Kevin Horek: Welcome back to the show.
Today we have Robert Reinhardt.
He's a video solutions architect
and he's a contributing editor
to Streaming Media Magazine.
Robert, welcome to the show.
Robert Reinhardt: Thank
you for having me, Kevin.
Kevin Horek: excited to
have you on the show.
You've done a tremendous amount of stuff
and after we chatted, I don't know, a
few weeks ago before we were recording,
I, I realized that I've actually read.
A bunch of your flash books
from, from back in the day.
I like went back in my old box
from college and like I found a
bunch of them and I was like, that.
Robert Reinhardt: feel, I knew I had
these, but I didn't wanna mention it
until I validated that I had them.
Well, thank you, thank
you for buying them.
Uh, you, you probably helped me
through, uh, a little bit of, uh,
strife in the early days there.
Kevin Horek: Sure.
So before we get into kind of what
you're doing today, maybe let's start
off with your background and, and kind
Robert Reinhardt: of where you grew.
Uh, I'm an orig originally from St.
Louis, Missouri in the States.
Uh, and, uh, yeah, grew
up in the suburbs there.
And, uh, did you want me to
go in education too right now?
And so, um, I was a little all over
the place when I first started out.
I was originally pre-med, went to school
at Case Western Reserve University in
Cleveland and ended up long story shorter.
I, uh, studied film and photography
at Berson University, uh, in Toronto.
And, uh, the, that experience really
changed the course of my life, uh,
going into more media, media production.
Kevin Horek: Interesting.
So how did you make that transition?
Because it's quite different than,
you know, going into medicine.
You know, I,
Robert Reinhardt: I think I was
raised in a conservative Catholic
family and always sort of felt I
had to follow a certain path, right?
I mean, it's, uh, I, I went to
Catholic schools my whole life and I
went to an all boys private school in
high school, and they all groom you
to be, you know, lawyers, doctors,
all those kind of, you know, stable
professions that make you money.
And, uh, and so, you know, I sort of
went along with that script and, uh,
uh, you know, not to get too deep
into it, but my dad was diagnosed
with cancer when I was 8 18, 20 17.
And he, uh, he passed away when I was 19.
So I was a year in the university.
And when he passed away, it really sort
of gave me, uh, a little bit of, uh,
Insight into just why I was interested
in doing the things that I did.
And I'd always had an interest
in photography and media.
I, I was, uh, an editor of
my high school newspaper.
I did a lot of darkroom work
with black and white photography.
I did whatever video I could do.
Back then, it was, you know, in the, in
the eighties, there wasn't a whole lot
that you could do without expensive gear.
You had to have, uh, um, you know, you
were lucky if you had S V H S and, and,
you know, any kind of like, uh, you know,
there were, there wasn't even anything
like a non-linear editor out there.
And so, uh, I feel really fortunate
again, that I've grown up sort
of in an analog age that turned
into a very, very digital age.
And none of the.
None of the analog techno technology that
I grew up with is really in play anymore.
I mean, who uses film anymore?
I mean, I, I, you know, so anyway, you
know, so that I, you know, again, um, you
know, turning, uh, lemons into lemonade.
When, when my dad passed away
from cancer, I, I really sort
of made a bet with myself.
I, I had, I was doing
more and more photography.
It was probably art therapy
for me at the time, and.
Ryerson had an accelerated program at
the time and where you could finish the
whole first year of a four year, um,
film and photography degree in one summer
on a beautiful island, prince Rhode
Island in, on the east coast of Canada.
And so I figured, hey, if my portfolio
can get me into this sort of restricted,
uh, exclusive first year program,
then maybe I have some talent there.
I, that was my bet if they, if I
got accepted to that accelerated
program, I'd go with it.
If I didn't, then I'd stick with the
pre-med and see where that took me.
And sure enough, I made
it into that program.
And you know, the rest is history is
they say, um, the, uh, so I went into
that program and because I'd had enough
credits in pre-med and math and any of the
other, English I, I was able to take those
elective credits in the full year program
and explore so many different media
classes that, uh, my still photography
classmates didn't get to enjoy.
So I had picked still photography as my
option, but I took all these media and
film classes, um, with my extra time in
my schedule cuz I wasn't doing English 1
0 1 and other, you know, re prerequisites.
And so, um, that again, just
feel really fortunate I had
opportunities like that to explore.
Kevin Horek: Interesting.
So walk us through your career.
Maybe some highlights along the way,
because you've done a ton of stuff.
Robert Reinhardt: Yeah, I, I mean,
I've al my dad was an entrepreneur.
He started a, a family company
that, uh, my oldest brothers
now run, uh, with their kids.
And, uh, so I've always had, again, this
super fortunate, uh, to have this sort
of idea that, oh yeah, if you put your
mind to something, you can do something.
And I know that that's a
very privileged position.
Not everyone gets to have
role models like that.
Growing up, I, my dad didn't really teach
me a whole lot about running a business.
I learned a lot of hard lessons
and, you know, how to spend
money and all that kind of stuff.
But, uh, you know, he passed away before I
could sort of get some of that knowledge.
But the, uh, uh, The, you know,
where, where it took me, I, uh,
because I'd had the me median film
production experience, and I'd
always done well in math and science.
And so doing more and more stuff
digitally came second nature to me.
Heck, I mean, I remember teaching
my instructors at Ryerson how to
do certain things in Photoshop.
I mean, we're talking, you know, very
early versions of Photoshop, very
early versions of Adobe Premiere.
And, um, I'll never forget, I, I
bought one of the very first, or
one of the very last available
Mac clones, I think it was a Umax.
And, uh, they were the last
licensee to be selling Mac clones.
And so I'll never forget outfitting
that with the, um, uh, Mini DV or DV
video capture cards cuz mini DV had
just sort of come out in the late
nineties and it was an affordable way
for people to get into video production.
And so, uh, I mean, they
were still expensive cameras
relative to other things.
You know, you were spending a minimum of
a thousand bucks, which, you know, um,
with inflation, I, I don't know what that
would be these days, but it wasn't cheap.
You know, you were outfitting
these computers with, uh, gear that
wasn't nearly as cheap as it is
now from Black Magic Design or any
other vendors that are out there.
