emile and Ira (producers), took a chance on me and brought it over here to Vietnam, I’ve learned a lot from working with them and it’s been a real pleasure.

 

  1. What struggles did you encounter?

Well this is the first time I’ve taken on such a large scale post-production project so at first it looked quite daunting, but with thorough planning, Quang Vu (the assistant editor) and I managed to organize the logistics effectively.  Perhaps the toughest thing was the initial process of getting the rushes into shape and finding the story. I tried to have an open mind with what we were doing, and let the material guide me, rather than forcing ideas or being too sentimental with certain scenes. As always, it was quite tough letting go of scenes that you had become attached to, but looking back there’s nothing that I regret removing.

 

  1. How is the feeling of seeing someone for months but he don’t know a thing about you? (Situation like you and the man in the show)

It’s quite strange really. Actually, Henry is probably the person that I’ve seen the most of in the past year, but of course, I’ve never met him. It’s also strange, because Henry’s journey sort of mirrors my own. We are both 29, with mixed heritage and were both about to get married. Editing the series, in a way, was my own ‘Bejalai’ (Henry’s rite of passage journey). Cutting the last episode was very emotional for me.

There are plans for me to meet him at some stage, which will be very strange indeed, but I’m quite looking forward to it.

 

  1. As an editor of the series, can you tell us why we should watch this series?

I think the series is a departure from the regular Discovery Channel content. I like its rawness, its humanity and pathos make it unique and I think this is what will make it enjoyable for audiences.

 

  1. If you have chance, do you want to go to Borneo and experience things that happened in the series? Why or why not?

Of course, there are already plans to hold a screening over there at some point in the near future. I’ve seen these people on my computer screen, but I’ve never met them, so I’d love to find out what they’re like in real life. I think Henry’s journey was an amazing insight into Borneo today, and I’d really like to experience it one day too.

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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

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.

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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.

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.

Editor Quang Vu: one year on at Digipost

What’s your role at Digipost? Where were you before here?

Now I’m an Editor in Digipost, I used to work as a freelancer when I was a student, then I became an editor for a small company for a year. One day I got to know Digipost, and now Digipost has become part of my journey.

How have you grown in the past year?

I’ve made films, and learned about the world of filmmaking.

What’s been the biggest challenge? Or the biggest learning experience?

Every job has its own challenges and also has a different experience, it’s not easy to compare, but I’d say the biggest challenge would be when I work with great filmmakers in a project with a tight deadline.

What’s been the most fun?

The most fun thing is when I feel happy with my film editing and when I see an audience enjoying my work.

What advice would you give to fellow editors or people aspiring to be editors?

Be patient and believe in yourself, trust your film and trust your feeling, sometimes you make a bad decision but you will learn from that and grow your skills as well.

What are you looking forward to this coming year? 

I’d like to learn more about filmmaking and I’m still waiting for the chance to make a great emotional film.

Check out some of Quang Vu’s recent editing work here:

And learn more about this video here.

The Christmas of 2016: Digipost

2016 is a year that most people wished to pass quickly.

But life goes on and our passion persists.   Digipost will enter into the 12th year next year in 2017, finishing one cycle of the lunar zodiac calendar.

At Digipost, nothing can dampen our spirit for our appetite food, a huge part of our culture and this year is no different with our BBQ party for our team.  Only this time, there are gifts for everyone!

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It was fun, games and laughter.  Everyone has a great sense of accomplishment for all the hard work this year and the show goes on next year!

From the team at Digipost, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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The Revolution of Post Production

DIGIPOST 2015We need to evolve.  We need to re-invent ourselves.  Sounds familiar?

These are the words that are commonly spoken nowadays.  With the emergence of technology coming at a breakneck pace, the post production industry is one of the industries struggling to keep up.

However where is decline, there will be opportunities.  Being in the post production business in the last decade and hearing the constant death knell in the visual effects industry, we believe there is only one path to the future.

Revolution.

Talent and passion is key

For too long, the post production business has created many visual effects operators who are simply technically competent on the machine.  Expensive software has made the industry practical inaccessible to any layman.

Technology has changed.  With cheaper software and hardware, there are no more barriers to entry.  For once in a long time, talents who are truly gifted and passionate in the art of storytelling (editors), painting (colourist), digital magicians (online artists, compositors, CG artists) can have a successful career.

They just need the imagination and the right nurturing from the studio.

 

To work in creative teams

The post production process workflow from offline to colour to online & CG to audio works no different from an assembly in a factory.  Often department do not communicate and worst, do not understand the purpose of the project.  Such environment creates a stifling and political work environment.

No practitioner in post-production ever started in the industry wanting to be worker in an assembly line.  Most enter because of a film they seen that inspires them, a fantastical world in a computer game that awes them or simply wanting to creative field.

Break the workflow.  The post production workflow needs to be destroyed totally.  We need to have organic teams that every member to understand the goal of the project.  They need to work in teams from A to Z, from concept to execution.

This brings us to the next step.

 

To possess multi-disciplinary skill-sets and be highly adaptable

The age of specialization is gone.  Factory workers are being replaced by robots, drivers are soon to be replaced by driverless cars and the internet is slowly (but surely) putting traditional advertising and media in decline.

Technology is replacing any job that is repetitive or at one time called a ‘specialization’.  Any position in post-production can soon be replaced by a plugin or a latest ‘easier-to-use’ software.

The new generation of practitioner needs to highly adaptable and possess different skill sets.  With the right tools, they can achieve the same quality that used to take more than 5 people, or even 10.

With the right team, it is amazing the quality of work that can be produced.

 

Build strong partnerships

The supplier mentality needs to be changed to a partnership.  Work with clients who value the creativity and the execution in the team.

If the client partnership lasts only because of a cheaper rate, then that is a partnership that will not last.  Lose them now, or lose them later.  It is only a matter of time.

Be brave.

 

This is not an evolution.  We cannot re-invent ourselves.  Change is all that is left.

Where there is decline, there is opportunity.

So who wants to join us on the new ship?

3 things CG artists wish people knew about the job

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A CG artist working at DIGIPOST

As CG (computer graphics) is practically everywhere these days, there comes a question: are we taking it for granted?

Therefore, we sat down with Sophon Seangkaew, a senior 3D and VFX artist at DIGIPOST, asking him to share what he thinks people are likely missing about CG.

Timing can make it or break it.

Creativity and techniques aside, timing is very critical in CG.

Depending on effects and techniques, the whole process – modeling and texturing, animation and rendering – can take you some time between a few days and a few months.

For instance, rendering a CG that is three seconds long, the shortest possible length to show the effect, can take up to six days.

Without giving a careful consideration to timing, you may find yourself waiting for years before your dream project can be finished.

Good references are a key.

Unlike other artists who thrive on spontaneity, CG artists cannot go into creation without a proper plan for execution.

Starting a CG job headfirst is a recipe for disaster.

Sooner or later, you will find yourself working on something without having a clear idea what it is going to be or when it is going to end. Even if you can finish it, what you get in the end will hardly justify all the time and efforts you have spent.

That’s why a good CG artist will spend time finding a good reference before starting anything. References can give you ideas about what you want to achieve and how long it should take.

CG is a fun job.

Unlike many other jobs, CG artists watch cartoons and films to do their job. It is one of the most fun jobs in the world.

Unfortunately, many artists are suffering from it, because due to unclear reasons, people mistakenly think CG as a tool not an art. They think CG people are there to create what they want, instead of discussing about what is possible and what is not in a given schedule.

When artists are not allowed to have a say in what they are creating, especially what they have expertise on, it kills their creativity and energy.