The Friday Roundup – Legal Stuff, Editing Tips and Travel Videos

How to Use Music Legally in Videos and Avoid YouTube Copyright Claims
I wanted to lead off this week with the video below because it is an important piece of the video making puzzle that is often overlooked or presented in a confusing way.
Many of us when making our videos are using music that has come as part of the video editing software package we are using.
Read more…

Cineworks Rental Inventory Going Up for Auction in June

With the retirement of owner Deborah Maxwell, the complete inventory of North Hollywood rental company Cineworks is going up for auction next month, according to Tiger Group, which will manage the auction.

Inventory that will be sold off include a large assortment of HMI and tungsten LED fixtures from manufacturers including Arri, Kino Flo, Mole Richardson, K5600, Litepanels, Chimera and Astera, as well as electrical and grip carts, dollies, low-mileage trucks, generators and other production equipment, Tiger Group said.

Lighting fixtures from Cineworks’ inventory.
Tiger Group

“After many years of providing top-notch service to the film, video, and still community, Ms. Maxwell is ready to enjoy new adventures, and we are proud to be chosen to assist in selling all of this high quality gear,” said Jonathan Holiday, director of business development of Tiger’s commercial and industrial division, in a prepared statement. “This auction presents an extraordinary opportunity to acquire equipment from a dependable rental company that has serviced so many productions.”

Bidding in the online auction starts at 9 a.m. PT on June 4 and closes at 10 a.m. PT on June 11 at A preview of the gear up for auction will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT on June 10 at Cineworks’ 8125 Lankershim Blvd. headquarters.

Tiger Cineworks Auction:

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Drive-in Movies

When was the last time you went to a drive in movie? Admittedly, the pickings are pretty scarce these days. At last count there were only 559 drive-in screens at 317 locations remaining in the United States and even less in Canada and Australia. While many states have multiple outdoor venues to watch film, many only have one or just a few.

This is a far cry from the glory days of the Drive-in. In the late 50’s, some estimates have the number of venues reaching over 4600. The drive-in is a uniquely American business and mostly mom and pop operations. While other countries have copied them, their numbers fall far short of America in its heyday.

From the introduction of home video equipment and cable channels in the late seventies to the most recent cost of conversion from analog (photochemical film) to digital (disc or server based) have been cited as reasons the drive-ins are going out of business. Obviously, these are contributing factors. But the sharp downturn over the years is due to multiple factors many having nothing to do with technology.

The migration of populations from city to suburbs, the cost of the land as those suburbs became more valuable, the building of malls with movie theaters making them convenient to suburbia, the limitation of drive-in hours to after dark and how daylight savings time made that worse, cars getting smaller because of the cost of gas, multiple gas crises as a reason to not even start the car all, even down to neck rests blocking the back seat view all provided reasons to stay home and caused drive-ins to close permanently. Life in America was changing and drive-ins, by their very nature, could not keep up.

On June 6th, it will be ‘National Drive In Movie day’. It celebrates the first opening of an installation that made it easy for families to go to the movies and dating couples a private place to either experience the movie or each other. According to, “June 6th, 1933, Richard Hollingshead opened the first, permanent drive-in theater in Camden, NJ.” He was granted a patent in May of 1933 and a month later he opened the first drive-in and called it the Automobile Movie Theatre. Hollingshead never made any money off his idea and sold it to a new owner who changed the venue location.

Richard Hollingshead opened the first drive-in theatre on June 6th, 1933 in Camden, NJ.

The next year, 1934, a second drive-in was to open in Orefield, Pennsylvania, and had more luck than Hollingshead’s project. This year celebrates the 85th year of continuous service from Shankweiler’s Drive-in “making it the oldest continuous operating drive-in in the world.” Shankweiler’s has changed owners a number of times, but it has never been closed for a season.

Shankweilers Drive-in, based in Orefield, PA, is the longest continuous operating theater in the world. says, “…with any luck, the number of drive-in theaters in the U.S. will increase this year for the first time in decades.  While one year does not make a trend, it would certainly be refreshing to see this authentic American past time make a comeback.“ maintains a database to of all currently operating drive-in theaters in the world as well as a list of closed theaters.

