Michael Kammes, V.P of Marketing and Business Development for BeBop Technology, joins us this week to round off our series on remote editing. OWC RADiO host Cirina Catania chats with Michael about the tips and tricks in his book entitled “How to REALLY improve your Remote Creative Experience.” Our work and personal worlds have shifted, and Michael has all the answers on how to survive the new landscape.
For more information about our amazing sponsor, Other World Computing, go to MacSales.com or OWCDigital.com, where you’ll find hardware and software solutions and tutorial videos that will get you up and running in no time.
For more about our host, filmmaker, tech maven and co-founder of the Sundance Film Festival, Cirina Catania, visit cirinacatania.com.
If you enjoy our podcast, please subscribe and you’ll make us very happy. And please tell all your friends about us! We love our listeners. And, if you have thoughts about future segments, write to OWCRadio@catania.us. Cirina is always up for new ideas!
In This Episode
- 00:00 – Cirina introduces Michael Kammes, BeBop’s VP of Marketing and Business Development. Michael has a new free ebook, How to Really Improve Your Remote Creative Experience.
- 02:18 – Michael talks about why he wrote his new book, How to Really Improve Your Remote Creative Experience, and why you need it at this time.
- 08:40 – Michael explains the difference between TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and why you need to know about them.
- 15:59 – Michael shares some tips to increase your internet speed.
- 20:21 – Cirina and Michael encourage listeners to download Michael’s new free ebook, How to Really Improve Your Remote Creative Experience, and check out BeBop Technology’s website.
I have a dear friend Michael Kammes on the line. We’ve known each other for longer than some of you listening have been alive. Michael is somebody that I respect quite a bit in the technology side of things, workflow, and integrations.
Michael, it was about not quite two years ago when we were at NAB just opening up OWC RADiO, and you started talking about BeBop. Here we are. It has really evolved. You are now the VP of Marketing and Business Development for BeBop. Welcome to the show. We’ve got a lot to talk about today.
Cirina, it’s great to hear your voice again. Thank you so much for having me back. I appreciate it.
It’s always fun talking with you. You’ve got great energy. No matter how tired I am or how little sleep I’ve got, talking to you is always energizing.
I want to talk about two things. First of all, this particular interview—part one I’m going to call it—is about your book. Your book is an ebook, and it’s called How to Really Improve Your Remote Creative Experience. We’ll get into detail on that in a moment.
I want to let everyone know there’s going to be a part two of this where we are going to get into the behind the scenes of this year’s Super Bowl and what BeBop technology had to do with bringing it to you in a way that was pleasurable, interesting, and incredibly well-created.
First of all, Michael, let’s talk about your book. Why did you write this book? Why do we need it at this point in time?
As you know, Cirina, I’ve always been a massive advocate of technical education. Not just technical education, but education that cuts away from the marketing shine that you see in a lot of things.
Here in the U.S., the laws are very lax on what you can say and what something will actually do. It’s been a weight that I felt I needed to carry on my back to demystify a lot of technology that’s out there and cut through some of the marketing shine.
During the pandemic, folks are working from home. They’re encountering technical hurdles that they never expected. They may not have an IT department to assist. Their home networks are being asked to do the heavy lifting that they’ve never had to do before. I wanted to get information out there and make your situation—which is already stressful—be less stressful by demystifying some of the things that would cause you to have a poor experience when working remotely.No one knows better than BeBop how radically the world has changed this year, and the challenges creatives face working and effectively collaborating remotely. Click To Tweet
I approached my co-workers at BeBop and said, “Look, I really want to put something out there that could certainly be applicable for BeBop but could be applicable for every remote solution because, as cliché as it sounds, we are all in this together.” I would really rather see folks have a pleasurable creative experience and have less stress on a daily basis than I’d like to see them buy product XYZ.
BeBop was gracious enough to afford the time and access to some folks on the BeBop staff to put together this document that outlines some of the common things that would cause you to have a poor, remote creative experience but also offers up not only the ways to fix it but also some of the technical reasons why for those folks who really want to get their hands dirty.
