Today’s interview is a little bit different than you might be used to where I’d like to introduce you to the newest sponsor of the Optimize Yourself podcast: Evercast. If you’re a content creator or someone who works in the entertainment industry and you’ve never heard of Evercast, you need to because this technology has the potential to change the way you work and live in our post-pandemic reality.
In the following conversation I chat with Roger Barton and Brad Thomas, the co-founders of Evercast. As Brad & Roger will talk about in our interview, Evercast is essentially the “Zoom for creatives,” a live streaming & video conferencing platform combined with blink-of-an-eye low latency that empowers you to collaborate from your workstation to anyone’s device worldwide. You can stream anything to anyone anywhere, but unlike Zoom, when it comes to live streaming video content, it actually works!
The first time I was introduced to Evercast all I could think to myself was GAME. CHANGER.
I cannot stress this enough, Evercast is changing the way we collaborate as creative professionals, whether you’re an editor like me or a director, producer, cinematographer, location scout, or just about any other job in the filmmaking industry. If you value your craft, your well-being, and spending quality time with the ones you love, Evercast now makes that possible for you and me.
Zack Arnold 0:00
Hey everyone, Zack Arnold here, creator of Optimize Yourself to tell you a little bit about this special interview, which is going to be a little bit different than my usual episodes. In the following conversation, I chat with Roger Barton and Brad Thomas, the co-founders of the company Evercast. If you are a content creator, or somebody who works in the entertainment industry, and you have yet to hear about Evercast, well, you need to because this technology has the potential to change the way that you both work and live in our post pandemic. Reality, as Brad and Roger will talk about in this interview Evercast is essentially the zoom for creatives, a live streaming and video conferencing platform, combined with blink of an eye low latency that empowers you to collaborate from your workstation to anyone else's device worldwide. You can basically stream anything to anyone anywhere. But unlike zoom when it comes to live streaming video content, it actually works. The first time that I was introduced to overcast all I can think to myself was a game changer. I cannot stress this enough. Evercast will change the way that we collaborate. If you value your craft your well being and spending quality time with the ones you love Evercast now makes that possible for you and me. So without further ado, my conversation with the newest sponsors of the optimize yourself podcast, the co founders of Evercast, Brad Thomas and award winning editor Roger Barton. To learn more about Evercast, visit, optimize yourself.me slash Evercast. I'm here today with Roger Barton and Brad Thomas, the co founders of Evercast gentlemen, it is a pleasure to have this conversation with you today.
Really happy to be here. Thanks, Zack.
Zack Arnold 1:40
So I wanna I want to frame this for the audience because this is going to be a little bit different than the podcasts that I usually do. Complete shameless plug. You guys are now a sponsor of my optimize yourself program. And for somebody listening, thinking, Well, of course he's going to have them back on to talk about their product. They're paying him. Let me make this very clear to you guys. I was a huge supporter Have Evercast. And that's why they're a sponsor. I'm not a supporter because they're a sponsor. So I want to make that very clear. As I was telling you guys I was first introduced to Evercast a little over a year ago at the American cinema editors tech Fest, and about five minutes into your presentation, Roger about what Evercast was, I said, Oh, my God, this is a game changer for creative professionals in our industry. And I don't care how long it takes, I need to work with these guys. And now here we are on this call, and we made it happen. And I'm very excited to finally get this conversation on the record.
It's been a long road here, that's for sure.
Zack Arnold 2:34
Yeah, no doubt, right. I think for both of us. We've been chatting offline about how the the post pandemic world has really changed the way that we do business and the people that we're doing business with and the speed in which we need to do business based on the changing needs. And where I would like to start is could you help me and help my audience better understand, who are the people that come to you the most and what is the problem that they're hoping Evercast will solve?
I guess, I'll take that When being the first user I've Evercast, I came to the platform because I was looking for a platform that would help me collaborate from LA to Atlanta so that I wouldn't have to travel there for four months. I've been doing this for over 20 years. And the time I spent away from my home and my family has really had an impact on my life. I'm now a single dad, I'm trying to raise a 16 year old on my own. So living this lifestyle of a feature film editor has really had an impact on me. So I was really looking for something to push back against all of these lifestyle infringement that are imposed on us, both by schedules and expectations. And some of those are needless expectations.
Zack Arnold 3:47
That's that's the way it works in post production where yesterday's miracle becomes today's expectation.
