Hacking post-production with multi-Emmy award-winner Shane Stanley

Hacking Post-Production With Multi-Emmy Award Winner Shane Stanley

Season 1, Episode 2

Shane Stanley, multi-Emmy Award-winning filmmaker gets into the nuts & bolts of post-production in this episode, with the host, Rahul Bhargava.

Shane Stanley’s career began in front of the camera when he was just nine months old. Shane won his first Emmy at just sixteen years old – making him one of the youngest to win an Emmy. He has been nominated for four Emmy’s and won 2. He won his first Emmy at age sixteen and his second at age eighteen.

Shane & Rahul discuss what the post-production process looks like for a movie/music video, review current media organization tools technology and their pitfalls.



Read the full transcript of the podcast below:

[00:00:10] Laura: You’re listening to the Reel-in-Post Production Podcast. The show that focuses on post production workflows for Media Asset Managers, video editors, motion graphics artists, and graphics designers. Enjoy.

[00:00:26] Rahul Bhargava: Hello, and very warm welcome to our guest today Shane Stanley. My name is Rahul Bhargava and I’ll be your host today. I’m the founder and CTO of Evolphin software which is a leading Media Asset Management company based here in Silicon Valley. Shane, you’ve done a lot. You have produced movies, directed films, music videos, been a producer, editor, screenplay writer, and a teacher. And you’re also an author of a bestselling book “What You Don’t Learn In Film School”. And you have been personally nominated for 4 Emmy awards, and you have won twice. So Shane, can you tell us how it all got started, and perhaps share a bit about your journey in each of these roles. 

[00:01:15] Shane Stanley: I can, and thanks for having me, Rahul. That’s an honor to be here.You know, my journey started a little similar to a lot of kids grown up in Hollywood. I was 9 months old. My parents were at the BBQ, and there was a guy at the BBQ who was kind of looking at me in a weird way, and my father went over and wanted to find out why he was staring at his 9 month old baby. And the guy said I am, I am actually a Casting Director. I am  doing a campaign for a new real estate company that turned out to be Century 21 which was a big real estate chain. And they were doing a series of national commercials, and needed a baby and they couldn’t find him. So, I ended up getting the job, and worked in front of the camera from about 9 months old till I was about 7 or 8 years old, regularly. And, my father was a documentary filmmaker, and he, always had the equipment in the house, you know whether it’s editing machines or Flatbeds or Arri 16 Millimeter cameras. I just, I was just fascinated by all of the equipment, how he would use the old storyboards, and budget breakdowns, and just work a project before he did it I found more interesting, that more interesting than the actual making of the shows, you know being on production. So when I got older, I  was kind of missing out on being a kid, unsettled a lot, not being around my friends going up on summer break and I just made a decision once about 8 or 9 years old that I just didn’t want to be in front of the camera anymore. And, took an interest immediately in doing other things, and, and started working with my dad at a very young age, and his various shows. Even though I was very young, I was very savvy, I was very used to being on a set, so you know, loading a camera gear, you know  setting up C-stands and tripods was really easy for me. So, I just, always just kind of grew up on the set Fast forward to getting older. We just, we kept working together, we were very fortunate and had a lot of success with The Desperate Passage Series, which is, you know, you mentioned, you know one to have thirty-three Emmy nominations, I think it won thirteen statues. And, kind of from there I just started my own path of making narrative films.

[00:03:23] Rahul Bhargava: Alright. Since this is a show that focuses on post-production, Shane, our audience would love to hear from you about your editor experiences. But before we get there, I have another question for you as a Hollywood studio executive, how do you think technology has changed the way movies are made.

[00:03:45] Shane Stanley: Oh, woahh, it’s, it’s absolutely had a massive hand in how movies are made. I mean, all you have to do is look at films from 15-20 years ago, and the comparisons to what computers and software and, and rendering of the facts on what it has allowed us to be able to do has, has just, its grown leaps and bounds, and I’’ll,  bring up a, a very sore subject for a lot of people, but it’s, one that is talked too often, talked about often in filmmaking circles, you know, we coming off, you know, a year after the tragedy on the film Rust with Alec Baldwin, where Halyna the cinematographer lost her life because a gun went off. And, we have been using, you know, air-soft guns on our sets for 13-14 years. I just, I don’t like having guns. A friend of mine was the AD on the Brandon Lee film when, when he lost his life, and hearing that story first hand really troubled me, so I, I just made sure we always use fake guns, and which is interesting, I bring that up, because when we use these air-soft guns, I used to have to go through this process of getting my footage to somebody who understood visual effects, and putting the gun flare, and the muzzle flash, and the smoke and the bullet spans, and all the stuff that comes with a gun going off. Now, I, I am not a VFX guy by any stretch, I’m, I am a film editor. But, I can do all those effects here, on my own, with a push of a button. I have, you know, all the muzzle flashes and guns, and all that stuff, you know, all those effects built in on my computer, and it’s very easy. So, I  just mentioned that because I personally appreciate how far technology has come, and, you know, people obviously take it light years further than I do, but it’s fascinating.

[00:05:32] Rahul Bhargava: That’s great. Now you’ve been an editor so we would be interested in learning about the post-production flow that typically happens when a movie or a music video is made. So Shane, can you just walk us through your typical post-production process.

