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Sure, some of the biggest movies are still being shot on film, but in a world where film cameras haven't been in production for years, where only one company still makes motion picture film, and by the end of the year, there may be no more film prints for theatrical distribution, it's no wonder that the number of businesses who can sustain themselves by processing film has plummeted. In this latest dispatch from the film BUSINESS, Creative COW Contributing Editor Debra Kaufman finds industry leaders asking themselves, will 2014 be the year we see the last film lab?


DI: I, Frankenstein with Siggy Ferstl

DI: I, Frankenstein with Siggy Ferstl

I, Frankenstein is based on the graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux, who wrote the screenplay alongside director Stuart Beattie. Kevin had previously written the story for Underworld, and like that one with its vampires and lycans, here, gargoyles and demons are at war, with humanity hanging in the balance. 200 years later, Frankenstein's creature is alive, and not at all pleased to discover that he may hold the key to determining whether good or evil triumphs. He is nevertheless drawn into battle, where mayhem ensues.

While I, Frankenstein may not have resonated with US audiences as much as its makers would have liked, it is faring well overseas, and in any case, looks fantastic. Colorist and DI guru Siggy Ferstl had the opportunity to reteam with Underworld VFX supervisor and Executive Producer James McQuaide to create a look based on combining film noir and supernatural elements into today's scientific, skeptical world.

Siggy also had to combine the work of multiple VFX houses, animators and compositing with live-action filmmaking. In his conversation with Creative COW Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson, Siggy offers unique insights into a daunting process calling on a wide range of creativity.



How Are You Doing? Let's Talk: Mental Illness & Creativity in the Video Industry

Creative COW Contributing Editor Kylee Wall had already written this article before we learned of the tragic death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman on Sunday. We don't have to deal with the pressures of fame, but in fact, here in our corner of the world, we are subject to to the same problems that creative people have wrestled with for ages.

As Kylee writes, "Your creative work is a direct reflection of yourself. The highs are really high, the lows are really low, and the drastic changes in work-related mood may mask deeper problems. And especially at this time of the year, when it's dark and dreary (at least in my hemisphere), it's something worth talking about.

"Just like it's okay to post a question in a COW forum or tweet soliciting opinions, it's okay to ask for help in managing your mental wellness, and it's okay to encourage a culture where we can all be a little more open about these things." Read more....
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The Lady From Shanghai may be the most notorious Orson Welles film you've never seen. Shot in 1947, the movie is a deliberately disorienting, complex noir murder mystery whose style was far ahead of its time. The climactic scene, in a hall of mirrors, is an iconic cinematic image.

The making of the movie has a history almost as twisted as its plot. It completely confused Columbia Pictures president Harry Cohn, so he ordered re-shoots and a heavy re-edit. It cut an hour from the original film, but upon opening, the movie was deemed a disaster and it quickly disappeared from the mainstream. It remains, however, a compelling curio from the early filmography of one of cinema's masters.

Although the decaying print was partially restored photochemically in the 1990s, only recently did Sony executive VP of restoration Grover Crisp undertake a 4K digital restoration from the original camera negative. The work was some of the most extensive undertaken, and the result -- which included work by MTI Film and Sony Colorworks -- is stunning. It is available starting today on Blu-ray, through TCM.com.

You won't want to miss that disc, and you won't want to miss this story! Read more....



Tribe of The Wild: New Gear in the Real World, In Action

"Tribe of The Wild:" New Gear in the Real World, In Action

After collaborating on the 1985 pilot for the highly successful "Power Rangers" franchise, DP and Digital Cinema Society President/Co-Founder James Mathers recently worked on a new pilot with the same producers. This offered him the perfect opportunity to put several new products through their paces on his RED Epic-based 4K production: including greenscreen virtual sets and on-set VFX previz tools, a wide variety of lighting options, the Aja Ki Pro Quad, and much more.
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January 28, 2014 brings some of the world's greatest musicians together to honor their own -- presenters and performers like Neil Young, Peter Frampton, Billy Gibbons, Randy Bachman, Duane Eddy, Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Will Lee, Barbara Mandrell, and many others -- as the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum at the Historic Nashville Municipal Auditorium welcomes the 2014 Musicians Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

There are tickets available and you can join the fun and Kathlyn and I would love to have you there. You can join us as we attend the Musicians Hall of Fame 2014 Induction Ceremony.

WRITE RON@CREATIVECOW.NET TO ENTER
One lucky winner will receive a pair of tickets to attend the night's festivities. To guarantee that you will be there, tickets are still available and we invite you to join us for this great evening of music and fun.