Yeah. And so you set these precedents and suddenly, you know, that's, that's the expectation that you're going to work, you know, 80 hours a day. week because last week you had to do it to meet a deadline of some sort. So I was looking for a way to avoid travel. What I realized once I became the first user I've Evercast is that it is it brings so much more to the table. So I found that by using it, I was able to regain control over my life, because it made me so much more efficient in the cutting room. I could reach out to the director at any time throughout the day spontaneously, and he could do the same with me. We could answer each other's questions, I could show cuts for feedback. And because you're not only seeing the content that I'm streaming to the director, I'm also seeing his expression, because video teleconference is built into the platform. That was a big benefit to me because it really keeps me and the person I'm collaborating with connected, and then Brad was super smart to build in these other features into the platform, like the ability to record the entire session. When I came on later, you know, I helped them sort of develop other features that we have since introduced and will continue to come out over the next few months. But I found that being more efficient in the cutting room method, basically, I got to go home earlier. So it wasn't just about travel, it was about a whole lifestyle change. And I needed a change, especially now that I'm a single dad, like, I really need to be here. You know, for my kid as he's going through these really rough teenage years as a kid with separated parents.
What else is interesting, Zach is the fact that when Alex and I first started building this five years ago, it was more about creative momentum. It was the fact that in our previous company, I happen to be the editor for a lot of our marketing videos and I hated my always uploading video files for reviews, especially when my team was often remote because it felt very disconnected and very passive. And so it was like Upload File, wait for review, get notes back I didn't quite understand what the heck they were talking about. And I'm like, Is there any way we can do this with Skype or zoom or something, and not at the level of quality and consistency that we needed to do it effectively. And that's when Alex and I went down this long journey to try to do it ourselves. And ultimately, we pulled it off where we created this video conferencing platform with super low latency live streaming technology where it was software only no proprietary hardware, anything you can stream, you know, like it is, you know, very high quality, low latency high frame rate. Our goal honestly, is to become the zoom for creatives. I love
Zack Arnold 6:35
it the zoom for creatives, that's a good way to frame it.
Well, in that low latency as an editor is super important, because if there's any kind of lag, it really makes the collaboration much, much more difficult if I have a director and he's saying, Okay, stop there. And then I hit stop, and yet it still plays for three seconds on the platform, that becomes impossible. So when you guys demoed for me that first time and we put it through the paces I really my jaw hit the floor. I'm like, Oh my god, this is what I've been waiting for. for a decade.
Yep, exactly the creative momentum, right you that it's those instant moments of feedback and interaction that means so much to the project.
Well, I was sitting in my cutting room in LA, the director was shooting in Atlanta. And literally, they had a laptop on set wirelessly that they were passing around between the DP and the director as I'm streaming out of my outfit. So they're shooting pickups for the scene that I'm currently cutting. And they're literally streaming the cut live next to the camera going, Oh, I see we need this shot. Oh, we need to pick up this shot this answer whatever it was, and it literally saved the day of shooting because otherwise I never would have been able to get them what they needed to see before they wrapped shooting that day.
Zack Arnold 7:49
I think one of the really unique things that Evercast offers that so many other collaborative platforms do not is the fact that this goes way beyond the Edit room. This Something that's not just for editors to do remote collaboration, you guys are working with directors and set designers and location manager. So talk to me a little bit more about how the Evercast ecosystem is so much larger than a lot of the other remote collaboration platforms.
You know, part of that, honestly, is it the fact that we're software, right? So it's just scalable. It's more scalable by nature, because as long as you have a computer and you know, you might need a little bit of gear just to connect a mixing board or you know, a breakout box, whatever depending on your setup, but for the most part for under a few hundred dollars, and now we just have a new MDI integration where you can literally connect things through SDI and Ethernet for like 15 bucks, right? So it's extremely scalable. And that scale really allows us to go beyond just editing, or you know, music composers. We got some of the biggest music composers in the world using it. We've got gaming companies using it for game development. We have obviously visual effects artists using it for visual effects development and review.
I think the big change now that films are looking for ways to show and shoot safely. They're looking at Evercast now as part of the DI t package, where Evercast can stream right out of the car to either executives or directors or department heads who might be sitting in their trailer 100 yards away, but they're seeing the direct live camera feed as though they were standing right next to the director in video village. But of course, you know, these these crowded settings are what you know movie sets are trying to avoid now. So overcast allows all of the people who need to see the image that's being shot live. See it, but they see it at a distance.
