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22 2017 Aug

EditFest 2017 Delivers Education and Inspiration

EFLA 2017 Collage 4

At the very crossroads of creativity, intent and execution of story-telling sits the editor.  Powering the vision, and guiding the process that begins on set with dailies and ends with the delivery – often many deliveries – that tell the story the creative team set out to tell. For 10 years, EditFest has put the world’s best editors on stage and in conversation with a wide variety of professionals and aspiring professionals who want to know about the choices, motivation, and back story of the editing room.

This year’s EditFest LA 2017, in a packed-to-the-rafters Main Theater at Disney Studios, brought forth a wonderful variety of editors to talk about their careers and work.  The audience was comprised of aspiring editors and assistants, working editors that included Oscar and ACE Eddie award winners, students, post professionals, and those who simply love hearing about how an editor puts a story in place.  From the first panel of Women Making the Cut to the Lean Forward panel that closed the day, ACE EditFest was a lively hit of a day.

The EditFest lineup included:

  • Lillian Benson, ACE  (Chicago Med, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise)
  • Jackie Cambas, ACE (Zoot Suit, Mermaids, Cat People)
  • Richard Chew, ACE (Star Wars, The Conversation, Risky Business, I Am Sam, Singles, Bobby, The Public, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
  • Lisa Zeno Churgin, ACE (Cider House Rules, Gattaca, Reality Bites, Pitch Perfect)`
  • Kelley Dixon, ACE (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, The Walking Dead)
  • Edie Ichioka, ACE (Toy Story 2, The Boxtrolls)
  • Virginia Katz, ACE (Bride of Frankenstein, Beauty and the Beast, Dreamgirls)
  • Lynzee Klingman, ACE One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, War of the Roses, Little Man Tate
  • Robert Leighton (When Harry Met Sally, This is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride)
  • Chris McCaleb (Breaking Bad, Narcos, Fear the Walking Dead)
  • Stephen Rivkin, ACE (Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean, Avatar 2)
  • Paul Rubell, ACE (Blade, The Insider, Transformers, Thor)
  • Terilyn A. Shropshire, ACE (The Secret Life of Bees, Love & Basketball, Eve’s Bayou, Beyond the Lights)
  • Lynne Willingham, ACE (The X-Files, Ray Donovan, Bloodline)

Moderators included Norman Hollyn, Michael Krulik, Margot Nack, and Bobbie O’Steen.

The day ended with a cocktail reception on the lawn in front of the Main Theater, offering participants and panelists further opportunity to mingle and connect. EditFest will return to London in June of 2018 and to LA late in the summer of 2018.  EditFest Sponsors include Platinum Sponsor Blackmagic Design and Gold Sponsors Avid and Adobe and the Motion Picture Editors Guild. For further information, visit americancinemaeditors.org.

21 2017 Aug

SIGGRAPH Introduces Technologies for the Digital Pipeline

By Debra Kaufman

SIGGRAPH, the Association of Computing Machinery’s special interest group in computer graphics and interactive techniques, draws the majority of its crowd from visual effects pros and animators. At this year’s conference, manufacturers and researchers revealed several new technologies with applicability to the digital pipeline, some with direct applications in post.

CGI requires high performance, and manufacturers debuted speedier, more capable computer platforms at SIGGRAPH. Nvidia showed a solution “for creatives who like to have a laptop to work away from their desk, but want graphics performance when they are sitting behind it.” Partnering with Sonnet, maker of Thunderbolt expansion products, and unnamed others, Nvidia will ship in September what it calls an eGPU chassis, an external graphics card that allows anyone who needs high-performance to be mobile, from video editors to VFX artists. Nvidia has targeted video editors as an industry segment that can benefit from the eGPU, but dailies and finishing colorists could as well. Quadro P4000, P5000 or P6000 ‘workstation’ class cards are inside the eGPU. For use with Adobe Premiere Pro or Maya, the eGPU can be outfitted with Titan X gamer cards “with a specially tuned driver.”