Write me at RON@CREATIVECOW.NET and tell me why you'd like to attend. I will pick the one which I think is the most fun and compelling story. So tell me why you want to be there and bonus points for those who really love music and musicians.

To learn more about the event, visit the Musicians Hall of Fame online at www.musicianshalloffame.com

IMPORTANT NOTE: The event takes place on January 28th and I will pick the winner on January 23rd, so write me right away.

Musicians are quick to praise the efforts of their peers and the "after hours jams" when great musicians are all in town is the stuff of legend. Bring together many of music's best to Nashville for a celebration to honor some of the greatest studio and performing musicians of all-time and the night is sure to be one to remember always and whether you find your way to the right after hours venue or not -- this is going to be a great night of music, you can bet on that. Don't miss it.

We'd love to see you there,

Ronald & Kathlyn Lindeboom
founders, creativecow.net



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"We are going to climb mountains" - that's what director Peter Berg told Petra Holtorf-Stratton before they began work on his movie, Lone Survivor. "And we did," she told us, "literally and figuratively." Petra tells us about making this powerful film based on the true story of a Navy SEAL's ordeal in Afghanistan, and also about her remarkable transition from VFX artist to movie producer.

The movie has opened to a huge response: over $38 million at the US box office, and a rare A+ Cinemascore rating from audiences who've seen it. It was shot on a strikingly low budget for this kind of Hollywood feature ($50 million pre-rebate), and Petra walks us through some innovative ways that the production was able to keep as much of that budget on screen as possible.

Much of that came from her background in post, and knowing the efficiencies that can be introduced by having "post" artists engaged as early as possible in the process. Sound design was one the unusual places that Petra focused.

As Petra, pictured here, tells us, "Dror Mohar, one of our sound editors, had to climb up that 12,000 foot mountain, the same way we did during filming to get to that location to record the ambient sounds and the stillness. It's completely different if you record it there than generating it with samples from a sound library. As a result, we flew through our mixes. When sound supervisor Wylie Stateman started in post, we were 80 percent there rather than starting at the 20 percent mark."

The entire team did whatever it took to create something truly exceptional, with Petra explaining what her billing as co-producer meant for her own responsibilities: "I dealt with all of post, from making the deals, setting up editorial, sound mix, DI, coming up with the solutions, finding the vendors and making sure they are the right fit for Pete. And I did the VFX producing as well."

As engaging as the story of making Lone Survivor itself is, you'll be fascinated to follow the journey of one of its producers from her education in business administration and computer programming, to VFX-intensive features from Independence Day to Twilight, and everything from romantic comedies to Lone Survivor, where it is imperative for VFX to NOT be seen. Read more....
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Creative COW Contributing Editor Debra Kaufman recently caught up with some of the industry leaders who've contributed to Creative COW to ask: What were the big technology trends in media and entertainment over the past year? What's going to be significant in the coming year? In Part 1 of the series, she provides broad overviews of these trends, and in part 2, she takes a deeper dive into the specific observations from each of them.


Becoming a Better Editor (but mostly a better human being)

Becoming a Better Editor (but mostly a better human being)
Creative COW's Kylee Wall isn't just an accomplished editor. She's also a veteran of every form of social media, and has learned a lot about how people conduct themselves on each of these platforms. The turn around the corner into 2014 gave her an opportunity to reflect on how best to both make yourself look better, and actually BE better, in your online persona.
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Michael Slovis ASC Breaking BadA Band Called Death
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In honor of Peter O'Toole's passing, we bring you this story of the restoration of the movie featuring his most iconic role.

Lawrence of Arabia: Sony's Beautiful 4K Restoration

Sony Pictures Entertainment finished a 3-year process culminating in a stunning 4K restoration of the 1962 masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia, completed just in time for the film's 50th anniversary. Guided by Sony Executive Vice President Grover Crisp, this massive project engaged cutting-edge technology and expertise from Sony Colorworks DI facility as well as Prasad Corporation and MTI Film, working together on a newly scanned negative. One of the most beautiful films of all time is now more gorgeous than ever.

Lawrence of Arabia: Sony's Beautiful 4K Restoration


Remembering Peter O'Toole

Having seen Lawrence of Arabia as a wide-eyed child, Debra Kaufman had no idea that one day she would interview the star with the flowing white robes and piercing blue eyes. Here, she recalls her interview with Peter O'Toole for The Hollywood Reporter and what makes him an actor whose movies will endure.
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It's not news that Japan has announced its intent to broadcast 8K by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In today's production environment, the advent of 4K is still news and 8K seems like a futuristic pipe dream. But when Creative COW Contributing Editor Debra Kaufman was in Japan in November, she learned just how serious Japan is in its intent to broadcast 8K -- and to do so sooner than originally announced.