[00:05:48] Shane Stanley: Well, you know, I now am kind of a concept to delivery filmmaker, so, you caught me just  last week delivering our new film Night Train to the studio for release. It comes out in January, and I, you know, obviously have helped with a lot of the things, like mixing, and you know color correction, and some of those things, but I, I pretty much cut the film myself, and the process now, you know, going back to technology Rahul, is the camera companies like Canon, and RED, and, Sony, and Arrie, they, those files that are built in to those cameras that we, that we create by shooting on set, we are able to drop those right in, sync them up to audio fairly easily, and go to work right away. I mean it’s really nice when you have a day, you know, your one location, you are gonna spend a day or two there, bring an assistant editor and have him load-in footage, so when you take breaks you can actually, you know, walk over and say “how does it look?”, you know, what sample you have seen for me, let me see what we have got. And, and that’s something that really started, I think Spielberg was one of the first to do that when he shot The Flintstones. And, I renovated that with Robert Zemeckis who ever did it, and, and that kind of revolutionized the, the way we cut, how fast we are able to do it. It’s, it’s amazing, because you could just go and you work with these 4K files or 6 or 8K files, you can, down convert them into proxies, which are shadow files, which, you know for those who don’t know what, so the, the weight on the machine from these huge files is not lugging it down, you are able to work on these, these you know, files that are tenth of the size. And, you are able to cut a film, and, you know, having gone from working a flatbed in a movie all the way back in the 70s and 80s, and, and being an editor when non-linear editing came out, you know with the early gearly companies like D/Vision and Video Cube and Avid, and some of those early companies that, that broke ground. It’s unbelievable where it has gotten, and, and you know, it’s fascinating, because I cut a film once a year, sometimes twice a year, and you could really see just from update to update when I do from film to film, how much has come along, and it’s just, it’s mind blowing.

[00:07:58] Rahul Bhargava: So in terms of the complexity of post-production for some of your work, Shane can you give us an idea of how long does it take, and how many people are involved?

[00:08:09] Shane Stanley: Well, it’s really, you know now it’s simple, I mean, you know gone are the days where we were shooting in film, and you send film to a lab to be developed and then tell us and he didn’t have watchable medium, whether it’s video or you still working with film. Once you get your files converted, and I am, I am kind of a technical idiot when it comes to, to creating proxies and  I have got a couple of wonderful assistant editors so I work when they do that. Once, once we wrap the film, I go into cutting, it’s just me. And, cut the film, and, and then I, I literally send a copy to a composer, I send a copy to my mixer, I send a copy to color correction. And, and they do their job and I’ll fly out, if you know my,  mixer’s Cliff Collaboros in North Carolina, so I fly out to his place for a few days, we mix the film, and then he emails me back all the stems and all the, the final audio, you know, it’s  really  in post-production on our films, it’s very small, I mean it’s me and like three or four other people, you know maybe, a music supervisor. And that’s about it.

[00:09:13] Rahul Bhargava: Okay. And what editing suite are you using these days Shane for doing your cuts?

[00:09:20] Shane Stanley: Primarily we are using Adobe Premiere, I, I have used Avid, you know, back in the day I was using Final Cut Pro before they made the jump for YouTubers, and kind of took away that real film-friendly approach, because I, I actually, really loved working with Final Cut, but for the last, I’ll say 8 or 9 years it has been Adobe primarily with some Avid. 

[00:09:42] Rahul Bhargava: Okay, and what sort of cameras and resolutions are common these days for you? Are you mostly shooting in 4K or 8K?

[00:09:51] Shane Stanley: Well, you know, we have to shoot at least in 4K, because globally that’s  really what these, the companies want for deliverables. It’s real helpful when you are doing an independent film that’s looking for global distribution to be able to have something in 4K, it opens up a whole new list of territory set. Believe it or not they sometimes don’t even care what the film is, they just want 4K content. So, we always at least shoot 4K, we have gone 6, we have done I think some of the REDs went up to 5 a while ago, if I am not mistaken, I think we did break even in 5. I have fallen in love, I have a wonderful partnership with Canon. And, even though they have these unbelievably wonderful technically advance cameras, they’re even, they have got a wonderful 8K now, I love shooting with their C70, which is, to me it’s a little bit grittier, it’s a lot more mobile, and less people, less room packing gear. So, Canon has been providing us for the last three films, the Canon C70s which I absolutely love, they shoot in true 4K, and that’s what we have been shooting out.

[00:10:59] Rahul Bhargava: So once you are done shooting with your preferred Canon or RED cameras, you generate all these raw footage files that are pretty large, and, so my question is are you editing in Premiere with raw footage, or do you end up making proxies? The idea being that these proxies are less heavy on your edit station than the raw footage?

[00:11:21] Shane Stanley: Yeah, yeah we always do bounce down to proxy. It’s just so much easier because we gotta keep in mind, our, our shoots usually go 25 to 30 days, and we shoot with two cameras at least, sometimes for stunt scenes we will shoot with as many as 6 or 7. So, you have a lot of footage, I mean, I, when I make a film I have two 24 Terabyte hard drives.