Again, just really fortunate to be
able to, um, have, uh, the ability
to have a computer of my own and,
and a capture card and, and be, uh,
working with MiniDV, uh, which was
tape, but it was digital on tape.
And so, yeah, I remember those days.
Um, and uh, uh, and there
were still problems with it.
You still had to run it linearly, right?
You saw the play your tape to capture it.
Um, and it was all over fire
wire, which was, you know, an
emerging standard at the time.
Heck, I just saw a FireWire adapter
in my case and I'm like, gosh,
I'll probably never use this again.
But, um, I still have it,
haven't thrown it out.
Uh, and so, you know, playing
with media production, being able
to play with tools like Adobe
Premiere and Photoshop early on.
I mean, Adobe had their
act together pretty well.
And before they acquired Macromedia,
Macromedia was moving along with their
product line too in the nineties, uh,
when Flash came out and Dream Weaver.
And, you know, that that just made
them a very, they really had the web
market covered when Adobe didn't.
And, um, anyway, I don't need
to go down that path so much.
But the, the ability to, you know,
do so much exploration on my own,
uh, and continue my studies at
Ryerson was, was just really great.
Um, I felt really privileged to
have instructors that really just
knew their craft there of, you know,
whatev, whether they were, uh, more.
Artists, uh, creative based teachers
or people who were working in the
industry doing, you know, high-end,
um, catalog photography for big brands.
Uh, they felt really lucky to have the
kind of, most of the instructors at Ryers
and I had were, were working professionals
and, you know, taught as, as part of, you
know, what they wanted to give back to
the community, um, that they were part of.
And again, just really
fortunate to be part of that.
Um, I started working in film as
soon as I graduated from Ryerson.
Um, I actually, one of my biggest
breaks, um, and I, I always tell this to
students of mine or anytime I'm doing a
presentation that is really more about.
Um, self-improvement or career oriented.
I, I, I, I start with a
slide that, uh, says my best
opportunity paid me $90 a week.
Um, and that was, uh, teaching at the main
workshops, uh, at, in Rockport, Maine.
Um, I had heard about them,
uh, while I was in school.
I made a drive all the way from Toronto
on my own, uh, overnight to Rockport,
Maine to do go to their job, uh, job fair.
And I was hired pretty
quickly to be, uh, a.
Uh, teaching a ta, uh, teaching
assistant, um, in their digital lab.
And so I spent my first summer right out
of school, um, being a teaching assistant
for all of the workshops that, uh, in
the digital lab that went through there.
And, and, um, as I was prepping those
workshops, um, or rather the gear
in and for those workshops, the ma
the lab manager conveniently quit.
Like he, he was already at honest
with the director of the program.
The director then, um, rubbed
a lot of people the wrong way.
Um, he was a.
Brilliant guy, but at the same time,
you just sort of had to navigate him.
And that guy, just the,
that lab manager was fed up.
So I worked there for maybe
two weeks before that guy quit.
And so all of a sudden, I, I'll never
forget the director saying, so will
you, will you take over management?
And I'm like, well, okay.
So I'm going from TA to manager and
uh, they let me bring in another ta.
Um, and so, so I could focus on that.
So I was running an entire lab
with, you know, probably 20 work
stations, Uhhuh, making sure
that the software was up to date.
And I met every instructor that went
through there, which was, again,
that's why it was the best opportunity.
I mean, $90 a week.
They, he didn't increase my pay, uh,
that director, and nor did I ask for it.
Um, they did actually, they,
they felt a little badly for me.
Used my car as a shuttle to get people
from the Portland, Maine airport,
uh, on the weekends to the workshops.
Cuz there was no easy way.
It was like a two hour drive, I think
from Portland to Rockport, Maine.
And so I actually made as much
money in one day, if not more for
what they paid me to use my car
to pick up people at the airport.
I did all week, you know, we're, and
there were lots of great benefits to it.
I mean, I got, see, I got to go to
the, the tea, uh, the teacher meetups.
Uh, any of the instructors that
were all the workshops were a
week long for the most part.
And every Thursday, uh, before there
was a wrap, there was a wrap party at
the end of every week where everyone
showed off from every program their work.
Um, and, uh, again, it
was sort of like Ryerson.
I, I wasn't just hanging out with
the digital people I was seeing.
Brilliant photographers that I had
studied that were based in New York.
Um, I, I think Joyce Tenson was one of my
favorite photographers, and I was young
enough then I was right outta school.
She even was like, oh, you
should come model for me.
And I was, I never, I didn't
take advantage of some of those
opportunities where I could have
like, you know, uh, followed down
different rabbit holes, uh, there.
But, uh, I just met every instructor
and, and one of the instructors to make
this, you know, a little more brief.
Was co-writing a book with
Linda Wyman and Okay, sure.
I think it was de
deconstructing web graphics too.
And he put me in touch, uh, with Linda
to be the tech editor of this book.
And so I, I, you know, via email
and everything that was available
electronically back then, I established
a relationship with Linda Wyman, who,
you know, um, created the 216 web color
palette and, uh, you know, did all
this groundbreaking, groundbreaking.
In, in the early days of the web when
it came to design and, um, super smart
person, obviously, she created a, a, you
know, a, a very big company, linda.com
that LinkedIn ended up buying and,
and then Microsoft bought LinkedIn.
So, uh, she, she grew a, a wonderful
company that, um, I worked on and
on with ever since I worked on that.
Um, uh, her book and I, I was invited
to tech edit other books of hers.
She, she wrote for new writers.
Um, and, uh, new writers was,
uh, a very popular imprint back
in the day for web design books.
Like every flash creative guy I knew
or um, person was writing books for new
writers as, uh, that wanted to have any
cred in the creative side of things.
Um, so I always liked having one foot
in the creative side and the other foot
really heavy into the tech as well, cuz
tech was where I always felt at home.
Um, And that, that's what led to me
tech editing other books and, and,
uh, outside of Linda's books, uh, new
writers wanted me to edit other books
cuz they liked how quickly and well
I would tech edit, um, those books.
And then they, uh, when I, it came time
to, um, I shouldn't say it came time I
was started to get into teaching too.
When I was living in Toronto.
Uh, uh, I was hired, uh, after coming
back from the main photographic workshops
again, I had sort of another feather in
my cap and I was able to teach classes
without a master's degree to, you know,
and sort of those adjunct programs
that either University of Toronto or
Ryerson had, uh, you know, some, some
schools call it professional development
programs or continuing education.
