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Old December 23rd, 2001, 03:38 PM   #1
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Introducing myself

I guess a personal introduction is what Chris had in mind with this particular forum, so here it goes.

I've been in television (live, tape, film) since 1969 when I graduated with an MA in Theater and Broadcasting. That degree has never gotten me anywhere but since I already had a background in theater, radio and photography, graduate school taught me what a televsion camera looked like. Those were the days when Vidicons were going out and Image Orthicons were still the standard. Quad was the only recording medium. Color was still for the "big guys".

I taught television production in college for two years and in 1971 I landed a job as Post Production Supervisor of the then new "Sesame Steet." My aspiration of making feature films took a detour and I found myself in educational television for the rest of my career. At Sesame Street I developed its style of cutting for no other reason than I was the supervising editor and everyone was left alone to invent. Since I was the only person on staff that knew anything about editing (Editec was the system at the time) I eventually found myself directing remotes with one camera. Some time in the mid 70s I discovered the PortaPack and the Timebase corrector. It wasn't easy convincing old engineers (all techs were "engineers" and in NABET) to put 1/2 tape through a TBC and transfer it to 2" quad tape for bradcast. That was outright treason in the mid 70s. But I did get to put 1/2 color material on the air and, as far as I know, I was the first or second.

I left Sesame in 1979 and freelanced as a director for a couple of years. I was asked to go to China with Big Bird in 1981. That was a hoot. China was just opening up to the west then and we were the main attraction. I was Second Unit Director of that NBC special. Immediately after China I was caled back to CTW (the producers of Sesame Street) to direct "3-2-1 Contact" - a science series. I asked to direct AND produce and was given the job. I eventually became a writer as well. The 80s were great. We originally shot all over the world with 16mm Arris and Eclairs. When film got too expensive we switched to tape - at first 3/4" Umatic and eventually to Beta SP. I still miss film. I got a few Emmys out of that series for directing and one for cinematography (I was surprised too.)

In 1991 I started my own company out of sheer igorance of what business is all about. We lucked out - clients we never knew existed began to come to us - they were mainly publishers who needed video material in order to sell their texts. Over the last 10 years we have developed, produced and shot for every major publisher; produced and annual special for NBC; done a series of one time broadcast shows; done two animated shorts; released in laser disks and CD-ROMs. Last year we did a job where I decided to take the plunge and use After Effects and Photoshop to the max. It worked and the client is happy because the product - layered original watercolors with actors keyed in - is a hot seller in Asia.

We work with three Avids, own an XL-1, three TRV900, a graphic station, and have done a little bit of work with Premiere. The current market is forcing us to re-think how we do things. Gone are the days of budgets that allowed for big crews shooting DigiBeta or even Beta SP. I my process of re-inventing I've turned to MiniDV. We just got a contract to produce 180 minutes of dramatic material for a third of what it would ordinarily cost. Although shooting with MiniDV doesn't save as much as the client might think (we've done the numbers) - it does buy us an extra day of shooting and two extra weeks of editing.

The re-inventing process is a big high for me because it forces me to be director/DP/camera operator and sound monitor (sound is one area I'm not skimping on- I'm still hiring a sound operator). A big high and a big risk - the client is expecting the quality of our high-end productions for the price of our low-end material and I'm naked - no director or DP to hide behind. I'm back to the mid 70s again making a prosumer medium look like a mnillion bucks to the clients.

I'm 56 and I've been thinking of going back to teaching in college. I guess I'm rapidly coming full circle. One thing I'm very sure of - if it wasn't for MiniDV and the XL1 which have re-kindled my old passion for photography and sheer experimentation - my mid 50s wouldn't be as much fun as they are turning out to be. Hence my frequent visits to this site and my sporatic barrage of questions.

If you want to learn more about my company visit www.terramultimedia.com but keep in mind the site is perpetually a year or two behind the times.

That's it.
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Old December 23rd, 2001, 03:50 PM   #2
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Superb post! Thanks for taking the time to write it. I know for a fact that I've seen your work; like many American kids, I was very fond of Sesame Street. It's an honor and a pleasure to have you aboard! Much respect,
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Old January 1st, 2002, 03:55 PM   #3
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Ozzie,
You've had a really intersting and very full career. Your site is similarly interesting in the variety of work you've done and are doing.