[00:11:44] Raghav Bhargava: Oh wow, that’s amazing.

[00:11:45] Shane Stanley: so, that and, and I don’t fill them up, so I split probably, you know, we average about 28, we will, we’ll probably average about 28 to 32 terabytes in media in our film, and we will just split it. But that also includes a terabyte of sound library, you know I have a lot of temp music with the composers I have worked with over the years. I try to work that into. I have got additional media that’s on these drives, but it’s not uncommon that we are getting between 18 to 25, 30 terabytes of footage, especially when we go up to 6K when we shoot with the REDs. And, I split it off so the drives are, and then we, then we go into a proxy situation, I only cut proxies, it’s just so much faster, so much easier on the gear.

[00:12:29] Rahul Bhargava: And so how many hours of footage do you typically end up with when you are shooting for let’s say a 30 minutes or a 16 minutes show?

[00:12:38] Shane Stanley: We don’t overshoot, we don’t exhaust our actors or our team. I am a firm believer, you get the tape that you know you need, let’s move on. I like coverage, so you know, at the end of the day if, we deliver you know 90-95 minute movies. You know, as far as the amount of footage we shoot, you know, I like to do a lot, I am guilty of doing takes, a lot of takes in one take if you get my drift. I shoot fast and furious, and I find when a director yells cut let’s go back to one, everybody kinda, they get off their game a little bit, everybody kinda sets, and they, you know the cameras go back to hair and makeup running, everybody is tweaking something, and you know, I learnt from Tom Shadyac a 100 years ago, you can get an extra hour of shoot time in in your day, if, if you just, once you get the take and you keep cameras on, and you just say, alright everybody keep everything rolling, let’s go back to one, we are gonna keep it rolling, and everybody just steps back. And we found that our days are much shorter, and the footage, you know we have these 2 or 3 really long takes, but they include 3 or 4 different takes. You know, such small something that I do to get through the day so we don’t get into 10 or 11 hour days.

[00:13:53] Rahul Bhargava: Okay, so once you have all your footage organized in Adobe Premiere and you are deep into post-production, what are some of the important technical skills that in your opinion a post-production person or an editor should have to ensure things go smoothly?

[00:14:12] Shane Stanley: Well, you know, I mean there is the creative side of it. Where you are assembling a film, you know, the first thing you do is you assemble a film, and, I as an editor, it’s kinda like getting back on a bicycle, you know how to do it, but it may take a little time before you can ride the rough terrain. I don’t start out on the toughest action scenes, and I usually don’t start with the opening, I like to just start with a simple dialogue scene between a couple of actors, because it allows me to get my chops back and feel the flow of a couple of characters, and then I can go back and start assembling, and then usually I’ll start spot editing a film, and then when I realize I have hit my flow as a cutter, I go to the beginning and start from scratch, and just kind of shape the film as I go. But to answer that question more directly, I mean, I think, what’s really important is I think, it’s, it’s, it’s important for cutters to understand mixing within the cut. I, I deliver usually 24 to 30 channels of audio as an editor. I don’t rely on sound effects teams and all, I do, I build everything I can hear, I like to get a real understanding of what, what’s gonna be delivered here in  the raw. Lot of cutters, they just cut pictures. They don’t care about audio, they don’t do dialogue editing, they don’t care about temp music they rely on other people for that. I really love working with temp music when I cut. I kinda jump in with the end in mind, you know going from a screenwriting background which, you know my career started in the edit bay as a real filmmaker. But I always remind writers just three scripts, the one you write, the one you shoot, and the one you cut. And the one you, you know, the one you write is, is crucial, the one you shoot is crucial and the one you cut is crucial, but if we could find a way to kinda bridge those gaps as much as possible. And, you know having a hand from concept to delivery and filmmaking, I kinda really go in with the end in mind, so when it comes time to hit the edit bay, I don’t, I never get surprised in a bad way. We always, you know, know we got our coverage, you know, from a technical standpoint I think it is important to know some basic color correction, so when you are showing your film or you are watching it back, you are not looking at raw, ungraded footage, that just is not appeasing to look at. The more you can do to better what you are working with and also mix it as you can. It just makes the creative process a lot smoother.

[00:16:28] Rahul Bhargava: Alright, great. So Shane, here we are in 2022. The compute power in your edit station I’m sure is fantastic these days. So what I want to learn from you is what are some of the things that are working great for you and your team? And what are some of the things that are not working so great? Basically what are the things that you most like or dislike about the editing process or the technology or tools that you are using day and day out?

[00:16:57] Shane Stanley: You know, there is always crashes. I mean, sometimes you go two weeks without a crash, and I am uber-religious about saving my work. I lost a film that we spent 18 months cutting a documentary, you know 30 years ago. And, somebody on an Easter holiday took a family member to our edit bay to show them footage and screwed up. Called me in a panic and said I think I deleted everything, and I raced to the edit bay, and lo and behold they, they wiped all those SCSI drives back then.

[00:17:30] Rahul Bhargava: Holy cow.