I have to tell you, you took a really deep dive with this in areas that very few people are covering. This would even help with Zoom calls, not just remote editing. Any connection that you have on the Internet, you really need this book because you need to check your router. You need to check the syncing. You need to check the speed.
Michael, I want to ask you some specific questions. For those of you who are listening, the book again is called How to Really Improve Your Remote Creative Experience. We will tell you at the end of this interview where to go to get it. I recommend it for anybody that turns on a computer and tries to access the internet.
One of the things that you talk about is our home connections and how do we know if it’s fast enough. Now, a lot of us use speedtest.net. We go on, and we measure, but we really don’t understand what you were talking about with sync tests. Talk to us about syncing and why that’s important when you’re recording something using the internet.
When you’re traditionally editing, you’re looking to cut on a specific frame. You’re looking to put a sound effect in a specific place. No one wants a lip flap. No one wants their product to look like a poorly-dubbed film.
When you’re working with content remotely, when you’re accessing a system that’s sitting miles away, oftentimes, that audio and video can get out of sync. It can be just enough to drive you crazy as an editor, but it also won’t allow you to do true QC. You don’t know if it’s in sync, and maybe your system just isn’t set up right.
One of the tools that BeBop devised is something that anyone who’s worked with film in the past would be familiar with. It’s 2-pop. For those who have worked with film, you always had an academy leader which was the physical film that had the pictures on it, and there was a countdown. When you hit that number 2 in the middle of the screen, that 2 moves on the frame for 1 frame, 1/24th of the second.
On your audio track, on your mag, or your optical, you would have an unframed tone. We would call that a 2-pop. You knew if that 2-pop was in sync at the front and in sync at the end, that meant that everything should be in sync.
BeBop says, “Look, why don’t we just recreate this by having to follow a bouncing ball? In this video, when the ball hits at a downbeat, you hear a tone.”
You can load this video clip up in Premiere, Avid, or any editing tool you’re using and play this. If you see that ball bounce, you hear that tone, and they aren’t in sync, then that’s a pretty good indicator that something on your system needs to be tweaked. That’s when you can refer to the rest of the document, the ebook we’ve created, because it offers up solutions on how to keep things in sync.
This is so important, Michael. Every single Zoom call, I guarantee you, that’s going to be out of sync. Audio and video are out of sync. How much out of sync obviously will depend on your system. I know that I always have to adjust it. If I’m recording an interview or a meeting and I want to edit it, I always have to adjust the sync, so I’m really happy to have this. That editing tool is called—what’s it called again? The sync test?
It’s a sync test. We give you a link where to download it in the ebook. It’s just a low bitrate ProRes file. You drop it in your timeline and then you play it.
If it’s out of sync, then depending on what creative tool you’re using, whether it’s Premiere, whether it’s Media Composer, both of those applications have ways of going in and setting what Avid calls a set desktop play delay, or in Adobe and Premiere under audio hardware, I believe it’s offset audio. In both cases, you can incremate those values in frames or milliseconds and that would get you really close.
To be clear, this is only changing how you perceive where the audio and video are. It doesn’t move anything in your timeline. This is important because let’s say you load up a project that you are working with back at the office but now you’re at home working on it remotely and it’s suddenly out of sync. Now you can adjust it so you hear at the right place without having to bump it on the timeline to compensate.
This book starts out obviously with how to test your home internet connection—don’t use wifi, have a direct connection. We talked about sync tests. You have a section here called Spring Cleaning that I found very interesting. You talked about TCP versus UDP. Can you explain to people what that is and why we need to know it?
Sure. Normal web traffic, when bits and bytes are being delivered to your system, there’s error-checking going on. That error-checking is, did this bit arrive okay. If it is okay, let it through. If not, go back and get it again. Because of that error-checking, you can get decreased bandwidth. Things can be a little bit slower.