So I was teaching in those
programs within, you know, a
year of graduating and Wow.
Um, and so I felt really, again, lucky
to have the connections that I had and
then, um, When, and so I started to teach
web curriculum teaching, uh, Photoshop.
And that led to when Flash came
out, I was like, gosh, there's not a
whole lot of material in this book.
I'd already established connections
in the publishing world, and I, I put
together, uh, at the time, um, the same
guy, John Warren Lentz, who introduced
me to Linda, uh, said, Hey, why
don't we write a flash book together?
And so we wrote the Flash four Bible
was the very first book I wrote.
Um, and, um, I wrote the majority of all
the, uh, well, I, I wrote the majority of
the tech, uh, Content in that back book.
And he did the design content
and he had a really great idea.
He said, Hey, for the things that we
don't know so well, why don't we invite
guest contributors to write basically
things that became sidebars in the book.
And uh, and it was a,
it was a brilliant idea.
And it, uh, I don't know if you
remember names like Colin Mok or Yeah.
These people, you know, were
doing great things with Flash.
Um, and Colin actually lived in
Toronto too, which was great.
Um, it was a small world
in, in many facets.
Uh, the Flash and the CAN
Conference, which is still around,
it's just called F I T C and it's
not a flash conference anymore.
But, um, it's a creative, um, and,
uh, design conference that I was
part of when I lived in Toronto
and when I moved away from Toronto.
Right, writing the Flash four Bible,
of course, put me on the map for flash.
And I was doing, I never just wrote books.
I was doing flash development
for, uh, companies in, in Toronto.
And again, I had another
foot in media production.
And uh, my very first film was a
Warner Brothers film called Gossip.
Um, I, I hired a student,
uh, to work on it with me.
We had the program computer so
that when Norman Reis, who was just
starting his career out, he went on
to do Walking Dead and all, all sorts
of, uh, other content after that.
But he, he, he and, uh, a bunch of
young stars were in that movie and
I had to make it look like he knew
what he was doing in Photoshop.
Uh, the, the assistant I hired, uh, he
and I programmed director at the time
cuz we could still do more in director
than we could at Flash, uh, when it came
to sort of standalone, um, applications.
So Flash was definitely geared more
to a web browser and so we programmed
computers to do all sorts of fun stuff.
Uh, so, you know, he could literally
just hit the letter p on the keyboard
and it would select a face, zoom it
in and you know, we just had all these
sequences planned and he could hit
another button on the keyboard and it
would send some output to the printer.
Of course, the printer was already
preloaded with printed stuff, so you
weren't actually waiting for the printer.
It would just would page feed it and
it looked like, wow, that was fast.
Um, and I got to, I was reson.
Not only was I responsible for
the tech in that room, but.
The, my senior project, uh, my
graduation project at Ryerson were
these very large Polaroid prints.
Uh, I mean, I shot on four, four by
five Polaroid Type 55 film, which
is a black and white film, but I
was using the color enlargers at
Ryerson to print on very large paper.
Like we're talking, you know, like.
Three feet by four foot pictures.
And, you know, you, I had always
schedule special access and buy
very expensive paper that I had
to do lots of trial and errors.
So I had, I, and you know, I
had this in a digital form too.
And not many people back then
had, you know, a CD ROM that
they could hand to people.
So I'll never forget when I interviewed
with the director of Gossip Davis
Guggenheim, I handed him my disc and
said, yeah, here I put this, this is
my multimedia presentation of my work.
And he loved it.
He's like, Y you're basically this
character and we're hiring you.
And so, um, and they got me for peanuts
of course, cuz like I, you know, I was
pretty young and, and just outta school.
But that led to great relationships.
Again, I, I.
I know it's hard in this day
and age for to tell anyone who's
starting out their career to like,
not pay attention to the money.
Look at the opportunity that's
presented, and if it lines up with
what you wanna do, then take it.
I mean, and, and I felt really lucky that,
um, I mean, in the end, I, I definitely
made a decent amount of money on that
production and o other work that I did.
Uh, my future wife worked on
that production with me Too.
And we both moved to, um, LA together
after that because that director,
um, and the producer, Jeff Silver,
encouraged us to move to LA and
they, uh, you know, everyone always
thinks Hollywood's this sharky place
and where, you know, people step on
each other and take credit for work.
But those, they were two of the
most generous people I've ever met.
Um, the, uh, and, and they set
us up with other work when we got
there, mainly their own productions.
And so I felt really lucky.
We, we had a direct link to
Warner Brothers, the um, The last
website, my, my, uh, my partner,
uh, snowed out and I worked on
was, uh, the training day website.
And because we had these
connections, we had like really
exclusive access to the set.
Like most people who did websites
were just handed materials by
Warner Brothers or whoever.
The media company wasn't like, here,
here's the material, make a website,
you know, but we, we, we got, we were
living in la we got to go on set and,
you know, take pictures on our own.
We always had to have it approved
by someone at Warner Brothers.
But, um, I'll never forget, there was a,
I can't remember the rap artist who did
the, uh, background, uh, uh, they invited
all sorts of, uh, rap artists to be part
of the training day soundtrack and, and
Snow put together a beautiful, um, Uh,
portfolio of imagery that the director
of that film wanted to show to other rap
artists to inspire them for the film.
And so she had to put together all
this material that basically made
Ethan Hawk and, um, Denzel Washington
look like they were the characters.
They were in this film, even
though it hadn't been shot yet.
So she did some really cool work together.
Put these art boards together.
Uh, they were, I can't remember if
they were called inspiration books, but
anyway, they, the, the rappers loved it.
Uh, and I, for the website, which was
of course a flash site, I wanted to.
I couldn't because the soundtrack
hadn't been finalized while we
were working on the website.
I remember having to recreate on my own.
I, I had a little bit of a music
background, nothing too fancy, but I
could, I know how to read sheet music.
And I basically had a mini keyboard
where I reproduced, uh, the background
line to one of these, uh, you know,
very moody, uh, tracks that was gonna
be put in the movie so that I didn't
have to, um, have the voice in it.
I just wanted this sort of loop
of, uh, the music to this, uh,
rap track in, uh, as the, uh,
background music on the flash site.
