How I spent the First Half of 2013

Streaming Learning Center has been quiet for the last few months. Primarily, that relates to getting two large projects done, and making two presentations.

The two projects were two books, Producing Streaming Video for Multiple Screen Delivery, and an upcoming Visual QuickStart Guide on Premiere Pro for the Creative Suite 7 version of that Adobe Product.

cover small.pngYou can read about the Multiple Screen Delivery book here; briefly, it’s the next edition of Video Compression for Flash, Apple Devices and HTML5, though nearly a complete rewrite. Lots has happened since the first book came out; DASH, H.265, new closed captioning requirements, the increasing prominence of live streaming service providers, and live in general. The new book swelled to 430 pages, from around 270 for the first. In addition to the new topics, I included the lessons learned from dozens of product reviews and multiple consulting projects around the world. It’s been a fast moving two years since the first book, and I think you’ll find it a valuable guide to those changes.

I don’t have much information about the Visual Quickstart Guide to Premiere Pro, but I’m excited about that book as well. Premiere Pro has been my go-to editor for about ten years now. Visual Quickstart Guides detail common operations for the product from import to rendering, and are useful to editors who want consistently high-quality information to learn a specific topic area or even a specific function. While most readers of this blog know me for streaming media related knowledge, I’ve produced multiple training products and book on Premiere Pro and other Creative Suite products in the past, including:

So, I’m not a complete rookie on producing training materials for the Adobe Creative Suite.

From Russia With Love

R1.jpgThe two presentation-related trips added a wonderful spice to the fun but grinding work of the finishing the two books. In March, I visited Moscow to speak at the Connected TV Forum. The trip was sponsored by NGENIX, the leading regional CDN in Russia and CIS, and their CEO, Konstantin Chumachenko, was the first to reach out. My talk, Producing for Multiple Screen Delivery (and you can download the handouts here), was formulated with the help of Konstantin and conference producer Eugene Solomatin. Logistics were ably handled by Svetlana Zhilina.

Getting to Russia was an adventure in itself, you need to complete a lengthy visa application and sent it off for approval. But visiting Moscow itself was like drinking from a firehose, and deluge of impressions. I grew up during the Cold War era, and pretty much all I know about Russia and Russians was from Tom Clancy novels like the Cardinal in the Kremlin.

 

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The fabulous St. Basil’s Cathedral, at the far corner of Red Square.

To walk around Red Square and walk inside the Kremlin was a fabulous experience. Another highlight was the Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, which had room fulls of paintings from artist like Botticelli, Rembrandt, Degas, van Gogh, Cezanne and Toulouse-Lautrec. Speaking of museums, each subway station was like a museum, each with a different and unique theme, like the station where each traveller fondled a brass statue for good luck.

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Moscovites rubbed this dog’s nose for good luck in the subway.

I travelled exclusively by subway, which would have been stressful has I not been accompanied by a guide (the fabulous Olga) one day, and had I actually been in a hurry the second day when I was on my own. The Russian subways have as much English as subways in NYC have Russian (which is to say, none), and Cyrillic languages are pretty much indecipherable. But I slowly made it through, and it was a wonderful way to get around, see the city and do some serious people watching.

What about the people? In about 5 days I made a bunch of strong impressions, but they lack synthesis. There were some stereotypes that probably exist in all countries; the overweight cashier at the grocery store, grumpy that my Visa card was refused, and the subway civil servant who wasn’t at all amused at my gesture-based request for directions.

But there were many poignant connections in the strangest of places. In the grocery store near the hotel, where I bought bread, beer and chicken and rice from three different shopkeepers, who all seemed delighted to merrily work through the language barrier, and very caring. The police officers that I asked for directions were animated and friendly, not at all like those described by Clancy. Of course, the professionals that I met during my talk were well informed, wonderfully polite and friendly.

Make no mistake, Moscow is a grim place in the winter, gray and icy, cold and forbidding. But the people have spark of vitality, even when rushing through subway stations and walking the frozen streets. It was a lovely visit and I would love to go back.

NAB

The second speaking engagement was at NAB, where I spoke at 8:00 AM on Saturday morning for the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE). The talk was on Producing for Multiple Screen Delivery and a surprisingly enthusiastic group of around 300+ broadcast engineers showed up despite the hour. Not to boast, but I’ll share a post-talk email from John Poray, the Executive Director of the SBE, who stated, “Our thanks to you! You provided a great opening for our programming. Tough to get people out at 8 am on a Saturday in LV but you garnered the largest opening crowd we’ve had since we started doing this in 1995.”

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Of course, John didn’t say they left happy, but I did sell 38 copies of Producing Streaming Media for Multiple Screen Delivery at the NAB Bookstore, and the bookstore director said I would have sold many more had the books arrived on Saturday as opposed to Monday. Definitely should have paid those rush fees.

Anyway, that’s how I started 2013. I promise to be more diligent with the blog over the ensuing months.

About Jan Ozer

I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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