Thanks very much for sharing it with us.
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Old January 5th, 2002, 01:06 AM   #4
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Hey Ozzie, Chris stole my thunder but It's worth repeating, It's great to know that there are true pros like yourself getting involved in these forums. Just one question though, how the hell did everybody not see Mr. Snuffleupagis?!? Sorry about the spelling.
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Old January 5th, 2002, 02:20 AM   #5
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Daniel,

I hate to break the news to you but eventually people did get to see Mr. Snuffelopagus (Snuffy). But the magic was gone. Big Bird was sad because he realized Snuffy was special when everyone thought he was imaginary.

My best friend is still directing the show. He tells me they even got to see inside Oscar's can! Is there no imagination left?
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Old February 18th, 2002, 09:37 AM   #6
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Pleasure....

...the best thing about these postings are- they reaffirm the video quailty and potential of the XL1S- if a veteran like Ozzie feels a breath of fresh air and renewed interest in film-making after all his time in video- sorta confirms that the Canon XL and miniDV are a force to be reckoned with.

Enjoyed the steps and moves in your career- nice to meet you Ozzie.

(my daughter wants to know if you know Barney? hahha)
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Old February 18th, 2002, 11:17 AM   #7
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Introducing myself, too

Well, I guess I will just follow Ozzie and introduce myself, too.

I am "only" 27 years old, so compared to Ozzies splendid biography mine is quite the opposite from being full of experience or even impressive. And if my English reads a little awkward from time to time, please take my apologies, it is not my native language. That is because I am from Vienna, Austria in the middle of Europe.
What have I done so far? In 1994 I graduated from school in computer science, started going to the university learning international business and got the opportunity to join a student exchange program and was able to work in Irvine, CA for about 4 months. As the movie buff I am, the first thing I did after I began my "offical" job as a clerk at Barnes&Noble was running to UCLA film department and checking the blackboards for internships on student-films. One stundent actually hired me (no pay, but food and drinks) despite my horrid English and luckily the production was a Stop-Motion shortfilm, so it was mostly me and and the director sharing all the work.
And, as in stop-motion everthing seems to move on in slow-motion, I had the time to learn quite a bit about lights, camera, miniatures and of course animation and the whole production process in general.. taking the cans to the lab, watching the dailies and so on. It was a fun time and when I returned to Austria, I had big trouble to get into the courses of the university again, because I missed most of the deadlines.
So I had to get a job to keep busy in the meantime: I applied and since then work for the Austrian airline, and there I joined the cabaret group of the company who do sort of a comedy show each year, making fun of the airline. They asked if I could help film a short video segment for the show and ended up directing it and operating the camera. It was just a 10 minute piece that played with live interaction on the stage, but believe me, it was a wonderful feeling seeing your little movie on a 5meter videoscreen, hearing the audience laugh in the right places and getting applause from 1500 people afterwards.
So, now the airline knew they had someone they could abuse for some educational training videos: The staff training department asked me to make a video for them. Lucky me, I thought. But it got cancelled the day before shooting was supposed to begin and I had my first deeper insight into company politics and power-games...

But right after that I began planning a 15min short splatter-video (you know when you are young you gotta love that stuff) with gallons of fake blood, mutilations, chainsaws, and all this without any plot. Just for the heck of it. Never finished it, because 2 days into shooting I saw that I have reached the border between doing something for fun with your friends and trying to make a watchable movie that is technically not a home-made movie anymore. I saw it was turning into shit and aborted it. Well, the footage we shot is nevertheless fun especionally the cheesy fx, maybe one day I can impress my grandchildren with it. Right after that failure I decided to get a better camera and 6 months later I had the guts and the money to buy my XL1. Since then there was another cabaret show and the footage of the XL1 looked so much better than the older stuff. It was worth paying that much for it.
Last February while surfing the net, just browsing the DV discussion boards I stumbled over a post of a guy who was looking for someone to help him shoot a documentary about Guadalajara, Mexico. Since there were only 3 days left until my vacation would have begun and I had no plans, I mailed him, that, if he would be able to start shooting in the next couple of days, I could come over and help out with my equipment.
2 day later I was in the middle of Mexico with a guy I have never met before in my life. He turned out to be a 20 year old American from Nevada who moved there because he wanted to get into webdesign (Guadalajara has the name of being the mexican Silicon Valley) and fell in love with the city and wanted to get that on video. And without much of a plan we started running and driving around shooting lots scenery and interviewing all sorts of people about the city. All in all we got 20hrs of tape, which still lie around at my place here in Austria as I had no time yet to edit all of this together.

And today? I am in the middle between writing a feature film and reading books on lighting and sound, practicing with Adobe Premiere and After Effects and building up (slowly) the right knowledge and equipment to be ready to begin shooting this fall/winter.