Nvidia also highlighted its DGX Station, which it describes as a “desktop supercomputer,” advertising it as “as powerful as a render farm with 150 servers.” The company also debuted its accompanying OptiX 5.0 ray-tracing engine. A major announcement for us was using artificial intelligence to speed the rendering process, specifically the removal of noise which is part of the raytracing process,” said Nvidia vice president of developer marketing Greg Estes about the OptiX 5.0. “As the post world moves from CPU based rendering for GPU based, this is a big deal. Our data shows it’s 54 times faster than a dual Xeon CPU server node.”

PNY Technologies introduced its PNY PREVAILPRO P4000 and P3000 mobile workstations, with an Nvidia Max-Q design, that can drive up to four 4K UHD displays at once, according to vice president Steven Kaner. The systems are designed “to drive next generation workflows” across a range of industries including media and entertainment. Featuring Pascal architecture, Intel Core CPUs and HM175 Express Chipset, the new mobile workstations are also “incredibly light and thin” as well as powerful. The size is 14.96-inches by 9.8-inches by 0.73-inches and the weight is 4.8 pounds.

With regard to using them for display of 4K content, both PREVAILPRO systems feature a 15.6-inch 4K UHD or FHD display, and can drive three external displays at up to 4K resolution, which the company claims is “a feature unavailable on any competing system.” The P4000 mobile workstation “supports fully immersive VR, Nvidia VRWorks software development kit, and innovative immersive VR environments based on the Unreal or Unity engines.”

Dell, which is marking the 20th anniversary of its Precision Workstations, updated its tower and rack chassis workstations, with an aim to “handle complex, creative workloads, including development and deployment of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.” The new 5829, 7820 and 7920 Towers and a 2U 7920 rack integrate the latest Skylake-X Xeon processors, with up to 28 core Xeons, and are based on the C261 chipset. The towers hold up to 1.5 TB of 2666 MHz RDIMM memory in 4 or 6 channel configurations. The tower and rack workstations will be available October 3.

Virtual reality and machine learning/artificial intelligence were also on show, with the debut of a VR Theater to show off content. Among the product offerings, HP debuted a professional-level version of its VR backpack PC. The Omen X was launched in June for gamers, but the new HP Z VR Backpack is aimed at professional environments. The PC features an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia Quadro P5200 graphics chip with 16GB of its own RAM. Nvidia also used artificial intelligence to power its Isaac Lab robot. At SIGGRAPH, visitors could play dominoes with Isaac in a virtual world (via VR headset) simulated through Project Holodeck. The idea behind Isaac wasn’t to create an unbeatable robot, but rather to show how simulation and virtual reality “can help robots learn the much more nuanced task of interacting with people,” to ultimately learn skills such as “the ability to pour a cup of coffee, provide care for the elderly, perform surgery, or play a game of dominoes.”

18 2017 Aug

Blackmagic Design Announces New Audio and KeyKode Reader for Cintel Film Scanners

Blackmagic Design recently announced the new Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader accessory for its Cintel Film Scanner, which lets customers scan audio and KeyKode information along with images from the scanner, all in realtime. The new audio and KeyKode reader accessory is available for $3,495 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

Member News - BMD CintelThe new Cintel Audio and KeyKode reader lets customers capture high quality audio along with KeyKode information directly from their film as they are scanning it. The reader features a magnetic audio head or deep red LED illumination supporting 16/35mm cyan, high magenta dye, silver optical or 16mm magnetic audio tracks, with advanced optics, electro formed slits, and precision mechanical adjustments for azimuth to deliver the best possible audio capture with incredible high frequency response, perfectly synchronized with the video. The precision capstan encoder automatically corrects wow and flutter, allowing customers to accurately capture audio, even when the scanner speed changes.

The new reader also gives customers the ability to scan KeyKode from their film. KeyKode numbers provide a way to identify each unique film frame, making it easier to correlate the film frames with their corresponding video frames after scanning is complete. This greatly simplifies post production workflows, especially when cutting or re-cutting previously edited material that comes from different rolls of film.