Yep. And it is. It's showing to that even after COVID is over. Hopefully one day it's not everyone has to be on location studios will save money. directors are personally reaching out to us. I mean, it'll be cool to go back into the office occasionally but I live in Malibu, the cutting rooms in Burbank that's an hour and a half for me each way but I am now saving the I can spend time with my kids or I can spend time back towards the project. I think what like Roger always said way back towards the screen or whatever it used to say, back in the day, you know, put all that time back into the project if you need to. So it's been amazing. So what I'd love to know a little bit more about now is going back to this idea of Roger was the first user since then you've added another user to to the playbook you guys have have had a little bit of a growth spurt over the last six months, two years, to say the least.
Zack Arnold 10:27
Yeah. So talk to me a little bit more about who specifically really comes to you the most and what is it that they're really looking to do? Because if I'm standing from the outside, I'm thinking well, I can do a lot of the stuff with zoom now I don't really get it. So what when people are have already tried zoom or tried Skype or tried laptop, or you know, whatever. They're doing some Jerry rigged thing. What's the problem that people want Evercast to desperately solve?
I think we have a lot of people who obviously come from zoom and stuff like that. And it's really about consistent high quality streaming, whatever it is you're streaming, whether it's editorial visual effects, Pro Tools for music composition, LIVE SHOT cameras, it's consistent. The latency is always consistently low, you know, sub 200 milliseconds audio and video lips sync always stays in sync, color quality, because we use some pretty incredible codecs. So it's just a different technology geared towards this specific type of creative use case.
And through the lens of a studio who's invested, you know, anywhere between five to 10 to 100 to $200 million in the project, security is the top of their list, they won't even get near you if they feel like the platform is in any way insecure. So that was our first biggest hurdle to get the studios to kick the tires, to test the platform. And eventually, you know, that happened. Luckily for us, you know, before COVID because once COVID had, everyone was scrambling for a solution immediately that they could trust
Zack Arnold 12:00
Yeah, we already had the agreements with all the major studios, all that all those years of working with them to get through that process. We were already past it once COVID hit. And clearly when it comes to security, and we're talking about things like Skype or zoom or otherwise, if those things aren't secure enough for my wife, who's a third grade teacher, to teach your kids remotely, it's probably not going to be secure enough for a major studio that's investing $200 million. And as we all probably remember, when the pandemic hit, the lack of security and all of these screen sharing platforms and all of these conference platforms, it was pretty ugly for a while and sure they've shored up some of the things but I would never feel secure enough working on something that I needed to share remotely by just saying, Well, I'm going to save some money. I'm going to go on zoom and I'm going to screen share my my record window and avid like that would terrify me. So it seems to me that the security is of utmost importance, the lack of latency, maintaining lip sync and the quality of course, maintaining a certain frame rate Exactly. So maintaining that certain frame rate is really Really important for content creators. But here's where I think you guys are really the game changer. You have all the tech already to essentially be what I've been calling an HD SDI cable that goes out of my edit system to anybody's iPad or iPhone in the world. But where you guys really differentiate yourselves is collaboration. So talk to me a little bit more deeply about your collaboration features, because I don't think anybody has really cracked the code on how to even begin doing this. And you guys are so far down this road already. So talk to me a little bit more about collaboration.
Well, you know, for example, like Roger said, you can record an overcast session, right. One of the beautiful things about a recording engine is that when you record an overcast session, it records each webcam feed and each stream individually. So you could I mean, we have, for example, animators, where two people are streaming into the room at the same time plus two participants, but even if not like it just records every feed individually. And the reason why that's important is because when you replay in every cast session, you can choose what feed you want to enlarge To the main viewing area, what we've been finding from a lot of editors particularly is that they're using it to watch the directors feedback, body language, which is really interesting. It's not the reason why we built it for that. But it's interesting how a lot of editors have come back to us to tell us that they were watching the feedback. And then also, Roger uses quite a bit on Godzilla. But you can take notes through like a chat system, and those notes are timestamps to the moment in the recording. So I think Roger, you had an assistant right or something like
that Rob Molina was my assistant and he would be part of the session only he would turn his camera off, so he's like ghosting the session, right. And as I'm streaming the cut to the director, what I would typically do is run the cut ones all the way through. So if it's a 15 minute, 20 minute reel, the director would just sit by maybe there's a lighting setup on set, and he has an extra half hour, so I just let it run once and just let them absorb what I'm showing him and so that's when I would really get All these great reactions to the cut because I would play that back later. But then what would happen is I'd wind back to the beginning, I'd lower the volume, and then I would allow him to talk over now because this is all being recorded. That means that all of the notes that he is giving me against the image that I'm streaming, when I play that back, I know exactly what he's talking about. There's no guesswork. I don't have to look at my, you know, really bad handwritten notes that often I would look back on and say, What did what did this mean? So it takes a lot of guesswork interpretation, translation out of the process. So whether you're an animator, a musician, if you're a film editor, the notes that you are being given are captured so that when you go and you execute the nodes, there's no guesswork,
and the notes are also clickable. So you could be like, Oh, this is where we started talking about the Chicago scene. And you can click a link on That note and it opens up the Playback Engine and goes right to that moment where the note was taken in the recording, which makes it also you're basically doing active indexing while the sessions happening. I love it. I love it and when it comes to
Zack Arnold 16:11
the idea to going back to not having to worry about the chicken scratch notes and having such a clear view with the timestamps in the time code like I can't tell you how many times I've had these these like darkroom screenings and then I look at my notes I'm like, a 107 facial recognition up and down arrow. I had
Unknown Speaker 16:31
no idea what the heck does that Wait, what
Unknown Speaker 16:33
is that right, brother?