[00:17:31] Shane Stanley: It took us, it took us about a month and a half to rebuild what we could of the show. And we had to re-cut so much. So I, I mention that because after that, and, and we saved everything properly but it was technology back then rebuilding from these old floppy disks and drives, it was just, it was impossible. And my brain after I make a cut hits Control+ S, I just, everytime I do a cut Control+S, everytime I do a, a fade Control+S. And then I have also got my computer to do an auto save every five minutes. I save my edit file on the cloud, you know on dropbox, I save it on the hard drive of the computer which I work from, and then I also have it on two of the external drives. So, I am constantly saving my film four times, at least two or three times. That comes from the paranoid side.

[00:18:19] Rahul Bhargava: Shane, that sounds incredible saving so many copies. But you have to do those things in case disaster strikes because these footages are not really replaceable. So coming to my next question now once you are done with your cuts, it seems like you are right now working by yourself. You’re doing these cuts and your post-production team is distributed. So how do you get them the project files, the Adobe Premiere and all the elements, footages, music. Are you using a sharing service or do you end up shipping them disk?

[00:18:59] Shane Stanley: Usually, with the exception of my audio, most of my vendors are close, in Los Angeles, so, all  have a 24 terabyte drive with all the mastermedia from my colorist. And, I, I will give him a hard drive to work from, and he just takes that and the job loads it into, usually he works in DaVinci, and then he colors the film in DaVinci, and then puts it back into Adobe for me, cut by cut, so I actually have color corrected cuts in my timeline in 4K or 6K, and then I am able to go from there. So that’s how that works. For audio, and now since my, my mixer Cliff is in North Carolina, I email him, you know all cinema like high tail work print with the timecode burned in. My cut of the film which would be a lock. And then I send him the AIFF files, or, you know they used to be the what they used to call them? There was another word for those files that they used to send to the mixers and they just don’t use them anymore. So we go to AIFF files, and he has got the work print and he has got a job he builds in pro tools, and he sends me a rough mix here at the house before I come out to North Carolina, and I make my generic notes like you know my overview notes. And then we fly out, and he has got pro tools and my workprint. And, we mix and the colorist I have already covered, and the composer it’s very similar to the mixer except, I send him two copies of the film. I send him a copy of the film with my temp audio, you know my temp score. If I put a temp score in there and deliver it to him, he knows that’s a style that I am looking to get, so we don’t have to go through these long spotting sessions. And then, he will get a, a clean copy with just dialogue and no music, so he can work  fresh from something and create his own.

[00:20:44] Rahul Bhargava: Shane, this sounds like a fairly complex process with rough cuts, with colorization that’s happening. So how do you keep it all together? How do you make sure that all these orchestrations don’t go heywire? There must be trips and tricks that you have mastered over the years that our audience would love to hear.

[00:21:05] Shane Stanley: Oh yeah. Well, you know I, I probably do everything wrong as if you have read my book I don’t spend 200 pages telling people what to do, I remind them of what not to do, because I do a lot of what not to do. And, what I have learned Rahul,  over the years is, I have my assembly cut, you know, and everytime I make another pass on the film, I’ll start a whole new job, I’ll just duplicate that job file, work from that. Work on that for a few weeks, okay. Then it’s time to make some changes, let’s start a new one. So, by, you know, I’ll probably have 10 to 12 assembly edit jobs. I also do that, it’s an old writing trick, we call it in the writer’s room old friends, you know, how often, how often as writers do we write a scene that we really like, but it may not be right for this project, or it doesn’t work, or I changed something so, somebody’s really great lines don’t work, so a lot of writers create these files called old-friends. They could pull on them later for that project, or create new stories and new scenes with them years later. So, I’ve, I have developed that habit in my editing, so there is times where, God, you know, I really liked the cut of this film, I really liked the cut I had in this scene a month ago. And I can easily pull that up, it takes me about 5 minutes, and then I can copy and paste that scene, drop it into the current job file, and I can work from that if I liked it better than what I have done. Because you know, as you get used to things, you start changing things. And there is the old saying that ‘you don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water’. And you know, sometimes that happens, but, what, what I do is as I get closer to the end, I create my locked cut. Once I know the film is locked, and then I go through, and I move as I said, I deliver between 24 and 30 audio tracks to my mixer. So, I make sure the top 12 tracks is all dialogue and that sound, and then I’ll do room tone, I’ll do sound effects, and then I’ll do music. So, I have that locked print, the audio from that file goes to my mixer, everybody gets the same picture. The colorist gets that version, and there is a composer gets that version. So, all three of these guys are working thousands of miles away from each other, and then you have got me somewhere in the middle. My colorist calls and says I’ve a question about one shot. He tells me the time code. If there is something I have to change, or there is a technical issue down the road, I just have to drop an email to the other two guys working on the film, and they know exactly where it is, and they are okay, got it, I’ve made a note. I will, I will wait for your next drop in, and, sometimes you know, dropping people shots is, is your coloring. But once, once we get there it’s very organized. Believe it or not, it’s unorganized as I am, it actually all works really well.

[00:23:48] Rahul Bhargava: So Shane, sounds like the process of reviewing all these cuts and edits require a lot of phone calls and talking directly with people or sometimes even getting together. So my question is have you looked at any of the review and approval tools that are doing the rounds these days, they allow you to do web base reviews with like a producer-editor combo, or if these tools don’t work for you, why not? Your thoughts on all these review and approval tools.

