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22 2016 Jun

MTI Film Releases Updates of Cortex and DRS™ NOVA

MTI Film continues to add features and improve the user friendliness of its industry-leading dailies and media processing platform, Cortex. A new release, available this month, includes an Edit Tool that streamlines the production of IMF and AS02 packages and other deliverables. The Edit Tool comes with a new user interface that conforms with popular editing software making it simple to use.  “It allows complex functions, like IMF packaging, to be executed in an intuitive and organized manner,” says MTI Film Director of Development Randy Reck. “Users can quickly and easily take care of tasks such as adding head formats and multiple audio and video tracks.”

The latest version of Cortex also includes dead pixel correction (which alerts production when a camera sensor has a fault), Dolby Vision support and 4K up-resing—all of which were first announced at NAB 2016.  MTI Film is also releasing an update to DRS™NOVA, its digital film restoration software. New features include Tracking Offsets, which allows tracking and image stabilization to continue when tracking points travel off screen; and Grain Tool Presets, which allows film grain patterns to be stored and applied during restoration operations.

Improvements have also been made to the Color Breathing Tool, which automatically corrects for color fading or “breathing.” The new DRS™NOVA was recently used in the restoration of the 1928 silent classic The Racket, produced by Howard Hughes. The rarely seen crime drama, an Oscar nominee for Best Picture, is being restored at the behest of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and & Sciences.

21 2016 Jun

Embracing Change

Seth HallenHPA President Seth Hallen recently published an article in the M&E Journal, entitled Embracing Change…

VUCA: Wikipedia definition as it applies to M&E


The nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts. Think about the rate at which new standards and formats are introduced.


The lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events. Not many predicted the impacts of OTT binge-viewing or Multi-Channel Networks.


The multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues and the chaos and confusion that surround an organization. With so many stakeholders, formats, workflows and such a broad spectrum of consumer behaviors, this creates chaos and confusion for M&E professionals and ultimately consumers.


The haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion. Think about how many really smart individuals and companies in our industry have misread the market and failed in recent years.

Abstract: The rate at which our industry evolves is accelerating. Building and managing a company in an ever-changing environment such as ours comes with massive challenges. But there are some key principles that business owners and managers can apply that simplify the process of building a business that enables adaptability and agility to meet these challenges.

There are so many metaphors to describe the complexity within our industry. It seems like there are an unlimited number of cloud references, all cleverly comparing remote servers to the weather. Also weather-related, “snowflakes” are used to describe the infinite number of different workflows, unique but all perfect in their own ways. When it comes to formats, we’re in the Wild West, and when it gets real bad, we’re in a “war.” And it seems that a media and entertainment industry event isn’t complete until someone cracks a joke about the over-abundance of acronyms that we use to both simplify and compartmentalize our world.

Here’s another one: VUCA. But this one doesn’t represent a format or a standard or an organization. It represents a perspective. It’s a concept that the military began using in the 1990s when our armed forces were reinventing their strategies to meet the challenges of modern combat. VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. I am sure every M&E professional is immediately panged with the strong familiarity of these words.

There is a great deal of information about VUCA on the Web as it applies to many different industries so we won’t cover it in much detail in this article, but here is an overview of how VUCA is defined and how it applies to the M&E industry.

An interesting approach to take when evaluating your market and building your strategy is to think in terms of VUCA. Rather than struggling to fight these realities or hoping they simply vanish one day, it is important instead to modify your organization to accept this environment and create adaptations that enable it to thrive. In the words of Leon Silverman, General Manager of Digital Studio at Walt Disney Studios, “Its time to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable”. It’s time to forget about everything we know about running a company in a predictable market and its time to build adaptability into the DNA of your organization.

So how the heck do we do that? As it pertains to the rapidly evolving M&E industry, how does this method of analyzing our environment help you make decisions, manage risks, forecast, plan and move ahead? How can you foster a culture inside your organization that will be more capable of thriving in a VUCA world?


The overall success of any change management initiative is directly tied to how well the culture of the organization can evolve in line with the desired change.

Organizational leaders tend to think in terms of technical capabilities, infrastructure, P&L performance and market positioning. But while their heads are focused on those areas, many managers tend to forget how vitally important the culture of an organization, and the mindset of the individuals are to impacting their goals. Managing organizational culture is at the very core of managing change and impacting performance in all areas of your business. But the concept of culture, and how to manage it, is a source of confusion and mystification for many business leaders. Culture is such an interesting dichotomy in that it is intangible, subjective and immeasurable but at the same time is directly tied to measurable performance. How can we take an intangible concept like culture and translate that into tangible, measurable results?