When you’re starting to use different protocols like UDP, UDP is non-error correcting. Once that data comes through, it’s not going back to verify if it was right. It just keeps grabbing the next bit of data and sending it to you. That, in and of itself, is going to give you more bandwidth than you would normally get with TCP, but what it also allows you to do is get content faster because the error-correcting is not going on.
A lot of protocols out there, whether it be uploaders or downloaders, whether it be video conferencing or screen sharing, will use UDP protocols because that’s how you get the most throughput and fastest response.
The problem with that is the applications that are using UDP are usually running on your desktop. People will normally run 20–30 applications at once on their laptop—whether it’s Chrome with 50 tabs or maybe they’re doing an FTP transfer. If they are, stop it. FTP is 50 years old, it needs to die. You could be running Spotify. You could be running Pandora. You could be running a ton of applications.
Editors are usually accustomed to doing that, but those have chatter. Those applications are always phoning home. They’re always looking out at the internet for a licensed key or updates. The more things you are running in the background that are accessing the internet while you’re trying to get those frames as quickly as you can to your system, you’re asking for trouble.
The first troubleshooting thing, aside from the wired not wireless, is when you hit Alt+tab or Control+tab and you have all these different applications you’re running on your system. Shut them down. Shut them down now because they’re only going to degrade your remote editing experience.BeBop is a powerful remote virtual post-production platform designed with you, the creative, in mind. You can focus on doing what you love from anywhere, anytime… and they make it easy. Click To Tweet
Absolutely. Before I called you, I got out of every single application I had running that I could spare. I closed down all my internet connections. I don’t have Chrome, Firefox, or Safari—nothing’s running. All the other applications are closed and still, even once in a while, I can hear a little bit of what I call my Skype stuttering when you’re talking. I don’t know whose end that’s on. We both have very fast connections.
Michael, I love this book so much because it really does help us to get the very best of all of these worlds when we’re getting ready to do a recording. I love it. I really do.
You talked about all those applications. We can specifically talk about what some of the really worst applications are other than our browsers, obviously, but then what else is out there that really interferes? Would you say Dropbox, music applications?
Definitely applications that are, as I said, phoning home. Dropbox is a massive perpetrator of this because it’s always looking out to the internet to see (a) do I have a connection, and (b) is there data to either upload or download to sync?
Adobe, I love Adobe but Creative Cloud has a lot of chatter that’s always reaching out. When you’re doing Pandora or Spotify, yes, it’s audio and it’s compressed but again, Spotify—if you have your setting set in a certain way—is going to try and localize some of those files. If it’s Pandora, it’s going to be reaching out looking for the next song.
The other big offenders: Signiant, Aspera, any kind of peer-to-peer transferring applications like Resilio Sync, which is a very popular one for Mac are always transferring data. Those are always reaching out and phoning home. You don’t want them to get priority and you don’t want them to be transferring things when you’re trying to deliver a pretty hefty video and audio stream to your system.
On the Mac OS, should we be turning off Time Machine?
Definitely, you can set Time Machine, if I’m not mistaken, to go at different times. I have an icon in the top right of my Mac that I can see when it starts to backup and I can go up there and skip this backup.
Do you know what’s really interesting and something that I don’t think many people took into account until COVID happened last year? You can optimize your computer system at home in the best possible way. But what no one predicted was that you’re not the only one at home. You have roommates. You have partners. You have kids. Their systems may not be optimized. They may not have that ability. You probably didn’t get a job as an IT professional to do IT at home.
There are a lot of other hurdles that have to be jumped. You do have to address the other potential technical issues at your home as well because you don’t want—just because you’ve optimized your system—to have your kid’s Zoom session or your partner’s video conference take down your network.
What’s really interesting is that working at BeBop, I’m talking to clients all day and I’ve been talking to co-workers at BeBop. You can see someone on the call, when their quality drops or when they start to drop out, all of us in the call would be like, “Your daughter has school right now, doesn’t she?” “Oh, yes, you’re right.” You can see and hear that quality hit when everyone is trying to hit the internet at once and there hasn’t been what we call QoS or quality of service.