[00:24:22] Shane Stanley: Did you, did you ask some of the tutorial videos?

[00:24:25] Rahul Bhargava: Ah, no, not really. So what I mean Shane is there are review tools like for videos, especially these days lot of editors I know will do a final export and then use solutions that are like our Media Asset Management suite Evolphin Zoom where they can have these exports be shared with other collaborators, and there could be any number of collaborators that basically will get notified whenever there’s a new version of a deliverable that’s exported out. And then they can go into these tools, the collaboration tools and look at a draft video, put comments and annotations on the timeline.

[00:25:08] Shane Stanley: Yeah, it’s interesting. You know, that’s something that has been kinda new to me, that’s something we actually worked with, on the new film ‘Night Train’, because I, I am working with a new music group and composing company. I have worked with the same composer for many years, so I am still very close with. He’s just, he is too busy and in-demand for me. (laughs) He is doing everything that Hallmark does, he is I think under contract with an advanced company, doing all his productions now. And, I went and started working with a wonderful company called Prima Hales and they do exactly what you’re talking about. They start getting into all this stuff, and, and it’s really above my knowledge as of right now. It was kind of a last step in doing ‘Night Train’, and they had made a lot of suggestions about doing things that you are talking about. And, it was really fascinating to learn how to do that, and I am actually looking forward to our next film, being able to do that from the beginning, to be able to, it’s. It’s kinda like something we have been doing in script notes for a number of years now. You are probably familiar with Final Draft, and how you can put it into a development mode, or a color-key mode, or a note mode, where you can have an entire script, and you could break up the acts and the ledger and then there could be all these beep acts and notes, that are not visible on the script, and you put it, but if you are looking at the script on a computer, it’s all there for you. And, it’s exactly what you are talking about. We turned out doing that in post with workflow, with the other vendors, and it’s fascinating, and I, as I said, I really look forward to doing more of that in future.

[00:26:37] Rahul Bhargava: That’s great now. Shane once you are done with the post-production process and you have got the final cuts locked in, all the elements are there in your premiere sequence, what’s the export process for you? Do you personally export the files and the final videos that are exported, how do they get to the destination that you need them to get to? So, if you can talk about this entire export-delivery workflow, that will be great. 

[00:27:07] Shane Stanley: What happens is, I get a Final Cut Pro job back from my colorist with all the 4 or 6K clips, in a timeline. Of course you go through and you see all of that to make sure of the things that they have got handles of, if there is a problem, you have got 12 frames either way. But we’ve, we’ve been pretty locked up, and not had a problem. And then, I get the audio stems,  you know the 5.1 M&Es, and you know, there’s like 41 or 61 channels of audio that come my way from my mixer. I got the color corrected master, I have, you know, all the other stuff that may be done if there are some visual effects like go on other timelines, and we, try to keep those things separate. And then, I will put out a 2K version of everything married together, and send that to one of our quality control labs. Whether it’s RoundAbout or 2G,or one of the companies we work with. And then they go through the film and they do a QC pass, and they send, all the errors of, of that are in a film, and it’s nice to know when I work with these big labs that they’ve never had a project come without any errors, so, that always makes me feel good. And, you know, a lot of times, it’s little things in the audio that you don’t hear, unless its pointed out, or it’s, it’s, it’s God, it’s a reflection of a, of a mic on a car that’s in the background, you’re seeing it on the windshield, though we never noticed that before, and we gotta call one of our VFX friends to, to kind of scrub that out, or, you know, hey, there is a, there is a wire on an actor, that slipped out at a certain part of the scene when they got up from the chair, and we never noticed it. Once they point these things out, you can’t not see them. And, so, we have to call the VFX guy again, say hey, can you, fortunately my colorist Michael Blue is very good at VFX, so he kind of handles both those things for us. Once we get everything together and it passes QC and I am able to do it in-house, I will do and I’ll put in 4K on the Adobe, and then just do a 5.1 or stereo audio out. And, I’ll send that back to my lab, and the lab will marry everything together, and they’ll find the home for the audio tracks, and all those splits, and they’ve got everything, and our distributor sales agent works in conjunction with us in the lab and they just, they pull what they need when they need it for every territory, and it’s out of my hands.

[00:29:20] Rahul Bhargava: Okay, so once all this process is completed, I wanted to understand what’s your archiving strategy. You have all this great footage that you have shot and I’m sure you want to preserve that for the future. You know, you might encounter a situation where you have to search through all this footage perhaps to locate a B-roll that you can reuse so how do you archive it all?

[00:29:48] Shane Stanley: You know, that’s, that’s a great question that bothers a lot of people. Because I have 2 copies of everything that I keep with me at home. I literally have mirrored everything here at home. All the essential finished films and everything are on the cloud. I have 4 hard drives for every film, and that includes raw footage, and all the edit files, and everything in between. I have a duplicate copy of everything at one of my producer’s homes. And I have a duplicate copy of everything I keep at my parent’s house. And there is a duplicate copy of everything at the lab. So, when all is set and done Rahul, there are four places that have exact replicas of every file. I am just a firm believer of God, forbid your house burns down, or you get held for ransom, you can pick up the phone and meet somebody and they’ll give you a drive and you’ll never miss a beat.