“Cintel Film Scanners are the most popular film scanners in the world,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “The new Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader is exciting because it allows both audio and picture to be scanned at the same time, and in perfect synchronization. Plus, customers also get KeyKode information that helps to dramatically speed up post production workflows!”

18 2017 Aug

Hollywood Relies on Avid to Create Summer Blockbusters

Customers rely on Avid creative solutions to bring War for the Planet of the Apes, Baby Driver, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming and many other hit movies to the big screen 

Avid recently announced that Hollywood’s top creative talent entrusted Avid’s comprehensive tools and workflow solutions to produce this summer’s hottest films. Powered by the MediaCentral® Platform, the industry’s most open, tightly integrated and efficient platform designed for media, Avid’s leading creative tools once again delivered the needed speed, efficiency and collaboration capabilities required to bring many exciting stories to the big screen this summer.

With a star-studded ensemble featuring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Eliza González, action hit Baby Driver follows the story of a successful getaway driver who uses music to be the best in the business. After meeting the girl of his dreams, Baby tries to escape his life of crime, but any hope for a fresh start is complicated as he’s drawn into working for a crime boss whose heist will threaten everything, including his true love. Editors Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos relied on the industry’s preeminent editing solution, Avid Media Composer®, to bring director Edgar Wright’s musically driven, adrenaline-pumping film to life. Machliss worked on-set alongside Wright during filming, employing the speed and flexibility of Media Composer to edit in real time and keep pace with production.

“Editing Baby Driver on set for director Edgar Wright brought a new meaning to the concept of a ‘fast-turnaround’ – and I’m not necessarily referring to the driving of the stunt vehicles,” said Machliss. “Media Composer’s AMA function allowed me to give Edgar near-instantaneous feedback to a take. Seconds after he yelled ‘Cut!’ I would have the shot in the timeline, judgment would be pronounced and he could move on. It was, however, the only time I’ve had to wear a seatbelt while editing.”

In War for the Planet of the Apes, the final installment in the successful Planet of the Apes franchise, protagonist Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly battle against the humans that could have catastrophic consequences for both the apes and the planet.

Re-recording mixer and supervising sound editor William Files used Avid’s industry-standard professional audio solutions—including Pro Tools | HD™, Pro® Tools | HDX and the Pro Tools | S6 modular control surface—to deliver the best sounding mixes faster. Files and his team also relied on Avid shared storage solutions to stay organized and share content regardless of their location.

“Working on such a large-scale film can be very challenging, but Avid’s audio and storage solutions enabled us to collaborate seamlessly and efficiently,” said Files. “Pro Tools and the S6 console gave us the freedom to experiment in order to create the dramatic sounds of the epic battle between the apes and the humans.”

The film industry’s top creative professionals relied on Avid solutions to create numerous other summer blockbusters, including Wonder Woman, The Beguiled, Dunkirk, Atomic Blonde, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Dark Tower, Detroit, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Alien: Covenant, Transformers: The Last Knight, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and The Hitman’s Bodyguard.

“Each year, an overwhelming number of the industry’s top creative and award winning professionals as well as nearly every major feature film rely on Avid tools to tell their story,” said Jeff Rosica, President at Avid. “At Avid, we remain dedicated to the innovation of our platform and tools to help the creative community worldwide do their work in even more efficient and powerful ways.”

 

18 2017 Aug

Fortium CEO Mathew Gilliat-Smith to Speak at IBC Cyber Security Program

Mathew Gilliat-Smith, CEO, Fortium

Mathew Gilliat-Smith, CEO, Fortium

Fortium Technologies, a leading developer of digital file security solutions for the media and entertainment industry, will participate in two expert panel discussions at IBC’s C-Tech Cyber Security Program. The invitation-only event is being held in conjunction with IBC 2017, September 14-19, at the RAI in Amsterdam.

Fortium Technologies CEO Mathew Gilliat-Smith will join other industry leaders for a discussion on Cyber Governance entitled Taking the Right Steps. Panelists will review case studies and discuss what can be done to avoid the same mistakes. They will outline security measures that companies in the broadcast industry must take to avoid becoming victims of hackers…and what measures to have in place if a security breach occurs. The session is scheduled for September 15 at 11:15 a.m. at Room G102-3. Session host is Michael McEwen, Director General, North American Broadcasters Association (NABA).