Principles to impact cultural change

  • Promote cross-functionality as a mindset

The only way to thrive in an environment where it’s increasingly difficult to predict the future is to ensure that your teams are agile enough to change course and adapt quickly. Having agility is often seen as an infrastructural or procedural capability. Although there are certainly organizational considerations to being agile, it begins with ensuring that employees are empowered to think more creatively about how they can participate in solving the company’s challenges. This has a significant cultural impact in that it enables individuals to have a much greater role in positive change management. The initial mindset of many employees is that they work within a very specific scope of responsibilities per the job description they were given when they were hired. Even though they may have skills to contribute in additional ways, they may not feel empowered to move outside of what they perceive as their specific role. Embolden them with a cross-functional mindset whereby they look for opportunities that might be outside their “scope”. This helps the organization become much better prepared to evolve in step with shifting customer and market demands.

  • Think small

Smaller companies have certain advantages over their larger competitors. We see so many examples of how the nimbleness, agility and the ability to evolve quickly all play leading roles in successful disruption and market share growth. Leaders who work inside large companies often find it more difficult to mobilize and execute their ideas as quickly. But most of the trouble is rooted in the habits and perspectives of some individuals who have worked inside this large corporate environment for a long time. Regardless of your company’s size, anyone can adopt a small business mindset and gain some of the benefits. One effective way to do this is to ask your department heads to imagine their business unit as their own small company. Then encourage them to develop and execute their strategies in that frame of mind. Once you get them thinking this way, you will find the individuals in your organization better able to make decisions and execute more quickly and efficiently.

  • Always be new

It’s mind-boggling when we look back at our industry and recognize how much things have changed in such a short time. At this exponential rate of transformational change, we know that organizations that lack adaptability can quickly find themselves increasingly irrelevant to the current market. So an effective, and sometimes vital, exercise is to pretend you’re starting a new company every 6 months. Look at your current business base (clients, revenues, etc.) and make your best guess at where you’ll be in 6 months. Then decide exactly (and sometimes painfully) what you would ideally need to service your customers and how you would structure your “new” business. The insights gleaned from this exercise will guide your decisions on organizational structure, job descriptions, cost management and future revenue generation. It will help transform the culture and DNA of an organization to ensure that it can adapt and evolve at the same speed as the market.

  • Everyone knows everything

When an executive or employee is navigating a company in our dynamically changing M&E environment, there is great value in consistently ensuring you are aware of these changes through colleagues and peers in realtime. There is no better way to keep your “finger on the pulse” of the industry than by participating in technology communities, trade organizations and industry events. By engaging and interacting with other thought leaders, you will understand the broader shifts that are taking place as well as the nuances of change that may strike specific strategic ideas that you then incorporate into your own initiatives. No single person or company knows everything but the power of collective knowledge and community collaboration can only assist us in making sense of this VUCA world.

Seth Hallen has 16 years of senior leadership experience in the digital media and post production industries. With a proven ability to lead teams toward the successful tactical execution of strategies designed to capitalize on emerging trends and opportunities, he has been building profitable, innovative and market-dominant companies for over 25 years. Hallen is also President of the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA).

21 2016 Jun

Roundabout Entertainment Breathes New Life into “NYPD Blue”

Facility completes sparkling 2K restoration of eight seasons of the Emmy-winning series that defined police dramas in the 1990s.
In a project for 20th Century Fox spanning nine months, Roundabout Entertainment restored and remastered the first eight seasons of the classic procedural police drama NYPD Blue. More than 170 1-hour episodes were scanned and finished in 2K, restoring the show to pristine quality for a new domestic release.

The new restoration was created from 35mm cut negative—the first eight seasons were shot on film—and other original elements. 2K scanning was performed by Roundabout Colorist Juan Zorn using Lasergraphics archive scanning system The Director.

Smollin and his crew found missing scenes by combing through original production dailies. They used a Steenbeck flatbed film editing system to view 20-year old film elements and match them against video reference.

All of the material underwent a scrupulous digital process of removing dust, scratches and other artifacts conducted by Roundabout’s restoration experts using MTI Film’s DRS Nova. During the color grading process that followed, particular attention was given to replicating the gritty, cinema-verite look of the series—one of its signature elements.

Roundabout also restored the series’ soundtrack. The original stereo surround stems were remixed in 5.1 surround.