[00:30:45] Rahul Bhargava: Okay, yeah, all that redundancy, that’s fantastic Shane. So clearly you are thinking about disaster scenario. So my question is, is any of this footage that you are shooting also getting copied into, say a cloud storage for even more redundancy or you’re finding that the cost of storing in the cloud is too cost prohibitive, or these files are just simply too large for you to stream them into the cloud?

[00:31:16] Shane Stanley: Yeah, the, the raw footage is too big, you know, 20 terabytes a film shot is too much, but as I said, I have, I have 2 copies of the raw, at, at, with me. I have one copy at the lab, I have one copy with the producer partner, and I have one copy at my parents’. I, I spend a lot of money on, on big drives. You know, these drives are not cheap. So, we’ve got, you know, every film when we are done ends up with 4 or 5, 24 terabyte drives that are just storing media, and, and I, and I do go around and pull those drives every 6 months and spin them, so I know that they work. Or, if, if somebody who has them is capable, I’ll say, Hey, 6 months is up, do me a favor, pull those drives out, take an hour, plug them all in, fire them up, get’em going. You know, so those drives don’t die, we know they work.

[00:32:06] Rahul Bhargava: Right. So Shane, eventually these disk drives are going to die. It may not happen in the first couple of years but say 5-10 years from now they will die.

[00:32:19] Shane Stanley: Don’t say that (laughs), no.

[00:32:23] Rahul Bhargava: And you’ve been doing this long enough. So I’m sure you must have encountered scenarios where the drive started giving you errors but I suppose you have copies, and that help basically get you out of sticky wickets.

[00:32:38] Shane Stanley: Yep, copies. And, and what I do to address that. The minute I have a drive that goes bad, I’ll replace it, I’ll say, Oh shoot, this drive died, it’s got 20 terabytes of media. Well, I told ya, I keep two of each at my home. I, I just, I’d go get another drive. And I, I take the one that still works fine, and I mirror it, I clone it, and then I dispose the drive that failed.

[00:33:02] Rahul Bhargava: Alright, I think you’ve got that worked out. So Shane, this might be a good time to segway into your book and specifically the chapter where you discuss what not to do in post-production. 

[00:33:18] Shane Stanley: Sure. Do you want me to start, or do you wanna, do you wanna ask? 

[00:33:24] Rahul Bhargava: I know, I would actually love to get your own thoughts on what are the things that one should avoid in post-production?

[00:33:32] Shane Stanley: Well, you know, as I talked about in the book Rahul, as an independent filmmaker, every dime counts. You know, when I do an independent film, you’ve gotta make every dollar basically cover 3 to 5. And, you know, when you are doing a studio project you have, you know, as we call them, we call it in-house’s endless resources. So, even when I do a studio film, or a network project, I go in with the same mindset – How do we save money? And, and when you work with the network or studio, they give you a list of deliverables before you start making the movie. It’s like I’m, I’m doing a film right now with the studio, we start shooting in March. They’ve already sent me the deliverables list, like this is exactly what you have to deliver. And I look at that, and I say, Okay, it’s an elaborate list, I get it. But when you’re making an independent film, you don’t know unless you have pre sold that, you don’t know where that film is gonna end up. If that film ends up on Amazon, and, or a couple of streaming platforms, they’re just gonna require a stereo or a 5.1, you know, mix with, believe it or not, most cases a 10-80, a 2K output. What I tryna talk about in that chapter, the book, what not to do in post, is I see so many times independent filmmakers, they get their hands on these studio deliverable lists. And, those deliverables take time, and more importantly, they cost a lot of money. When you need to get a fully-filled 5.1 or a 7.1 M&E, Music and Effects deliverable for international, and you have to deliver 4K, and you have to deliver your film with an E&O policy of 3 to 5 million dollars. That policy kicks in when you buy it. And, a lot of filmmakers buy it early, before they have a deal. And, it could take them a year to, to actually not only get a deal, but for the film to come out. Well, that’s a year or two of time on a three year policy, that you just lost. So, we do a basic E&O policy to protect our investors and our locations, and ourselves, when we do a film. And, we don’t, we don’t kick in the post-production side of that, until we have a deal, or we’ll just buy a new policy when the time is right. And, I really emphasize this because I consult a lot of independent filmmakers, and so many of them have all these deliverables they’ve spent, I, I actually consulted with a fellow who spent $80,000 on deliverables for his film that he never needed. And, I, that is, you know, when you are making independent films that are anywhere between three hundred and a million dollars, eight thousand dollars is a big chunk of change. And worse, some of these guys and girls are buying this E&O package for their post, you know, before they start making their movie, they don’t realize that this E&O is really what’s gonna be needed when you exploit the film two years, or a year and a half from now. And, they’re gonna need to see that this policy has 3 to 5 years in it, not 18 months. So, what I try to emphasize is, is that, I get, you know a lot of independent filmmakers have illusions of grandeur when it comes to music. They don’t realize what music costs, they build films around original songs, that they assume, that they can get the rights to. Dealing with these major record labels, and some of the publishing companies that hold the rights to well-known songs. Some of these songs, you aren’t even, you’re not even gonna get considered unless you could show that you could burn up $200,000, for a song. And that’s just for the, for the master use. You know the recording, you know the sync rights from a label, but that doesn’t include the permission for who, who holds the rights to the song. So, these are the kind of things I like to talk about. But it really goes into the mix and the output of what you do in the audio. We do a 5.1 US North American deliverable, that’s what my mixer and I do. If we, if we need a fully filled M&E, that’s a great problem to have, and, and fortunately, we do need that, our films go out internationally. But, a lot of new filmmakers don’t have those kind of outputs. So, they are spending an extra 8 or 10 grand, 12 grand, putting together these deliverables so they have it, and then they make a deal for nothing, and then they put their film on Amazon, and they have all the stuff they’re never gonna need, that they spend all this money upfront for.

