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12 2018 Feb

MTI Film Hires Colorist Trent Johnson

HOLLYWOOD—Veteran colorist Trent Johnson has joined MTI Film. Johnson brings more than 25 years of experience and credits spanning features, animation, episodic television and restoration. His recent credits include Columbia Pictures’ The Emoji Movie, Screen Gems’ Proud Mary and the upcoming MGM comedy Overboard.

Member News - MTI TrentJohnson-crMTI Film CEO Larry Chernoff sees Johnson’s arrival as a big win. “We are very excited to welcome Trent to our talent pool,” he says. “He is a versatile and talented artist with strong studio relationships and a passion for the creative process.”

Johnson comes to MTI Film from Deluxe, Culver City. His previous experience also includes staff posts with Sony Pictures Colorworks, Technicolor, Encore and Complete Post. Early in his career, he worked on numerous animated television series, including such classics as The Transformers, Duck Tales and A Pup Named Scooby Doo. In recent years, he has focused on final grading for studio features. His more than 100 film credits include Ted 2, Priest and Race to Witch Mountain, as well as the animated features The Smurfs and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.

Johnson said he was drawn to MTI Film by its diverse clientele and stellar reputation. “MTI Film is a solid company, with great leadership, and the resources to support my studio clients,” he said. “They also are very strong in digital restoration and television. I see a lot of potential for growth.”

In describing his approach to color, Johnson said he is guided by the artistic vision of the director and cinematographer. “I like natural looks and lean toward what the camera recorded and the DP’s vision,” he said. “It’s always a collaboration.”


12 2018 Feb

Fortium to Present Tools and Strategies for Avoiding Cybercrime at HPA Tech Retreat

LONDON— Fortium, a leading provider of digital solutions for film, television and broadcast, will present its latest tools and strategies for protecting sensitive media content at the Hollywood Professional Association’s 2018 HPA Tech Retreat, February 19-23, in Palm Desert, California.

Fortium at TRFortium representatives will demonstrate the latest version of MediaSeal®, its advanced access control content security solution, with the new Live Folder encryption on-the fly feature, in the Tech Retreat’s Innovation Zone. Employed by studios, independent producers, post-production facilities and others around the globe, MediaSeal protects sensitive pre-release media during post-production, dubbing, localization and review, reducing the risk from cybercrime, accidental distribution and piracy. Fortium is a member of HPA’s IMF User group and will be demonstrating in the Innovation Zone’s section for IMF User Group members.

Additionally, Fortium CEO Mathew Gilliat-Smith will host two Breakfast Roundtable events on cyber security. In a session titled Production Security for Risk Reduction, Gilliat-Smith will discuss strategies that studios and other content producers can use to reduce the risk of piracy and protect content throughout the production cycle. It is scheduled for Wednesday, February 21 at 7:30 a.m.

In a session titled Cybercrime is Worse: Here’s Help, Gilliat-Smith will discuss the expanding scope of cyber threats and describe what media companies can do to can avoid becoming victims. It is scheduled for Thursday, February 22 at 7:30 a.m. “Even behind a firewall the threat of cybercrime is real, and every company needs to take the threat seriously,” Gilliat-Smith said. “It’s essential both to understand the nature and scale of the threat, and to take sensible measures to protect sensitive content.”

MediaSeal combines AES encryption with multi-layer access control and security auditing. Files are encrypted at-rest locally, centrally or in the cloud (an MPAA and CDSA guideline). Editors and reviewers can work on media securely, within segregated networks, with access control permissions managed across entire workflows, supported by comprehensive audit trails of user activity. MediaSeal is used on many of the current top TV and motion picture titles.

MediaSeal supports the IMF standard and protects all media formats from Pro Res to QT seamlessly in all editing workflows – Pro Tools, Media Composer, Premier, Final Cut. Ideal for collaborative workflows without impacting on the creative process. Fortium will demonstrating new encryption on-the-fly with Live Folders.

12 2018 Feb

NBC Olympics Selects Avid

NBC Olympics Selects Avid to Provide Content Creation and Media Management Workflows for Its Production of 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang

 Avid MediaCentral to enable NBC Olympics to accelerate and streamline production during Its coverage of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Burlington, Mass. – NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, has selected Avid® to provide content creation and media management workflows for its production of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, which take place in PyeongChang, South Korea from February 8 – February 25. The announcement was made by Darryl Jefferson, VP of Post Operations and Digital Workflow at NBC Sports & Olympics, and Louis Hernandez, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Avid.