“Cybercrime is on the increase and is here to stay. Piracy can occur at any point in the digital supply chain and a security breach will lead to significant financial loss, disrupts roll-out plans and potentially causes lasting damage to a company’s reputation,” said Gilliat-Smith. “Organizations need to constantly review the changing threats and budget for the cost of using the proper tools and protocols to defend against and stay ahead of hackers.”

Gilliat-Smith will also participate in the program’s penultimate session, What If… Moderated by ex Sony Pictures Entertainment CTO Spencer Stephens, the panel will examine security scenarios, some based on real events, and offer practical advice on how to manage and avoid such crises. Panelists will also include representatives of the European Broadcasting Union and Microsoft’s Azure managed services division. The session is slated for September 15 at 4:00 p.m. at Room G102-3.

“Everyone understands the importance of protecting data, but many organizations are not fully aware of the nature of the threat, or have comprehensive plans for meeting the challenge,” said Stephens. “This program will offer a perspective on the scope of the problem and suggest options that can help organizations avoid becoming victims.”

Fortium Technologies offers a variety of software solutions for encryption, copy protection and file security. Its customers include major networks, producers, distributors and service providers. Fortium’s at-rest encryption software MediaSeal is used by companies in the film, television and broadcast industries worldwide to protect data during post-production processing. Gilliat-Smith is CEO and co-founder of the company.

To register your Interest in attending IBC’s C-Tech Cyber Security Program, please visit https://show.ibc.org/forms/c-tech-series

The full IBC Conference and Exhibition is scheduled for 14-19 September.

 

18 2017 Aug

Revolution Music Video Completed with URSA Mini Pro and DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel

Blackmagic Design recently announced that DP Vance Burberry used its URSA Mini Pro digital film camera and Video Assist 4K monitor/recorder to shoot the music video for songwriter and performer Van William’s song “Revolution,” which features Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit. Burberry, who has shot music videos for Guns N’ Roses, Pearl Jam, Santana, Coldplay and more, also used DaVinci Resolve Studio and the DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel for color grading.

Member News - BMD Ursa

Directed by Grant James and produced by Milkt Films, the song tells the story of a relationship full of conflict and its eventual demise. “It’s an emotional performance delivered by Van, as well as Klara and Johanna Söderberg (First Aid Kit) within the confines of a black void,” said James. “The focus was to compose moving portraits of the artists that express the meaning behind the lyrics of the song as they go through an emotional journey individually and together. The result delivers a variety of raw and striking imagery that balances the fine line between high fashion cinematography and keeping our subjects grounded in their own natural aesthetic and realism.”

Burberry added, “We went with a black and white look to help emphasize the photography and story as much as possible. We wanted the look to evolve as the story progressed, so it was essential to have strong photographic images to work with, which is why I chose the URSA Mini Pro. The camera’s 15 stops of dynamic range really shone in grayscale, and you need that wide gamma of dynamic range when you are into deep shadows and blacks through to over-exposed edges, which roll off very film-like with the URSA Mini Pro.”

Burberry also noted that the URSA Mini Pro’s tactile controls helped him change settings and check looks without missing a beat. “We jumped around from 23.98 fps to 60 fps and having that high frame rate button right on the outside of the camera was super handy,” he explained. “I also looked at RAW and LOG a lot, using grayscale and false color to check exposure. I assigned RAW to function one (F1) and false color to function two (F2) and could easily switch between the looks with the press of a button. I love that the function buttons are customizable.”

“I also loved being able to drop in the URSA Mini Pro’s built-in ND filters depending on the shot,” he added. “The quality of light was not always the same, and I also shot a little hot at 800 ASA and used the ND filters. This allowed me to shoot at a wider aperture to achieve a shallower depth of field. All these added features were extremely useful and streamlined my workflow.”