And that was so much fun.
Like I am like, Hey, I'm actually
making music for this website.
And they approved it.
It all went, you know, very smoothly.
And, you know, again, I, we called
ourselves the makers because of that
company, and we still have that company.
My, my partner and I, um, We called
ourselves the makers just because we,
we made all sorts of different things.
And that was sort of before
Maker became a big term.
I mean, it was definitely a term.
Uh, we derived it from the fact that
any photographer in the late nineties
that was creative, like, oh, I'm not
a photographer, I'm an image maker.
And so, oh, image maker, like image
maker was this like, sort of, you
know, highfalutin term that was,
sounded better than photographer.
And so, well, we don't just make images,
we make all sorts of things and we are
just like, well, let's call the makers.
And that domain was available the
makers.com, so that, that, you know, we,
we sort of got known to, got known for
making all sorts of, uh, Content that
wasn't necessarily available to regular
web developers or designers at the time.
We shot on Super eight, and I
knew how to transfer that to
video and capture it, of course.
And, and, uh, so we, we just got to
play with a lot of like, you know,
again, we weren't just handed materials.
We actually got to create content
with a lot of our early projects.
And, um, of course, um, right after
training day was actually put on hold as
a release, I think because of nine 11.
And so it was a little lackluster.
We do done all this work to, you know,
put together this training day site.
We were waiting for it to launch.
It's like, uhoh, we're gonna
delay this launch by a few months.
Like, we can't do it right now.
There's too much, you know,
going on in the world.
Um, and that was, um, just before
another, um, uh, economic downturn.
And so the, um, it was our last
Warner Brothers production.
They, they started to cut back on
budgets and did a lot more templated
kind of websites for productions.
Um, and, um, You know, things just
started, uh, again, I, I'm sort of
jumping the gun, you know, flash
eventually wasn't being used for
web design and, and web experiences.
Um, you know, down the road, uh, once
in 2011, I believe it was when the
iPhone effectively killed, flash,
uh, everything, you know, started
to build up again an HTML five.
And so, Yeah, again, just really
fortunate to have been involved with
some of those early experiences.
Um, um, before that too, we did work
for P B s, um, Davis Guggenheim.
He had us to, uh, work for a documentary
he did, uh, for p b s on teachers in
la uh, and that was back in the day.
I, I'll never forget, it was one of the
first video heavy websites I had to work
on where we had to have everything encoded
in real Windows, media and QuickTime.
So, you know, we had to, like,
every clip that was on that site
had to be in four, three formats.
Just, and, you know,
It wasn't great at picking up
what plugins you had installed.
So, you know, we've come a long way.
Um, um, anyway, interesting.
Kevin Horek: As, as somebody that did
flash, you know, in early in my career,
I still think HQ five and Canvas and
it, it's just, it's not the same.
And just the creativity of things
that you could do in flash.
I don't think is, is, has been lost
because of, you know, like just the fact
that Apple basically killed out Flash.
Do you agree with that or
Robert Reinhardt: what are
your thoughts around that?
Oh, for sure.
I mean, I, again, I don't do much on the
design front or content generation these
days, but um, you know, flash was one
of the first Wizzywig tools and I don't
even know if that term's used anymore.
What you see is what you get and you
know that, that was amazing, right?
Oh, I put a a circle there.
It's gonna be exactly where I want
that circle when I put it up on stage.
And I'm not saying there
aren't design tools these days.
I mean, flash has graduated
it now into Adobe Animate.
And again, I haven't
used that in a long time.
They've got other, you know, Adobe XD
and every tool that Adobe makes now
can output H T M L reasonably well.
But there's still this
whole multi-vendor issue.
I mean, you've got Chrome, you've got,
you know, all these different browsers
and they're getting better and better.
At rendering experiences consistently.
Uh, I mean these days, um, I think
it's, it's not as much of a, you know,
you don't have to have everything
checked against 50 million different,
you know, devices and stuff.
But, um, yeah, it, it's, we were
really lucky to have a tool like that.
I mean, Jonathan Gay who created Flash,
um, uh, with uh, Macromedia, I think he
was actually, he started a company, um, he
was part of a company, what was it called?
Future Splash that then
And um, cuz I think the first plugin
was called The Future Splash, but, and
then that became, I guess that's not,
maybe, is that how they got Flash?
I never even thought of that.
The f from Future and Lash, uh, anyway,
uh, the, um, and so Flash, uh, you
know, just, uh, it was amazing tool.
I mean, and I, and I, and I think
we talked about this before.
Um, in an earlier conversation we had,
just how it really brought designers
and technologists together, right?
I really, you know, and creatives
were able to do things with code,
experiment with code that, you
know, other people were sharing.
I mean, it really, you know,
again, I, you know, there's so
many things we take for granted.
You have GitHub and all, you know, you,
you could search for so much stuff and
find, you know, all these people who.
Have contributed amazing
things to the community.
Uh, and, and flash again, I don't
wanna say flash started all of that.
I, I, I think, um, the goodwill though
that you had at Flash conferences, I
never saw at web conferences that I went
to, even at the time, you know, like you
just have, you know, uh, there were still
cliques, but, uh, they weren't quite the
same kind of clicks you would see when
you went to other conferences, you know,
designers and, and, and nerdy programmers
really got along together well with Flash.
Um, uh, and, um, yeah, so
I, I, I feel really lucky.
We, we, we had that sort of golden
age of flash to, to at least
let us all know like, this, it
could be as good as this, right?
Kevin Horek: Yeah, totally.
That's the thing.
And like, I think in a lot of cases it was
kind of like the first big no-code editor.
Like you could build a lot of stuff just
by clicking in the menus and without,
and then it would obviously help
you write some of the code for that.
But at least the early versions, it
got a little bit more complicated with
Access Script two and three, but it.
That to me was like game changing.
Robert Reinhardt: Oh yeah.
I mean, you know, they, and Macromedia
and, and Adobe after it tried really
hard to make components that you can
drag and drop if you were building
up more interactive experiences.
And, um, I honestly think Flash was best
for these immersive creative experiences
that could do really nice things.
I, I don't think Flash was
the best way to get, you know,
to make a contact form Right.
That you wanted, like, you know, and,
and it did grow up into Flex and I
definitely went down that Flex Road too.