21 2016 Jun

Juan Reyes Joins My Eye Media

June - Juan_Reyes_Headshot_smEntertainment industry veteran Juan Reyes has joined My Eye Media. An industry vet, he’s been very involved with home entertainment technologies in various capacities including working at the standards and specification levels. He’s been involved with a number of groups including the Blu-ray Disc Association, Ultra HD Alliance, SCSA (Vidity), DECE (UltraViolet), DEG, International 3D Society, MESA, CTA and SMPTE. He served as the SCG (System Compatibility Group) Chair for the Blu-ray Disc Association and has been an active speaker at entertainment and technology conferences in the US and abroad.

He’s developed highly efficient, precise and automated workflows to handle various requirements in digital media servicing for content owners, OTT companies, broadcasters and independent production companies. He has consulted for some of the largest entertainment companies in the world who rely on his diverse knowledge and skill set.

21 2016 Jun

Sales Career Resource Group! SCRG is Back!

In a revitalized, disruptive and evolved format, the SCRG committee has announced new dates and a series of exciting changes.

  • New Event Format!
  • New Time of Day!
  • New Location!
  • Networking Drinks at the end!

What isn’t changing? Lots of great content and conversations.

What is changing? Everything else!
Join us at The London in West Hollywood, on 7 July.
To register and learn more, click

The Format: Table Topics — tables where the most important topics of the day are debated and discussed. Tentative list includes:

  • IMF – For Production, Post and Archive
  • IMF – For Delivery. How is it working for the buyers of all this great content?
  • HDR Remaster – Can you re-master without creative (no director or colorist)
  • HDR Capture – Where’s my reference?
  • Cloud & Rendering – How is it coming along?
  • VR – Virtual Reality in Production & Post
  • VR – Virtual Reality for Delivery and Consumption
  • Archive – “What needs archiving”, “How much bigger are these files getting”, “Serviceability?”, ” Oh and don’t forget we need to archive the VR files now”
  • Audio – Interoperability for immersive audio
  • Moore’s Law & Transport of Digital Files
  • Extras and Complimentary Content – Is it an Extra the consumer needs or wants?
  • Localization – Supply and Demand & Special Cases such as Day and Date needs

The Agenda

3:00 pm – 3:45 pm – Check-in & Networking
3:45 pm – 4:00 pm Keynote (Kensington Ballroom)
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm – Table Sessions (Kensington Ballroom)
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm – Networking Reception (Kensington Foyer)
6:30 pm – End of Event

The Location: The London Hotel, West Hollywood

Register HERE

21 2016 Jun

ASC Elects Kees Van Oostrum to serve as president

The Board of Governors of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has elected Kees Van Oostrum as president. This is Van Oostrum’s first term, begins immediately and runs for one year. The ASC Board also selected its slate of officers who include Bill Bennett, Lowell Peterson and Dean Cundey as vice presidents; Levie Isaacks as treasurer; Fred Goodich as secretary; and Roberto Schaefer as sergeant-at-arms.

June - Kees Van Oostrum“It is our task as an organization to educate the industry on the value of the cinematographer as authors of the images, to be involved in advancing imaging technology, and most importantly, to promote our artistry,” said Van Oostrum. “I’m honored to be selected along with these officers to lead my peers and colleagues into new visual frontiers, and continue the educational mission of the organization.”

Van Oostrum has served many roles in the ASC and is  the chairman and originator of the popular ASC Master Classes, one of the pillars of the organization’s focus on education and encircling the next generation of filmmakers.   “The Master Classes have been very successful and we hope to expand them to an international level,” adds Van Oostrum. “With partner associations worldwide and the support of our community of associate members, there is great promise in the immediate future to develop these and new programs that will help promote the importance of authorship in the creation of artful content.”

Van Oostrum has earned two Primetime Emmy nominations for his work on the telefilms Miss Rose White and Return to Lonesome Dove. His peers chose the latter for a 1994 ASC Outstanding Achievement Award. Additional ASC Award nominations for his television credits came for The Burden of Proof, Medusa’s Child, and Spartacus. He also shot the Emmy-winning documentary The Last Chance. Currently, he serves as director of photography on The Fosters which airs on Freeform.

A native of Amsterdam, Van Oostrum studied at the Dutch Film Academy with an emphasis on both cinematography and directing, and went on to earn a scholarship sponsored by the Dutch government which enabled him to enroll the American Film Institute (AFI). Van Oostrum broke into the industry shooting television documentaries for several years. He has subsequently compiled a wide range of some 80-plus credits, including movies for television and the cinema, such as Gettysburg and Gods and Generals, and occasional documentaries.

The ASC was founded in 1919. There are 340-plus active members today who have national roots in some 20 countries. There are also 150 associate members from ancillary segments of the industry.