“I used the URSA Mini 4.6K on several occasions, but this was my first experience with the URSA Mini Pro, and the design and control upgrades are fantastic,” said James. “I enjoy the filmic nature of all Blackmagic Design’s cameras and how simplified the workflow crossover is from production to post. Since we shot the video in high-contrast black and white, the camera allowed us to get those rich blacks while maintaining plenty of detail within the camera’s dynamic range to control our final product.”

In post, Burberry used DaVinci Resolve Studio and the DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel to enhance the theme. “The video starts out with a clean look, and as the story is told, the artists’ hair gets messier and they’re screaming and crying. By the end, they look terrible in a very beautiful way,” he said. “I started off less contrasty and open in the midtones, and as the song intensified, I decreased the midtone detail just to soften everything up. I then increased contrast and darkened up the midtone details, as well as pushed the highlights hard. Increased midtone detail also brought out the texture of the skin thanks to the detail captured with the URSA Mini Pro.”

“We really pushed the image, but it still stayed beautiful and clean, and DaVinci Resolve Studio’s exceptional tracker came in handy. It’s easy to move, change size, softness and curve; its power is incredible,” Burberry concluded. “On top of that, the DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel made it so easy to add nodes, save and recall stills, move back and forth in frames, build Power Windows and more. It’s incredibly efficient since all the buttons are at my fingertips, and the panel itself is the real deal – it’s solid and sturdy. It really helps me be able to complete these projects myself, which is fantastic.”

Van William’s The Revolution EP will be released via Fantasy Records on September 8th, 2017. To view the music video, please visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzVIwNucZ8A. For more information about Van William and The Revolution EP, please visit: http://vanwilliammusic.com.

 

18 2017 Aug

Avid VENUE | S6L Delivers Show-stopping Performances for the Biggest World Tours

Top live sound engineers adopt award-wining live sound system to optimize usability, quality and efficiency

Avid recently announced that its flagship live sound system, Avid VENUE™ | S6L, has been adopted by some of the most respected live sound engineers to take on the world’s most demanding tours. Powered by the MediaCentral® Platform, the industry’s most open, tightly integrated and efficient platform designed for media, Avid VENUE | S6L enables engineers like Jim Warren and Mike Prowda (Radiohead), Paul “Pab” Boothroyd (Paul McCartney), and Greg Nelson (Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog) to achieve better sounding mixes for their artists with greater speed and efficiency.

Gerard Albo, front-of-house engineer whose experience includes artists like Amy Winehouse, Patti Smith, and Tom Jones, adopted Avid VENUE | S6L for a-ha’s world tour. “The S6L is so powerful, yet so simple to use,” he said. “The transition from Profile was simple, and at rehearsals, I felt confident to take it out on the road after just a few hours. The touchscreen workflow is much faster and the sound of the preamps is first class, as are the onboard EQ and dynamics. Overall, it’s a delight to mix on.”

Robert Nevalainen, founder of Gearforce Pro Audio Equipment Rentals, has been working as monitor engineer on tour with Canadian recording artist Bryan Adams. “I’m able to take care of small details at a very high resolution, and I’ve never heard my inputs sound so true – big, accurate, and musical,” he said. “Every night at some point during the show, I have an ‘I love this console!’ moment.”

Front-of-house engineer Charles ‘Chicky’ Reeves has used VENUE consoles for many years touring with music icons like Prince, Grace Jones and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. “It only took me about half a rehearsal to feel natural on the S6L,” he said. “What struck me most about the new desk is the sound. For the first time with a digital system, I felt like I didn’t have to fight the console—this one was actually my champion.”

Other industry leading engineers that have adopted Avid VENUE | S6L to mix the world’s biggest tours include: Greg Price and Myles Hale (Black Sabbath), Jason Decter (blink-182), Brad Madix, (Linkin Park), Paddi Krause (In Flames), Chris Madden (Anastacia), Robb Allan (Massive Attack), Fern Alvarez, Jr. and Steve McCale (Elvis Costello), Caram Costanzo (Guns N’ Roses), Snake Newton and Charlie “Chopper” Bradley (Duran Duran), Sean “Sully” Sullivan (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Josh Osmond (The Lumineers), Keith “Meaux” Windhorst (Journey), Jody Perpick (Bryan Adams), Harley Zinker (Young the Giant), Aaron Glas (Fitz & the Tantrums), Grace Royse (Sublime with Rome), and Stefan Holtz (Die Toten Hosen, Marius Müller-Westernhagen).