Literally the reason why we created the platform in the beginning was exactly what she's at two minutes and 36 seconds. I don't like the way the hair color. What what I don't get it what is what is he talking like so
or it just says I don't like and then you didn't finish the sentence.
Zack Arnold 16:50
This isn't working because oh crap. next note
now and then you have to go You have to get the get clarity on it, whether you're in a live session where you're getting that feedback immediately. Or you can't get it immediately. So you record the session and you can share those clips with people on the production team where there's no room for any confusion. It's like this is exactly what the director wants. This is exactly what
the producer wants to bring it back. What matters most to me is it makes the entire process more efficient, which then translates to us as creatives who spend way too much time in front of computers. We get to shut it down and we get to go spend time with our friends and family.
Zack Arnold 17:28
Up until this point, I've had a lot of people that have come to me as somebody who I wouldn't call myself a workflow expert. However, when it comes to social distancing. I've been doing it at the Olympic level since 2005. I've been working this way for a long time. So when the pandemic hit and everybody freaked out, I'm like, you guys call it quarantine. I call it Wednesday. This is just how I work. This is my thing. But the biggest complaint and I'm sure you guys have heard this many many times. This looks amazing. I just can't afford it. This is built for studios. This is built for guys like Roger working on Godzilla where they have to hundred million dollars. And I know that's the way that things were. But that's about to change. So let's talk a little bit about where Evercast is going beyond just the feature set.
Yeah, I guess you could kind of compare it to Tesla, you know, Tesla had a release the Model S before they released the model three, both are great, amazing cars. I think every cast has gone through the same thing. You know, we had released the Model S to basically fuel and fund our r&d and growth. So by the end of the year, we are going to be releasing a sub $200 version a month of overcast for the freelancer and indie creatives. prosumer basically right all the youtubers Yep, YouTubers, you know freelancers, indie anyone who is a professional video creator outside of Hollywood. And in terms of what's going to be different about it, it's still going to provide a very high quality stream still going to have a lot of the features that everyone loves. But some of the security features that we have built in for the studios it probably won't have we don't have a clearly defined separation yet, but it is coming and it's been the most requests The thing that we have, which is, you know, please create something for us. And we've listened and we are
Zack Arnold 19:05
well, I'm guessing it's no surprise to either view within when that is available, your lives are going to change. Because of the vast majority of people that come to me asking these questions. What do you recommend? I tell everybody the same thing. If it's in your budget Evercast no question. If it's not now well, then you cobble something together with zoom and a laptop camera and you do your best. And they all say the same thing. Yeah, but what when does the cheaper version gonna come along? I'm like, I don't know. I don't work for Evercast, but I know when it does come, boy, are you guys gonna have people just coming at you beating down the doors for this thing?
Well, the the beauty is Brad and Alex designed a platform that doesn't require proprietary hardware, right. So it really allows us to differentiate some of the software benefits that we provide the big studios, if we can pinch some of those off, you know, it takes takes a lot of development work to achieve this. Because security is really baked into the platform. We're aiming towards removing some of those protocols, you know, to allow a much, much broader audience to have exposure to it.
Yeah, the security side of things. It's expensive for us, you know, so it will still be a secure platform for a freelancer, you know, but it's just not going to have the the probably the elevation of security that we have built in for the Hollywood Studios.
Yeah. I mean, besides the, you know, incredible security that's baked into the code, the entire platform is being monitored 24, seven by nation, state level security, people who kind of work in the shadows.