[00:37:56] Rahul Bhargava: Okay that makes sense. So Shane at Evolphin here, we are really passionate about post-production and how to create technology that streamlines the process. So with all your experience, what are some of the pearls of wisdom that you would like to share with technology developers like us that we can basically utilize to improve the tools, improve the technology and in the end help you and your crew with the film-making and post-production process.

[00:38:29] Shane Stanley: Well, I’ll take, I take a lot of pride in something that somebody was smart enough to ask me that one day, about 20-25 years ago, I went to NAB, you know the big, the convention they have, I’m sure you go every year. And I was really getting into D/Vision, I don’t know if you remember the D/Vision PC based, non-linear, it was Avid or D/Vision. And when you are an independent filmmaker, you can’t afford the $60,000 Avid, so we all did the $12,000 D/Visions. And they had, they had these really, you know, you have the built-in dissolves and film effects, you know, fade-ins, fade-outs, did the blacks, dissolves. And I remember, because I am such an audio guy come from a music background also, and I’m really, really into mixing my audio, and, I remember telling a guy at D/Vision, you have to find a way to do those kinda fades that you do with picture to audio, and he thought I was crazy. And then I saw the guy the next year NAB and he remembered me and he said, “Dude, we’re, we worked on this, you have to come check this out”. So, I say that story to say that I hold a lot of value in the question you are asking, because, I, I made a suggestion to somebody who wants it, they worked on it and it became something, so, I am sure I am not the only person who wanted it, but it was something I was able to talk to a developer directly about. You know, as a, as a filmmaker, I don’t understand a lot of the crashing that happens, and when you have crashes and you call Adobe, or you call certain companies, they really have answers. And I know there is always ghosts in the machine, I understand that things happen. I, I wish, you know, I feel like everybody is siloed. You touched on earlier, Rahul, that I am a teacher, and I, I do a lot of work with the film schools, and, and universities around the country. One thing that we try to do is we break through the departments, we, we try to involve the camera crew with the writing and production classes. We, I really encourage the film schools to reach out to the drama departments, because these schools have great departments. But they don’t work together usually. I say that because I feel like, if, if Adobe or Avid or whoeverLlightworks is, is, if they could be more, more fluid with their working relationship with Apple, the PC, you know companies that are making, you know whoever, whatever people are using, I’m, I am a MAC guy, so whatever they are. And, even the, the companies that, you know like Black Magic that owns the coloring software that we use, I am drawing a blank on the name. I feel like everybody is kind of in their own world, but we all have to, we all have to find a way to work together. But, everybody’s got a pull from different camera companies, edit software, computers, what is the file output, is, is our audio guy working in, is he working in Pro Tools, or is he working in Logic, and, and it just, and DaVinci, and all these other ones. And I just wish everybody could put their guard down and work together and say, look, people are gonna make their own choices with what they feel comfortable. Look, I have a great relationship with Canon. I get offered RED, Arrie, and Sonys all the time. I choose Canon because of the success we have had, and the way it works for me. Sometimes, that works out really well, and sometimes it’s got its buggables. You know there is times where our dailies have to be confirmed in Canon software, there is certain issues to get it to work in certain workflows. I just wish we could pick and choose who and what we wanted to work with. And, from, from beginning, middle, and end, there wasn’t all these different things that we had to, these hurdles to avoid. I’ll spend days sometimes if my mixer can’t work at Pro Tools at his studio, and he’s like “I gotta, I gotta go work at a different system. I need you, you gotta send me some different deliverables”. It take me couple of days to figure that out. And I just wish everything could just, kinda work together. I know that’s probably a very big ask, but that’s how I feel.

[00:42:31] Rahul Bhargava: No, that’s, that’s a very important point, and as a vendor that works in the space Media Asset Management, I see a lot of opportunities frankly for companies that are not, let’s say the camera companies or tool companies like Adobe or Avid. Instead, companies that can glue all these disparate tools and steps together to make the whole media orchestration flow exactly like you were talking about, and by the way it’s not easy because with videos there’s a lot of complexity. There are resolutions, there are variety of codex, there are delivery formats and personally having worked in this field as a technology developer for the last 8 to 10 years, I find that media management is one of the hardest nut to crack, especially with the with the complexity of interoperability that you are Shane alluding to versus many other technical realms, where for example, the file sizes might be really trivial. And in those fields you don’t have to worry about hundreds of terabytes to manage or archive or push to the cloud or to various delivery channels. So, I think media asset management and orchestration is pretty challenging. But then that’s where the opportunities are for companies like ours to come in that space and fill the void. 