Wilfred: A Sitcom Shot Entirely on DSLRs

Wilfred: A Sitcom Shot Entirely on DSLRs

Wilfred, the FX Networks quirky comedy about a manic-depressive man who sees his neighbor's dog as a man in a dog suit, is shot entirely with DSLR cameras, including greenscreens. Randall Einhorn, a cinematographer turned Executive Producer/Director, and Director of Photography Kurt Jones talk here about some of the innovative production set-ups they use for this unusual series.


An Odd Delight: A Corporate Editor's Leap Into Broadcast

An Odd Delight: A Corporate Editor's Leap Into Broadcast

Creative COW Contributing Editor Kylee Wall moved from Indianapolis to Atlanta as part of a move from corporate video into broadcast. Sure, some things stayed the same, but so much more was so different -- a new place to live, a new kind of workspace, new kinds of projects, AND TAPE -- that transitioning to a new NLE in Adobe Premiere Creative Cloud was the least of it. Certainly nothing compared to a fever of 104 that took her out for most of her first week. It's a remarkable tale that Kylee tells as only she can.


With Paul Mazursky, It's All Crap!

With Paul Mazursky, It's All Crap!

When Paul Mazursky decided to create a series of intimate conversations with Mel Brooks, Leonard Nimoy and his many other industry friends, Cinematographer Bill Megalos came on board to produce. In this article, Bill talks about the choices he made with regard to camera, lighting and direction to make compelling interviews with a limited budget.
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Hunger Games: Catching Fire continues to burn bright in the eyes of movie-goers, breaking holiday records, and, bringing its box-office total to $572,795,657 worldwide -- in just 10 days!

When we last touched base with editor and longtime Creative COW member and community leader, Alan Edward Bell, A.C.E., he had just finished cutting The Amazing Spider-Man. For The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, we find him reunited with director Francis Lawrence, for whom he edited Water for Elephants. Bell talks about the challenges of editing Catching Fire and some of the gear choices he made to improve the pipeline's efficiency.



Doctor Who 50th Anniversary-Milk's VFX for Day of the Doctor

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary -- Milk's VFX for The Day of the Doctor

When The Mill in London decided to close its TV and Film Department, the staff decided to open up VFX house Milk. They brought with them a first, very challenging job, which was begun at The Mill: creating stereo 3D effects for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. Here's how the newly launched company took charge to create some memorable VFX.



Thor: The Dark World Crowned by Blur's End Titles, Prologue

Thor: The Dark World Crowned by Blur's End Titles, Prologue

Marvel Studios tapped VFX/animation/design company Blur Studio to create a prologue and stereo 3D end titles for its recently released Thor: The Dark World. This is the story of how Blur Studio was able to create both the CG-heavy prologue and graphic novel-inspired 3D end titles in a tight 12-week schedule, from creative idea to completion.



The Sony FDR-AX1 & Your 4K Future

The Sony FDR-AX1 & Your 4K Future

Even though it's not yet a broadcast format, 4K production has been happening every day for years -- delivered as HD. It offers the same advantages that early HD production offered for SD delivery, including beautiful downscaling and a measure of future-proofing. Looking for a flexible, affordable way to jumpstart your 4K future? Join longtime Creative COW leader Douglas Spotted Eagle for a look at Sony's FDR-AX1 camcorder.
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When we last touched base with editor and longtime Creative COW member and community leader, Alan Edward Bell, ACE, he had just finished cutting The Amazing Spider-Man. For The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, we find him reunited with director Francis Lawrence, for whom he edited Water for Elephants. Bell talks about the challenges of editing Catching Fire and some of the gear choices he made to improve the pipeline's efficiency.


Behind the Lens: Kramer Morgenthau, ASC on Sleepy Hollow

Behind the Lens: Kramer Morgenthau, ASC on Sleepy Hollow

Kramer Morgenthau, ASC has shot over 60 films films, including Thor: The Dark World. He also been nominated for 5 Primetime Emmys for his television work, and won an ASC Award for his work on HBO's Game of Thrones. He also shot the pilot for the Fox hit Sleepy Hollow, which gave us an opportunity to talk to him about his work, his influences and his philosophy of lighting and camera moves.
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