NBC Olympics selected Avid MediaCentral® to accelerate and streamline production for the PyeongChang Games. MediaCentral will enable NBC Olympics to streamline its entire workflow, from creation to delivery, throughout the 18 consecutive days of coverage of the PyeongChang Games.

“For the 2018 PyeongChang Games, we need to create, manage and distribute enormous volumes of content,” said Jefferson. “Over the years, MediaCentral has become an integral component to our workflow. MediaCentral allows our team members in multiple locations, across several continents, to collaborate in real time. Having that ability, provides us with the capacity to create high-quality content quickly and efficiently, and ensure we can meet the productions demands of the Winter Olympics.”

“Sports broadcasters today need to accelerate their workflows and maximize efficiency across every aspect of the media value chain, particularly for complex, large-scale events like the Winter Olympics,” said Hernandez, Jr. “With MediaCentral at the heart of its content production and media management workflows, NBC Olympics can deliver coverage to audiences in more powerful and efficient ways.”

NBC Olympics will rely on Avid’s comprehensive tools and workflow solutions throughout all PyeongChang Games venues, including alpine, figure skating, and speed skating. MediaCentral | Production Management will help NBC Olympics to manage content creation, automate workflows, and facilitate collaboration between the venues and the IBC. MediaCentral | Asset Management will enable teams to quickly and easily locate media assets, streamline production operations, and maximize content creation capabilities.

NBC Olympics will also deploy Avid NEXIS®, the world’s first and only software-defined storage platform specifically designed for media, as the linchpin of its production pipeline, connected to dozens of editing suites with Media Composer®, the industry’s preeminent non-linear video editing systems.

12 2018 Feb

ASC Appoints Eric Rodli as Executive Director

LOS ANGELES (February 7, 2018) – The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has named Eric Rodli as executive director, effective immediately. In his new role, Rodli will be responsible for driving initiatives that uphold the mission of the organization – to advance the art and science of cinematography – and creating a supportive community for its members.

Eric Rodli, ASC

Eric Rodli, ASC

Rodli, an ASC associate member since 2001, has served six years as co-chair of the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council’s Cinema Display Committee, dedicated to exploring new technologies and providing guidance on enhancing the moviegoing experience in service to the filmmaker’s creative intent. He co-authored the committee’s 2016 white paper, “Cinema Display Evaluation Plan and Test Protocol,” which explores the key image quality parameters of dynamic range, color space and overall luminance, as well as suggesting testing parameters. Rodli also has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Task Force on Content Preservation, and has participated in numerous industry panels ranging on topics from digital media distribution to projection.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Eric’s caliber propelling the vision of our organization to new levels,” says ASC President Kees van Oostrum. “As the ASC nears its 100th anniversary, it’s important that we build on the legacy of our founders and continue to support the membership creatively, as well as encourage and educate the next generation of cinematographers. Eric has both the industry and creative relationships to augment our efforts.”

Rodli’s career includes extensive experience as an executive in the entertainment technology industry with management roles in start-ups and large corporations. He served as president at Iwerks Entertainment, Bexel and Kodak’s motion picture film division, and most recently as CFO of BeBop Technologies. Rodli has worked on numerous creative and technical initiatives across multiple industry sectors, dating back to pioneering the use of the first generation of HD cameras, as well as 3D projection, digital streaming technology, and laser projection systems. His strategic and hands-on experience in the imaging chain has fueled his belief that technology should serve the artist.

“I’m honored to be on board at the ASC to cultivate the progress of artists whom I admire for their outstanding contributions to so many indelible images,” says Rodli. “Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to work with many cinematographers in various capacities and am constantly awestruck by their impactful aptitude, techniques and creativity. I look forward to working with the board and advocating for the members.”

Focused on education, the ASC hosts many programs, including the ASC Master Classes, Student Heritage Awards, Coffee and Conversation Q&As with cinematographers, and panel discussions by the Education and Outreach Committee. The award-winning efforts of the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council (MITC) since 2003 have shaped the standards and practices of cinematography for digital workflows, with the group and its committees working closely with the Academy’s Sci-Tech Council and SMPTE. The ASC Vision Committee also holds events to foster diversity and equality on camera crews.

For more information about the ASC, visit


23 2018 Jan

2018 HPA TR-X: Everything You Thought You Knew About Artificial Intelligence in M&E and What You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know

TR-X brings something EXTRA to HPA Tech Retreat and to the AI discussion

On Monday, February 19th, make plans to attend HPA’s TR-X, a pre-conference session in advance of the HPA Tech Retreat.  Focused on AI––what’s it all about and what does it really have to do with Media & Entertainment now and in the future––TR-X is your chance to learn about and discuss evolving applications of AI & ML technologies in the end-to-end M&E workflow. The program is chock full of cutting edge information and leading experts who will share stories about the essence of AI and ML. The TR-X AI story will also explore the future of AI through examples of novel implementations, case studies, agents of change, and M&E oriented academic research.

