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14 2016 Dec

Technicolor PostWorks Blends Art and Technology in Delivering PBS’s “Soundbreaking”

Facility handles sound and picture post for acclaimed 8-part documentary on the history of recorded music.

Recently posted at Technicolor PostWorks New York, the new 8-part PBS documentary, Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music provides a fascinating portrait of the melding of art and technology in the development of popular music.

Produced by Show of Force and directed by Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre, the series reaches back to the 1920s, when music was first committed to vinyl, but focuses in particular on the period from the 1960s to the present and the revolution that was set in motion by the late Sir George Martin and the Beatles through their innovative use of multi-tracking.

For Technicolor PostWorks’ post-production team (who worked under the direction of series Post Producer Daniel Gilbert), finalizing sound and picture required considerable time and ingenuity. The series draws on incredibly rich and diverse source material, from newly-captured interviews with more than 150 luminaries of the music world to thousands of bits of archival media—behind-the-scenes clips; broadcast, documentary and concert footage; music videos, and much more—as well as hundreds of classic music recordings. All of that needed to be knitted into a story that looks and sounds seamless.

“It was a challenge, because we were working with elements from all over the world,” recalls Colorist and Online Editor Mike Nuget. “We had video from Europe that had to be converted to an American standard, and film-original material from the 20s and 30s, through today, that needed clean-up. Formatting, frame sizes and overall quality were things we had to deal with daily.  It was like taking a visual journey through time, decade by decade, through the eyes of video and film equipment.”

Re-recording mixers Martin Czembor and Paul Furedi faced similar challenges in bringing consistency to the soundtrack. “We might have a Madonna track from the 80s,” notes Czembor. “If you listened to it when it was originally recorded, you got a full experience, but, now, if we set it next to a Kanye West track, it can sound lacking because sonically so much has changed. Our role was to bring sounds from different eras together in a way that is smooth and coherent in order to show how they connect.”

Not surprisingly, sound plays an integral role in telling the story. In the soundtrack, elements are often woven together to illustrate the creative process. “There is a section where George Martin’s son is talking about how some of the Beatles’ songs were built, and he throws up a few faders so that you can hear how the parts come together,” Czembor says. “We go from the individual tracks and build into the whole song. It’s fascinating.

14 2016 Dec

15th Annual VES Awards Show on 2/7/17 – Tickets now on sale

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, the Visual Effects Society (VES) will host the 15th Annual VES Awards at The Beverly Hilton hotel. This annual red carpet event draws 1,000+ entertainment industry influencers and decision makers. Our distinguished VES Lifetime Achievement Award honoree this year is Sony Imageworks’ Ken Ralston and our VES Visionary Award honoree is Marvel Studios’ Victoria Alonso.  Award nominees will be announced on January 10.

Tickets are available for purchase now.  If you are interested in sponsorships or advertising the in Awards show program book, please contact Nancy Ward ward@visualeffectssociety.com

14 2016 Dec

Chuck Parker Named VP of HPA Board of Directors

Chuck Parker 240Chuck Parker has been named vice president of the Board of Directors for HPA.  Chuck is chairman and CEO of Sohonet, where he is responsible for the day-to-day execution of the growth strategy for the company, including geographical expansion and new products and services.

Chuck spent 15 years in various senior level roles at Technicolor including Chief Commercial Officer, President of their Digital Division and CIO.  After Technicolor, Chuck founded the 2nd Screen Society and successfully lead the Unicorn Media team as the Chief Revenue Officer through rapid growth and ultimately to a successful acquisition by Brightcove.

14 2016 Dec

Monday’s TR-X Focuses on Virtual Reality

By Debra Kaufman

On Monday, February 20, 2017, the day before the official opening of the HPA Tech Retreat, a new half-day session dubbed HPA TR-X will delve into the life cycle of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. Co-chairs Lucas Wilson, founder/executive producer of SuperSphereVR, and Marcie Jastrow, senior vice president of immersive media and head of the Technicolor Experience Center, collaborated to put together an event aimed at HPA attendees. “We want to encompass as many aspects of a commercial virtual reality production as possible, to make it relevant and useful,” says Wilson. “It’s an end-to-end day that will give attendees a quick but deep dive into the VR landscape.”

Virtual reality made a splash in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but it was the arena of experimenters. Now, says Wilson, the major TV networks, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, MGM, Universal, Warner Bros. and Disney are all involved. “I think VR and AR are moving pretty rapidly out of a niche and into something that looks like it will be mainstream,” says Wilson. “As more and more facilities and post production professionals get involved, it’s a brand new area, with its own unique challenges. The time was right to bring the discussion to the HPA Tech Retreat attendees.”