Drive-in theatre map as of January, 2016.

From a technical standpoint, drive-ins have not changed that much over the years. Sound was the initial challenge. In the beginning years, theater owners tried keeping the speakers near the screen but not everyone liked keeping their windows open. The cars in the front complained about how loud the film was. The cars in the back could barely hear and, depending on how big a parking area it was, the sound would not be in sync with the picture. Also there were complaints from the developing neighborhoods in the homes nearby.

Portion of RCA’s theatre equipment catalog. They were first on the scene to solve the sound problems in residential drive-ins.

RCA came to the rescue. In 1941, they invented the drive-in car speaker system what would deliver the sound to each individual car. Each speaker had a volume control and so each car could adjust the sound to the liking of the occupants. Complaints from growing suburbia went away but new problems came from customers forgetting to replace the speaker back on the holder. They would start to drive away with it still hanging in the car window.

Other makers jumped on the bandwagon. Here is the Simplex version. They built the film projectors in early motion picture theatre both indoor and outdoor.

As car manufacturers began to offer more sound options as standard equipment, the 1970’s brought the car radio into play as an important part in delivering the soundtrack to the customer. They kept some of the speakers on the poles so they didn’t have to turn away customers during the transition. Eventually, the problem of forgetting about the speaker in the windows became a thing of the past.

Initially, standard AM radio low power transmitters were used. As film progressed to higher quality soundtracks, drive-ins began to use FM and its stereo capabilities. Today, almost all theaters transmit their sound via FM Radio. The first drive-ins to use FM generally meant a transmitter that was intended for the home theater rather than a professional venue. But some companies are filling that void with professional gear to deliver a reliable, full fidelity signal to the customer.

FM professional equipment made the outdoor speakers obsolete. Now the customers could drive away and not risk taking a part of the drive-in with them.

In the beginning, going to the movies meant getting dressed up to go out on a night on the town (Yes, people did that in the 50’s and early 60’s). Drive-ins provided America with the option to just get in the car and go. Their kids could come in their pajamas and curl up with blankets in the back seat. In fact, the kids were welcome! Usually to go “in town” to a movie required the family hire a babysitter (adding another cost to the evening). At the drive-in the kids usually got in for free or at least at a reduced rate. “Come as you are and sit in your car” was the way the newspaper ads put it.

“Kiddie” parks were very popular with parents to keep the children busy while waiting for the show to start.

When television first started draining off the audience and keeping people home, the theaters had their first modification crisis as wide screen productions became immediately popular for films. All the more elaborate drive-in screens from the early fifties currently in existence have “wings” added to them to accommodate the conversion from Academy ratios (1.33:1) to most of the wide screen ratios.

A drive-in with “wings” added to accommodate widescreen productions. Part of the Jack Loeks Theatres collection.

In the seventies and eighties the advent of cable TV, satellites, and VCR’s were the first challenges faced by drive-ins regarding the state of the art of technology. Now families could just stay home to watch a current movie. The whole family could be in their pajamas and no one would care!

The cable into the home first provided HBO then Showtime with movies just out of the theatre circuit. These were the days when the movies opened in the bigger cities and got to the drive-ins three weeks or more later. About the same time the movie was getting to your local drive-in, HBO was starting to play it out to your TV set. (A serendipitous note here – HBO began its life on November 8, 1972 in Wilkes Barre, PA, just a little over an hour’s drive from Orefield, PA, where Shankweiler’s Drive-in was located).

Films actually made their world premiere at some drive-in theatres on the west coast as long as it was about cars…
… or horses as in the case of Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles.”

Then the VCR’s came on the market. In 1975, Sony launched its Betamax recording system. Two years later, the VHS (for Video Home System) format came on the market. Initially, the cost for these units was considerable ($1000 or more was not unheard of) but the prices quickly dropped. It wasn’t long after that local shops began to pop up carrying movies for rent. These, like the drive-ins, grew out of mom and pop entrepreneurs. Pick-up a couple of movies on the way home on a Friday evening and you have programs for the kids and for mom and dad to watch after the kids had gone to bed.