If you don’t want to be outsmarted by AI as it rushes in to your workspace, this TR-X session is an important human learning opportunity for professionals early in their M&E careers and those who are well established. If you are in M&E, AI and ML will touch you. Learn about it before it becomes a core business process.

23 2018 Jan

Pixelogic to Offer Dolby Vision Ultra High Definition Blu-ray Disc Authoring in Europe

Pixelogic, the innovative global provider of localization and distribution services, has announced that their London operation is the first facility in Europe to offer Dolby Vision UHD Blu-ray authoring with their proprietary Dolby Vision authoring toolsets.

Ron Geller, Vice President of Worldwide Content Relations, Dolby, said “Pixelogic will help ensure that the image and sound of feature and episodic content with Dolby technologies are delivering the premium experience filmmakers intend. Our collaboration with Pixelogic has been very successful, and we are confident in their level of service and technological execution.”

Since launching the service last year, Pixelogic has delivered more than 20 UHD Blu-ray titles in Dolby Vision authored in their Los Angeles facilities, including BBC Worldwide’s first Dolby Vision UHD Blu-ray title, Earth: One Amazing Day.

“Since the launch of our Dolby Vision capabilities last year, we have received increasing interest from our European customers to produce Dolby Vision products.  We have met that demand by adding those capabilities to our London facility so that we can provide the appropriate level of service and attention they require and deserve,” noted Holger Hendel, SVP and Managing Director of EMEA for Pixelogic.  “Dolby has been a terrific partner and together we look forward to furthering our commitment in enabling our mutual customers to deliver superior products to the market.”

As the developer and licensor of the Blu-print authoring system, the industry standard in Blu-ray authoring, Pixelogic has enhanced its proprietary UHD Blu-ray authoring software to enable the implementation of Dolby Vision.  In addition, Pixelogic has created a suite of tools that efficiently manage the HEVC video compression, metadata and QC workflows required for Dolby Vision.  Pixelogic will continue to update and enhance these tools as the format matures.

23 2018 Jan

Motion Picture Sound Editors Announce 65th MPSE Golden Reel Nominations

This week, the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) announced nominees for the 65th MPSE Golden Reel Awards. Nominees represent the work of the world’s most talented sound artists and their contributions to the past year’s most outstanding feature film, television, animation and computer entertainment productions.

“This has been an outstanding year in entertainment sound,” said MPSE president Tom McCarthy. “Sound artists have crafted brilliant soundscapes for movies, television, games and other media. The Motion Picture Sound Editors extends its congratulations to this year’s Golden Reel Award nominees for their wonderful contributions to the art of sound.”

The MPSE Golden Reel Awards recognize outstanding achievement in sound editing in 23 categories encompassing feature films, television, animation, computer entertainment and student work. The 65th MPSE Golden Reel Awards ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, February 18th at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles.

Tickets to the 65th MPSE Golden Reel Awards may be purchased here.

23 2018 Jan

What to Look Forward to at the 2018 HPA Tech Retreat

Have a look at the online program for the upcoming 2018 HPA Tech Retreat, and you’ll find it describes perhaps the most-comprehensive ever look at IMF, in-depth analysis of the greatest potential change in cinema since the advent of projected movies, the many “flavors” of HDR, making movies mesh with all cultures, blockchain for “the biz,” what’s what in Washington, detecting modified video in the age of fake news, and—what?—binge viewing vs. 3D(?!?!).  I can’t wait to see what actually gets presented!

Huh?  As the “program maestro” of the event, I’ve seen every submitted proposal, both the ones that made the cut and the many more that didn’t.  So how can I say I’m looking forward to learning what actually gets presented?  It’s because the proposals, no matter how detailed, don’t always indicate what gets revealed.

Consider an HPA Tech Retreat presentation by Belden’s Steve Lampen some years ago on cable performance.  You’ve probably seen photos of beautiful rack wiring, with perfectly spaced cable ties.  Lampen showed one of those and contrasted it with the worst imaginable pile of garbage, with kinked, crumpled coaxial cable, bad splices, and even unconnected stubs.  Then he showed performance tests.  The pile of garbage beat the beautiful lacing hands down.  Then he explained why (it was those evenly spaced cable ties).  All of that came from a simple proposal on cable performance.