And, um, a lot of my developer
friends went down the flex road too.
And, um, flex was really to appeal to
all the Java developers out there to make
it easy to, uh, build, um, richer apps
and, and, and that, and when I would,
so I, when I went to that migration in
my career from working on more websites
for film companies, um, I took a job
with, uh, I, I think my title was even
something like Senior Art Director.
Um, I'm, I'm bypassing a lot of stuff too.
Like I worked for one of the first
broadband search engines that ever,
uh, was invented called ramped.com.
It was ramped with a t I'll never
forget the, uh, the, the c e
o, uh, always saying with a t.
Uh, but the, um, um, and broadband
was just emerging, and so we were
way too early for what we were
building, but it was all in flash.
We built this flash search
engine that, uh, you know,
showed the results really well.
Could, could, uh, integrate external
media well before a lot of capabilities
were there for the web browser.
But anyway, I'm going on a tangent now.
Ramped led me to start working more,
uh, with these kind of, uh, Deeper
high-end experiences with Flash.
And I took a job with a company at the
time, it was called the Content Project.
It then became schematic.
Uh, I was probably one of the first 20
people hired at, at the content project.
It was in Santa Monica, California.
And again, just really lucky to
work with really great talent.
I feel so lucky that every step of
the way, uh, in my career, I, you
know, I, I don't know if it was
Karma, but I just, I worked with
people who went on to do great things.
Um, at Ramped I worked with Sandra
Kaar, who, who ended up, uh,
creating his own, uh, show for
Disney XD called Kick Gutowski.
Uh, he stole a friend of mine.
Uh, you know, we, uh, it, I just, you
know, and I'll never forget, he was
younger than me and I remember teaching
him Flash and, and, um, he, it was great.
At Schematic and the content project,
uh, met some really great developers
that continued to build, uh, really
great experiences for their clients.
And I, I really liked that.
That was the first time that I
was at a company long enough.
I was there for over three years,
which in web years was a long
time, but our internet years.
But, um, And I even work remotely for
them when I moved to Portland, Oregon.
But we, we just had a great team
and I, I was able to navigate
that company really well.
I, uh, I was able to negotiate
a three day work week for them
because I was still writing books.
And so I would be in the office three days
a week and I'd still have this time to
explore side projects, go to conferences.
I ended up becoming the VP of multimedia
applications at, at, at the end of
my, uh, career at, at Schematic.
And, and that basically meant I was
in charge of the Flash teams, uh,
across their offices at the time.
And I was hard.
I, I was, uh, largely, you know,
I was able to wear different hats.
Like when I went to conferences, I
was recruiting the best Flash Debs
that were out there for the company.
I was, uh, able to be in meetings
with all of the big clients that
Schematic had with, uh, we did.
B c uh, projects.
We did N B NBC projects.
It's funny, we had a New York team
working on an N b NBC Universal live
streaming player, and we had a LA team
that was working on one of the first,
uh, full I think A b C called it their
full episode streaming, uh, player.
Uh, they actually won a technical Emmy for
that work and, and my team was part of it.
Um, that's cool.
Um, I think it was Danny Ma, Maddy
out of Seattle's, uh, Disney, a
b ABC office who was head of it
at the time, um, on their end.
But yeah, we, we were building great
experiences and it was, um, so I got used
to being in a role where I could advise,
you know, be part of sales pitches and
be the technical expert in the room,
but also, you know, sort of change hats
and, you know, if I had to roll up my
sleeves and be a solutions architect for
flash dev or work with other flash devs,
uh, on projects, I, I, I could do that.
Kevin Horek: Very cool.
So what are you working on today?
Because you're, you're transitioning a
little bit more into video too, right?
Not that you haven't done that your
Robert Reinhardt: whole career.
I mean, these days, uh, I, I find,
uh, since, uh, again, you sort
of start doing what you want.
To be paid to do.
I, I've always had a love of
video compression and dealing
with different formats.
Again, those early days with PBS
probably got me used to creating all
these, and so FM peg was a great tool.
It still is, I mean, I shouldn't say was
it's, it's increased in its popularity
tremendously over the last decade.
I would say most of my, I would say
the majority of my client projects
these days are people coming to me
with workflows that they may have built
even a decade ago or five years ago.
And, you know, codex are always evolving.
You know, H E V C uh, just
surpassed I think AV one.
Um, I was reading an, um, an article
by Jan Ozer, but you know, for a
while looked like AV one was gonna
be the next Gen Kodak from H 2 64.
But I, I think the writing
was on the wall pretty early.
You know, I, I, I have a, a Soni 4K
BRAVIA tv, um, that I use for, um,
anything from color grading to just,
you know, watching content and testing
out, um, uh, over the top content and.
Tv, um, just had the, the
H E V C built into it.
Didn't have AV one built into it.
I mean, it was probably
a second gen 4K tv.
It didn't buy any of the first gen 4K TVs.
And, uh, so H E V C becoming a codec
that people are now starting to
migrate to, um, uh, more and more.
In fact, um, I just got news this,
this week that we, uh, uh, um, playful
screen, a company that I'm a partner
of in Vancouver was just awarded a
contract, uh, to livestream, uh, nos Rica.
Uh, it's a noster based conference
that's gonna be happening down in, uh,
Costa Rica, uh, on the, the West Coast.
And so I'm gonna be flying to
Costa Rica in mid-March to tech.
Um, the main stage there, it's,
uh, it's sort of an UN-conference.
Uh, I, I should say, it's sort of,
it is an UN-conference, very, um,
informal in how they're putting together
presentations, having the community
be really part of the event planning.
But we're, we're, we're, uh, again, COVID
sort of informed a lot of new approaches
or accelerated, uh, new approaches
to remote video production, right?
Because Covid Insti instituted
all these restrictions on how many
people you could have in one place.
And we're not under, we're not under
any of those restrictions, but we're
using the same kind of approaches
that we developed during covid.
So all of the cameras that we're,
we're gonna our plan right now, if we
have the bandwidth and it looks like
we will, we'll be, we'll be, we'll be
streaming raw camera feeds from that.
Using S R t, which is a new, a
newer protocol that's, uh, slowly
replacing R T M P workflows.
Uh, uh, again, flash sort of started.
Um, so we're gonna be using S R T Secure
reliable Transport, uh, to push, uh,
4k, h e VC streams from location to
uh, uh, a remote ingest on the cloud.