Speaking of getting the kids to bed, one reason VHS won out over Betamax wasn’t necessarily just because it could record a two hour full-length movie (Betamax tape maxed out at just one hour). As Wired magazine reported in their June 4, 2010, issue, “Sony reportedly would not let pornographic content be put on Betamax tapes while JVC and the VHS consortium had no such qualms.” Drive-ins did get involved in showing X-Rated product, but they also faced an outraged public over it since their screens could sometimes be seen outside of the confines of their parking lot.

About this the same time, the drive-in on the outskirts of town discovered it now was in the middle of several new housing developments. Couple this with families facing gas shortages, multiplexes springing up in the new megamall and developers lusting after the huge lot of land just sitting empty most of the time and closures seemed inevitable.

It wasn’t until the conversion to digital brought the prospect of redoing all the technical equipment that the last holdouts started throwing in the towel. The projectors and sound systems had lasted so many years by just keeping up with the maintenance. Changing over to file based systems required more than just a state of the art projector (although that was a major financial consideration). Overall, each screen was going to require $60,000 or more! By and large, these owners didn’t have deep pockets. If they weren’t owned by a large multiscreen operation that could amortize that size of an investment, they were likely not to make it!

One that is surviving is the Rodeo Drive-In in Bremerton, Washington. Their location was built in 1949. Since 1986, the Rodeo has been owned by Jack and Cindy Ondracek and family. According to their website, “Today, with three screens and a car capacity of 1000, they are the largest outdoor theatre complex in Washington State.” In 2012, they converted all three of their screens to digital. They tell their story of the conversion here.

As other operators who had been around since the 50’s or 60’s were getting older, they were looking to find a way to retire. If a property management group came calling and offered up to $500,000 to buy the drive-in (for its land value), most of the operators saw it was a way to retire comfortably. As digital moved forward they could no longer get product from the distributors. It was time they put up the “Closed Permanently” sign. Before long a real estate developer called on them with a substantial check in his hand for their property.

It was easy for the developers to erase all vestiges of the theater. The only substantial demolition required was tearing down the concession stand and, depending on the venue, the screen. Many screens were just attached to wood poles or a few girders for support. If they were more elaborate, it might take longer. The rest of the property was at most asphalt parking spaces.

Land developers took over the Pickwick Drive-In in Burbank, CA. The location is now a shopping center.

Of the venues who did manage to ante up the conversion costs most are still with us. While the days of over a thousand venues are permanently in our rear view mirrors, the industry believes there is hope for a resurgence. We need to have something to show what life was like when the boomer generation left their homes in pajamas, cuddled up in the backseat and watch the latest Disney film under the stars.

For a nostalgic trip back in time as well as an analysis of the drive-in phenomenon, a documentary was produced in 2014 about drive-ins. “The Definitive Story of the American Drive-in Movie” was directed by April Wright and is available on DVD in stores and via several streaming services.

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Conrad Clemson Joins EditShare as CEO; Company Takes Majority Investment from ParkerGale Capital

EditShare said today that private equity firm ParkerGale Capital has taken a majority investment in the company, with veteran Cisco executive Conrad Clemson joining as EditShare’s new CEO.

Company founders Andy Liebman and Tara Montford will remain the company’s largest individual shareholders, EditShare said, remaining in leadership positions as Chief Strategy Officer and EVP, Business Development, respectively.

EditShare executive headshots

Conrad Clemson will lead the company as CEO, while founders Andy Liebman and Tara Montford stay on in key roles.

Chicago-based ParkerGale specializes in funding accelerated growth at small, U.S. based-technology companies — a seeming good fit for EditShare. The company was founded in 2003 when Liebman, a working editor, developed its original offering as a collaborative storage solution for his team’s use on a specific television project. “With ParkerGale’s infusion of capital, EditShare will be able to execute much faster on the many more incredible product and workflow ideas we have for all of our customers,” said Liebman in a prepared statement.

Clemson has filled a number of leadership roles at Cisco, including VP and SVP positions in its service provider video software and solutions business. Before Cisco, he was CEO of BNI Video, which Cisco acquired in 2011. He had served earlier as senior director of engineering at Motorola and as SVP of technical operations at Broadbus, which sold to Motorola in 2006. He’s also been EVP of engineering at Gotham Networks and VP of engineering at Lucent Technologies.