Yep. And just so you know, Zach, I think your listeners should know that if you go to our plans page on overcast.us. You can sign up for early access. And I will say that we just push that early access feature. I think it was July 3, I'm not going to give the exact number but a crazy number of people have signed up. And what's even crazier Zack is we've done no marketing. We haven't done no social, no paid ads. Literally this all the growth we've had for the last two and a half years has been completely word of mouth.
Zack Arnold 21:02
Well, great products that help change people's lives market themselves. My friend, we've talked about the tech, we've talked about how this product works, I'm sure that there are some gearheads that are really want to dive into the tech specs in the details. And that's what your website is for. But what I really want to better understand and talk a little bit about now, where I want to leave us is understanding the true results of having Evercast in your life. And Roger, you've alluded to this, now that you've had thousands of users that have gone through this platform, what are the real results that they're seeing beyond? Well, I can now collaborate remotely? That's an obvious one, what are they really seeing about the quality of their lives,
I get a lot of reach outs from people who talk about how every cast enables them to continue to make a living during this time. But there's one story in particular, and it's about a family of editors. There's a patriarch, and then two or three sons. And being a editor his whole career, the father really struggled with maintaining a personal relationship. ship with his sons while the demands of editorial kept pulling him away. Recently, he got exposed to overcast. And we were told that his comment to his sons were, if this were around when I was cutting, I feel like I'd have a much better relationship with you. And that just you know, me and my situation, of course, being a single dad that just that just meant the world. For me to hear that.
Zack Arnold 22:27
Well, the the addition that I could put on there as well to lend to my own experience and now changing my thought process of how I want to pursue my own career as an editor, and podcaster. And an educator, is a few years ago, I asked myself, what's next? I just finished Empire Season One, the show blew up and I thought, this is great, but I can't continue this pace for the next 30 years. And I always wanted to do the big time features that was always the dream. I want to work on these big features these dramatic features and win the Oscar someday. And I realized that with kids That was no longer going to be an option for me. Because there's no way to balance the demands of being a big time TV or feature editor and being a parent. But now all of the thoughts that I've had about I just need to give that up. those thoughts are coming back thinking, well, maybe because of Evercast, there is a way to make this work because I can still be there, be there for my kids. So it's not a matter of at their high school graduation, they can say, Well, we've got a great college fund, wish we had a dad. And instead, it can be both. And I feel like if Evercast didn't exist, I couldn't even entertain those thoughts right now. But I can still maybe dip my toe back in the big feature game because I know that something like Evercast exists, which can potentially change my life.
It makes a lot of things possible. I will tell you that. I mean, I'm cutting a Chris Pratt feature from my office that I've been on now for about five months. And I've seen the director in person once during the entire process. We have a virtual relationship and right now because of necessity, but what I've learned through this process is that even when things return to a new normal, you don't need to be under brick and mortar 9100 hours a week. And and for me, it's that flexibility, that whether it's our technology or some other technology out there, I think what we've learned over the last few months is that this technology can translate to better lives for all of us that give us more flexibility and control, while still maintaining the creativity, the creative momentum and the quality of work. I couldn't have said it better myself. And I would say that at this point, I would love to know if there's anything else that we've missed that you want to share about this product, the problems that it solves the results that it helps your clients achieve. And once we cover that, I just want to make sure people know exactly where to find it and how to sign up. One thing that we touched on is where we see Evercast going because obviously you know because of COVID we have A lot of post production professionals reached out to us so that they could continue working during this time. But right now, what we're finding is that as studios and independent projects are trying to struggle to find a way to start shooting, it's shifted quite a bit. And so now there's probably as many people reaching out to us for shooting use cases than there are for post production use cases.
Zack Arnold 25:27
So on that note, if somebody is listening to this, and they're saying, Oh, my God, I'm sold, what do I do next? Where can we send them
go to overcast.us?
Zack Arnold 25:35
Roger, Brad, this, my friend has been an absolute pleasure. I am glad that I was patient, knowing that this day would come and we finally could make it happen. And all I can say is that I am so proud to be just the smallest piece in this much larger puzzle of making Evercast a standard tool. So I'm going to do whatever I can to support you in this journey.
And Zack, I'll just say in closing as an editor myself, I really appreciate the conversations that you are sparking with our community. I think there are many benefits we're all going to see by having these discussions. So thank you. Well,
Zack Arnold 26:08
that that is my hope. That is why I do it. And I appreciate both of you saying that. So, on that note, I will bid you both to do and I thank you both for the wonderful work that you're doing to improve the creative collaborative capabilities as well as increasing the quality of our lives. So thank you so much for being here. Thank you. Thanks.
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The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).
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