That wasn’t the only time my jaw dropped at an HPA Tech Retreat presentation.  There was, for example, the time a security expert set up a WiFi router in the room and revealed what everyone’s laptop and smartphone was indicating about its owner simply from “connect automatically” instructions.  Or the time an executive from a secretive network revealed its plans at the annual broadcasters panel.  Or the time someone from the U.S. military’s National Imagery and Mapping Agency actually zoomed in on moving satellite images of the Denver Broncos’ stadium and did some automatic targeting calculations.  Or the time everyone in the room got a large LCD monitor to disassemble to learn how it works.  Or the time there was a demo of a microphone with a laser-like cursor-steerable pickup beam.  Or the time there was a metadata breakfast roundtable surrounded four layers deep.  Or the time a movie-chain president said his company had found salvation in live opera and lounge chairs.

So, what presentations am I wondering about at the 2018 HPA Tech Retreat?  All of them.

The fun starts Monday with a TR-X (Tech Retreat eXtra) seminar.  The title says it all: “Everything You Thought You Knew about Artificial Intelligence in M&E and What You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know.”  Last year’s TR-X was on virtual reality and ranged from discussions of the details of camera angles and stitching down to the basics: Where does a VR cameraperson hide when shooting in every direction at once?

Tuesday is the Super Session on “snowflake” (no two alike) workflows, because everything seems to be getting ever more different: aspect ratios, spatial resolutions, brightnesses, black levels, color gamuts, frame rates, etc.  I’ll have a bit more on those differences in a moment.  It was at last year’s Super Session, incidentally, that I learned about live opera and lounge chairs saving cinema.

Tuesday is also when the Innovation Zone opens; it’s the HPA Tech Retreat demo area, and I never know what I’ll find there.  Panasonic introduced their Varicam at an HPA Tech Retreat; Sony introduced its OLED monitors and SR Memory.  The camera attitude sensor used in Star Wars movies, a system for making and distributing targeted advertising, full-color full-motion holograms—they were all shown at HPA Tech Retreats, sometimes long before they were exhibited anywhere else.

One theme area of this year’s Innovation Zone will be IMF Central.  IMF is the Interoperable Master Format, a way of dealing—maybe automatically—with all of those snowflake differences.  Not only does HPA now have its own IMF User Group, and not only will different groups use IMF to deal with different versions of the same content in the Innovation Zone, but there will also be at least three IMF breakfast roundtables each day and a massive international IMF session in the main program on Wednesday morning, with the BBC, the North American Broadcasters Association, studios, networks, manufacturers, SMPTE, and more.  There will also be later sessions touching on IMF.  I suspect even IMF experts will learn plenty.

That’s a way of dealing with technical differences and even such international concerns as different languages of subtitles.  But what about cultural differences?  When I was in Madagascar, I was told that what is considered taboo in one part of the island might be considered mandatory in another.  Yet Pixar’s movies seem to be successful worldwide.  How?  I’m looking forward to finding out.

I’m also looking forward to a range of opinions on what might be the greatest change in movies since the invention of projected sequential photographs: direct-view cinema.  One problem with high dynamic range (high contrast) in theaters is that the screen is designed to reflect light.  It reflects the light from the projector, of course, but it also reflects the light from illuminated exit signs and the light that bounces off my white T-shirt after leaving the screen.  Direct-view screens don’t need to reflect anything.  They can be both brighter and darker than projection screens.  But is that necessarily a good thing?  I’m looking forward to the range of opinions expressed at the advanced-cinema technology session.  It’ll also explore variable frame rates and even more ways of dealing automatically with some of those snowflake differences.

What’s going on in Washington?  What’s the latest in consumer electronics?  The speakers making those presentations come back every year, but their content changes.  If something happens early on Wednesday, they’ll tell us about it minutes later; I try to do the same in my technology year in review.  Speaking of consumer electronics, one of the hot trends in TVs seems to be high dynamic range, but there are multiple “flavors.”  HPA president Seth Hallen has gathered them onto a single panel to reveal what’s what.  Is that enough?  Cinematographers will present their views of what’s necessary in another panel, followed by a look at the latest developments in the Academy’s work in the area.

What about remote and mobile production, and does artificial intelligence play a role there?  I’m eager to learn at another panel, which will be followed by the story of how CNN covered the Great American Eclipse live in virtual reality.  Do cryptocurrencies matter for “the biz”?  Kodak stock (the financial kind, not the film kind) soared after they made an announcement recently; find out why, first with a look into the underlying technology and then from the founders of Aspera, who’ve started a new company using that technology.  Then a panel will tackle budget wars, followed by a session on a seemingly newer potential moneymaker, eSports.