“Andy founded EditShare in 2003 when he needed a more flexible and affordable solution for media sharing. His invention of high-performance network-attached storage for editing transformed the industry in a way others weren’t imagining at that time,” Clemson said in a statement. “With this investment, the EditShare team will be even better positioned to continue to deliver transformative solutions to an industry that is in greater demand for it now more than ever.”

EditShare’s product line includes video capture and playout servers, high-performance shared storage built around the EFS file system, its FLow production media asset management system, and the Lightworks editing platform. Recently, the company has made a push into automated QC and IMF workflow, thanks in part to its acquisition of QC specialist Quales in 2017.


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After Earnings Release, Nvidia Execs Say Real-Time Ray Tracing is the Future

Despite some tough questions from investors yesterday, Nvidia exceeded expectations in reporting its Q1 earnings, which were down dramatically compared to last year — but not down quite as far as forecasts indicated. The company reported revenue of $2.2 billion for the quarter, down 31% from the previous year.

The company declined to offer guidance for the remainder of the year, citing uncertainty in the key data-center market. But in pro visualization, the still-healthy sector of its business that includes VFX, the company said the near future is bright.

Pro visualization revenue was up 6% compared to the same period last year, climbing to $266 million. A category of “emerging applications” that includes AI, VR and AR, contributed about 38% of that revenue, according to EVP and CFO Colette Kress, who said oil and gas, public sector, and manufacturing markets were “areas of strength” in the pro visualization sector.

Kress also emphasized the success to date of the company’s RTX platform for real-time GPU-accelerated ray tracing in gaming and VFX. “At GTC, we announced that the world’s top 3D application providers have adopted Nvidia RTX in their product releases set for later this year including Adobe, Autodesk, Chaos Group, Dassault [Systèmes] and Pixar,” she noted. “With this rich software ecosystem, Nvidia RTX is transforming the 3D market. For example, Pixar is using Nvidia RTX ray-tracing on its upcoming films. Weta Digital is using it for upcoming Disney projects and Siemens NX Ray Traced Studio users will be able to generate rendered images up to four times faster in their product design workflows.”

Nvidia President and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang underscored the message later in the call, responding to a question about its expectations for the videogame market in the fourth quarter.

“The leadership position that we’ve taken has turned into a movement that has turned next-generation gaming ray-tracing into a standard,” he said. “Almost every single game platform will have to have ray tracing. Some of them already announced it, and the partnerships that we’ve developed are fantastic.”

The progress of real-time ray-tracing technology is of keen interest to content creators who are already integrating tools from the games industry, such as Unreal Engine, into new pipelines for interactive visualization and VFX work, as well as VFX and animation studios looking at rendering their work using GPU-accelerated ray-tracing techniques.

In closing remarks, Huang identified real-time ray tracing, along with accelerated computing/AI computing and robotics, as one of the company’s three growth strategies: “It’s now clear that ray tracing is the future of gaming and digital design.”


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Digitize your entire setŦree, using Meshroom

3D camera tracking has become an essential tool for most filmmakerseven if just for matchmoving titles to scene geography. But until fairly recently, the ability to recreate your scene inside a computer’s 3D space required expensive on-set Lidar survey, the result of which never seemed to quite line up with the 3D camera track. There are software solutions out there like Agisoft, but they’re quite pricey.

Now Meshroom offers exactly such a solution, for free. This is one of those surprising open-source projects that feels as polished as a commercial offering. Meshroom will take in your source footage and magically recreate a digital mesh representing the set pieces, along with a virtual camera solve. This is amazing for things like reprojection, object removal, adding depth of field in post, accurate depth relighting…the list goes on.

What’s the catch? Well the only real catch is that the documentation is currently pretty scarce (that’s where its open source roots start to show. The documentation that is out there focuses on Meshroom’s more common use as a 3D scanner tool.

Don’t sweat it though: over at we’ve put together a 20 minutes survival guide specifically focused on using Meshroom for film work. So grab some footage and head over to for our completely free (like everything else on the site) guide to scanning your film set with Meshroom.

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