And then we'll have our production team
in Vancouver basically doing the live
feed from the content we're sending them.
And, uh, of course we have redundancies
in play too, so that, you know, if the
Internet's not working as expected,
if we have to do live switching on
site, we'll be able to do that as well.
But, um, It definitely, it,
it, it reduces our footprint.
You know, I basically, the cost savings
we can give the clients that, that we
were able to provide to clients during
covid, we can now continue to do.
Like, Hey, we don't need to
send four people to Costa Rica.
We'll send, like, I'm managing
an entire stage by myself.
Uh, another partner's gonna be managing
another stage and we're, we're gonna,
you know, it, it greatly frees up
my responsibility to just make sure,
hey, I'm gonna make sure we got
the, get the best shots and I don't
have to be responsible for wearing.
Five different hats on site, uh,
to do the life switching, run
to a camera and try and move it.
You know, a lot of the productions I've
done for government over the day, o
over over my career, I have had either
limited resources to run those productions
just cuz budgets weren't as big as, uh,
um, they would need to be to support,
you know, a full team running it.
But, um, sort of set the bar really
high for ourselves to be able
to run high quality production.
Uh, very good.
Typically post-production kind of, uh,
value, but to do it during a live event.
So that, that, that's exciting to
me cuz that's the first big event.
We're, we've got booked this year.
I'm hoping it's gonna, we're gonna just
start to see more and more of that.
So again, and, and that, uh, you
know, f f m Peg was a big part of.
My experimentation with s r t and, and
being able to sort of tweak different
parameters to see, you know, what we would
need to do with s r t to keep the latency
as low as possible, but keep the quality
as high as we could, particularly with 4k.
Um, I would say a lot of productions
are still 10 80 p uh, but we are
starting to see, uh, now that YouTube
and a lot of social media destinations
are supporting 4k, uh, it, it, it's,
um, it's becoming more of a reality
as long as you, uh, and of course like
gear, again, just getting cheaper and
cheaper to get high quality 4K capture
gear that you can, you know, send out.
Uh, I mean, and that's of course, because
now we're talking about eight K, right?
So all the 4K stuff, and it's like,
okay, well I don't know if we're
gonna be jumping the AK anytime soon.
Uh, but, uh, yeah, no, so it, you
know, I, again, you and I are both
really lucky to be living in a world
where we, we get to continue to.
Um, you know, not only learn more,
uh, but just continue to have fun
with the, the technology and uh,
um, as it becomes more affordable.
You know, you don't have to be
some high-end broadcaster to
create high value content, right,
or high production value content.
No, a hundred percent agree with you.
Kevin Horek: It's interesting.
I'm, I'm curious though, cuz tech
right now seems all doom and gloom.
What advice do you give to people
or, or what are your thoughts
on the climate right now?
Because I think in some ways a lot
of people might not be getting into
tech right now cause they're, they're
just scared of what's happening.
Robert Reinhardt: Yeah, I, I think
it is hard to just sort of, uh,
generically dump, jump into tech.
Uh, you know, if you're in school right
now, again, I don't, I mean, I haven't
been going to school for a long time
now, so, and I haven't been teaching
for a while now, so I, I'm not really.
Current with how well
curriculums are keeping up.
But I think it's just like anything,
you know, like, just like, you know,
when I studied American history, uh,
growing up, like it always ended at
jfk, like, you know, we never learned
anything about the seventies or eighties
because no one wanted to touch it.
And so, but it was always
just behind too, right?
And so, yeah, I think universities
are always in a catch up game, right?
Because, you know, if they, you know, uh,
data scientists, uh, uh, you know, that
that's, and again, an emer, uh, field
that's been emerging over the years, a
lot of flash friends of mine went on to
become, uh, really smart and popular, uh,
data scientists with data visualization.
Uh, and the, um, I, I think, you know,
looking at, I mean for me it's like,
look at the opportunities that are in
the landscape still, and that might
be quote unquote recession proof.
And, and you know, there's
usually a way to find something
that your passion is behind.
I mean, it's so funny because, um, I
remember, uh, so again, this is, you know,
a little bit of a tangent, but again, like
sort of just going back to the education
part of thing, um, my, my partner Snow and
I, um, did two Wizard of Oz productions
for my daughter's school during Covid.
We had to do one for
grade six and grade seven.
And, and so, you know, because we
have all this gear and we do these
live events, we put together, like
we had a very short amount of time.
We had like probably three weeks to.
Edit and produce a video for,
uh, each of these classes.
Um, and the, the only reason I'm
bringing up is that when, uh, at one
point, uh, I asked the school like,
Hey, can we meet with any, any, any
class or teacher who would want us
to show how we put this together?
You know, and sort of go through
everything we did to make it.
Um, and I'll never forget one of these
kids coming up to you, like my dad told
me never to do stuff, you know, like,
don't, don't get a job that you love.
Like, you know, it'll just
destroy what you love.
Get a good job that this is a
kid, you know, talking to me.
He's probably grade eight, or, you
know, maybe he was in, in high school.
And, and I just sort of politely
told the kid, I'm like, well, I've
always done what I've loved and,
and have, you know, been able to
succeed as well as I want to succeed.
Um, um, and I, again, I, I,
I, I think I can thank my, my,
my dad as a model and other.
People who were role models for
me growing up to just sort of
go with what you believe in.
And I do feel like right now in my
life, I'm at more of a crossroads about,
well, what do I really wanna focus on?
Like we were just talking
before we started this, like,
what is my LinkedIn byline?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
You know, and so, but just to have
those opportunities and explore
them, um, and not be afraid to try
and, you know, explore careers that
have your passion as part of it.
I mean, it, it's just so important.
I think you, you know, when you see, um,
Uh, again, I'm gonna make a joke about,
uh, my volunteer stuff, or rather, not
really a joke, but an anecdote, but,
um, you know, I'll use karaoke as a, as
a example of how, you know, you don't
have to be the best singer to get up
there and have a good time with karaoke.
You just have to be really into your song.
Like, if you get up there and you're
stumbling and you're not liking it,
well the audience isn't gonna like it,
but you don't have to be a great singer
to create entertainment for a crowd.
And so, as long Yeah.