21 2016 Jun

Virtual Reality Experts Weigh In During Event at Linwood Dunn

Byline: Debra Kaufman

On May 25, at the Motion Picture Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater, the Hollywood section of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers hosted a presentation on “VR/AR and other confusing names for a very exciting topic!” With virtual reality much in the news, it was no surprise that the event, which was organized and moderated by SMPTE Hollywood Secretary, Anthony Magliocco, quickly sold out, with Marty Meyer introducing the event.

“We aim to provide education, insight, understanding of what’s going on in the marketplace,” says Magliocco. “We pick topics that help our colleagues in the industry catch up on trends. We wanted to make sure we covered virtual reality because many people are trying to figure it out.”

Four speakers each addressed an aspect of VR.  Phil Lelyveld, who is the program manager of the Virtual Reality/Augmented Initiative Program Manager at the Entertainment Technology Center at USC gave a very informative overview of how to define virtual reality, the companies and technologies involved and the skillsets required to create it. “Phil did a great job of giving us a big picture, to calibrate the topic,” says Magliocco. “SMPTE is about engineering, but we have to deal with the whole ecosystem of entertainment. “What became clear is that VR is a term used for many, many formats including 360-degree and 180-degree video, 2D and 3D, for use cases in entertainment, games, military, research.”

The next speaker, Lucas Wilson focused on actual VR production and post. Wilson, who comes from a background of working in 3D and post, now does independent production for Jaunt VR, one of the many VR companies producing content with cameras ranging from GoPros to Nokia OZOs. Wilson also showed images from a recent VR project for musician Paul McCartney.

Addressing the topic of live VR production was Michael Davies, senior vice president, Fox Sports Media Group Field and Technical Operations. Davies reported that his company is working on VR content for the U.S. Open, its eighth VR production,; previous live VR projects covered boxing, golf and NASCAR. Working in collaboration with virtual reality production company NextVR, Fox Sports delivers both live VR and short VOD pieces as streaming media. “VOD complements the live,” he says, pointing out that people can engage in the VOD content when there’s a lull in the live action.

Although there aren’t many people now watching the VR sporting events, Davies says that as consumer devices proliferate, so will the viewers. “Videogames will drive the initial pickup, but live entertainment and a continued stream of new content will be what really fuels this medium,” he says. “In that way, sports can play a huge role in virtual reality.”

The evening’s program ended with Daniel Oberlerchner, director of content operations at Deluxe’s newly opened VR division. He noted that, just like the first automobile looked like a horse carriage, “VR looks like old media right now.” But that will change, he says, and VR becomes more advanced.

He described Room Scale VR, which “refers to the technology that creates a fully immersive 3D volume where we can keep the virtual world still while you can move around in it.” “Impeccable tracking is needed to deliver room-scale VR in an ergonomic fashion,” he said. “VR needs smart people, and lots of the necessary skillsets can be found in our industry.”

In the audience, Pickfair Institute founder Jonathan Erland, who dubs himself a VR skeptic, was among the many who declared the VR program “excellent.” “I found myself challenged by much of what I heard,” he said. “For an immersive experience, a travelogue, say, VR is wonderful.  For the gaming field, as well as driver ed simulators, VR is perfect.  For the photoplay it’s not so simple. Exercising such a fine degree of control over audience perception is going to be a whole new challenge in the cinema of virtual reality where the audience can look anywhere and focus on anything it wants. But the discussion at the SMPTE meeting suggests that it just may be possible to achieve something worthwhile.”

24 2016 May

HPA Awards Open Creative Categories: Submit now until July 8th

The Call for Entries has opened for Creative Categories for the 11th annual HPA Awards. These categories, considered the standard bearer for groundbreaking work and artistic excellence, recognize creative artistry in the field of post production.

The HPA Awards promote the achievement of talent, innovation and engineering excellence in the larger professional media content industry. The 11th annual gala awards presentation will be held on the evening of November 17, 2016 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California.

The HPA Awards now invite entries in the following competitive categories:

  • Outstanding Color Grading – Feature Film
  • Outstanding Color Grading – Television
  • Outstanding Color Grading – Commercial
  • Outstanding Editing – Feature Film
  • Outstanding Editing – Television
  • Outstanding Editing – Commercial
  • Outstanding Sound – Feature Film
  • Outstanding Sound – Television
  • Outstanding Sound – Commercial
  • Outstanding Visual Effects – Feature Film
  • Outstanding Visual Effects – Television
  • Outstanding Visual Effects – Commercial

Entries for the Creative Categories will be accepted between May 16 and July 8, 2016, and Early Bird Entries (reduced entry fee for the Creative Categories) will be taken through June 10, 2016. To be considered eligible, work must have debuted domestically and/or internationally during the eligibility period, September 9, 2015 through September 6, 2016. Entrants do not need to be members of the Hollywood Professional Association or working in the U.S.