Wilson says he and Jastrow reached out to industry leaders to create panels and presentations from those who are working in VR storytelling, live VR, audio, camera and other relevant areas. In addition to the day’s presentation, a demo room will allow attendees to see some of the VR rigs, cameras and other acquisition gear. Jaunt VR vice president of hardware Koji Gardiner, who is in charge of the team of engineers that build Jaunt’s cinematic VR cameras, will address challenges in developing high-performance imaging systems for virtual reality. “He has a deep base of knowledge of the technology of 360 acquisition,” says Wilson, who adds that Gardiner’s expertise includes a stint in camera design at Apple.

Another panel will focus on the business of virtual reality. “People have to know about monetization models,” says Wilson. “That’s the over-arching question: who’s paying for it and how will people make their money back.”  Other speakers during the event include Ben Grossman, chief executive/co-founder at Magnopus, a “visual development and experience company,” and Jaunt VR senior manager of strategy and business development David Moretti.

Case studies will give attendees an opportunity to hear real-life stories of VR production and post. Among those presenting are RSA Films executive producer of branded content Jen Dennis and Subtractive chief executive/co-founder Kyle Schember, whose company does Dolby ATMOS VR audio. There will be a discussion on interactivity presented by The Mill, and Digital Domain will describe the production of live streaming virtual reality, with their IM360 group. Radiant Images will also participate in the presentations.

The event ends with a panel taking a look at the future of these new entertainment genres. “We’ll look at things that aren’t mainstream now but have a lot of resources dedicated to them,” promises Wilson. “Topics including volumetric capture, lightfield photography, Magic Leap, the HoloLens are areas that are getting a lot of attention but aren’t mainstream.”

TR-X registration is independent of or in addition to the HPA Tech Retreat.

 

 

18 2016 Nov

Mentors Planning Meeting Sets Stage for Future

The HPA has made it an organizational priority to promote career growth and development opportunities for young industry professionals through mentoring programs. At a lively and collaborative gathering last month, members of the HPA Board, mentors and the launch team for the mentorship initiative met to put specific steps in place for the next phase of the mentorship activities. Seth Hallen, Loren Nielsen and Leon Silverman outlined the broad path for an exciting and inclusive mentorship effort, beginning with the Young Entertainment Professionals (YEP) program and presenting the roadmap for other activities that will engage young members in HPA and support the path of the next generation.

The evening brought together an accomplished group of mentors, many of whom also attended the inaugural roundtable session at YEP Day at SMPTE 2016 and will continue their mentoring relationships over the course of the next year. Leon Silverman presented his ‘Fundamentals of Mentoring’ to the group and goals, development path and structure of an HPA mentoring program were discussed.

Mentoring Dinner Attendees included Jonathon Amayo, Jim DeFilippis, Lynnette Duensing, Lauren Ellis, Jan Figgins, Keith Gayhart, Barrie Godwin, Seth Hallen, Josh Haynie, George Joblove, Jesse Korosi, Bruce Long, Belinda Merritt, Marty Meyer, Loren Nielsen, Russ Paris, Christine Purse, Linda Rosner, Andrew Setos, Leon Silverman, Rakeba Simmons, Garrett Smith, and Laura Thommen.

18 2016 Nov

Panasonic Launches VariCam Workshops

Panasonic is offering a series of VariCam workshops to provide comprehensive training on VariCam 35 and LT cameras. Covering everything from on-set workflow to HDR cinematography, the hands-on workshops connect users with Panasonic VariCam specialists and industry experts. The third workshop in the seven-part series, offered on Saturday, November 19, will be VariCam Workflow, Part II – Post-production.

When and where…
Saturday, 11/19/16, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Panasonic Hollywood Lab
3330 Cahuenga Blvd W, Suite 502
Los Angeles, CA, 90068

REGISTER

18 2016 Nov

American Cinema Editors Presents 3 Ways to Say Congrats with Eddie’s Tribute Book

aceSince 1951, American Cinema Editors has celebrated the best in television and feature film editing at the annual ACE Eddie Awards gala. More than a thousand of the entertainment industry’s most accomplished editors, filmmakers and Hollywood elite attend the black-tie event held each year at the famed Beverly Hilton hotel. A prelude to the Oscars, the Eddies are considered a barometer for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Best Picture and Best Editing categories.

This year, the glittering ACE Eddies take place on January 27, 2017 at the Beverly Hilton. Interested in congratulating a nominee, special honoree, project or studio? There’s a way (actually 3!).  Visit the ACE website to learn more about the Tribute Book and the Eddies.