And they, they talk about that on all
the reality shows that involve singing.
You know, it's just like if you
have passion behind what you're
doing, you don't have to be, as,
you know, technically as good as
someone who's really good, but
doesn't have the passion in it.
And so, I.
That, that's, again, it doesn't
always work out that way.
You, you might have to do some grunt
work along the way that doesn't,
you know, I'm not saying everything
has to be something you love.
I mean, there's a lot of grunt work.
I mean, this week alone, I had a, a win,
uh, in prep for this Costa Rica event.
I had a Windows 10 Box fail
because of a problem that I.
Made on my own.
I, I was swapping P C I E
cards around, and I mistakenly
didn't see that the bios reset.
My, my striped s s d, uh, no, not
stripe, mirrored stripe drives.
And so windows tend just stopped working
and I corrupted everything within 10
seconds, uh, before I could even catch it.
And, um, You know, I had to
debug for three days straight.
I wanted to save it.
I wanted to save it.
Thankfully I didn't lose any data.
I ended up re you know, basically
reinstalling Windows 10 and
building up everything from scratch.
It wasn't my personal workstation.
So, you know, again, I wasn't,
um, it wasn't a huge deal.
But, you know, I, I, I feel lucky that
I have that kind of perseverance, right?
Where I didn't just give up
and be like, oh my gosh, like,
I'm just not gonna do this.
And so, um, I think tenacity and
perseverance go a long way in tech.
I joked with a lot of my Stu students
back at Portland State University.
I said, you know, I, I, I sort of wish
I stuck with pre-med cuz the human body
doesn't change as much as technology.
Mean, you know, techniques and
drugs change that you know, you
might administer as a doctor.
Um, it's a lot of work.
I mean, even writing
the Flash books, right?
I mean, I couldn't just write one
book and it was done like every
year we had to update that because
there was a new release coming out.
So, um, you, you definitely ha if if you
don't have the passion to really want
to keep up with it, you're probably not
gonna last very long in the industry.
Um, and, uh, that the, that's, that's
again, in, in a, in a, as we're in
this downturn as and as it continues.
Um, uh, and I mentioned
this in a recent column.
I wrote, uh, first Stream media, you know,
like, um, it almost sounds contradictory,
but have a core focus, right?
For me, like I know a lot of video
tech, but don't ignore the ecosystems
around that Cort tech, right?
Like you and I have already discussed.
Like, I can have conversations with people
in UI and ux, I can have conversations
with people in sales and marketing and,
and speak tech in a way that makes sense
to other people that aren't tech, right?
And so, yeah, that, that, you
know, Having that kind of holistic
approach to what you're doing is key.
And, and that probably goes
for just about any job, right?
I mean, if you sort of have a
understanding of how your network, you
know, as you expand your network to
different tiers, uh, you know, you can
even go in your LinkedIn profile and see,
oh yeah, like, uh, I'm connected to this
person because of this, this experience,
and that could take me down another road.
I mean, uh, again, I, I think.
Uh, I don't wanna sound like Field
of dreams and build it and they
will come because a lot of times you
can build something and if no one
knows about it, they're not coming.
But you know, you still wanna be focused
on something that, that you wanna do.
And, and then, you know, there is legwork
involved with making sure that people
know that you are doing that and you've
established yourself as someone who
knows what they're doing in that area.
And, um, you know, um, there's all
sorts of expressions, you know, in
industries like fake it till you make it.
Um, I don't think you have to fake it,
but you definitely have to give peop you
have to have that confidence that people
believe you know what you're doing.
And that, that will go so far.
If you don't feel like you, if, if
you, if people don't perceive you as
knowing, um, what you know, well then,
then why would they trust you with
the, the tasks they're gonna give you?
Kevin Horek: I think that's
actually really good advice.
It, it's interesting.
Uh, any other thoughts around.
Kind of what's happening in the
video landscape because everything's
streaming basically these days.
Any advice or, or thoughts around
people, um, you know, maybe
integrating streaming or video into
their startup or their platforms?
Robert Reinhardt: You know what's funny?
Uh, I just had a conversa
when you mentioned this.
My mind went straight to friends
of mine here on salt springing.
They, this has nothing to do
with video per se, but they,
they should have a reality show.
Um, they, they have a company,
Eagle Eye Marine, where they, they
do tremendously dangerous things.
They, they dive and bring boats up from
the bottom of the ocean that have sunk.
Um, and I've helped them with
some of their calm gear, um,
uh, over, over the years.
Uh, anytime there's electronic, oh, you
know, computers come in here, can you?
It's like, okay, good thing I
know how circuits work cuz this
really doesn't have anything to do
with like, software development.
But, uh, they, he asked me, he's just
like, Hey, I wanna start making videos
and maybe live streaming what we're doing.
And it's just like, I know he
is not gonna hire a recruit.
You know, he started thinking like,
whoa, should I make a YouTube channel?
And here I start wearing another hat,
like I'm social media consultant.
And I, again, there might be people who
disagree with me on this, but I was just
like, well, a, you know, mo more and more
people, and again, this is, this is a
no-brainer, but people, sort of, a lot of
people, I should say, don't start at the
don't have the right starting point when
they're thinking about creating content.
Like, you know, everyone knows YouTube
and that, oh, you can have a YouTube
channel, but unless you're sitting at your
computer for a long period of time, you
don't necessarily, uh, Have the privilege
of going through and even keeping up
with channels you've subscribed to.
We all have busy lives and I, um, and
you know, we are definitely becoming
more and more of this TikTok Instagram
generation where, you know, we have
precious time, precious little free
time, so we wanna be able to sort of
feel that we know what's going on,
but not dedicated a half hour to it.
And I, I was encouraging my, my,
my friends here that run this.
I'm like, I think you should
create an Instagram account and.
Making some reels cuz he's like,
I just wanna make short, you know,
tips about what you could do with
boating to make things safer.
And I'm like, well, just make sure you
can distill that to the time, like mm-hmm.
That you to the limits that
you have on the, the platform.
Like, I, I was trying to encourage
'em, like, not to get too
wrapped up in big production.
Because I know, I know my friends,
they're, they're not, they don't
have the time to sit down and start
editing content that they're gonna
put on a YouTube channel and they're
not gonna pay someone to do it either.