Thatīs me. More or less. But I have stolen enough time from you now. Chris, thank you for the forum. I have been around for a few days only, but many of the contributions have already been a great help for me. Keep it up!

Cheers, and greetings from Austria,

Peter
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Old February 18th, 2002, 11:53 AM   #8
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Wow, Peter, this is an excellent, detailed bio and thank you for posting it. Your English is just fine! Thanks again,
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Old February 18th, 2002, 01:17 PM   #9
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Re: Pleasure....

<<<-- Originally posted by stevenyc1@aol.com : ..nice to meet you Ozzie. (my daughter wants to know if you know Barney? hahha) -->>>

Nice to meet you too. Good to se there's another New Yorker on this board, and from The Bronx no less!

No, I don't know Barney. But you knew that. I hate the guy and the entire show. In fact I've never liked Elmo either for similar reasons - one dimentional characters and simplistic. But judging from their popularity, I am in a minority. I got to really appreciate Mr. Rogers when my son, now 14, was a toddler. The guy was the antithesis of Sesame but very effective.

Here's a bit of an inside scoop - Fred Rogers was a guest on Sesame while I was still there, in the late 70s. Rogers was very much into telling kids that puppets are not real. No argument there. We had a script written for Fred and Big Bird. The day of the shoot he shows up and very politely asked if we could make a change to the script. He wanted Big Bird to take off his costume, on camera, and reveal that Carol Spinney was the human under the costume! Needless to say that left us speechless. The script was done as originally written. Fred never complained.
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Old February 18th, 2002, 08:33 PM   #10
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Holy Mackeral........Fred Rogers asked to unmask Big Bird...that's wild!!

Bronxite here for sure....just getting myself into DV bigtime and enjoy it immensly (probably because I don't do it for a living)...love the XL1S and just getting to terms with the camera's abilities but really want to try out EF lenses for the ultimate in sharpness at long ranges....gotta say Final Cut Pro is awesome (especially FCP 3 that does real time rendering on the fly with a Mac G4!!!) and Commotion just plain dominates the "special effects" dv scene (the movie Gladiator used Commotion quite a bit- as well as tons of tv commercials)

...went to the American Museum of Natural History today and took tons of stills- will make a web page tonight for people to see XL stills (seems like alot of people wanna see stills from the XL1S)

I'm an airbrush artist by trade (see www.bronxpowersports.com for samples) and can afford the DV toys by painting Harely's and the like (sportbikes too) and do it (dv) purely for hobby- but hope to master FCP, Commotion and the XL in the years to come.......

...nice to meet everyone....
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Old February 18th, 2002, 11:41 PM   #11
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Ah Steven, why aren't you here in Japan. I've been trying to get some airbrushing done on one of my snowboards but you try explaining it in Japanese that is only of a daily conversation level.
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Old February 19th, 2002, 04:50 AM   #12
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Peter,

Welcome aboard! Reading your bio I can't help but think
you are really interested in this and how you seem to be
on the right track to do some great things! Keep up the
good (and hard work)!

It might be interesting for you to read my upcoming
article about my first time making a short movie. It will
be up shortly (if Chris has time :)...

Again welcome aboard and see you around!
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Old February 19th, 2002, 05:06 AM   #13
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Thanks for the kind words Chris and Rob!

And, Rob, I am eagerly awaiting your article!

Cheers, Peter
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 01:44 PM   #14
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Pardon my rudeness...

Ah I am so ashamed. I began to comment on others posts before introducing myself.

I am a Highschool student living in the California Gold Country (near Sacramento) at a Young Life camp called Woodleaf. My experience with DV is not extensive, but growing rapidly. The camp owns a XL1 and a GL1 (editing the footage on Mac G4's running Final Cut Pro 3) for shooting the summer activities as a video scrapbook. I have taken up DV partly through a class I was taking and also after becoming friends with the head of the camps Video Department.

I have since begun to shoot my Young Life club (for those who do not know what younlife is got to www.younglife.com) and i am shooting our outreach trip to Mexico during Spring Break.

I have not had a chance to shoot with either of the Canon's (they are the camp's equivilant to the Holy Grail) but I am thinking of talking my school or YL club into buying one.

I would appreciate any advice comments or other froms of wisdom at anytime.

Dennis
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Old March 22nd, 2002, 02:02 PM   #15
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Welcome aboard. As a teenager you are getting into DV at the right time. Why, when I was your age, all we had was Super 8.

Plenty of advice and words of wisdom await your browsing the 6600 posts here on the boards.
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