[00:44:07] Shane Stanley: Well, yeah, that’s exactly it. It’s, it’s just frustrating. A lot of times I’ll have audio companies call me and say “what’re you working on?, like, what edit system are you on?,” We’re on Adobe. Oh, we have to check in to some of these deliverables before you deliver anything to us, you know. And, it’s, it’s sometimes very frustrating. And I just, I just wish there was a way everybody could just, put, put it, you know, put their guns down, to look, you have a successful company, we have a successful company. It’s important that people can, people are gonna pick and choose what they wanna use. Let’s all work together to make a simple thing for everybody. And, and, that’s, that’s it. You know I just wish there was more fluidity between the companies working together, and it’s not even just camera company or camera company, it’s often a camera company and Adobe, camera company and, and Avid, or Avid dumping  into DaVinci, and DaVinci dumping back into Adobe for final output. I mean, sometimes people have different machines, and different ways they like to work, and, you know, I know when I colored, when we colored Double Threat last year, my colorist that I worked with wasn’t available, so my cinematographer Joel Logen actually colored the film. He did a great job. Joel has colored a lot of commercials and music videos, and he said I’ve, I’ve never colored a film, I’ll color it for you, let’s do it together. Joel works solely on PC, and Joel lives about 70 miles from me. I think we had 2 or 3 trips to his place that were completely useless, waste of time, because of some issues with software and drives talking to each other. And, these are drives that, you know, we, we’ve saved everything on our hard drives, you know we do it. I forget what its called there is a setting you format your drive to so, it’s, it’s universal to MAC and to PC. We, we do all that, it didn’t matter. There were still, there were still a lot of bugs that we had to work out, from my cut going from Adobe and MAC, to taking those jobs and putting them in his PC. And him dropping those then into DaVinci and being able to color. There was a lot of wasted time.

[00:46:12] Rahul Bhargava: Yeah. I really hope the situation gets better for filmmakers like you, Shane. Because I feel in the next few years the camera formats are going to get more complex, and resolution will keep on increasing. So some of the challenges that you are talking about are only going to get bigger. I mean, today, you’re working with 4K and a bit of 8K, maybe one of these days, we’ll be working on 16K or even 32K.

[00:46:42] Shane Stanley: We will. We will be. And, and, and that’s a great point that you bring up, Rahul, because everybody is so interested in having that next big toy. Or, as I like to call it the shiny new ball. And in my world it was 4K, that it was oh my God, we are going to 5, and then it was 6, and while we were on 6, we heard 8’s coming, and now 8 is here. And, everybody is so worried about dealing with the next shiny ball of resolution, let’s, let’s take a step back and realize there are still a lot of, we gotta have a lot more collaboration in different softwares and computers, and, and in mediums to, to let’s perfect some of these things beforewe  just keep jumping up in resolutions.

[00:47:17] Rahul Bhargava: Yeah, that’s a great advice for technology builders like us. And thank you for that Shane. So, now we’re coming to the close of this podcast episode. Any final advice for new post-production editors, supervisors, who are trying to get into the filmmaking field?

[00:47:37] Shane Stanley: Yeah. What’s really cool is, nowadays there is no excuse for not being able to be a filmmaker, if you want to be a filmmaker, if you have an iPhone, and you have a computer, you have the ability to be a filmmaker. There is no big budget hurdles anymore, there is no getting overly expensive equipment to be able to, to learn the craft, and I just, you know, I tell people, do whatever you can, editing is so important, you know, for me, when I decided I was gonna be a filmmaker, my father said “get your butt near a Bay, 5 to 10 years minimum. I spent 7-8 years cutting whatever I could get my hands on, whether, I went around to my neighbors and knocked on doors, and put flyers in their mailbox, and said “hey, if you took a summer vacation on a cruise, or you took a ski trip with the family, let me edit your home video, and turn it into a really nice one hour video for you”. And I did it, I used to do those for free, just to learn the craft, you know. Just because you can put two shots together, and throw dissolve and, and put some music under, doesn’t make you a filmmaker. There is a craft, there is, there is story, and arc, and so many things of building scenes, and tempo, and timing of a, of a show. I just wish people would, of course it seems everybody comes out of film schools, knowing how to push buttons, but there is a great divide in knowing the craft of storytelling in filmmaking from the edit bay, and, I guess going against your grain and your brand, yes you have to know how to use the, the equipment, but instead of just learning how to use the equipment, learn what that equipment is made for, and that storytelling, and learn how to tell story.

[00:49:15] Rahul Bhargava: Thank you, Shane. It’s been great talking with you and again we are very grateful for you joining our podcast today. We learnt a lot about filmmaking and especially post-production. And that’s something very dear to our audience. So, thank you.

[00:49:32] Shane Stanley: Rahul, thanks for having me. Good luck everybody. Thank you.

[00:49:46] Laura: Well, that’s it for this episode. Thank you for being here. We hope you enjoyed this episode. If you have any questions you want answered on our podcast, don’t forget to visit https://evolphin.com/ask.