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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.

22 2018 Jan

Signiant Strengthens Team with Strategic New Hires

In the spirit of a new and successful year at Signiant, the company is pleased to officially welcome two new additions to the team, Strategic Accounts Directors, Chris Soresi and Tom Bush. As Signiant continues to grow, and sales increase for its flagship product Managers + Agents, along with its full SaaS product line, the company is expanding representation across the US and Europe with the help of its Field Sales Team.

We interviewed Chris and Tom to get to know them and their backgrounds a little better:

Chris Soresi

Chris Soresi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Soresi joined Signiant in November 2017 and is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Before joining Signiant, what were you doing?

Before Signiant I was the VP of Sales Southeast/Key Accounts Mgr. for Snell Advanced Media (SAM) based out of Atlanta.  My key accounts included CNN/Turner, Univision, ESP.  In addition, I managed the Southeast territory consisting of AL, MS, TN, NC, SC, FL, GA & LA.  SAM is a leading provider of broadcast hardware solutions such as News Production Systems, Post Production Editors, Master Control Play Out Servers & Automation, Media Asset Management systems, Video Routers, Production Switchers, and Terminal Video/Audio Processing.  I was at SAM for the past 3 years before moving to Signiant. Prior to SAM I was the Harris/Imagine Key Accounts Manager for 10 years where I was responsible for similar portfolio to SAM.

What excites you about working at Signiant?

More and more Media Companies, Broadcasters, Post Production, Cable Networks, etc. are starting to develop new workflows that incorporate cloud based technologies.  These companies are seeing value and potential cost savings by moving their content into and out of the cloud for their primary and back up DR channels, as well as utilizing cloud solutions for their alternative OTT offerings. Signiant is in prime position to be a part of that transition by leveraging our partnerships with cloud providers, and utilizing our leadership in acceleration, media sharing, automated workflow toolsets through our complete product suite: Media Shuttle, Flight, and Manager + Agents. As the need from our customers to move off of traditional hardware into the cloud, and the growing need to share secured media quickly increases, it excites me to be a part of these solutions with Signiant.

What are your hobbies outside of work? 

I’m a musician at heart as I have played the guitar since early childhood.  I also enjoy boating and spending time with my family.

Tom Bush

Tom Bush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Bush joined Signiant in September and is based just outside New York City.

Before joining Signiant, what were you doing?

Before Signiant I was the Senior Director of Sales – Broadcast and Media Services Americas at Ericsson, responsible for selling the company’s entire portfolio of media and broadcast solutions to numerous Tier 1 broadcasters such as Viacom, PBS, CBS, Discovery, etc. Prior to that I worked as VP of Sales at Octoshape (Now part of Akamai), a global UDP based IP video distribution service provider. I initially began my career as a recording engineer and held positions at animation, production, and music production companies before moving to the business side of video distribution services and the digital media management technology space.

What excites you about working at Signiant?

I’m excited about Signiant’s team and the company’s unique position within the media distribution marketplace. Both can be leveraged to create great value for our customers. 

What are your hobbies outside of work?

 I enjoy creating and recording music in my studio. I play many sports with my son and act as an adult leader for BSA Troop 129. I also like to go sculling, camping, and traveling with my family. I like reading about history and forthcoming innovations, especially as they relate to science and physics.

To find out more about Signiant solutions, visit: https://www.signiant.com/

 

22 2018 Jan

Avid Pro Tools Gets Boost on New iMac Pro

The fastest, most powerful Mac ever delivers the fastest, most powerful Pro Tools software for Mac, ever

 Avid recently announced the availability of a new version of Pro Tools® optimized for High Sierra 10.13.2, and introduced new video file support for post-production workflows, empowering users to tackle the most demanding audio post production and music creation projects with ease. Powered by MediaCentral®, the industry’s most open, tightly integrated and efficient platform designed for media, the latest version of Pro Tools gains a significant boost in playback performance with the new iMac Pro.

Additionally, Pro Tools now enables more native AAX plug-ins within a session than ever before, enabling users to produce music with a greater number of virtual instruments and increase EQ, compression, and effects on their sub mixes. Users can run up to 36% more plug-ins on an 8-core iMac Pro and up to 62% more on a 10-core model, compared to the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display (2017) with Core i7 processor.

“The latest version of Pro Tools is packed full of enhancements,” said Rob D’Amico, director of Pro Audio Market Solutions at Avid. “Pro Tools’ Mac support underscores Avid’s commitment to giving the creative community the freedom to take full advantage of Apple’s most powerful Mac ever to deliver the most powerful, efficient and integrated DAW for audio post production and music creation.”

22 2018 Jan

AES® Los Angeles Section and SMPTE® Hollywood Section to Showcase Sound for Amazon Series “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” at January Meeting

The Los Angeles Section of the Audio Engineering Society (AES®) and the Hollywood Section of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®) will host a joint meeting this month exploring sound editorial for Amazon’s new sci-fi anthology series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. The meeting is slated for Tuesday, January 30 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California.

Based on various writings from author Philip K. Dick, Electric Dreams features ten standalone episodes, each set in a different and unique world – some that lay in the far reaches of the universe, and others that are much closer to home. The series debuted this month on Amazon Prime Video.