“With the industry’s most powerful processing engine and unparalleled live recording capabilities, Avid VENUE | S6L has proven to be the choice of leading live sound professionals,” said Tom Cordiner, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Avid. “With Avid VENUE | S6L, we’re giving our preeminent customer and user community the powerful tools and all-inclusive solutions they need to take on the most demanding tours around the world.”

Avid VENUE | S6L is a fully modular, flexible live sound mixing system that delivers best-in-class functionality for a range of live sound mixing applications, including front-of-house, monitor, broadcast, theater, and more. Offering unprecedented processing capabilities—with over 300 processing channels—S6L delivers unrelenting performance and reliability through its advanced engine design, backed up by modern touchscreen workflows and the scalability to easily handle large, complex tours and events. Like all Avid VENUE systems, S6L provides seamless Pro Tools® integration and on-board industry-standard plug-ins, with higher track counts and more processing power than ever before. With a comprehensive array of network and I/O offerings, users can easily configure the system to meet the demands of any type of show.

 

18 2017 Aug

Blackmagic Design Announces Fusion 9 with VR

Blackmagic Design announced at SIGGRAPH Fusion 9, a major update to its visual effects, compositing, 3D and motion graphics software. Fusion 9 has been designed to support the latest workflows and features new VR tools, entirely new keyer technology, planar tracking, camera tracking, multi user collaboration tools and more.

Fusion 9 is available now and was demonstrated at SIGGRAPH 2017.

Fusion 9 is a massive new release with a VR toolset that makes it indispensable for virtual reality projects. Customers get a full 360º true 3D workspace, along with a new panoramic viewer and support for popular VR headsets such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Working in VR with Fusion is completely interactive. GPU acceleration makes it extremely fast so customers can wear a headset and interact with elements in a VR scene in real time. Fusion 9 also supports stereoscopic VR. In addition, the new 360º spherical camera renders out complete VR scenes, all in a single pass and without the need for complex camera rigs.

Member News - BMD Fusion

The new planar tracker in Fusion 9 calculates motion planes for accurately compositing elements onto moving objects in a scene. For example, the new planar tracker can be used to replace signs or other flat objects as they move through a scene. Planar tracking data can also be used on rotoscope shapes. That means customers don’t have to manually animate motion, perspective, position, scale or rotation of rotoscoped elements as the image changes.

Fusion 9 also features an entirely new camera tracker that analyzes the motion of a live action camera in a scene and reconstructs the identical motion path in 3D space for use with cameras inside of Fusion. This lets customers composite elements with precisely matched movement and perspective of the original. Fusion will auto analyse the shot and calculate lens focal length and lens distortion.

The new delta keyer brings state of the art image science to Fusion’s keying tools. In addition to new image science and processing, delta keyer features a complete set of matte finesse controls for creating the cleanest possible keys while preserving fine image detail. There’s also a new clean plate tool that can smooth out subtle color variations on blue and green screens in live action footage, making them easier to key.

For multi user collaboration, Fusion 9 Studio includes Studio Player, a new application that features a playlist, storyboard and timeline for playing back shots. Studio Player can track version history, display annotation notes, has support for LUTs and more. The new Studio Player can output via Blackmagic DeckLink and UltraStudio devices, making it perfect for customers that need to see shots in a suite or theater for review and approval. Remote synchronization lets customers around the world synchronize Studio Players in multiple locations. In addition, Fusion 9 features a bin server so shared assets and tools don’t have to be copied onto each artist’s local workstation.

Fusion 9 Studio also gives customers unlimited network rendering. This means that large studios working on complex shots and high end visual effects heavy feature films no longer have to pay a license fee for each render node. Customers simply purchase and install Fusion 9 Studio on all of their artist workstations and then install it on as many render nodes as they need, without any additional charges or ongoing maintenance costs.