Let’s say you take a flight somewhere. You shouldn’t be flying, but let’s say you do. There are priority lines. That’s because they’ve gone through security checks and they’ve done this and that. That’s something that you really need to do on your home network which is set up a quality of service which says, traffic from this application, traffic using these ports or this IP, you get priority. We let you through first.
Unfortunately, that is not something a lot of folks are familiar with. A lot of consumer routers at home or consumer modems don’t have that level of granularity for people to adjust. That could mean someone watching Netflix is actually getting a better experience at your house than you trying to remote into your Avid system that’s 10 miles away. It’s unfortunately not just a one-person concern. It’s the whole network.
You have a section in your book actually that helps us to optimize those router settings, which is something, honestly, I didn’t know about. I do everything I can to get a good connection, but it has never occurred to me to check the manual for my router to see what’s getting priority on it and to be able to change that, hopefully.
It is. Just like us not realizing that we were going to be stuck home with other folks 24/7, this was something that I also realized that not a lot of people were aware of.
We had a fantastically brilliant person at BeBop, Mike Pond—for those in the industry—who wrote that section of the ebook. I’ve had several people chime in and say, “Hey, this is great. I didn’t know you could do this.” It’s good that this information is out there so people can get educated and tweak their systems to be as responsive as possible.
Pretty amazing. Do you have any other tips for us about how we can increase our speed?
Here’s a good one. Contact your cable provider. I know that sounds like a lame tip, but hear me out. If you sign up for cable service through Spectrum Time Warner, Comcast, whoever, you sign up for a plan. They’re going to let you pay for that plan month after month, year after year. They’re not going to tell you, “Hey, why don’t you call in and see if you get a better package?”
Because there’s so much competition in the ISP industry, there are always price changes and price drops. I tell you, I guarantee you, I call every year. I have the operator that says, “Oh, you’re still on that plan? Well, we now have a lower plan and you get more throughput.”
I know it’s another thing to put on your to-do list but call. Call and say, for what I’m paying you now, do I get an increase in bandwidth or can I pay less? I highly recommend you make that call. It’s not a technical thing at all, but make sure you call them.BeBop provides you with the most innovative solutions for remote collaboration, creativity, post-production, and media workflow. Click To Tweet
The other part is that your network is only going to be as fast as the hardware you put in that network. If you’re using an old cable modem, that cable modem may not be able to handle the throughput that your cable company is renting to you.
Make sure that your cable modem handles what the ISP, your provider, is giving you. If not, either buy a new one or—and I just learned this a couple of weeks ago, my provider, after 20 years of having to rent a modem from them when I did, they now just give you one.
When I made my change to my network a couple of months ago, I called and said, “I’d go out and buy a new modem.” They said, “No, we’ll just give you one. Just come and sign for it.” I went, signed for it, and I’ve been using it free of charge. That whole renting of a cable modem, in some areas, it looks like that’s been deprioritized.
Again, call your cable company if you use a cable modem. Tell them what modem you have, tell them what speed you have, tell them how much you’re paying, and see what they can do for you because more often than not, they’re going to be able to help you out.
Yeah. I think you should run these speed tests occasionally. This morning, I ran a speed test. I’m paying for one gig service from Spectrum because I need it. I think I need it. I was pinging at 20 ms which is good. The download though is only 194. The upload is only under 20. It’s only 19.5.
That’s not too uncommon.
It’s not as good as what you get at your place.
I don’t have one gig. I would like it, but I don’t need it. I’m paying for, I believe, 400 down. I think I’m under 30 up. I have to check in with that.
The hallmark of a non-fiber home connection is usually, you can download a lot faster than you can upload. You’re not getting 100 up, 100 down, 400 up, 400 down. You’re usually getting a really good amount down and a putrid amount up. That is good for people who are editing remotely. Meaning, if I’m remoting into a system that’s across town, across the country, if I’m logging into a cloud work situation, that download is fine. That’s fine. It’s upload.