And so I, um, but they, they wanna
start somewhere and if they could start
building up a following with original
content, it does, you know, we all know
we, you know, I don't wanna say it's
a race to the bottom with production
qualities, but thankfully our phones
are only getting better at Better Yeah.
With audio and video capture.
So you don't have to be an expert to get.
Good looking content.
You definitely don't need to know
how to frame stuff and not have
jerky, you know, cameras, uh,
movements going all over the place.
But, um, you know, as you, as we
all know, you can go into Instagram
or TikTok and edit your video right
there on your phone, post it and
be done in less than 30 minutes.
And probably less than 10 minutes
if you really have it down pat.
Like, I watched my, I have a 15 year old
daughter and she can make the most amazing
reels in such a short amount of time.
It's not even funny.
No one taught her how to do it.
It's just like, yeah, this is what I want.
She knows what she's seen.
And I, I think that's
one of the difficulties.
I don't wanna say for, you know,
people who weren't raised with the
tech like our younger folks are today.
It's really just to decide like,
you know, what is your me, like,
what, what is the goal here?
Like, you know, like, is the, is your
goal to increase, you know, business?
Uh, is it really just to give back
to the community and say like, Hey, I
wanna, uh, you know, build something
that, uh, is gonna be helpful to people?
Like, I, like, you know, Nick
is a, a really great guy.
The, the guy who run, um, he and his
wife run, uh, the company that's Eagle
Eye Marine, and the, uh, um, he's a
really generous guy and he, he, Carrie,
like, he gets so upset, like when, you
know, bad things happen to, to good
people and he doesn't, you know, and
if he could stop it, you know, with,
uh, you know, if he can, you know,
Prevent, I don't want, again, sound like
cliche, like, if we could just stop one
thing from happening, you know, like,
but you know, you know, it's good.
Get that, and you don't know
where that's gonna go, right?
You can build momentum.
You can slowly gain an audience
and then you can make decisions.
You, you can pivot like, wow, we,
this is good content that people like,
and, you know, we can make it better.
Maybe they would start to, you know,
maybe it would lead to them getting a
reality show if they really wanted it.
And so, uh, I, I think, uh, that's, uh,
you know, I, I, again, I don't want to
sound cliche, but the American dream is,
is more present, I think in, in social
media than a lot of other places, right?
You can become, and you might
only have 15 seconds of fame.
Or five seconds, whatever
it is these days.
But you know, it, if you create
something that a lot of people like,
then you know, you, you can start
making inroads into other things, right?
And, and, uh, um, Uh, that it's, uh, I, I
mean, I do think that brand influencers,
uh, that's a tr uh, a slippery slope,
uh, when it comes to content creation,
because there's a lot of people who
create really good content that never
really get to that next hump where
they actually get sponsorship from a
brand that they like, or, um, I mean,
my, my closest brush was sponsorship.
I, I, I run a fishing charter in the
summer and I did a really sweet reel
with, uh, uh, like listen to me,
Napoleon dive, I did this sweet reel.
I made a, a, a reel on Instagram
that featured this, uh, line
puller to pull up Pron traps.
And I showcased the, the
brand in it, and I post it.
I think it, you know, it got
somewhere around 6,000 views.
I don't know where it is now, but in
which, for that brand, it's just a small
company here on Vancouver Island, uh, that
makes it, he was so appreciative, like he.
You know, he, he gave me like a free
motor for my polar and really sweet guy.
Like, he, he was just like,
I really appreciated that.
You know, like I didn't even ask for it.
And so I do think that, you know, what
goes around comes around and, and,
uh, eventually, um, again, and, and
that's where, you know, the long play
is hard for, for people just coming
outta school or going into school.
Like, uh, it's hard to have a
long-term roadmap when you're young
and, um, or just starting out any
new career regardless of your age.
Um, you know, the good news is it's not
hard to find people to learn from, right?
I mean, the world is a lot smaller
with the internet, and there's a
lot of helpful advice out there.
There's a lot of, you know, uh,
content that you have to sift
through to find the, the, the content
that really resonates with you.
But, um, I, I think most of us
aren't in short supply of media
that our friends refer us to.
Like, Hey, I thought
you'd like this video.
Check it out.
You know, I mean, that's part of
the, the, the thrill of social media.
No, a hundred
Kevin Horek: percent agree, but
sadly Robert, we're out of time.
So how about we close with
mentioning where people can get
more information about yourself.
Uh, the streaming media and any
other things you wanna mention?
Robert Reinhardt: Oh, sure.
I mean, all of my current content,
uh, is on streaming media.com, so you
can just search for Robert Reinhardt
there, or my column is called the Video
Doctor, and so you can look for me there.
Um, I used to wear a doctor lab coat
at conferences, like a lab coat.
So that sort of, you know,
ties back to the pre-med stuff.
Uh, but the, uh, um, so yeah, the
streaming media.com is, is probably
where I would recommend most people
to, to, if you wanna, you know,
stay current with the, the kind of
advice, uh, that I put out there.
I, again, I, I, I, I, a lot of my content
is r really more for stakeholders and
product owners, uh, who are looking
down the road of stream media and what
they're gonna do with their content.
Uh, but it's also for anyone
who is looking to get into
those areas of, uh, of.
Of, of their career and the
jobs that they're doing.
Um, I, my side too, video rx.com
has all of my contact information
if you want to, uh, look me up.
And I, I always just say,
look me up on LinkedIn too.
I, I, I, um, I get, I, I tell all, all of
my clients, anyone I, uh, when I speak at
conferences, um, that, um, I always offer
a free 30 minute consultation to anyone.
So if you are looking for, um, I've,
I've helped, uh, uh, all sorts of
people who have called me just with
what you ask, like, Hey, how, what's
the best thing for me to focus on?
And so, in a very short amount of
time, I try to, you know, offer
advice to anyone who calls me up.
And, um, and, uh, video, art video
rx.com/book, uh, is my booking link.
So you can go there too, to just look
at my calendar, uh, get a 15 minute
consultation with me, uh, whether or
not you know you have a budget or not.
Uh, I, I am very generous with
my time to people who are,
who are looking for advice.
Kevin Horek: Very cool, man.
Well, I really appreciate you taking the
time outta your day to be on the show, and
I look forward to keeping in touch with
you and have a good rest of your day, man.
Thank you, Kevin.