This week was a milestone for me personally and Tao Of Color Grading. I’ve done training seminars before. I’ve given presentations to User Groups. But this week saw me give the Tao Of Color Grading presentation three times across two days!
TekServe, NYC Â Â monday evening
Monday night it started at TekServe in NYC. In their downstairs event space, I teamed up with Luke Smith from Euphonix / Avid and presented to a nice NYC crowd of about 30 folks. The preso went reasonably well. I still stumbled on the 8bit / 10bit discussion. The trick is talking about the issue from a color grading perspective without it devolving into a total geek-fest that takes up 15 minutes and puts 70% of the crowd to sleep.
Rule | Camera, Boston Â Â wednesday morning
Tuesday was a travel day as I took Amtrak to Boston. I downloaded onto my Kindle “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs“. AfterÂ about two chapters I revised a handful of slides, reordering them and working on clarity. Less than 24 hours had passed and already Monday’s presentation had become obsolete. The re-jiggering made a huge difference.
Wed. AM it was Luke + me back at it, this time at Rule Camera in Boston. I was completely impressed. When I walked in they had everything prepped; an overhead camera for the control surface demo feeding a plasma, a monitor taking the output of the Kona card, a presentation screen for the desktop, and a control surface already hooked up. All I had to do was load up my footage, my FCP project and a PDF of my presentation.
They also recorded the entire event with two ceiling mounted remote controlled cameras, wireless lavs, and the three outputs generated from the host computer (Kona, overhead camera, desktop) they live switched the event throughout their building while recording it. It’ll be interesting to see how they decide to deal with the control surface demo… I’ve learned while developing training for Tao Of Color.com it’s not so easy to show the live ‘interactiveness’ of it all.
I was very happy with the revised presentation. The clarity of the message I’m trying to deliver definitely improved. The event kept moving and didn’t seem to bog down. After Luke’s ‘preso’ (I love this presenter lingo I’m discovering, a ‘preso’ is a presentation and a ‘deck’ is the Keynote or Powerpoint slides), I wrapped with a live demo on some real-life footage. I think the audience got a good sense how Apple’s Color, combined with a control surface, can get you through 800 shots in 2-3 days while not just ‘correcting’ but actually ‘grading’.
Boston FCP User Group Meeting Â Â wednesday evening
Dan Berube, BOSFCPUG’s leader, was a total trooper the entire two days I was in Boston – shuttling me from place to place. Eventually we ended up at Autodesk’s Boston headquarters for his User Group meeting. Luke from Euphonix / Avid couldn’t join us so the control surface demo was entirely in my hands.
Dan did an amazing job promoting the event. I don’t know what his final count was, but at least 80 people showed up. On a Wed. night. In July.
From one User Group leader to another… congrats Dan!
This crowd really impressed me. When I asked how many people felt comfortable reading a waveform monitor – fully 80% of the crowd had their hands raised. The live grading demo didn’t go quite as well as it had in the morning – but I was rushing a bit so Dean Shirm from Autodesk could get in his Smoke / After Effects demo. Still, as much as I hate canned demos… you’ve only got one chance to get it right and I’ve got to keep practicing that demo. When I get it right it’s super-impressive.
Keeping On, keeping on
At all three events the feedback afterwards was inspiring. Almost over-the-top. Color grading is a tough topic, since it can be so subjective. The difficulties facing a colorist, though, can be defined. And doing it clearly with maximum impact is the key. I’ve been told that I’m nailing it and to keep spreading the word. I’m working behind-the-scenes to make that happen and do this ‘preso’ in several more East Coast cities. I’m also working with Dan in Boston to follow up with full day paid seminars. We just need to work out the approach and pricing.
The funny thing is… the preso’s I just gave – they’re already obsolete. That book on presenting like Steve Jobs has me completely rejiggering the structure of my messaging for maximum clarity, retention, and impact. The cool thing… everything I learn giving these presos will be incorporated into the training on this site.