If you are editing on your home system and maybe you want to invite a collaborator, producer, or someone else to see your screen so you say, “Okay I’m going to route that through Zoom, Skype, Teams, or BlueJeans, that’s when you’re going to hate your brick wall because the throughput upload isn’t great. Second, you’re using video conferences and platforms that were never designed for video.
Now, if you’re sharing a PowerPoint slide deck, that’s not video. That’s one frame that you hold on and then you occasionally have a really cool transition. If you’re dealing with a video, you’re dealing with 24, 30, 60 frames a second. That content can have 80% of the screen changing between 1 frame to another. You need something that’s a bit more robust than these pedestrian screen sharing protocols which were only meant for talking heads or slide decks.
I’m wondering why I’m paying for one gig and I’m getting half the down speed and almost half the up speed. I got to check on this. Everybody listening, you guys need to do the same. Run a speed test, talk to your cable provider, check on your modem, make sure you can do what you want to do, and get your system cleaned up.
Where do people go to get this ebook, Michael?
You can get it from BeBop Technology. We are just redoing the website, but there should be a link on there about getting your free ebook. It is free. We just get your email address and you can download it.
I’ve already made one revision to it. If anyone’s downloaded it before, a lot of the things I brought up there were many people like me will have 4 Chrome windows open and will have 20 or 30 tabs open in each. That is a massive memory suck.
There was a great plugin—I won’t name it here—that would suspend your tabs and freeze them, so they weren’t actively using memory or pulling things from the internet. I’ve used that plugin for years. At some point last year, the company was sold. Now, it’s been removed from the Google Store because of malware so I have to go into the doc and revise it with a new plugin that will suspend your tabs and remove the old one.
The document is sort of organic. A lot of stuff in there is still completely current.
That’s awesome. Everybody go get the book.
Michael, thank you for your time. We are going to continue this on part two where we’re going to talk about the recent Super Bowl and everything that was going on behind the scenes. That’s a project that you started with the NFL over a year ago. Here we are, we went through the Super Bowl. Everything went great. We are going to talk more about that.
I want to go onto the hood about BeBop, remote editing, and how you can do it using BeBop Technology in part two.
Michael Kammes, thank you so much for your time. You are awesome. Everybody listening, remember what I always tell you, get up off your chair and go do something amazing today.
This is Cirina Catania. I’m signing off. We will see you soon with part two of Michael Kammes.
- Michael Kammes
- Michael Kammes – Facebook
- Michael Kammes – Instagram
- Michael Kammes – Twitter
- Michael Kammes – Youtube
- BeBop Technology
- BeBop Technology – Facebook
- BeBop Technology – Instagram
- BeBop Technology – Twitter
- BeBop Technology – Youtube
- How to Really Improve Your Remote Creative Experience
- Mike Pond
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- Apple Time Machine
- Firefox Browser
- Google Chrome Web Browser
- IBM Aspera
- Microsoft Teams
- Resilio Sync
- Super Bowl
- Xfinity by Comcast
- Run an internet speed test on your direct internet connection. Don’t run it through your Wi-Fi connection. This will ensure you get your correct internet speed.
- Shut down all unnecessary applications on your computer when you are doing remote editing. These applications can degrade your remote editing experience.
- Contact your Internet service provider (ISP). Call them every year to check out whether your Internet plan has downgraded or upgraded, this is a good way to get a better internet package.
- Make sure that your Internet modem or router can handle the Internet package your ISP provides you. If not, upgrade it by buying a new one or renting one from your Internet provider.
- Instruct your router on what traffic is more important than others. Set your computer as a priority. This will cause the router to make your data needs the most important.
- Download Michael’s new free ebook, How to Really Improve Your Remote Creative, and check out BeBop Technology’s website.