The last day of the 2018 HPA Tech Retreat might be the most amazing.  How can we tell if video has been modified in this era of “fake news”?  Learn from the Department of Defense.  The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will be taking place during the HPA Tech Retreat, but they’ll be covered in a Friday breakfast roundtable; so will high-speed motion control (there will be other amazing roundtables each day).  Virtual cinematography, perceptual fatigue (and not just for 3D and VR), “the singularity,” and our future 20 years out will all be covered in Friday sessions.

Then there’s that bizarre “binge viewing vs. 3D.”  If you attended CES or the NAB show some years back, you might have said, based on the predominance of exhibits, that the next big thing in television was stereoscopic 3D.  Meanwhile, there was a next big thing in television, but it was binge viewing.  Why did we get it so wrong?  Are we continuing to get it wrong?  Can we take steps to get it right?  The top executive of the Digital Production Partnership, which revolutionized standards in the UK (and is doing so in North America, too), plans to tell us what we can do.

I don’t think his plan involves artificial intelligence.  Neither does my brief post-retreat treat on voice synthesis, though it will explain why the HAL 9000 artificially intelligent co-star of 2001:a space odyssey (released 50 years ago) did what it did as its thinking capacity was being shut down.  I’m told there will also be one or more artificially intelligent version(s) of me at the 2018 HPA Tech Retreat, of which people will be able to ask questions.

I’m looking forward to learning what I’ll say.


22 2018 Jan

Therapy Studios Takes a Chance with New Chanel Mini-films

Chanel has unveiled the new “Take Your Chance” campaign for its Chance fragrance with a series of four lively mini-films. Each vignette embodies the distinct personality of one vibrantly contemporary woman – highlighting the four differing versions of the Chance fragrance. Representing the four iterations is a lineup of rising acting talents that includes Angela Yuen; Selah Marley; Belen Chavanne, and Lily Newmark.

Shot in Venice, Italy, the films were directed by award-winning director Eva Michon (B-Reel Films, LIEF). Each clip reveals a different destiny with its own actress, color, song and narrative, viewed through a pinhole-like circle that mimics the shape of the Chance bottle.

The films were edited at Emmy Award-winning LA-based post production company Therapy Studios by Editor Lenny Mesina, with audio mix handled by Eddie Kim.

Watch “Chance Eau Vive – Chanel” here.

22 2018 Jan

Therapy Studios Teams Up with Comedy Central and Ed Helms for The Fake News with Ted Nelms

Ted Nelms main

Emmy Award-winning LA-based post production company Therapy Studios handled the spectrum of post work for Comedy Central’s new one-hour special, The Fake News with Ted Nelms, starring Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover series).

Edited by Therapy’s Kristin McCasey and directed by “The Director Brothers” aka Ryan McNeely and Josh Martin of Humble, the special takes a whimsically satirical view of cable news, poking fun at the ridiculous state of current news “reporting.” “Obviously, there are a lot of news organizations out there just making up a bunch of crap and calling it news.  But unlike those others, we’re doing it better, faker, and stupider. And we’re joking,” Helms says of the special.

McCasey worked on the edit closely with Helms and executive producers Mike Falbo and Nelson Walters to craft the comedic tone of the special.

Overseen by Executive Producer Joe DiSanto and Producer Margaret Ward, Therapy Studios perfectly matched the tone of Helms and his team by mimicking and lampooning cable news. In addition to editing by McCasey and Jake Shaver, the color grading of Omar Inguanzo, VFX work by Flame Artist Geoff Stephenson and his team, graphics by Tony Banik, audio mixing by Larry Winer and Brandon Kim, and sound design by Eddie Kim, all helped bring the special to life. Motion graphics were completed by Therapy pals, Visual Creatures.

The special is Helms’ return to Comedy Central after his career-making stint as a correspondent on The Daily Show, and sees him once again collaborating with head writer and co-Executive Producer Elliot Kalan (The Daily show with John Stewart). The Fake News with Ted Nelms premieres on Wednesday, December 13 at 10:00pm/ET/PT on Comedy Central.

Therapy Studios is an award-winning post production company, working on everything from commercials to feature films to music videos to online content. Founded in 2006 by Executive Producers Joe DiSanto and John Ramsay, VFX artist Wren Waters, and editor Doobie White, the studio foments creativity and collaboration, and even took home two Emmy Awards, from four nominations, for their work on the HBO docu-series Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, produced by sister company, Therapy Content.