In addition to all of the new features, Fusion 9 has more GPU and OpenCL acceleration, making it faster than ever. Fusion 9 also works with additional formats and file types such as DNxHR, MXF and more. This makes it suitable for use in an even broader range of workflows and provides seamless integration with DaVinci Resolve files.

Blackmagic Design also announced a price reduction for Fusion Studio from $995 to only $299. It costs less than most annual cloud based subscription plans, making Fusion more affordable than ever before. This new low price makes it easier for DaVinci Resolve users to add Fusion Studio to their suites and get incredible keying, paint, compositing, tracking, motion graphics, titling and more.

Because Fusion does not require a subscription or a connection to the cloud, customers don’t have to worry about it being automatically updated in the middle of a job. Customers can upgrade when they wish, such as after the completion of a major job. In addition, Fusion systems don’t have to be connected to the internet, so they can be isolated to eliminate the possibility of hacking. Customers also don’t have to pay monthly, so once Fusion is purchased it will keep working until customers choose to upgrade in the future.

“Fusion is an incredibly rich and powerful tool that Hollywood’s top visual effects and motion graphics artists have been using for years,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “Fusion 9 adds the new features and tools customers have been asking for, supports more formats and newer workflows than ever before, has even more GPU and OpenCL acceleration, and a new dramatically lower price! This makes Fusion even more accessible than ever before. Plus, the new collaboration tools and free unlimited network rendering will change the way large studios work!”

 

18 2017 Aug

Blue Collar Post Collective Funds Editfest LA for Five Emerging Professionals

Through community flash fundraisers and a financial aid program, five low-income post production professionals attended Editfest in Los Angeles this month

The Blue Collar Post Collective (BCPC) provided five emerging post-production professionals the opportunity to attend Editfest LA, an annual series of panel discussions held in Los Angeles since 2008 by the American Cinema Editors (ACE). This year’s Editfest LA featured editors from Breaking Bad , The X-Files , Star Wars , and more.

Through BCPC’s Professional Development Accessibility Program (PDAP), Indiana native Hillary Lewis was selected by committee from a pool of applicants to travel to Los Angeles for the event. At least 80% of BCPC’s revenue, generated through vendor and community donations, ticket sales, and other grants, is allocated toward this financial aid fund in order to make attending important industry events more accessible to everyone. Lewis was awarded airfare and hotel, as well as a ticket for Editfest provided through a partnership with BCPC board member Bobbie O’Steen and ACE.

Lewis, an emerging short-form editor in Indianapolis who graduated from Indiana University in 2013, explained she would not have had the opportunity to explore career opportunities in Los Angeles and make valuable connections without BCPC’s financial aid.

“As an emerging young editor, the opportunity to attend Editfest LA through the PDAP was invaluable. It exposed me new facets of the post-production industry, new people and positions I had not known, and a clearer sense of what it means to be a part of this industry’s culture.This experience brought me into a strong, supportive community I would not have had access to in my hometown, and I hope BCPC can continue to fund people like me to attend these life-impacting events,” Lewis stated.

Lewis also spent time touring short form, reality and scripted television and film facilities at Viacom and The SIM Group in Hollywood, shadowing offline and online editors, assistants, workflow supervisors, and camera technicians.

In addition to the PDAP recipient, BCPC’s community of members “passed the hat” around to see if they could send a member to Editfest with Lewis. The flash fundraiser was so successful that four additional qualifying members local to LA were also provided tickets: Isabel Yanes, Luke Palter, Clarence Deng, and Joaquin Elizondo. Through a collaboration with community leaders Lawrence Jordan and Richard Sanchez, BCPC was also able to connect member Graham Palme to accept a donated ticket on behalf of Sanchez and Jordan’s upcoming course “Master the Workflow”.

“Opportunities like these can be a game changer for someone’s career. They have been for mine. There are great storytellers and artists and technical geniuses all over the world. With the PDAP, we want to help some of them achieve things they couldn’t in their current circumstances,” BCPC West VP Chris Visser added.