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18 2016 Nov

Visual Effects Society Issues Call for Submissions

The Visual Effects Society is now open to submissions for the 15th Annual VES Awards. Any project containing visual effects which fits the category definitions, that premiered anywhere in the world in 2016, is eligible.

Learn more  HERE.

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18 2016 Nov

5 Questions With Mark Schubin: The Maestro Speaks

Mark Schubin has been closely involved with the HPA Tech Retreat for more than 20 years.  His unique perspective and unparalleled depth of knowledge have informed the curation of an event that is seen as one of the most important technical conferences of the year.  The 2017 HPA Tech Retreat returns this year to Indian Wells, California from the 20th to 24th of February.  Before that action packed, thought packed week unfolds, we took time out of Mark’s busy schedule to ask him a few key questions.

How did the HPA Tech Retreat come to be, and how did you get involved?

Twenty years ago, I was asked by what was then called the International Teleproduction Society (ITS) to moderate an HDTV panel of broadcast networks at their Tech Retreat in Monterey, California.  I made it in before a big storm; no one else did.  So I made some gigantic paper hats––one for each network (and PBS)––and wore them one at a time as I explained network positions.  I also worked with Panasonic and Sony on some demos, and, when Sony’s techs got stuck in the storm, worked with Panasonic on getting Sony’s projector to look its best––that’s the spirit of the Tech Retreat.  The next year, I was asked to assemble the whole program, and Bruce Jacobs of Twin Cities Public Television put together an amazing demo area in which people could ask to see any source via any bit-rate-reduction system on any display (there were even more parameters).  It was like engineering improv.

When ITS died, I was asked if I’d be willing to do the Tech Retreat for HPA.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Help us set the context for those who have not experienced the HPA Tech Retreat first-hand.  What is it like?

The HPA Tech Retreat is an informal gathering for the exchange of information relating to motion-image and related technologies. It has some of the top engineering talent from around the world (presenters have come from locations ranging from Bombay to Buenos Aires and Norway to New Zealand) but also creative people, investors, and even lawyers.  If an attendee is from MPEG, that could be either the Moving Picture Experts Group or the Motion Picture Editors Guild; both have had representatives at previous retreats.  There have also been people from NATO the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and NATO the National Association of Theatre Owners.  Major manufacturers have introduced technologies at the HPA Tech Retreat before they’ve been shown anywhere else, and sometimes organizations like the BBC, the European Broadcasting Union, or the Japan Broadcasting Corporation criticize those latest developments.

Every year, new processes and new people are on stage enabling attendees to look at things differently, or understand what’s happening in the industry – creative, business, technical.  How do you determine what these presentations are? 

In two words: we don’t.  Unlike other events, we don’t determine anything in advance.  We don’t say, for example, “There should be a session on high frame rate.”  The program is determined by what gets submitted.  This year, for example, we got five submissions about a topic we haven’t discussed before; they’ll probably get a session or a panel.  We try to keep the first main-program day devoted to distribution and presentation: broadcasting, streaming, displays, theatrical sound – things of that nature.  The second day we try to keep to production and post.  The last is usually fun for geeks.

Are there any hints at trends that you see as critical?

Nope!  You have to show up!

Sometimes the HPA Tech Retreat features presentations from outside media and entertainment.  Why is that?  

We never know where new technologies will come from.  Image scanning was invented by a clock maker; submarine telegraphy led to image sensors.  We’re all here to learn and share.  We don’t discriminate.

 

 

 

18 2016 Nov

Sohonet Launches ClearView Flex Real-Time Remote Attendance Service

Sohonet’s ClearView Flex has solved the problem faced by mobile creatives everywhere: how to work collaboratively from any location.  Launching this November, this combination of hardware, software and connected cloud service was designed to enable creatives to stream live video sessions in real-time to multiple parties from anywhere using just a browser.

ClearView Flex allows secure streaming to anyone with an internet connection and a web browser. While Flex won’t replace the original ClearView when it comes to–say–digging into the details in a hyper precise colour-grading session, it’s a unique tool that provides an easy and convenient means for staying connected during production or post.

Directors, editors, executives, creatives, and others now can all stay in sync and provide meaningful review and approval from anywhere in the world. By means of a FlexBox connected to the edit server or other real-time video source, a specially-encoded stream is sent securely to the Sohonet Cloud, where unique sessions can be streamed to authorised users. Each stream is encrypted from the server to the client and a customised stream identifier is burned into the picture to help link that session to the users watching it.

The stream is delayed by only 2 frames from the original playback, so the viewer can request stop, start, jog, or scrub and see their picture instantly respond. Security is also top-of-mind, so each invite URL can only be used once and will expire after a few minutes if not used. The stream is end-to-end encrypted, and other features, such as second factor PIN-verification will come later this year.