The meeting will include a screening of an episode from the series followed by a panel discussion. Panelists will include series Executive Producer Michael Dinner as well as Supervising Sound Editor Mark Lanza (who’ll also moderate the discussion), Dialogue Editor Ryne Gierke, Sound Effects Editor Harry Snodgrass and Music Editor Brittany DuBay.

The meeting will be held in Sony Pictures’ Kim Novak Theater. It is free and open to AES and SMPTE members and non-members. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. with the screening beginning at 7:15 p.m. Reservations for all persons, including guests, are required – no exceptions – for entry to the AES/SMPTE event on the Sony Pictures Studios lot.

Panelists

Michael Dinner (executive producer) is an award-winning director, producer and screenwriter. He made his directorial debut in 1983 with Miss Lonelyhearts, which won a special jury prize for directing at the Cannes Film Festival. His studio directorial debut, Heaven Help Us, followed in 1985. Among his many television credits as executive producer and director are The Wonder Years, Chicago Hope, Early Edition, Karen Sisco, Kidnapped, Justified and Sneaky Pete. He also directed the film The Crew. He began developing Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams in 2013.

Mark A. Lanza, MPSE (supervising sound editor) is an award-winning supervising sound editor at Sony Pictures Post Production Services with more than 250 film and television credits. They range from the sci-fi blockbusters Independence Day and Starship Troopers to the dramas Natural Born Killers and True Lies. He won a BAFTA Award as part of the sound team on the Oliver Stone film JFK, and earned a Hollywood Post Alliance Award as supervising sound editor on the NBC series Grimm. Additionally, he has been nominated for more than two dozen MPSE Golden Reel Awards, including for the Showtime series Homeland. Other recent credits include Justified, Sneaky Pete, Powers, Empire and Scorpion.

Ryne Gierke (dialogue editor) began his career in sound in 2012. His credits include the television series Homeland, Empire, The Goldbergs and Preacher. In 2017 he was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editorial for his work on Homeland. Along with Electric Dreams, his current projects include Unsolved, a true crime series based on the investigations into the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, and Season 7 of Homeland.

Harry Snodgrass (sound effects editor) has been a sound editor, designer and supervisor for more than 30 years. His many distinctions include Emmy and CAS awards for his work on the AMC drama Flight 93. He began his career at 20th Century Fox where his credits included Predator 2, Alien 3, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Beverly Hillbillies and Hot Shots! Part Deux.

Brittany DuBay (music editor) is a graduate of George Washington University in Washington, DC and began her professional career in 2012. As a music editor she has worked on projects including Amazon’s Sneaky Pete, A&E’s Bates Motel and the films The Late Bloomer and Chuck. In addition to Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, she is currently working on the CBS hit series Seal Team.

The meeting is produced by Richard A. Wollrich (AES) and Linda Rosner (SMPTE).

Register:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-sound-of-electric-dreams-tickets-42157463107

 

22 2018 Jan

American Society of Cinematographers Unveils Nominees in All Categories

ASC32ndThe American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has announced the nominees in all categories of the 32nd Annual ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement. Winners will be revealed at the organization’s February 17 ceremony, which will be emceed this year by Ben Mankiewicz, a longtime host on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). The event will be held at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.

This year’s nominees are:

Theatrical Release

  • Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC for Blade Runner 2049
  • Bruno Delbonnel, ASC, AFC for Darkest Hour
  • Hoyte van Hoytema, ASC, FSF, NSC for Dunkirk
  • Dan Laustsen, ASC, DFF for The Shape of Water
  • Rachel Morrison, ASC for Mudbound

Spotlight Award

  • Máté Herbai, HSC for On Body and Soul
  • Mikhail Krichman, RGC for Loveless
  • Mart Taniel, ESC for November

Episode of a Series for Non-Commercial Television

  • Gonzalo Amat for The Man in the High Castle (“Land O’ Smiles”) on Amazon
  • Adriano Goldman, ASC, ABC for The Crown (“Smoke and Mirrors”) on Netflix
  • Robert McLachlan, ASC, CSC for Game of Thrones (“The Spoils of War”) on HBO
  • Gregory Middleton, ASC, CSC for Game of Thrones (“Dragonstone”) on HBO
  • Alasdair Walker for Outlander (“The Battle Joined”) on Starz

Episode of a Series for Commercial Television

  • Dana Gonzales, ASC for Legion (“Chapter 1”) on FX
  • David Greene, ASC, CSC for 12 Monkeys (“Mother”) on Syfy
  • Kurt Jones for The Originals (“Bag of Cobras”) on The CW
  • Boris Mojsovski, CSC for 12 Monkeys (“Thief”) on Syfy
  • Crescenzo Notarile, ASC for Gotham (“The Executioner”) on Fox

Motion Picture, Miniseries, or Pilot Made for Television

  • Pepe Avila del Pino for The Deuce pilot on HBO
  • Serge Desrosiers, CSC for Sometimes the Good Kill on Lifetime
  • Mathias Herndl, AAC for Genius (“Chapter 1”) on National Geographic
  • Shelly Johnson, ASC for Training Day pilot (“Apocalypse Now”) on CBS
  • Christopher Probst, ASC for the Mindhunter pilot on Netflix

For information regarding the 32nd ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography visit www.theasc.com or call 323-969-4333.