The Professional Development Accessibility Program, which collects applications from full-time post workers whose income is below the median income for their city of residence, will continue to bolster Hollywood’s efforts to increase inclusiveness in its below the line workers, creating a bridge between the industry and the diverse membership of the Blue Collar Post Collective. By bringing new faces to major events, we are reminding the wider industry that all professionals, including those who are low-income earners, have voices that are of equal value and importance to the post production community.

For more information contact the Blue Collar Post Collective

18 2017 Aug

Creativity: Innate Talent or Learned Skill?

By Kathleen Milnes, HPA Board Member

At the most recent SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles (Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics), I had the opportunity to spend time with a delegation from Shenzhen, China.  Shenzhen is a large, modern city of over 18 million people not far from Hong Kong.

At the core of our conversation was the subject of creativity.  The Chinese professionals confessed that while the students who graduated from their art colleges were very competent and talented artists and designers, they couldn’t create anything that people wanted to watch!  They asked me how they could teach their students to be creative.

Most of us think that you either are creative or you aren’t.  That you were born with this talent or it passed you by.  But that’s not true.  Everyone can learn to be creative but it requires a couple of key factors and perhaps some new habits.

Rethinking Creativity as a Skill

Did you already know how to read when you were born?  Unless you are severely dyslexic, you learned how to read by building the requisite skills. You also probably lived in an environment with books and newspapers with parents and siblings who read and who encouraged you to read as well.

Encouragement is a key factor in growing creativity. As educator and TED talker, Dr. Ken Robinson says, if you ask a room full of 5 year olds if they are artists, they all say yes.  If you ask a room full of adults, few will raise their hands.

Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor at Stanford and one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation, focuses on why people succeed and how to foster success.

The key is mindset:  do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.  Do you think you are born with creative talents or not?  Maybe you can’t draw like Rembrandt but that doesn’t mean you aren’t creative.  Everyone can learn to be creative.

However, if that’s true, why are the Chinese having problems?

In order to enhance your creativity, you need three things:

1)    Become your own teacher.

Learn from everyone but explain things to yourself and to others.  In many cultures, teachers are the “sage on the stage” and not the “guide on the side.”  Only the teacher is an expert, never the student.  If you can’t explain something to another person, you have no idea if you really understand it.

2)    Be open

Be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking.  In a culture where “the nail that stands up must be pounded down,” openness is not valued.  This is why the first rule in improvisation is “yes, and…:” All new ideas need to be considered and expanded upon even if they fail. In fact, failure should be celebrated. Some cultures and workplaces don’t value this trait either.

3)    Challenge authority

You have to ask questions and challenge assumptions. Just because it’s never been done before or we’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean there aren’t at least several other, maybe better ways to solve a problem.   Again, if you aren’t encouraged to do these things, your creativity become squelched.

So, my response to my Chinese colleagues was to look at what their culture valued.  Are people allowed and encouraged to try new things even if they fail?  Are they permitted to question authority? Do companies value their employees for the elevator asset they are or are people fungible?

Many in the creative technology industries assume that creativity lies in the tools.  But the value is in the artist and the creative use of those tools.  For example, I occasionally meet a student in high school who will say “I’ve been using Maya since I was in 6th grade.”  My response is always “And what does Maya make for you?”  And while they are fumbling for an answer, I pick up my pen.  “I’ve been using this pen since I was in elementary school, and I’m still not a novelist.  I must be using the wrong pen!”

The tools are getting better and will continue to eliminate some jobs.  If your job can be routinized and standardized, then someday soon, a machine will do it.  So what will you bring to the table?  What is it that a machine can’t do? A recent article in Fast Company stated “The more you’re required to personally help other people, the less likely you’re going to be replaced by a robot. If your job requires negotiation, or a high degree of creativity, there’s also less risk.

Creativity is a mindset, not a talent. When we understand that creativity is a way of thinking that blends our imagination with the world around us, then true innovation can exist.

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Kathleen Milnes is a member of the HPA Board of Directors and the Assistant Chair of Digital Media at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.  She spent most of career in film, television and commercial production, public policy workforce development.  kmilnes@otis.edu