Additional honors, including the HPA Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced later this year.

Seth Hallen, President of the HPA and a founding member of the HPA Awards Committee, commented, “Over the past 10 years, the HPA Awards have grown to become one of the most important venues of recognition for creative talent in our industry.  Considered a standard-bearer, these awards are uniquely meaningful to the winners and nominees since the judging panels are made up of their peers.  I heartily encourage individuals and companies that worked on all of the amazing projects from the past year to enter the HPA Awards creative categories.  This is our opportunity to shine a light on the talent and effort that goes into bringing stories to life and to the individuals who play such important roles in making it all happen.  We look forward to another very special event on November 17th.”

For a list of the previous years’ winners, click here.

Complete rules, guidelines and entry information for the Creative Categories and all of the HPA Awards are available at:

The HPA Awards are made possible through the generous sponsorship of Title Sponsor Blackmagic Design; Foundation Members Avid, Co3, Deluxe, Dolby. EFILM, Encore; and Gold Sponsor Sohonet. For sponsorship or program advertising opportunities, contact Mary Vinton or Jeff Victor by visiting HPA Awards website at or calling 213.614.0860. Opening of ticket sales will be announced shortly.

24 2016 May

This Is Where The Next Big Thing Will Come From: The SMPTE HPA Student Film Festival

Call For Entries Issued for 2016 Fest

For the second year in a row, SMPTE and HPA have joined forces to seek out students who are creatively using technology in the service of storytelling, to enter the SMPTE HPA Student Film Festival.

A call for entries for the 2016 Festival has opened, and entries will be accepted until 28th of June. The organizations will host the 2016 SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival in conjunction with the SMPTE 2016 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition (SMPTE 2016) on Oct. 26 in Hollywood, California. Launched in 2015, “The SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival is growing into a rich showcase of student work, with outstanding short films being submitted from around the world,” said SMPTE President Robert Seidel. “It’s always exciting to see the fresh techniques and ideas put forward by student filmmakers, and I’m sure this year will be no exception.”

The SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival highlights the creative use of technology by young filmmakers, as it is employed in the art and craft of storytelling. The festival is open to full-time students currently enrolled in an accredited college, university, or film school. This is an international festival, and entries from all parts of the world are encouraged. As the festival focuses on technology, students should ideally major in an area that emphasizes engineering, science, advanced technologies, or fundamental theories associated with motion imaging, sound, metadata, and workflows consistent with SMPTE’s and HPA’s fields of interest.

Films must adhere to time limit requirements, which include all main titles and ending credits. Students may submit films for consideration in one of the following six categories:

  • Best creative use of entertainment technology to engage the audience in the story – narrative format. (max. five min.)
  • Best creative use of entertainment technology to engage the audience in the story – narrative format. (max. 30 sec.)
  • Best portrayal of entertainment technology in the film – documentary format. (max. five min.)
  • Best portrayal of entertainment technology in the film – documentary format. (max. 30 sec.)
  • Best use of virtual reality in storytelling – narrative format. (max. three min.)
  • Best use of mobile device or tablet to convey a story – narrative format. (max. three min.)

All entries recognized as Official Selections are automatically eligible for the 2016 SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival “Audience Award,” which is voted on by festival attendees during the event and presented at the conclusion of the evening.

Entries will be accepted now through June 27, at To be eligible to submit a film, students must have completed four courses toward their major course of study and be in good academic standing. They must present supporting documentation and identification in order to qualify.

There is no fee to enter, and SMPTE membership is not a prerequisite for submission of a film. However, students may join as student members of SMPTE for just $10 — or for free if this is their first year of membership — when they apply via the Student Membership Challenge (SMC). Travel to the festival is not sponsored by SMPTE or HPA.


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24 2016 May

HPA Women In Post Announces Summer Dates!

Mark your calendars! The first HPA Women In Post Luncheon is June 16th!

HPA’s Women In Post group is a vibrant gathering place for our community.  Three not-to-be missed events have been announced for this summer, and more exciting news and events are coming.

The Women In Post luncheons are held on the third Thursday in June, July and August, 11:30 am- 2 pm.

The June 16th event will be held at Simmzy’s 3000 W Olive Ave, Burbank CA 91505.  July will be in Hollywood and August on the Westside.